All posts by Wale Odunsi

ASUU strike: Dear FG, your one-week ultimatum won’t work, By Wale Odunsi

Wale Odunsi

At a time Nigerian students earnestly await the announcement of a truce between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities regarding the ongoing strike, the former has in its usual manner of show of unnecessary force, issued a one-week ultimatum to the striking lecturers to call off their action.

This writer predicted this latest development hours after President Goodluck Jonathan announced the rejig of the federal cabinet on Wednesday, September 11, 2013. My friends and I discussed the matter. During our chat, I averred that now that Nyesom Wike, ‘strongman’ of Ikwerre (and by large Rivers State) is now in charge of the Education Ministry, more wahala had landed.

There is no gainsaying that the Thursday morning matching order to ASUU might have been sponsored by the Minister. But such pronouncement is not what we wish for; indeed, it falls short of the desire and expectations of stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and even food sellers as well as other business owners on campuses.

It is sad that negotiations between both parties take one step forward and two or more backward. The dilly-dally started with Anyim Pius Anyim-led committee on negotiations with ASUU. When that failed to produce any result, government in a not well-thought out strategy, delegated Gabriel Suswam, the Governor of a Federating State (Benue) to lead talks with a body comprising thousands of lectures across the country

In a chat with a lecturer in a state-owned varsity, he stated that “Asking a governor, whose educational qualification is still in doubt, to chair the Needs Assessment Implementation Committee for Nigerian Universities, is not the way to go. Firstly, a high-powered FG official should have been called in. Secondly, I don’t think he has the capacity, charisma and zeal to do the job. Mark my words, Suswam will fail.” As prophesied, he failed.

Then we had the Namadi Sambo-led committee, which according to ASUU brought nothing new to the table. Only one meeting with the Vice President was enough turn-off for the union.

Finally, the president deemed it appropriate to wade into the FOUR months impasse. Too late the day if you ask me; a leader needs not wait that long to personally take charge of such burning national issue. After the marathon meeting, Mr. Jonathan presided, it was agreed that N220,000,000,000 would be injected into the universities system for a period of five years, i.e, the sum of N1.1trillion. A fair deal no doubt. In fact, most citizens say the fund if well utilized was enough to turn around the system. The Union agreed and requested the opening of an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria where the money will be kept and released at specified dates.

But rather than build on this, government has gone ahead to issue (in my view) an empty threat of one week ultimatum. It has also impressed on Vice-Chancellors to declare the jobs of the lecturers vacant if they do not return to classrooms by Wednesday, December 4 2013.

Let me add that I have been studying the body language of President Jonathan on this matter and below are some pointers which puts a bold question mark on his seriousness in resolving the deadlock.

Recall that at the beginning of the strike in July, he posited, directly or indirectly, that ASUU cannot hold him to ransom because the 2009 pact does not bear his signature. The comment is goof in its entirety because he was part of the government that reached the deal. Mr. Jonathan wants the North to support him in his quest to return to Aso Rock in 2015, yet he feels comfortable to wave off some resolutions and policies of their late son, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. He shoots himself in the foot without knowing, whereas he has advisers and strategists on his payroll.

Recall that he had directly or indirectly, asserted that the impasse is being deliberately prolonged and influenced by Northerners and leaders of opposition party. This doesn’t fit to be counted as a genuine reason for his administration’s failure to convince the lecturers to resume.

Recall also that upon his return from London to Abuja from the 15th Meeting of the Honorary International Investors Council, he only commented on his trip, his health issue, the purchase of bulletpoof cars for Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah and of course, his meeting with the seven aggrieved Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“I don’t think I will be able to hold any meeting, you know six hours flight is quite a distance and also following from my health challenges. I don’t know how soon, but we will be able to meet within the week,” he said.

“Politics is about discussion, we belong to the same political party, even people from different political parties engage in political discussion and political discussion is a continuous process, even during election, people discuss. So, we will continue to discuss.”

