The Spy who “Loved” Nigeria

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Sir Hanns Vischer

As they say; “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” Sir Hanns Vischer, was an agent of His Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service in Nigeria. He was referred to as “Dan Hausa” due to his mastery of the Hausa language which he helped in standardizing. He was also prolific in Arabic, Fulfulde and Kanuri in addition to Greek, French and German. Based in Kano from 1907 to 1919, his cover was head of the Education Department.

Gidan Dan Hausa, now a national monument was his official residence. The building had being in existence for about a hundred years before Kano was conquered by the British in 1903. It had previously served as the base of the overseer of the royal farming plantation outside the ancient city walls known as Rumada. Vischer rebuilt it from scratch making improvements in 1907.

The spymaster first came to Nigeria in 1901 and was based in Lokoja before he was reassigned to Maiduguri in 1903. By 1906, he crossed the Sahara Desert. He recounted his journey in a 1911 book entitled; “Across the Sahara from Tripoli to Borno” Another book he wrote is; “Rules for Hausa Spelling” printed in 1912.
Kano was crucial to the British in two aspects. First, in creating an elite that would oppose national independence. Second, it was a crucial cross roads in monitoring Francophone territories and the German colony of Kamerun.

According the historian, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman;
“The Hausa-speaking people, not only do they have dialects, which were barely mutually intelligible, but they have no tradition of a common origin.” Hausa as spoken and written today was therefore a British project. Vischer was one of the arrow heads.

Vischer’s residence also served as a school for sons of emirs from all over the North. With his wife who joined him in 1912, the couple moulded the young aristocrats teaching them how to read and write in English and Ajami (Arabic in Roman script) The school started with 30 pupils in 1909. Their hostel was within the Nasarawa palace of Kano emirate nearby.

Enrollment increased to over 200 princes by 1913 from the 11 provinces of the Northern Protectorate. It produced the first Western educated elites in the North that eventually became the first members of the House of Chiefs and Assembly both in Kaduna. Vischer’s school relocated becoming Katsina College in 1921, which is now Barewa College in Zaria.

The Vischers had two children at Gidan Dan Hausa. Their photographs including that of their house maid still adorn the main living room of the historic house to date.

The British did not come to the colonial contours of what became Nigeria for sightseeing – they came to plunder.
To pull that off they needed to apply “divide et impera” – divide and rule. They ensured no level of national consciousness could develop eventually preparing us for national independence without economic freedom.

The likes of Sir Vischer were instrumental to Pax Britannica. Such people are described as “capax imperii” – capable of ruling an empire by understanding and study of languages;
“One had only to watch him in his daily avocations in those early days to realize how completely at home he was with every class of society—whether he was engaged in grave deliberations with emirs, viziers and other high personages of the ruling hierarchy, or whether he was chaffing the hucksters at the market stalls as he rode through Kano city. No less revealing was it to see him in his own home pick up a native drum and, squatting on the floor, croon local Hausa songs to his own accompaniment. So inimitably did he do it that, if he had been hidden behind a screen, one would have said that an African musician had been engaged to entertain his guests”

At Gidan Dan Hausa, Vischer reorganized traditional Hausa building materials of “Tubali” and “Azara” by creatively using “Chafe” for plaster and “Makuba” for relieve motifs retaining “Zankwaye” (the horns at the top) and “Dakali” (the horizontal platform at the base)
Vischer used local labor sourced within the ancient city of Kano from “Unguwan Gini”

The original inhabitants of Kano are the “Abagawa” of the Nok Civilization. The “Wangara” from present-day Mali conquered and incorporated Kano into the Songhai Empire. Eventually the Habe held sway before the Hausanization process that followed the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate.

It has been the southern entrepôt of the Trans Saharan trade for millennia. Arabs and Tuaregs have been part of Kano’s mosaic for centuries.

