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Do follow me on Twitter @EscoWoah. I am really enjoying using twitter these days. I never did get the concept and used to think that it was a waste of space. Yes I am several years too late but who cares. I want to get more connected with y’all this year. So send me a tweet when you can – let me know your cares and fears, or how your day is going.

CHEERS!

Akwukwo Na Tu Uto (Literature is sumptuous)

Image

Knock, knock!

Na who dey there?

Abeg, all the visitors of this blog should help me beg the VIP readers who comment and subscribe to this blog. I really apologize for the ‘brief’ hiatus. I was actually around, but I was not “on seat.” The Nigerian civil service shows that you can be absent from your desk but present at work.

Outside of blogging, I have had so much going on lately. I am also dealing with life’s pressures and pleasures constantly.  And some of this pressures get as dem be. Sometimes blogging is the last thing I want to do. Maybe I need to hire a special assistant who can take dictation. Sir, how do I spell Kpom kwem?

God was faithful, so I managed to conquer all life had to throw at me in 2012, and here I am in 2013 alive and well. Life is good. I hope 2013 has found you all in good health. What special things happened in your life. Anyone? Abi una still dey vex? Una nor gree answer me? Okay be like that. Ogboju pass power.

Besides, it hasn’t been that long since we last exchanged ideas, has it? Let me recount what ‘types’ of water has passed under the bridge since my last post on October 20 2012:

Tonto Dikeh released a single which was critically exclaimed at (forget acclaimed), while Tiwa Savage released a statement on Twitter denying that she had gotten married secretly, even though she didn’t verify if she was single.

D’Banj’s new single “The Bachelor” has gotten mixed reviews, and is said not be as “critically acclaimed” as his earlier works like “Oliver Twist” while Osaze Odemwengie the football star, heavily criticized the Super Eagles coach Stephen “Bournvira” Keshi for dropping him from the squad for the Nations Cup tournament starting tomorrow. Osaze claimed that stories circulating that he was a divisive character were twisted.

Cossy Orjiakor went HAM on Twitter with some racy photos of her in a Bravissimo Cosset, sorry corset, complete with stockings; Beyonce seemingly reacted jealously to the column inches and press Cossy was getting, by releasing pictures of herself in panties and in various stages of undress. Ok o.

Tony Anenih, the politician and PDP stalwart, was appointed chairman of the board of the NPA (Nigerian Ports Authority) even though he is damn near 100 years old; meanwhile some weeks ago, meanwhile over 100 youths were expelled from Covenant University for supposedly skiving an “end-of-term” church mass.

Kim Kardashian and her dude announced that they are expecting a baby; Chika Ike, the Nollywood actress posted vacation clips of herself at a Maryland USA Zoo carrying a baby “crocodye” (alligator).

GEJ our President announced recently that he was sending a military contingent to help with the international war effort against jihadist insurgents in Mali, even though there is fire on the mountain at home (Boko Haram, it is not fair o) which hasn’t been fixed yet. On another tip, the war on corruption seemed to take another dive when the Central Bank governor announced that over a billion naira in cash had developed legs and waka-ed from the Security and Minting premises. Talk about fast money.

A huge debate about whether pastors and clergymen should own private jets was a major topic for discussion on many Nigerian online forums some weeks back. Meanwhile Dana Air re-launched and resumed services like they had never been away. They should get Denzel Washington to fly their planes. You should have seen what he did in Flight.

And Esco began work on his memoirs…..

Yes, Yes, I am currently working on a book. I am announcing it, so that I would not be able to back out and you can hold me to it. I am also letting you know so you can start putting your shillings aside.

It all started a few years ago, when someone read all the articles in this blog, and asked me “Esco if you wrote a book on your life, do you think anybody would read it?” Well, only one way to find out..

So in a nutshell, I have prepared a set of FAQs to provide more insight about the book:

1. What is the title of the book? It is a trade secret at this time. Intellectual property thieves abound in cyberville and I don’t want anyone biting my ideas like electric ant. I wrote the name of the book on a sheet of paper, and then shoved it inside a large Ghana-must-go bag, with a tuber of yam inside as a decoy. I spied around to make sure nobody was watching, as I placed the bag inside a Bagco Super sack, and then put the sack into a metal trunk box. I bought a Yeti padlock, and locked the iron box. Not content, I hauled the box with me as I travelled to the village and left it in the care of my grandmother. She placed the box under her bed next to her crate of eggs and Guinness Stout. Good luck trying to steal from my nan. Under her bed is said to be safer than Fort Knox or Aso Rock. It is definitely safer than Abia at Xmas with all the kidnappings. To make double sure all was secure, on my way back from the hamlet, I stopped at Onitsha and tossed the padlock key into the River Niger. Mungo Park’s got it now…

 

To be fair, what I have is a working title. But my thing is that it does not roll off the tongue enough for me. It does not sound epic or awe-inspiring or swash-buckling. The name sounds as un-exotic as Nkalagu. I even had my Calabar house-boy pronounce the name of the book  repeatedly in his thick Efik accent, but the name sounded flat. Mbok…

 

2. When will the book be released? Ahn ahn cool down na. Don’t jump the gun. One thing at a time. Horse before the cart. Secure garri before putting the hot water on stove. Ensure power generation and tackle corruption before you talk of a 2nd presidential term. Buy the runs girl popcorn first before you start to talk of carting her home for overnight “take-away.” I am currently writing as I speak, but I expect it to be released before summer. This year…

3. What would the book be about sef: It could be a bit similar to this blog. A few chapters would be stories about my life. Things I have done, places I have been, faces I have seen. The world through the tunnel vision of Escope. If you like this blog, you would like my book. If you do  not like this blog, I authorize you to purchase and gift it. Repeat 20 times and forward the book to 20 people, and then relax and see if something (anything) would not manifest in your life. Sow a big agbalumon seed into somebody’s life this year. Stop sowing tiny pawpaw seeds into people’s lives. Anyhow, that way I gain too. And I blog more, and hopefully you laugh more. So Nigeria is a happy country. And Boko Haram relocates. With all the wicked politicians. 

4. I am currently working on the first few chapters. I have already made an outline and it is looking like a wedding program without an Item no. 7. However I am not sure if the words I have used so far are grand enough. A critic (hater) opined that the book in its draft form is already starting to look like those Igbo village almanacs. I don’t want a book with very simplistic sentences, and lots of big pictures (foto), such that you use your fingers to trace the words while reading. Blogging is a pretty straight forward venture, but I find that writing a book is another matter o. The difference is like Alarm Blow and Jegede Shokoya. Maybe I need to hire a professional speech-writer to edit the drafts I have so far. Please wbo has Hon. Obahiagbon’s telephone number? The rank salubrity of Esco’s crass manifestations to overwhelm Gorgon Medusa…

I want a product that would make a smooth read for at least 3 generations of Nigerians. The millenials (those in their 20s), the oil-boomers (readers born in the 70s and early 80s) and the “Papa thank yous” (those born around independence and the Civil War era. A memorandum of my aspirations to unite the country of my birth – a manual of our  amalgamated and manifest destiny for posterity. Story….

