Showing posts with label Queen Elizabeth II of England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Queen Elizabeth II of England. Show all posts

Monday, September 27, 2010

Power, Power, Power

Niger Delta militants

In this ninth chapter of Royal Mail, his twelve-part epistle to Queen Elizabeth II of England, His Royal Majesty Nengi Josef Ilagha, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe, traces the political foibles suffered by Nigeria in the past fifty years to the possessive mindset of the leaders as exemplified by their narrow and unpatriotic utterances.


Power, Power, Power

O my body, make of me always a man who questions!
- Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)

SOME THINGS ARE worth talking about, Your Majesty. This is the time to say them before those who have ears, in summits and conferences, in banquets and dinner parties, in seminars and workshops, in soirees and house fellowships. This is the time to summon the facts of every case, reason things out, arrive at solutions, and get things done. I am the speaker. You are my audience. Our subject of consideration dwells on the fact that Nigeria, a former colony of the Crown, a staunch member of the British Commonwealth, is fifty. We are assessing the relationship between both countries, your country and mine, in the intervening years. We suspect that progress could have been more rapid, more concrete, more durable, more assured in the most populous African nation under the sun, if Her Majesty had been more open handed with Nigeria, and paid closer attention to the well-being of the young nation from October 1, 1960, onward. Rather like a caring mother.

In his book, The Trouble With Nigeria, Chinua Achebe lampoons two of the most influential politicians to have emerged in the history of Nigeria, for statements that showed them to be less than nationalist in outlook than they are credited for by sundry apologists. He recalls a pledge made by Dr Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe to the effect “…that henceforth I shall utilize my earned income to secure my enjoyment of a high standard of living and also to give a helping hand to the needy.” That statement was made in 1937, long before Zik became the first President of Nigeria. In like manner, Achebe finds Chief Obafemi Awolowo, first Premier of the Western Region, deficient on account of his vow “to make myself formidable intellectually, morally invulnerable, to make all the money that is possible for a man with my brains and brawn to make in Nigeria.”

However, the pioneer African novelist missed out on a proclamation that was even more selfish for all its parochial vacuity. It is a statement that presumes that, from October 1, 1960, Nigeria in entirety was a territory open to acquisition by the sultanate. Your Majesty, did you at any time give the impression that Nigeria was a gift to the northern oligarchy? Of course, I put it past you. You are too sensible to make such a costly error. It so happens, however, that Nigeria’s first Northern Premier and Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, is quoted as saying that Nigeria was but a landed property belonging to none other than Uthman Dan Fodio, the cultural progenitor of the Muslim north. In the October 12, 1960, edition of The Parrot, the Sarduana declared as follows. Quote.

This New Nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools, and the South, as conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future.

Unquote. Four years later, his ambition received corroboration and endorsement from an equally immoderate pundit in search of political relevance. In the West African Pilot edition of December 20, 1964, Mallam Bala Garuba proclaimed as follows, and I quote:

The conquest to the sea is now in sight. When our god-sent Ahmadu Bello said some years ago that our conquest will reach the sea shores of Nigeria, some idiots in the South were doubting its possibilities. Today have we not reached the sea? Lagos is reached. It remains Port Harcourt. It must be conquered and taken.

Thank God for the internet, Your Majesty. These statements can be cross-checked against the records and verified for accuracy. Yet, it is possible that many a Nigerian politician from the South has been ignorant of the condescending pronouncements of the first Prime Minister of the Northern Region and his ardent acolyte. Either that, or they couldn’t be bothered to reject the underlying hubris in both statements that threaten the political integrity of Nigeria.

Clearly, the Sarduana’s statement smacks of naked ambition for power. Coming from a prominent political figure of the day in the very first fortnight marking the country’s independence from Britain, that statement strikes me as injurious to reason. It strikes me as a premeditated utterance calculated to abuse authority. By any measure of societal conduct, it is a travesty to trample upon the feelings of your neighbours, and to dismiss the entire inheritance of a people as meaningless, appropriating them by an irascible fiat without their consent, subordinating them as serfs and vassals to what is undoubtedly a noble emirate.

