Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time to let go

My people, I have been thinking. Do you remember a time when we had a subject called “current affairs” in primary school? I think it was a part of social studies. Anyway, I was just thinking of all those big names we had to memorize as past leaders of our dearly beloved country. If I am not mistaken, Obasanjo was one of them. It may pain you all to know that I was a child then when I first heard that name. Yes, that’s how time flies! I am a fully grown adult now and still, I have to hear or read about this name in 2008. I am sick of that name and all the other names that won’t just fade away. Haba! E never reach una? The whole thing is like eating akamu everyday or soaking garri everyday….which some people actually do in this country.

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to leave the child to walk. The crawling child must eventually learn to walk, without the support of tables, chairs or worrying mothers. So it seems the time has come for our grand parents and parents to let Nigeria go. Nigeria is no longer yours; you have done what you can. Good or bad, the country is how you have “raised it” to be. However, this country does not belong to you anymore. You have done what you can; you have seen the progress with your own eyes. Why are you still hanging on? For what are you still hanging on? Another generation awaits its turn, yet you block our ways with tricks and huddles. You frustrate us at every turn. What would you like to see? To see us give up? Like the crawling child whom you have refused to let walk, you would like Nigeria to crawl on. Perhaps become handicapped in the process? Yet, you know it is time for a change, you feel it in the air; you know that you cannot hold on forever.

Your time has come and gone, all knowledge you have, you have given. There is no more for you to do. It is time to let go.

P.S: This country ehn! I don talk am say na only if you get strong head you fit survive… or you fit become psykia case. Choose one. Anyway, as una see, that labour man don show everybody say you must to stubborn pass mule for dis country. You must to struggle, argue, vex self, but you must never give up. So, make I join everybody else congratulate our Edo brother wey carry im case go court come test dis our “rule of law” yarns. No be God we thank? and after all dis wahala, I wan see serious things dey happen oh! Especially dat una road for dat side, chei! Last time na so I fall enter dat una red poto poto, my fine white dress just spoil finish! Anyway, after una build the road finish, if money remain, make una compensate dat my dress. Thanks in advance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

For this season

Once upon a time, many Easters ago, I was an innocent child without any knowledge of the grave importance religion held in the society. To me, the best part of every Sunday, was the mornings on the way to church. It was then, that I got to sit in the front sit of my father’s battered (but oh! so loved) Peugeot 504 and made very important decisions like which newspaper we should read for the day. There were always so many papers to choose from and sometimes we got them all, because we could never decide. We also bought petrol, “lucky bread” and if I had been really good, I got to buy “butter mints” and “tomtom” for my brothers and sisters. The rest part of the day, “the church part” was basically an intrusion in my very tight schedule of Sunday activities. There was always so much to do; there was “ten-ten”, “suwe”, “police and thief” “plucking ebelebor” and other very important games with the neighborhood children. I enjoyed my observation post in church since all I ever had to do was sit quietly, make up stories in my head and wait until the service was over.

All this was about to change one Sunday when Thomas visited our home. You see, Thomas was “one of Daddy’s people”. This simply meant he was one of those people that could call at any time of the day. He could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and still call the next day. He needed no excuse to visit, because he was from the same village as my father. Thus, he was “one of Daddy’s people”. I peeped from my hideout behind my father’s chair as Thomas informed my father that he thought it was time I and my brother started attending catechism classes to prepare us for “holy communion”. What! How dare he intrude on my care-free church participation? I was perfectly happy just sitting. I had seen the lines of sober people standing for communion, and watched their lips moving as they confessed and prayed for contrition. They always seemed to be in pain and I did not want to be part of whatever pain they all seemed to be going through. I ran with this terrible information to my brother whose own afternoons were spent playing football. His new fixation then was the Brazilian mid-fielder “Zico” and even wore a Brazilian jersey with the number “10” printed on the back. The news however meant nothing to him, as he bounced his ball up and down. In fact, he seemed to be happy about the recent development. I realized later on, that the football field was right next to the proposed venue of the catechism classes, and my brother spent many happy hours on the field instead of in a stuffed classroom.

That summer, the world of religion was opened to me and left me asking more questions than I thought were possible. Some were answered and some were not. Some, I am still asking after so many years. You could say, that care-free innocent view of the world was lost….forever….and I blame Thomas.

