NEARER TO MY GRAVE


NEARER TO MY GRAVE By Salami Ismail Oyewale El’Sama

FAMILY EULOGIES in Yoruba Language

Ayinla agan, omo oloponda omo eranyan. Omo eranko, omo eranko gbalanja ori igi. Omo anumi moyi oka. Omo anumi iyan obakare. Omo bo ba mise mabao se, bo bamise maa bomo elomi se. Omo abule sowo. Omo asogbo dile, omo asogbe digboro, omo eranko agan, omo Adekola baba elesin Ayinla baba Aminu, omo osan tinso mongoro.

By birth, I am Ghanaian. By blood and citizenship, a Nigerian. By faith, a MUSLIM. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to GOD.

I just let my hair down in the realization that today; family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances would rejoice with me on clocking XYZ having been born February 15, 19**. Wow! That’s a whooping XYZ years gone in the years that I’m appointed to walk on the surface of the earth before I end up in its belly…… Morbid Ehn!

It is believed among Muslims that the total number of days that an individual will use on the surface of the earth has been preordained even before his birth. This duration can neither be truncated nor elongated. It’s called Destiny.

I think death starts at conception. Growth is a slow death process. That’s why people die naturally when they get too old.

The two extreme of life are BIRTH and DEATH; the surest of all beginning and the surest of all ending.

The beginning can be cheated sometimes with abortions and miscarriages. I’m grateful to GOD and my parents for not cheating on my beginning. But the end can never be defrauded. Once born, we all MUST die.

People may not be equal in life. Some may pass their time thinking that they are better than others, causing misery to others, imposing their so-called ideologies on others in their vain attempt to assume a god-like stature, but in death, we finally achieve the desired ideal state of equality which we unsuccessfully try to pursue through the hokum we call ideology – apartheid, socialism, communism, democracy and all other things that some people say they are prepared to die for.

It is very comforting to remember, always, that your oppressor too, will one day die and be equal to you in that state of oblivion.

That which does not terminate is an omen.

A guy’s mere existence is a crime in this cursed world. You break the law without being aware of it, no matter how you try not to. You commit sin without being aware of it, no matter how you try not to.

How intransigent man can at times be. Never satisfied. Cold, rain, heat and other conditions beyond his control, are all reasons for complaint. Isn’t that a sin against the Creator?

In conclusion, we should all realize that as we keep record of our ages, nature also does its own and we shall all bow out of this earthly stage at the appointed time. There are various and varied means by which we shall exit this world. That good deed that you are planning to do in life when you attain a particular age in the future may already be in the past and our graves are closer to us than we think….. because, by nature, we are all older than our ages.

To everyone who have been part of an enriching existence these part XYZ years, I beseech God Almighty that HE should grant us leave the luxury to celebrate more lengthy years together in good health, loud wealth and peace of mind. Thank you all for putting up with me……most especially my wife, oh no, I’m still single, ok my girlfriend then, need I mention her name? My family folks, I could be the most annoying younger brother on earth, but please bear with me. Insha Allah, I will make you all proud someday.

It’s amazing! I keep getting older but I always look the same age! Thank you LORD.

Happy Birthday Salami Ismail Oyewale El’Sama!

WOODEN SPOON


I was born with a wooden spoon….

A silver-like colour wooden spoon….

People confuse it for a silver spoon….

The truth I know….

The truth people around me know….

The facade most people wanna believe….

Sophistication I realised is a thing of the mind and I don’t even think I have that…

As much as I’d like to say money is everything, it isn’t….

Exposure matters….

Intelligence matters….

Self esteem matters….

Money could manipulate these things though….

I am as ghetto as the street kid in Ajegunle….

We speak the same language but different dialects….

We’ve got the same constitution….

I was born with a wooden spoon and I’m grateful….

I could have been born with bare hands….

Thank you GOD.

POEM BY: Huey Mustafa “TAFA” Freeman
FACEBOOK: Exquisite ‘Tafa Alawy
TWITTER: @Tafatruth_show
BBM: 2A46808C
PHONE CONTACT: 07034253933

PHOTO: @cutebabyboss

#GEJ VS #GMB: BEYOND THE PROPAGANDA


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A new cool seems to be emerging among the Nigerian populace as regards the fast approaching general elections – people tend to support PARTY A at the LG level, then PARTY B at the SG level, and finally PARTY C at the FG level; one individual supporting three different political parties simply because of the personality of the politicians that litter the different parties. Just as virtually all Nigerian politician lack political discipline, they decamp from one party to the other, at every and any slight provocation, so also the populace have become chameleons who change with the personality of their choice from one party to the other. We, as a people, are as nonchalant to party institutions, ethics and ethos, just as the politicians are, the politicians are worse!

Which is why I like specific leaders from different parties who I feel merit my approval of having governed well. I’m an apostle of good governance. For starters, I hate partisan politics. I keep asking myself, how is the APC any different from the PDP? How?
When you’re not relevant in the PDP anymore, port to the APC. As long as you join them to clamour for change first.
Look at Atiku. Founding member of the PDP. Couldn’t get the Presidential ticket of the PDP, he decamped to the ACN for acceptance. Didn’t get it at the ACN, he decamped back to the PDP. Lost out in the PDP presidential primaries, he decamped once again to the APC!

