Sunday, November 29, 2009

Myth #2: It Takes Two (Fair Is Fair!)


"Every marriage tends to consist of an aristocrat and a peasant."
- John Updike


Not everyone will marry. That's a fact we must learn to live with.

If you are one person with a rather acute sense of fairness and equality, the institution of marriage might just not be for you; unless you are prepared to chuck some of those ideals out the windows. Marriage, by its very nature is steeped in inequalities. In fact, that's what makes marriage unique.

A marriage is not a partnership, it is a union.

That is why the very idea of a pre-nuptial agreement totally negates the idea of marriage. Unless of course its a business arrangement.

Someone once defined a marriage as like the relationship between a statue and a pigeon. The pigeon perches on the statue and shits on it and what not; the statue does not seem to complain -at least not openly. If you are in a marriage, on some days you are the pigeon, on some other days you are the statue. Live with it.

It is not possible for two people to love each other equally, one must love the other more -at different times in the life of the relationship. Whatever the reasons for getting married, of necessity, one must need the other more.

A clergyman friend of mine once told me this: It does not take two people to make a marriage work, success in marriage depends on the 'Power of One'. At any point in a successful marriage, one person is giving more, doing more, being more for both of them but because of the deliberate opacity of marriage, people on the outside do not usually see this.

Examples abound of this for me and I believe you have a few examples of your own too.

My friend Chinedu works in telecoms with an annual salary of about N4m, his wife Amarachi works in a bank with take home close to N3m per annum. They are from similar family backgrounds, children of retired civil servants. They have two beautiful children.

Nedu and I have been friends like forever; our families are like 5 and 6. I know that he pays the rent, the children's school fees and other fees around the house including feeding money. His siblings go to public schools - his kid sister is in LASU while the brother is in secondary school. Nedu pays their fees too because his parents are retired.

Sometime in 2006, Nedu's mum had to queue in the sun at LASUTH, Ikeja in order to get the free eye surgery for cataract removal sponsored by the government of Bola Tinubu, she also got a free pair of glasses. I know these because I drove her there.

Amara's brother is in Covenant University and she pays the fees. Her two sisters are in private secondary schools. Sometime last year, her employers sponsored a vacation for the famly in the UK. She went with her Dad and the children. Her Dad actually went for a comprehensive medical check-up in London and was treated for some minor ailments while there. Amara paid for it.

For some time, I used to think that the marriage was not fair to my friend. Until one day it hit me, Nedu had never complained to me! For as long he was happy in his marriage whatever the configuration, it was not any of my business.

Marriage is an eternal work-in-progress, a perpetual balancing act.

Marriages fail when one person decides that its not worth it anymore.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Myth #1: Its All About You!

"When the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels desert heaven and come and sit in the house and sing for joy." - Brahma Sutra

People get married for so many reasons.

Some marry for love. Some marry for money. Some marry for security. Some marry for comfort. Some marry for positioning. Some marry for the baby. Some even marry for the wedding.

Usually, we all have our idea of a dream marriage (or dream wedding) and this idea/wish forms the basis of our 'reasons' for getting married but we mostly keep our 'reasons' to ourselves. We play our games right up until the wedding (or after) without the other person suspecting a thing. Then we settle down to 'live the dream'.

Problem is: We expect the other person to fit perfectly into our dream. And they don't. Then we get mad and wonder if we married the wrong person. Truth is, we married the right person for our 'reasons'. But then, our 'reasons' may have changed.

After all, he still owns that same airline and earns that same fantastic income as when you were courting and it fitted right into your 'reasons'. She's still the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 1974 and she still earns good money from endorsements. She's still the daughter of Lord Rumblesbottom with all her Dad's connections. Besides, the PT stick still shows positive.

Nothing has really changed. Or has it? For one, you are now Mrs. Rumblesbottom-Ugbodikoko. But the change is more than in the name.

At the point you get married, everything changes. It is so subtle and you might have missed it but it happened. You may wake up to it the morning after or a year later, but it happened.

Since I came to this realization, I have watched wedding officiators try to explain something to the couples they wed. They try to tell them about the 'Divine Equation'; some times they fumble IMO and even when they get it right, the couples just don't get it.

The Divine Equation can be expressed as 1+1=1. Simple, abi?

I have seen some Pastors using the 'leave to cleave' passage from Genesis to explain this. Some have even used it to justify their arguments against hyphenated surnames - since they are supposed to become the mythical 'one'.

I don't want to go spiritual here but let me just say that the Divine Equation states that at the point of marriage between two people (usually a man and a woman), a third entity is formed. That entity is the Marriage.

From the moment they are married, the Marriage takes precedence over and above the constituent parts. It really does not matter who or what you were before, when you marry, you work at the Marriage. People shouldn't see you any longer rather they should see the Marriage.

People - especially Africans - will stop asking about your job, car or house once you are married. After 'How are you?' they ask about your spouse or the children. From then on it is about the Marriage. Remember, 1+1=1.

Does this mean that you lose your self in marriage? No. It means you are willing to submit of yourself in marriage. Remember, all former documents remain valid.

Some people say marriage is sacrifice. I don't agree wholly. Sacrifice can be forced. You can be made to sacrifice even against your will. Marriage is about submission. Its about what you are willing to give; about acceptance from the power of choice not a resignation from powerlessness.

The Marriage is only as strong as what both parties in it are willing to submit. If either or both gives 0.9 then it can't be 1+1=1. If he has $1 billion but is only willing to submit $900 million to the Marriage, beware. If she starts giving you conditions before she can be called Mrs. Rumblesbottom-Ugbodikoko, beware.

Think about the most successful marriages you know and try to decipher what either party in the marriage is doing to make the marriage work. If you can, then the marriage is not as strong as it appears. When a marriage is successful, it looks effortless. Its like they are doing nothing.

In reality, they are doing nothing. The Marriage they have built does it all for them.

It is really not about you. Neither is it about you too. Its about the Marriage.

Live with it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Six Myths About Marriage


"A happy man marries the girl he loves; a happier man loves the girl he marries."

Yes, I still have Laspapi's Tarzan Monologues on my mind.

The same weekend that my uncle was celebrating his fortieth wedding anniversary was also our own fifth wedding anniversary. Expectedly, my wife and I had several interesting discussions on what we will do to make it to forty. We concluded that it was best to just live it one day at a time.

I do some work with an NGO as a sort of relationship advisor. In the course of my duties, I usually meet with couples - both married and intending to marry. Most of the time I just listen and you will be amazed at the kind of things that people say they go through in their relationships. I have discovered that most people have created myths about the institution of marriage.

Most of these myths are based on misinformation. Misinformation fuelled by wrong attitudes.

Most of these misinformation unfortunately come from so called 'experts' and contained in books and magazines. For the wrong attitudes, I hold magazines like Cosmo responsible. And some of our 'Singles & Married' pastors. Some of them just don't have a clue.


Most of these myths are about the other sex. Myths about Men or Women in marriage. If these were all, there really wont have been much problems but sometimes, people have created myths about marriage itself.

I have tried to compile some that I have discovered both in the course of my own marriage and from listening to others. Some of them I had myself going into marriage but I believe I am wiser now.

I do not claim to know it all. After all, I am still married. And still learning. Please feel free to disagree with me.

These myths are about the Who, What, When, Why and How of marriage. The sixth myth I am still trying to grapple with. Here's hoping we will unravel it together in the next six weeks.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Married Life!