As we all celebrate at this time of the year, Christians and Muslims, I pray that we all find in our hearts, those times of innocence when we were able to see beyond the confines of our churches or mosques. May it be a time for compassion and love to our fellow brothers and sisters but most of all, please Lord, do something about this country. Amen.

P.S: Those of you serving starch and banga soup, please feel free to invite me at

Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

It takes a fool to remain sane

So, this week, it has been discovered that a citizen of this county had a pipeline, used for smuggling crude oil, running directly into his home. A private citizen like you and me. Nothing special about this man at all, he does not have two heads and neither was he born on a special day. He was born on an ordinary day, in an ordinary month. The only thing that makes this man so special is that he was born in Nigeria. Yes, only in Nigeria can such a thing happen. Only in Nigeria can a private citizen “steal” crude oil from a refinery without the refinery or the government’s knowledge.

Yesterday, I performed an experiment. I went into the home of a neighbour and stole a bottle of normal cooking oil, vegetable oil to be precise. Do you think my neighbour did not notice? Within an hour, my phone was blasted with calls and texts. Of course my neighbour knew that a bottle of oil had gone missing even though it was just a small bottle. Now, please, can somebody, explain to me how in the world a pipeline of crude oil is connected to a man’s house without anybody’s knowledge? How is that possible? I repeat again, a pipeline? Where else but Nigeria could such a thing happen? Where else but Nigeria will we be proud to announce to the world that we have caught “a pipeline thief”?

It seems that there are thieves and there are thieves. In Nigeria, greed is insatiable. The hunger for money is insatiable. It is never enough. Even if we have enough money to last a couple of generations, we want more. Yet, this is the same country where almost everybody you meet is either a born again Christian or a devout Muslim. Forget about the pagans, they do not exist except in Nollywood. So it seems we all have the fear of God in us.

Our appetite for money is drowning this country. We are the laughing stock of the world because we cannot control ourselves. Everything has to be in excess. The cars have to be jeeps when you know very well how narrow and congested our roads are. The houses have to be mansions so it can be seen from far and wide when you know very well they are huts at the turn of the corner. The fabrics have to be strong and heavy when you know the ferocity of our sun. Nothing is ever done in moderation. Just like every project we embark on, we manage to cause wastage and spillage.

Nevertheless, we turn a blind eye everyday to these things. Just like I have never figured out who throws dirt on the road (it cannot be the Christians because “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and definitely not the Muslims since they wash five times a day and the pagans do not exist), we shall all live with the ridiculous situation in this country and once in a while, say “God dey” or “It is well”. We shall pretend that it is possible for a private citizen to connect a pipeline to his home and we shall also pretend that we have a great police force who managed to make this discovery after months of underground work and investigation.

P.S: To borrow the words of Patrick Obahiagbon, the Edo state representative in the National assembly, you all should stop “big stouting”, “suyaing” and “peppersouping” and get to work. The security problem in this country is out of control. Whose mother, wife or sister has to be raped by an armed robber before something is done? Whose baby has to be shot at close range before something is done? People are suffering and yet their cries seem to be falling on deaf ears. It is only a matter of time before people start taking matters into their hands. Abeg, I don tire.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


My people! The tory wey I get for una today, no be small thing oh! In fact, wey I read the thing I no know whether to laugh or cry. Na so, I just dey mind my business one early evening wey my friend Chris come give me one kain unbelievable story! I swear, remain small I for rak the guy, but as I take my own eye see the thing, I no even fit talk again.

Our very own Goodluck Jonathan (bros, how na? I salute oh!) seems to think that the power situation in Nigeria is “embarrassing”. Why, you may ask….is it because millions of people all over Nigeria have to wear rumpled clothes to work every day? No. Is it because tailors and saw-mill owners all over the country have all lost their customers, gone bankrupt and are now no longer contributing to the economy? No. Is it because Doctors and nurses all over the country have lost patients in the middle of operations when power fails? No. What more then, you ask? Is there anything more embarrassing that all of the above mentioned? Yes, my people, it seems, believe it or not, there is.