I am tempted to call it a coffee table book, but how many Nigerian homes contain one? I somehow cannot bring myself to call it a dining-table book. Ogbono soup stains do not go well with paper literature.

5. Esco, have you abandoned blogging for the bright and moth-seducing lights of Nollywood stardorm with book-writing? No I am not selling out; rather I am cashing in. Haha. Blogging is electic-writing, no?

 Trivia: Omotola or Genevieve? Answer: Yvonne Okoro…

6. How much would the book cost? I have kids to feed:  Well it will be cheap and affordable enough…especially if you are Dangote. Nah, I am just pulling your legs. I am trying to put a quality product out there. I am keen to push a book which has quality paper that would not stick together like cheap rice. Would it be a collector’s item? Well it would be popular with “I-wan-buy-paper” merchants.

 Stop goofing around Esco, so would it  be set at a pocket-friendly price? Yes. Cheaper than a politician’s campaign promise. It would also be cheaper by the dozen. You should buy 12 and read one every month of the year.

7. See this guy o. What makes you think that I would spend a kobo on your yeye book sef: You have started again in 2013 abi? This is a new year o.  See point 5 above.

So there you have it. Happy New Year, and see you at the comment box below….

Nas will prevail/

Buy the book when it’s up for sale/

Nas (Rest of My Life, 2004)

How To Spot A Runs Girl In 365 Days

 

CAVEAT before CAVEAT:# This is an article I had written more than 2 years ago. Ended up not publishing it as I felt it may upset some sensibilities. It had been stored as a draft since then, tucked away from my memory. Alas, I discovered it this evening, and I have decided to upload it. It is old, it is dusty and it was written many moons ago. I am also feeling exceptionally lazy this weekend, so I am digging into the archives to bring out the “bottom pot.”

But it is relevant, and that is a winner any day in my book (or my blog). Fellas thank me for this. This may upset a few people especially certain female folk. I plead “The Caveat.”

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2010 -2020 has been declared the decade of the Runs Girl. ‘Runs girls’ have become a huge societal problem in Nigeria, just somewhere after corruption, and somewhere before inflation. They break up marriages, they convert our daughters at university, they reduce the productivity of top managers and execs. They even kill – a commissioner in one of the South South states was found dead in a hotel room last year after a bout with one of these chicks. It didn’t help that he also had Red Bull and garri as an aphrodisiac. Sometimes less is more.

But they are mostly a threat to young professional males who are looking to settle down. The truth is they are hard to spot. If you are in a BRT bus, in a plane, at a wedding, at a bar, at Silverbird Mall, take a look over your shoulder – you may be in the presence of a runs girl. Once they have got their eyes on you, it is curtains. One zeroed in on my friend at a wedding. She just walked across the room, bumping past other people  and shoving them aside like Richard Ashcroft in that The Verve  music video (Youtube it – the name of the tune is Sweetest Symphony).

Some weeks back (now many moons ago), I was chilling with some chaps discussing the ‘runs girl’ phenomena and how it was putting willing blokes off proper relationships as it is difficult to separate the unreal from the authentic.  It was all macho banter, and everyone started chipping in their rules for deciphering a ‘runs girl’ from a ‘take home to mama’ aka ‘full cream’.

Guys take note, girls please do not shoot the messenger (not that I am one).

1.      If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Dude, if you were not a player before, or you were always passed up by chicks whenever you chatted them, it is not going to start now. If suddenly a hot looking model like thing is all over you,( a few days after you closed down a multi-million naira deal or a killer job at a Fortune 500 outfit) and kisses you on the first day, let your alarm bells ring (or your inner rooster crow). Girls are not now suddenly dating you because of your looks. Run. For. Your. Life (or wife).

2.      She is not bothered about meeting your folks or siblings. Or your friends. Unless they are minted ( they have owo, kudi, ego, Ghana-Must-Go fillers). Any girl who rates people by the size of their bank accounts needs to be defended against (like Lynxx’s Azonto dance in that Black Magic video “Confam”)

3.      This chick dresses really nice. Every time you see her, her jeans are on point, with an IT  bag and really chunky jewelry. But she has no visible means of livelihood. While you, as a hardworking lad is grinding and dreaming schemes to make profit or even collect your monthly salary, this runs girls are at home scheming of turnovers (get it, turn-overs?). Before runs girls used to opt for ushering gigs where they could analyze their targets, but now they are just consultants or shop owners. Beware, her new source of livelihood is now you.

4.      You could never grab a small bite with this chick whenever you are out for dinner. Anytime you stop over at a joint to grab a few things, this babe is packing enough grub to feed a small army. And she lekpa die (lekpa means anorexic, thin, slight, bony). You look at her slender frame puzzled and wonder where all that food is going. Best to check her IT (eat) bag.

5.      A few runs girls may not  be all that bothered if you try to  chat up or try to sleep with any of her friends. It is a win-win for her and her posse, you see. It is like a friend-pool to play the lottery; either way, both of them hit the jackpot (you). Besides there is always your rich brother or friend. Watch her friends. Birds of the same feather, err f… together. 

6.      Anytime you give her a present, it somehow seems like you are paying for a service. She may even ask you for the price of the present or ask you to change it something of her choice (which is always co-incidentally more expensive). A friend started seeing this chick he had met at a video club in Surulere (of all places). On Valentines Day, he decided to get her a pair of shoes (why he did that, I would never know). Was she pleased, seeing that they had only known each other for just over a month. Nah, she made him give her the receipt, because she preferred the monetary equivalent! I would have returned her to where I found her.

7.  First time you met her, when you said ‘Hello’ she said ‘Hi’. I do not know what this means either, but one of my friends at our round-table suggested it, and it was endorsed by the Literati (guys at the table).

 

 

They spot you out dancing topless in your drawers/
Damn look, there goes a black girl lost/

Nas (Black Girl Lost, 1996)

These Nigerians In My Office Sef

Who are the kinds of characters that make up a typical Nigerian office? I have drawn up a list, and I must remind you that all the incidents reported below really happened, but the names of the characters have been doctored a bit. I guarantee that everyone who has worked a 9 to 5 would be familiar with at least one of the types of characters below. Enjoy….

