Buhari: Why I changed my mind

wpid-wp-1413377527466

 

In early 2011, my boss at First Bank decided to take a poll within the office on who we were going to vote for. Before the voting, each camp was expected to make short pitch on the why their candidate should win the elections. I did my part extolling the right principles of Buhari founded on integrity and how the lack of these virtues among Nigerian leaders have shortened the opportunities in Nigeria. Few days later, President Buhari came to Lagos and visited City Hall for a Townhall session, I dropped work on my desk. I ran out of First bank building in Marina, took a “Keke Marwa” and I watched the General from a distance. I am not usually moved to tears  but that day I truly did shed a tear. I wish he won but truly he did not win. With glee, I took a picture of my ballot paper excited at my sole decision to choose CPC.

I have fought drift and purposelessness in this nation. I have fought corruption and indiscipline. I have fought indolence and the betrayal of trusts. I have fought the Nigerian civil war and struggled for the unity of this country in many other ways.

I have had the fortune and privilege of managing national resources in various capacities?as a military commander, as a state governor, as a minister, as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund, and as the head of state of this great country. And in all that I have been and done, I have never touched a kobo of public funds.

I say this without pride and with all sense of responsibility and humility; but I challenge anyone in the race for the leadership of this country then or now to dare make the same claim.

After being head of state, I am sure I could easily have retired into a life of comfort and ease as an elder statesman, as a contractor or as a beneficiary of any one of the nation?s many generous prebendal offerings. But that is not what I wish to do with my life. – General M. Buhari April 2011

I decided  I will not vote Buhari again for reasons of age and he also stated that 2011 was his last chance. So for Buhari, I had foreclosed choosing him. I looked forward to a Ribadu, a Fashola or any other young Nigeria that tickles me. However, we are back to 2011 scenarios and Goodluck Jonathan is not an option. I had to change my mind and allow General Buhari another chance. Another chance to instruct the politician that public office is not their fortress. I don’t like the status quo. I don’t like politician being comfortable; that’s why Jimi Agbaje tickles me. Politicians have to be disciplined to ensure that they keep yearning to give their best to the people. Also, the second term of most Nigerian politicians usually very disappointing. The zeal and the enthusiasm with the incentive to ask for another mandate is usually lost.

I am voting General Buhari in 2015 again. He got a lot of things wrong from a historical perspective but I connect with his integrity and interest to reset this country. It might be more political correct to sit on the fence, accept aloofness and radically analyse issues. Check through the history of Nigeria, you will find out that parties with progressive tendencies never led this country. It is time to scale Nigeria’s leadership from the accidental to the prepared.

However, it is instructive to know this might not be that neutrality typical of advocate of civic good. We must always know that 1000 advocacy efforts will never be complete if political action is not followed with it. Martin Luther King walked from Selma to Montogomery but if LBJ did not sign the bills, his lofty efforts and that of the entire movement won’t have come full circle. I don’t want to be weary from seeking that change  in making public resources to work for the people.

Maybe it is time to start a new conversation with a new government who is ready to make difference. I think change sends the old and the new a definitive message, that power truly belongs to people. Rightly, we can change again if APC disappoints us. The twists and turns, that makes the son of a black immigrant lead the world’s largest economy  in its dark hours is the hallmark of great countries. That is really the essence of democracy.However, whoever wins, our vigilance will be eternal.

2014 Note: Disappearing

bring-back-our-girls

 

 

Where are the Chibok Girls? Where are they lined with us as we gaze into the new year? Where are their shinning faces relieved from the torment after the hasty steps of government?

Where is my father? Shut down his eyes to the world stood still as life crept out. When are the passengers of Malaysian Airlines that disappeared early in the year? Where are the countless persons killed by the terrorists and the late applicants who wrote immigration exams? The lives lost to Ebola Outbreak; the ones killed by ISIS; the ones who strode in their prime but disappeared suddenly at the alternate realm.