So much for politics and less for education; that is the state we have found ourselves. Our leader gives a time frame to meet with governors, keeps mum on a matter that involves those who impact knowledge on tomorrow’s leaders. What a shame!

ASUU Chairman, Nasir Isa Fagge and his team do not appear like the kind of persons that develop cold feet at the mention of deadlines. While I agree that the union should resume and continue negotiations, Nigerians must not forget that successive administrations made several promises and commitments, but failed to implement. We need to understand the plight of the lecturers; they are fighting a just course. Needless to say that sending our wards to tertiary institutions abroad will continue to harm our image and deplete wealth that should remain here and boost our economy.

The sooner the Federal Government and its officials realize that forceful tactics no longer work in resolving civil disputes, the better for the nation. The FG should be informed that it makes more sense to drag ASUU to court, instead of the ill-advised ultimatum. It has never worked, this case won’t be an exception.

wodunsi@yahoo.com
@WaleOdunsi

 

Her Imperial Majesty, Patience Jonathan and the Rest of Us, By Wale Odunsi

Wale Odunsi

This article was first published on SaharaReporters on May 6, 2012. I was one of the commuters trapped in the agonizing traffic jam caused by the “Thank You” visit of the President’s wife to the commercial city of Lagos last year. I decided to re-publish in support of Punch Editorial of July 1, 2013; “Patience Jonathan’s Excesses Must Be Curbed”. It is apt to note that the thoughts I shared nearly 15 months ago, are similar to that opined by the respected Newspaper.

Perhaps we would progress as a nation, if we stopped this act of braggadocio, sit down and reflect soberly on our existence, and find solutions to our challenges. What joy do people in high place derive when moving in intimidating convoy full of flashy cars, wearing clothes and jewelries costly enough to assist pregnant women, the aged, as well as sponsor hundreds of kids to school? Presently, a number of unions in different sectors have embarked (or gave warnings) on strike; three States are under Emergency Rule; education, infrastructure, security, healthcare, power, industry, are all at a status majority of the electorate regularly invoke curse on their leaders. Regardless of this, some highly placed individuals are still comfortable showing off the same wealth meant for developmental purposes.

The moment the predicted revolution commences, those it would consume already know themselves.

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“If you want to know what God thinks about money (and power), just look at the people He gave it to.” Dorothy Parker – Writer/Poet

It was one of those days you wished you were not a Nigerian. But if you were, you certainly would not fancy having Lagos as a place of residence. Lest those in the patriotic ilk demand my head on a platter, I suggest them primo interview motorists/commuters caught in the gridlock. It was a flurry scene; horns hooting ceaselessly as anger grew by the minute. The sun cares less, clutching its pride of place; its light was appreciated but not the heat-awfully unbearable. Street traders had a stupendous day, getting good bargains and making instantaneous sales, the type only dreams are made of.

The young-some underage-hustlers savoured the while, at different times playing with one another; chatting and laughing aloud; luck had smiled on them. For a bit, I forgot I was supposed to be exasperated; taking in lieu a deserved break gazing at the boys. It was a free live entertainment albeit in the harshest of conditions. I was not only the member of audience, as they attracted the attention of many others. Their sight revived the thought of the unending misfortunes of our impoverished youths. In perpetuum, they delve the gains of the much publicized Transformation Agenda. I sympathize with them; graduates are yet employed, much less school dropouts/illiterates.

Save for occasional natural occurrences like rain and ocean surge, which was recorded many years ago, it was the first time I witnessed a sea of people trapped in a traffic jam later confirmed lasted about nine hours (8:30am-5:30pm).  One wonders the plight of those who had an emergency situation, appointment or a deadline. A caller on a radio programme narrated how he and colleagues were robbed that night by men who posed as police officers. We should not tag only the days we see or hear of road mishaps, violent disturbances, fire disasters, terror attacks as “black days”, some other days are worthy of such label. It is pathetic that the good people of Lagos who queued patiently, orderly, ignoring the scorching sun to cast their ballots for Mr. President were at the receiving end of the snarl precipitated by his wife, Patience Jonathan. I am sure the reader would have noticed that I did not use the “First Lady” appendage. It was deliberate. If I did, the anger I am may set my immediate environment ablaze; a situation one certainly forbids especially in a country where the fire service is near torpid.