According to our one and only Goodluck Jonathan, the fact, that there was power failure in the middle of a meeting (held at Sheraton international hotel) is very “embarrassing”. Embarrassing ke? You don’t say? Which country are you living in? Millions of people have been living with this so called “embarrassment” for as long as they were born. The younger generation (not all those ajebutter silverbird children oh! I know some of them are not even aware that there is something called “power failure”) are experts at when they will be light. Ask any young boy in Warri, with precise calculations, he will tell you if there is any need to “hope” for light on a certain day. It goes like this: “light? Today? Let me see…two weeks ago, on a Thursday we had light for two hours….wait…then last week, we had light for one hour….ehhhhh, we might, if they don’t give it to the other area…well, pray sha, maybe”.So my dear Jonathan(may I call you Johnny?), my dear Johnny boy, the word to use in this country when it comes to our light/electricity/power issues is not “embarrassing” or “upsetting” or “uncomfortable”, the word you should have used is TRAGEDY. Yes, that’s a very good word for what is happening in this country. I am tired of everybody sugarcoating our problems with nice little English words, let’s go wild here, why not DISASTER? It is only when the government sees the reality of the situation that they can ever hope to solve the problems.

P.S: To the Governor that refused to open a hospital for more than two years, because he was waiting for the president to come and “cut ribbon”. Shebi you see yaself now? Now, wey the people come vex anyhow, burn the thing go ground, una dey make noise? Una suppose don open that hospital long time ago even before dem paint am self, instead una dey wait make dem come cut ribbon!

Abeg, next time, if na to cut ribbon, no waste time, just call me sharp sharp, even if I no get scissors, I for use razorblade!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Made in China vs. Made in Nigeria

Note: The issues discussed in the below article is for the common man alone. If you buy your shoes, clothes and bags from “boutique” and “abroad”, take no notice of this article.

Shinkpa! Na dat kain sound my sandal make wey the thing cut for road. To say the truth, I was not surprised. I knew the day was fast approaching, after all it had “made in China” written on it. I blamed myself for buying it. I could have gone to the “Ibo market”, (that “g” for “Igbo” dey miss for our waffy pronunciation) near main market to buy it but it was getting late and I wanted to get back to Effurun on time so I bought “made in China” and now it has happened. I know all these big women in Abuja will be surprised, abeg my sisters, life is hard jare, we cannot afford “Jimmy Choo” and “Manolo Blahnik”, some of us actually go around without any label on our shoes, talk less of designer! Anyway, the Ibo market in Warri has served me well over the years, especially my teenage years, when all I wanted in my whole life was a pair of designer jeans. Everybody in Lagos was wearing them, and so I believed and was so sure it was a necessity in my young life. Nobody was going to spend such a ridiculous amount on jeans and especially not in Warri where the most anybody would say, would be “dis jeans get as e be! Na bend down pick you go”? So, with my meager resources, I found my way to the Ibo market where the boys listened with great sympathy to my plight. After a lot of describing and explaining, Ugo, right there on his table, drew the most perfect imitation of my dream jeans. The next week saw me leaving Ibo market with not one pair, but three different pairs of jeans in black, red and blue. It was one of my most satisfied moments in my adolescent life.

These days, our markets are flooded with Chinese products, shoes, bags, clothes, you name it and the Chinese have it. We have to buy them, we say, the poor man has no choice. So with eyes wide open, we buy shoes we know will fall apart in a week or two. If it is the dry season, we might be lucky to get a couple of months out of the shoe. If it is the rainy season, then we know, two days of hopping from one okada to another will “kill” the shoe. Yet, we are not worried; we throw it away, get on okada to the nearest market and buy the next “made in China”.

Now, that is all well and good if we had no choice, but we do have one. We have our own “China” in Nigeria. We have our own boys whose skills and talents will match any Chinese any day, any time. Why do we not support our own? What is the Chinese offering that our people cannot do? Before the Chinese remembered Africa, was the poor man not making do with our own “made in Onitsha” products? All of a sudden, these products are too “inferior” for us. We look down on the products that have served us well when we had nothing. I am sure some of you would deny it, no, you have never bought “Aba made”, well, shame on you! When will we learn to be proud of our own? When will we learn to support our own? We import goods by the hundreds when we have the skills and manpower here? We help another country with its economy and deny our own country that right?

The Chinese have no shame putting “made in China” on their products, yet we are so ashamed of our own products that we rather leave it without any label or better still, write another country’s name. What kind of country is ashamed of its own people? What kind of people are we that we rather buy the products made in another country than to buy our own? Shame on us!