I was at a recently married friend's place over the weekend and they were obviously still in their post-honeymoon daze. Everywhere in the house was littered with photographs, cards and gifts -opened and unopened. Since most of the gifts were wall-clocks anyway, the couple decided to stop opening until probably later.

I also noticed so many cards, many wishing them a happy married life.

How would you describe a Happy Married Life? Is there really anything like a happy married life?

Or is it as my good friend Abadingo said, that the words 'happy' and 'married' cannot exist in the same sentence? You are either happy or you are married. They are mutually exclusive.

I told about an uncle who recently celebrated his fortieth wedding anniversary. I went to see him during the week. I looked at their wedding picture again, he was a young man of 23, recently graduated from university and just got a job. She was a wide eyed, very pregnant woman of 20, recently qualified as a teacher.

I couldn't help but ask him if he had thought about what they would be doing in forty years time. He did not. Remember that this was in the middle of the Nigerian Civil war. They were afraid but they lived everyday as it came.

So I asked him: Has he had a happy married life?

He answered emphatically in the affirmative. I wonder can he be for real?

What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Me, Tarzan


So I finally went to the Theater@Terra with Madam to see the Tarzan Monologues.


Yeah, I know. The whole world and his wife had already seen it.


We were probably the last couple in. We had to attend an Uncle's 40th wedding anniversary (yes 4-zero) and thus missed the 3 o'clock show. We barely made the 6 o'clock.


I finally saw Laspapi. No, I did not get to meet him. He was just too busy. I think the guy took on too many roles.


Writer, Producer, Director, Ticket seller, Ticket puncher, Doorman, Compere, Show Opener, Show Closer. etc etc etc. I know the budget was tight but there must have been other guys who could do other things.


But the show must go on.


The show itself was superb. I cannot now say whether it was superb acting or superb directing. I think all the actors gave a good account of themselves. But then, the play itself was very well written. An actor's delight, you might call it. Allowed them a lot of freedom to express themselves.


All the monologues were well delivered.


One question. Why Tarzan Monologues? Why not Penis Monologues? Or just P-Monologues? Like the female version.


Why Jack Gowon's Mother? Why not Yakubu Gowon's Mother? Most Nigerians don't know him as Jack. Maybe this was written for a British audience. Maybe.


And the 6 Myths About Marriage , Madam would not let me hear the last of them. Particularly the 6th one.


We got home quite late last night. We went elsewhere after the Monologues.


My mother was with us. She had come for her brother's wedding anniversary. And she asked me. Remember, there were two of us who came home late but she asked me:


N'ibo n'iwo ti n'bo l'oru yi? (Where are you coming from this night?)


In my own house?!!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Do Women Have Sex?


Simple question, right?

Wrong.

Even in a study conducted by women on women, it still comes out that no one but NO ONE can understand women.

In the online survey of 1,000 women aged from 18 to 87 by Meston and Buss, as reported by Deborah Kotz in the USNews, you would have expected to get simple straight forward answers like for procreation, or for pleasure but the number one reason women have sex is ... wait for it ...... because they are attracted to their partners!

What has attraction got to do with anything? Hey, what do I know, I'm just a man abi? Lower down the list were reasons connected with love and emotional bonding.

There were other reasons too:
- to bring them closer to God. Really?!
- to get back at partners who weren't faithful by having sex with someone else.
- Competition 'Gotcha' sex: who gets him first!
- to get another notch on their belt, which we typically think of as something men do.
- to get rid of their virginity. O m'eziokwu!
- Sympathy sex" because they felt sorry for their mate. The poor guy will NEVER hear the last of it.
- Economic Exchange sex to land a job or promotion or to get money or drugs. OK.OK.OK.

But you will not believe that after all these confessions and enlightening revelations, the authors still arrived at some very strange conclusions like
" .... we see that men are still more likely to engage in uncommitted sex, like one-night stands .. "
"... more women still make the connection between love and sex..."
"... men are definitely more willing to have sex because of physical attraction ...". W-h-h-a-a-a-a-a-t?!!!

Anyway, was it not a woman who said that men are dogs because they sleep around. As if they sleep with goats.

And this lie that women make the connection between love and sex should stop o. If this were so, why do men fall in love with prostitutes? Hello, Pretty Woman!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maybe Nkrumah Was Right

I had wanted to post this on Nigeria's independence day but somehow work got in the way and I could not.

Monday 21st September 2009 marked the centenary of the birth of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah and the government of the Republic of Ghana actually declared a year-long celebration culminating on the anniversary of the birthday of its first Prime Minister and President.

The more I read about this remarkable African, the more I appreciated why Ghanaians celebrated him thus.

I got an audio copy of Nkrumah's 'Africa Must Unite' speech at the founding of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa 1963 and I could not but marvel at the profundity of his vision. His vision, as expounded at the summit was obviously very far ahead of his time. Also, his speech at the United Nations in 1960 was a masterpiece in all respects and must have been seen as a sort of 'bring-it-on' by the Western powers at that time.

As a Pan Africanist and leader of an independent Ghana - Africa's first independent nation - Nkrumah's major preoccupation was to encourage the other African countries to continue to demand for independence and he did this with a swagger that was infuriating to the colonial powers, particularly France which did not seem to have had any plans to leave its African colonies - even till today.

Nkrumah looked to Nigeria even at that time to become an African regional power given its sheer size and resource wealth but the Nigerian leaders at that time were very suspicious of his intentions and also of themselves.

Zik, his fellow Lincoln University alumnus and Pan-Africanist, had found himself in the position of a ceremonial President that was powerless and limiting while Awolowo appeared content just playing his politics locally.

As far as the pan-africanist agenda was concerned, Nigeria was of no use. Of all his seminal speeches however, the singular statement that Nkrumah made that was of significance to the Nigerian government of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and most Nigerians of that time was the one about Nigeria being ' ... big for nothing ..'

Domestically, Nkrumah ran a unitary government in Ghana in spite of it being composed of up to fifty different ethnic nationalities. He believed more in a federal Africa with the countries as the federating units than in a country with federating units. He practically forced Ghanaians to inter-marry and live outside their native environments.

Achievements were purely on merit. The whole of Ghana competed with itself. No 'local champions'. No 'catchment area'. No 'quota system'. His style of government is credited in part for the unity among Ghanaians till today.

Comparing all these with Nigeria, I just could not help but wonder where we got it wrong.

I could not help but think; Maybe this federalism is just over-hyped after all.

Maybe Nkrumah was right after all.

Maybe Nigeria is just big for nothing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ponmo, My Foot!


I was in Abuja recently and happened to walk behind a couple who were obviously not residents. Like all visitors, we were just going round the shops looking for somethings to buy as a memento of our visit to the nation's capital. From their conversations, I reckioned they were Yoruba.

After some time, we chanced upon a leather shop with all kinds of leather sandals, shoes, wallets and something that looked like thongs. Faced with such an array of choice of leather ware, the woman could not but exclaim, in Yoruba.

'Ha! Awon Hausa yi ma ni bata orisirisi o!
(These Hausa people have so many types of shoes o)

To which the husband replied sarcastically and rather self derisively:

'Eyin Yoruba o ni bata. Nigba'to je pe gbogbo awo yin le ti je tan ni ponmo. E wa ma wo roba kiri abi ke ma wa Italian leda l'Aba'
(You Yoruba people cannot have shoes, when you have eaten all your leather as ponmo. That's why you wear rubber sandals about and look for 'Italian' leather in Aba).

