Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am sorry I do not speak your language!

I am one of those people that have been born “tribeless”, not because I do not have a tribe but because I just happen to have been brought up in Warri where we have made our very own “waffy” tribe. You can have a Hausa first name and an Ishan surname, as far as you were born and raised in Warri, you are a Waffarian. However, if you are “originally” from Warri but have never lived here, then no, you are not qualified to be a Waffarian. If you do not know where the following places are: Agbaro, Orhuwhorun, Ovwain, Igbo market, Bendel Estate, Nana College, Jakpa junction, then please, drop that dream. You are not a Waffarian. Entering an Okada does not qualify you and neither does having a love for “banga soup”. However, if you still insist on becoming a Waffarian, then send your CV and a letter stating why you would like to become a Waffarian. The best letter would be published in this column next week. Send all letters to

Warri is a melting pot for so many languages and traditions that it is impossible to identify yourself with just one. I have never had any friends that have been strongly rooted in any particular tribe or culture. However, there are many Nigerians that are so strongly rooted in their language and culture that the thought of another person not speaking their own language might be quite displeasing to them. I am constantly baffled why people expect me to know their values and traditions when I do not have any affinity with them. I respect all tribes equally. I do not respect one above the others. That is why at this age, the thought that I might be at a disadvantage because I am not from a particular tribe is very troubling.

I have always believed that people should be judged by the content of their character and not by the language they speak. I have had more in common with a Tiv farmer’s daughter than with a minister’s daughter in Abuja. I might have more in common with an Italian cook (we both like food) than with a Nigerian pastor (I can’t stand their hypocrisy). It all depends on your principles in life. What is important to you? Who are you?

I do not believe I should be friends with other human beings just because they speak the same language as I do. I base my friendships on character and not on language, creed or colour. Today, there are many cases of marriages gone sour because of the insistence on marrying another human being from one’s own tribe, even though the two personalities might be incompatible. In fact, I know many people that have told me that they would not be able to marry someone who does not speak their language (I sure say my waffy people no concern dat one, as far as you fit scatter pidgin English, we dey happy). This to me is quite amusing. Why limit your world when you can do so much? Why limit your world to your own language and culture? Nigeria is a country blessed with so much diversity that it is a shame that people cannot see the beauty in it. When we learn from other cultures, we enrich ours. When we speak another language, we open ourselves to a world of new stories, new proverbs, new lessons. Learning another language can never be a detriment to anybody. We should be proud of our cultural diversity. We should be willing to acknowledge and be proud of the people that take the time and effort to learn the ways of others.

No, I do not speak your language. Do not ask me “why” I do not speak your language. Your language is not the only one in Nigeria. However, I am willing to learn your language for my own sake not for yours. The question is, are YOU willing to learn MY language? (no be say I get language oh but I fit give you intensive course for pidgin English).

P.S: All those market women for Effurun wey don turn the road wey dem just build na na to bicycle lane, I take God beg una, comot all those una nonsense from that road. Haba! Dem build that road for motor, no be for una to dey sell una goods.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Nigerian Inquisition

In the 15th century, Europe was the center of the most heinous crimes committed against humanity in the name of Christianity. People were accused, put on trial, tortured and sometimes killed. In a bid to escape the wrath of the inquisition trials, people not only incriminated themselves but were forced to accuse others as well. This created an atmosphere of fear and paranoia amongst family and friends and it was not long before all sorts of fantastic accusations were being thrown about. One of the many accusations one could come up with was to accuse another person of “witchcraft”. Of course, this was in the 15th century and so it is understandable that the minds of illiterates could go no further than this. It is therefore with great shame and disgust that I now have to write about a similar sort of “inquisition” going on in our country today. These disgusting and inhumane trials are spearheaded by Helen Ukpabio.