That elected/appointed government officials every now and then deny us right-of-way is more than enough trauma to deal with. Now that their spouses have entered a “We block more roads than our Husband” tournament, the rest of our can as well begin to compose suicide notes. Nowadays, one thing I have observed is that more women are excited when their partners signify interest in elective posts and the reason is not implausible. The influence wives of Their Excellencies wield these days is in no small measure intimidating. You would be swimming in a pool of stupidity, if you took a bet with your life-savings that these emperors are down-to-earth; it will only take a few hours before you say hello to bankruptcy. African women in corridors of power are widely known for their habitual arrogance and luxury tastes. A shipshape example is Leila Ben Ali, wife of ousted Tunisian president. Dubbed ‘the Imelda Marcos of the Arab world’, the former hairdresser held sway while her husband reigned, importing expensive foods and ice-cream. Obsessed with mansions, fast cars, shopping sprees in Paris and Dubai, she was reported to have fled with gold bullion worth $60m! Evidently, what a man can do…

With all sincerity, I am yet to comprehend what Mrs. Jonathan’s sojourn to Lagos was about. We are made to understand it was a “Thank you visit” and launch of her peace advocacy initiative. As not so good as that sounds, let me attempt to put the theme into perspective. In the 2011 presidential elections, her husband got over a million votes in the most populous state of the federation, but the event in query was held at a venue of two thousand (thereabout) capacity. And in actual sense, about a quarter of the attendees were part of her entourage from Abuja and other states. On that account, it is safe to say she said ‘Thank you’ to around one thousand six hundred people representing 0.1 percent of those whose votes propelled her husband into office. Her handlers and co-travelers should know better. What they organized was nothing but a glorified charade. Before they rejoice too long thinking they took us on a jolly ride, may I inform them that gathering a rented crowd in a refined event centre with the entire media buzz is an affront on Lagosians. I even saw her distribute gifts to paltry handpicked women. Soon they will announce that the items were donated by ‘Committee of Friends’ or an international donor agency.

I laughed in Awori (my native language) when a friend apprised he heard that our overall madam’s visits is scheduled to take place nationwide. Nonsense! At a time we ought to devote time, energy and resources so as to ensure vision 2020-20 is met, some folks are going about having jamboree on state funds! Although Mrs. Jonathan’s intention is commendable, I think her peace campaign is at the moment exigently needed in the north part of the country where blood-letting has continued unabated. I am sure that by now, the people of that divide must be envious of the south-west region as the Lagos stop-by was sequel to the one held at Oyo state two months ago. That too was anything but decent.

During her stay there, overzealous security operatives were at their usual worst. At the entrance of the venue, they once again displayed an obvious lack of crowd control mastery, mistreating high-ranking state officials, invited dignitaries and accredited journalists. What madness! Is this all in the name of protecting the wife of the Commander-in-Chief? My mother too deserves such security as she campaigned for GEJ in our village and he won resoundingly there. It is completely repugnant that scholars and professionals are brazenly assaulted, embarrassed by a set of persons who may not be able to complete a simple sentence and till date no one has taken responsibility or apologized.  Like one of my favorites trend on twitter puts it that is “#HowToKnowGodisPunishingYou”.

But we should not stop talking about it. All citizens must be treated fairly. Even in our different religions, the teaching is that everyone is equal in the sight of the Great One above. Anarchy looms the moment a class of people in the society flagrantly subjugate others even in a sovereign nation like ours. We have to realize that power fades and as such we should do unto others what is right. Accountability in governance must be prioritized so that the outside world would seize to pore over us frivolously. Wives of public officials ought to know/be reminded that their major responsibility is taking care of the home front while offering sound advice and support where necessary.

