My Homecoming

memorial
So I visited the CIA the other day and almost got shot.

I was in DC and decided to go for a tour of the CIA to shoot videos and take pictures for my boys. So I grabbed my car and asked Google to take me to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

Adventurous me.

Meanwhile Google map in all its ingenuity decided to rather take me to the Farm in McLean. Until that day I never knew the farm existed. I thought it was just a training facility for CIA recruits that only existed in the movies. Until my map dropped me off in front of a hyper-barricaded gate in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the woods and hills.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The gate and the driveway beyond it didn’t look alive like a place people pass through on a daily basis to go to work. It looked dead and seldom used to me. First of all it was a massive row of bard-wired gates hinged against thick concrete pillars, and of course overlaid by a concrete beam that is over 30 feet in diameter. The gates are all chained and rust. And both in front and behind the gates are columns of concrete barricades and dead-looking vehicles. The whole setting created a feeling of forlornness in me. I was at a very wrong place. And I was in awe.

Could this really be the entrance to the CIA headquarters? Is this the entrance through which the president’s motorcade enters the headquarters whenever the president comes calling? Who among the White House staff will have the patience for the barricades to be removed for the presidential motorcade to pull through?
I was sitting in my car in front of this behemoth of a fortress wondering if I am at the wrong place or what. Hundreds of questions filled my head. I needed answers. So I decided to let my thoughts out. And I honked at the gate hoping that someone will pop out and provide quick answers to my nagging questions.

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11 vs 37

explainer
America’s Explainer-in-Chief

Democrats are apologists. Period. And contemporary Democrats don’t have balls. Period.

Please do not stop reading. Stay with me. I’ll convince you.

The last time I checked, every Democrat that has been embroiled in one scandal or the other, for the past 8 years, has acquiesced to pressures to resign their position. And resign they did. Republicans? Naaaaaaaaaaaa.

When the lid blew on former Governor Mark Sanford’s love trip to Argentina, typically there were calls for him to resign as governor of South Carolina. Did he? For where? Typical unapologetic republican, he not only sat out his term as governor, he is now a congressman in the US House of Representative. Remember the “You Lie!” asshole? The guy that shouted down on President Obama during his first SOTU speech in 2009? There were calls for him to resign too. Did he? Of course, not. The Texas Agriculture commissioner in one of his tweets during the general election campaign called Secretary Clinton the C word. And he’s still using the platform our tax money provides to peddle fake news, sexism, and bigotry. When the C word made national news, he wasn’t forced out. He’s still in office. Should I continue? Talk about LePage, the character that occupies the Governor’s Mansion in Maine. With all the filth that come out of the guy’s mouth, you would expect him to bow to political pressures and resign. No. He’s a republican. They are unapologetically what they are and no one can make them pay a political price for what they do and say. But you cant say that about Democrats. Apologists.

Donald Trump was the only presidential candidate in modern history that did not release his tax returns during the general election. And Democrats allowed that to fly. If he were to be a Democrat, Republicans would not allow that to happen. They would peddle the most horrifying conspiracy theory about the reason he didn’t want America to see his tax returns until he is forced to release them. They would say he is a major financier of ISIS, they would say he is the patron of KKK, they would say he is involved with funding lone wolf terrorists in the homeland, they would say he is involved in child sex trafficking, they would say he is a satanist and a major financier of the church of satan. They would peddle every conceivable lie and cook up every imaginable conspiracy theory and dump those shit on a daily basis on Fox News, until he is forced to release his tax returns. But Democrats doesn’t play dirty politics. They play selense. And look at the result! Poor ignorant Democrats.

When President Obama was elected in 2008, he was the first person of African descent to be elected to the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. But he will not be the last. He’s just a forerunner to better presidents of African origin.

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A PLEA TO WEALTHY AFRICAN AMERICANS

Please invest your money, not only in entertainment, but in businesses such as grocery stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and more restaurants that can yield you everyday income and in the same vein provide employment to regular people. The high unemployment rate in the African American communities nationwide can be drastically reduced if you start doing so.

For example, at the peak of the emotional reaction to the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, there were calls to boycott white-owned businesses. So a friend asked me, “If I should heed this call, where can I find a black-owned grocery store to do my grocery? If I should pull my money out of Bank of America, is there a known black-owned bank that I can bank with? Which gas station is owned by a black businessman? And her questions were endless, touching on places where the common man frequents daily to shop for their basic everyday needs. A for us by us kind of business. But I did not have an answer to any of her questions.