It provided the perfect cover for Sir Hanns Vischer, a spymaster par excellence according to Nigel West in; Historical Dictionary of World War I Intelligence (2014)

SHE DECIDES

It is more than a shade easier for a girl to be corrupted sexually, than it is for a boy. A girl is naturally more endowed with the implements to lean back on and conveniently make a living off in the dark, more than her male counterpart.

Besides, her clients are naturally conditioned to pour in, in droves. Most times, the girls are culturally pressured to play along when economically tasked. It is a merry go round legacy they inherit and grow up to bequeath to their successors.

When they are hounded out by circumstances, covered and wrapped up in the uncertainty’s mist, they avert the gaze of morality and succumb, expectantly. The spurious infallible laws of most customs appear to be in one long corroboration mode with nature to shortchange the woman.
While the woman cannot fathom the unending impertinence to the legality of her fight, she recognizes them easily. To some degree, this dependency of hers is harnessed for her, such that she perceives them as right. She feels as virtuous as compelled.

On the other hand, the mans indignant antecedents are never realigning their reliability. Even when the woman excels and is allowed to glut, she endlessly feels more of a consultant than a senior employee in this living enterprise. It isn’t an issue of semantics or shades, it is purely double standards by nature. It is as simplistic as that. It never ceases, even when possibilities are marginally upped or proclaimed.

Even when the possibilities that abound for her are marginally upped or proclaimed and redeemed, they continually humiliate her painstaking efforts still. But the woman is nevertheless passionate in her continuous efforts, never abandoning her tedious trials.
Yet at the peak of her fiercely gotten triumphs, her rich tapestry would still feel like her man’s discarded rags. It feels destined that men will manage to mount the wild cow of the woman’s fears and boldly grab her swaying horns into submission.

The irony of it all is, at the right time for her to make a decision to split open his dominance, she never actually does. Instead, obsessed by her peculiarity, she omits to be steadfast, prune her potentials, squint naturally, not wink pretentiously. His sun shines on as her eclipsed moon and leaves no traces again.

As far as life is concerned, the sole weapon nature endowed her with is submerged within her and confined to her thoughts only. The very core of her difficulty is a theorem nature had solved long ago, which time and man hadn’t yet changed, though they never don’t stop trying.

The man cannot ever emotionally harm himself with pictures of the woman he conjures up his mind. It is only this folly he might choose to try to cringe from, he is either hooked up or not. His broken heart is misinterpreted to atone nothing and to wrestle away from his dominance, the undercut tactics the woman can resort to and rely on; tends to neglect the fact that it cant quench the thirst it slakes.

The woman remains the smelling monstrous carcass in the mans dreams. He only needs to wake up every morning and go on with his life. She is only an eye witness to his dreams and cannot step into his living world, unless he decides to enroll her. The turbulence that is her apprehension for some control gathers momentum to be slighted.

The key central delight the woman enjoys the most for all time is her procreation grant, and only because the natural trepidation of time uses her with it. Even then the consternation involved in bringing forth a physical marvel someone else had sired inside her, is apathetic. It is like a badly crippled spider delighting on the spoils provided by another spiders cobwebs. She endlessly baffles at how easily her active role is truncated. The passive contribution of the man hinders the glory of her pain.

Unclouded by the impersonation of her man, in the flurried act of birth, the fierce heat of subtle neglect by tradition always insults her ultimately. The man ever lives on, strutting along in accepted honour for just being a cameo of sorts. While the woman can merely dramatize her emotions, still only skeptical whether she is honoured or not, abhorred or exalted. She never really knows and can tell quite little.

The diatribe lingers, intruding incessantly on her real position as the harbinger of life and love. She has to rely on this bias acceptance which she is infinitely chastised and castigated for. It is perplexing how the eccentricity of the situation belittles her, when it should celebrate her. But there is an eternal good in all this, granted that this portrayal seduced her. It understandably ought to make her deficient of undying love. It would make anyone else inescapably furious. Being so indulged in this solitary abstraction is quite punitively irritable. Dot on the spot, it scotches logic with tentative and doubtless ease. Still well acquainted with not just insinuated, outrageous accusation of it being a mere tool and not the worker, she remains doggedly devoted.