But if they are keen on enjoying the paraphernalia of office attached to their respective husbands, they should endeavour to legalize it by sending a bill to the National Assembly for consideration and then push that it becomes a law. Pending when that happens, they should kindly spare us the executive lawlessness please!

wodunsi@yahoo.com

@WaleOdunsi

Ameachi and a bodyguard; Jonathan and the scare of Juju, By Wale Odunsi

Wale Odunsi

Sometime last year, I wrote in one of my articles that one of the reasons I will always love and pledge allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria is because, no day ends without at least one hilarious situation going on record. Whether in the creeks of the Niger-Delta; a hut in the violence-ridden North-Eastern region; the jungles of the South-West or suburbs within Igbo land, a rib-cracking situation occurs hourly. It comes as no surprise; the ever-fortitudinous citizenry have adapted to the harsh reality of existence and as such, they just live life. Oh yeah, we are actually the happiest people on the globe despite our challenges; Good people, Great Nation!

Initially, I didn’t see the entertainment in the latest headline-grabber which played out within the walls of highly fortified and expansive Presidential Villa, so I went to bed that night with the memory of a witty spectacle I witnessed forenoon.  Two commuters – a man in mid-forties and a lady in early-twenties – had engaged in a quarrel following allegations by the alluring lassie that the fellow fondled her breasts while struggling to board the already packed high capacity bus, commonly called El-rufai (He introduced the fleet during his tenure as FCT Minster). It was a funny scene really; other passengers and I burst into peals of laughter as the strangers ceaselessly hurled insults at each other. For those familiar with the city, do a quick calculation of the time it takes a slow moving ‘El-rufai’ to get to Setraco bus stop (the defendant’s destination) from Kubwa Second-Gate. Taking into account the stops in between, you’d say twelve, may be fifteen minutes right? Trust me, the argument was that long.

The above is just one of the many squabbles residents currently face under the latest transport policy. These days in the territory where the Seat of Power is situated, women usually don’t mind “accidental touch” on the chest while men care less about their shirts getting torn; so long they don’t get robbed by bandits who now take advantage of the new order. The bad guys simply pose as commercial vehicle owners, dispossess you of belongings and speed off. Lobatan! This is the level an astute thinker and visioner, Bala Mohammed, has put us. A man who chose to punish Abujarians for being poor, restricted the operations of mini-buses (Araba in local parlance) and substituted with a miserable 400 high-capacity, when least required is 1000. On my radar, Bala is reportedly on the verge of ordering cabs out of motorways this July. Sigh. ‘God dey’, like the common man says.

Apologies I digressed and back to the matter. So I woke up the morning after the fondling incident to the vivid imagination of the Aso Rock imbroglio. It goes thus: On the nightfall of May 26 2013, a stubborn governor in the person of Rivers helmsman, Rotimi Amaechi and his supporting colleagues attends a dinner called by our dear President Goodluck Jonathan. He takes his seat, subsequently arises, and makes his way to where the Oga at the Top is seated in company of Madam President of Malawi, Joyce Banda and as well as Liberian counterpart, Hellen Johnson Sirleaf.

As the People’s Democratic Party rebel, who is on suspension reached seconds away from Mr. Jonathan, a stern-looking Presidential Bodyguard blocks him with his huge chest. “I’m sorry sir, can’t let you pass” he said, a pronouncement that leads to a round of dilly-dally the BG eventually won.

However, I deduced a comic from that encounter; what if the President was scared that Amaechi might have some portion of Juju (Voodoo) with him? Probably rubbed on his palm, or swallowed or laced on his eye lashes, same way our women apply mascara. I may be wrong though but hey, we cannot rule out that possibility. As a Yoruba, a number of our people still believe in voodoo, including some of those that claim they no longer indulge in traditional things due to modern day religious beliefs.

