THE SIDDON LOOK CULTURE: JUNGLE JUSTICE & THE BRAVE 4

There is a war out there, and no Nigerian youngster may be safe from it: a secret experiment to drive the Nigerian youth into extinction. More students and young Nigerians have been killed or imperiled this year than I have ever known since I was old enough to know my government name or since I learnt to do a number 2 by myself in the toilet.

From the Mubi 40 to the Aluu 4, and running through a thread of sad instances (the Sosoliso air crash), then the incidents involving NYSC corpers in the Boko Haram North to the recent Dana Air mishaps, we have mourned enough members of Generation Y-Not (those born after the oil boom years of 1977 and beyond) to declare a genocide watch in Nigeria.

My heart is heavy, especially after the recent Mubi and Aluu deaths, and before I speak on it, I would enjoin every one of my readers to heed this:  Try and preserve yourself as much as you can while we gang-plank walk this contraption that is the Nigerian experiment.

Every Musa, Mezie and Moyo with access to social media has heard and given their opinion about the sad deaths which occurred at Aluu community, where 4 UNIPORT students were tortured and murdered in cold blood by an irate mob bent on dispersing their own warped version of street justice. Per chance you have not heard because you have been residing in Bagco super-sack in a remote Zamfara outpost, or if you are hustling in the diaspora doing a menial per hour job, you may catch up by visiting Linda Ikeji’s blog or any gossip/news site in blogosphere.

With all the curses, abuses, accusations that have been leveled against Loco Haram (the Aluu mob),  the saddest thing in all this is that people in the mob stood by and did not intervene in any form to stop the horrible act. Members of the community stood with folded arms, or seemed to wash their hands off it like Pilate, and a MOPOL soldier even stood passively even though he was armed with a rifle. To serve, protect and collect 20 naira from bus drivers.

This gruesome act took place in a country where the average person does not mind their business. It is weird that we Nigerians do a lot of olofofo but do not know when to intervene. The same amebo neighbor that would count the number of cars you have parked in your compound, as well as memorize all the license plate numbers by heart and even know that you used Sacklus paint on the building, all from looking over his wall and listening to neighborhood gossip, even though he has never spoken a word to you, should not cower in silence and switch off all the lights in house, when Anini’s disciples pay you a visit in the dead of the night. Every good neighbors owes you a 911 call (or whatever Operation Sweep’s number is) to the police if you are being robbed. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

Nigerians must know when to intervene and when to be passive. I mean this is a country where if you were driving a vehicle with a flat or limp tire on a public road, passer-bys or other road users riding on okadas would not hesitate to bang on your car boot or bonnet as they overtook your car to alert you about the tire. Some would even honk their horns loudly. At this point, we are ready to drink Panadol for another person’s sickness.

Nigerian is a country where a ‘good Samaritan’ will help a female driver change a flat tire if she is struggling with it. Or help a driver jump start a faulty car by helping to push it. But no one may assist the same female to the hospital if she had been hit by a stray bullet because robbers were operating nearby. Or if a stolen article mistakenly fell into her purse at the market, and attention was drawn to it by town-criers.

Are Nigerians now aloof and more interested in self or ‘tribalistic’ preservation? Could not one on-looker in Aluu speak up or tell that stick wielding moron to fall back, and leave the students be, before it was too late? So amebo people in Nigeria would rather comment or offer unsolicited advise on another person’s weight, or inquire why you and your spouse have not had children 3 years after marriage (as if you the couple married to just stare at each other), or prod you about why you are still a spinster or a bachelor. But they would not intervene or call the police if they see you being lynched by an irate mob. They may however break out their mobile phones and take a picture with the grainy one mega pixel camera.

Many people have blamed the Blackberry phone (why, I would never understand) and the Brazilian/Peruvian/Mongolian/Guatemalan hair weave for the spike in materialism, narcissism and every manner of social ill in this country. I know that this joke is old, as I cracked it in my previous piece on Blackberrys (look for it on this blog if you have not read it) : The Blackberry is not to blame for Nigeria’s social problems – don’t shoot the, err, Blackberry messenger.

I believe the camera phone has changed Nigeria forever. Just as the “happy slapping” phenomena enveloped England some years back, the average Nigerian has become a camera phone – olofofo. Many would rather take a picture of an accident/incident victim than help. I wonder why we don’t have more war correspondents or people willing to infiltrate Boko Haram with a secret camera to get us breaking insider information. There are 2 sides to the kobo. Social media has helped bring the Aluu and Mubi incidents exposure and may well bring about a reaction from our siddon-look government. However, if the camera phone kpakparazzi had tried to help the victims instead, rather than play Christiana Amanpour or Picasso, the brave four may still be with us today.

How did we get to this stage in Nigeria where people have imbibed the cold-bloodedness and unrepentant independence of Western culture but still kept the barbaric, repugnant customs of yester year? Marry the willingness of unsophisticated people to implement wicked customs, to a selfishness and unwillingness to speak up for others, and that becomes the makings of a society that is failing.

I remember when I was a child, we as a family would go to our village for Xmas, and I felt safe even as a 7 year old hanging out in the village square till late in the evening. I could go stroll into any home, from the poshest village villa to the most rudimentary mud hut, and be offered a bottle of Mirinda or Green Sandy (albeit a very hot one) and some Cabin biscuits (usually soft, but not that I cared much – biscuit was biscuit). Okin was a class above though but I digress. Nigeria, with rural life at its core was much more innocent then. Kidnappings could never occur in my village. Every adult was an uncle or aunt, and material possessions were not worshipped as they are now because the community practiced a form of socialism. If you killed a goat, I was sure of one the hind legs and maybe the intestines to make miri-oku ji or ngwo ngwo. (Refer to Igbo Language for Senior Secondary School Book One for the meanings).

There was no fear that a jealous villager would jazz me so that a ritualist could make away with my big head, or that I would be kidnapped so that the criminal could demand a prince’s ransom from my old man. The only men of the night I ever saw back then were masquerades. The village was such a huge family, that I once went to an old woman’s hut to greet her (you had to go and greet most elders once you arrived in the village). She was thrilled, and offered me some refreshment: meat. I knew not to accept cooked food, but I accepted so not to be rude. Besides I had seen a fresh grasscutter slowing roasting over a coal fired grill, so I fancied a bit of that, right? Wrong. The mama reached into her oha soup pot with her fingers, pulled out a wet piece of goat meat, then she sucked off all the soup with her mouth so that the pepper would not make the beef too spicy for me, then she handed it to me.

That was the ultimate gesture of love and sacrifice as many Igbo readers can attest that villagers, especially the older ones, see meat as a precious commodity. But meat featuring saliva and drool? I left her house thankful, and moments later  I left the meat buried deep in the sand some meters away from the woman’s sight, as there was no way I would have eaten it. But that is beside the point.

As a child, I received love from all over the planet. Back then, apart from the occasional gbomo gbomo incident/story, children and youngsters were not subjected to crime. Students and youth corpers also enjoyed a protected status as government property. It was like adults could kill themselves if they wanted to – but children were left out of the mayhem.

Then the 90s rolled in, and that innocence was taken away from Nigeria down to grass-root level. People became occupied to making a quick buck, and coming back to the village to floss. As social ills like yahoo yahoo, 419, ogwu-ego, kidnapping, one chance and armed robbery increased, the government seemed too slow and cumbersome to tackle them. The law of the jungle has now taken over since the system has now become overwhelmed.

Every ill in Nigeria is now done excessively today when compared to the past. Sometime circa 1992, a chap aged 21 was caught stealing in a shop somewhere in Aba called Eziama. A thick crowd quickly surrounded the thief, and they were welding various weapons of destruction – planks, iron rod, boiling ring, fluorescent tube, koboko etc. They started raining blows on the thief and they stripped him naked.

A man was passing by the scene on his way back from work, and waded through the crowd out of curiousity to see what the din was. He soon screamed with hysteria: A nwuona m o! (Mi o gbe o!) (I am dead o!). The thief was his nephew – his brother’s son. He had to think fast.

The uncle quickly approached the leader of the mob who was wielding a huge akpu pestle, and who looked like he was about to break the thief’s head with it. The following conversation ensued in perfect Abia Igbo:

Uncle: “Biko, nne gi a nwu na (Please, may it  be well with your mother). What did this boy do?”