That statement strikes me as a gross misjudgment on the part of the respectable Sarduana as to what it means to live in peace and harmony with your neighbours. No wonder that Sir Alan Lennox-Boyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies (1954-1959), Colonial Office, United Kingdom, thought more highly of the tactful Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Belawa. In a famous memorandum to Her Majesty The Queen on Nigeria's Constitutional Conference dated May 29, 1958 -- the selfsame document which provides the basis for setting up the Henry Willink Commission -- Lennox-Boyd states as follows. Quote.

The Prime Minister is sagacious and able and relations between him and the Governor-General are frank and cordial. He is openly anti-Communist, he is under no illusions about the difficulties of the task facing both himself and the country, and his policy is likely to be as pro-Western as the narrow Muslim outlook of his principal Northern supporters will allow. (In his Party hierarchy he is only deputy to the leader, the vain and pompous Sarduana of Sokoto, Premier of the Northern Region.)

Unquote. Check your records, Your Majesty, and let me know if I’m wrong. I am from the South. I hail from the Niger Delta. I am an illustrious son of Ijaw land. I am proud to be a citizen of Glory Land. I am not an idiot. Neither is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, my fellow southerner. That provocative statement by the revered Sarduana of Sokoto strikes me as the overarching vapour of an ethnic irredentist with the most unpatriotic credentials who ought to lose his face on the national currency, divested of every garland that may have been bestowed on him, including the knighthood granted by Her Britannic Majesty The Queen.

I am not angry, Your Majesty. I am simply upset. Some things ought to be talked about, frankly. Let’s face the truth, that the truth might set us free. Nothing could be more shocking, and it seems to me that this is the quiet agenda that has been pursued for five full decades now. Only God has seen it fit to have it reversed. Only God will ensure it remains reversed. Little wonder that the leadership of Nigeria has been largely dominated by the north in all fifty years of our existence as a sovereign nation.

Little wonder that Ibrahim Babangida feels he has a legitimate right to claim his ancestral portfolio yet again, and put the minorities in servitude for another eight years of civilian rule with a military character. For, indeed, Babangida remains the only military despot, amongst his kindred dictators, who assumed the title of civilian President in his khaki uniform. If he were ever to get back to the presidency, empowered by civilian votes under free and fair elections, I wouldn’t put it past him to adopt the title of Head of State instead of President, and actually conduct state business in a ceremonial khaki agbada!

God forbid, says the multitude. As a leader under whose watch one of the foremost journalists of the day, Dele Giwa, was blown to pieces by a letter bomb, I do hope that a copy of this royal mail will arrive Babangida’s breakfast table on a bright Sunday morning, and explode his conceit into nothingness. For verily, verily, I assure you, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida will not go scot-free. He will pay for his crimes against Nigeria. Your Majesty, I speak of a man who harnessed fabulous resources to conduct a free and fair election, having secured the assurance of the electorate about his good intent, only to nullify the results in a swift broadcast with every coup-making jargon intact.

Did you hear his glib excuses for annulling the elections of June 12, 1993, in that interview with CNN’s Christian Purferoy? Did you see reason with him, Your Majesty? Did you see raw arrogance, ingrained vanity, on display? Why was he so sure that Moshood Kashimawo Abiola would have made a worse leader than himself? What makes Babangida think that he is the best thing that has ever happened to the seat of power in Nigeria?

As one who not only accepts responsibility for wasting the valuable resources of a country on an election that he believes to be free and fair, an election he cancelled simply to satisfy his whims, for such a man who is willfully begging to be killed by his fellow country men and women, he deserves to be lynched in honour of the mandate of Abiola. It has come to that, Your Majesty.

O, he shall be shackled by the most austere conditions that may be visited upon a wicked soul for introducing the Structural Adjustment Programme that sapped the life out of many a Nigerian. How many beds hold the body of Babangida in the course of one night in his 50-bedroom marvel of a mansion cast in marble? How long is that solo bed, any more than six proverbial feet?