Ouch!
I couldn't help but laugh particularly as the man with his bald head and full tribal marks was really putting on a show to everybody's delight.
With the number of cows, rams and goats slaughtered daily in Lagos alone, the hides and skin industry should be booming seriously. In fact we should be exporting leather but unfortunately, we eat more than 95% of all the hides generated. Given that ponmo actually contains little or no nutritional value known to man, it is a mystery why Lagosians (not just Yorubas) savor it so much. It is like a Lagosian's meal is not complete without some ponmo on top.
Did you hear about the Yoruba man who was invited to Buckingham Palace as a guest of the Queen for whatever. After the dinner in his honour, my country man was asked to give a vote of thanks. he thanksed the Queen profusely for the honour done him and went ahead to comment on the meal itself. He said:
'It would have been a sumptuous meal but unfortunately there was no ponmo!'
What exactly makes ponmo a delicacy? Anybody knows?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Message


Read the message and stop eyeing the Messenger!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That's What She Said!


The last two posts have been about a little problem I had to help a couple deal with but the variety of responses to it has been interesting to say the least. And it seems to get more interesting by the day.

Let me also state here that there was no issue of breaking the relationship or calling off the wedding or such. I sincerely don't know if I gave that impression anywhere. We are trying to find a solution and you guys were already calling it off. Haba!

I have known the couple in question for quite a while and though I cannot say that I introduced them to each other, I have been quite close to them and know a little about the relationship. I have been like an Egbon to both parties and that was why they brought the matter to me.

Moreover, the Boss in the story is an acquaintance of mine and I am certain there is nothing going on between him and the subordinate. While he is not a saint, he operates on the maxim that 'elephants don't eat the grass under them'. If you know what I mean.

Definitive said:
"I think the main issue here is her fiancee OFFERED to come pick her up, but she PREFERRED to go with her boss, especially [when] she knew her relationship with her boss was already suspect, I definitely think she said the wrong thing. She should try and talk to her fiancee and sort things out. More like ask someone whom he respects to talk to him on her behalf".
Men are such jealous animals. She wounded his ego and that was his way of getting his pound of flesh. Anyway, that was my conclusions and the basis of my counsel. Thanks Definitive.

TemmyTayo also said:
" ... My yoruba is not perfect so I sometimes get into trouble with my husband too. But well, he trusts me. So when I say rubbish he gently reminds me how many meanings people can read into what i have said... "
It is actually more common than we want to admit particularly with couples who do not speak the have the same proficiency in the mother tongue. My wife speaks Yoruba very well but sometimes, I cringe at some things she says in Yoruba.

Several years ago, the then Bendel Broadcasting Service used to end their late night news bulletin in Yoruba with 'Ka sun re o' (May we rest in peace) to bid its listeners a good night's rest. After some time they changed to 'Ka sun l'ayo o' (May we rest with joy) which did not quite hit the mark too. Eventually they settled for the universal 'O d'aaro o' (Till the day break/morning).

Beneath that however was the issue of how some things we say can have more than one meaning and the alternative meaning usually carries a sexual connotation. In the US -I believe -the exclamation 'That's What She Said! is a statement used to draw attention to a phrase that could possibly be interpreted as sexual innuendo.

This occurs in every language. The Yoruba one about 'Eddie and Okonta' still cracks me up anytime.

Do you remember any one?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Re: Use of English

The last post was more of a call for help. Right now we are trying to douse a fire caused by what I think was a slip due to a wrong use of English.

It actually happened to a friend whose fiancee works in a consultancy firm. They are going to the altar in December; date and aso-ebi already chosen.

Unfortunately, she chose option A!

Every body believes there are some underG moves between her and the boss. My guy now says that she had been working there, with same boss for quite a while and despite the late hours and all, she has rejected all entreaties for her to find another job though she is very qualified. You know how all kinds of talk come out at times like this.

I think she is just happy where she is. But even Wifey says it was a slip, not a mistake.

I think it was just a problem of translating her thought in Yoruba to words in English. if you speak Yoruba quite well, please how else would you translate the following:

  1. Mo n'ba Oga mi lo s'ile.
  2. Emi ati Oga mi a jo ma lo s'ile.
  3. Oga mi ma gbe mi lo s'ile.
We are still trying to douse the fire caused by that slip. I just needed a woman's perspective to this and my wife is already biased.

Meanwhile, the poor girl has been crying her eyes out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Use of English


You are a female professional; you have been at work all day and just about closing time, your phone rings; Its your significant other -husband, boyfriend, fiancee etc -and you have the following conversation. Choose the most appropriate answer from the choices provided:

SF: Hey babe,
YOU: Hey you.
SF: You sound tired; How has your day been?
YOU: It's been hectic, been on my feet all day, y'know sorting through so many reports and
trying to collate something for my boss. My feet are killing me right now
SF: Eeh yah, sorry... but have you had lunch?
YOU: Oh yes, we did ... my boss ordered Chinese and we had lunch right here in the office!
Can you imagine? The man has been on my neck all day!
SF: Ndo, so when are you getting off work? Will you be working late?
YOU: Ermm ... I should be done by seven or thereabouts?
SF: OK, I should be done by then too; I will pick you up on my way back home ....
YOU: How sweet of you, hon, but don't worry ..

A.) ... I am going home with my boss tonight ..
B.) .... my boss is taking me home tonight ....
C.) .... my boss and I are going home together ...
D.) ..... my boss is giving me a ride home ...
E.) None of the above. I would have said ..........................................................................

Remember, the wrong answer can wreck your relationship.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Inchoate Minini?


I believe that the judgments and pronouncements of the Supreme Court and indeed all the courts in Nigeria should be translated into as many local languages as requested by the litigants and other members of the public who are interested in or affected by the pronouncements as is done in India and some other countries.

While this will generate employment for the numerous graduates of Edo, Fulfulde, Gwari, Yoruba and Ijaw that we have, it will also help in clearing up any ambiguities that may be present in the said pronouncements before it becomes a big problem.

It also appears to me that their SC Lordships deliberately want to cause confusion with the kind of big grammar they use to describe rather simple cases. They use big words where simple words could suffice and refuse to simplify sentences so that whoever wants can choose whichever of the words apply to him since they mean the same thing anyway.

I am not a lawyer but the case(s) cited below are open and shut and straight forward to me, sans the contentious grammar.

The wahala between The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government ref AG LAGOS STATE vs AG FEDERATION (2004) can be summarized to be over the literary or judicial meaning of the word inchoate as used by the Supreme Court Lordships.

To the LASG, inchoate means valid but incomplete; i.e. its creation of 37 Local Governments was valid but subject to ratification by the National Assembly. They had even likened it to a baby that was born but not yet registered by the Registrar of Births. A baby just awaiting a 'naming ceremony'.

To the FG, inchoate means illegal and therefore invalid until approved by the National Assembly. Likened to a pregnancy carried beyond the term of 9 months and the said child cannot be named until it is born or at worst could be likened to a stillbirth with His Lordships as the morbid midwives.

We all know that it is partisan politics at play but the extent some people would go to just make a point is frightening. Some PDP stalwarts have even gone as far as to say that inchoate means non-existent, ultra vires, null and void.

Don't blame them. If only the SC declaration were translated into Yoruba.

Our ever hardworking Attorney General - and Defender of the Powerful - has been threatening to enforce the orders of the Supreme Court citing section 287 of the Constitution but curiously has not been able to pinpoint one single decision (order) made by the SC in that case. This is so because both parties in the matter ONLY sought and obtained declaratory reliefs. The FG got three out of nine while the LASG got four out of four.

