Quotes from Solomon Dalung, Nigeria’s Minister for Sports & Youth Development


“We must return to the doctrines of the Holy scriptures” Igbarmak Otarok January 2014

“I will continue to fight against injustice, blood letting, criticise bad leadership, oppose inequality, campaign against corruption, preach and promote peaceful existence, resist religious and ethnic manipulations, above all continue to pray for a better society. If this is against your own religion then we may not have common grounds to meet even before God.” Igbarman Otarok January 2014

“The only option opened out of the current security challenges is for government to open up sincere and genuine dialogue with all arms carrying groups because all wars end at conference tables. As mark of commitment, I lean my voice to the demand for amnesty to these groups to pave way for dialogue and national reconciliation.” at World Muslim League International Peace Conference March 2013 Sokoto, Nigeria.

“I am calling on governments at all levels to allocate thirty (30%) percent of annual budgetary allocations to education. Not only that, but education should be placed on first line charge for availability of funds for rapid development. The national curriculum on education must be restructured to accommodate certain positive traditional values so as to make it functional.” at Two days Workshop for Clergy/Pastors organized by Ministry of Religious and Community Relations Bauchi State , June 2013.

“Having listened to this, I was infuriated that all while I have been pretending to be Tarok while in truth I was a colonized Hausa man.This development was the turning point in my world view of the role culture play in the development of true identity. I spent the whole night reflecting but finally resolved to be Tarok and not ugwai or nasara otarok. Also, I decided to champion a crusade for cultural consciousness with practice. To achieve this I needed something unique that people will dread it. Of course this has to go with an intimidating regalia that will subdue protagonist of either Hausa or the so called orchestrated western values. The title of IGBARMAN became obvious as the only weapon that can devastate all anti cultural forces.” THE ORIGIN OF THE TITLE ‘IGBARMAN OTAROK’: His Blog 3 May 2013

“The North has equity in whatever today is referred to as oil in Nigeria. It was from the resources of Northern States that Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt and other Southern cites were developed. Even the oil exploration equipment were acquired with resources from tin mining, ground nut, cotton, hide and skin from Northern State.

Therefore, it is fraudulent to demand resource control without discharging the equity on it. Before control, all equities on the resources must be discharged and this should be the beginning of the national debate and not employment of cheap blackmail to rob other segments of their rights. The oil remains birthright until the equity’s discharged.”

THE QUEST FOR PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA, THE CHALLENGES OF YOUTHS: at Public Lecture organized by National Council of Muslim Youths Organization, Bauchi Chapter on September, 1st 2012

“The clamour for National Sovereign Conference under Constitutional arrangements is macabre dance will ultimately consume the sponsors. The North is not afraid of National Sovereign Conference but at the same time we cannot abdicate our responsibilities as custodians of the union to the excesses of failed leadership. The unity of the country was defended by people’s blood; therefore it will amount to betrayal of trust if power shift will mean disintegration in some quarters.” DEVELOPMENT IN THE NORTH: RETROGRESSION OR PROGESS? January 2013

“A society where nobody shall be judge by his clan or his social background but by what he can offer for tarok nation. I HAVE THIS DREAM TODAY.”  THURSDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 2012 THE.DAWN OF A NEW TAROK NATION:

According to Dalung, “governance is a social responsibility and a democratic leader is equivalent to a human god, having the responsibility to determine the destiny of fellow human beings. He did not acquire power by conquest, strength or might but either by charisma, bureaucracy or law. There is an instrument that confers that power on him and is expected to exercise it within the parameter of the enabling authority.”

“I want to be remembered as somebody who had apportunity to live and live his live his own way. when I died I want tarok people to moun me by saying now that Igbarman is gone we can have breathing space, aga cit na ijul, because I know that my activities is thunderous but no retreat no surrender, the right thing must be done for human society to be better for all.” ORIGIN OF THE TILE IGBARMAN OTAROK

#Dalung said that social media regulation is a very serious aspect of our law that we need to consider and that there is a need to enforce laws on slander to limit defamation on social media.
He said “Laws regulating social media may bother on slander” whoever feel slandered should be able challenge such in a court of law and get justice.