The 2015 general election is less than two years and no one should blame Mr. Jonathan for being careful. According to his Political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak, Ameachi was prevented from advancing further to forestall breach of security. “The President was already on his seat. It would have been a breach of protocol and security for any security person to allow the governor access to the President. Such a security person would have been sanctioned if he had done that.” Although I take his explanation with a pinch of salt knowing full well recent circumstances, his defense was the best available.

Well, protocol or coltopro, our leaders should for goodness’ sake bury the hatchet and work for the overall good of the country. Failure to do this will only worsen the present state of development which is still far from the promised “Promise Land”; still far from the “Breathe of Fresh Air” and certainly still far from the “Transformation” millions of the electorate desired.

wodunsi@yahoo.com

@WaleOdunsi

Nigerian celebrities: Killing themselves, by themselves, By Wale Odunsi

Wale Odunsi

Apparently basking in the euphoria of a new status, many Nigerians in showbiz throw caution to the wind in the process of “living it up”. These days, hardly does a month ends without news of someone in Nollywood or the Music industry, getting involved in car accident or public brawl.

This comes as no surprise, especially to those who are in the know of the background of today’s stars. Most of them, even in their wildest dreams, never thought they would attain their current standing in society. In fact, not only do they talk about the rise to fame in interviews, they also author books and record songs about it.

It is worrisome that the mints these guys stack in bank accounts have overwhelmed them, so much so that some can no longer think properly. In 2013 alone, there were at least a dozen auto crashes involving celebrities. On the average, that is a scary 2 to 3 cases per month. Names like Samklef, Danagog, Maye Hunter, America, Nashville, Asa and others form the lot of those involved.

The most recent involving fabulously talented Ayo “Wizkid” Balogun, rattled virtually every music lover; this is because the young man is adored by the younger generation. He has everything going on well. Good looks, sold-out concerts, record sales, endorsement for big-paying companies, successful international tours, connection to foreign superstars, huge fan base, that feminine attraction, houses and expensive cars. What is more? He now has his record label, StarBoy Entertainment, with three acts, including Legendary Beatz, signed on.

Weeks ago, the “I Love My Baby” and “Pakurumo” crooner posted a picture of his newly acquired Porsche Panamera. The car is priced at $80, 000 – $150, 000 (depending on the sub-model). As expected, the photo went viral on social media. But by 0400 hours of Saturday June 15, 2013, the same car had become a wreck. The gist – as always – is that a tyre of the automobile burst while on motion.

While we all thank God for sparing the lives of our stars, isn’t it time we ask some questions. Bearing in mind the busy schedules, why would someone driving a car worth N15million not take such for regular checks? Or are expensive cars immune from faults?

It is an open secret that our acts, and their entourage, sometimes use “active agents” before and after attending/performing at events. It is also an open secret that these artistes or their friends sometimes get behind the wheels under the influence of alcohol. But nobody is saying anything, solely because of the blind love we have for them. I am not saying this happened in the case of Wizzy, but it does happen.

Some find the demise of celebrities too hard to bear. This is understandable, as despite harsh government policies and dwindling economy, they are able to make us happy; they put smiles on our faces; they liven up our homes, streets, vehicles, clubs and parties and so on.

Our celebrities have a responsibility to look after themselves and not live life like there is a duplicate kept somewhere. They should, for goodness sake be more careful while on the road; they should ensure those around them are the type that of positive influence; they should do away with hard drugs and excessive alcohol; they should reciprocate our affection by staying focused and do only the right things at all times. These crashes are becoming too many; we don’t want to pass through another agony please!