Chief lyncher: “O zuru ohi (he stole) (or he robbed) (or he converted another’s possessions)”

The Uncle looked at his nephew who was now quite scarred and bloodied, and sitting in a heap on the ground. True to word, next to the thief were the items he had tried to fap. Apparently, he had broken into a video/ electronics store, and nabbed a video cassette player and 3 films – Steve Seagal’s “Out for Justice”, Jungle Fever and some Nollywood movie featuring Tony Umez and Sonny McDon. Luck ran out when he was trying to make away, as someone spotted him and yelled “TIF!!”

The Uncle hissed, and shouted as he gave his nephew a thunderous slap: “E wu ezigbo onye-oshi” (You are a super -duper crook).

FOOOKPA!!!!!

The slap the Uncle gave the nephew made him writhe on the floor in pain as he clutched his face. It hurt worse than being smashed with a pestle. Even the crowd was stunned, and looked at the Uncle in surprise. Enyi ele ihe o wu biko?

The Uncle then turned to the Chief Lyncher and explained: “This anumanu (animal) is my younger brother’s son. I will make sure his father deals with him at home. The father is a principal at a seminary school. He has learnt his lesson, so allow me take him to his father for additional VIP treatment”

The Chief Lyncher seemed satisfied, and as he looked to the mob, most of them grunted their approvals . The logic was that since someone who was a close family friend and a member of the community had vouched for the thief, and he had already been humiliated enough anyway, the rogue could be released. Bail was set there and then by the street jury and the crowd dispersed. An Uncle’s slap had saved his nephew from a certain death.

In Nigeria of 2012, people are killed for committing crimes rather than being handed to security agencies. The general populace is full of mistrust for the justice system and some now opt street justice. If Nigerian justice in the judiciary is represented by a white effigy of a blind-folded lass with scales and a sword, Jungle Justice her unruly and infamous cousin would be a Kunkuru puppet figurine wielding a cutlass, a jerry can of  petrol and a mosquito net looking for who to devour. Unfortunately the young and innocent do get caught in the cross-fire.

Ever since I heard about the Aluu incident, I have not been myself as it has hurt me to the bone marrow. That incident is a shame to every single Nigerian as we have failed our sons, brothers and colleagues.

To our brethren who lost their lives in Mubi. I pray God keeps you and comforts your families. And to the brave Aluu 4, who I understand had a music artist among them, rest in peace my brothers – you are now our Nigerian Marvin Gayes.

 

We cross driven, cornered into a life that’s hellish/

Paying our dues with bloodshed, ain’t nothing you all could tell us/

Fellas – mount up, it’s time for battle, it is on now/

Two worlds, colliding armies, riding soldiers, gone wild/

Sometimes I think my glory days was back in my youth/

2pac featuring The Outlaws (As The World Turns Around, 1999)

 

 

Most of us only care about money making/

Selfishness got us following our wrong direction/

Wrong information always shown by the media/

Negative images is the main criteria/

Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria/

Kids want to act like what they see in the cinema/

Whatever happened to the values of humanity/

Whatever happened to the fairness in equality/

Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity/

Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity/

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feeling under/

That’s the reason why sometimes I’m feeling down/

There’s no wonder why sometimes I’m feeling under/

Got to keep my faith alive till love is found/

 Black Eyed Peas (Where Is The Love, 2003)

STATE OF THE (DIS)-UNION

I have decided to make the Pounded Yam and Pure Water awards (the Poundos to you posh lot) a quarterly affair instead. In its stead, in my acting capacity as the self-elected president of Woah-Nigeria, and by the powers invested in me by honorable readers of blogville, I present to you my first State of the Dis-Union address. The address would analyze 3 recent happenings or current affairs in our dear nation with the usual Esco innuendos and all manners of verbal peperempe.

So how do I start? Oh I know:

Fellow Woah-Nigerians,

It is with the utmost pride and sincerity that I present these memoranda as a living testament and recollection of history in the making during our generation (I have always wanted to say this sometime in my life):

 

1.       JOINT TASK FORCE (JTF)  LANDS BOKO HARAM A CRUSHING BLOW (AND PLEASE STAY DOWN):

Earlier today a combined team of the JTF acted on intelligence had killed two members of the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram, who are believed to be top commanders, somewhere along Maiduguri- Kano road as they were escaping arrest from security forces.

Earlier this week, J-Force had intercepted the command center of the sect, and had made arrests and seized computers, communication devices and bomb-making apparatus.

Wow, most Nigerians do not know whether to laugh or cry at this point. While every one is taking any good news with a pinch of salt, we have to pause as we remember countless people whose lives were lost in various bombing around the country.

These terrorists are something else though. Remember the armpit who blew himself up by mistake (or maybe not) while trying to detonate a bomb somewhere. It is worrying that we have fundamentalists who won’t mind mudding for their cause, in a country like Nigeria that is usually known for selfish self-preservationists who crave the high-life and long life.

I mean this Boko Haram mallam was so overzealous that he blew himself up, and was adamant even on his death bed. Well, good riddance – at least he gets to receive his reward of a 1000 virgins in bomb-blast utopia sooner than later.

Good luck to him. Me, I dey here on planet Earth with the runs girls and aristo babes.

 

2.      KIDDIE MISSION 101

The spate of crimes against children seems to have risen astronomically. In the space of one month, there have been news reports of ritual killings concerning children. There was the brute found with a head of a young boy; and then recently another chap was intercepted by a suspicious bus conductor when he refused to relinquish his luggage to be placed in the danfo boot. His baggage contained the corpse of a child – reportedly his own child. Wow, not even an insanity plea could explain this one.

I don’t care what selfish and wicked adults do, but the Nigerian child must be protected. I remember growing up, there was a case of child cruelty in my house. My elder sister walked into the house-help’s room and caught her drinking my baby sister’s milk. The help would make the milk in the kitchen, then feed the child a few sips. Then when no-one was looking, she would unstrap the nipple of the feeding bottle and down the contents like a bottle of small Stout. She would then wet the baby’s mouth area with some milk to make it look like wee one had fed already. Thank goodness she had only been employed for all of 3 weeks, or the long term effects on my 18 month old sister would have been worse. No wonder the poor baby girl always had that confused looked on her face, while the house-help had been tripled her weight in 21 days. I think my sister is still somewhat affected to this day by the brief period of malnutrition in her early life. She is bad at maths.

By the way, what is it with some people and baby food? It is messy, lumpy and fattening. It also causes a lot of flatulence. Back in boarding school, I always feared people who brought Cerelac and Milupa as school provisions. Baby food is as nasty as plane food and those who eat it.

 

3.      LAWAN FAROUK AFFAIR – UNDER RUG SWEPT?

After all the initial brouhaha and grandstanding that greeted this bribery case when it was first discovered, it seems to have gone unusually quiet. It is the proverbial case of chop and clean mouth – except that it was captured on camera. So where is the footage?

Farouk seems to be doing his thing, while the members of the House of Rep have swallowed the grenade to hush it all up. The last time I saw this kind of “the more you look, the less you see” was when my teacher in Primary 3 caught me snacking on Nasco Wafers during a class. She reprimanded me as she twisted my ears then seized it, all three-quarters of it, and continued with the lessons.

During our break period, I approached her for my wafer.  She looked at me with surprise, as she marveled at the audacity. She was like: wafers? What wafers?

 

She had chopped the thing and discarded the wrapper. Chop and clean mouth, and the pupils in my class looked like they were ready to back up her story. I was confused – maybe I had imagined the wafers, or had eaten it all and made up a convenient imaginary story. After all I had been known to make up stories for food at parties – Aunty I have not yet eaten. Well, I got good grades for the rest of my term in that class.

Maybe this belongs in the “Kiddie Mission” category.

 

419 QUESTIONS

Esco is back after a brief hiatus. Hello everyone! While I was away, tending to the side inconvenience that is my private life, there have been a lot of speculations, accusations, counters and chat on the grapevine.

 

I have received emails, and tweets , asking about my whereabouts, egging me to write new articles. Stuff like, Esco where are you. Are you still alive? There are reports that someone fitting you description was seeing boarding an aircraft with a one way ticket out of blogsville.

 

Some of the questions I have been asked are more left-field. Stuff like: Are you stories real or fables plucked from Tales by Moonlight. How do you come up with the material? What are your plans for the future? Is this blog’s relevance tied to the Nigerian nationhood experiment? Why do you put rap lyrics after each post? Why don’t you the lyrics of Nigerian artists like Lord of Ajasa or Eddy Remedy? If this is a Nigerian blog, you should have used an agama lizard on your blog mast instead of an albino lion. Why use black soil for the background instead of Ankara (or Aso-ebi).

