Legalizing Underage Marriage: My Nation’s Latest Abomination

I have never been one to write about Nigerian politics and the very sordid state of affairs of my dear country’s ‘leadership’. I have practiced ‘denial’ for so long. It’s not that I have dug my head in the sand like the ostrich when faced with attackers and believed that nothing was actually going wrong. No, on the contrary, I have always felt that there was very little I could do to affect the current shambles of a system and have rather focused on writing about other things which wouldn’t hurt my head as badly.

Today however, I will be writing about an act so preposterous, so perverted, so downright immoral that it is a mystery that anyone with an ounce of education or morality would ever consider it, talk more of seriously attempting to turn it into law. I’ve never been one to get too emotional and would rather prefer to analyze things from a completely logical standpoint. On this issue though, both the logical and emotional side of my brain are aggressively screaming NO!!! A very big, infuriated NOOOO!!!!

Legalizing underage marriage is a very big NOOOO! as far as I’m concerned. I could add more Oos to the ‘NO’ if I knew it would help but in this absurdity of a nation, the rulers elected to represent us seem to not only be uneducated but to be so grossly out of touch with their nation and the wishes of the people who ‘elected’ them into their offices.

Our nation is riddled with countless problems. From the massive elephants in the room which happen to be corruption and insecurity to the other less noticeable but equally debilitating cankerworms which exist in the form of the abysmal state of education and subsequent unemployment. Nigeria has way too many more significant problems to consider and to put right. If issues worth deliberating in Nigeria were arranged in a list according to importance and subsequently deliberated giving a day to each topic, legalizing underage marriage should not even near the discussion table even after a million years. Apart from the fact that it stinks of shocking immorality and downright perversion, it is not in any way worth the time and salary we afford our ‘representatives’ considering all the nation’s bigger challenges. Imagine an individual under attack from African Killer bees, a man-eating lion, and numerous other diseases deciding that rather than saving his neck, he would instead, clip his toenails so as to look neat!!!! That man is even wiser as in a way, cutting toenails is actually helpful, legalizing underage marriage is not.

Now, onto the primary bane of the situation, it is wrong on all levels for a forty-year old man to be attracted to a ten year old girl. It is ludicrous that this same forty year old individual is not ashamed of this fact or at least willing to keep it a secret. It is totally insane that this individual as well as others who share his twisted mentality are actually willing to attempt to turn this into law because due to massive corruption, they find themselves in a position to do this. It is perverted, it is immoral, it is scandalous, it is unimaginably nauseating. . . I could go on and on and never run out of negative adjectives to qualify this debacle.  I look at the eight year old daughter of my neighbour who is playing with her Barbie dolls downstairs oblivious of life’s troubles. Then I imagine the predatory, pervert of a senator being sexually attracted to that innocent little girl  and willing to say with a straight face that ‘she has come of age immediately she is married’. If they subscribe to this school of thought, then in a similar vein, they should also vote to allow bestiality and every other whim of the next pervert to reign free and become a law.

The whole fiasco becomes even more bizarre when it’s shameless proponents try to argue that a certain religion allows it. Oh Yes! Every religious rule should become a law because ‘we have freedom of religion’. Just because tenet X of some random individual’s religion says he is free to steal from the rich means it should be legal for him to rob the highways as he pleases in order to exercise his freedom of religion, right?! No, you say?!  Why is that?! Oh, that’s different? Of course it’s not, you hypocrite, the two opinions are as ridiculous as each other.

I honestly grow weary of trying to analyze why this shouldn’t even be an issue that this nation should mention, talk more of seriously consider. The rest of the world is shaking it’s combined head in a mix of worry, amazement and downright disgust that a nation with numerous other more germane challenges are committing their severely limited time to considering an issue that should provoke even the most morally detached of individuals to wince in disappointment. I shudder to think that up to thirty!!! ‘educated representatives’ of the various constituencies of our nation are willing to actually support this bill. I am not an avid student of government and it’s working procedures but I believe that eventually, only the president can veto this bill and pass it into law. So if through whatever nefarious means, these thugs and perverts disguised as our ‘representatives’ eventually get their will and this bill gets into the hands of Mr. President, I expect him to do what every rational human being and the rest of the World expects from him. I expect him to rip it up and tell them to go f**k themselves. . . with a scowl of unabashed disgust on his face. As many have said ‘if she can’t vote, she can’t marry’ – Simple and Short.