  1. THE FORM ACTIVITY CHARACTER: This person loves to act as if he (or she) is carrying all the workload in the office or as if he is always super-busy to have time for his mere mortal co-workers. He normally moves at a 1000 miles per hour, making photocopies, punishing the keyboard by typing very loudly and talking loud on the phone to clients. Even a simple personal task like getting water from the water dispenser is done with much ceremony, like he is Moses about to part the Red Sea.

Yep this character loves to “form activity” but actually lacks any substance or depth to his persona. He usually gets found out at meetings where suggestions or reports are required. This is the type of dude to show up fully suited up with a big yellow tie which stops on his midriff on TGIF Dress-down day. He did get the memo/email to dress down, but his own akproko is too much.

I once worked with a Form Activist for a start-up firm somewhere in Lagos (won’t tell where). One day a higher-up was making his rounds in our department, as he was supervising some people working on a major project for a big Abuja investment firm. Mr. Form Activity was not involved in the project, but he was sitting in the corner typing away on his computer, making loud noises like it was an old Olivetti typewriter from the 80s and not a Dell PC. He was also flipping paper stacks and acting like he was drafting a new constitution for Nigeria or compiling a dictionary for Hon. Obiahiagbon. The co-workers in the office were looking at him like, what the hell is dude up to. Apart from the few guys working on the Abuja project, it was not a particularly busy day. Mr. Form Activity was acting up because the higher-up who was top director was around, and he wanted to look like an effico employee.

The director didn’t even seem to notice the effico guy as he was standing behind two of the guys working on the project, dictating what they should type and edit in the report they were preparing. They then tried to print the 1000 page report but the printer connected to the PC they were working on was jamming.

The director then uploaded the report onto the company database, and then without warning walked over to Form Activist’s desk so he could print from that computer which was connected to another printer.

Form Activist’s PC was switched off.

It could have been worse. He could have been nabbed playing Solitaire.

 

2.     JEZEBEL FEMALE WORKER: Woe betides you if this brutal female is your boss or supervisor. The female co-worker from hell is a staple of every office environment. If she is a spinster, her work becomes her life and she is impossible to work with. But wait it gets worse: if she is in a relationship, she brings all her marital baggage to the office. On the day her hubby slaps her, she comes into office and slaps every one with impossible tasks.

I once had a female Jezebel boss. All the workers were scared shitless of her. She  addressed a meeting where she announced to 20 anxious male lawyers and 2 cowering female ones: “Some of you are not pulling you weight in this organization. I have initiated Operation Shelltox. I will weed you out like I am pulling jigger (a nasty parasitic insect) from a villager’s foot. Everybody gulped – including the hard-workers. Banks were also laying off, you see.

I later realized that Jezebel boss’s husband was mighty frightened of her. He was a very meek looking geeky dude. The guy looked like he only went near her physically whenever it was time to procreate. He was a software engineer or so. He swung by the office sometimes to bring her things she had requested or to help with minor IT issues with the company servers.

There was a day he had come into the office and was working on a mainframe computer some desks away from me. We were the only ones in that section of the office as most of my co-workers were at clients or in the other section. The Jezebel Boss was in her office which was on the 2nd floor in the other side.

Then the telephone situated near the boss’s hubby started ringing. He refused to answer it. It rang like 7-8 more times, but dude ignored it. Then my own office line rang so I picked the phone up: “It is Esco. Who is this?”

It was Boss Jezebel on the line. She inquired without greeting “Esco is this how you greet clients when you answer the phone. Okay remind me to get at you later for this. Is Mr. Jezebel there?”

I replied in the affirmative. She then barked “Then tell him to pick up the bloody phone!” I placed the handset on the receiver.

Then suddenly the other phone started ringing again.

I looked at the hubby sitting next to it. He glanced at me with beads of perspiration and terror in his eyes. I had to break the bad news to him: “Kind Sir, it is your wife calling. She says you should pick up.”

Dude looked like I had just asked him to swallow a spoon of Worm medicine.

He picked the receiver with his hands jerking like he was about to disarm a Boko Haram bomb. This message will self-distruct….

3.  THE SOCIAL OLOFOFO: In every Naija office is some prick who treats office life as the epicenter of his/her social existence. This olofofo organizes the TGIF small chops and rice, or helps buy and distribute aso ebi material for any co-worker’s weddings or ceremonies. This olofofo even attends every single event from condolence visits to bereaved colleagues to house-warnings and naming ceremonies.

Fair enough, but what used to irk me is that the olofofo feels hurt if anyone was not on the same page with him. I know a dude who used to wait in the office after he had finished his tasks for the day “to soak in the environment and socialize with people from other departments.” Err, sorry that’s why it is called a 9 to 5. Left to me, it should be 7 to 3 because I would rather arrive early and leave early, but it is what it is. By the way GEJ is there any chance that you could sort this out. Maybe I should move to Spain.

My cousin who was a banker nearly got into it with a social olofofo who was always suggesting inconvenient Saturday “team-bonding” events. Seriously, no I am not waking up early again on Saturday morning, driving down Third Mainland to attend some bloody team work retreat about Better Customer Service and Marketing at Badagry Beach of all places. I need my Saturdays to do other things with my life. I don’t want you in my Saturday too.

Social olofofo looked visibly hurt: You have betrayed the circle of trust. And I have already ordered and deposited money for the small chops and paid for the canopies….

 4. THE OFFICE SUCK-UP: This one is always trying to curry favors with management, and will throw anyone under the bus to get a quick rise. They are a bit like the Form Activists except that they are more calculating and dangerous, and have a bit of a method to their madness. And their madness dey plenty.

They may usually snitch on their co-workers to higher-ups. But what gets my goat is that how they “seek perch.”

There was an instance where the Boss had just returned from an official trip to England and brought candy for the ladies and some really smart ties for the chaps. The office suck-up was a girl called Dupe, and she was really on a roll that day. She pranced around looking at everyone’s gifts, and remarking about how the Boss had very good taste, and how he must have spent a fortune. She even said she would not eat her candy as she was touched by the Boss’s kind gesture. Men, if that girl suddenly contracted Lassa Fever that day, she would have tried to touch the Boss’s garment to get healed. Na so her suck-up reach.

The Boss was now joking about his trip, and about the crooked Customs chaps at MMIA asking for egunje and things of that nature. He then said something.

Dupe suddenly burst out laughing loudly, and baring all her gnashers and rubbing her belly. If there was a raffia mat on the ground, she would have even rolled on the floor with laughter sef.

Everyone looked at her like she had kolo-ed or something.  The boss also had a confused look on his face too. Later on, the boss’s secretary came to get him, as he had a meeting.