 

Has Esco abandoned this blog because I hear he is now the Personal Advisor/ Assistant on Blog Affairs to a State Governor, and so he is cleaning out. He has even put up a house in Lekki Phase 1 and even twitted the picture, and it trended like pictures of Cossy’s boobs. In fact Esco has reportedly abandoned this blog, in search of Rueben Abati money.

 

Some many questions. Thank you, thank you. I will give a brief statement:

 

I had some much going on privately. I had actually typed out drafts for 4 super articles on my phone. However while I was downloading the twit picture of Cossy Ojiakor’s bobby taylors when my phone crashed completely on me. The memory got wiped out along with the articles.

 

One reader had even abused me for supposedly catching the Nigeria malaise of never keeping up a good thing. True, most Nigerian businesses start misbehaving once they start raking in customers. Customer service falls and the business usually goes south. I remember a mama put place that used to be the bees’ knees. The food was awesome – their stew was a work of art. Bouncy grains of rice, chunks of goat meat in a deep fried tomato broth. The owner of the business personally cooked the dishes and served the punters. She even knew all her customers by name, and even befriended their wives and girlfriends. On some days, a few regular could ask for extra meat on credit, and pay at month end. Then the Lagos massive discovered the place. The woman started raking in serious cash, and then her true colors came out. She became cocky and abrasive. She stopped cooking the food personally and hired cooks instead, as she could not bear palm-oil stain on her lace jacquard. She would seat at a corner of the joint with a tooth-pick in her mouth, counting the takings.

 

When I now walked in and greeted her “Madam how you dey?”, she barely grunted an answer. I stopped going there, because the last time I was there, customers were fighting to wash their own plates so they could buy food. Na so?

 

As regard my abandonment of the blog, my answer is “never that.” If I ever became a Big Time Charlie, raking in that kind of dough, I would purchase the technology to make this blog world-class. I would buy cartoon drawing equipment, as I yearn for the days of Papa Ajasco and Benbella type comics. Comic and cartoon strips would better illustrate the story of Nigeria.

 

Are the stories in this blog real? I refer you to the “Caveat” section of the Blog. Please peruse and revert. I will say this – the stories are based on real life, but the names have been change to protect the innocent, but shame the guilty.

 

Why the delay between posts? Abeg no vex. As the articles on this blog are original material, my thought processes and private life determines my output. If I have a shit day or writer’s block or if the price of garri and fuel goes up, there goes any postings. Maybe I should start doing fashion, music and entertainment like all others. Ha ha.

 

Going forward, I require the services of blog consultants as I need advice on how I can turn this blog into a financing business. 419ers and scammers please stay away, or I will wake up at midnight to pray against you. Please any do-gooders or people with knowledge about blog marketing should hit me up via email or twitter. All suggestions are welcome. Yahoo yahoo folks please stay away.

 

The next questions are the ones I want to ask you, so I can get to know you better. I have a few regular readers/ commenters. Please take a sec to answer a few of the below questions.

 

  1. How did you find out about this blog? Referral, internet search or just cyber busy-body? Please expatiate.
  2. How often do you check for new material.
  3. What do you like about Literati: Satires On Nigerian Life. What pisses you off about the blog (apart from the apparent laziness of Esco)
  4. Where are you based? Please name country, city, state, hamlet etc. etc. (this is for marketing/ affirmative action purposes. Don’t worry, I wont divulge your location to EFCC or anything)
  5. What is your favourite post/article so far. Why?
  6. If you were president of Nigeria for a day, what would you do?

 

 

Whitney O!

Truth be told, I didn’t watch the live screening of Whitney Houston’s burial on CNN this past weekend. I did later catch up on some clips the next day. And of all the tributes by various celebrities and family friends, Kevin Costner’s really touched me the most. This is really strange seeing that his flop movie Waterworld really hurt my feelings when I borrowed it from the video club back in the day. He redeemed himself a bit in the flick 3000 Miles to Graceland; but let it be known – MJ is the king.

But jokes aside, I had done my own private mourning on week of her passing. I was grouchy at work, and kept on replaying “The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack” on my work PC. Even my manager knew to leave me be. At least I wasn’t Facebooking on company time.

To make matters worse, the day after the sad news of her passing broke, I got to work and stumbled into an argument between some of my co-workers. A few of these new school juveniles were comparing Beyonce to Whitney. I laughed in Mbaise Igbo ( trust me it sounds like a Coke counter scrapping the floor). No disrespect to Mama Blue Ivy, but that is like comparing Uncle Ben’s rice to Abakiliki rice (with stones inside). And besides Whitney is the better actress. Haha.

Why was Whitney special? I am not going to bore y’all by spewing what you have probably heard this past weeks about what a talent she was. Okay, sorry, I will actually have to bore you. Whitney could ‘sang’. And I have not gotten my tenses wrong; she could ‘sang’, the way Ron Isley, Mary J Blige and Jill Scott can ‘sang.” I don’t know if any Nigerian artist can ‘sang”; I know a few that can ‘sung’, but I no go name names o. Today is about Whitney.

You see the problem with some of these new singers is that a few hide behind some smokescreen so that you don’t see their talent for what it is. There is choreography, designer clothes, bling bling, auto-tune, top-notch production which masks those with voices that can break glass. How could I forget the new trend of wearing sunglasses. Every artist these days sports a pair in the videos, and when they croon love songs about how a dame has made them kolo, it is hard to believe them. Their body movements and dance routines say one thing, but their eyes tell a lie. No “R &B” or soul artiste should ever wear shades unless they are Aaron Stone, Ray Charles or R-Kelly from back in the day. D’Banj is also excused, but he nor fit sing sef anyway.

Whitney sounded sincere and original. A song like “I will always love you” had the range to appeal to the most heart-broken spinster, as well as the most hardened thug or armed robber. Even my grandmother loved that jam back in the day when she heard it on MTV during the time she came to do omu-ugwo for my baby sis. An I will or-wares ruv yoo…….

Some of these new singing cats just bellow out tunes like they are more concerned about how they come across. Open ya eye make we see whether na apollo dey do you. Abi you know say you dey deceive yourself and shame don catch you.

Is it not amazing when you notice that Whitney never broke into dance. Her voice alone could captivate you. She didn’t need any fancy video by Clarence Peters or Hype Williams to get spins. And when she displayed her magnificent vocal range, she didn’t show us her 32 molars, pre-molars and incissors. Her mouth was barely open, like I nor fit shout sef. An I will or-wares ruv yoo…….

Hers was a pure beauty and elegance. She looked every inch a super-star. She was the kind of entertainer you could take home to mama (not mommma). And actually not have mama scream in disgust and irritation like “This geh done waka well well. Make you find innocent geh marry.” Whitney’s pure unbridled talent took her to fame and fortune – she didn’t need to appear half-naked on the red carpet (Aladdin syndrome) or flash her punani when alighting from a car. Heck, she did not need Brazilian weave, or Twirra (twitter).

Have you seen some Nigerian singers try to hold a note?  A music note, not a bank note. Compare that to the video of “Shoop” where Whitney was doing her mouth like she was chewing hot eba.

What makes Whitney so memorable? I listened to Whitney during the period a girl did turn turn turner with my emotions for the first time in my life. A girl with the code name C.A.N shattered my heart into tiny little pieces. She ripped my heart out of my chest like Goro (Mortal Kombat) and laughed into the sunset. She pulled my heart out of my chest like Apocalypto. I drank many bottles of Calypso, but it was Whitney not alcohol that got me through it. I can recall listening to “Why does it hurt so bad” from the “Waiting To Exhale Soundtrack” while eating yampo in my room in pitch darkness. No, craze had not caught me – NEPA had taken light, and I need to lem.

Whitney’s music inspired. I once listed the lyrics of “I believe in you and me” and put them on a card, and ‘supplied’ it to one chick like that. It worked more than buying her a BB Porsche or a weave. Not that I will ever try that nonsense anyway.

Listen to a jam like “Run To You” off The Bodygaurd Album and see if it would not make you feel like crossing 1000 Obudu Cattle Range mountains and 1 million River Nigers to find love.