By I.V Okata . . . I really love my country

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

UPDATE-20/07/2013: It has been brought to our attention that the actual law being deliberated at the time has little or nothing to do with the actual legal age of marriage and more to do with the ability of an individual to change his/her citizenship. Nevertheless, strict laws are not yet in place to prevent marriage of underage girls through religious or customary laws as the constitution provides an exception for this. Therefore, while the mass furore might not exactly have been properly directed, this is an opportunity for Nigerians to rise up and pressure our ‘representatives’ into setting an acceptable legal age for marriage which doesn’t provide a loophole for marriage under religious/customary laws. Thank you for understanding.

Guest Article 1: My Phone, My China

If you want to write a guest post on gistoscope, check below this article for details . . .

I say ignorance is a virtue. One that gives you freedom. . . The freedom to do whatever you choose without any iota of guilt or feeling that you might be doing things in a fashionably incorrect way. Do note that the fact that an act is classified as incorrect doesn’t necessarily equate to it being wrong(but that’s a discussion for another day).

As humans , we constantly strive to improve ourselves, meaning at almost every point in time, we are in a constant battle against the bliss that is ignorance. With our constant wish to improve and advance ourselves, we need to place ourselves in the best position to take advantage of opportunities that might come our way. In my sojourn into the world of knowledge, I have realized that humans(myself included – I’m not an alien, you know) pick up ideas in every nook and cranny and have the capability of learning the most profound and eminent of lessons from the least expected of places.

Archimedes learnt about floatation and density while taking his bath and Isaac Newton’s relatively arcane Law of Gravitation was famously motivated by an ‘innocent’ apple. That apple could and would probably have hit every other one of the six(abi seven) billion people in the world today and would in probability, not elicit a similar reaction. However, it did for Newton. And not only because he was a genius but because he had  a solid, unique foundation in that field and was poised to take advantage of such ‘luck’. I digress though. Not every one of us is or could be a Newton. However, each and every one of us can and should try to stand out in whatever way we can. I learnt this lesson from the cell ‘phone war’ in my country.

It started in the year 2000 A.D when our dear OBJ allowed the importation of the GSM- for some reason, we still aren’t manufacturing them(sad really and also a discussion for another day). The brand names at the time, no matter what they were, were not placed under any sort of classification by we, the consumers. All of them were classified as GSMs, phones or cellulars. Those were the days before coloured screens, polyphonic ringtones and MMSes. During those dark ages(yea, in hindsight, they were), the phones were not even capable of texting up to 160 characters.

3597870-used-old-gsm-cell-phonesThe first set of cell phones . . nice, right?

Before I get distracted on memory lane and forget the message at hand; the fact is all types of brand names, without any sort of bias were made available to the public whether it was Nokia, Alcatel, Siemens, Motorolla or any other phone. All were appreciated without any favour or fervour accorded to any.  There was equal competition for the massive market yet unexplored and this led to the first ‘Phone War’.

Then the time came when SMSes were no more enough for us. We wanted more and we got the MMS. Soon after, we needed cameras on our phones as well as better ringtones and so many more features. It was at that point my father’s Siemens A35 started becoming antiquated. It was also at that time I started hearing, for the first time, about JAVA. Being an ardent reader, I still wonder how it was that I ever got to misunderstand the acronym to imply a game software or something of the sorts. I guess it was because I kept seeing said acronym whenever I launched a game on a ‘china phone’.

15_27_08_Motorola_Talkabout_180There was a time when this was the symbol of ‘swag’

Did I say ‘China phone’ ? Of course, I did. I can’t believe I got there so soon. Well that single name was the cause of a lot of controversy at the time. How it came about is as mysterious as practically every other market trend. In other words, you could find out for yourself as I have absolutely no idea since these were not the only phones which were made/manufactured/coupled in China. But what I saw happen, although not a phone owner at the time was this;

china_phonesClassic China phones

The first casualties and victors of the first ‘Phone War’ emerged. The victors worthy to be mentioned were Motorolla, Samsung and Nokia. Of which, only the latter two still remain of relevance in the contemporary Nigerian phone market.