When the boss was out of earshot, she drew me aside and asked me “What was the last thing he said. I really could not hear the joke.”

I replied “It was no joke at all. He said he lost his wallet with about 700 pounds in it, and he suspects he left it on the aircraft when he disembarked at Murtala Airport.”

Eh? Kilo wi?

5.  THE IT MAESTRO:

You had better be on the IT Maestro’s good side. Depending on where you work (State or Local Governments and “One Man Offices” do not count) the IT Maestro can hook you up with all the new tech stuff like wireless keyboards or a shiny slim PC monitor, or a printer which actually works and does not print smudged ink like Tie and Dye cloth.

If he hates your guts, you may end up with the fat old white computer with the dead pixels. Or a UPS system that works like NEPA. IT Guys have some kind of power in most offices, but they seem more power-drunk in Nigerian offices. Trust us, we like to exert authority whenever we are given lofty positions.

Before Blackberry phones became pure water in Nigeria, I know an IT guy who hooked up a female intern lawyer with access to the office server so that her work emails got pushed to her private phone. This was a privilege only the firm’s Partners enjoyed. I don’t know how she paid back that favor, but she always wore some saucy “push-up” bras to work. I am just saying o. Push me, I push you.

These IT guys always seem to work on a different time-zone from anyone. Late into the office, early out. In some companies, they are allowed to dress down, and their favorite garb are polo shirt, jeans, geeky glasses and a knapsack. They also like oily food.

Don’t let the Steve Urkel get-up fool you. These dudes are more vicious than Bola Koof.

A friend called Remi who was once competing for the affection of a sexy girl named Segi with an IT dude. They took their war to another level, but IT girl went “no-holds barred” when he discovered that Remi had taken Segi for dinner and movies at Silverbird the Saturday before.

The IT guy decided to play his ace-card. Remi was due to give a presentation on Private Equity Law in Nigeria to a bunch of Chinese clients in the office boardroom. Two of the firm partners were also going to be present along with interested workers of the firm, and these clients were a very lucrative account for the firm.

Remi had worked on the PowerPoint presentation for the best of one month, and had finally completed the slides the evening before. He set up the projection apparatus, and then the clients and firm partners came in and took their seats. Okay, educate us…

Err, when Remi tried to locate the files with the slides, they were nowhere to be found. He started to sweat profusely, and the partners looked on embarrassed as he fidgeted with the projector. As Remi struggled in front of everyone, sweating buckets, he looked up and saw IT guy seated at the back. He was not even supposed to be here.

IT guy gave him a knowing wink. Like, I don winch you today.

Remi avoided Segi like Boko Haram States after that.

*Please leave your comments and experiences. What kind of characters have you worked with? I need at least 30 comments o or it will be 30 more months before another article. Haha! You know I love you.

The Office (1)

I was watching the US smash TV series “The Office” some weeks ago, when I had a eureka moment. How about an article about the diverse characters and nutters that make up a typical Nigerian office’s workforce. And why not? I have been blessed (depending on how you look at it – maybe I am bad at committing to one place or I have gotten the sack everywhere I have worked) to work in a multiplicity of corporate (and not so corporate) environments.

My folks pushed me towards the door, as soon as I had turned in my final dissertation in for my first degree. No food for lazy man. I scored my first intern job in an alcoholic beverage corporation whose main product rhymes with Aguda (figure that one out). I was the archetypical intern. On my first day, I was pointed to an old dusty steel cabinet to sort out files and records which looked like they had been scattered by a 5 year old. You should try arranging folders with Nigerian names alphabetically. Folder 53456 is UWABUNKEONYE, Folder 53457 is UWAILOMWAN Folder 53458 is UWEMEDIEMOH……..Not to come across racist but the Urhobo names were the hardest..

I mean I have worked in companies where everything was rationed, even the stapler clips. I have been employed at an outfit where one chap was a perpetual latecomer. Considering where he lived, there was no way he could make it on time to work. He knew this, his manager knew this, the director knew this, HR knew this. But the guy’s matter tired everyone. This company was located in Apapa, and this dude lived all the way before Alaba. Due to the incessant traffic on that Maza Maza/ Mile 12 axis, and the terrible roads, he usually got to work around past 9.

So he asked (no instructed me) to do him a favor. Since I usually got to work around a few minutes to 8, I was to switch on his computer, and take out a black suit jacket which he kept in his desk drawers and hang it on his chair. This would give the impression to whoever inquired that he had arrived work on time but “was not on seat” because he had momentarily stepped out for “inspections” or “breakfast.”

He was soon found out when a director came looking for him one morning. Someone in the office mentioned that he had come in but not briefly stepped out. The director did not become a director from being fooled easily so he decided to wait this one out. When the late-comer had not come in at 9am, he (the director) tried his mobile number and the following conversation ensued:

Director: Latecomer (not his real name), this is the Director of Marketing. I have been in you office for the past 20 minutes looking for you. Where are you?

Late-comer: I am around sir. I just briefly stepped out.

Director: Is that so? Briefly stepped out to where, pray tell?

Latecomer: I am in the Logistics Department where I went for inspections.

Director: Oh, I see…I spoke to Mr. Lucky, the logistics manager like 30 minutes ago. Please put him on the line for me. I want to ask him something.

Latecomer: Err…actually sir…

The next thing in the background, the director heard a hawker panting as he said “Oga, I no fit find 5 naira change for the Gala o. My sister wey dey sell orange talk say she got get change. Abi you wan buy pure water join?”

Busted!

The director said “Oh you are still on the road to work, buying Gala on company time abi? I will take this up with Human Resources. Please see me when you get in. I am recommending you for summary dismissal.”

Story. You won’t believe that Latecomer did not get fired eventually. He actually remained in that office for an additional 5 years until he moved because the banking sector had taken off.

Rumor was that maybe he had naked pictures of the Human Resources director smashing a Youth Corper in his office or something. He was just unsackable..

Watch out for Part 2.

ASO-EBI – GROUP THERAPY OR GROOVE THEORY?

Aso-ebis (or uniform as they are known) – I do not do them very well. I also think most chaps share this sentiment. Girls do not.

I don’t mean to come across an asshole, but I have never liked rocking the same outfit or designs as the next man. And definitely not the same one as the next chick. I think somewhere, somehow, this stems from my fears and nightmares of what I had seen over-enthusiastic mothers do to their kids, especially twins when I was growing up a young’in in the 80s. I mean this was an era where parents dressed their children from the okpara/ada (first son or daughter) to the last born child in the same outfit. Male and female child alike were dressed in the same color and pattern of clothes except for shoes. Family unit was preserved by making sure everyone was cut from the same cloth. Sibling rivalry was eliminated, and laundry costs were cut. The Von Trapp family would have screamed if they had met the Adio family.