If you think you are popular and then go about ‘feeling fly’, the day you die an avoidable death, your name will trend for a few days; news sites and blogs will as usual talk about it for, at most, two weeks. The rest of us will move on. Live continues. Chikena.

wodunsi@yahoo.com
@WaleOdunsi

My Grudge Against Fashola, By Wale Odunsi

Wale Odunsi

Nigeria has 36 federating states with one man atop the governance of each. I admire a few of them for their courage, diligence, forthrightness, hardwork, vision among other delectable traits and one of those is Lagos state governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN.

We like(d) him because he obviously knows what it means to occupy a Government House. Also his grasp of such a complex city confirm that he knew what he set out to accomplish. In a number of instances, BRF has proven that he isn’t one of the many accidental public servants in the country. His beautification campaign, education and healthcare projects and markedly the restoration of sanity in hitherto black spots; prominent is the cleansing of Oshodi which till date amazes everyone.

 I recollect Fashola’s address at the commissioning of the Cele Bridge on Oshodi-Apapa expressway. That day, he told everyone in attendance that he dreamt of constructing the link as a little boy. According to him, there used to be an improvised wooden bridge there decades ago and that some miscreants would demand for money before pedestrians were allowed passage. Saddened by the suffering, he promised himself to fix the situation once he has the clout to do so. The bridge erected at the cost of N1.1 billion is three years old.

 In view of the above story and others, the thought that my hero would suddenly become insensitive to the plight of millions of struggling citizens is puzzling.

I arrived in Lagos from Abuja on the first day of May and I stayed for two weeks – busy weeks. It is the classic official trip where you hardly have time for personal parade. Usually when I’m in Lagos and have appointments on the Island (the highbrow places that is), I move round in a chattered cab. My chauffer is Mr. Amos, one of the many erstwhile fans of Fashola. As he took me to my destinations throughout the period, he brought me up to speed, narrating what the Centre of Excellence has become. He spoke of neglect in his area of Ndike/Obawole in Ifako-Ijaiye local government; the high-handedness of the many of the state-owned agencies; the bogus rates transporters are forced to pay et cetera. Amos further lamented the poor state of roads in many parts of the state including the prestigious Victoria Island and Ikoyi, his usual work-route.

Commenting on the issue of ‘Okada’, the hustling father of four, who although supported the ban, alleged that once it is time for elections at whatever level in the state, the administration systematically goes soft on the riders so as to garner their votes.

At a point during his complaint, one would think that the man was paid to castigate the helmsman of Lagos. To convince me his grouse was genuine, he cited instances as though foreseeing I would someday write about it. He added that judging by the present, more adversity await Lagosians, especially the common man. Days later, Amos prophecy came to be reality.

On May 12, I attended an event at Opebi area of Ikeja, the capital of Lagos. It ended around 9pm and unfortunately, there was no luxury of a private car on this occasion. I walked up to the entrance of Salvation Road, about a kilometer from the popular Adebola House. Within the next twenty minutes, only three buses stopped to offload and load waiting passengers. A glance showed we were about two dozen; a few others joined intermittently though. As the frustration grew, an elderly woman was the first to protest discernibly: “All these Keke dey strike?” she asked rhetorically. A middle-aged man in the crowd soon announced that the state government just banned tricycles from the many parts of the metropolis. Reacting, a stranded lady hissed with visible repugnance. She was worried that commuters are now at the mercy of lawless danfo drivers and hoodlums operating in non-public vehicles, disguised as Taxis. And so a public dialogue started; a bus-stop turned into one of the several agents of socialization.

In recent months, the goodwill Governor Fashola enjoys has been plummeting. This is the honest truth and his aides as well as government officials should be bold to voice out. In case they do not know, enjoying AC’d official cars, offices and millions in personal bank accounts yet ignoring the sorrows inflicted on Lagosians is a great disservice. But the questions is: In this type of clime, why would anyone leading a municipal of over twenty million people force tricycles out of districts that are not highways? Hasn’t Baba Fash successfully punctured the promise of a better welfare for the populace?

