Damn, it’s 4am already. I have barely had 3 hours of sleep and about to dash through the door again. A roll to the other side and a morning hug from the missus is what the doctor recommends. Rush through the morning rituals and pop into the boys room…Bless they did not ask for this life! Big squeeze and kisses and off to the waiting car to the airport, and that’s when I knew immediately what was bothering me.Yes, leaving my kids and travelling yet again is hard, and it’s not just that they are tucked up in bed and I’m off to a country they have never been to – though they are deemed to be citizens of that country. No, this musing is not about my kids, and although I have a lot that I can ramble on about, from Nicki Minaj’s fight with Cardi B at NYFW, the Serena Williams unbelievable ‘feminist’ outburst at the US Open or even Atiku Abubakar and Osinbajo’s open letters. No, those are irrelevances at least for now.The big elephant in the room is the Kemi Adeosun resignation over some NYSC Exemption certificate forgery scandal. The truth is that although I was not particularly taken by Adeosun when she was announced as Finance minister, my opinion changed when I met her at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. On that particular day in September last year, she was going through security just like the rest of us and what I saw of her showed why I feel so sad to hear about her resignation. The security at the airport were complaining about Adeosun because she did not behave like the Central Bank of Nigeria governor and other government officials travelling with her that day. She went through security just like any other ordinary Nigerian, no fuss or protocol – even carrying her bag herself! I glanced and smiled at her true Britishness and whilst she went and boarded her British Airways flight, it bothered me that the security at the airport were complaining. The truth is that in Nigeria, they like people like the CBN governor and the other officials who were smiling and waving and greeting people at the airport, you would have thought Adeosun was just the personal assistant as she went through. Her uncompromising professional approach and upbringing is not what you see in Nigeria daily.Like she rightly pointed out in her resignation letter, she was born and raised in England, so I could understand her clearly. She thought in her mind, people would just do the job and not about the shenanigans around it. Yet, this is where she got it wrong and I, like other British businesses operating in Nigeria have honestly gotten it wrong. We believe that Nigeria is some sort of developed country, and that everything is done properly and alas, most of the time, just like Richard Brandson’s Virgin Nigeria, we discover that Nigerians are a different kettle of fish. In Nigeria, there is the Nigerian way. It does not make sense neither can it be explained but that is the way Nigerians are. Most Nigerians do not trust themselves, each other nor do they trust the system. The Nigerian system is broken. And this brings me back to Adeosun because even though most people are going overboard about an incredible journalistic feat that unseated a Minister, it only shows that Nigeria is skewed and seriously warped.The fact is that Adesoun went to university, graduated and worked with many international organisations, not just because she’s a Nigerian but because she is qualified to do the job. Adeosun like my kids do not understand Nigeria and that is her only downfall and that is why I am worried, because she left her job and nicely evolving career in London to head to Ogun state to serve her motherland. There are more people in Nigeria that are carrying fake licenses, certificates and other ‘official’ documents that they have paid and honestly believe are genuine. It’s the system. She presented her University of East London (not the best university in London, I must confess) degree for her NYSC exemption certificate. She was legit and upfront. What happened next was that some Nigerians gave her a dud NYSC exemption certificate. This was a lady that does not understand and believes the certificate that she has asked people to get for her was genuine. Adesoun then used this same certificate to secure appointments in Ogun state and with the federal government. What has she done wrong? She trusted Nigerians, people close to her….And in Nigeria, you don’t trust people, except like me my God-fearing parents and siblings, every other person in truth cannot be trusted. How many time have you heard of people in the Diaspora returning home only to learn that the properties that they have or possessed aren’t actually theirs or are fake and bogus?This is my main issue, Kemi Adeosun was betrayed by people so close to her but the betrayal is nothing compared to the one by our society. How can her NYSC certificate not be noticed during her screening at the state level or even by the DSS, SSS, National Assembly and even presidency during the screening process.Why was this allowed to drag on for so long? Who were the people that knew and were trying to blackmail her? I really feel sorry that she was basically thrown under the bus by her country. Adesoun was not and is not the problem, she is a straightforward, decent and honest British-born Nigerian who was caught up in politics and betrayed by the people close to her. But she was not only betrayed by her ‘associates’, but by her motherland who did not give her a chance to succeed.
I smiled when I heard that she left Nigeria, but not because of her leaving, but more ironically by her flying with British Airways, (because truthfully, she is British), that she was returning back to the serene and ordered life that she knows. Cry not for her, because she will assuredly get an international appointment soon, but cry instead for Nigeria who is now one less short of the people that actually want to make some actual change and just get on with the job. Adeosun was forced out because of her finance role and and the reason is political, if you trust any Nigerian that says anything other than that, then you’re on your own!What I have been Up To
This traditionally is our busiest time and running a fashion and media international organisation involves a lot of traveling and networking. And fashion week is all about the two.What I’m watching
I’ve not had much sleep, so this week has been a no no regarding films. But I’ve had to download the BBC drama Bodyguard and I’m looking forward to seeing Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, I just hope that it lives up to the reviews.What I’m Listening To
Alisson Kraus has been on repeat this week, no doubt that she has the voice of an angel and seeing her in concert is definitely high on my bucket list. Also, the boys have gotten me hooked on Sinach and her ‘I know who I am’ song.Who’s caught my eyes
Daddy Freeze’s assertion that he has lost his job because of his criticism of religious leaders, has definitely made headlines. But he should be commended for his opinions however disjointed they are. I believe that he has the right to express his thoughts, how, when and where those thoughts are expressed is another point entirely. I like strong and bold people, however I do feel that his approach and language usually drown out his ideas and arguments. I sincerely wish him well and hope he has learnt from this episode, that although a lot of people might agree with your viewpoint, this does not mean they will abandon their attitudes, beliefs and culture…after all this is Nigeria not Romania.My Week Ahead
It’s been some weeks, since I had last been to our office in Lagos and hopefully I should at some point be in Africa more, in time for our ‘Woman of The Year nominations’ which should be announced soon.Photo Credit: Getty