That was not the only time Whitney came through for me. I recall also jamming “Until You Come Back” off the “My Love is Your Love” album with a girl I was dating because she loved that tune. When we broke up, I used to think about her a bit whenever I heard that song, and half-wish she would walk through the door. Or the gate. I even instructed our aboki to look out for her incase she came, so she wouldn’t miss me at home. I kept asking the mallam if someone had rung the bell. Well she never did walk through my door again, but Whitney had another correct song to console me with – “It’s Not Right, But Its Okay”. Or as I preferred to call it “Its all good”

And don’t you lot go thinking that Esco is mushy. Men need love too. Sensitive thugs, you all need love. Silent morning, they say a man is not supposed to cry. I hated that jam.

Truth be told, anytime I was having women problems, I kept that shit to myself, and I found music therapeutic. I have the sort of friends who if you tried to tell them about your emotional drama or relationship woes, would laugh in your face. Like you can’t be serious; abeg leave that thing. As my friend Kola once said it, the solution to woman problems is more women.

Personally, why I will miss Whitney Houston so much is that her music was there during many parts of my formative years. I was an 80s baby, but it was the 90s I came into my own, and that was when she was at the peak of her powers.

Whitney_Houston

Everybody has a song that punctuates or is the soundtrack to different times in their lives.

My driver had huge Beyoncé posters on his wall in his room.  He liked Bey so much that he even bought the Nollywood movie “Beyonce and Rihanna” and was disappointed and almost inconsolable when he didn’t see Mama Blue Carter in the movie. Dude, didn’t you see the poster?

One day, I mustered up the courage and time to ask him why he fancied Jay Z’s wife so much/

He said it was because of one of the songs when she had recorded when she was still in Destiny’s Child.

I closed my eyes, as I inquired. Which song, pray tell?

“I go survive o, I go survive o” he sang in answer, smiling. Proud of himself, he continued “Na that song help me when I step on poisonous nail for my village, and my oga come reduce my salary.”

I racked my brain. Was he confusing Destiny’s Child with The Mandators or Tosin Jegede that 80s child star?

Eureka! You wrecker, “Oh you mean, I am a survivor”.

I was just blowing English jare. He had put his own twist on a song that motivated him and made it his own.

So he didn’t like Bey cos of her bootylicious curves or her thunder thighs then? Interesting.

As I end this, my heart goes out to Bobbi Kristina, Whitney’s daughter. May Whitney also rest in peace. This is a woah-Nigerian blog, but she was an honorary Nigerian because we blasted her music, and helped contribute to the millions of records she sold (Alaba or not).

Rest in peace to a great songstress and a unique talent – the late Whitney Houston. 

I leave you with this great tune from The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack. It is called “You Were Loved.”

As you enjoy, please share your life and music memories with me. Make sure you post a comment if you read this, or I will stop writing posts.  Just joking. But I am serious though. Lol.

 

Go Esco!

Hey everyone, my birthday is in a few days’ time, and here I am up at night thinking about my life story and pondering on my journey so far.

Having a birthday in January as a  kid was always a tough affair; most people are too broke after splurging their life savings on flenjoring during Christmas, and to them, your birthday couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time financially. So there went your hopes for any presents or “raising’.

And when I was old enough to start dating, some girlfriends would be trying to channel the money they had into buying me a Valentine’s Day gift instead as it was just around the corner, being 2 weeks away, and so my birthday was just a stop gap measure. It’s not fair o.

Truth be told, I have said it many times here, that I never really enjoy the concept of birthdays. To me the glass, sorry the hourglass, is always half empty (no pun intended). I tend to self-assess and I am my worst critic. I am not also a huge fan of the whole birthday song singing thing, and having to unwrap my gift in front of the gift-bearer. One reason is that I don’t ever think I show gratitude enough. I get really thankful for receiving a gift, but I am not sure if the way I have shown it conveys the message enough. For some reason, my heart may want to say “Oh, thank you. This is really wonderful” but my stupid mouth may end up saying “You shouldn’t have; you really shouldn’t have. Mscheeww

Anyway here I was, up in the middle of the night like winch, staring at my ceiling and watching the ceiling fan swing slower and slower. Then suddenly I had an epiphany – what would I want for my birthday? What birthday present would give Esco a sick smile?

For one, I want a present and not a gift. Confused? There is a difference between present and gift, however subtle. Just like crocodile and alligator, or toad and frog, or groundnut and gra-nut. A present is something you give somebody gratuitously without any ulterior motives, and is usually given on their life anniversary or a really special occasion, for example birthday present. A gift is something you give because you want something in return, or if there is a catch to lure, bait or winch someone eventually. For example, the Trojan Horse was a Greek gift. You give the bride and groom a wedding gift, because you expect to eat all their jollof rice and drink their Chivita juice at the reception. No Item Number 7, no wedding gift. Esco dey school una sha.

So I want a present. And I will take cash or cheques too. Inbox me a “birthday greeting” at woahnigeria@yahoo.com or Twitter (Twirra) @EscoWoah. In reply, I will send you my Zenith and Bank of America accounts. Those living in the UK are not left out either o. I have 2 choices for you – NatWest or Nationwide.

My birthday list (other than naira or pounds or dollar, of course) is:

  • I want out government to be more accountable and more visible to the common man. I want to be able to stroll by Aso Rock, point fingers and take pictures with my camera with flowers and pigeons in the background, like the way tourists and punters do in front of Buckingham Palace and the White House
  • I want to have a legacy. I want something really epic named after me so that my name can live on through the centuries. I wouldn’t also mind something huge or eternal named after my village in Imo State, just like Pontiac the automobile manufacturer is named after the town of Pontiac where the original designer is from. Weatherford the oil and gas corporation is named after Weatherford a place where oil was discovered. Or maybe like okada motorcycle transport and the town of Okada in Edo State.
  •  I want a Sony Vita. It is a handheld gaming device with a touch pad behind, 2 joysticks, an internet browser, WIFI, a back and front facing camera and it is coming out in February. I have always liked Sony products, and almost every electronic device I own in Sony (*hint at Sony for free gifts*). Even when I could not afford Sony back in the day, I would go to Alaba market, and buy Sunny instead.
  • I want shoes by Fratelli Rossetti. There is nothing like premium Italian leather, and not some of this synthetic crap sold as leather nowadays. Fratelli shoes speak class but they cost a pretty penny. There is a saying that you can tell a man’s class by his shoes. And I hear that some girls look at a guy’s shoes, when they first meet him because there is a belief that a guy treats women the way he takes care of his shoes. What if he is wearing sandals?

I also want a Hugo Boss 2 button suit with dark lapels. There is nothing like a good suit with a fine cut to present your features as chiseled.  In Nigeria, girls have Body Magic girdles; boys have to make do with a good suit. Suck belle, make shirt fine.

 

Add Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses to my Hugo Boss Suit and Fratelli slip ons, and I am “ThisDay Style” ready. Now let me just find my phone, so I can text everyone in Lagos to say that I appeared in ThisDay Style. I have finally arrived as a Lagos Big Boy.

 

  • I want Nigeria to remain one. With so much going on in the country recently, the signs are not very good. People want Nigeria to split up but we have not really looked at the ramifications of us breaking into smaller entities. We are like Voltron together, but when we split up into 5 lions, we may have bigger robeasts to contend with.

Imagine this scenario- Nigeria breaks up into smaller nations: Oduduwa Republic (Yoruba), the Democratic Republic of Biafra (Igbo), United Arewa Emirates (Hausa Fulani), United Soviet Niger Delta States (Urhobo, Itshekiri, Kalabari etc.) and the Confederate States of the Middle Belt (Tiv, Idoma etc.)

What are the consequences? For one, smaller nations usually have compulsory national military service or conscriptions to be able to defend their territory, or else they may get chanced by bigger countries. Under this national military service, every adult between 16 and 35 may have to serve in the military and undergo military training in boot camps around the country. Yes that includes you BellaNaija browsing, Brazilian hair fixing, Blackberry Bold stroking fashionistas. Even those ones wey dey fear to do ordinary NYSC orientation, and pay bribes to the commandants and NYSC higher-ups to be able to dodge camp. There would be no escape. Scared yet? Ok o.

 

If we split, what would become of my degree? I schooled all my life in Lagos and Western Nigeria. Would my degree now be foreign and unacceptable for employment in my new country of Biafra? Would career counselors or HR administrators sneer and say “Enyi, so you got your education in Oduduwa Republic. You need to get another degree from University of Biafra, or no one would employ you.”