Last week Tuesday, I was listening to the Breakfast Club, the morning show on radio, and not the restaurant. And Charlamagne Tha God held a segment asking these same questions. And the premise of these questions have nothing to do with the “boycott white business” calls, but have everything to do with a call on wealthy African Americans to come to terms with the fact that they can actually help their communities attain economic empowerment and help also reduce the high rates of unemployment in the African American communities all over America. By investing in certain businesses in these communities that guarantees returns on their investment as well as create jobs for the locals. Especially folks who the American justice system have made unemployable because of criminal records that mostly arose from trumped up charges.

I live in Houston and we have Walmart, H.E.B, Randall’s and Kroger. Those are the major grocery stores. And we also have Food Town and Fiesta. When you walk into any Food Town or Fiesta in Houston, you will readily notice that their workforce are mostly minorities. A blend of all minorities. But they are not black-owned. We do not have a black-owned gas station. We do not have a black-owned bank.  You can rarely notice a black-owned convenience store. And typically black-owned restaurants are few. We have the Breakfast Klub, though. The restaurant. In a city where we have a multi-millionaire African American businessman in the person of James Prince. His Rap-a-Lot Records is not doing well either in terms of employment. I’ve visited the business complex at 2141 W. Governors Circle couple of times and it looks like an abandoned factory to me. With no sign of life.

People, we can do better for our folks.

When you invest in these kind of businesses where people shop for their everyday basic needs, you are not just doing the community(ies) where you sited your business(es) the favor of creating jobs for the locals, you are also doing yourself the favor of investing in a business that yield daily returns because people will always walk in for gas, for a pack of cigarette, for grocery, for tooth paste, or just for a gum in order to have an opportunity to chat with your female cashier.

Jews are by default business people and they live together and patronize their own people’s businesses. For every major city in the world, there is always a Chinatown where, you know, it’s self-explanatory. Hispanics have their abborreteria, and yes, Africans, especially Nigerians, we have our grocery stores and restaurant businesses scattered all over the country. An African American with a felony, which makes it difficult or nearly impossible for him or her to get a decent job, is like a new immigrant that arrives at the country without any work authorization. Upon arrival, the guy typically seeks employment at a grocery store or a restaurant owned by his countrymen because his people understands and can relate to his peculiar needs. They will hire him and they will pay him under the table. His services will be exploited nonetheless, but he will be making a decent living until he sorts himself out. It goes for African immigrants. It goes for Asian immigrants. And same goes for Hispanics. And if wealthy African Americans should carry out their solemn duties to their communities, so shall they be able to provide jobs for these felons who deserve the second chance and many a times are willing and ready to work and make a decent living rather than waste and fall prey to idlemindedness.

Michael Jordan owns the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA franchise. Oprah Winfrey owns the Oprah Winfrey Network(OWN), a television station, and Tyler Perry owns the Tyler Perry Studios. There is no want of a black entrepreneur in the entertainment industry. Of course huge money is in entertainment. And it is important that we get our fair share of the slice of that big pie. But if our communities are to be fixed, if idlemindedness which can lead to a whole lot of evil can be obliterated in our communities, we will have to invest in our communities to help the needy, the vulnerable, and the despondent. We need to invest in community development centers that can, not only groom NBA and music talents, but that will most importantly target the vulnerable in our inner cities, build their capacities for hairdressing, tailoring, barbering, fixing cars, managing businesses and the likes; and makes funds available for them, once their capacity has been built, to start up their own businesses and be responsible to their families and communities. We need to build foundations that will encourage learning and award scholarships to our posterity to seek law degrees, degrees in political science, international development, and financial studies, so that upon graduation they can join the pool of public servants and shape the policies that govern us, both domestic and foreign, and help make them fair.

I know people often fall into the entrapment of blaming the disadvantaged for their misfortunes and pounding their chest on how they themselves are self-made. Let me tell you, NOBODY is self-made. I have seen talents wasted. I have seen smart people not make it in life. At one point in your life, someone held the door open for you and got your feet inside the room. That is how you were able to make it in life. And you owe it to humanity to give back to your communities so that other people’s talents can see the light of the day. Without an opportunity, talents are just a practice in oblivion.

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

As LeBron James enjoined us in his 2016 ESPYs speech, let us, above all things, ‘go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better. Thank you.’

Let the debate continue….

THE STATE OF THE UNION

DallasThere were times when men were men. There were times when Americans were courageous. In 2008 when then Senator Clinton under pressure to drop out of the Democratic Party primary for then Senator Obama, she made allusion to the 1968 assassination of RFK after the California primary as the reason why she would not suspend her campaign. Implying that same fate that befell RFK in 68 could possibly befell Obama in 08. Hence her desire to stay on in the race even though the delegate math at that point belies her chances of becoming the nominee. At a time when the country was so divided across economic and racial lines and needed a unifier, her comment was so counterproductive to the needs of the time. And Keith Olbermann, a man of courage, dressed her down. Watch the clip below for yourself.