Sometimes last week, the national tabloids were filled with the “APC now the Majority Party in the House of Representative” headline, due to the defection of some H.O.R members from the PDP to the APC. PDP has always been the Majority party in the H.O.R but apparently APC now has that honour (as some may choose to call it). In a Northern state recently, a deputy governor and about 200 of his PDP underlings switched allegiance from the PDP to the APC. The wave of defection from the PDP to the APC over the last 12months remains unprecedented in human history. It only reaffirms the argument from some quarters that the APC is just a dumping party of the PDP or is it truly the wind of CHANGE blowing the PDP stalwarts to the APC?
In my opinion, all politicians and political parties are the same. They are all like a bottle of beer, virtually same taste but different brand name. No difference.

Comparing and contrasting #GEJ and #GMB for a young chap like me is quite difficult. It is similar to comparing the present (GEJ) with the past (GMB). I call GEJ the present because I’ve witnessed and I’m witnessing his tenure as the President of Nigeria. I’ve called GMB the past because I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness his reign as the Head of State. I’ll do my best to compare and contrast what I’ve witnessed personally (GEJ) with what I’ve read from the history books and listened to and heard from the older generations (GMB).

[1] #GEJ
As the President of Nigeria for the past six years, GEJ has obviously had his high points and definitely his low points too. Nobody is perfect. I’ll do my best to rate him on my personal scale as follows:

(A) EDUCATION:
In my opinion, the greatest gift GEJ gave to Nigeria is the creation of 12 tertiary institutions across the country. This will enable more Nigerians to have access to tertiary education. The surest and most potent way to move the masses out of the doldrums of poverty and penury is to give them access to quality education at affordable cost without compromising the standard of education. I’m aware a lot of people will argue that the existing tertiary institutions are not well funded but my fellow country people, we can’t deny the fact that the total number of tertiary institutions in this country are not enough to cater for the education requirement to drive this nation to the promised land. I score him HIGH on this.
The establishment of about 150 Almajiri schools in the North is also a welcome development. The “education gap ” between Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria is a major issue in national polity. These Almajiri schools can only better the lots of the North in particular, and Nigeria in general. I score him HIGH on this.
During GEJ’s tenure, the perennial ever occurring and re-occurring ASUU/ASUP strike roared its ugly fangs, the administration didn’t respond well in real time to their demands, I score him low on that but let me state emphatically, GEJ isn’t the root cause of ASUU/ASUP strike, his government inherited the issue from past regimes.  ASUU/ASUP have always been embarking on strike since time immemorial! I score him LOW on this. 

VERDICT: Generally on EDUCATION, I’ll score GEJ HIGH in this sector. He has contributed immensely to the education sector.   

(B) ECONOMY:
I’m not an economist, but I see the recent upward ratings of Nigeria in virtually all international economic rating being released by reputable organisations recently as a welcome development. But what beats my imagination is that these “upward ratings” hasn’t really transformed the lives of the average Nigerian. I can still see a lot of my country people living in hardship. Theoretically, the country seems to be booming. Practically, the masses are suffering. The level of unemployment is stark high. The youths are jobless! Under GEJ’s watch, Abba Moro is still on seat after killing innocent and job-seeking Nigerians in the biggest employment scam in world history!
Innocent lives were needlessly lost. The FG failed to guarantee them security at the job screening exercise due to inadequate planning for the exercise. The FG failed to guarantee them jobs. Yet, the were made to pay N1,000 for the exercise, only to lose their lives. Is it a matter of “macro economics” of GDP looking pretty good and sound but the day-to-day “micro economics” not looking all rosy? Economists in the house, please enlighten us, thank you.
I studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and as a semi-expert in that field, I’m aware of the giants stride the government has taken to improve power supply. The deregulation of the power sector, the construction of new power plants, the upgrading of old power plants etc, are all positive steps in the right direction. Just like the economics of the economy of the country, the power sector reforms of President GEJ all sound great theoretically, but in reality, Mr. President has failed to bring power supply closer to the masses. I wouldn’t go hard on GEJ for the power supply challenges of the nation, this is also a perennial problem which the president inherited from past regimes. But until the power supply is fixed to an appreciable level, the small scale industries will continue to remain stagnant, thus the “positive macro economics” won’t transform the “micro economics” of the masses.

VERDICT: In my opinion, GEJ has performed AVERAGELY economically.

(C) SECURITY:
Chapter II, Section 14(b) of the Nigerian Constitution states as follows:
“(b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government:”

The security or the lack of security of the people of this county is the PRIMARY purpose of the Nigerian Government. A thesis, for or against the security challenges facing this country, could be written by the best security experts and political analysts the world has ever seen, the bottom line is that President GEJ has, either by error of omission or commission, failed in his PRIMARY duty of securing the lives of the people. Till date, Nigerians are still divided on the kidnapped Chibok girls! Do I even need to talk about the Chibok girls? The FG kept mute at first, then later denied that the girls were kidnapped.  To complete the odd cycle, the FG hosted the parents/guardians of the kidnapped Chibok girls. All these pro and anti moves by the FG had the ripple effect of making the government look incompetent in handling the Chibok kidnapping. And till date, it remains a very strong weapon bybthe opposition against the ruling government.
Credit must be given to GEJ for his fight against kidnapping in other parts of the country. In my opinion, GEJ has performed poorly in tackling terrorism and insurgency. Please pro-GEJ folks, spare me the talk about being in a democratic setting thus GEJ can’t go really hard on terrorists and insurgents. We all witnessed what happened in France recently, the French government went in hard on terrorists and extremists. The USA is a widely renowned democratic country, but we’ve all been witnesses to the manner and way the USA tackles terrorism. You go hard on extremists/terrorists!