 

I was born in Lagos – and so I am an Oduduwa citizen by birth. Will my new compatriots accuse me of being a closet ofe mmanu, indoctrinated in mgati-ism? I prefer amala to akpu anyday, by the way. No, I am not a traitor. And yeah, owambe parties rock. There I said it, so shoot me.

 

If we split, what would happen to investments in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt by different ethnicities? Will they be nationalized or appropriated? Fuck that big English – so I won’t be able to enjoy efo riro, kilishi and edika-ikong anymore? Tiwa Savage would now be far away from me, as she would be a foreign national, and so that will dash my dreams of dating her. Anyway sha, I would ‘manage’ Genevieve and Munachi.

 

Our national teams nko? Okay, Mikel Obi, Kalu Uche, Kanu and Ike Uche are decent footballers, but what about Osaze, Yakubu and Sani Kaita nko? Granted, we will whoop you all at soccer tournaments sha. Our team would be too mad.

But there are other logistic problems if we were to split, and I am worried about Biafra. Who would be our president. I would have rooted for Ekwueme if he was younger, as he looks distinguished and has oratory skills like Obama, but something tells me that we may end up with Pius Anyim instead. And where would the capital be; Owerri could be the Las Vegas of Biafra, but what about the capital? Abakiliki, Enugu, Nkalagu, my home-town (Umu-Esco)?

 

One last question though, what would be our Independence Year? 1967 or 2012? Or 2000 and never? Ok, just asking.

  • Finally, rewind to a good few years back. It was my birthday, and I was seriously dulling in my school apartment with a couple of my friends. We were drinking garri without groundnut ( a travesty), when some-one asked a question “Esco, if a genie appeared and granted you a choice out of 2 wishes as your birthday present. Either become a citizen of any country of your choice, or take 20 million naira cash here and now, and remain in Nigeria. Which would you choose?”

That provoked a lively debate. Ol boy, any of those is an upgrade on drinking garri on my life anniversary date. So which do I choose? Visa Lottery or Cash Lotto?  One thing is for sure – I would rather be a lion in the jungle than a cat in the city. I would rather be a crocodile in the bush, than a lizard on a Lagos fence with broken bottles. I would rather be an IBB in Minna, or an OBJ at Ota than a GEJ in Aso Rock. Or whatever that means.

 

With the number of people that were seen at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport trying to ‘escape’ Nigeria on the week of the nationwide strike last 2 weeks, Visa Lottery may be king. But 20 million naira nor be joke o. Although rent in Lekki phase one for one year plus the agency fees will put a big hole in that amount, leaving just enough for ‘suffering and smiling.”

 

So what would you choose, and where would you go? And don’t forget my present. Or gift.

 

Happy birthday to me…..

Birthdays was the worst days/

Now we sip champagne, when we thirsty/

Notorious BIG (Juicy, 1994)


Salute Me

Watch the birdie....

 

SALUTE ME

What are the worst vices affecting Nigerian society today? Squalor, poverty, illiteracy, perversion or even its brother-in law – corruption? Most people would argue that corruption is the greatest of them all.

What does corruption stem from? Why has this cankerworm, tapeworm, earthworm, eroded every facet of our national life. It all has to do with our flawed reward system.

Corruption exists because treasury looters and crooked people are celebrated because they have cash to burn. In England, a corrupt public officer would be stared at, pointed out and maybe even spat on in the streets. In Nigeria, he would be called to the high table at a function, and politely asked his choice of liquor.

In Jand and Yankee, the names of ex-sex offenders (people who have either been convicted of rape, sexual harassment  or sleeping with under-age persons) would be put in a Sexual Offenders List, and they would be prevented in living in certain areas (especially near schools, daycares and nurseries), and the public would have access to their records. In some cases, if they embarked on a bus, someone may stand up to avoid having to share a seat with them.

In Nigeria, a sex offender could move to Abuja or another state, get connections or a government contract and get nominated to become a State Commissioner or Special Adviser.

Only in Nigeria can an ex-con become a president or senator, or an ex 419-er own a bank. Our system seems to encourage people to do whatever is necessary to stack paper, and the rewards are uncountable – recognition, fame, chieftaincy titles, streets named after you, honorary degrees from dodgy state universities,  your name being toasted to by a juju musician at an owambe and your pick of cream aristo girls.

There was a lot of brouhaha late last year when Chinua Achebe declined to receive a national award from President GEJ. A lot of people were a bit miffed with the manner in which our national awards have been cheaply dished out to men of questionable characters and achievements who have done nothing to uplift this nation. Sometimes some of the recepients are serving public office holders, who happily accept the award, use it as a paper-holder on their office table, and proceed to award themselves and their cronies contracts, misappropriating public funds.

And I wondered to myself, a national award should be the highest form of reward for excellence giving to a citizen. Look at the United Kingdom for example – Sir Alex Ferguson (manager of Manchester United) was not knighted till 1999, a whole 13 years after he joined the club, and only after he had won a historic treble of trophies. The year before, he had won his 5 Premiership title, but Mama Charlie had not yet deemed it right to knight him.

David Beckham, soccer star, actor, perfumer, icon, poster-boy is not even yet a knight of the realm. The Queen’s honor roll is only reserved for distinguished personalities, not pudgy bankers who have not paid their workers for the past 2 months, or who pimp female markets to secure lucrative accounts. It is not for half-assed civil servants who flood their ministries with only their blood relations and party members.

If Beckham were a Nigerian, he would have been award more titles than his passport book could bear – Chief Otunba Nze Sir Architect David Beckham, GON, MFR, GCON, MFON.

And it is because people who have wealth, rather than those who are committed to selfless national service that are accorded recognition, it makes people want to lie, cheat and steal for glory. There are more award ceremonies conducted in Nigeria than there are credible recipients. There are  a gazillion award ceremonies to honor musicians and entertainers, including the ones who are encouraging us to party and be merry while Nigeria is burning around us. It seems Nigerians were in danger of becoming Emperor Nero who played the harp while Rome was up in flames around him. There are award ceremonies to honor bankers and banks, even though not a single bank in Nigeria is capable of giving the common man a loan unless he has a C of O for land in Ikoyi, 3 gaurantors who must be senators and commissioners, and he agrees to sign away his life with the shylock interest rates. EFCC may even be engaged by the bank as a ‘signatory’ to the loan agreement. You are what EFCC says you are.

In Nigeria, there are award ceremonies for event planners, though I have not gone to a single event which has not had African time computed into the start time. I have even been to a wedding, where the groom came late, and had to be fined by the bride’s family. The bride, was just relieved that he had shown up at all; she had been sweating buckets, and had almost eaten her bouquet in anxiety, thinking that her fella had abandoned her at the altar.

There are award ceremonies to honor brands in Nigeria, even though Indomie noodles has been in Nigeria for more than a decade, and is in every home’s dinner table in the country but the price has never dropped. Multichoice also does brisk business here, but you still have to pay for the decoder and dish, a practice which is obsolete among the major cable companies in the world. But why?

We have award ceremonies to honor politicians and state governors of the year – usually available to the highest bidder (paid from the treasury).

And sometimes parents and relatives are also to blame for coercing their kids or wards to crime or steal money. Even in the villages and rural areas, there are mothers who warn their sons leaving for city not to come back without riches, no matter the cost. And it is the same in the cities as well.

I remember someone complaining to me about his mother some years back. This was circa the summer of 1996, just after the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The guy’s mum kept on ‘yabbing’ him:”  See what your fellow man is doing. Kanu just won the football gold medal for his country and would receive millions of naira and parcels of land from Abacha. Meanwhile you are here, sitting at home and consuming 15 wraps of eba every day. You are a disgrace! You wont go out and hustle like your fellow man”

And this guy replied his mum” But mummy, Kanu is 20 years old (his football age in 1996), so we are not mates. I am only 16, and I am waiting for Jamb results.”

His mum didn’t want to hear that one o. This boy was later caught trying to steal high power drills  and equipment from a neighbors warehouse. He was lucky there was fuel scarcity around that time, because they had already put a tire round his neck.

That policeman who asks for a bribe, or that immigration officer at the airport who begs you to tip him or risk being stripped searched for contraband, does so out of greed. But he also does so because by the time he accumulates all the 20 and 50 naira notes he has received for the week,  the tidy sum becomes a pretty penny, and he can go to his community and enjoy being a local champion. Nobody would question how a cop ends up being able to buy beer for everyone at the beer palour. It is just classified that he is doing ‘runs’.