Soon after, we began to have the stand-out brands and imitations. At that time more people could get their hands on phones,  and as is typical of all mass propelled actions, the issues of fashion came into play. True, the imitations or ‘china phones’ as we called them were not as good as the brands. They were known only for their unnecessarily lurid lights and similarly strident sounds. Nevertheless, they were not as bad as most made out and still displayed admirable creativity. After all, they did introduce the Two-Sim idea and produced significantly cheaper phones. However, despite mine or any other person’s opinion, you could not be a ‘fly guy’ while using a ‘China phone'(crowd mentality, huh?).

Since then, the market has evolved and Blackberries and iPhones(hopefully, I’ll live to see the iPhone 5,000s) are the big dogs who now run the roost with the aforementioned duo of Nokia and Samsung offering stiff competition. Funny enough, most ‘fly people’ now use a branded ‘China phone’ that goes by the name of Techno, and at the rate this ‘China Phone’ is growing, they could be a major player in the market very soon.

Futuristic-iphone-concept.previewNow, this is a game changer . ..

So what’s the moral of this relatively long-winded story? Well, here it is: no matter who or what you are, no matter the sector or area you find yourself in, distinguishing yourself will always place you at a distinct advantage over bias of any sort. So, be unique, try to stand out, carve a niche for yourself, be known for something. The moment you have your own forte, your own brand, is the same moment you start your journey down the glorious path to greatness. It is only then you become truly noticeable, significant and worthy of discussion. As a famous Nigerian musician once sang; ‘If nobody talks about you, then you are nobody’.

‘By Chika ‘GC-Cgp’ Obani  . . . A guest writer

You could find him on Facebook @facebook.com/obanicd

N/B: For Interested Guest Writers;

Every Wednesday . . . hopefully . . . we’ll post an article from a guest writer. So, if you feel you’d like to contribute, just send in your article and it will be published on the next ‘available’ Wednesday. By available, we mean there are some regulations we follow when posting guest articles and the next ‘dated’ Wednesday might not be ‘available’. Therefore an article sent in on Friday this week, for instance, might not make it up to the blog by next week Wednesday. 

Also, please endeavour to write articles between 500 and 1000 words on ‘relevant’ subject areas. The editor will get back to you with the final piece before it is posted on the blog.

Here’s the email to send in your guest posts- rainbowsixplus@gmail.com .

We look forward to receiving your posts. Happy Writing.

Gist Editor, Gistoscope

Judas-es! Everywhere!!

In ancient history, a certain man’s actions against his master caused this man’s name to forever remain synonymous with sabotage and betrayal. This man was called Judas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. It has become cliché to hear the phrase; ‘among every twelve, there is a Judas’. Little wonder then that we, Nigeria-Africa’s most populous nation, have an incredulous number of moles residing within our borders. From basic arithmetic, we can calculate that if there is a Judas in every twelve Nigerians, then there are at the very least 14 million ‘Judases’ among our 160 million Nigerians. Recent developments within and off the shores of this humongous country have given uncanny support to this claim. Not so long ago, we were inundated with the bizarre pronouncements by the president that he had moles within and outside his cabinet. The Eggon massacre, the ambush of some Mali-bound soldiers at Okene and numerous other spurious criminal activities have gone a long way to confirm this seemingly absurd claim. All these worrying turns of events have one thing in common- ‘A Judas Factor’.

Sometime ago, the president made a startling revelation that his cabinet has been astonishingly infiltrated by moles working against the general good of the nation. Many attacked him for showing weakness through such a declaration forgetting that even Christ himself knew that Judas was going to betray him and still did/could do nothing to divert it. These moles are so powerful, so influential and so highly placed that even when discovered, very little or nothing can be done to remove the threat they pose without severe repercussions. In the last administration, the incessant strike actions by NLC was attributed to some elements so elevated that they could get hold of top decisions and secrets of the then government and pass such to the leaders of NLC. The most probable reason for this treacherous act was to create a distraction thus affording them the chance to steal and divert the funds of the ministries or whatever agencies or organizations they were heading without reprisal.