The governor has two vital years left on his contract and I wish he uses it wisely. He does not need a strategist to inform him that his policies henceforth will affect the decision of the electorate in 47 months; he does not need a soothsayer to predict that this latest order will part of the presupposition upon which hundreds of thousands of residents will decide whether (or not) to support his ‘All Progressives Congress’ platform in 2015.

A personal friend is of the view that the enormous accolades showered on Fashola over the years is probably making him feel cool and acting up; I cannot agree more. But then, one believes that the administration is fully aware that succor is what the people desired when they voted en masse in 2011, not untold hardship.

 Mr. Odunsi can be reached via his email address wodunsi@yahoo.com and via twitter @WaleOdunsi

The Darey Concert: Paying Millions for The Presence Of A Porn Star, By Wale Odunsi

Darey_Kim-K

Okay, I hardly comment on entertainment and showbiz news. I prefer to stay on the national issues/political terrain which are my jurisdiction. However, I could not hold back the temptation to do a piece on Darey’s ‘Love Like A Movie’ concert, LLAM.

No doubt, the LLAM held in Lagos was superb; star-studded, proper management, lights, sounds et al. In fact not a few have adjudged the show the best of its type in recent years. The ovation and positive review was not unexpected considering the artiste involved. Dude is good-looking, knows his onions, greatly talented and business oriented.

About a week to the D-day, news went viral that renowned Reality TV girl, Kim Kardashian, will be in the country as a co-host of the event. At 8:20 p.m. of Saturday, February 16, she flew in.

Trust Nigerian blogs, before her arrival, no other news existed. Even major news tabloids caught the bug. At least for three straight days, it was Kim this, Kim that.

I have no beef about that. I am certain the organizers splashed plenty six or seven figures that sorta hype. And for the publicists, heavens once again beamed a wide grin at them; they must have smiled to the banks, perhaps their closets, depending on where they keep their monies.

After every every, Kanye West’s heartthrob and baby-mama to be, left the shores of Naija just when the concert was about to start. Initially I thought she developed flu and had to quickly jet out. Soon after, I learnt she was actually invited to do what I like to tag ‘Cameo’ (a short appearance by a popular figure in a music video).

At the Eko Hotels venue, the Kim simply posed for pictures with some of our local and a few international champions who clearly were star-struck; you could see it in their eyes and on their foreheads. I even spotted the wife of former Cross River governor, Onari Duke, with her.

Clad in a dress that looked as though she was unprepared for the night, LLAM number one guest was kind enough to open the show, spending a total forty seconds on stage. That was it…Chikena! In all, she was there for three-quarter of sixty minutes. By 10:20pm Sunday night, she was aboard a plane back home.

The major (if not only) flaw of that outing was the presence of Kim. If it is true that she was paid hundreds of thousands of Benjamins (aka US Dollars), it would indeed be appalling.  We are talking about someone who shot her way to the limelight via the now infamous sex-tape which anyone can still download on the internet for free! So for the sake of money, we’ve sent our morals, decency and integrity on vacation.

Just few weeks ago, Miss Kardashian-West was paid $200,000 (N30 million) for a trip to Ivory Coast. She then proceeded to donate a meager $2,000 (N300, 000) to a local orphanage, an amount less than one percent of her total financial terms (including flight, hotel and security charge).

Obviously, Darey and his team wanted a name that would pull the crowd out of their homes. Question: Was that the best they could come up with? Whatever happened to female celebs known for their and hard work and larger than life persona:  Alicia Keys, India Arie, Adele among many others.

As a humanitarian, it is sheer stupidity to think that a clique forming big boys would dole out all that money for below-an-hour attendance of an actress whose only movie to her credit is a pornographic motion picture. It would have made more sense if she stayed throughout the event, to at least justify the huge amount spend on her appearance.

Charles Novia rightly noted and I wish to re-echo his statement: There was absolutely no need for Kim Kardashian at Darey’s concert.