A Declaratory Judgment only proclaims or declares what is the law, right and the existence of a legal relationship. It does not contain an order to be enforced against a Defendant which in this case was even the FG.

Besides, our AG must not be aware that a Bakassi Local Government was excised out of Nigeria recently but the said Bakassi LGA is still listed in the Constitution as one of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria even after the handover of Bakassi to Cameroun by the President on the orders of the ICJ . The National Assembly has not ratified/approved this dismemberment of the Federation and thus the action remains inchoate until this is done. Yet the AG does not deem it necessary to enforce this yet.

But of course, we know that as far as Yar a'dua is concerned, Aondoakaa is the law.

Another serious matter arising out of a SC judgment is that of Nnamdi 'Andy' Uba and his purported election as the Governor of Anambra state.

The SC had ruled that the election in which Andy Uba was purportedly elected as Governor of Anambra state was illegal since the office was not vacant as at the time of the elections. The said elections are considered null and void and never even took place in the eyes of the law.

Curiously, Andy and his supporters have taken this issue to ludicrous extents with some of his lawyers pronouncing that the SC judgment's legal effect evaporates on March 17, 2010 at the expiration of the present tenure of the Governor Peter Obi. he has since gone back to a High Court to declare him Governor from that date.

He has gone around calling himself His Excellency and his wife, Her Excellency because he was Governor illegally for how long? 20 days? What should Dr. Chris Ngige, who was Governor of the same state illegally for three years call himself? His Greatness?

His case is like that of a man who after sleeping with a married woman starts claiming husbandship. See why they needed to have translated that judgment into Igbo?

Forgive Me Blogger ...


.... for I have sinned.

In thought, in words and in deed.


I have forsaken thy updates and not updated my blog for so long.

I have called myself a Blogger in vain; I couldn't even remember my username or password.

I have worshiped other 'gods' apart from you. (Damn that Facebook!).

Forgive me Blogger, for I have sinned.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Then & Now

As any fan knows, most Nollywood movies are not complete without the mandatory scene involving a visit to the babalawo or dibia or pastor or alfa or some form of spiritualist or the other for help or for resolution of the plot. Usually, the plot has been so twisted that even the writers do not have a way to unravel it so they resort to 'deo machina' (hand of god) for resolution.

However, if the stories I heard recently are anything to go by, then Nollywood must be very far behind in its depiction of these native doctors in the movies. Nowadays, native doctors have gone nuclear. take a typical scene:

THEN
Client (highly agitated): Ha! Baba please help us o.
Baba Faleti: My child, talk to Ifa and explain yourself.
Client brings out a twenty Naira note and whispers inaudibly into it, then places it onto a wooden stauette or some other receptacle provided.
Baba Faleti: (after some long incantations and gibberish): I have spoken to the gods on your behalf and the gods have agreed to help you. You have to carry out a sacrifice. For the sacrifice, you will bring one big white ram, the shell of a tortoise, one keg of palm oil, four yards of white cloth, four cockerels, three pieces of chalk, four kegs of palm wine and forty Naira. If you can bring these items, then all your problems are over.
Client: Is that all Baba?
Baba Ifaleti: Yes, that is all. Unless you have anything else for Ifa.

Client will bring out a two hundred Naira note and promises to bring the items for the sacrifice the next day.

NOW
Client: Ha! Baba, please help us o!
Baba Ifatomoscores: My child, Ifa knows everything but have you seen Ifamuyiwa to pay for Consultation? It's only twenty thousand Naira. If you dont have cash, there's an ATM across the road.
Client: Baba, we have paid for Consultation o. Please help us, my daughter's marriage is in trouble, serious trouble. Her husband is sleeping with the househelp and wants to marry her. We want you to do it so that her husband does not look at another woman again lai lai.
Baba Ifatomoscores: (after some incantations and gibberish). My child that is a small problem for Ifa. Don't worry, now that you have come to see Ifa, all your problems are over. Which bank do you use?
Client: I use Fortunate Bank Baba.
Baba Ifatomoscores: (hands over a piece of paper): Ifamuyiwa will give you an invoice for one hundred and sixty five thousand Naira. Just go and pay into this account. Come back here with the payment slip tomorrow and all your prayers will be answered.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Naija Till I Die!


N-A-I-J-I-R-I-A.

That's how its spelt in Ibibio, Idoma, Ijaw, Hausa, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Yoruba, Igbo, Fufulde, Gwari, Edo, Efik and the thousand other languages and dialects within the geographical space called Nigeria.

You wonder why an intelligent person like Reuben Abati just don't get it.

And it is not a recent phenomenon. It's a process that has been on since the end of our civil war. We have consistently made spirited efforts as a nation to find the things that unite us and define us as a people. Be it something as simple as the spelling of a name.

When Nigeria wanted to change its currency from the Pound/ Shilling regime in 1971, it reverted to the spellings of its name in the then three major languages and they all agreed that the name is N-A-I-J-I-R-I-A. That was where the name of our currency came from and since then we have been spending the Naira and Kobo. 'Kobo' is the Hausa name for copper - from which the coins were made - since the other two languages did not have a different word for it.

I remember that in 1985, prelude to celebrating our nations 25th Independence anniversary, an idea was mooted for a change of name of the country and several suggestions were put forward -from the ridiculous to the sublime - but the one I found most intriguing was the suggestion by somebody that we should just change the name to its local version such that any person who calls and write the name in any language would know what it means.

In the Yoruba worldview, names are very important and it is believed that a person's name actually affects the fulfillment of his destiny on earth. And that a person who does not know the meaning of his name may never actually fulfill his destiny.

The then military government of General Babangida did not go ahead with the renaming citing among other excuses, the volume of documentary changes that would need to be made. Besides, what would the people be called - Omo Naijiria? Ndi Naijiria? Umu Naijiria? Dan Naijiria? Naijirians? Nah, sounded 'too local'.

Instructively, around the same time, a group of young soldiers in a country then called Upper Volta (meaning?) took over the government of their country and renamed it Burkina Faso - Land of Dignity. The people now call themselves Burkinabes. Its been over twenty years now.

It is actually the word NIGERIA that is meaningless to us. We are not Latin or English. When we think, we think Naijiria but when we have to write, we write Nigeria otherwise we would fail the exams that were usually set in English. Since we cannot find Naijiria on the world map, we settle for the closest in spelling - Nigeria.

Jude Fashagba actually said it .. 'I love my counry but I hate its symbols'. Most of the times, the symbols that are used to depict Nigeria do not even remotely resemble its essence. They are just makeshift respresentations. 'Let's just put something make e no be like say we no do am'. That is why the recent re-branding exercise is such a disappointment.

The name Naijiria had somehow remained in our national consciousness in one form or the other for the last forty years, surfacing every ten years or so until its most recent incarnation as Naija. We are Naija people from Nigeria. How difficult is that?

I had written some time ago on this blog about the resurgence of patriotism in this generation of Naija people. A patriotism defined not by governments but by the youths themselves both at home and in the Diaspora. Seemingly without any formal synthetic arrangement but by a somewhat osmotic process. It is just seeping through the fabric of our national psyche without the usual baggages of tribalism, ethnic jingoism and all the other negative isms that have characterized all our previous efforts at nation building.

Naija youth is creating an identity for itself and for Nigeria. Rejecting the negative conotations that the world has tried to pin on it for years and rebranding itself creatively in sports, academics, movies, arts and music (yeah, and militancy too) so forcefully that the world took notice. Naija youth has given a new lease of life to this country. Saving it from the edge of the precipice and pushing it back to the top, where it rightfully belongs.