You see, if someone had told me she was the wife of Lucifer, chances are I would laugh and not even think twice about such an absurd statement. However, in the case of Helen Ukpabio, I sincerely believe that she has been a wife of Lucifer and continues to mate with him in his bed of evil. Helen Ukpabio is the founder of “Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministry” and author of the book, “The Seat of Satan Exposed”. According to Helen, she was betrothed to Lucifer at the young age of fourteen and was trained in “concepts of mysticism, occultism, spiritism, satanism, demonism and general cultism” (don’t ask me what “spiritism” means, I always thought it was another name for “ogogoro” and as for the difference between “occultism” and “general cultism”, I am guessing the Satanic world has its very own English language which we mere mortals cannot decipher).

I have no problems with people being wives or husbands of anybody in heaven or hell. We all make our choices in life; after all, if people are wives and girlfriends of Jesus, I see no reason why people cannot be wives or girlfriends of Lucifer. Na dem sabi. Everybody with im own, wetin concern bicycle with filling station?
It only becomes my concern when people decide to attack the weak and innocent for their own devious and egoistic purposes. When anybody attacks a child, it becomes my concern and it should become your concern too. When a grown adult decides to attack children that cannot defend themselves then it becomes the place of other adults in the society to defend the children.

The “Liberty message”, according to its website, concentrates on expository series on witchcraft, false religion, marine spirit, demonology, deliverance, renunciation, first born male and curses/reversal(once again, do not attempt to find the meanings of these words in your dictionary, you have to have the “Modern Satanic Dictionary”). It is very clear, that whilst other churches are focusing on the “word of God” and a message of love, peace and happiness, Helen Ukpabio has decided to focus on delivering human beings from the hands of Satan.

Once again, I really have no problem with Helen practicing her deliverance skills on other human beings. If those human beings are adults and with their own two legs, decide to seek her out to know their “witchcraft status” (people wey never do A.I.D.S test oh meanwhile dem don do witchcraft test), that is their business. However, Helen does not only deliver adults. Instead, she has decided to concentrate also on the small and helpless in the society. Children who cannot defend themselves. Many of them do not even understand what is happening. Many of them still babies….these are the people that Helen has decided to practice her deliverance skills on.

In Akwa Ibom State today, there are hundreds of children being tortured, starved, beaten and separated from their families, all because Helen Ukpabio has labeled them as witches. Why is it the little children that are always the witches in every family? It is easy to pick a baby as a witch. A baby has no voice, a baby cannot defend itself, a baby is just… a baby.

I dare Helen Ukpabio to fight with demons her own size. I dare her to cast the demon out of me. Come and deliver me, please. Out of two of us, we go see who go cast demon comot from who. Helen Ukpabio should stop pretending she was ever delivered. It is obvious she is still very much the wife of Lucifer and is zealously doing his work here on earth.

I implore the Nigerian government, the governor of Akwa Ibom state and all sane citizens of this nation to stand up for the rights of these children. We must become the voice that they do not have and tell Helen Ukpabio to go and pick on demons her own size. I am sure since she is such a demon expert there must be many more adult demons that would keep her busy ministry occupied. Leave the children alone!

P.S: Congratulations to Comrade Oshiomhole! Yes we MUST!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Do you dare to be part of history?

A young writer friend of mine convinced me to stay up all night last Tuesday. I have never been a fan of American politics, especially since the unfortunate war in Iraq and the election of George Bush. I thought they had all gone nuts, like the rest of the world. However, my friend looked me dead in the eye and asked “do you not want to be part of history?” A question that needed no answer. I stayed up all night, congratulating my friend, as though it was he who was winning, as though it was he who would be the next president of America.

I am thankful I stayed up to watch history made, thankful I stayed up to hear the inspiring speech Barack Obama gave. If there was anything I got from that unforgettable night, it is the irrefutable fact that there is nothing we cannot achieve with hard work, discipline and persistence. There is nobody that can stop us as a nation if only we dare to try. If only we dare to say like Obama did, “yes we can!”. There are many things to be done and we must start right now, we must start today. How long do we sit and listen to the politicians, the so called God fathers and their cronies tell us that it is “impossible?” How long do we believe the lies of the greedy and the corrupt when they tell us that we shall never be a democracy? That the power in Nigeria belongs to a group of old men who shall never die? We are more than a hundred million people and yet we believe the lies of a few corrupt old men? When they tell us we shall never make it, perhaps it is time for us too, to rise up and say “Yes we can!”