VERDICT: I’ll score GEJ LOW on security.

(D) AGRICULTURE:
Any Nigerian that criticises GEJ on Agriculture is definitely anti-masses. I doff my hat for the man from Otueke, Bayelsa State, who had no shoes but rose to become the president on his agricultural reforms. The FG has done well in curbing the corrupt and sharp practices of the past which prevents hardworking farmers from getting fertilizers, seedlings and other materials required for a successful farming season. In my opinion, GEJ has performed excellently in the Agricultural sector.

VERDICT: I’ll score GEJ EXCELLENT in Agriculture.

(E) CORRUPTION:
The body languages, sentences and actions of President GEJ has painted him as a corruption-friendly leader. I’m not saying categorically that GEJ, as an individual, is corrupt or not, isn’t corruption embedded in our psyche as a nation? My point is that the president has given room for massive corrupt practices to take place under his watch while he turns the other side. In my opinion, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has condoned corruption like we’ve never seen before! He has gone to World TV to say stealing isn’t corruption. To say that if $20bn was missing America would know is amateurish. He has swept so many scandals under the carpet. The NNPC $20b scam. The Stella Oduah BMW bullet proof cars scandal. The Femi Otedola and Faruk Lawan bribery fiasco. The $9.3m Oristejafor arms deal drama. The N24b or N50b Police Pension Fund scam. One single individual corners N24b or N50b meant for thousands of hardworking cops who have served their country for years and who deserve a happy retirement. GEJ has done nothing. His regime has granted pardon to more “corruption-indicted” individuals than any other regime I know of. At least under OBJ, a lot of corrupt individuals spent time in prison. Alams, Ibori, Bode George, Tafa Balogun etc. Bola Ahmed Tinubu faced corruption trials. GEJ came forth and “pardoned” his uncles and leaders. He grants pardon once you are of immense importance in his political scheming. He has used state institutions to attack individuals who have blown the whistle on corruption cases against his close allies (e.g Sanusi saga). Funds gets missing at will and have become untraceable in this administration. Under GEJ’s watch, the various anti-corruption agencies have become comatose and ineffective. I’m a Nigerian and I prefer the anti-corruption agency that was accused of witch hunting the opposition of the presidency back then to a comatose anti-corruption agency that is incapable of attacking both the opposition and the ruling class presently! Please spare me the bluff that GEJ isn’t the judiciary that will tackle corruption cases!

VERDICT: In my opinion, GEJ has performed POORLY on my anti-corruption watch.

(F) TRANSPORTATION:
President GEJ has done well in improving the transport sector of this country. Major highways are being reconstructed (e.g Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Lokoja, Benin-Ore express road, Second Niger Bridge etc). But other major highways are still death traps e.g the Lokoja-Okene express road, the Ajaokuta-Okene express road is an eyesore, amongst others. Yes GEJ inherited these roads, but in governance, virtually all facets are inherited. That shouldn’t be an excuse. The various airports are being upgraded to a world class state. The railway lines are being revived. I commend GEJ on the reforms his administration has carried out in the transportation sector but I’m of the opinion that his administration should have intensified efforts to ensure that major highways across the country were rehabilitated.

VERDICT: In my opinion, GEJ has performed SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE in the transportation sector.

FINAL VERDICT:
In my opinion, President GEJ’s undoing has to be his inability to tackle CORRUPTION and INSECURITY head on as the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. With all the forces and resources at his disposal – human, financial, physical, spiritual, metaphysical, seen and unseen, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan shot himself in the foot by not addressing these two pertinent and cogent national issues – CORRUPTION and INSECURITY, with utmost importance and professionalism.
As an individual, I, Salami Ismail Oyewale, a citizen of Nigeria will score President GEJ slightly above average (51%) in his performance as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria over the past 6 years.

[2] #GMB
Well, like I said earlier, I wasn’t fortunate enough to witness the reign of General Muhammadu Buhari as the Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In that context, I have to base my judgement strictly on what I’ve read, what I’ve listened to and what I was told by the older generations who witnessed his rule. And I must confess, GMB is a worthy discussion anyday, any time, either by pro-GMB or anti-GMB folks.

(A) CORRUPTION:
The major talking point about his candidacy by the opposition (APC) is his credibility and impeccable anti-corruption stance. At the moment, GMB seems to be the only Nigerian that is fit enough to tackle corruption head on. It remains to be seen how he intends to achieve that if he wins the race without stepping on the toes of some powerful but allegedly corrupt individuals who are bigwigs of the APC.
The ruling party, PDP, continually raises questions about the alarming level of corruption happening in the APC in Lagos state. The supposed nerve centre of the party. The party leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu alone is alleged, by the ruling party and other opposition parties, to have access to siphon billions of state funds from all APC governed states. He is accused of corruptly owning choice properties (landed and otherwise) everywhere in the APC governed states.
Kicking corruption out is the mission statement of the APC. Will GMB prosecute the allegedly corrupt bigwigs in the APC and PDP, who in the past and present have been found to be corrupt?
Will GMB turn a blind eye and a deaf ear and not prosecute the hands that fed him on the basis of loyalty and Godfatherism?
Isn’t that in itself being corrupt? Has a pact of loyalty and allegiance be signed?
Isn’t this all just a mess? A lot of questions remain to be asked.