And it is succeeding, that is why people like Reuben Abati have noticed.

I think it is people like Dr. Abati, with their British mentality and orientations that miss the point. If we want to dance to our own national anthem, who can stop us? What exactly is wrong with that? Let's start it and see how many other countries will copy us.

I do not believe that this generation suffers from a crisis of identity. Rather, it is a generation that has found its identity among its peers in the world. It has chosen to bear its name and thus define itself as seperate from the confused illogisms that was its past.

It is a generation that is finally ready to meet and fulfill its destiny.

If only the ghosts of the past will let it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

If You Can't Beat Them, Forgive Them ...

You have probably read/heard about the Nigerian Federal Governement's Proclamation of Amnesty to the militants in the Niger Delta. What we do not know is if this amnesty extends to kidnappers and militants in other parts of the country -like Jos for instance but if I know Nigerian politics well enough, we will be hearing something about that very soon.

I am not usually this cynical but seriously, I will want to wait and see how effective this pardon will be. Nobody has said anything about addressing even the remote causes of the militancy in the first place. We are still expecting the Niger Delta 'Marshal Plan' that had been promised for so long and now we have an Amnesty. I just love this country.


Listening to the President proclaiming the Amnesty, something rang insincere in the words. A kind of bravado to mask a helplessness. What I will call 'ogboju of the highest order'. I believe even Yar'adua did not believe what he was reading. MKO Abiola would have called it 'clapping with one hand'. A resounding silence.


Some respected voices in the Niger Delta have suggested that that there should have been an Armistice before the Amnesty. Instructively, the MEND struck Shell again a little while after Yar'adua read the Amnesty Proclamation.


Some others have began to define who is a militant and who is a criminal in the context of the Amnesty. This has already set the stage for all manner of creatures to come crawling out of the rotten woodwork of the Niger Delta -bearing all kinds of rusty flintlocks and dysfunctional dane guns and machetes - calling themselves militants. It is boon for the criminals.


According to my extremely learned friend, Abadingo Abadanga ESQ of the illustrious firm of Abadingo, Abednego and Co, this simply buttresses his time-honored maxim of 'Ist nolle prosequi im ceteris paribus'.


That is to say, 'If you wan commit offense, e better make you commit de one wey be say when dem carry you reach court, the Judge sef go just look your case free you ; because your matter don pass the Law or in other words, your case is Over-the-Bar'.


Some other sources say that there is more to this than meets the eye. That is, knowing the family politics of the Niger Delta, it is possible that someone, somewhere may not want to be seen as aiding and supporting militancy in the Niger Delta particularly if it is close in the family.


No be my mouth dem go hear say Oga brother na criminal - sorry, militant.


Abadingo also told me that not all criminals are outlaws, some are in-laws.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Honour Among Thieves

It was perhaps the greatest heist in the history of 419. At $750 million for 51% of a company valued at $260 million, it must have been a bargain. But wait o. 419 is about advanced fees. Nobody knows exactly how much was paid in advance. Do you? Maybe we will call it 'Reverse 419'.

When the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) was launched on July 21st 2005 as "a Nigerian world-class mega-corporation managed by Nigerians and wholly owned by Nigerians" at the Presidential Villa, Abuja by Obasanjo - who owns 200 million shares of the company, the company had no operating office.

When it launched an IPO in 2006, it had no product or track record or histroy to analyse. The prospectus was full of typographical and design errors. Obviously even the directors did not see it before it got out. Its share pricing was based on projections. Yet the Nigerian Stock Exchange allowed it to go to market and Nigerians bought it. Of course, Madam Do Good also chairs the Transcorp board.

Transcorp was supposed to be the Nigerian equivalent of the Daewoos, Chaebols, Misubishis, Sumitomos, Toyotas, Toshibas and the other mega-corporations that raised the economies of the Asian countries. Its a strange analogy as these companies did not start out as mega-corporations, but rather as started as SMEs. Talk about leapfrogging.

Strange things started happening. Third term whispers and all that.

Obasanjo tried to stifle possible competition to Transcorp (he is the major shareholder). Ask the Ibetos how long a shipment of cement can stay in port. The Bull became a refugee in Ghana and that usually astute wheeler-dealer, Jimoh Ibrahim, almost lost his fortune but for GOD and his mother's head.

Gen-gen! they bought NITEL.

Gen-gen! they bought the NICON NOGA Hilton.

We siddon dey look, action dey go.

It was like a man who has a confirmed gold mine in his backyard but decides to plant ugwu on the land instead. With all due respect to Tom Iseghohi and his band of technocrats -with their much touted pedigrees (as if they were dogs), they did not know what they were doing in Transcorp.

Buying NITEL is like marrying a king's widow. You don't complain about her tastes in food, clothes and jewelry, you simply gird your loins and work harder to provider for her. Managing NITEL required more than Harvard MBAs or experience working in the safe corporate environments of the mutlinationals, you need a lot of street smarts. Unfortunately, the Transcorp board lacked that.

When Transcorp took over NITEL there was a deafening silence from the major telecoms industry players. It was like there was a conspiracy afoot. Indeed there was a conspiracy. A conspiracy of silence. Transcorp should have been worried but they probably felt they had won. If they could run The Bull out of town, who dem be?.

After all, how many refugees could Ghana take?

They forgot that there may be a day when Obasanjo would not be in power. They forgot that the same people you pushed off the ladder on your way up, you will meet again on your way down.

They forgot that kaka ki eku ma je sese, a a fi sh'awadanu ni. Mice may not eat salt, but they can waste it by making it unpalatable.

They forgot that there is honour, even among thieves.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The New Polygamy

How important are children to a marriage?

When I was much younger, I had this girlfriend with whom I had agreed not to have children if we got married. We had this belief that marriage was for companionship and not necessarily for children. We decided that kids would be a distraction for us. Not letting us live our lives to fullness.

Back then, I personally could not understand why people would marry more than one wife or live polygamous lives just because of children. I had believed that polygamy was a problem of the old and uneducated folks and largely a generational problem that will pass away as more and more people become educated.

I was wrong.

In the last three months, I have experienced, at close quarters a seeming surge in polygamous tendencies amongst people who I will classify as young, educated and upwardly mobile in all senses of the word. In all these situations however is a common decimal. An inability to have a child.

Ade works in a bank while Toun, his wife of thirteen years works with a government agency in Lagos. I was at their wedding and I believe that both of them wanted children in the marriage so this was not a case of family planning. Besides, after thirteen years, the excuse of family planning becomes untenable.

Sometime in December 2008, I met Ade in the Isolo area of Lagos dressed to the nines in lace agbada and all that. He told me he had come for an engagement ceremony somewhere in the neighburhood. Toun was not with him.

In April, I was preparing a bid for which I needed some input from a bank and I called my friend to vet it for me. He was quite busy during the week and asked me to see him at home during the weekend so that we can go through it together before presenting it to the bank on Monday.

On Saturday, I called to confirm our meeting and he asked me to meet him at an address in Isolo. I know he lives in Ikeja with his wife but I drove down to Isolo and I met my friend very much at home with a young woman and a baby girl.

He said 'Nimmo, meet my daughter'. I could not hide my shock. My jaw almost hit the floor.

He explained that when I saw him in December he had come for an engagement alright. His engagement to his second wife, Dupe who was pregnant at that time.

'Does Toun know?'

'No she doesn't and I know you will not be the one to tell her.'