On corruption, Dalung said only the law can define a ‘corrupt’ person.

Senate Proceedings for Wednesday, 14th October 2015.

#MinisterialScreening: Barrister Solomon Dalung


Who Is Solomon Dalung, Minister for Sports & Youth Development?

“My mission in life is to midwife ideas that will ultimately liberate the voiceless majority from the shackles of hunger and abject poverty. “ Solomon Dalung aka Igbarman Otarok meaning the ‘thunder of Tarok nation’.

Self styled “crusader for social justice and equity”

Born on the 26th of September 1964 in the town of Sabon Gida.

Local Education Authority Primary School Sabon Gida town in Langtang South Local Government Area from 1971 to 1977.

Government College Keffi, currently in Nassarawa State. Elsewhere on his blog he claims he was 18 in Form 2, that would be in 1982.

Yet he started work with the Prison Service in 1982 and retired in December 2004 as an Assistant Prisons Inspector.

Enrolled to study Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Jos in 1991. Graduated in 2000. Attended Nigerian Law School, Bwari, in Abuja, 2000.  Called to the Nigerian Bar in 2001.

From 2001 to 2003 he was personal assistant to Solomon Lar when the later was appointed Adviser Emeritus to President Olusegun Obasanjo. Presumably while still with the Prison Service.

Became Lecturer Faculty of Law of the University of Jos in 2004, again presumably while an officer of the Prison Service which he finally left in December 2004.

He got his Masters in 2007. It does not say where from or in what area of law but he became Chairman, Langtang South Local Government in the same year. He was Plateau State Deputy Chairman and later Chairman of the Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON).

Member and leader in “Muryar Talaka” – loosely translated “Voice For The Voiceless”

Winner 1st Radio France International (RFI) “Man of the Year Award” 2013.

Reputedly lives a modest lifestyle similar to the current Presidents own. Minister-Dalong

Media commentator and speaker on Tarok culture, northern regeneration, peace and conflict resolution. He contributed to peace building in Plateau. He has a blog at Blogger titled ‘Igbarman Otarok’ active since 2012.

Igbarman Otarak is his traditional title taken in 2005 after a peace conference in Plateau state where he was confronted by the dominance of hausa culture in Plateau state and determined “heavens originated this revolution” of cultural consciousness, a mental repudiation of Huasa/Fulani colonisation, mental and cultural.

“My great ambition in life is to be a Tarok leader and nothing else.” May 3, 2013.

Contested APC gubernatorial primaries in Plateau State in December 2014. He also contested for State House of Assembly and National Assembly, no further details are given.

He is described by a guest on his blog as “a national figure of repute, a polished politician, an acclaimed philanthropist, an accomplished businessman who made people and created wealth for many, a visionary leader, a true son of Plateau, and a rare gem.”

He comes across as a cultural chauvinist, populist, fiery, bombastic, authoritarian, hierarchical, anti-gay, overtly religious and frequently contradictory. Nevertheless there seems to be a consensus that he is an able administrator and enjoys lots of good will among his people.

This is what he has to write about youth – “The saying that the youth are leaders of tomorrow must be guaranteed practically. Concrete policies for realizing this ideologue must be demonstrated to create avenues for re-orientation of the youths in preparation for higher responsibilities. Therefore, there is need to ensure that the National Youth Development Policy is implemented with sincere commitments to regenerate confidence of youths as therapy to restiveness.” January 2013

YNaija Op_Ed called on him to Review the National Youth Policy recently. I hope there are transparent efforts to engage with him and support him through a participatory democratic process.

Have You Read – The Most Googled Products in The World?

Have You Read – The Most Googled Products in The World?

Apparently some time early last year the cost estimating web site fixr.com created a world map of showing what different nations were most searching the cost.