In more recent times, on January 19 this year to be precise, about 190 Mali-bound soldiers were ambushed a few kilometers from Okene in Kogi state. This heinous attack took place at about 6:05 am Nigerian time. A number of insurgents cut through a convoy conveying these soldiers and started spraying it with bullets and IEDs. Eventually, these soldiers were able to repel these hoodlums but not before they had lost two of their comrades. A logically thinking Nigerian should have already begun to draw parallels and must have deciphered now that these kinds of attacks cannot be orchestrated without inside help. This was confirmed by the chief of army staff, Lt-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika on May 22 when he asserted that a soldier conspired with the insurgents to facilitate the attack by supplying them with information about the soldiers’ movement route.  He went on to say that the saboteur soldier had been apprehended and that people could calm down. However, this indubitably was and remains a perturbing development and one which must be investigated with alacrity.

Ultimately, the apex of the sabotage was reached when some 96 security personnel, including 10 intelligence officers were brutally massacred by the dreaded Ombatse cultists in Eggon, Nasarawa state. As despicable as it was and still is, the deplorable discovery that these officers fell as a result of help offered by one of their colleagues who appallingly divulged information about their mission to arrest the leader of the cult to the cultists is even more nerve-wracking. I cannot begin to imagine what these fallen officers faced in that thick forest without any means of calling for backup all because of one of the many ‘Judases’ that seem to have overrun my beloved  country.

I cannot help but ask- ‘is Nigeria heading to doom with this scandalous ubiquity of moles scattered across the nation?’ How can we expunge these snakes who seem desperate to lead our country to ruin? I plead with every tom, dick and harry out there; if you have any idea (effective or untested) as to the ideal way to eliminate these moles, please do not hesitate for a second to make your suggestions public. Help save our dear country before we get run over by the traitors!!

By Steve Arum . . . a concerned Nigerian

Follow him on Twitter @sirbohr

Where did they go?

For most Nigerians, football is more than a sport, more than a pastime, more than a hobby. To most Nigerians, football is life. This combined with immense doses of patriotism means Nigerians pay and will continue to pay rapt attention to football at all levels. With the proliferation of televisions and devices with affordable internet accessibility, Nigerians now monitor all types of football. From women’s under 17 competitions to beach soccer, from the MLS to the J-League, from local five-a-side tournaments to Finnish Futsal, Nigerians watch. We watch in hope that very soon, we’ll produce the next World or more realistically African great. Once in a while, a rare talent shows up on the scene and is hyped to high heavens as a mixture of Pele and Maradona, an unpolished diamond who will definitely end up as the next Zidane or Ronaldo (either Brazilian or Portuguese). The one true footballing wonder that we’ve been waiting for all these years, the player who would take Nigeria to the footballing equivalent of the Shangri-la. Often, these players work hard enough and though they rarely ever reach the expected heights, they do enough for our insatiable bunch to give them our begrudging approval.

However, every once in a while, some of these potential superstars fail to shine and peter out into the football doldrums. For every Nwankwo Kanu, there’s a smiling Pius Ikedia. So let’s take a short stroll down the more recent memory lane and take a look at five of those talents who failed to reach the hotly hankered heady heights;

  • Pius Ikedia

It just felt right to begin with him, after all, he’s notorious for being quick off the mark. The ‘speed devil’ as my friends so lovingly called him back in the day practically ‘burst’ onto the scene. Frequently coming on as a late substitute in games to terrorize tiring defenders with frankly outrageous pace, he was definitely on the road to stardom. Nonetheless, everyone agreed on one thing about him; he lacked the end product. Everyone believed (including Ajax who signed him) that with maturity, he’d get it sorted and become a frightening prospect for opposition defenders. He never got it. He’s had frustrating stints in Holland, Ukraine and Azerbaijan and at 32 is currently still infuriatingly flying down the flanks for Magusa Turk Gucu in Cyprus.

ikediaIt’s a bird! It’s a plane! Huh!(disappointedly) Its Pius Ikedia!