It is time we took our values back. Point out that dodgy millionaire whose generator looks like a small nuclear plant to EFCC and Egbesu Boys. High-jack that loot stealing ex- governor when you see his convoy in traffic, and seize one of the keys of the cars – it is rightfully yours, as it was bought by money stolen from our commonwealth. Watch out for his security orderly though.

Interrupt that wedding between that oil baron son and the cabal member’s daughter, when the pastor/bishop asks “if there is anybody who thinks that this wedding should not go on, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Put up your hands and scream “This wedding should not go on. This Civic Center wedding has been bankrolled with stolen oil subsidy money.  The bride’s wedding gown was bought with bribe money received in a Ghana Must Go bag on the floor of the Senate. The catering was done by the same cabal who claim that they spend over N1 billion on food in Aso Rock. I submit that this illicit union should be prevented forthwith, and the food and cake should be distributed to Ijewere Motherless Babies Home. Thank you”

 

 

Happy New Year!

Flashing lights....

Happy New Year y’all! Glad we all made it to 2012! Your tracks could have been stopped in any other year, but you are in 2012! To God be the Glory!

Its funny how we take it for granted sometimes that we are in a New Year. The year 2012 itself sounds so futuristic, like a year one would have seen in one of those Sci-Fi movies to denote some cutting edge future where man became half-machine, cars were flying saucers and a robot wiped your ass for you after taking a dump in the toilet. A futuristic world where energy was produced from some kind of atomic water, solving all the world’s energy needs, so PHCN was but a bad memory. A future where people bought shuttle tickets to visit Mars, Venus and other planets, so taking pictures of your trip to Jand and Yankee and posting them on Facebook was as laughable and ordinary as it is now of posting a photo of you posing because you crossed Lagos’s border into another state.

A year where fuel subsidy would be like a bad joke, because fossil fuel was obsolete and petroleum was only used to make pomade, okwuma  and KY Jelly. 2012 would be so far ahead that toll-gates would be damn near impossible. We would be using rockets and jets to propel ourselves on inter-galactic highways in the air, and air is free, right? And it needs no maintenance or any long-term concessions to build. Eat your heart out LCC; I am fast and free.

2000 used to seem that futuristic when I was a kid growing up in the 80s. In fact people like Prince 2000, the Nigerian entertainment anchor who added the year to his name, did so to make it look like he was so ahead of his time. He was – but that was because he also wore sequined shine shine jackets with huge shoulder pads, sported a juiced up Jeri Curl perm with enough oil to fry akara for a small village, and hype the crowd by encouraging it to strike him (Hit Me! Hit Me! Hit Me!). Prince would be kicking himself now, whenever he looks at his name.

And who can remember that 80s movie whose poster featured an army commando carrying the hugest gun ever seen? The movie was supposed to best its competitors Rambo and Commando in the action movies genre. To make sure it did that, it was also given a futuristic, out of this world name: Equalizer 2000.

So we are now in 2012, I am in the mood for merry making, because I made it “back to the future.”

So how were your Christmas and New Year celebrations? Was Santa good to you? If you don’t believe in Santa, what about your sugar daddy? Was he good to you? Even if Santa wasn’t good to you,  at least Boko Haram wasn’t bad to you. That is worthy of praise to the Most High.

There lies the problem with Nigerians sometimes. We either over-count our blessings, focusing on the mundane, ahead of what should really matter; or we do not count them at all. A few days after Xmas, I was chatting with a friend of mine via BB, and I asked him how his Xmas had gone, and he replied “Terrible.”

So I inquired further “Terrible? What happened? You didn’t eat jollof rice, fried chicken and drink minerals at your folks place? Or you didn’t receive a hampa (hamper) from one of your clients? What made it terrible?”

He really couldn’t explain.

I said “ You are alive, and you can piss unassisted – that has to count for something.”

As my pastor used to say (don’t worry, I am not one to quote pastors as the sole authorities on wisdom),  it is a privilege and not a right that when you sleep, you wake up the next morning. Urinating without a dialysis is a blessing, not a right. Being able to walk and talk is not promised to anyone. These are blessings from God. And you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.

Any spirit of non-enjoyment disturbing or hampering (not Xmas  gift hamper o) your joy, I countermand and rescind it (or them) forthwith. Say Amen!

During a class, a teacher of mine some years back opined  that most Nigerians go around grumbling: I want millions and billions in the bank. I want a gigantic house with 20 en suite rooms in Old Ikoyi.  I want the phone numbers of all the top models, fresh girls and red carpet fashionistas in Lagos and Abuja, so that they could visit me for booty calls and ride me all night. I also desire all the LV and Channel bags I can carry in the crux of my elbow, and enough Brazilian weave to put She-Ra to shame. I desire 4 smart phones so that I could be on all the networks – Airtel, Glo, Etisalat and MTN, and never have to switch sim-cards between one phone when any network starts its connection ogbanje. Why was my dad a sucker, who didn’t leave an inheritance for me?

The teacher continued: “Try being sick and you will notice that health is more important than wealth, and your only pre-occupation would be how to get better. All those paper-making plans would pale in comparison.”

With that, the teacher suddenly looked up, and caught a late-comer student trying to sneak into the class from one of the back doors. He exclaimed “Get out of my class, you big fool! In fact what is your name? Ajayi Bembem? Okay you have minus 20 marks from your total to pass this course.”

By the way, that was my Philosophy lecturer.

In 2012, pay a visit to any Nigerian hospital, especially the ones in less high-brow areas. You would eat your heart out, after you have cried it out. That bridge you drive over, barely stopping except in traffic, you need to pay a visit to shanties under it, and see how poorly some people live in this unequal country. Sometime one needs to see how it is on the other side, so that you can get some perspective and be thankful for this New Year.

2012 is a new beginning, and gives us 2012 reasons to pursue our dreams 2012 per cent. So help us, God.

Happy New Year, my fellow Woah-Nigerians.

 

Say goodbye to the brainwashed/
Say goodbye to the young kids who are not smart/
Say hello to the one world…/
Say hello to the sky, something’s out there watching you and I/
..I might be old fashioned, stuck in my ways/
But nothing make me more happier than seeing today/

Nas (New World, 1999)

One Chance

Lets go back to December 31st of 1999

What would you do differently if you had the chance to start life from scratch? If you could rub a lamp (or rechargeable lantern) and make a wish, or if you were given an opportunity to change some of your previous life choices, what would you do? If there was a time travel scientist called Doctor Who Sai, and he offered you a chance to travel in his time travel telephone box (not operated by Nitel o), where would you travel to, and what would you change? Would you go back to 1950 and beg your popsie to complete school and go to Uni, so that he would succeed so that you can have a better chance of being born with a silverspoon in Ikoyi?

Or would you go back to 1914 and slap Lord Lugard into a stupor to prevent him from amalgamating the Northern and Southern protectorates to form Naija, and thereby save us all this anguish. Or perhaps you would travel to 2005 and invest your hard-earned salary in 1st Bank and Nigerian Brewery stocks and shares, instead of Transcorp, Finbank and Intercontinental Banks like you ended up doing and loosing your life savings. Maybe you wouldnt have married that girl – you have now found out that she was too good to be true. She claimed she was a virgin and had never seen man, and did not let you ‘violate her’ but on the wedding night, once you straddled her, you almost ‘fell inside”. Now a sex video of her planking different Alhajis has now gone viral. You have also become viral from her infections.

Or would you rather time-travel to 2003 to major in music in school, rather than banking and finance? I mean Tuface and Don Jazzy are cleaning out almost as well as the Jim Ovias and Pascal Dozies of these world (key word – almost). Or you may choose to go back to 1992 to buy 20 plots of land in Lekki Phase One and Wuse, when these were worth half-a-penny. My uncle was offered land in Banana Island in 1996 for 2 million. He decided to invest in Festac instead, and now his house has appeared in many Nollywood movies, as opposed to Fortune 500 or MTV Cribs.

Now don’t get me wrong, I prefer not to dwell on mistakes I have made, or wrong choices when I was younger .Whatever happens has happened, and what  is done, is done. People espouse that philosophy of life where you look forward and regret nothing including past mistakes, writing them off as life experiences. It is even embodied in the French term “Regrette Rien” which means “Regret Nothing”

In Pidgin English parlance, it is called ‘E don happen” so why you wan kill yourself?