She exhibits an earnest and distilled shine of love and extraordinary dedication. Trembling with genuine affection she actually reinforces her floundering faith in her man, lavish him with some more of her branded selfless love. The spontaneity of which is not tarnished with any misplaced aggression on her part. The calculated belittling of her is conspicuous. But the conviction of all this natural, as well as artificially crafted cruelty notwithstanding, it triggers off what become a bloom of mild beautiful eruption.

Regardless of whether the woman is treasured and receives a big bequest, she is fascinated by her masculine distractor. Her dedication may stumble and still it deepens into an overall vital part of the mans wellbeing. She delved into living this way fully, only hesitating to sparingly investigate a partner. Whether she unearths a chunk of coal or a gold nugget, is inconsequential to her. She gives the man his ratcheting room, to make up his mind if he would harm or protect her and her interests. Rather than dawdle about, wondering which kind of person he will be, she decides which kind of person she is.

#EndSARS: THE FALLEN UNARMED PEACEFUL NIGERIAN PROTESTER

By Taiwo Sanni

Tell my mother I was unarmed.

Tell my father I had the flag in my hands when I was shot.

Tell the unborn Generation that I died singing the national anthem.

Tell the cowards who shot me that my spirit lives on in the life of every good Nigerian youth.

Tell the government that they shot my body but not my spirit.

Tell the world I died for freedom like many good people before me.

I regret nothing, for I have done what my father’s, mother’s, uncle’s and aunt’s couldn’t do out of fear. Let God judge me, I am only sorry for the pain of leaving you this early.

My prints will forever remain in the sands of history for I have done my time based on the path I chose freely & willingly.

Now that my torment in Nigeria is over, please lay me to rest on mother earth where you all will join me in due time, take my voice and hand it over to the next good youth whom I hope by Gods Almighty grace will benefit a better Nation.

For I know that freedom is coming, yes freedom will come tomorrow.

Good bye…

DID YOU KNOW THESE THINGS HAD NAMES?


The space between your eyebrows is called a glabella


The way it smells after the rain is called petrichor.




The plastic or metallic coating at the end of your shoelaces is called an aglet.





The rumbling of stomach is actually called a wamble.






The cry of a new born baby is called a vagitus.





The prongs on a fork are called tines.




The sheen or light that you see when you close your eyes and press your hands on them is called phosphenes.



The tiny plastic table placed in the middle of a pizza box is called a box tent.




The day after tomorrow is called overmorrow.




Your tiny toe or finger is called minimus.



The wired cage that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne is called an agraffe.





The ‘na na na’ and ‘la la la’, which don’t really have any meaning in the lyrics of any song, are called vocables.




When you combine an exclamation mark with a question mark (like this ?!), it is referred to as an interrobang.



The space between your nostrils is called columella nasi


The armhole in clothes, where the sleeves are sewn, is called armscye.


The condition of finding it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning is called dysania.


Unreadable hand -writing is called griffonage.

The dot over an “i” or a “j” is called tittle.



That utterly sick feeling you get after eating or drinking too much is called crapulence.

The metallic device used to measure your feet at the shoe store is called Bannock device.

Nigeria at the mercy of quacks

Many Nigerians; including this writer, embark on self medication because our health care delivery system is grossly inadequate and therefore not economically convenient. And since a generality of Nigerians are not covered by form of Health Insurance, water will always find its level with precarious alternative of Bush Doctors in neighborhood “chemists” and on commercial buses. Others parade markets and other public places some with loudspeakers hawking various concoctions.