  • Macauley Chrisantus

He was touted as one of the most natural finishers Nigeria had produced in a long while. Storming the stage in 2007 at Under-17 level, he and his fellow Tella boys conquered the world leaving no survivors in their wake. He was awarded the Golden shoe for his seven brilliantly taken goals and the Silver ball. Interest skyrocketed and he joined Hamburger SV. However, he never made an appearance for the senior team and spent significant periods of time on loan at Karlsruher SV and FSV Frankfurt. He scored goals no doubt, but nowhere near the number his devastating youthful form promised. He has since faded away from all the radars he popped up on and is currently at UD Las Palmas in the Spanish Segunda division.

PS: The instantly recognizable names of Toni Kroos and Bojan Krkic won the Golden and Bronze balls respectively in 2007.  I’m sitting here now shaking my head and asking ‘How on earth did Chrisantus get here?!!!’

  • Femi Opabunmi

The THIRD!!! youngest player to ever appear at a World Cup Tournament . . . let that sink in . . . two days younger than Samuel Eto’o when the Cameroonian made his World Cup Debut four years earlier and an equally exciting prospect. Coming off the back of a hugely successful under 17 tournament in 2001 where he won a silver medal, the silver shoe and the bronze ball, his sudden decline was probably the most tragic of all the players on this list. The now 28 year old wing wizard was back then on the books of Grasshoppers Zurich when he showed up on the radars of European giants like Manchester United and Lyon after impressive performances for Nigeria. Scoring on his national team debut further accentuated the frenzy over this whiz kid. Unfortunately, he was forced to end his career in 2006 at just 22 years of age because of serious eye problems. He had eye surgery in 2008 but to the chagrin of the expectant Nigerian football fan base, he was never able to take to the football pitch professionally. A truly sad story. . .

  • Rabiu Ibrahim

Here’s a much younger man who could eventually come good but has faded away astonishingly in recent times. His skill, speed of thought, passing range, outrageous flair and general laissez faire style of play first garnered admirers at the 2007 Under-17 tournament where he immediately brought back fresh vivid memories of one of the World’s greatest ever footballing entertainers – the mercurial Jay Jay Okocha(so good they named him twice). He instantly attracted interest from numerous European giants but opted to take it slow by joining Sporting CP. In late 2007, he was included by World Soccer in its 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers list and, in March of the following year, he was featured by InsideFutbol.com in an article on young African footballers alongside the likes of Mario Balotelli and John Obi Mikel. In January 2009, he made Goal.com’s list of 10 African Players to Watch, and The Times’ Football’s Top 50 Rising Stars.  He pushed on and performed slightly less influentially but equally encouraging at the Under 20 tournament in 2009 before suddenly diminishing in form. Since then, due to a combination of poor choices and terrible advising, he has, to put it kindly, stagnated. Currently plying his trade at Kilmarnock in Scotland, the ‘new Okocha’ as so many fondly called him is probably going to end up swimming in the unforgiving pools of mediocrity for the rest of his career. As a Nigerian football fan, I genuinely hope

rabiuRabiu dazzled the World in his nascence . . . well  . . . he’s still young

  • Ayodele Adeleye

In 2005, during the World Youth Championship held in the Netherlands, he emerged. Replacing the inept Monday James after the first game and forming a very austere defense line with the then indefatigable Taye Taiwo(sighs) and Onyekachukwu Apam(sighs x2) as Nigeria ended the tournament as runners up behind a Leo Messi inspired Argentina. Apam got suspended in the semi finals meaning Adeleye was forced to cover the shockingly bad Monday James as Leo Messi hit two spot kicks home to deny Nigeria a trophy we sorely deserved for outplaying our opponents. However, in 2008, during the Olympics Football tournament at Beijing, he was reunited with Apam and they recreated the memorably stingy back line, this time with Echiejile at left back. Once more, they fell short at the final stage to the same opponents they met three years ago. This time, however, they were able to stifle Messi but lost to a Di Maria chipped goal. Adeleye then went on to establish himself firmly in the Senior National team’s ranks. He is remembered dotingly for folding up one of his sleeves and with that basically sealing any holes in the backline. He famously led the defence to a well deserved 1-0 victory in a friendly against France where he bravely repelled attacks from a potent French attack including the potent Karim Benzema. He seemed destined to be a mainstay in the National team and a move to a bigger club from Sparta Rotterdam where he was at the time, seemed a mere formality. Bizarrely, he joined Metalurh Donetsk and has since seen his stock fall both at club level and with the national team. He now plays for the massive European giant, Kuban Krasnodar in the Russian Premier league. He was an absolute rock in defense . . . for just a while. . .  Why?!!!!