To look back after the loss of our patriarch is to personalize the grief that comes after the death of a loved one. Countless people faced this moment, taking in punctuation at the temporal sojourn of man within this space. I have decided to write too little about 2014 as it will keep wrapping round the blanket of grief of my late father.

2014 disappears with a lot of people, hopes, fears and promises. To keep one’s breath is an attestation of Grace. I take solace in the continuous work of God in my exploits, His showered Grace on BudgIT and his firm hold on my family. There are too few words. I look forward to a 2015 with loud laughter when the stakes are strengthened, the tents are larger and also a year, that your good man finds a good lady and does the right thing, the altar.

Influence : God

Friend of the Year: Mariam Edun (for her good work in managing BudgIT finances)

New Friend of the Year: Adenike Ayaoba (the coolest buddy in the world who wakes me up with amazing pieces)

Book of  the Year : The Natural History of Innovation by Stephen Johnson

Facebook Friend of the Year: Chris Ogunlowo (for the beautiful articles that we shared in Pocket)

Tweep of the Year: @ChubaEzeks (His good work on Naijanomics and also the good knowledge shared)

Person of the Year: BringBackOurGirls Family (Tireless work at the expense of comfort and vocation on BringBackOurGirls

Happiest Moment of the Year: Omidyar Network committment of $400,000 to BudgIT

Saddest day of the Year: May 14, 2014. Dad passed away.

Song of the Year:  The One That Never Comes – Asa

 

 

Iyin, Bakare and Nicholas

It is that time of the year when I seriously unwind, live somewhere in Ibadan, allow some white space into my life to really reflect on the choices of the year. In 2014, a lot of folks to look up to but I will do a short profile of three young men whose daily work greatly inspire me.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

 

h/t BellaNaija

h/t BellaNaija

As an employer, of the critical things in severe need are individuals with deep expertise and talents. Hiring fresh graduates comes with a lot of training costs and most can’t neatly fit into the corporate environment. The tech ecosystem is even in a more severe contest with the best developers hired by leading companies and startups leaving others to endure the upcoming ones.

Iyin and his team at Andela are on an impact mission and are taking a bold step to train developers and engineers who lit up the Nigerian ecosystem. His work with Andela is rethinking systems of why we need to build a cluster of skilled personnel and Andela is raising skillset from zero to ten, a notch at a time. I have been to his office and I peer at ready faces who are ready to craft new lines of codes to build something amazing. Having raised over $3m, Andela is preparing Nigerians with the right skills to appear at the workplace, providing a glut of coders for civic and business good. His work with Jeremy is changing lives and at the age of 23, one is tempted to say maybe it’s just another “football age”. An amazing excellent personality using resources to correct gender gap in tech industry, surely  he is of now and the future.

Bakare Lawal

h/t Ynaija

h/t Ynaija

He is a Dentist but with a broad civic mindset who have made amazing designs for EiENigeria, BudgIT and Ekiti State Government. He was BudgIT’s first infographic designer after I scribbled the first wack and proud ones. I always see in him that burning fire that needs to be applied to issues.

 When Ebola Alert appeared, as a quick communication portal for the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease, I took a bow at his excellence. The speed of response, his civil approach, the sudden appearance of contact lines, website and mobile platforms lent credence to his smashing excellence. He changed lives retelling to the Nigerian citizens the issues around Ebola scourge Ebola virus infection has killed over 3,000 people  in 2014 (including 8 Nigerians). He effortlessly earns my huge respect for his selfless and invaluable previous work with BudgIT, his current drive towards Ebola communication with international partners and we are up to a great work in 2015 on the fund transparency.

Bakare Lawal is a person I decided to name “my friend for life”. Whatever great height I find him the future, honestly it will be of no surprises.