The results are interesting.

Nigerians most frequently search for cost of weddings. No surprises there. Till you see the other countries that search for weddings. Greece, Malta Seychelles and *drum roll* Pakistan!

Greece, Malta and Seychelles are obviously amazing destinations for a dream wedding but I don’t think Nigeria and Pakistan are googling cost of weddings for the same reason.

Nigeria and Pakistan have the distinction of being two of the most patriarchal nations in he world. In other studies over 75% of Nigerian women are married by the age of 24 and only 15% of men in the same age group.

The most frequent search in Russia – my other home and country – was for the cost of flying a MIG! Like the authors said – WTF! Just hold this image in your head a minute; Putin, MIGs and those sexy soldiers in heels in short skirts. Who is the master of image?


Wouldn’t be surprised if Putin heard about the map and deliberately had a host of social media experts locked up in a room frantically searching for cost of flying a MIG just to influence the results.

England is worried about the cost of living and Ireland is worried about the cost of dying. I’m not sure which is a better indicator of balance. Guyana, that infamous little country that most of us remember because of that religious nut Jim Jones is also concerned with the cost of death. Seems apt somehow.

Italians are searching for the cost of Ferrari’s and the Germans the cost of BMWs. Of course.

Latvia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Austria, Taiwan, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Brazil are googling the cost of prostitutes. No surprised there except for maybe Austria. Whats that? Since when? Really?

Serbia, Argentina, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Iceland worry about the price of beer. On my bucket list of places to visit already.

I couldn’t help laughing at the countries where camel was the top search. I know. So prejudiced of me. Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Israel and Jordan. And a bit surpassed to see Kuwaiti’s checking the cost of Lamborghini’s although UAE was expected.

Iraqi’s are buying cars. Iranians are checking the price of kidneys? WTF?

Sad sad sad is Syria – top search is for the price of a loaf of bread.

Not in the least bit surprised to see that India’s top search is for the price of cows. If only they revered their women half as much as they revere cows but I was deeply disturbed to see Mauritanians searching for the price of ‘slaves’. WTF!

Results for Africa were a mixed bag. In the south and in the Horn of Africa cows are the most searched for item. No surprises. Ghanaians are searching the cost of laptops. How progressive. Food doesn’t seen to be an obsession overall and that is a relief. Nice to see that the focus is shifting to building homes.

Then I see that prostitution is categorised as ‘recreation’. WTF!!!


Political Party Reform: PDP Reviewing Their Constitution

PDP has put me on their National Working Committee for the Constitutional Review.

The list was published in the Vanguard on December 4th 2015 and I learnt that they held the inaugural meeting on the 10th.

I had no idea. I knew I had been nominated but when I didn’t hear anything I didn’t even think about it.

Then someone called me just before Christmas and pointed it out to me. I’m number 39

How exciting. I always said political reform has to start at the party level – including wider inclusion of youth and women. Now I might actually get an opportunity to present some of those views.

I learnt that the next meeting is on January 12 and I’m compiling some points to share if given the opportunity. Committee is large and they probably shared task already but hey one can still try.

Party reform is key to strong democratic outcomes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights.



MzAgams@50: The Essential Birthday List

I have never made a birthday list but something about attaining 50 feels appropriate to start one. So I am now accepting birthday presents. Here is a comprehensive list of what I will and what I will not accept as a birthday present. Yes, I DO have a choice.