The WHO considers 1 doctor per 1000 persons “insufficient” but in Nigeria it is 1 doctor per 4222 persons according to the National Population Commission.
I do not know which part of the moon Dr Chris Ngige lives on because according to him;

“We have more than enough doctors. You can quote me. We have surplus. If you have surplus, you export. There is nothing wrong in them travelling out. When they go abroad, they earn money and send them back home here.”

This was the Labour minister’s response that was broadcast by Channels TV on April 24, 2019 when he was queried about the mass exodus of medical professionals from Nigeria. Ngige’s position clearly contradicts that of his erstwhile colleague on the Federal Executive Council, former Health minister, Prof Isaac Adewole who had previously in May 2018 declared at a conference of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) that they were 88,692 registered doctors in Nigeria out which only 45,000 were practicing in Nigeria – the rest abroad. This simply means in reality there is about 1 doctor per 8000 persons in Nigeria. I nevertheless humbly stand to be corrected.

According to the register of General Medical Council there were 5250 Nigerian doctors practicing in UK as at 2017. However, in 2018 the number had risen to 6289. An increase of more than 1000 in just one year! Interestingly, that represents a third of a total of 3230 doctors graduated by the 32 medical faculties in Nigeria out of a total of 174 NUC approved universities in Nigeria.

Nigerian doctors and other medical professionals understandably flee abroad for more renumeration and better working conditions. Let us not talk about lack of patriotism because we all know how impossible it is to get admission to either read medicine or pharmacy in Nigeria.

The topic of conversation should be why is our nation not investing in medical education. For instance, in the North West geopolitical zone only ABU, BUK and Sokoto have the capacity to produce 120,100 and 100 doctors respectively based on the approved quota for 2018 by the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria. In the entire North East only UniMaid has the quota to produce 150 doctors. The highest quota in Nigeria of 180 is allocated to University of Ibadan. The lowest of 50 is allocated to the 5 partially accredited medical schools that include that of Benue State University headed by my good friend Prof Linus Saalu. In overall context out of the 32 medical faculties in Nigeria only 8 are in the North out of which 6 are federal owned (Unijos, Unilorin, Unimaid, UDUS, ABU, BUK) then that of Benue state as earlier mentioned and the ECWA owned Bingham University, Karu in Nasarawa state.

How has the preponderance of political appointments to the North alleviated health care delivery for the Talakawa in Nigeria’s must densely population region that produces only 15 dental surgeons annually out of a national turnout of 175?
What is the way forward? But before answering let us look at the number of pharmacists of which the following report speaks volumes;

“The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has expressed fear on the rising number of pharmacists who are emigrating from Nigeria to seek for a “better life abroad.”

Speaking with press men at the commencement ceremony of the Pharmacy Week 2019, Chairman of PSN, Oyo State chapter, Abiodun Ajibade, said: “Pharmacists population in Nigeria is very low, this is in spite of the great potentials for growth occasioned by continuous emigration of Pharmacists whom Nigeria has spent heavily to train as a result of poor practice environment.” According to Ajibade, “Out of less than 30,000 total population of practicing Pharmacists in Nigerian, over five thousand of them have gone outside the country.”

According to a post on Bloomberg.com entitled Trapped by Coronavirus, Nigerian Elite Faces Squalid Hospitals dated April 2, 2020 there are 180,709 registered nurses and 0.5% hospital beds per 1000 persons in Nigeria. But more disturbing than this is the report by Inspire Nurses Network Africa, an NGO, that “90 per cent of Nigerian Nurses lacked basic life support skills on emergency care.”

The way forward is obvious; the cost of running our democracy must be reduced starting with the National Assembly. As long as state governors and LG chair persons are not held accountable on “security votes” Nigerians will continue to be at the mercy of (Quacks) Bush Doctors!