Nicholas Ibekwe

h/t Dailypost

h/t Dailypost

When he tweeted the issue of journalists gleefully collecting N50,000 transport money from Synagogue Church, scorn was poured upon him. They wanted an evidence. He gave them an evidence yet they still made him an object of ridicule in a society of low expectations. I read his  tweets –  that he wil relocate family, wary of the security of his young daughter and of the threat to his life. Nicholas Ibekwe is the Premium Times journalist whose revelation gave me exposed the weakeness of the media industry, more in haste for the brown envelopes and the press releases.

 This mediocre attitude laced with sleaze (seen to them as a gift) is a burden to my spirit. I admire his courage, his sheer will to express himself, that 115 people who died in that church building deserve some sobriety and that the Church should give answers to the tough questions. Having not met him but with his inner strength to reveal the hypocrisy of the profession without empathy in a grieving moment, he more than deserves to be on this list.

Special thanks to Adenike Adediran who sends me daily articles that are strikingly amazing and  Seyi Taylor and Big Cabal team for their good work on Ebola Facts.

C’est la vie

King James  Music Illustration  presented by M.I Abaga

King James Music Illustration presented by M.I Abaga

A tribute to my Late father, Olatubosun Iyiola Theophilus Onigbinde 

“Your father is dead”

”Your father is dead” my mother emphasized in a certain random discussion.

Not because she thinks I have forgotten with the  pace that I carried on with life but she says this to punctuate my thinking restating that the exit of our patriarch is forever.

If only we take time to really think through the cycle of life,  how we enter and exit, how we span this surface and how everything is finally retold in history,  maybe we would tread carefully and carry an humane spirit on the glaring vanity of life.  When the spirit soars into other realm, what’s truly left is the bony skeleton, the type I peered at in the Kigali Memorial yesterday.

I dreaded those moments when death knocks around. When it takes no bribe nor seeks patience to put all in order. When it did on May 14, 2014, it was grief,  it was open memory and it was pain.  I remember how hard I tried not to cry but still grieve in my reality that we once fathered, are now “fatherless”.

When he bought his mobile phone, we marveled at pie family prize. So proud of it, we crammed the numbers – 0-8-0-3-3-7-7-1-4-9-1. If you called him, it was a sure bet, he would call back. Thats why till his death he was not on my “friends and family” list, because there was no need to call him. All he needed is a ‘flash”. This is memory that makes one grieve more. That number has ceased to call me and I dont even ‘flash’ it. He cared less when I was leaving the bank,  truly believing I will be fine.  He knew the pains of being a banker,  so much gloss, less substance. He believed in God’s working in me.

He was put in the box.  His body in a box. My own father,  clad in white and looked he was having a nap.  This was an eternal sleep with the breath gone and we witnessed the frame fed to the dust.

My father taught me two quick  things ( I will figure out the rest later) – Responsibility and Sacrifice. To what one expected him to do as a father,  he did not stumble nor give  excuses. He stood when he was supposed to stand and gave his best to me and his family with all life offered him.

My life, those of my siblings and everyone he met on the stairs of life is a testimony. This takes his lessons  to me into context. This is of giving his life,  space, time and resources to whoever met him on the stairs of life.  How do I dare to be different when I am cut from his cut,  sired from his seed? I am trying my best to live in that span of sacrifice.

I know today runs emotions in the spine again.  I know how it feels like every marriage anniversary,  every birthday  of his (November 4) and every day he will be expected to grace and fulfil his role as a father.  I know how he tells of S. L Akintola and many stories of his time. It is life with its basket of lessons and if we truly punctuate enough,  we will live a more glorious one.

Here is a tribute to the man I respected despite his failings but left no one in doubt of his humane spirit.  My soul and spirit will forever miss him.  With God’s help, I will do my best to care for those he loved and tried his best to live for – his wife and his children.

God rest his soul and grant him bliss on the glorious side. I have to call my Mum because I know she takes another day to grieve.

Such is life – C’est la vie.