VERDICT: In my opinion, GMB must have entered some “untouchable pact” with certain bigwigs of the APC, thus crippling the credibility, effectiveness and efficiency of the anti-corruption crusade of his regime, if he wins the presidential race. Nigerians might witness the return of the “witch-hunting” anti-corruption war.
I expect him to perform better than GEJ in the fight against corruption, if he eventually gets to win the presidential race.

(B) EDUCATION:
One of the major talking point by the ruling party (PDP) against GMB, is his educational background. A lot of issues and counter-issues have been raised by both the PDP and the APC as regards GMB’s education. But I expect the “People’s General” to scale the education hurdle without much scar. Obviously, the controversy over GMB’s educational background must have swayed some “undecided voters” to the PDP camp over the past couple of days.

VERDICT: Personally, I’m for education.  It is the bedrock for the development of any nation. If you are not educated, I don’t see you offering intellectual leadership for any country. You can’t give what you don’t have. I hope GMB sorts out the education controversy in time before paying costly for it. On the other hand, I do not expect GMB to have held all those key positions in the past and performed with such impressive track records without being educated! I think a storm is being made in the tea cup with his education issue.

(C) SECURITY:
GMB isn’t in power, so I can’t judge him on the security or insecurity issues of the country. But  these cogent questions and more should be asked from the “People’s General”:
(i) Does GMB have any relationship with the insurgent BOKO HARAM group?
(ii) Why did BOKO HARAM nominate General Muhammadu Buhari as their sole negotiator when the FG extended the arm of negotiation to the group?
(iii) What role did GMB play in the post 2011 election violence?
(iv) If the 2015 General Election doesn’t go GMB’s way, will we witness another round of blood shedding?

VERDICT: He is a general, isn’t he? I expect him to bring all his expertise, experience and professionalism as a retired soldier to the table and fight this insecurity scourge eating deep into the fabrics of our nationhood to an end.

(D) IMPUNITY:
Another major talking point by the ruling party (PDP) against GMB is the exhibition of total disregard forbthe rule of law shown by retired soldiers. While in office, GMB was accused of exhibiting fascist traits by handing out retroactive punishment and the indiscriminate jailing and killing of leaders from other regions of the country.

VERDICT: There’s this popular saying: “once a general, always a general”. To say GMB won’t exhibit some level of strong leadership is only wishful thinking. I expect GMB to show traits of autocratic leadership, if he gets to power. But again, I think our situation in this country actually needs iron fists to pull us out of the wilderness and position us in the right pedestal among the league of nations.

FINAL VERDICT:
The APC’s message is that of HOPE and their resolve to CHANGE the fortunes of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The PDP’s message is that of performance over the last 16 years and their commitment to the TRANSFORMATION of the fortune of Nigeria and the lives of Nigerians over the next 4 years.
GMB and the APC have presented a well documented manifesto to all Nigerians to showcase their plans, dreams and aspirations for Nigeria if elected come February 14, 2015. On the other hand, GEJ and the PDP have also tabled their performance and track record over the past 16 years to Nigerians.
I’m glad both parties are aware of the need to either CHANGE or TRANSFORM the fortunes of Nigeria and Nigerians.

GEJ has ruled for six years, on the basis of the above and many others, does he deserve another four years or not?

But…is APC’s Buhari the answer?
At 72, is he fuelled by the personal ambition of correcting his errors as a Head of State by becoming a President, or is he really about CHANGE?

For how long will this festering, decaying mess that is Nigeria continue?
From whence cometh the messiah and the hour?
Messiah – SAI GEJ? SAI BUHARI?
TIME WILL TELL.

Which way Nigeria?
APC? PDP?

Do our “keyboard activists” on social media even have a PVC? If they do, do they have what it takes to deliver a polling unit? Would they exercise this fundamental right to vote good leaders into power and create a future for their kids? Or would they just sit back and say “my vote won’t count”?
We must build a better Nigeria, by becoming more active, physically and intellectually, in the construction of today’s Nigeria. It starts with the forthcoming general election.
We, the masses, are now the treasured maid being courted from all quarters. Our vote is our voice to a better Nigeria. Please vote wisely. #BeWise

WRITTEN BY:
COM. SALAMI ISMAIL OYEWALE
FB: Salami Ismail El’Sama
Twitter: @sama_on_point
IG: @sama_on_point
08039343188

ADDITIONAL WRITE UP BY:
LAWAL SOLARIN JOJOLORE F.
FB: Jojoloreoluwa ‘jayj’ Lawal-Solarin
Twitter: @jeffiejay
IG: @Jojoloreoluwa

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In 2014: I laughed. I cried. I turned up. I was turned down. I loved. I was loved. I lost trust and I was betrayed. But most importantly, I LEARNED to survive. Thank you my CREATOR!

There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.