Sunday of Palms and Qualms

Matthew 21:1-17World wide today is Palm Sunday. “In the biblical text above, Jesus sent his disciples to get a colt (donkey) for him, telling them to repeat His instructions if confronted when untying the colt. The next scene described Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. As the colt was untied and decorated to carry the Master. The colt was released from bondage to carry the Christ. We must note that the main purpose of our release from bondage is to carry the Master – an instrument to accomplish His mission.” This is the quote from ‘The Daily Fountain’; daily devotional guide of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)The timing of this year’s Palm Sunday is instructive in a number of respects. Most of the world is in lock down. Christians join the world is shutting themselves away from churches and congregational worship on a day that is most significant for communal worship.The hassles of daily life has been conditionally reduced to the bare necessities of live, namely;Life, Safety & Family.
The entire world has, without warning, withdrawn inside, together and it almost complete unison.As we wait for the coming release from this pandemic and it’s accompanying discomforts, are going to make the lessons worthwhile?Is the world using this moment to reboot it’s sense of priority?This spiritual anniversary of sober reflection coincides with a time of conscious assessment of what matters the most.Definitely this Sunday of Palms comes around with bouts of doubts and concerns. But for any attentive person of whatever orientation, creed & calling, this is a time for reconsidering what matters the most. Indeed this Sunday of Palms comes with it’s Qualms.Though we’re not in complete disarray but we will all concur that it could have been a whole lot worse.We will beat this as we did most others before it. This is a wake up call, we all know this. But have we all reassessed?

One Hundred Tributes for One

We recently lost our Grand mother…

She passed on in the morning, on Monday, 2nd September, 2018.

She was laid to rest on Saturday, 8th September, 2018.

She was a few years over hundred. Her exact age was a point of debate. Since it was unanimously agreed she was over a hundred years old, the logical thing was to state her age simply as hundred.

She matched amongst plus the hundred,

Amidst all and sundry, her kindred.

She lived her plus the hundred,

And stood out like one in a hundred.

Our Mama lived cherished,
And will never for us, be perished.
Ever she is so revered,

For so long very endeared.

Rest In Peace Ngo….
We fondly remember your cheer..

IDOLS

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What or who do you idolize? Do you revere anything in particular or do you just go it on your own, living life by your wits?

What sort of answers satisfy you when you are faced with those questions that simply refuse to be answered?

The patience of man
Had over many ages
Given to his own land
Births of many images.

It has made gods
Of so many symbols;
Earthly made rods,
Also celestial balls.

In his long wait
His patience creates
Answers that relate
Only to his state.

The clouds of reason
Cover his horizons;
Make a sky season,
Or mystic masons.

Sight is so deceptive
That it can tilt a view,
Halo any perspective
With inspired preview.

Man looks around
And sees such beauty,
Beyond any he found
Or his own humanity.

In his natural urge
He pays respects to
Visions and courage,
Where honour isn’t due.

In his all human way,
He puts faith in those
He comprehends’ll stay;
Idolizing his very nose.

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MOUNTAIN

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My mood goes up and down a mountain,
Too inspired by the challenge to refrain.
Wary of the danger that’s being embraced,
So cautious of the consequence, if disgraced.

Confused at the reason why anyone must,
Scared of the height beckoning my lust.
Struggling up the first ledge as I edge up,
Proud to have made it up my own little top.

Further up more battles, the way is yet more.
Betrayed by falling rocks I yearn for before;
Holding on to dear life, yet another average.
Dejected by unfriendly weather and also age.

Angry to slip off the steep, rubbed in bruises.
Disappointed to lose the gained just pushes;
Gasping up yet another route should matter,
In time it comes to never prove any better.

Surprised by the like company all about,
Reason enough for such to pine on without
The appreciation my efforts and gains deserve.
Tired yet gladden by that view, a pleasure.

Knowing I cannot stay forever there on top.
When and not if I return grounded from up;
Normal should I be again, only different
With experience and lessons time can’t dent.

If I return pushed from its highest cliff’s edge
Or in honour received at finished time’s verge,
I’ll wrestle my older age’s embers of last mood;
Helplessly watch it win all my trophies and food.

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