Since the election of President Obama, the indiscriminate killing of African Americans has become a national norm. And the media, monopolized by white folks who cannot relate to the challenges of being black in America, always react the same way. Treat every other murder of an African American by cops as a statistic and move on with their lives. And elder statesmen? There are no more elder-statesmen in America who can speak to the moral rectitude of the country.

Being black in America, General Colin Powell chooses his words and can’t speak as candidly as he would to white America even though he commands their respect to a certain degree. He knows his place. Senator John McCain in his “hallowed wisdom” said that President Obama is directly responsible for Orlando. That’s how sensible the once-celebrated maverick has become. Rudy Giuliani? Well, Rudy Giuliani is more of a whiz kid of civility and fairness who in defiance to reason have turned into a demented old guy and doesn’t inhabit the realm of reality anymore. And Keith Olbermann? His candor is too much for the powers that be. Hence it has become too difficult for him to keep a job at any mainstream media house.

So, what are we left with?

As Edmund Burke postulated, Dallas happened. Dallas happened because the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Obviously there are no good men left in positions of power to do something to alter the god complex and brutish attitude of the police, especially in their encounters with African Americans. So nothing got done from one murder to the other until Alton Sterling and then Philando Castile. And consequently evil triumphed in Dallas.

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FOR ALL THE FATHERS

img-20160919-wa0001On a day like this, I will not forget the man that sowed the seed that gave life to me. My father.

My father is a great man and an embodiment of fatherhood. He populated our house with all manner of books and encyclopedia for our enlightenment. During my childhood, the most electronic gadget my father could afford our home was a battery radio. But because he knows the value of education, he not only allowed the radio to be a source of entertainment to me, but he also ensured that it was an educating tool to me by making me listen alongside with him to enlightening stations like the Voice of America. His job as a career teacher first started at home. He was a good teacher.

I still remember my first beer. He took me to a bar and got me a bottle of beer and some pepper soup. I will never forget that day. I felt like a man.

I am a soccer freak and played competitive soccer. He came to almost every soccer game I participated in. To watch me play. It was unbeknownst to me. Until I spotted him one day. And on that day I wasn’t playing at the level I was used to. But spotting him from where he was hiding among the spectators got me reinvigorated and I gave one of my best performances in soccer competition to date. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

At nights upon coming home from school, I used to read anything that is printed. I remember the first word he gave me the correct pronunciation and meaning to – mere. When I first encountered the word in the book I was reading, I got the pronunciation wrong and was wild about the meaning. I waited until he got home and I have to ask him. Just like every good father, he helped me out in my study life.

He is a disciplinarian but was not someone given to constant chastising. The moments you expect him to whoop your ass for a fuck-up that deserves serious ass whooping, he will disappoint you. He will sit you down and he will talk to you. The guilt you will feel after his admonition will not only make you repent of your sins, but will discourage you from doing such bad things again.

Discipline is never sweet. Even the Bible said it. But the good thing about it is that the person disciplining the disciplined knows better and has the best intentions for the disciplined because he knows that discipline is the ONLY way to produce character in the disciplined. And if the disciplined can walk through the process, he or she will eventually see the gains. And that was the case with me.

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THE PARADOX OF AMERICA. THE SMARTEST NATION ON EARTH, YET THE DUMBEST

Upworthy-AR-15-500For anyone watching the developing story about the shooting in Orlando, it is clear that Omar the shooter is driven by both hate and religious extremism. He targeted a club that is patronized by the gay community. And according to authorities, he placed a 911 call to the police declaring his allegiance to the leader of ISIS in the course of the carnage. There you have it.

In an initial statement released by the father of the shooter on the day of the shooting, the father said his son was not driven by religion. But by a loathe for gay guys which took a significant turn the day father, son, and Omar’s son went to Miami and a gay couple were kissing not too far away from where they were. The father said Omar was outraged by the couple kissing in front of his male child.

Of course as a father I can understand his anger at the gay couple. I assume his reasoning might be that his young boy seeing the gay couple make out in public may perceive it a norm, especially since him the father, being a religious man, does not want the son whose faculties are yet to be fully developed, to imbibe such values. But whatever his grievances were, that does not warrant mass murder. It does not warrant any murder at all. His atrocious behavior is unacceptable. Especially to every man of conscience. He lived in a secular society that accepted and tolerated his ways of live and his own religious believes and practices. Omar by his actions is simply am embodiment of hatred and intolerance.