Twins were worse off in that inglorious era for fashion. What was good for Taiwo was good for Kehinde. What was good for the goose was good for the pepeye. If Claurus was being dressed up in a red colored aso-oke, Gringory had to rock that too. Or Chinedu and Chidinma. Or Peter and Paul. Or Tia and Tamera. Or Lawan and Ibori.  No wonder I could never tell them apart.

Now, I hope I am not coming across as the type of fella who over self-obsesses about what he wants to wear. Nah, I am more metro-textual than metro-sexual. You can find Esco sporting a 3 day stubble of beard on his chin, slightly faded Levis and a distressed Tee. Pretty boy, I am not.

On the flip side, I am the sort of bloke who goes to a clothes store, sees something I like, is about to pay for it, but changes his mind once he sees another person on the queue with the same item. It is worse if it is one of the same item on the clothes rack. I may only then pick the outfit if it is plain colored and so hard to distinguish or if it is a staple like say a navy blue Blazer. Or a Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker.

Though I like to keep my wardrobe trendy enough, I tend to stay away from wearing what everyone is getting at a particular time. It is the brand-wagon culture that I tend to shy away from. For example, when it was the thing for chaps to wear Timbs, I broke out a pair of Doctor Marten boots instead. And when every Femi, Mohammed and Ikenna in Nigeria were sporting Polo Ralph Lauren shirts with the huge eshin (horse/pony/donkey/ass), I rocked the ngwere (lizard) {Lacoste} instead. If dudes are wearing boat shoes, I opt for drivers instead.

And it was the same in primary school. I took my pair of Cortinas to the neighborhood aboki shoe-maker to apply a bit of chocolate brown polish to them, to make them more distinguishable from the drab light brown every pupil was sporting in my class. He must have been either color-blind or maybe just misunderstood the color I was trying to go with, so I ended up with toney-red shoes instead. Wow, I looked like Sonic the Hedgehog especially after I wore my white socks with the shoes. It was worse when I got to school and had to come out for general assembly. I should have clicked my heels 3 times and wished myself home. That eliminated my chances with Toju the class beauty. I need not have bothered: even a shoe-less person can become a president.

In secondary school, I developed a unique way of knotting my school tie, as there was no other way to distinguish our uniform of white on white. I know some people who sported cream white on egg-shell white but that was not by choice – they were dirty.

Back to the topic at hand, there is nothing wrong with aso-ebi – it used to be the preserve of Yoruba folk who rightly used it to show solidarity towards kin celebrating an event. Uniform had its purposes and advantages:

  1. It encouraged kinship and camaraderie amongst the family and well-wishers of the celebrants. We dress alike, so we must be alike.
  2. It later became an effective tool for fundraising. Attendees were expected to chip in to purchase the material at a price even higher than the cost price of the material. People did this to show their support to the inviters even though they did not plan to attend. The celebrant/organizers pocketed a tidy profit. The buyer did not attend and was saved from wearing uniform. It was a win-win for everyone.
  3. Aso-ebi also ensured that all the guests had a similar dressing theme which makes for better photographs of the event as a coordinated color theme is camera-friendly. It also ensured that some less well-off guests stuck to the chosen color and pattern of the event, and did not embarrass themselves by turning up in their own inferior akwarakwa  or okirika clothes. Sad but true, no dulling.

With Nigeria being a multi-ethnic society, it did not take long before the culture of wearing aso-ebi spread to other cultures. Then womenfolk from all races in Nigeria “high-jacked” it until even Igbos were doing it. And when women start doing something, they usually make men do it and menfolk have to comply. Or it is the couch. NEPA and mosquitoes are bad enough.

Now it has encroached into Esco territory. Let me tell you a brief story:

Some few years back, I used to work for a law firm on the Island. One of the firm partner’s mother passed away. The firm olofofo (ass kisser) got together with some other senior figures in the firm, and they decided that everyone in the office (except the partners of course) should wear “uniform” to the burial ceremony as an act of solidarity. Excuse me, but solidarity to me is holding up a placard and shouting “Make public the results of the Fuel Subsidy Report” in front of the National Assembly.

The olofofo was commissioned to choose and buy the material design and buy a bulk quantity, and everyone in the firm was “encouraged” pay for a couple of yards from her, make into a traditional outfit and wear to the ceremony. Choosing whether to buy or not was as voluntary as NYSC.

Not being the biggest fan of “uniform”, I was debating whether or not to stick or twist when I saw the material itself. My mind was made up. This material was a hot mess of rainbow colors, some of which looked like a toddler had been playing with stack of Crayola on a bouncy rubber trampoline. The material was Ankara but with loads of color riot. It had the same colors as the bip of a traditional female Fulani outfit, combined with the colors of a LASTMA officer’s uniform and then some. The girl who chose this must have been suffering from river blindness.

The colors on the material were more female friendly as red and orange were predominant colors along with some other “fruity” shades. The material looked good for an Ankara clutch purse for females, but for Esco to rock as a danshiki? The colors slapped the eyes like Olisa Adibua.

I mean, I felt sorry for my boss’s loss even though I did not know his mum from Adam when she was alive. Surely, the money used to purchase the material could have been utilized as a monetary gift for the bereaved. Not that they needed it, as they were mad minted. But that was not the point.

I dropped coins for the material and put it in my car boot. My plan was to give it to my mother to use as “wrapper” for sleeping or for hanging in the house. I was going to wear a nice lace traditional outfit instead. However when I handed my mum the material and explained everything to her, she laughed off my concern and then told me that if I planned to go for event and if my co-workers were all wearing it, I would have to do the same. She even took the material and my measurements and said she was going to take it to her tailor to sew it into an outfit for me, so I had no more excuses.

She also explained how aso-ebis worked, saying that in some owambe parties, the ushers may not seat or serve you if you did not come in uniform. It is a bit like hyena clans. If you come smelling different from the rest of the pack, you were ostracized and eaten alive. Clifford Orji.

A few days later, my mum handed me my outfit. The tailor had done a ‘marvelous’ job of making the outfit as “janded” as possible. It had some correct gold plated buttons, sleek jeans-like pockets and the pants even came in a boot-leg cut. Sura the tailor would have turned in his grave. Whatever next? Slim cut and fitted agbada robes? Or isi-agu tunics with Versace Medusa buttons and the lion “Express” logo?

I got to the venue, which was somewhere in old Ikoyi. The place was packed to the rafters. Mercs, Rolls Royces and smart SUVs were competing for parking space on the car park. All the tabloid huggers, big politicians and society people in Lagos were all present. Lots of old money and money-miss-road met Nollywood and Bella Naija’s finest. I parked my car and stepped into the place with swagger like I had a pebble in my shoe.