Over the past twelve months, my life has been shaped by my association and ‘de-association’ with a lot of friends. I have found out, I could not have lived the year alone, and done the things I did without the unprecedented show of support, love and care I have received from a lot of my brothers, sisters, friends, uncles, aunts and LOVER(s).

I am using this medium to say a big thank you, for your desire to associate with me throughout the year. To those friends, who really ignited the passion to love and live life to its brim, I really appreciate your unquantifiable efforts. To those close friends, who really are my backbone and sometimes my last resort, I thank you for being with me throughout the year, especially when I needed you most. To the new few friends I have been able to meet, I thank you in a special way for the warm reception and assistance I have received from you, I sincerely hope our friendship will wax stronger this coming year. To those people, that I have been able to make an impact, created an impression and rendered assistance in my own little way, I thank you for giving me the chance and courage to do so. A special thanks to those that always say thank you to me, “thank you for always thanking me”.

According to John Locke; “All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it.”

To those people that my flaws have not given them the opportunity to see my other good attributes, I sincerely apologise for my weakness in this regards, and hope you’ll find a place in your heart to forgive me, and also study me to recognise the better part of me too. To those people I have deliberately, willingly or unwillingly wronged, which might have created some bad impressions about me, I apologise for my wrong doings and also plead for your forgiveness, this last day of the year.

I’ll like you to know that I’m so imperfect, full of flaws, but despite my perfect imperfection, I have tried and I’m still trying my best to show people around me how useful I can be. Thank you all for the profound impacts you have had on my life.

Similarly, I thank you all, the viewers, readers, likers and commenters on my blog: http://www.samaonpointblog.wordpress.com for the supports, prayers, wishes and the true love you have shown me this year, I sincerely hope to receive more of this next year.

samaonpointblog score card

I. samaonpointblog had a total of 15,300 views in 2014. Thanks a lot for the clicks folks!

II. samaonpointblog got viewed in FIFTY-THREE (53) different country!

III. These were my 5 most active commenters: [1] @AbeyLincoln; [2] Twomie-ninu; [3] Olaniyan Eniola; [4] my “blogosphere boss” @bilkisses and [5] Olujinmi Faith Eniola. Thanks a lot to you folks and to everyother person that dropped comment(s) on my blog during the year.

IV. These were my 5 most active referring sites: [1] facebook.com; [2] twitter.com; [3] Belladuneblog.wordpress.com; [4] semalt.com. Thanks a lot Belladune! #Respect

As we approach the new year, kindly note that “because we cannot do everything does not mean we should not do something”. It is election year, the future of the country lies in your vote, kindly vote wisely.

I wish you and your family a wonderful year in 2015 and also pray that may the good Lord grant you the very best of your heart desires.

Additional writeup by @slim_steel. Thanks a lot “mon amour” *plants kiss on your forehead*!
Thank you all, and God bless you all.
Always yours, @sama_on_point.
*gracias amigos*

SamaOnPoint’sBlog…..always ONpoint

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Culled from Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s facebook wall.

A snippet of an article about Dubai from the Independent:

There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?
Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build Dubai are bussed from their sites to a vast concrete wasteland an hour out of town, where they are quarantined away. Until a few years ago they were shuttled back and forth on cattle trucks, but the expats complained this was unsightly, so now they are shunted on small metal buses that function like greenhouses in the desert heat. They sweat like sponges being slowly wrung out.
Sonapur is a rubble-strewn patchwork of miles and miles of identical concrete buildings. Some 300,000 men live piled up here, in a place whose name in Hindi means “City of Gold”. In the first camp I stop at – riven with the smell of sewage and sweat – the men huddle around, eager to tell someone, anyone, what is happening to them.
Sahinal Monir, a slim 24-year-old from the deltas of Bangladesh. “To get you here, they tell you Dubai is heaven. Then you get here and realise it is hell,” he says. Four years ago, an employment agent arrived in Sahinal’s village in Southern Bangladesh. He told the men of the village that there was a place where they could earn 40,000 takka a month (£400) just for working nine-to-five on construction projects. It was a place where they would be given great accommodation, great food, and treated well. All they had to do was pay an up-front fee of 220,000 takka (£2,300) for the work visa – a fee they’d pay off in the first six months, easy. So Sahinal sold his family land, and took out a loan from the local lender, to head to this paradise.
As soon as he arrived at Dubai airport, his passport was taken from him by his construction company. He has not seen it since. He was told brusquely that from now on he would be working 14-hour days in the desert heat – where western tourists are advised not to stay outside for even five minutes in summer, when it hits 55 degrees – for 500 dirhams a month (£90), less than a quarter of the wage he was promised. If you don’t like it, the company told him, go home. “But how can I go home? You have my passport, and I have no money for the ticket,” he said. “Well, then you’d better get to work,” they replied.
Sahinal was in a panic. His family back home – his son, daughter, wife and parents – were waiting for money, excited that their boy had finally made it. But he was going to have to work for more than two years just to pay for the cost of getting here – and all to earn less than he did in Bangladesh.
He shows me his room. It is a tiny, poky, concrete cell with triple-decker bunk-beds, where he lives with 11 other men. All his belongings are piled onto his bunk: three shirts, a spare pair of trousers, and a cellphone. The room stinks, because the lavatories in the corner of the camp – holes in the ground – are backed up with excrement and clouds of black flies. There is no air conditioning or fans, so the heat is “unbearable. You cannot sleep. All you do is sweat and scratch all night.” At the height of summer, people sleep on the floor, on the roof, anywhere where they can pray for a moment of breeze.
The water delivered to the camp in huge white containers isn’t properly desalinated: it tastes of salt. “It makes us sick, but we have nothing else to drink,” he says.
The work is “the worst in the world,” he says. “You have to carry 50kg bricks and blocks of cement in the worst heat imaginable … This heat – it is like nothing else. You sweat so much you can’t pee, not for days or weeks. It’s like all the liquid comes out through your skin and you stink. You become dizzy and sick but you aren’t allowed to stop, except for an hour in the afternoon. You know if you drop anything or slip, you could die. If you take time off sick, your wages are docked, and you are trapped here even longer.”
He is currently working on the 67th floor of a shiny new tower, where he builds upwards, into the sky, into the heat. He doesn’t know its name. In his four years here, he has never seen the Dubai of tourist-fame, except as he constructs it floor-by-floor.
Is he angry? He is quiet for a long time. “Here, nobody shows their anger. You can’t. You get put in jail for a long time, then deported.” Last year, some workers went on strike after they were not given their wages for four months. The Dubai police surrounded their camps with razor-wire and water-cannons and blasted them out and back to work.
The “ringleaders” were imprisoned. I try a different question: does Sohinal regret coming? All the men look down, awkwardly. “How can we think about that? We are trapped. If we start to think about regrets…” He lets the sentence trail off. Eventually, another worker breaks the silence by adding: “I miss my country, my family and my land. We can grow food in Bangladesh. Here, nothing grows. Just oil and buildings.”
Since the recession hit, they say, the electricity has been cut off in dozens of the camps, and the men have not been paid for months. Their companies have disappeared with their passports and their pay. “We have been robbed of everything. Even if somehow we get back to Bangladesh, the loan sharks will demand we repay our loans immediately, and when we can’t, we’ll be sent to prison.”
This is all supposed to be illegal. Employers are meant to pay on time, never take your passport, give you breaks in the heat – but I met nobody who said it happens. Not one. These men are conned into coming and trapped into staying, with the complicity of the Dubai authorities.
Sahinal could well die out here. A British man who used to work on construction projects told me: “There’s a huge number of suicides in the camps and on the construction sites, but they’re not reported. They’re described as ‘accidents’.” Even then, their families aren’t free: they simply inherit the debts. A Human Rights Watch study found there is a “cover-up of the true extent” of deaths from heat exhaustion, overwork and suicide, but the Indian consulate registered 971 deaths of their nationals in 2005 alone. After this figure was leaked, the consulates were told to stop counting.
At night, in the dusk, I sit in the camp with Sohinal and his friends as they scrape together what they have left to buy a cheap bottle of spirits. They down it in one ferocious gulp. “It helps you to feel numb”, Sohinal says through a stinging throat. In the distance, the glistening Dubai skyline he built stands, oblivious.

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#SaveSeyanu; A SAVE OUR SOUL APPEAL
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By praying, you have contributed.
By spreading the word, you have contributed.
By donating, you have contributed.

Here’s a “SAVE OUR SOUL” appeal to everyone out there. A student just like you are or like you were sometime ago, a brother, a friend, a colleague, a roommate, a hostel mate, a course mate, someone’s son, and above all, a human like you is down with Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia (AML) or “Cancer of the blood”. His name is Oluwaseyanu Olurotimi Bashorun, a student of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) with matriculation number AGY/12/8975 (Applied Geology). He has been on admission at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC) since January 2014 and diagnosed to be suffering from the terminal Acute Myeloblastic Leukaemia (AML) or “Cancer of the blood”. The first phase of the induction plan to have allogeneic transplant has begun after which the patient will need chemotherapy followed by bone marrow transplant at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Health City, Bangalore, India. The pre/post-surgery cost is estimated at 15 million naira. All sources of income are gradually running dry if not dry already. The situation of things with Oluwaseyanu Bashorun and his family at OAUTHC doesn’t look good at all. Please for God’s sake, let’s help him by making sure the good and kind hearted people of Nigeria read this and contribute to his life. No contribution, whatsoever and in whatever form is small. Please #SaveSeyanu.

For further enquiry/assistance, please contact 08025393481, 08189743073
Bank Details: Oluwaseyanu Bashorun
Account Number: 00 55 61 25 03
Bank: Diamond Bank.

Please keep preaching and contributing to the #SaveSeyanu gospel till our brother is saved from this terminal ailment. Please, let’s #SaveSeyanu
May GOD reward and bless you all abundantly.

On a positive note, the #SaveSeyanu movement has generated over 2.5 million naira in less than 7 days. It wouldn’t have been possible if not for your assistance. may GOD bless you. In a bid to reduce the stress on our esteemed contributors, you can also donate to the #SaveSeyanu project via this mode:

“Text CLINIC to 32285 at N30 per text message. You can send as many times as you wish.”

It could have been me. It could have been you. It could have been any of us.