  1. Cash – in millions only be it Naira, Yen, USD, GBP, Euro or the Shilling. However we do not accept Zimbabwe dollars. Nothing less than seven figures is acceptable.
  2. Jewellery – must be real and expensivediamonds are a girls best friend and I am partial to emeralds. Artsy crafts jewellery is not acceptable. I can buy that for myself.
  3. A Bang & Olufsen  BeoVisionII Television and hone sound system
  4. A Car – a Mercedes AMG , or an Aston MartinD810
  5. Country Estate in England
  6. Leslie Castle lin Scotland
  7. chateau in the south of France
  8. 510,000 acre ranch in Texas
  9. An island in the Caribbean
  10. Tableware preferences can be found here (Cornucopia and Gold Collections)
  11. Baccarat Glassware registry is here
  12. Rare expensive repatriated African arts like this Urhobo beauty that sold for over $100,000 at Sotheby’s. Or this Benin terracotta head that went for a cool $1,930,000!
  13. Any Diane Arbus photograph will always be a welcome part of my collection of Arbus.
  14. I’m now collecting Peter Lik too. His photograph ‘Ghost’ is stunning.
  15. Rare books and collectors editions of my favourite authors – Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase, Dr. Suess, Pushkin and Eric van Lusbader. Would be especially happy to receive a first edition copy of ‘Out of Africa’. Someone stole my original 1937 edition bequeathed to me by my beloved uncle.
  16. Foodies – I love fine food. Accepting gifts of Beluga Caviar (you can get it at the Russian Tea Room, they ship.)
  17. I will accept dinner at the Carnivore in Nairobi and the
    Churrascaria Palace in Rio de Janeiro
    Things you are not allowed to present to me and if you do I will reject them but as nicely as possible –
  1. Household appliances – no circumstances can ever warrant it
  2. Cheap celebrity branded perfumes
  3. DVD’s or CD’s (if that the best you can do you probably need the money more than I need a present)
  4. Cheap liquor
  5. A Volkswagen of any type, year or model.
  6. A Toyota, a Kia, A Honda or any other car made over there. yes, that includes the Lexus.
  7. Cheap wine (unless you’re presenting me with the vineyard and why cheap eh?)
  8. Beer (unless its the fucking brewery)
  9. Groceries – including rice, garri, yam and plantain
  10. Livestock (unless it comes with the ranch)
  11. Lingerie (Sorry, I don’t know any of you all THAT well)
  12. A wedding ring

If by any chance you review this list and find nothing that fits your budget remember – humour is priceless, `come and give me a laugh. I cannot never resist roses – the more of them the weaker my resistance. And champagne, chocolates and strawberries will create enough endorphins to make a girl of any age happy – for while – at least long enough for you to make your escape.

You know where to find me. Waiting

I really like THESE diamonds


MzAgams@50:Better Than Ever

My father loved to tell the story of how I was born at precisely 12noon on Wednesday, January 5, 1966 at my grandmothers apartment on Leninovsky Boulevard in Central Moscow. It was -14*C outside. Snow covered every where, white and fluffy on the spaces in between black and melting slush in the streets. It must have been easy to convince him not to go for lectures that day, and easy not to want to rush off to the state run hospital till it was too late. I made my prompt arrival right there with just the two of them attending. My mother was 18 my father was 28 or so.

I arrived squalling and squealing at the indignity of it! Why on earth would you NOT go to the hospital on time and ensure that I had the best medical care available from the minute I took my first breathe! If I coulda I woulda slapped them upside the head for putting ME at such risk. I mean, anything coulda happened! Thankfully I survived their youthful inexperience and stupidity. I’m pretty sure my grandmother slapped them upside the head when she came home from work.

The Beatles were trending around the world. That doesn’t sound quite right. The Beatles were causing mass hysteria all over the world and going viral 30 years before the internet gave viral a new meaning. My father travelled to the UK from Russia pretty regular and brought Divine Mother Ludymila all their records.

The Cold War between Soviet Union and the West was at detente. Brezhnev was Chairman of the Communist Party and head of state and Lyndon B. Johnson presided in the White House. Of course the Queen was and is still the Queen unaffected by mere economics or democratic whims.  My grandmother named me Elizabeth. Not Leona and not Linda.