His greed has found him out on judgment day. He shall drink of hyssop eternally, and shed endless tears of grief in the core of his heart, unless he recants. He shall whine and pain and be tortured in the soul, now that Armageddon has come. Let the fellow be whipped to submission by the even hand of nemesis. It is a mark of the lack of conscience in our nation that Ibrahim Babangida could rear his head seventeen years after being disgraced out of office, and dismiss the current generation of Nigerians as incapable of producing a leader to rival his own perceived stature on the international scene. How presumptuous can he get?

Ask me another question, Your Majesty. I speak of a man who dispatched to an early death a boyhood friend, a poet with a military syntax to his verse who remains the first proponent of a Writer’s Village that is yet to manifest on a homely parcel of land for a fresh literary renaissance to flourish in Nigeria. Mamman Vatsa was a fellow officer who served Babangida as his best man in more senses than one. By all accounts, they were as close as brothers could be.

Sufiya, Vatsa’s widow, testifies at length: “I thought IBB and my husband were of the same family. The two wore the same size of dress and pair of shoes. IBB would drop his dirty wears in our house and put on my husband’s. When IBB traveled out for further military training, my husband took care of Maryam and her children. My husband bought their first set of furniture from Leventis on hire purchase. IBB was also my husband’s best man during our wedding. Whenever Maryam’s Mercedez Benz broke down, she used to drive my Peugeot 404. We were close.”

The IBB in question, Your Majesty, is Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. None of this solicitous friendship that Sufiya speaks about meant anything to IBB. Neither did the intervention of three of Nigeria’s foremost literary icons, namely Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo. IBB did not budge. On the evening of Thursday March 5, 1986, the self-contained Head of State announced to a shocked nation the summary execution of General Mamman Jiya Vatsa and sixteen other officers, for staging what has since come to be known as a phantom coup.

IBB confessed that he had to avert his eyes while watching the video of the execution, when Vatsa removed his wrist watch and wedding band and handed them over to a soldier in the firing squad, with a plea that the treasures be sent to his loving wife. The ring was missing in transit, and another was procured for the widow who dutifully rejected it. Sufiya and her four children: Fatima, Haruna, Jubril and Aisha, still grieve over a promising dream that was cut short in its prime.

And this ruthless fellow dares to come forward yet again. This man who could not withstand healthy competition from his bosom friend, dares to compete with the joint will of Nigerians against ruthlessness in high places. This inordinate tyrant who has not thought it necessary to improve the base of his faculties since his woeful school certificate examinations, dares to condemn the educational credentials of the youth of today. Coming from a leader whose tenure was marked by incessant closure of universities, one who forced a heavy hand of oppression upon the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, this must count as one of the most ironic condemnations made by a field commander of failure in recent times.

It turns out that Attahiru Jega, the President of ASUU at the time, who brought intolerable populist pressure to bear upon the self-serving policies of the dictator, is now the boss at the nation’s revived electoral commission. If that is not situational irony at its finest conception, Your Majesty, I wonder what is. I am hopeful that Jega will conduct free and fair elections in 2011, decide the winner without prejudice, and let the world know that things can be done right in Nigeria after all. Let Nigerians decide their next President, of their own free will, each vote counting honestly.

Babangida has vowed that not even Jehovah can stop him from becoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria a repeated time. He has summoned the nerve to advertise the gap in his front teeth on national television, one for which the self-confessed “evil genius” has come to be known. Verily, verily, I have come to assure him that he will not escape the rule of law with his dastardly crimes, his condemnable travesty against the peace-loving land and people of Nigeria. Neither will he get away with his blasphemy. Ama Gido will not let that be.

At any rate, Your Majesty, the Sarduana erred. He practically overstepped his bounds. He blew the wrong flute. He said what he ought not to have said. He spoke like a tyrant. But as Frederick Douglas once said, “the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” I dare say the tyranny of the northern oligarchy has reached its limits. It is to the credit of God that the leadership of Nigeria has been zoned, irrevocably, to conscience. It is time for reason to prevail, time for equity and justice to hold sway in the affairs of the nation. That is why good luck has come to the patient people of Nigeria.