In summary, I ask ‘what the hell happened?

By I.V Okata . . . an avid football lover

Follow him on Twitter @izutadgaffer

Power Corrupts . . . Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Just as I was about crossing the road, I was accosted by a stern, mean looking man clad in an all-black attire and carrying a horrifying gun. I began wondering what I could possibly have on me that would convince this austere individual to waste his money, time, and even risk his life to rob me. While I was still lost in my thoughts the man spoke up, “come! u no dey see? Abi u don blind? Your sense no tell you say this road dey blocked”? It was then I realized he was just a security agent and I relaxed my nerves. But then I said- “oga no vex o, wetin be the reason”? he replied “you no know say local government oga wan pass”?. I was shocked. I said to myself that if this road was blocked just because one corrupt chairman was passing by, then Nigeria is gone. Such is the prodigious amount of power our leaders have amassed in this country.

It is time and again said that the problem of this country is corruption, but I say it is rooted in the awe-inspiring amount of power our public leaders wield. I may not be old enough to know how Nigeria was governed pre-1999, but certainly I have witnessed enough since 1999 to conclude that our problem is hinged ninety percent on the goliath-sized power our leaders, most especially, the president and governors possess. During Obasanjo’s administration, it was an open secret as to the manner in which he used all the agencies of government to brandish terror, maim, molest and intimidate all opposition and all those who dared to differ publically from his own political ideals. ‘Baba’ did this expertly. He used EFCC, the Nigerian police, military and all other necessary government agencies to exercise his political vendetta. Governors and some other people who did not share the same views as him at the time were brazenly abused and as sickening as it was, nobody could do a thing. The apex of this abuse of power was when ‘baba’ practically imposed an extremely unhealthy man on Nigeria as the president as ‘punishment’ for his failed third term bid.

obj2Baba showing off a little ‘power’

Recently, the exasperating excesses and undue powers of a president can be seen in the disqueiting tussle between the president and the incumbent governor of Rivers state- Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. Their misunderstanding dates back a few years but took a fresh twist lately when the president started using NCAA and FAAN indirectly to investigate a plane owned by the governor. These agencies alleged that the plane operated without a license; a fact they were privy to all these years but refused to act on till the president needed to fight an ‘enemy’. In addition, the president, once again working behind the scenes succeeded in biasing his party leaders against the aforementioned governor. This subsequently led to the recent suspension dished out to the governor and the in-house fighting within the previously unified governor’s forum.

85595185-president-goodluck

GEJ . . . flexing his excess political muscle  

rotimi-amaechi-300

Amaechi shocked by power tussle

I strongly aver that those clamoring for and pioneering the fight against corruption as a way to normalize the nation should also consider and explore all available avenues to curtail the excesses of the power our public office holders so autocratically wield. What is one to expect when a president single handedly chooses the INEC chairman? It is difficult to imagine this president ever losing any election he contests or has a vested interest in. What do you expect when a president chooses the CBN governor without any checks from other arms of government? Of course, this president will control the economy alone. What can be expected when the head of all anti-graft and law enforcement agencies are selected on the sole whim of the president? Surely, they will definitely dance to his tune and aid in controlling the society the way their oga wants. The astonishingly copious powers of our leaders must be curtailed else the extremely deleterious effects it is currently having on Nigeria and its people will continue.

By Steve Arum . . . a concerned Nigerian

Follow him on Twitter @sirbohr