Black demands for civil rights were growing in the United States. Malcolm X was killed in 1965  and the Watts Riots followed in July of ’65 and again in March of ’66. The Black Panthers were formed later that year. The increasingly violent racial tensions in the United States reflected similar tensions in the newly independent colonial states heavily influenced by Franz Fanon struggling to carve out an identity for themselves and severe the yoke of colonialism.

Liberations struggles flourished across Africa. Samora and Machel in Mozambique, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Mandela and Tambo in South Africa. Nigeria  had gained independence in 1960 and Nnamdi Azikiwe was the President but unrest was brewing in the Western Region. My birth  seemed to herald the 1966 coup, the ensuing slaughter of Igbo-Nigerians and the civil war that followed.

Would you be tempted to say – if thats the case perhaps better you had not been born then. I know I’m thinking the same thing but I was. I also think I would have to be a narcissist of anti-christ proportions to think my birth heralded so much drama, chaos, death and blood shed. I’m pretty sure there is no metaphysical correlation what so ever. Still, it makes for a compelling story line, don’t you think? A Hammer House of Horror Special – the Anti Christ is actually a WOMAN!

I could also frame the narrative of my birth around space exploration, in 1966 the Soviet Union led the Space Race and it was a great source of pride and common dinner conversation topic.  My aunt and my grandmother were all committed communists. The state could do no wrong. They were very proud. I grew up believing I could be an astronaut if I wanted to be.

Then there was the pop culture backdrop; the mini skirt was becoming a staple fashion item, Andy Warhol ruled New York, Jacqueline Sussan published ‘Valley of the Dolls’, and Harold Robbins published ‘The Adventurer’, classics I didn’t read till 20 years later.

In Africa Chinua Achebe published his third book ‘Arrow of God’ and Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, Abidjan and AddisAbaba competed for position of most cosmopolitan African city south of the Sahara.

In Moscow produced excellent soviet films, theatre, ballet and opera. Perhaps my grandmother was a bit racist in steering me towards dance and music where she assumed my half black nature would lead me to excel  instead of chemistry or physics where I guess she assumed my half black nature would not. I think I would have excelled at maths if given the opportunity.

Later in 1966 Pope Paul VI and Arthur Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury meet in Rome – the first official meeting for 400 years between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches. And England will defeat Germany to win the World Cup. The first episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek premieres in the US.

I arrived in the midst of all this creative tension and euphoria of possibility and potential. And I arrived in a hurry. I’ve never slowed down. I’m always in a hurry.  I graduated high school at 15, university at 20 and law school at 22. Company secretary at 26, set up my first enterprise business at 28.

I also found time to get married, have three children and lose one by 20. By 22 I had lost the husband too having decided he was more of a hindrance than a help along this highway to somewhere fast that I was on and I became a  single mom. Now with hind sight I have to marvel at this very young woman’s very big balls. She had very big dreams.

She also has a big big heart. No matter how many times her heart was broken she kept looking for that elusive crazy little thing called love – with lovers, friends male and female, family, mentors it didn’t matter the relationship. There had to be love.

Its truly amazing looking back on my five decades of experience. I never really thought i would see the Big 5-0. In my melancholy troubled youth I determined not to live longer than my Divine Mother who died at 41. In protest or loyalty or just childish angst or maybe just out of vanity influenced by Blondie’s song – ‘Die Young And Stay Pretty’ – I decided I would not live beyond 41.

Despite my high risk self destructive lifestyle I made it to 50. It is truly a miracle. I should have been dead long long ago.  Well me and most every other Nigerian living in Nigeria too. Life expectancy for women is 55 compared to 52 for men. Technically I’m in the twilight of life already, an elder with just 5 years left on the clock. Well I feel like life is just starting!

Kind of tragic when you think about. People dying in their prime in Nigeria. I’m no longer so young that feel I have all  the time in the world and yet I’m not so old that I feel life is over for me either. I really does feel like a whole new possibility of life. I didn’t feel this positive when I turned 40.