To say I stuck out like a sore thumb was an understatement. Most guests were dressed in white or shades of cream jacquards or laces traditionals. There were some people in suits too as it was on a Friday night. I looked across and there was a table with my co-workers. Their orange/red Ankara collective really stood out from the rest of the venue. From outer-space I am sure they looked like a huge palm oil stain on a pure white Egyptian silk jumper. But uniform is still uniform, right? Wrong o! I got closer. Everyone in my work group, to their credit, had done something unique with their ‘uniform”. The girls were the champions in this. One has made a pencil skirt and a smart top with hers. One had made hers into a jump suit with a plunging neckline which showed her 36DDs. Maybe it was the flutes of champagne playing tricks on my brain, but later I could have sworn that her bra was also made from the Ankara material too. Shhhh….Victoria’s secret.

Moments later, one of my co-workers showed up on African time. He.was.not.wearing.the.uniform. He had worn white lace instead and looked pleased with himself. And sod the Ankara material, he had gotten it sewn into a Banky W style Kangol hat which he rocked by placing it on the side of his head in true hip-hop style.

Some of my co-workers looked at him like a leper. A senior associate scowled angrily.

And I don’t wear jerseys I’m thirty plus/
Give me a crisp pair of jeans nigga button ups/
S dots on my feet/
Makes my cycle complete/

Jay Z, What More Can I Say (2003)

 

Eulogi

Image

June 3 2012, now known as Black Sunday is a day that will forever live in infamy.  An airplane fell out of the sky and crashed into homesteads in a busy Lagos suburb killing all the travelers as well as people on ground; on the other side of the border, another aircraft crashed in Ghana; and the Boko Haram blew another church into the sky in Yelwa, Bauchi, murdering 12 members of the congregation.

Murder and mayhem at every turn, Nigeria is fast turning into a country of blood, sweat and tears. The Dana air crash in particular was very painful, and for days I felt a deep sense of loss.  With anguish I tried to imagine the hysteria and panic on the aircraft just before it hit ground zero. No one deserves to go in that manner. I was once on a plane to Houston, Texas and just as we approached George Bush Inter-continental, the plane landing gear refused to activate. I noticed that the pilot kept circling the huge BOEING 747 around and around, and I could sense that something was wrong. I swallowed, and I started sweating. Even the passengers next to me started looking anxious. There was an oyibo lady with her 4 year old son sitting in the middle aisle. She looked at me like “What is going on?”

I nor answer her o. Dey there, dey blow grammar. I was thinking, please God, let this plane just land jeje. I don’t want to die in Texas. Besides who would fry puff puff at my wake?  The plane circled 3 more times, and then we heard a loud cranking noise “FOOOKPA!!!”

Then the pilot’s weary voice came through as an announcement was made on the prompter. “Captain Relieved” joyfully announced “We had been unable to deploy the aircraft’s landing apparatus, and had radioed the airport authorities to get emergency landing procedures in place. However, it has now been successfully deployed, and we are getting ready to land. We are presently at an altitude of 10,000 feet. Thank you for flying with……the weather in Houston is slightly humid with an average temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit….”

Men, I didn’t not listen to rest of the announcement as I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The next 15 minutes were the longest ones in my life. I would not rest until the plane’s Dunlop Elite tires touched terra firma successfully. Immediately the plane hit the ground, and started taxiing on the runway, I turned around to answer the oyibo who had asked me that question like less than 30 minutes ago: “The plane’s tires had refused to come out, but the pilot repaired it.”  Like say no be God o, like say no be God o; my life done kpeme…

The lady smiled, and started talking to me about how her trip had gone, about how she had been to Africa before…..I looked out of the airplane window, and saw that there had been about 6 fire-trucks on standby on the tarmac, just in case. There were also police squad cars and emergency services too. We had to wait in the plane for an extra 15 minutes before we could disembark, as the airline needed clearance. And I sat there smiling, like here is a country that is organized to a tee. Emergency services are deployed to the scene to avert as well as deal with mishaps. They want to give accident victims every chance to survive. Your aircraft may crash, but you will not burn. Not like Naija, where it is always medicine after death. No sir, why form expensive government investigative committees after bomb attacks and mishaps. What about trying to nip the problem in the bud?

 

When the manifest and pictures of the passengers were released in the days following the Dana crash, it really hit close to home. These were decent ordinary beautiful people like you and me. It is clear that Nigeria has lost a generation of talented people, some of whom have had their lives cut short because anything goes in this country. Heck, maybe I should start my own airline. I would get a Molue bus, fit it with wings and a rudder, and call it Air-Esco. If people protest too much, I would claim that it is an Air Bus model, as I prefer them to Boeing.

Among the names on the manifest, was a friend of mine who I had briefly gone to A-level school with ages ago. Here was a stand-up dude in the prime of his life. His parents had invested a fortune in his upbringing and education, only for him to get wiped out like that. It is so hard to take. This dude was a financial analyst with a UK degree, who had returned to Nigeria to practice his profession. I remember us exchanging rap tapes and CDs at A-level school. I also ran into him at a society wedding at TBS, Lagos some years ago. He had just returned to the country and was full of zest for the future.

Sometimes, one gets the impression that in Nigeria, we are paying the price for being too many. Yes, 200 million of us. Every day on the news, it is one mishap or bombing or incident or accident or the other. We are getting dis-sensitized to violence. Think of the worst incident that happened last year, and see if you can remember it. What did the government do after it occurred? Did roads get fixed after the accident. Were our cops better paid or equipped. Did that senator go to jail?

And the people on the ground do not fare better. You could be lounging at home on a Sunday watching the Nollywood movies “Died wretched and buried in 10 million naira casket” or “Last flight to Abuja”, only to have a Jumbo jet belly flop on your living room.

Oh 400 people died in that Bokom Haram banzai attack 3 months ago?  Sad, but we have 199,999,999,600 people left, so it is all good.

Our government seems lax and merely reactive. Corruption and greed have crept into every facet of our national life. Nigeria is now officially one of the most dangerous and treacherous places in the world to live. It is like there are 6 million ways to die, choose one. An average Nigerian is prone to many life-ending dangers on a given day. And by “I”, I mean the average Nigerian.

I could die because a trigger happy olopa wants a 20 naira bribe for ground-nut

Die because the airline company put a rickety aircraft in the sky

Die because I mistook a NEPA cable on the floor for a skipping rope

Die because a bad bele person in my village shook my hand with jazz.