3 Things I Unlearned

Screenshot 2014-11-02 21.49.21

1. Be Your Own Boss

Honestly, whoever told you that you should leave your “9 to 5″ job and become your boss, lied. We have these “invite-bait” events with large headline “QUIT YOUR JOB, BE YOUR BOSS”. Let me tell you that entrepreneurs have bosses too. I mean you don’t like that attitude of your boss and you think the easiest route is to begin your own, what wrong step! I have learnt that “Anybody who brings income and goodwill is the Boss”.

Whoever keeps you awake, keeps you rethinking the product or requests service from you is your boss. So if it’s all about being your boss, don’t quit because for the venture capitalist, bank officer that gave the loan or donor organization who will invest in you, you have to answer to them. They are the Bosses.

2. I need more time

When I was in the bank, I thought I worked too much for the pay.

“I just need more time to do my thing. I will wake up late and close early on my own terms.” I said to myself.

Everyone thinks they need their time but an entrepreneur who wants to keep the company going does more work and has less time. With deadlines looming, I just have to ship results for the stakeholders. It does not matter if it’s a Saturday, Sunday or while I am waiting to catch another flight, I just have to open that laptop and send that mail. I keep a tight calendar, make few calls to family and friends who have accepted me as I am. Relationship? I just forget that someone is out there who wants to hear my voice. Work just takes the way ahead. Honestly, I don’t like work but what must be done must be done. Tiring? Please think about it before you quit. I am currently seeking help.

3. Nobody controls me

Now I feel you scream when your boss calls and demands deadline. If you feel he is demanding results, I will say keep calm because entrepreneurship demands more discipline than that. I see the entire workplace as an opportunity to learn and pick the pieces of value creation together. In fact, entrepreneurship demands more discipline that you ever think unless you want to burn your goodwill. Someone will still be on your neck for what you have committed to or you have been paid for. That person earlier referred to as your “BOSS” is in control. If you dont care, be ready to close shop

The joy of entrepreneurship is in creating value and that pushes one on and on. That’s why you should do it, not because it the easy road paved with gold but because it demands more and more but therein lies the happiness.

To a Very Good Man

Source: ekitistate.gov.ng

Source: ekitistate.gov.ng

A basic tenet of a healthy democracy is open dialogue and transparency – Peter Fenn, a Democractic Party strategist

I don’t personally write tributes for serving public officers lest I cross the line when I begin to praise a public officer for doing his/her job, like adulating a postman for handling letters. My recent profession of leading a professional organization does not allow me to do such with so much emphasis. Folks are quick to confuse my personal thoughts and opinion with the non-partisan stance of BudgIT . I had to do disclaimers in certain times. However, I have to do this for John Kayode Fayemi, for the sake of posterity.

I will not whine that tonight is the final curtain of his recent span in governance and the Ekiti people spoke so loudly to reject him in the June 2014 elections. Today, I read Ekiti State half-year financial reports (ending June 2014) in Guardian Newspapers and it left me with giant thoughts about what true leadership is all about.

A leader feels the pulse of the people but his critical role is to also damn the inconvenient and show the glorious way. Truly, he had a weak feedback from those that surrounded him. Possibly, he would have made certain adjustments but I will allow you to think about that in Akin Oyebode’s takeaway.

When Obafemi Awolowo was imposing tax of One Pound on Western Region to fund free education, it was not easy task. Generations have come to cast the ICON in gold for this priceless initiative that gave the West a huge headstart.A leader must lead and most times it ties into building aspiration rather than regressing to the mean.

In these days, dividends of democracy, is tied to roads, schools and hospitals. We quickly forget that this democratic experiment has done nothing closer in terms of infrastructure to Third Mainland Bridge. So, if it is about roads, bridges, hospitals and schools, why not bring the military back? Has any state government matched the feat of the Awolowo/Akintola regime that built Cocoa House?

