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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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Talking About The Collaborators

 continued from http://www.dawodu.com/oduyela18.htm




Seyi Oduyela




January 24, 2005


When I started the "Owners of Nigeria" about four months ago, I have received emails from people all over the world. Some castigating me, some commending me. Some of those who attack me basically do that out of bitterness over what they call my attacks on their mentors. But the funniest part is that I am more grateful to those who abuse, curse and threaten me than to those who commend me. It is not that I do not acknowledge the kind comments of those who commend me and even prayed for me, but as time goes on we will understand why I feel more thankful to those who attack my style.

First, I need to state that I did not write as a journalist, but as a concerned Nigerian, who feel embittered on the way things are in the most populous Black Country in the world. The fifth oil-producing country in the world and the country that produces the third sweetest black gold in the world, but seeing her people dying in poverty. I am touched at the level of things. Every system seem caving in. what I have expressed in "Owners of Nigeria" are what I witnessed, read, heard from actors and close associates of the "Owners of Nigeria." Some were willful confession, while some were what I eavesdropped.

I have received emails as to the authenticity of my claims, but I refused to give in to the temptation of going further on most of the things I said. I have been very invisible and seeming passive over the years, and this has helped me a great deal.

I have been bombarded with questions on the way forward. Some have even told me that there is nothing anybody can do on the problem in Nigeria. Some even say that I am been sponsored to assassinate characters. I am also grateful to Nigerians who have helped in filling the missing gaps in my stories; they have helped with additional and updated information and still willing to do more. Why did they not write it themselves, some people would want to ask? But we can all not write. Some of these people hold sensitive positions, some cannot take the risk, considering the fact that I am outside the country, does not mean that I should put their lives in danger, just because I wanted the whole world to believe my stories. I owe them the duty of protection of identity. They are the silent victors. They have energized me, gave me courage and inspiration.

I have watched events in Nigeria from the sideline as a student, lecturer, journalists and now an asylee. Troubled about how things have been getting from bad to worst and nobody is ready to talk about it. Or trying to avoid mentioning names because we don't want to rock the boat. And I feel that it is better we rock the boat and shake off what can make the boat to capsize and kill us all. I know a lot people are hurt by the "Owners of Nigeria," but I am sorry I can't help it. I am just a poor Nigerian, concerned about my country and the future of those coming after that I feel the education I got should not be wasted.

Dr. Busari Adebisi, a lecturer of Political Science at the University of Ibadan threw the challenge in 1989 during our Students' Union week. He said, "If after your 4-year or 5-years program you are not able to make a different in your community, then you are not better than an ordinary man walking on the street." Yes my degree was in Religious Studies and Old Testament. I taught it for 8 years in the college of education. But during my time at the Tai Solarin College of Education, most of the students mistook me for a political science teacher than a religious studies teacher that I was naturally.

As a Youth Corper, I served in Government Girls Secondary School, Gajiganna, Borno State (1990-1991), with my degree in Religious Studies, I taught Bible Knowledge at the JSS1-3, English Language and Economics at SS4-5 and Literature in English at SS3. My roommate Segun Orewole is now a Medical Doctor; he obtained a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin. He taught Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Biology. We go to school three times daily. The normal day class, afternoon prep and night prep. We were not receiving extra allowance from the school. We lived in the village with they do not have electricity. The school had generator, which worked from 6pm-1130pm. We lived and worked there for one year. I had just left the good old University of Ibadan where I lived for four years with uninterrupted power supply to live in the desert of Borno state where there was no light and good drinking water. We had every opportunity to process our redeployment back to the south. We saw people who arranged wedding to get redeployed, people who feigned madness, some Tuberculosis, and other serious ailments just to get redeployed. Their reason? They cannot stand the hot weather of Borno State. They were aided by the National Youth Service Corps staff.

What I gained as a Youth Corps member is still in me today. I would not have known about the Northern Nigeria if I had not been posted there as a Youth Corps member. I saw it as a genuine service to my country and I did, just like my other friends who served there. It was an adventure I loved. I came to realize that our problem was not North against South, but class problem.

I became a journalist by accident. I had to leave teaching when the college was not big enough to contain my Provost then and myself. I was very critical of his administration and was always on the side of the students when harassed by my fellow lecturers, sexually or otherwise. This got me into trouble and I became enemy of the Provost who took delight in stealing the college fund, lying to the State government, and fleecing the students and my colleagues who enjoyed taking advantage of innocent-not-too brilliant students. For five years of my 8 years as a lecturer, I was not promoted, even with required publications. At a point, a friend advised me, to change my job.

I applied to First Bank for job in 1998 September. But did not get the job because I was 2 years older than the age limit. The age limit was 30 and I was 32, I was also disqualified because I graduated 2 years earlier than the graduation year limit. I had my BA in 1990 and MA in 1992 and they wanted graduates from 1993. The man at First Bank then offered to give me a note to someone in the News. And I ended as a journalist.

All what I have gone through, seen, experienced, and heard formed the basis of "Owners of Nigeria." At first I thought I was alone, but responses from readers showed that there are still people who feel the same way as I feel. Many expressed loss of hope and I keep telling them that with people like them alive, our hope is not yet lost.

I have been busy writing about those who have helped in ruining the country. Most of what I wrote are not new, but I did it to bring it back to our consciousness, to remind us because I know many Nigerians have been infected with the short memory virus, which deadlier than the killer disease HIV/AIDS. But the fact is, these people are not alone. They would not have succeeded without collaborators. They have friends, co-conspirators.

Who are their collaborators? Who are their co-conspirators?

Stay tuned.


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