Wetin concern agbero with overload?

Kenneth is a lawyer and Tina, his wife works as an HR Consultant. They'd been married for ten years now without a child. To all intents and purposes, they are happily married. Kenneth is the quintessential husband and Tina is the dutiful wife. A perfect couple if there was one.

I have known Kenneth since our university days and he has always been a gentleman. You know the law student who was always in shirt and tie while you all wore jeans and t-shirt to classes. That was Kenneth.

On the fateful day I was in his office when he asked me to 'escort' him to a school in Ikeja GRA. To see the Headmaster who was a friend, he said. In the Headmaster's office, they kept talking about 'his son' and I was confused. Well, that was until I saw the boy in question. At about three years of age, he was a spitting image of my friend.

Does Tina know?

Yes.

My mouth shut up.

I have known Shade since like forever. My area girl to the core.

After getting her Diploma from the polytechnic, Shade got pregnant for and married to - or got married to and pregnant for (whichever came first) - a Camerounian guy, we will call Jules. They had a son but it was a turbulent marriage and after three years they seperated. Jules died shortly after. He had taken his son to live with his relatives in France.

Shade remarried about five years ago to Ahmed, who was married before but had no child from the previous marriage. Everything was good. Right?

A few months ago, we were at a function where Shade was introduced as Mrs. Kamala. Now this Kamala was known to be married with children.

Shade, how come?

Wo, Nimmo free my hand joo. I cannot continue to live with a man who cannot give me a child.

That was the long and short of her story.

But you are not divorced from him yet, and you're already living with another man. This is bigamy you know.

Biga kinni? Did he tell you that I married him in court? No be only traditional we do? In fact, the only person I was ever legally married to was Jules and I still have my marriage certificate.

What about Kamala? You're Mrs. Kamala now.

Kamala? Mschewwwww .. .. Abeg, Nimmo stop lawyering me, na pikin I dey find.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Words Of War

'Is Nigeria at war?'

No one seems to be able to answer Yes or No but effective midnight 23 September 2007, a group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had 'declared war on the Nigerian state'.

In the light of what is happening presently in the Niger Delta region, with all the posturings, claims and counter claims emanating from the region and the vituperations of the major actors in this debacle, I feel compelled to ask the question again: Is Nigeria at war?

If the answer is Yes, who are the parties in this war? Nigeria and who? MEND?

If it is MEND, does MEND have the mandate of the people of the Nigeria Delta to prosecute a war on their behalf?

If the answer to this were Yes, and we agree that "a civil war is a violent conflict within a country fought by organized groups that aim to take power at the center or in a region, or to change government policies ... and that one side of a civil war is the state.[2]", then this would be a civil war, right?

According to Wikipedia "Scholars of war divide theories on the causes of civil war into either Greed vs Grievance. Roughly stated:
  1. Are conflicts caused by who people are, (defined in terms of ethnicity, religion or other social affiliation) or
  2. Do conflicts begin because it is in the economic best interests of individuals and groups to start them?
Scholarly analysis supports the conclusion that economic and structural factors are more important than those of identity in predicting occurrences of civil war."

If the answer to this were No, then who or what is MEND and what are they fighting for? As Alhaji Asari Dokubo stated in a 2007 interview 'MEND was created not as an organisation but a name for the purpose of issuing unified statements'.

If you are interested, there are several insightful academic works here and here on the Internet detailing the emergence and raison d'etre for MEND. Some even detail how to effectively combat it here.

One thing is obvious though, Yar Adua and his government do not have a clue as to how to handle this unfortunate situation. The latest misadventure by the government's Joint Task Force was an ingenious PR coup executed by MEND and one wonders how much more unthinking a government could be to fall for such an obvious trap.

What if we were really at war?

UPDATE
Unfortunately ..[t]here does not seem to be an easy solution to disrupting MEND or solving the problem of Niger Delta as whole. However the work was not entirely futile as we discovered that the government is a common denominator in each strategy – in a negative way.

The government or regime seems to be the biggest obstacle to successful counter strategy. The regime in petro-state could be imagined as an entity which floats over the society but has no links to it and is almost only concerned with revenues from oil extracting which puts it [at] odds with people of Niger Delta who in majority feel deprived from what they see as their right – oil revenues.
Conceptualizing And Countering The MEND

I was surprised to find such a detailed study on MEND on the internet. It even recommends different strategies to counter MEND and its activities in the delta. Instructively, the study does not endorse a military solution in its conclusions.

This is like an open book examination. Does it mean that NOBODY in the Nigerian government reads or what?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Overheard

This happened in a hospital where both Star and Fan had gone to visit friends in different Wards. They meet at the hospital lobby.

FAN: Hello Good morning, please pardon me but I know that I have seen this face before.
STAR: [With a smile] Maybe. Its a small world.
FAN: I am sure its you. You are on TV, right?
STAR: Right.
FAN: Let me see. Are you and actress?
STAR: No, I am an actor, a female actor.
FAN: Ahn-ahn, what's the difference?
STAR: See that lady over there? The one in the white coat. Is she a Doctress?
FAN: No, she is a Doctor.
STAR: My point exactly.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blogging Bloggers Blog About Blogging About Bloggers

Doesn't make sense does it?

Its like saying 'Plantain planters planting plantain in plantain plantation'. But that makes sense. In a way.

This is about blogging. And bloggers. And bloggers blogging. [Or blogging bloggers]. And blogging about bloggers. [Or blogging bloggers blogging about blogging bloggers.]. Anyway, you get the point.

Besides, I needed to update my blog before Bumight comes to remind me again.

Sometime last week, I was in conversation with a friend over lunch and suddenly he switched our gist to blogging. My first thought was that I had been outed and I was thinking of just denying it. It turns out though that our friend did not know about this blog but his peeve was with the Naija bloggers in general. He had been going round blogs and he finds it disturbing that most of the Naija bloggers actually write negative stuff about Nigeria.

I reminded him about the right of anyone to write as he/she will, a right enshrined in the constitution and also of the right of 'Nigeria' to respond if she feels any write-up is not positively reflecting upon her. [NOTE: Re-brand Nigeria still does not have a website/ web-presence. Are those guys thinking at all?].

His response actually shocked me; they had been 'reliably' informed that these Naija bloggers are actually the children/ agents of former Nigerian politicians or rulers who have fallen out of favour with the 'government' and are using the Internet to spread negative reports about Nigeria and the government in a 'campaign of calumny'.
.
Sincerely, my jaw was on the ground. Na so I dey look am

He then launched into a tirade of expletives to describe in unsalutary terms, the 'unpatriotic' acts of these so-called Nigerian bloggers. He even gave some names of those he called 'discredited politicians and agents of destabilization'.

Now, I am not so naive. I am old enough to know enough that some people can put up blogs to push an agenda. I also know that some bloggers are children of or related to some Nigerian politicians or former military rulers but I do not think/ never thought that constituted any reason to deny them their right to write as they will.

I do not know if anyone else has got this info but I seriously wonder at its intentions. It may probably be to introduce a sort of paranoia among Naija bloggers. I just can imagine reading Afrobabe, Badderchic, Deolu Akinyemi, Baroque, Solomonsydelle, Bumight, Vera Ezimora, Jide Salu, Woomie O, Roc Naija, Chari & Buttercup and wondering how much of their posts are 'subversive'. It is a worrisome thought.