Die because my BRT bus scuba-dived into the lagoon under 3rd Mainland bridge while trying to overtake a sport’s car like at the GET Arena

Die because I bought and ate expired Gala in Lekki traffic.

Die because my houseboy bought Boko Haram beans in the market

Die because my car was blocking a Senator’s convoy

Die because LASTMA used a chuku-chuku rod to intercept my car at full speed

Die for daring to contest political office so that I can effect change and reform

Die for being at the wrong place at the wrong time (being Igbo in the North usually works)

Die because the carbon and smoke fumes from my generator asphyxiated me in my sleep.

Die because my mai-guard security guard was instructed to blow me up by Boko Haram

Die because I was robbed and attacked just after I had used a bank Bureau De Change

Die because my house got submerged in a flood after a heavy storm. Sea shells, sea shells..

Die because I fell into a broken soak away pit

Die because I was ill and no hospital would admit me until I made a N50,000 security deposit.

Die because my neighbor’s kerosene stove exploded and caused a fire

Die because the bus I was travelling in was carrying jerry-cans of petrol which exploded

Die because Egbesu Boys, OPC and MASSOB clashed in my area.

Finally I want to commensurate with families and friends of those we lost on Black Sunday. May those who passed away rest in peace. I also want to dedicate this poem to my friend who was on the plane which crashed. It is an excerpt from Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet”, and it was the same poem Robert Kennedy had dedicated to JFK at his wake:

 When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he shall make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.'”

 

 

The Pounded Yam and Pure Water Awards 2011

THE POUNDED YAM AND PURE WATER AWARDS 2011

2011 has drawn to a close, and it is time to announce the first Annual Pounded Yam and Pure Water Awards 2011 (APYPW), also known as the Poundos. The manner of handing out this awards shall  be systematic. I shall list my favourite things (or persons) and they shall receive a Poundo (a wrap of pounded yam, and a plate of soup of their choice). The losers shall receive a satchet of pure water manufactured in a dirty Ajegunle workshop with H20 from a mossy well.

3 GBOSAS

  1. What a year 2011 was. Nigerian entertainment got exported as a premium product while we imported refined petroleum.  People complain that Nigerian youngsters are not militant enough like our Arab cousins. Maybe it is true, but no-one can deny that their ingenuity, business saavy and resilience are the shining spots illuminating Nigerian positively to the world. And by youth, I am referring to those between the age group of 17 and 35 doing positive things and creating instead of taking from the system.

There are some that say people in their 30s should not be classified as youths, but there are actresses/actors or those in entertainment and businesses who claim their official age as 30 even though they are really in their 40s. So I want to capture those who are doing us proud with their accomplishments.

The one who grew up watching Kiddie Vision 101 on TV, but now have to contend with a government with no vision. The entertainers and those in the fashion industry, and those in business creating jobs and opportunities for the economy deserve a pat on the back, and their promise to us that they wouldn’t rest on their oars.

I won’t mention any names.

2. I am loving so many things right now – Cole Haan patent loafers, watching Katt Williams show while eating pepper-soup (the combination has me suffering and smiling), Chicken and Bacon Pressata (a delicious sandwich made with flaky flat bread and toasted with cheese,  any kind of food with a sprinking of suya pepper, the black actress Paula Patton in Mission Impossible 4 (Esco has a crush), button up shirts with stripes. In fact I am loving life in general. Life is good!

I am also feeling new Nigerian music videos. I really liked Wiz Kid’s Pakuramo – Funke Akindele made that video, but the cameos by other artists or entertainers, and the tones and concept used made that video worth watching again and again. By the way shout out to Whiskey (Wiz Kid)- the song itself could grace any dance-floor on planet earth. The intro especially was awesome.

Skale’s Mukulu was a good one as well. But side note, isn’t anyone else also alarmed at the manner girls shake their nubile bodies in our music videos these days. Dem nor wan marry?

You no try

Mondiots

  1. Boko Haram killed more people than hunger and disease for the first time in Nigeria while our lame duck government cowered. They affected the social and economic life in Abuja, the seat of the Nigerian government, and many people lost their lives in Abuja, the North and even Sapele recently. Boko Haram deserve a big fat pure water (with car battery water inside).

2. Lekki a high-brow area was hit with the low-blow of tolling.  VGC is now officially the most expensive area in the world. You not only pay for the land, but also for the priviIege to go visit it.  I think its time for me to go back to my village. I go plant cocoa, I go plant cassava; even though na yam. I dey go back to my village. I refer you to my hit article Pump Pump and the Scramble for Lekki.  It has had over 47001 hits alone since publication. Nuff’ said. Fuck LCC by the way.

3.  The price of pure water finally defied Adam Smith’s and Keynesian economic theories and rose to N10.00 for the first time (not liquid contents only sha). Our award for losers just got more expensive, but I am not happy about it. The price of pure water, and food in general, deserves a pure water award.

4.  Fuel subsidy was finally removed. There have been various economic theories about the pros and cons of removing fuel subsidy. Apparently, it is supposed to stimulate competition among fuel producers and create an incentive for lowering prices, as opposed to subsidy and a price fix by government. But the fear is the Nigerian factor, where for some reason, the prices of items never ever go down, so N141 may the cheapest fuel will ever be. What goes up and never comes down? Age used to be the answer. Prices of goods in Nigeria may be the more correct one.

Besides we have a weak regulator in the PPPRA so how will collusion among illegal price cartels be monitored or curbed. Two or three or 10,000 beer drinking CEO Alhajis and Chiefs may meet in a hotel in Abuja and agree to peg fuel at N200 a litre, and promise to co-operate with each other, instead of competing to drive the prices down. And who would stop them?

Regulation in Nigeria has always been non-existent. I mean this is a country where crooks have been mixing kerosene with aviation fuel, and selling them to airlines. No wonder some of our airlines engines rattle and rumble like Molues. I have been in a domestic airplane where the aircraft’s shock absorbers were not working at all. The plane ‘fell’ from the sky, and landed with a huge thud that shook all the passengers. Some people screamed “Blood of Jesus”, while a few who had been pretending to read newspapers started screaming for their lives.  Some unfastened their seat belts and switched on the phones, and started making emergency calls to their family “Darling, our plane just crash-landed. Please just in case, make sure you send Felix my assistant to go and collect that cheque from Chief Akpanjo.”

Thank goodness these airline people no longer served refreshment but sold it instead. As I didn’t buy, thankfully there was no watery hot tea/coffee to spill all over me from the impact of landing.