John Kayode Fayemi was aspirational and that probably his crime. He gave his people a chance to ask questions by signing off legislations in the tyrant in Nigerian leaders won’t allow. I will not talk of Ikogosi Springs, 300-bed hospital nor the Ifaki-Ado Ekiti road. I will pay my respect to him for imbibing the right values of a transparent leadership. Ekiti allowed his financial books to be published online, its budgets were available to the citizens in the simplest detail and the entire contract records were available upon request.Infact, having seen over 25 state budgets, I can conviniently say that Ekiti State budget leads the pack.

Ekiti applied e-tax system, an approach not easy for the middlemen who siphon the state dry. He was there priming the state for tourism, re-working procurement laws, passing the Equal Opportunities Act to fill up the gender gap, legalizing payouts for the elderly and so on.

Imagine how hard it is taking citizens to ask Lagos State to provide information on how public resources are spent? That was what John Kayode Fayemi’s leadership did in easy swoop and that’s what democracy is all about. It might not affect what how Ekiti people decided but that is what leaders do. I do not say that Ekiti State Government of John Fayemi closing down tonight smells of roses but for taking the bold above steps, he gave us an opportunity to ask questions – the reason why we will mostly agree that this democracy is worth more than the tyranny of the khaki boys.

Whatever the imperfections of JKF, he gave the citizens and the civil society a chance to tear down the thick curtain most State Governors wrap around public finance. I did not expect less from someone who came from civil society – a core pillar in a democracy that points the society to the ideal. History will be kind to him for that. I wish him and the Ekiti people the best on the road ahead.

Give It Another Throw

 

Risk is what is left when you think you’ve thought of everything – Wesley Vaughan, Wutang Finance 

Recently, BudgIT failed to win the Civicus Award for Innovation and it felt like an issue that ticked off my mind quickly. Certainly, one will ask why will I just move on so fast when the BudgIT team invested time and energy to ensure that people voted? Why will it be hard to get us to win with over 15,000 followers while I also used my Facebook page on my birthday to harness votes? It feels like a setback. It can’t be.

Seriously, you might heard about Omidyar Network investing $400,000 into BudgIT. That’s part of the story. This is an example of the few pieces that strike the bulls’ eye. A lot of arrows stay outside the target but we can’t stop striking the next throw. Many times I have failed to convert opportunity, applied for grants got no response and sometimes I have cried why did this not just happen to us. An example was when I went to Tanzania to apply for the ANIC grant and after a good time in breezy Zanzibar, pitching hard and finding new partners, we did not win the grant. I have spent nights being hopeful, throwing punches in the air, ran the arithmetic in my head but only to get “we are sorry email”. I remembered how Seye (my younger brother) and I longed for the ANIC grant but watched the list of winners that excluded BudgIT.

I have tried to get support from the following and it has not worked yet – UK High Commission, Tutu Fellowship, Aspen New Voices, Echoing Green Fellowship, Making All Voices Count, Harvard Executive Education, Hivos, USAID Project, Huford Fellowship, App4Africa and many more if I take a proper look at my chain of emails.

 So if we despair at every turn, how are we going to ever hit the mark? We just have to keep striking and keep hoping that we will hit the mark with every strike at the bull’s eye. Gradually, I see a trend that we can keep a small circle of clients/partners .I have seen that in our work with Open Society for West Africa that has supported us thrice, MacArthur Foundation that we are working hard to impress and DFID-FEPAR project currently funding us for the second time.

Here is what I learn. Make the small circle of clients extremely happy and keep striking at other potential partners till you find them. When you find them, be stunning and provide them immense value and make sure they are always delighted to come back.

 There is no reason to despair, being rejected is part of the journey. Likewise, being hopeful is part of the race. When you have thought of everything, maybe why it has never worked or won’t work, give it another try. Risk it. Risk is what is left to proceed from fear to ‘greed’.

29

 

“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42

Earlier on in life, I quietly noticed that my younger brother Seye was growing taller than me. Why will he be taller? Am I eating less? Will he feel like a boss to me now? When we serve food, I made sure the rations had clear difference, just to emphasize that I am almost two years older. I was worried he was growing too fast. He finally grew taller than me, I stopped to worry.