Maybe this will eventually shut us all up. I must tell you that since that conversation, I have been thinking about blogging and whether its worth it after all. Several times I had logged on to Blogger but was too 'afraid' to blog about anything. Not that anyone might 'catch' me or anything as I have done nothing to be ashamed of. I am rather proud of my blog and have directed not a few people to it. Surreptitiously though.

I believe that bloggers are readers and readers are leaders and I have expressed that severally. I believe that out of this crop of Naija bloggers will come a crop of leaders in this country. A blogger is affecting minds with his/her writing. Yea, including Afrobabe and her 'total fuckery'. If all Nigerian youth were bloggers, they won't have time to send yahoo mails. That is a fact.

When Obama started out as a community organizer, I doubt if anyone believed that he would someday become President of the US.

Blogging is like community organizing but though the community is largely invisible or virtual, real minds are being affected by our posts and stories. Our personal failings and triumphs as shared on our blogs are read by millions of our countrymen and women who share our pains and laugh at our foolishness.

It is also their story. That's why they keep coming back.

That is why we write.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I De-baptise Thee In The Name Of ......

According to this article, 'More than 100,000 former Christians have downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" in a bid to publicly renounce their faith'. The online service started about five years ago and is provded by the London-based National Secular Society (NSS)

I think the issues here are more political than parochial.

'According to Argentine campaigner Ariel Bellino, a former Catholic: "The church counts all those who've been baptized as Catholic and lobbies for legislation based on that number, so we're trying to convey the importance of people expressing they no longer belong to the church."
In England, its a bit more desperate:

"Official estimates are that fewer than one million Britons regularly attend Sunday services, but there are currently 26 Church of England bishops sitting in the House of Lords. With churches, everybody checks in, but nobody checks out. There's no exit strategy except the funeral."
Some protesters have published renouncement of their Christianity in newspapers but Nick Baines, the Bishop of Croydon, says such notation makes little difference.
"Sticking [a] note in the register is not 'de-anything', it is simply a note in
a register that has no effect whatsoever other than to make him feel better
that he has been heard."
In Africa - where religion is the opium or 'primary sustainer' of the people in the convenient absence of government- particularly in Nigeria where the churches are always full and some even hold up to six 90-minute services every Sunday, this may be a tall order. Or may just take longer in coming.

The decisions of baptism were taken on your behalf by your parents when you were too young to decide just like your 'choices' of school, residence or even friends. Even if you don't agree with them now, can you change them? Do you have to put yourself through the stress of trying to change tham even if only symbolically?

More importantly, is it really possible to de-baptise yourself? Since true religion is between between an individual and God, the renumnciation of that relationship - if at all possible- should also be between the two parties only. The Church is just a third party.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Re-branding: A D-I-Y Guide

My Naija peeps,

Ever since the news broke on this Bernie Maddof's scam (Ponzi, Hedge - same difference), how many Americans have you called up to talk about America being a land of scammers and how afraid you are to even talk to them or counting your money near them?

What?

None?

Exactly. You don't go around calling people names and you know the difference between one person's greed and a people's aspirations. Your Mama taught you better than that.

I am so proud of you.

The next time some e.diot gets in your face and wants to talk about some 'Nigerian' scams or what not, just look at him from head to toe (you know how) and let out one of those famous long hisses or just pronounce him 'F-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-l' in your best Talab Abass voice.

Better still, you can just re-brand his face with a dirty slap.

[At your own risk sha]

Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Like It Hot ....

So much for hot sex.

A recent study purports there are fewer births nine months after a heat wave. It found that an increase of about 21.60 degrees Fahrenheit in summer temperatures reduces births the following spring by up to 6 percent.

Researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research concluded that high temperatures could reduce people’s sense of well-being, which could result in a reduction in sexual interest.

Another study found lower sperm counts during hot weather.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do You Know Your Brand?

If someobody calls your father a thief, what will you do?


I am usually appalled by the level of naivety displayed by Nigerians when this issue of Scam or 419 is mentioned. I will advise us all to do a search (Google/Yahoo/MSN etc) for the top 200 scammers in the world today and I can assure you there is not a single Nigerian in the lot. In fact, MSN brought out a list of scammers recently with their pictures and profiles and there was not a single Nigerian in the top 20! In fact, the top American in the list agreed to pay back taxes on his loot to avoid going to jail. There were Russians, Serbians, Turks -mostly Eastern Europeans on the list.

I will not try to absolve some of our countrymen who still indulge in this nefarious pastime (we are 140 million for God's sake) but with the efforts of the past and the level of awareness amongst the populace, it is a largely passing/passed fad. It is not as it used to be. Mugu don wise. Guyman sef don born again. We do know that most of those emails and letters still circulating on the web do not originate from Nigeria anymore. From the way the English is structured, you can guess where they are from.

Besides, anyone who still believes that there is a 'HRH Miriam Abacha' with a $20 billion stash looking for a foreign account to keep it must need serious help or might even be beyond help. Where have you been living for the past 15 years? Under a rock?

We need to understand that those who use the number '419' to describe fraud are usually Nigerians themselves. The number is actually the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code that deals with Advanced Fee Fraud. Now, that law was meant to protect Nigerians from foreigners who were all over us particularly in the 70s during the Oil Boom when we had so much money, our problem was how to spend it.

When people -like Oprah- call Nigerians scammers or call Nigeria the land of scams, it is meant to be an insult! DO NOT CONDONE IT. Take it as an insult and deal with it as such. Demand an apology.

I have no apologies for being a Nigerian. It is difficult enough being one without you telling me how stupid you were to fall for an anonymous email. Do you want me to tell you how my Uncle was swindled in 1974 by a white boy who said he was the son of John F. Kennedy?

1974?

Exactly. Gerrout of my face!

Last time I checked, Bernie Maddoff is not a Nigerian.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nigeria: Rebuild Not Rebrand

Deoluakinyemi wrote that he wanted me to 'pirate' what he wrote, so I did.

What I want to write today is an article I will love you to pirate. I’ll like you to dub it, and put it on your blog post. Modify it if you like, give me credit if you want, or give me none at all. They say we’ll achieve a lot more if we don’t care who gets the credit.

I have refrained deliberately for a long time to make any comments about our National Re-branding exercise. I hope I will be able to say what boils in my throat and wrists tonight, without making too much reference to it. For all it’s worth though,... the fundamental error I can see is that Nigerians have not been allowed to own it, and hence rather than having people championing it, and helping others buy in, what we have is criticism and condemnation by the same people ....

Having said that however, I have a proposition of an exercise that we can own as Nigerians. It’s a simple idea and it came as a fallout of a discussion that ensued in my office yesterday. It’s an answer of what we can do to focus our leaders on the problems that we have ... and to assist them in giving it the attention it deserves. We no longer need any assistance from any source to know that our most crucial problem in Nigeria is Leadership! If we are all on the same page in this realization, then our efforts towards a better Nigeria must be channeled to support, focus and direct our leaders.

I remember shortly before the elections last year I wrote an article I titled, “Power is all we need!” I pleaded with our would be leaders not to promise us roads or education, but to promise us just one thing - Power! That if in any leaders 4yrs we can celebrate 1yr of uninterrupted power supply, then we should immortalize that president. Haven been to Egypt now to watch tombs, I say we must do the same, but before they die however.

First for the nation, then the states, then our local governments. Once we have a new president for example, we should as a nation analyze our most significant problem that we want solved in his or her tenure. After we have agreed on this problem, we should then go ahead and give that problem the same name with our president. We should substitute the name of our leader with this problem in our conversations, in our articles in newspapers, in our slang’s, in our music and drama. We should do this per state and per local government as well.