After fifty years of tolerance and understanding from the long-suffering oil-producing minority communities of the Niger Delta, it is only fair that one of their own should be at the helm of affairs for a full term. It is only fit and proper that the people of Ijaw land come into reckoning, given their selfless goodwill in times past. For, at critical points of national transition, the Ijaw freely endorsed the Hausa-Fulani and provided the basis for peaceful co-existence in a nation of great diversity, quite in spite of the economic power they command. The fact of the matter, Your Majesty, is that the starting block for Nigeria’s democratic journey was constituted by the alliance between the Niger Delta Congress, NDC, a political party founded by the Ijaw, and the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC, founded by the Hausa-Fulani. It was this bond of solidarity that gave the NPC the ticket it desperately needed to national acceptance.

Your Majesty, the voluble ones have had their say. It is only to be expected that, in the fullness of time, the oil-producing minorities should have their way as well, even as their leaders have a say in deciding the future of the nation. Let the meek inherit the earth, says Pope Pen. Let there be grounds for proof that a leader from the dispossessed minority can make a change for the better in the fortunes of our nation. Let those who have been on the reserve bench for so long have a fair chance to play the game of governance for the world to see, and for history to reckon with, as we enter the second half of Nigeria’s political independence in this golden year of jubilee.

Nigeria has given in large measure to its people. It is time for Nigerians to give back to Nigeria, in the manner of a play back, in the manner of Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow. It is time to get back to the future, time to adopt the best ideals of our founding fathers, time to follow the path of rectitude. Indeed it is time to repeat more frequently the solemn prayer embodied in the second stanza of our national anthem.

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause;
Guide our leaders right;
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Your Majesty, The Flat Face Of The Naira

In this chapter from Royal Mail, his twelve-part epistle to Queen Elizabeth II of England, the renowned Nigerian poet, King Nengi Josef Ilagha, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe, suggests that the name of the Naira be changed to Turinchi, the Hausa-Fulani word for English, to reflect the national heritage of Nigeria as it marks 50 years of political independence from Britain.


The Flat Face Of The Naira

No one can make you a slave without your consent
- Eleanor Roosevelt

YOUR MAJESTY, I am a living witness to just how round the pound is, even as a coin, and how prestigious it is in hand. There’s no dirt on the face of the Queen in the fifty pound note. It is the strongest currency in the world, and has been so for so long. The dollar bows to it, and so does the yen. The euro does not compare with the sterling by a yardstick, which is why the average British citizen would rather not have any kind of political merger that might spell a drop in value for the sterling.

By the way, how does it feel to have your face on your own national currency, to know that wherever the pound is, there you are as well? Today when I tell my children that, once upon a time, this same pound was the national currency in Nigeria, they find it hard to believe. It has become the stuff of legend that every pound and every shilling was mopped up by the Central Bank of Nigeria only in 1973, three years after the civil war. It is hard to believe that the naira, the Nigerian currency, was swapping on a cozy ratio of two naira to one pound at that time; that the naira indeed was on a comfortable one to one exchange footing with the American dollar.

Things have since fallen apart for the Nigerian naira, Your Majesty. The central government cannot hold it in place, not along the roadside market, not on the stock exchange. Recently, I had cause to change a huge pile of naira notes, all two hundred thousand pieces of them, and was suitably embarrassed to receive a sum under one thousand pounds in exchange. In the batting of an eyelid, I had finished counting. Before the imperial pound, the naira simply falls flat on its face, a willing slave on the fiscal calculus. I am still at a loss as to how this happened, Your Majesty, and why we haven’t been able to rise to our full height for so long.
At the recent Isaac Boro day celebrations in London, the special representative of the President at the occasion, Braeyi Ekiye, was telling the packed audience about the progress being made at the home front with regard to the proposed electoral reforms. Even though I was familiar with the figure that had been approved for the electoral commission towards the 2011 elections, the explosive sound of eighty-seven billion naira still reverberates in my ears -- and it has nothing to do with the burp of the microphone before Ekiye’s lips.

In times past, I thought, that figure would amount to the overall budget of a number of states for one year. Now, it is one of many approvals that the President is obliged to endorse within a space of four months. As the days unfold, my fellow country men and women seem to lose sight of a geographical verity, that the higher you go the cooler it becomes. With regard to the naira, in this particular case, the higher the figures the lower the value of our currency in the international money market.