On the third of November 2008, a young woman was beaten and stripped off her clothes by the convoy of Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade. What was her crime, you might ask? Well apparently, Uzoma Okere did not move out of the road fast enough for the power hungry Admiral and his band of animals. I watched with horror at the video as this young woman was beaten in broad day light. I cried not because of the brutality of a band of cowardly men but because of the two groups of people that witnessed this incident. Those who dared to say something and those that just stood there…and did nothing.

The Navy dared to behave like animals, they dared to do whatever they liked but we the people, we are always so afraid to stand up for our rights. He who does not dare shall never win. Until the day people would stop staring like useless beings and start being active, this country will always remain in the hands of a few corrupt old men. We are more than a hundred million, and amongst us, are there no few good men left? Is there nobody that will stand up, and dare to say “yes, we can?”

I want to believe that we as a nation will one day rise up and say, with one voice, enough is enough! That we shall dare to open our mouths and let our voices be heard when we see our brothers and sisters treated like animals. That we shall dare to confront injustice and believe in ourselves. It shall take time; maybe years but with hard work, discipline and persistence, we shall get there. Most of all, we must believe in ourselves and in our own abilities. So that when another Uzoma Okere stands up for her rights, we shall not stand around like starry eyed goats but we shall join her in her fight and be part of history. Let us dare to be right, let us dare to determine the course of our own history, let us dare to be part of history.

P.S: Meanwhile, all these convoys self, me I dey wonder where dem expect person to comot go self. See our roads, the traffic, plus okadas, hawkers, beggars, the whole road full remain. Sometimes I dey wonder whether dem think say person car get wings wey go just begin flap dey go. Haba! If una wan make people dey clear road for una, ehen, make una build big big roads dem, in fact make una build special lane self, only for una convoy. And no be say na better thing una dey go do oh. E fit be say na hunger be dey waya the man. I thank God say na swamp I dey stay, na me and mosquito dey share water.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The infertile man

I was reading my weekly newspapers last week on the internet when I came across an article titled “The way out of barrenness” written by Pastor Johnson Omomadia in the Vanguard, Nigeria, 24 October 2008. I read the article with great amusement and I have decided to compliment some of the missing facts in Pastor’s Omomadia’s well researched article on “barrenness”.

In his article, Pastor Johnson says that “To be barren means unfruitful, sterile, childless, deserted, uncultivated, dryness and something or someone that does not produce after its/his kind”. I therefore assumed that Pastor Johnson was referring to both men and women since both sexes can be affected by such a condition. He however only gives us examples of women in the Bible who were barren and warns us that is “forbidden” to be barren. At that point, I was filled with fear for all women with infertility problems all over Nigeria. What on earth were they now supposed to do? I imagined women committing suicides all over the country…I mean if it is “forbidden”, then what other choice do they have?

However, he does not suggest that infertile women start committing suicides all over the country, instead he tells us that “intercession brings fruitfulness” (with God that is) and then proceeds to advertise his bank account number at the end of his article where “financial seeds” can be planted and I am guessing his intercession with God will then work its miracles.

I would like to point out a few points the good pastor missed in his article. If infertility in women is forbidden in his version of the Bible, then I suppose infertility in men must be forbidden as well. Men can also can be “dry”, “uncultivated”, “and deserted”. If a man is impotent, then I am sure he is also “unfruitful”, “sterile”, and “childless”. I am very sure the pastor did not attend any medical school since he forgot to state the different factors that might cause a man to be unable to produce children. Just in case our pastor decides to immerse himself further into the world of “barrenness”, let me give him some common causes of male infertility. Disorders of the sperm numbers, shapes or movement are quite common. Testicular injuries or diseases, genetic disorders, hormonal problems, etc. There are many causes of male infertility that I am sure the pastor would like to mention next time he chooses to write about “a way out of barrenness”.

Also, should he choose to write a “part two” on the matter, it would be helpful if he can also find some examples of male infertility in the Bible, since that is where he gets his abundant knowledge of medical terms and conditions.