However, sometimes, you do reflect on your journey through life, and  try to imagine how much different your life would be if you had passed the right or left fork on the road, and had gone straight instead. Here would be my choices, if I could start again:

  • I would have become an engineer. I was a proficient Lego brick builder as a youngster. I may have made a good civil engineer though a civil child I was not.  In Junior secondary, I was initially great at Introductory Technology, but the teacher put me off because he was always hitting students with the T-square.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the legal profession but there are too many insincere jerks and old school monuments dogging the institution. Besides try watching one of those World War or invasion movies – lawyers are always the first ones to be killed or imprisoned in concentration camps when a dictator takes over a nation. Doctors and lawyers are spared because they can provide anciliarry services.  Nuclear physicists are spared too because of their technological prowess. But lawyers don’t have anything to offer because their talk talk is too much. I put it to you that you cannot kill or imprison me. I will invoke a wreath of Habeus Corpus and have you reprimanded forthwith. 

Even people who studied Yoruba Education in school have a better chance of surviving in an invasion or dictatorship than a lawyer. They could prostrate and plead for their life: Ejo o, e ma bi nu.Ma pa mi, iku mi o wulo fun e (Please o, don’t be angry. I am useless to you dead). The person would be more successful with his plea, if he impersonates Jide Kosoko’s facial expressions.

The worst people are those who studied Philosophy. They would try to rationalize with the arresting soldiers by applying logic: You arrest and kill some innocent victims. I am an innocent victim. But it does not mean you have to kill me.

So engineers are indispensable. They have the pick of the choicest positions and benefits. When I worked at Nigerian Breweries as an intern, I once overheard a manager sigh as he guzzled a huge mug of Harp “The most important people in this company, and the only ones immune from sacking are those who oversee production – the lager engineers. All you analysts, business administrators, interns are on borrowed time here”

Dude, we are all on borrowed time. Nor be you papa company na.

Engineers have all the advantages. There are different kinds of engineers – civic, petroleum, mechanical, electronic, marine,, aeronautic etc etc. There are only 3 kinds of lawyer in Nigeria – charge N bail, baby lawyer and the erudite ones (Gani, FRA Williams, Babalakin etc). Aim to be among the last category.

Engineers rise to the top of their professions, and get to wear jeans and nice yellow helmets even in corporate settings. They use terms like “rig, petroleum, platform,  crank, production.”

Lawyers rise up in the profession, but always usually wear a black wig and gown in a hot court-room. They use words like “adjournment, frustration, lapse, laches, statute of limitation, I put it to you, sue,  please be advised..”

Anyway  I still ended up being an engineer regardless – I am a social engineer, building blocks of hope.  My bic is my spanner. In fact sometimes I introduce myself as Architect Esco at public gatherings. At one recent gathering, the other person looked at me interestingly as I introduced myself as an architect. He was one himself, so he inquired further:  “Interesting stuff. What buildings or projects have you designed.”

I wanted to reply “Motherfuck designing mansions in water logged Lekki, I help rebuild and rehabilitate people through the medium of blog satire”

Instead, I pretended like I had just received an international call, and excused myself “Ehnn, sorry Joe, the line is breaking. What time is it now at Singapore? It must be MTN’s network, please let me go outside for better reception. Please excuse me, Architect Dagbaru”

  • I would have made better choices in my relationships earlier on. I would have bitten the bullet, been bolder and hooked up with Chineze. I would not have stood up Damola on Valentines Day to hang out with the lads. I would have treated Oyin differently and not have taken her for granted. I can remember taking a train all the way from Borehamwood to Swiss Cottage to meet Oyin who was meeting me all the way from Edmonton for a movie at the O2 center. After a huge meal at Weatherspoons, I embarrassingly fell asleep during the movie. Don’t blame me, it was already around 8pm, and besides the movie showing had musical bits in it. It was Gerald Butler’s “Phantom of the Opera.”

Oyin was pissed that I dare fall asleep during our date, even spilling our popcorn all over the place as I shifted in my snooze. My excuse was let me sleep, so I can dream of you.

 Oyin, I apologize. I am also sorry for taking you to my new girlfriend’s house and making out with her in front of you, because I stupidly thought you were over me. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that girls have a secret radar and no chick would like to see her ex with another hotter chick. Sorry, I meant another chick equally as hot. Please accept my apologies for 2011.

  • I would dance with my father one more time, if I had the chance. He passed away a few years ago, and now I realize that all the life lessons he taught me are gems for living.  I recently caught a glimpse of myself in a shop window, and I could see my father’s features creeping in a little. His mannerisms, his modus operandi, his figures of speech are all engrained in me. Miss you Dad.
  • I would have started a business a long time ago. I guess it is never too late, but I am inspired by the life stories of self -made men like Richard Branson and Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs who started really early in life. The former had a paper route when he was barely in his teens and the former was a record company “A and R” by his early twenties, and formed Bad Boy Records when he was just 23.

On a side note, a friend of mine wants to start a clothing company, and has started importing tee-shirt printing and embroidery machinery. He hired me a design consultant because he felt I had a creative spark. His vision was for a urban wear line  with designs that could make a statement, sort of like those Che Guevara revolutionary tee-shirts, or Doc Marten boots with grunge or punk rockers, or how Ben Sherman shirts were popular with U.K chavs, or how college kids like Abercrombie and Fitch and snap back hats. Or like Hawes and Curtis and pudgy Nigerian bankers.

He wanted a line of tee-shirts with a range of designs peculiar to the Nigerian hip fashionista. It had to be cool, but distinctively naija.

My first few suggestions were wide off the mark, and I am sure he is seriously thinking of asking me to resign.

I suggested a T-shirt with an inscription “I am the bomb”. He looked at me like I was crazy. Ha, make Boko Haram catch you.

What about a shirt with the PHCN logo, and then the phrase “I got the power…Not”

I wish I had learnt a special skill. Like I had taken up lawn tennis classes, or learnt how to play the piano, or the Yoruba talking drum. My father really wanted me to learn how to play tennis, as he felt it was a good form of keeping fit and networking for life. I really always wondered what the racket was all about. Besides there were few places to practice in Lagos. I am Igbo, and imagine the ill looks I would  get if I waltzed into the Yoruba Lawn Tennis Club. I wish I could play chess as well as draught. I am a champ at Ludo though. When I throw the dice, I am fairly proficient at getting 2 sixes. Siki one, siki two…oya carry ya seed.

 

And for all the nights and all the fights/

That I had for all this money over all these dice/

All my cars and homes and all my ice/

If I could do it all again, I’d do it all for Christ/

 Mase (From Scratch, 1999)

7 Things About A Versatile Awardee

otu, abuo, ato, ano.....

Oh happy days! I was recently nominated by 2 of my fellow bloggers (Stelzz and Che)  for the Versatile Blog Awards. Una too much jare. May your lot in life be award, reward, forward and never hospital ward or coward or backward. Or even way-ward. Amen!

This award comes with the proviso that I tell everyone 7 things about myself and nominate 15 other bloggers. The latter is very easy – I refer everyone to the blogs on my blog-roll (to the right of this page). The former – 7 things about myself – is a hard ask. For one, you would notice that I never really talk about myself on this blog. I endure a reluctant passion towards self-promotion. Okay, let me see if I can find up to 7 interesting things to say about myself. I took a template from a blog which had also been given the award, so that I could create a question and answer session. So I get to interview me.