Let’s say for example that we have discovered that our biggest problem in Nigeria is Electricity, and for example that our president’s name for the tenure was Yaradua. Then every time power goes, every time we are in darkness, every time we have any issues, our conversations should be like this.

When it is bad as it is - “Chei, Yaradua has gone again”,
“Ah, we have not had Yaradua for the last 2 days”,
“This Yaradua is so unstable”,
“Ah what did we do today oh, we have half Yaradua today”,
” What’s wrong with you, you are complaining that you haven’t seen Yaradua for 3 days, what about people that haven’t seen Yaradua for one year! or ever!”,
“I wasn’t able to do it overnight, because Yaradua kept fainting”,
“We have been using Yaradua as backup to our Generator”,
“Iron your shirts, Yaradua may soon go oh”, ”

When this start becoming good - ” Up Yaradua!”,
“Yaradua is really trying oh, we are not where we want to be, but we are far from where we were”,
“Yaradua has been consistent for the past 24hrs”,
“Ah, we need to celebrate 1yr of uninterrupted Yaradua”,
“Yaradua is so much better these days”,
“With Yaradua so constant, Nigeria is really becoming the most desirable nation to live in on earth”.
“Yaradua is constant in all the states of Nigeria and the structures are in place to get Yaradua into all the local governments.”

Can you form your own new ones?

If we keep speaking this way, our leaders will know that we mean business with our desire for solutions. The next president will also know that one critical unsolved problem will bear his name until it’s solved. I recommend, that whichever president fixes electric power be given the opportunity to forever bear the same name with electricity in Nigeria and be forever immortalized in the lips and minds of Nigerians.

The same for every future identified problem. A similar approach should be taken to the state levels. Whatever problem we align and identify must be instantly changed to the name of the Governor. If the issue in Lagos for example was Transportation and assuming the Governor was Fashola, then by now, people should be saying
“Fashola is getting better in Lagos now”, or
” I entered one wrong fashola and they collected my phone and laptop.” or
“Big Fashola (BRT) is actually making life easy for Lagosians”.

We can identify the states one by one and identify the problems that need to be solved and replaced with their name.

My people say that whatever hurts one, must be primary in one’s conversation -

“Oun to ba duni lo n po loro eni”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fasting Fridays: Be Cause

Why do we fast?

There are several benefits to the practice of fasting particularly those of health and physical well being but most of the people who fast do it for 'spiritual' reasons.

On Ash Wednesday, there was an interesting discussion in my office about Lent with three different denominations of Christians having different views about it. The Catholics celebrate Lent while some others participate but there were those who do not see it as 'scriptural'.

They say that there was nowhere in the New Testament where fasting was recommended to Christians. Jesus fasted for 40 days but he didn't say anybody else should. Paul did not recommend it though there was reason to believe that he fasted himself.

I really do not know about this so I will just ask for your views or opinions. As Wikipedia will say [citations needed]

I believe every religion has one form of fast or the other. Islam recommends - nay, mandates- all faithfuls to observe the thirty days of Ramadan in a fast of holiness.

Why do we fast?

Francis, who is a member of ECKANKAR answers the question like a typical African. He asks another question:

'Why do we eat?' - to which he answers thus:

'We eat to keep body and soul together'

So, why do you fast?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Naija 4 Life!

NIGERIA: Good People, Great Nation

For the last few years, there had been a palpable positive movement in Nigeria's image indicators and it was not started by the Nigerian government. In fact the Nigerian government came into it and derailed the efforts with its infamous 'Heart of Africa' shtick.

I really dont know how it started or who started it (though some people credit JJC & the 419 Squad crew) but the 'NAIJA-4-LIFE' slogan was/is still the most successful effort at nation rebirth and national pride.

To me, it was so successful when my cousins who were born in Scotland and had never been to Nigeria before actually started calling themselves '9JA-4-LAIF'. They finally came to Lagos and in spite of all our deprivations, (NEPA, Water, Roads etc) they still enjoyed themselves and would not stop talking about Nigeria.

There were so many variations of the slogan but in all, there was this palpable pride in Nigeria and things Nigerian. Even on Blogville, more and more bloggers identified with Nigeria and were proud to share their stories, even the not-so-palatable ones. Yes, all the problems were still there but we ARE Nigerians and we WILL solve our problems. No be today yansh dey back.

Along the line, the Nigerian government tried to take over the driver's seat of the movement rather than just ride the wave. The result was the disaster called 'Heart of Africa'. I believe that in itself, the 'Heart of Africa' Project was a good idea but the moment it was passed to the clueless bootlickers at the MoI, it was doomed to failure.

Ironically, several African countries have successfully carried out some image laundering in the last few years in efforts that included Nigerians. Botswana, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa have ran successful campaigns in the past and it even appears South Africa is on a perpetual campaign but its messages change depending on their challenges. You would probably have seen their 'This is my South Africa, tell me about yours' campaign featuring Yvone Chaka Chaka and others on CNN.

Their efforts are geared towards hosting a successful World Cup come 2010. I doubt if they are thinking of winning the cup. They know they can win in many more ways than on the field. They obviously know how to run a good campaign.

I am not one to predict doom but for this Akuyili's campaign, I am just wondering; how long will one million dollars last?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fasting Fridays

AJANI: Shukudi! Shukudi! Ore mi to da! How now? This one that your face is squeezing so, I hope all is well o.

CHUKWUDI: Ajani-jani! my friend. All is well. Its just that I am fasting.

AJANI: Ah! Fasting. I forgot its Lent period. Pele o. Sorry.

CHUKWUDI: What is kpele in this one now? Simply because I'm fasting. Did I say anything is wrong with me?

AJANI: OK then. E ku oungbe o. E ku ise emi. Olorun a san wa l'esan rere.

CHUKWUDI: (laughs). Better. E ku fasting. I know Yoruba has a greeting for every situation but what is all these ngbati-ngbati you just poured on me now?

AJANI: So somebody cannot greet you again. When you were carrying your face like masquerade who wan shit what would somebody say?

CHUKWUDI: Bia, Ajani if you don't have anything else to say, come and be going before you spoil my fasting.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Housecleaning

I can't believe its already one whole month since I'd been here!

Let me clean up all the cobwebs that have accumulated and I will be back to blogging.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Update

You are on the bus when you suddenly realize ... You need to fart.


The music is really loud, so you time your farts with the beat.


After a couple of songs, you start to feel better as you approach your stop.


As you are leaving the bus, people are really staring you down, and that's when you realize,

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YOU HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO YOUR IPOD!!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On Politics




"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Awwwwww ... I Like This


Yeah, I know the inauguration is long past and the guy is already busy at work but this is a so very nice picture. Its been on my desktop for some time now. Notice the Secret Service agents and aides trying not to look too embarrassed or looking away.


What is it with this 'head grinding' between 'Mi-Mi Baby' (a.k.a. Leader of the Fashionable World) and her 'O-Bee Darling' (a.k.a. Leader of the Free World). This and the famous 'fist-bump' (a.k.a. Terrorist Salute). See more 'head-to-head' pictures here.


Someone was obviously trying to get lucky that night and someone else couldn't wait to get out of that dress. They say power is an aphrodisiac. Stronger than burantashi. Stronger than Viagra.


Did you see them practically smooching on the road to the White House? Just to walk a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue and wave to people they were doing 'Love in Tokyo'. I doubt if any other President has done that in history.


The way these two are going ehn, Malia and Sasha may have a brother soon.


Mark my word.

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