Once upon a time, the naira was the leading and most liquid currency in all of West Africa, so much so that it was proposed as the legal tender of the sub-region. That’s because the Ghanaian cedi as well as the West African CFA franc were underlings, so many thousand units exchanging for a handful of naira. Not so anymore. We now count our funds in mouthfuls as well, and the more high-sounding the amounts, the more gratifying in the ears of the average contractor and his political collaborator. Every day, so much money is voted for, and so little gets done. Chinua Achebe testifies that “we have become so used to talking in millions and billions that we have ceased to have proper respect for the sheer size of such numbers.” He was writing in 1983, mark you. Today, twenty-seven years later, the tendency to proclaim billion naira figures is far more manifest, in the private calculations of individuals as in the official pronouncements of government.

Let me bring you up to date on this, Your Majesty. One of the most hopeful road projects in the fifty-year history of Nigeria is the Nembe-Brass road. It was first proposed by the Niger Delta Development Board in 1962. Then it came on the Federal Government's drawing board in 1971, and was first awarded by the General Yakubu Gowon regime, evidently in millions. The same project was re-awarded in 1983 by the Shehu Shagari government but was botched by the coup that was to follow. It was awarded a third time in 1990 by the Babangida regime only to be conveniently abandoned. In the wake of the presidential amnesty granted Niger Delta militants, the contract was awarded for a record fourth time in November 2009, just before the late President Yar’Adua took ill.

Today, the entire forty-two kilometer stretch of the road commencing from Yenagoa and cutting through Oloibiri and Nembe right down to Brass on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean, is estimated to cost one billion naira per kilometer. That would be forty-two billion naira, only. Professor E.J. Alagoa, chairman of the Nembe-Ibe Group Road Project, laments that forty-eight years after the idea for the road was first mooted and the commitment of the Federal Government was spelt out on paper, the road is still a future prospect. Given the penchant for cost variations in Nigeria’s construction industry, to say nothing of kick-backs and side kicks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to Your Majesty if the road swallows all of eighty-four billion naira, if not more, by the time it gets to destination point.

Nigeria is an odd country, Your Majesty, at cross purposes with itself. Even in the development of literature and the arts, Nigeria is deficient. The writers weep for lack of patronage. Values are turned upside down and inside out. Nigeria is the only country on the face of the earth where an enlightened panel of judges decides the best nine books of poetry out of 163 published in four years, and yet cannot declare the winner. And then -- surprise, surprise! -- the prize money goes to the panel. It happened on the night of October 10, 2009, at the Nicon Noga in Abuja.

Former Heads of States were there, business tycoons were there, politicians came in all their pageantry. Only conscience was in flight. None of the eggheads on parade could ease the microphone from the Master of Ceremonies, and tell the panel of professors and their sponsors on the spot that it was wrong to advertise a prize for one full year, and demure when it mattered most. The prize money in question was not in naira. It carried greater value. It was fifty thousand United States dollars.
As Dan Agbese, one of Nigeria’s most perceptive journalists, would put it: “What distinguishes Nigeria from other countries is not our wealth but the way we use it. Other countries spend money to solve their problems. We turn money into missiles and shoot them at our problems.” He couldn’t have put it better. The poets in question are still reeling with shock in the aftermath of that unnecessary coup.

Even so, Your Majesty, you were no less unconscionable in your bid to exploit the resources of Nigeria. I dare say the British Crown built a good part of modern Britain on the wealth you colonized from our groundnut pyramids, our cocoa pods, our palm produce and our oil wells, in much the same way that Babangida built Abuja with the wealth derived from the Niger Delta. You will do well to wipe your conscience clean of this imperial misdemeanour.

It is time to own up to what you took by force and guile, time to return every artifact in your National Museum at Bloomsbury, every artistic piece that bears the signature of Nigeria, beginning with the sixteenth century Ivory Mask from Benin which was the mascot for the Second African Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC ‘77. And that is just in the cultural sector. It is time for restoration on a pervasive scale, time for conscience to have the right of way in your dealings with our nation and its long-suffering people.