I mean I was grateful that I was no fool at 40. I remember thinking – phew I made it!  I just didn’t feel a momentous difference. I didn’t really feel grown up yet. And I guess I do now. Well sorta. In some sort of way. I feel myself consciously ‘putting away the things of youth’ – like the insecurities, and the neurosis and the angst and the driven pursuit of an elusive ‘happiness’.

There is confidence in looking back and knowing you’ve played this game called life for 50 years and survived. There has been trauma, crisis, divorce, melodrama, birth, death, sickness , bankruptcy. Amid all the thorns there have been beautiful roses – children, family, friends, weddings, feasts, ceremonies, christenings, graduations, special places and special events.

I started travelling extensively at 23. I told people I was collecting memories and experiences instead of silver and gold. Boy was that true. Its been a rich and rewarding five decades. The good, the bad and the ugly have all shaped this amazingly unique person that I am. I like her. Anybody else’s opinion doesn’t count.

I’m looking forward to the next five decades. You know me, the overachiever. Now that I have passed my previously set age to die of 40 and clocked 50 I fully intend to reach 100. And why not? Its like a second chance at life. Might as well start planning 2066. Age we do not fear, we just don’t want to be decrepit.

The second half of the adventure is just beginning. Stayed tuned. MzAgams at 50 is better that ever.


MzAgams @50: The Essential Listicle of 50 Lessons

Every one  and there dog is doing listicles. Twenty Five Lessons at 25. Fifty Lessons at 50. I don’t want to feel left out so here go my top 50 lessons at 50. (I’m sure there more but I’ll save those for later.)

Fifty Life Lessons From 50 Years of Experience

  1. Family IS the most important thing
  2. Nobody owes you a damn thing – not even god, if she exists
  3. Never give up on love
  4. Be yourself
  5. Know yourself
  6. Just do it – there is no perfect moment
  7. Mind your business
  8. It REALLY is not your business
  9. Don’t cut your hair during the full moon or any other emotionally turbulent moments
  10. Spare no time for green bananas
  11. Beautiful is how you feel
  12. Be resolute about what you want
  13. Everybody has a hard luck story
  14. Don’t be a victim forever
  15. Let it go
  16. Don’t believe a word that fine boy says
  17. Actions speak louder than words
  18. Love is a VERB
  19. Relax, its going  to be alright
  20. Forgive those all those bastards you dated and/or married
  21. Keep the house when you get a divorce, give him the children
  22. Keep the house when you marry or remarry. You do own a house, right?
  23. Always find the silver lining
  24. Be spontaneous at least once
  25. If you must marry, marry the one thats crazy for you
  26. Marriage is a full time job – some pay better than others. Chose carefully
  27. Relationships need maintenance, either high maintenance or low maintenance. Your choice
  28. Marriage is not for life, thats just a myth. Philippines is the only country in the world where divorce is still illegal
  29. Do not sign a pre-nuptial – who signs away their legal rights? Is that even legal?
  30. Believe in something bigger than yourself unless you’re a narcissist in which case there is nothing bigger than yourself, I get it.
  31. Give your demons a bear hug and sit with them in love and compassion
  32. Do not be afraid
  33. Travel regularly – even if its to the next village
  34. Follow your passion – burn baby burn! You are a phoenix!
  35. Have children when you’re young
  36. Go ahead and have children when your older if you want to
  37. Exercise regularly and eat right
  38. Stand tall, stand straight, look people in the eye, shake hands firmly
  39. You ARE gorgeous – whatever your age, size, colour or shape
  40. Stay out of the sun or use a high SPF even if you are ebony skinned
  41. Drink lots and lots of beer while you can
  42. Eat lots and lots of food while you can
  43. Eat lots and lots of fruits and vegetables anyway
  44. Read books often
  45. Fall in love at least once or as often as possible
  46. Surrender to love at least once in your lifetime
  47. Old hearts and old bones take longer to mend
  48. Be amazing
  49. Do epic shit
  50. Love yourself more than anyone in the world – then you can love others