I take a deep pause into the length of life and count my worries. Then, I will trash them and list my blessings. Will I get a job after school? Can I sleep after seeing a dead body? Later, I had to hug my Dad’s cold body after life left him.

Am I that smart despite not being promoted three years in First Bank? Will a lady ever love me when all my advances to the posh girls of FUNAAB were rejected? Why am I this black, like the ‘unrepentant’ soot of village pot? Why is our surname not “Smith” or “Akande”? Why is it “Onigbinde” loosely interpreted as “arrival of a snail seller”? Why do I write with the left hand? I just hate being taunted as “leftie” with low manners. Later in life, to see Barack, Fashola and Clinton write with left, I exchanged my worries.

Will this startup thing ever make sense? Are we not hiring too fast? Will this startup be fine? Was our last client happy? When will I get married and have a family? Does she love me or is it the glitter that she adores? Am I workaholic or just hardworking? What if I am offered a political appointment, will I take it? What if someone disrupts this idea, what will I do? What if the military takes over and the budget is a state secret? What if donors are shut out of Nigeria?

Worries exchange themselves quietly and as we age on, a little more is added silently and more disappear on the vertical. In essence, the tick of life is between the list of worries and guts for the glory ahead. As people of faith, we are meant to silence them and take the bold move.

 As a person still in search of epiphanies in a stretch of radical revelation, I have come to race ahead of self-doubt and put faith on my breastplate. I just want take a new checklist of my worries and ask why am I not taking action in the direction of faith? Quietly with clarity, I can giggle and watch my these worries crumble.

 I accept new ones and find the inner will and divine stretch to press on for a new mark. I count my blessings in the last one year and I give God all the glory. It’s being a marvelous increment and I have few mind-blowing goals to smash before 30.

 A special shout out to my family, it is still a sober time after our patriarch left this world in May. I have learnt new lessons. Most importantly, being a better listener, trying hard to feel the gaps of loneliness, of memory and uncorked expression of my grieving Mum. I will keep being a better person to everyone most especially to my family. I owe that to God, myself and you. 

28th Birthday Note

These Ones Also Have Daughters.

Source: @ogundamisi

Source: @ogundamisi

I went to Sun Newspapers last week in company of fellow citizens touched by the plight of missing Chibok girls. At the entrance, I saw two middle aged men bring a press release with the title “Contest or Go To Exile“. This is a threat to the President to ensure that he puts his name on the 2015 ballot.

How thankful should we be that our portion is not of those who are perpetually ‘youths’ even at 40 and are sweating in sun pressuring a candidate to run? I mean I will be 29 in the next few days and I am not into that fold of those who come with this beggarly attitude of waiting for the ‘transport fare’ of the politician. From NANS endorsing the President as Grand Commander of Students and to mothers screaming #BringBackJonathan2015, it is clear that we have a different kind of people in this space.

Just imagine that over 8,000 groups are rooting for the re-election of President Jonathan and also the Transformation Agenda of Nigeria have collected 1.6m signatures to convince the President to contest for 2015 polls. When you look at this demography, it is plain that they are mostly youths. These are young people, the present and our tomorrow. This is the new business in town as Stella Oduah was well rewarded after the Neighbour-to-Neighbour campaign. Ifeanyi Ubah is on the same path with TAN. Who knows if its an oil mining licence, ministerial appointment or chairmanship of a board? He will get something back from the public trough, the people pays for this.

 Peer at critical mass that vote in elections and you can see them in National jerseys branded with TAN lighting up the stadium like a crusade. For a N5,000 payout, they won’t mind standing in the sun.

Source: Paradigm Newspapers NG

Source: Paradigm Newspapers NG

 This is the new bane of our democracy – an unsophisticated electorate. We have electorate not pushing issue-based agenda but interested in the ethnic dynamics that a thieving elites has propounded. We have mothers who are not interested in asking questions about missing 219 girls but with double wrappers sit out and make mockery of a hashtag at the same venue where citizens demand for government to stand up to its responsibility. It comes with my recurring question. What is the value construct of most Nigerians?