If you were to throw a question over the heads of the Nigerian multitude, and ask all those who do not think that Jesus Christ can conduct free and fair elections in the country to raise their hands, only one man is bound to do so. That man is Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo, OOO for short, a farmer from Ota who has since lost his hoe. It is like an obsession with him to utter offensive statements. Obasanjo is prone to blasphemy, Your Majesty. Like Prince Phillip, he has a risqué sense of humour. As Professor Charles Nnolim would say, “every time he opens his mouth, a big fat toad jumps out.” You want to hazard a bet? No need for that. OOO is my fellow country man. I know him better than you do. Never mind the show he put up for you when you visited Abuja seven years ago.

On the eve of the 2003 elections, Sam Aluko, one of the foremost economists in the country, had cause to compare the Abacha and Obasanjo administrations side by side. He scored Abacha far higher than OOO. At the very next press conference the farmer attended, the question came up for air. What’s your reaction to what Professor Aluko said about your government and its mismanagement of the naira? Obasanjo’s retort went right off the mark.
“That one whose son is a thief in the Senate?”

Talk about effrontery, Your Majesty. The man left the substance of the matter altogether and stalked the shadow instead. How fallacious can he get? Ask me another question. When approached for comments, Aluko chose not to join issues with the farmer. If he were to oblige him, he would have probably underscored the fact that, under Abacha, the naira exchanged for twenty-two to one dollar. But by the time Obasanjo left office on May 29, 2007, following his failed bid to make a third term, the naira had fallen to a sprawling low of one hundred and fifty to one dollar.
Mark you, I am not holding brief for General Sani Abacha. He was the most mindless, the most rabid, of all the dictators that ever governed Nigeria these past fifty years. His personal record of corruption and graft ranks as the most brazen in the annals of our history. The Swiss Bank is my witness. In fact, the government of OOO took it upon itself to investigate Abacha’s wholesale looting of Nigeria's coffers, and declared that $4 billion or £3 billion worth of foreign assets were traced to Abacha, all acquired at the expense of the tax payer. In 2002, out of $2.1 billion demanded by the government, Abacha's family agreed to return $1.2 billion that was annexed from the Central Bank. In many ways, Abacha was the last Nigerian military dictator. It is now twelve years since he passed on. We don’t need another.

It so happens that Bayelsa, one of the five states created by Abacha on October 1, 1996, remains something of a baby in diapers, practically exploited to retardation by its politicians and contractors, suffering under the malignant shadow cast by Abacha’s corrupt antecedents. Only recently, the current governor of the state earnestly promised on national television that he would build the first hanging bridge in Nigeria, so that the rest of humanity could come from far and near to see this construction engineering wonder.

Your Majesty, he spoke as one who has seen the drawbridge across the River Thames, and therefore that may not cut ice with you. I merely mention this as an indication of how imaginative our politicians can get. For fifty years of our sovereign nationhood, we have been coping with grand dreams conceived to hoodwink the hopeful voter and to buy time, while the treasury is systematically plundered for the selfsame prospect of the proverbial hanging bridge that never would be. And for ingenuity, for sheer creative bravado, a special prize must go to the chairman of the environmental sanitation authority in the state who stuffed four hundred million naira of tax payers’ money into an empty water tank, and left the criminal sum hanging high above his roof in what may well qualify as the modern-day equivalent of the Akassa Raid. That is how bad the scramble for the naira has become in the country you once ruled, God save the Queen.

What is even more ludicrous is that, on the eve of our country’s Golden Jubilee anniversary, a retired military dictator you may have heard about, a veteran coup maker with pretensions to decent civilian conduct, has declared his intentions to run for the presidency in the forthcoming elections. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of course, gives him sufficient leave to contest for any office of his choice, as well he might. He believes he can lay the flat face of the naira on the negotiation table, and buy up every Nigerian conscience that may be up for sale ahead of the elections. By and by, we shall know just how far his bidding goes.
In the meantime, I suggest we change the face value of the naira, and opt for a more acceptable currency that would reflect our national heritage. Let us change the name of the Naira to Turinchi, the Hausa-Fulani word for English. After all, the English language has been our lingua franca in the last fifty years, and is likely to remain so for another half a century.