  1.     Favorite Color: Blue is the color. Blue jeans, blue bed sheets, blue shirt. And of course I am the biggest Blues fan (Chelsea). I am an avid Chelsea fan, and yes I was supporting them before Roman (yep I know him on a first name basis) bought them (us) over and injected money for transfers. In fact I started supporting Chelsea in 1997 when Gianluca Vialli joined from Serie A. Someone (an Arsenal fan who had never even been to the departure lounge of Murtala Mohammed Airport, to talk less of the Emirate Stadium or Highbury) once remarked that you are not a real fan until you have gone to see your team play – that statement irked me, so I am happy to say that I have been to Stamford Bridge (the home of football) to see my beloved Chelsea play. I also got good seats, courtesy of my friend whose Uncle is a season ticket holder, so I was pitch-side. I was at that Blackburn Rovers game where Ashley Cole got injured and Shevchenko missed a million easy chances (yawn). I kept trying to get Mikel’s attention through-out the game by shouting in Igbo whenever he dribbled near when I was sitting “Nwanne m, biko nye tu m pounds sterling”

 

Though blue is my favorite color, it also depends on the item. I for one wouldn’t wear blue leather shoes, though I could rock a light or navy blue suit. I also wouldn’t dare snog a female wearing blue lipstick (there is something about blue lipstick that ‘fears’ me; I think it has something to do with that poisonous kiss Nagin the snake girl gave a man in the Indian movie “Nagin” that made his lips turn blue before he died). So for different things, I have different favorite colors. I used to have a thing for chocolate or olive skinned girls (Latinas not Naija girls using bronze ‘pancake’ make-up); however I prefer white chocolate (Hershey’s Kisses); for cars, I prefer silver or black (but any color if it is a Mercedes though); I like red lingerie on my lass; for ice-cream, strawberry is my thing; I prefer white to yellow garri but I would rather eat amala (the darker, the better); I also prefer white teeth on a female (go figure); my mp3 player is black but it is full of blues music; I prefer blondes to brunettes or red-heads; I like LBDs, and nude lipstick on chicks. I like egg-shell white for room walls, and my favorite Hula Hoops flavor is the one with the green packet. I also like the Nasco biscuit with the blue packet best. Red velvet is an igbotic color for a living sofa. For couches, I prefer coffee brown.

2.  Favorite song: There are so many, I can’t choose. It cuts across genres so I will pick 10 Nigerians songs I really like in no order. Deal?

 

  • M.I. – Imperfect Me
  • Danny Wilson – Mr. Raggamuffin
  • Duncan Mighty – Ijeoma
  • Sauce Kid – Won so pe
  • Wiz Kid – Holla at your boy
  • Junior N Pretty – Monika
  • Onyeka Onwenu  Iyogogo
  • Bigiano – Shayo
  • Tybesmen – Na which kain life be this
  • Fela – Beast of no nation

 

By the way, I am really feeling a particular song right now. You should have a listen when you can. It is by an act called Foster The People and the song is called “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Great for blasting out of your car stereo on a warm summer day with the windows down. Unless you are creeping through some tough Lagos neighborhoods. 

I would like to see an M.I and Modenine duet album – that would be fire. Hands up if you would like hear music from a super-group made up of Jim Iyke, Goldie, Shan George and Omotola. Meeeeee!

3.  I know that a few of you find this blog funny, but I am more Frank Sinatra than Frank Spencer or Frank Olize – I like to do things my way. Often times, I find that I have different tastes than the average person, and I really thrive on daring to be different.  I do have quirky tastes. Small example, I don’t think Kim Kardashian is all that; in fact I think Khloe is the hotter sister. In the Archie comic series, I always rooted for Reggie. In the cartoon series “Battle of the Planet”, I always taught that Jason was cooler than Mike. The yellow and green lions are were my favourite in Voltron, and I cant stand Apple I-pods due to I-tunes (I think Sony makes better music players). I open my box of cereal from the bottom up. I didn’t wear socks for a long time because I don’t get them (I do now). When I download an album, I remove the hit singles from my playlist. I make my bed after I get up no matter how untidy the rest of the room is. I try to follow my intuition because from experience when I follow people’s advice, I get burned. I only ask people for advice if I am absolutely clueless or just to flatter them into a feeling of self-importance. I have got no patience, and I hate waiting. I don’t like being told what to do.

 

I learnt how to drive by stealing the car keys from the driver as a 15 year old, and rolling out with my little posse of pals. I had one or two mini-accidents (give and go) but I was driving from Surulere to Victoria Island, Ikeja and Lekki by my 6th try.

 

Me dad ordered me to go to driving school regardless or he would bar me from taking any of the cars out. I was livid. Driving school was hell for me because I felt it was a waste of time, as I could already drive but the tutor, a stout, Igbo man called Mr. Ignatius was a kill-joy who wanted me to obey every sign, slow down to a halt at every intersection, and never speed up even on a busy road. He even refused to permit me change gears past gear 3. This tutor was born to be a driving school instructor because he wore thick soles driving shoes with looked like Scholls, and wore driving gloves too. I nicknamed him Mr. Ignition because anytime I disobeyed his command, he would shout “Cut the ignition” and stamp on the spare brake on his side of the car). He would bellow in  Igbo-English “Press the clush, before you change the jear” or “ you have not yet mastered the steering wheel, drive with ya two hands.”

 

After 2 weeks, the man had had enough because I did the opposite of whatever he asked, and he said that he didn’t think I would ever make a good driver. Well I have disappointed him now, because I have more mileage than a Chanchangi airplane. Haha.

4.  I like good food.  There is a Greek proverb that says “he who does not like women or wine is a fool.” I gbadun the latter. I believe food should be painstakingly prepared – and I am about quality and not quantity. I used  dodge going to the dining hall at boarding school. I always looked in horror at the way the kitchen matron served and dished the food from a huge aluminum tureen, like it was mass production.  It was a real mess of pottage if I ever saw one, and I was not selling my birthright for that. When it comes to the economics of food, I prefer specialization to mass production. That’s how I learnt how to cook. I was tired of my roommate in Uni serving horrible portions and cooking up tongue twisters in the name of jollof rice.This dude was throwing in every ingredient he could find into a pot and creating a mish-mash. He would go over to our neighbors in the next BQ and ask for oil, then run over to the next flat and collect yam, and then he would throw them in in pot, add rice, and pour ketchup in.

 

One day, I had had enough. People ask me how I learnt how to cook so well. When hunger catches you, you will cook by force. I really should invite one of my readers over for dinner.

5. Favorite pet – I must confess I am not really into pets. Dogs poo all over the place, and while I like cats because you have to earn their trust, they don’t really send you, do they?  Plus their piss smells worse than the loo at Murtala International Airport. Plus if you have superstitious or paranoid neighbors, they may think that you are a winch for owning a cat. No I am not one of those people who think that animals belong in a zoo or a cooking pot depending on the type.  There are some exotic animals I would like for pets, like  a potbellied pig (elede) or a parakeet (parrot) or an eagle. The unfinished building next to my house is infested with agama lizards and rats, so feeding the eagle would not be a problem.

To answer the question, I don’t have a pet and I don’t send them, so I would say my favorite pet is my baby sister. She is now 21 and has started knowing boys, so I am now the uncool older brother. I recall when I used to go see her at her boarding school in QC on visiting day, and smuggle her fast food, and laugh as I watch her and her friends demolish everything in my car. But recently, I ran into her at Rhythm Unplugged with her friends, and she said a cute hello, before disappearing. I sniffed my armpits, and checked out my gear. Like I am not looking embarrassing, am I?

6. I have a scar on my forehead. It isn’t really visible now because it stems from a childhood incident from when I was just 5. After watching Christopher Reeves in Superman, I wanted to transform and take flight. I begged my dad to buy me the Superman costume, and fantasized about all the places I would fly to – Apapa Amusement park, Bar Beach, the Walls Ice Cream or Samco factory. My dad never bought me the outfit. I then asked for the Captain Afrika one, and my old man still refused.

 

One day playing with my cosuins in their house, I had a eureka moment. Feeling like Led Zeppelin, I tied my aunt’s wrapper around my neck, and started diving about. The momentum from one of my dives took me smashing through a sliding glass. I was in a coma for 2 days and sustained injuries on my forehead and kness.

My best mate’s experience when he was a youngster is worse. He and his elder brother were ‘fencing’ with broomsticks as their swords, trying to act like the 3 Musketeers. Egbon no de carry last, so his brother poked him in the eye with the broomstick. He still has a spot in his eye till this day, and it especially shows whenever he smokes gbana.

By the way, have you guys ever heard this joke? A mother was telling her 9 year old son a story about when he was much younger. She said “ When you were about 2, you fell really sick, and had pneumonia and malaria. You had to be admitted to a hospital, and put on a drip. You were really ill.”

The son looked at his mum and asked “Mummy, did I die?” Ok sorry, just thought I would throw it out there.

 7.    I must confess that I have run out of things to add to make up the list, so let me un-ashamedly say that I am a huge ‘Jersey Shore’ fan. There I said it. I really don’t have a lot of time for reality TV shows. I prefer blood, guts and glory (like  Spartacus) or history (The Tudors) but Jersey Shore is a good watch, I must say.

So there you have it. Enough about me, pease could everyone, use the above Q & A format to tell me what their favorite things are