#‎SaveSeyanu‬ #‎helpAbrother‬ #SaveSeyanu #SaveSeyanu

Kindly read more on the #SaveSeyanu gospel via:

http://lm.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.today.ng%2Fmetro%2Ffuta-student-oluwaseyanu-down-with-cancer-of-the-blood-seeks-n11m-for-treatment%2F&h=dAQGcRfcO&enc=AZNR-aSfWeYOKEnmZcXG7PGMUZbCU01fMWztTIFnuOfODxVxlvIGxYkyDfBwfBWmeb0&s=1

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#FEGOCOOSA
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It’s the annual reunion of members of the prestigious Federal Government College Ogbomoso Old Students’ Association [FEGOCOOSA] tagged “BLAST FROM THE PAST RELOADED”.

EVENT: #FEGOCOOSA Annual 2014 National Reunion

VENUE: Yard 158, Oregun Ikeja, Lagos.

DATE: Saturday, December 6, 2014

RED CARPET: 4pm

GUEST ARTISTE: Sound-sultan

MC: Basketmouth and Teju babyface

DJ: DJ MixxMaster Tee

SIDE ATTRACTION: Raffle draw to win awesome prizes.

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BLAST FROM THE PAST
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The homecoming of FEGOCOOSA members to our campus back then in my secondary school days ranks definitely top of the “good old golden days” of the boarding house. Such immense visit was usually during the week-long ceremony of the school’s Founders’ Day celebration. It was usually epic. During the week of the Founders’ day celebration, we, as students, would be treated to numerous “off-the-list” special treatment. There would be film show, damn, the film show were usually like a carnival, because during your stay in the boarding house, you could count on your finger tips, the number of times you watched television not to talk of a film! There would be a special social night, mini debate competition, and to cap it all, there would be special delicacy served at the dining hall with a bottle of HOT soft drink, usually coca-cola and fanta! What more can one ask for as a student of the boarding house than a prosperous Founders’ Day celebration?
GOD bless all members of FEGOCOOSA who made us enjoy such merriment, may GOD continue to take you all HIGHER, may HE make you BIGGER and BETTER.

Looking forward to rubbing shoulders with some of you at this years’ annual reunion billed to take place on, Saturday, 6th December, 2014.

Well, as for you who are not products of FGC Ogbomoso, you all could just re-enroll and get admitted into FGC Ogbomoso. LOL. Anyway, you are all invited to our reunion, let’s show you how a reunion is being done! Proper school, proper reunion *in wizkid’s voice* #DisturbingLagos *pops collar*.

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FGC Ogbomoso Chronicles II… By Adetutu Babatunde Yomi

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INFORMATION UPDATE: Good day folks. Have you liked this page on Facebook: “Trailblazer and Friends”?
I’m sorry, I haven’t told you about the page. It’s solely a charity movement. It’s just your little way of contributing your own quota in making the world a better place, regardless of the ‘peanuts’ we earn. Please, kindly help spread the gospel, the page needs more likes and activities. God bless you.
SIGNED: Trailblazers and Friends
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Honestly, if we ever talk about Federal Government College Ogbomoso and we don’t get to talk about the food aspect, the “gist” just isn’t complete! The dining hall experience is one memory that I’ll forever relish whenever I think of my alma mater, Federal Government College, Ogbomoso.

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I remember vividly, how guys gathered in front of a well right opposite Unity House Junior Boys Hostel. This gathering came up usually on weekends, (reason being that most students, on weekdays, go for breakfast from their hostels in the morning before heading to class, then from class to lunch and from wherever to dinner), usually when it’s about half an hour or even 1 hour to meal time. You just find guys seated there and talking about some random stuffs (for ‘em mind!). Virtually everyone gathered at that rendezvous had something in common – to get to the dining hall on time so there would be the possibility of enough “claiming”….

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VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT
claim
Pronunciation: / ‘klām /
VERB [with object] – unfairly acquire abundant meals, typically without showing emotions for other party/parties entitled to the meal.
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… or better still, be among the first four students on the table, (the first four on the table were usually the lucky ones). Most of those times, I also found myself in that discussion group but trust me, I just wanted to while away time (yeah just like every other person in the gathering), my mind was always far away from there. All I just wanted to hear was the bell for food (someone is laughing abi – like say no be wetin dey your own mind sef dah tym). Later on, this well also became a meeting point for some set of guys. Those were the self-acclaimed “big boys” that had vowed never to step their feet into the dining hall (O.B.O’s of life! #Respect). Now these ones would be waiting for other students to leave the dining hall, (they did this on days when students ate meals which they were able to “smuggle” out of the dining hall to take to their hostels e.g. bread, moi-moi, akara etc). Once students are seen leaving the dining hall, they swing into action and they begin approaching students who have been able to smuggle some food out of the dining hall, for a “share of the spoils”. You’ll hear them say “abeg make I carry one bite na” (patent folly! LOL)

I remember vividly the “delicacies” we were served back in FEGCO city. Talk of the BEANS, something I choose to call a pot of murky water with some unfortunate grains of beans drowning beneath it. You really had to stir well to bring the whole thing to life. I remember well how weevils turned the pots of beans to their Jacuzzi ( ‘cos you’ll definitely find them chilling on the surface), and one guy in my house then, whom we referred to as “prof.”, would say, “but seriously, these weevils are very proteinous in nature” (says who? Sufferhead!!!) I also remember the TEA we were served, a mixture of hot water, smoke and sugar (did I really drink that? Yuck!). For those who had the opportunity to serve soup/stew (especially the days we ate meat), they stirred and stirred! One would actually think they were stirring vigorously so that the oil, pepper and water (which apparently were “beefing” one another) …

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VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT
beef
Pronunciation: / bēf /
VERB – to keep malice, refrain from having contact with eachother.
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…’cos they chose to stay away from one other, could unite for the sake of the students. NO! Na lie! They did so to catch a very clear glimpse of the bigger meats in the pot of soup. Once they see a big meat, you’ll be surprised at the deceleration speed of the stirring of the soup which I honestly think isn’t up to a split second! (#FEGCO peeps! I hail thee!).