A Tweet by @elnathan showing priorities of Nigerians

A Tweet by @elnathan showing priorities of Nigerians

 

With a country ridden with poverty, it is so easy to gather people into a square and put a price tag on them. These are the issues that make transparency and accountability difficult in this space. Everytime you raise a voice, an unschooled electorate thinks you are of the opposition. They feel you are waiting for your turn to ‘eat’ despite you not being hungry.

That’s why politicians find it easy to bring a sense of servitude to unschooled electorate. They are only responding to the demand factors that reeks of a cheap electorate. In the mind of a politician, this is what are I hear:

“Let those who gave us power, now worship us. We give them crumbs and ask them to chant our names. Lets break their voices to ask questions because they want to be like us”

The day we have our critical mass getting it that the elected official is a Public Servant, I mean every word SERVANT. That an elected official is hired to manage public resources and derives his legitimacy from the people, then we have changed the narrative. But will poverty, ethnicity and a perverse sense of dignity allow us? Those are the  key factors that discount our progress. We can’t afford to dry our tears.

Source: cnn.com

Source: cnn.com

Sweetie, Lets Relive Europe

RobertDoisneausailorphoto
Where do we start this journey? If we start from the ages, where everything was without form, we realize that we are placeholders in the long span of this terminal universe. If we truly have to begin, to see Europe, in the previous length of 200 years, we should start from Greece, the cradle of Western Enlightenment, where democracy was carved out. We should see the ruins of Athens and how vulgarity paled her into the present, holding on to life support of Germany.

We should transit to see Berlin and hear marching sounds of the Prussia and behold the horrific remnant images of the holocaust, the ruins of the World Wars and also the crumbling pieces of the Iron Curtain. We should have that kiss, the new kiss of freedom seen around the world.

In Vienna, we relieve the antique of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now cut in chunk of states deciding their destinies. We should not forget Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo of Serbia, the villain who sparked the war by assassinating Archduke Ferdinand. We should stand where he stood and marvel how the rolls of the tanks roared after those shots.

 We should go France – Paris and Normandy –  and see Le Louvre, Eiffel Tower and its signature of its classic past. At Normandy, we should peer at the brave soldiers who smoked their blood in the hail of gunfire. We should kiss their tombs and listen to their chuckles dipped in freedom.

We should go the Poland to see the horrors of Auschwitz and how the beast in man raged so loudly. We should gaze at Constantinople of the Ottoman Empire and its reign that reached the Mediterranean Sea. Dearie, we will take sights on Brussels right from the footprint of King Leopold to the administrative center of ailing Europe. We should never forget the beast of the East and leap to St Petersburg and relive the October Revolution – how the Lenin rolled the tanks in Winter.

 We should fly to Moscow, sober at the fiefdom of Stalin, behold the paragon of modern belligerence and adore the Red Square from where Yeltsin winked at the rolling tanks.

We should see good old shopkeeping London, and ask how this island once controlled two-thirds of the earth. Lets find the steamy coal plants of Newcastle, the cotton-loading ports of Liverpool, the royal palaces of WestMinster shining across Thames and the abiding legacy of Rothschilds. Lets ask the cyclists of Amsterdam how the ancient finance left their floors to the glassy walls of the Swiss.

 We have seen everything but we have not seen Europe. What’s being in Europe without seeing Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence and Venice. We have not seen the obscene creativity that litter the streets of Rome and the enduring magnificence of Michaengelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. We should not miss Barcelona, we have something to learn from the Catalans and their forlorn dream of separation.

It is time to go home dearie, back to Africa, but we should feel some breeze and where else if it’s not in the playground of the rich – Monaco.

Maybe down the road, this our sojourn is an opening chapter of a book to come.