Now, Omar is a man filled with hate. He’s a man that was poised to let out his hatred in the most barbaric way. But does the U.S. Congress have to make it soooo freaking easy for him to carry out his hateful acts to such a magnitude?

AR-15 assault weapon is a weapon of war and have no place in a civilian’s life. Why is the U.S. Congress so cool with individuals having possession of this kind of weapon? A mass murder weapon that allows the shooter to kill many with ease and in a short period of time?

In a country of smarts like Bill Gates, Zuckerbergs, and Pages, why can’t our politicians muster the courage to work for the American people and say fuck you to the NRA and their crazy obsession of arming every Tom, Dick and Harry with guns?

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THE FULANI HERDSMEN AND SECURITY DILEMMA IN NIGERIA

Fulani herdsmen grazing their cattle across farmlands in southeastern states of Nigeria
Fulani herdsmen grazing their cattle across farmlands in southeastern states of Nigeria

In recent times, so many Nigerians have taken to Facebook, posting, commenting, and debating what they call the influx of Fulani herdsmen into southeastern states, using their cattle to graze farmlands and in the process killing farmers and villagers who protest the destruction of their farmlands and crops by these herdsmen. With AK-47. It used to be poisonous bows and arrows when we were kids. Now they are getting sophisticated.

The pictures of these killings are as gory as they are grotesque. The narration of the carnage and the pictures of helpless villagers fleeing their village as these herdsmen sack their villages are soul touching. And understandably, the outrage and the anger directed at the federal government of Nigeria over its inability to protect vulnerable Nigerians from fellow countrymen who are carrying out evil deeds against them are justified. Who in his right mind would stand by and watch their farmlands, which they spent energy, time, and most especially money to cultivate being destroyed by nomadic cattlemen. And just do nothing? And what sane neighbor or relative will sit idly and watch errant cattlemen overrun their kin who has the right to at the least protest the invasion of their farmland. As they they hacked to death?

In my analysis of these occurrences, I initially differed from most compatriots on who to place the blame on for the insecurity of lives and properties in the southeastern states where these Fulani herdsmen are perpetuating evil. To me, the governors and the local government chairmen or mayors of the affected states and local governments are the chief security officers of their various states and localities. It is their responsibility therefore, not only to rule their own people, but to also provide them with security. So if there is a breakdown of security or lawlessness, the mayors and the governors should be held responsible for such. They are the ones that has failed their people, and not President Buhari. But then I met Honorable Kwande Suleiman, an honorable member of the Federal House of Representatives in Nigeria and he reminded me that the federal system of government as practiced in Nigeria is completely different from what is obtained here in the United States. And that is what has incapacitated the governors from carrying out both their moral and constitutional duties of securing the lives and properties of their people from the invading Fulanis.

For example, here in the United States, every locality, every city, and every state have their own law enforcement units. Independent of federal government control. You have the county sheriffs, you have the city police departments, and you have the state troopers. They are all under local and state control and they serve their various communities within the state. But in Nigeria, the police are federalized. Only the president has control over them. In this instance, President Buhari. And a state governor, who is supposed to be the chief security officer of his own state does not have control over the commissioner of police that works within his state. The governor cannot give orders to the police commissioners. Furthermore, here in the United States, we have what we call the national guard, which is the reserve component of the U.S. military but which is under dual control of the states and the federal government. In emergency situations, the governor(s) of the affected state(s) of the union reserves the authority to call out the national guard to safeguard lives and properties and maintain order. In Nigeria, even though we have at least a military barracks in almost every state of the federation, the state governors do not have power over the garrison commanders and does not give them orders. So for a governor whose tools to secure lives and properties within his state are the police which he does not have power over, and or the military which he cannot give orders to do, how then can he protect his own?

But is that truly the case?

I lived in Nigeria for 25 years. I lived through several election cycles and I participated actively in most of them. And I saw firsthand how governors, local government chairmen, and even individuals of influence, USED, not only the regular police and their paramilitary unit (popularly called mobile police), but also the military, to rig elections, to harass their political opponents, and many a times to indiscriminately kill youths who did not support their political aspirations. So if state governors and local government chairmen in southeastern states can call out these law enforcement agents to do their bidding, to help them secure political power, whether they bribed their commanders or however they pulled it off, now that they have the power, nothing stops them from calling out these law enforcement agents again, this time to protect the governed. Or is the security of lives and properties of the governed not worth it?

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