So despite the pleas of the people, the government under Pa Jona went on with the subsidy removal. What is it about Aso Rock that makes our leaders turn to brutes. You see a meek and homely looking politician, but immediately he tastes power, he turns into a monster. It is like this scene from the movie “Waiting to Exhale”. Watch from 1.06 on the video, and just imagine that the guy is Pa Jona (or any top government official) and Whitney Houston is Nigeria. Immediately the government official discovers how sweet the perks of power is, he turns into a raging uncontrollable lunatic.

syz9P-waiting-to-exhale-movie-my-body-needs-this

My Body Needs This Scene from Waiting to Exhale Movie (1995) | MOVIECLIPS.

Receive the last Pure Water award! Gba!

Gone Till November

Whether na one naira....

Ah, it is that supposed date of champions – the eleventh day of November, the year of our Lord 2011. According to the Chinese calendar (even though I prefer their cuisine to their calendars), 2011 is the year of the rabbit. It is the year of the anu nchi, the okete rat, the oke, the otapiapia. And this is the penultimate month before the year draws to an end.

Why is November very significant? It is seen as the month of stock-taking and inventory. Igbo people especially start preparing for Xmas earnestly around this time. Village homes are retouched, and invitations are sent and received concerning  upcoming Xmas events like the iwa akwa (wearing cloth ceremony), or ibankwus (traditional weddings or ‘black account’ wedding as it is so damn expensive), or other traditional carnivals. Where I am from, we have a ceremony called Mbomuzo. This should attract a global media showcase – it features traditional fireworks, people running amok, masquerades and whips. People gather in the village square and set off fireworks and dance like a crazed banshee. Food is cooked, and everyone goes from house to house stuffing their faces with all manners of delicacies. Long story, depending on whom you talk to, November can be a pre-cursor month to the good  or a stark reminder to some of how bad the year has been.

Crimes notoriously go up around this period. Yahoo yahoo guys get more desperate, and as my spam box can testify, you get inundated with scam emails, sometimes from the same person twice a day. I am getting 419 emails from the supposed Central Bank Governor of Burkina Faso. Only me?

Even our ‘wazzup” brethren, home and abroad are gearing up for Xmas, and November is a particularly busy month. There are concerts and parties coming up, so everyone is trying to make sure they are on point. Plane tickets have to be booked, free cash is needed for tripping in Lagos, and for ‘landing’ Rhythm Unplugged or Caliente or wherever is the freshest place now. People for Jand done dey do 8 a.m to 12 midnight over-time shifts, in their “per hour” jobs. People would buy tickets with stop-overs in Qatar just to get a cheap deal to be able to land Naija for Xmas.

Kidnappers also up the ante around now, snatching people and demanding kings ransoms for stolen relatives. There was a case where one kidnapped an oil worker’s daughter, and asked for 600million naira before she would be released. The oil worker abused the kidnapper: “You can get lost. No be only 600 million. Did they tell you that I am impotent and cannot have another daughter. Ewu!” and slammed the phone down on the kidnapper’s ears.

The kidnapper called him back bewildered: “Oga why you dey talk like this na. E be like say you no love this your pikin”

The oil worker was not swayed “So because na my pikin make I go kill myself? How much her husband go give me when them dey pay dowry for her head? Abeg, abeg, I dey busy”

With that he terminated the call pronto.

The kidnapper called him a few days later, but the oil guy cut the phone without picking it up.

When the kidnapper saw that he was not ready to play ball, his price dropped by more than 3000 per cent: “Oga oya, abeg pay N50,000. We don spend money on credit dey call you. And this your butta pikin dey only chop Indomie noodles for here. We go even charter taxi wey go drop her for your front gate when we dey release am.Abeg, do, make we too chop. Country hard.”

After much deliberation and haggling, the rogue settled for 10 grand, and the guy’s daughter was released to him unscathed. She had even gained small weight, sef. Ogboju pass power.

So how has your year been so far? Have you taken stock? Are there any things you would have done differently? Did you achieve your goals or anything significant? Maybe you got to travel out of Nigeria for the first time and now your Facebook followers have been regaled to tears with photos of you on the desert dunes and gold shops of Dubai. You even brought them some grains of sand from the UAE as a sample. Or you made your first trip to Ghana, and now you insist that everyone call you Kwaku Frimpong. Perhaps this year, you officially became a land-owner in the dire straits of Lekki, albeit in a shanty ridden outpost on the outskirts of Ajah, surrounded by swampy jungles, with your plot land-locked by 2 flooded square meters of land. Or it could be that maybe this year you broke bank and limb to go for your Masters degree in the U.K, even though Mama Charlie and Davido Cameron are desperately trying to get rid of your likes. Or did you marry your aristo boyfriend finally this year? Or you started a business, or revamped your faith, or moved jobs (from banking to wherever – it seems an upgrade nowadays) or your wife gave birth to junior, and he has your big conk and elephant ears. Whatever it is, are you glad with here you are, this November? Whether you own millions or a Yipee tank, at least you are alive.

How has it been for me? Well I am my worst critic. I get sad on my birthdays (except my 18th one where I celebrated my independence) or my 26th one (more about that one in a later post, promise). I am not really a fan of the whole birthday wishes, singing ‘Many Happy Returns’, posts on Facebook and celebratory wishes kind of thing. Girls I have dated used to be amazed at how moody and reflective I got on my birthday. One gave me a gadget I had really always wanted, but all I really desired that day was for my father to remember and give me a call. When he did, it brightened my mood. Sad I know.

So I am not a fan of birthdays. This year has been so and so for me. I brushed up on a new language and how to write it – pidgin English. Let me give you an example. I will translate this into pidgin: Oh happy days, I am mighty glad that I am quite proficient at Pidgin English. Shonkongbelete o, nothing do me for pidgin English,

I do wish my career had gone differently – these days engineers and accountants seem to have more job flexibility. A pharmacist I know, chooses jobs on a whim, and a physical therapist friend of mine works on her own schedule, sometimes on 20 hour weeks, earning up to 150k (dollars) per annum. My godmother passed away this year; it was at her house I had that sliding door/Superman crash that I mentioned in an earlier article. She was a darling. She bought me my first house-coat as a kid, with my name engraved on it, ala Hugh Hefner. She was a very elegant lady, the likes of which are getting extinct in this country. A very dainty lady with a smile for everyone. She never lost her cool, not even when she was very upset. Someone once confronted her with evidence that her son has stolen another kid’s lunch box (bread and Geisha) at school. She simply replied “That is preposterous! As if my son would ever eat fish from a tin – he knows better than that.”

Elbows off the table, she would instruct at the dinner table. She taught me the cursive form of handwriting and how to pronounce words properly, when I was just a little bairn.  The day I heard she died, I wrote 2 of my most popular articles then cried bucket loads for days afterwards.

Rest in peace Aunty C.

How has your year been so far? Me, I have had a life you could write a blog on.