There were some days when I really wished we were just 2 or 3 on a “single pot” and not more than 5 or 6 on a “double pot” (damn, enough claiming!).

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VOCABULARY DEVELOPMENT
* Single Pot – pot of meal designated to 10 students.
*Double Pot – pot of meal designated to 20 students.
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However, you get disappointed most times. You’re already seated there; thinking folks aren’t coming for food on this day (and praying seriously in your heart that they shouldn’t come!). The next thing is that you take a look outside the window, what do you see? An ARMY of FEMALE students trooping out en masse from their hostels (baddest market ever liveth)!!!
The girls in my secondary school have this common trait – they all walk/do things in drove. Either it is just to fetch water at the borehole, or to visit the dining hall, or to honour the sports day, or to reluctantly report to the labour ground, these girls move in mass! I think it’s more of a “girly” thing though, protecting ‘emselves from any and all forms of harms.
You know, I just wonder if those girls held meetings before they come for food. In a flash, you realise you’re about 12 on a single pot and about 22 on a double pot; the plates always neatly lined up in 2 rows – just like we have when two teams are filing out for a football match)!!!
One of the prefects asks everyone to stand up for prayers:

PREFECT: “For the food we’re about to eat we…”, just as the prefect is about to complete the prayer, the Food Master (a teacher in charge of dining hall activities) interrupts, “who asked you to pray? Can’t you see students are still coming? Will you be the one to give them food?” The prefect looks motionless, not knowing which of the questions to answer first. Before you know it, you are already about 14 on a single pot and 25 on a double pot! Take a look at everyone’s face that time, you’ll actually think the death of a prominent person had just been announced (My bad!).

Now, for each house, we had some guys who some of us referred to as “strikers” and “supporting strikers”. I think I’d love to use the term “Warlords” for them. Yeah! I think warlords is just perfect because you find them in the front-line always while hundreds of students followed their trail (you wanna call them trailblazers too?).

TUNDE OGUNSANYA a.k.a. BAGGY STUFF! I actually shouldn’t have started a new paragraph but this guy deserves it – #RESPECT! Master Baggy Stuff, I hail thee wherever you are. I swear down, if this guy didn’t serve food at any point in our senior secondary school days, honestly he chose not to. See! Even if you happen to be at the entrance of the dining hall when the bell for food rang, you just walk in, you’ll find Baggy Stuff already seated comfortably behind the pot of Rice, Eba, Amala, just mention the meal, he’ll be there first. If I were to read his mind then, he’ll probably be like “fuck soup/stew! Na that one go belleful person?”
The next person that comes to mind after Baggy Stuff is BIGGY (can’t remember his real names). He is another warlord! A great commander of the pots! The only time Biggy wouldn’t get to serve would be when the school is on holiday! I’m not surprised about these 2 anyways, they were probably twins in the previous world, the nicknames say a lot, BIGGY and BAGGY! (Is someone already thinking of naming his/her twins that?).
Honestly, it would b unjust if I don’t mention the last warlord for Unity House. Folks, I hope you won’t be surprised if I tell you this warlord is a SHE? Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for… (ok! I honestly think she deserves to have a paragraph all to herself).

OTITE COURAGE! If I call her Hercules (supposed son of the Greek god, Zeus), I might not be totally right but I’ll be sure close to it – Fast, Energetic, Muscular, Ambidextrous (yeah! ‘Cos she can handle the pot of food and soup/stew at the same time and pace!). I will never forget the day I was opportuned to serve soup on a wonderful Saturday afternoon. While serving, she wasn’t just comfortable with the way I was serving the soup. She gave me this very stern look, “come! Serve that thing well o. I don’t want to hear that soup isn’t enough ooo. If you cannot serve, give someone that can ooo ehn ehn!”. I sensed threat and trouble in that very short but highly pregnant sentence of hers. Been that very skinny and frail looking guy back then (and still is), I imagined myself and her in a combat in just about 5 seconds. As soon as I came back to reality, “peace talks” was the only thing that could come to my mind readily (yeah peace talks! LOL). With a well composed grin, I said to her, “well if you know you can serve it better, come and take over”. Need I say more? She gladly accepted the offer! I sat down, blessed my food, ate my food quietly, everyone did the same, lunch was over, everyone went to their hostels and no one was hurt!!!

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Thanks Y’all for sparing your time to read this piece written by Adetutu Babatunde Yomi. Edited by Salami Ismail Oyewale [@sama_on_point].
Do have a blessed day. Cheers to the weekend. Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol is no excuse for rape, #SayNoToRape.
#‎myFGCstory‬ #‎RelishedMoments‬ #FEGCOchronicles

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