I DON HAMMER ONE MILLION DOLLARS O!!

My time is prime like Keke / stay jeje making my pepper...

My time is prime like Keke / just jeje making my pepper…

 

A few good years ago in Jand, I and a couple of workmates decided to form a temporary lottery syndicate, pool resources and buy lottery tickets each, to increase our odds of winning a 30million pounds lottery jackpot.

Normally, I do not send the lottery, as I have always felt that I would have better odds fetching water with a basket, or purchasing an electric cooker because I had belief that NEPA would come good rather than let me starve, or buying a Terry G single for the lyrics. Heck, there are better odds misappropriating Nigerian Pension Funds than winning the lottery at 40 billion to one than winning the lottery. Least I could enrich myself at the public’s expense; worst case scenario, even if I got caught by EFCC or an anti corruption body, I could use connections to get off with a 750000 naira slap on the wrist.

However, this case was different, and I had a reason for playing the lottery .  Some months back, a couple in their 50s had won a record 161 million pounds, which was the highest payout in Britain at the time. The newspapers went crazy when the husband, 65, proclaimed that “they were now as rich as the Beckhams.” True, the Beckhams were worth  about 165 million pounds then.

Wow! I remembered, switching off the TV after I heard that boast, and thinking to myself –  well fuck me, if I won 161 million pounds, I would  scream out from 3rd Mainland Bridge “I am richer than my ex-state governor! I can now afford to hire graduate drivers and pay then 500,000 naira per year to move my trucks on Naija death roads; I can have my convoy of German luxury cars pick me from the tarmac of Murtala Mohammed International whenever I arrive, even though it endangers other commercial flights. Chei, I can have noisy owambe parties and block off major roads and bridges, and inconvenience other road users. While I am at it, I can import runs girls from the top private universities for threesome orgies in my VGC villa. Choi! I could even contest for Senate and win the election without stepping a foot into my constituency….”

In the UK or Yankee, lottery winners are usually inundated with attractive offers from credit card companies and financial investors who offer them all manners of services and incentives. In Nigeria, once you hit any form of millions, it is hangers-on, ‘distant’ relatives, and traditional rulers who chase you  for financial favors or to bestow chieftaincy titles on you.

I had other reasons to play the lottery too. Imagine if because of the mere 1 pound fee it takes to play the lotto, I neglected to try my luck, and then my co-workers scooped the top prize in my absence. Fear caught me o. Britico people no sabi share at all.

So we bought the tickets, pledging that if any of us pulled the winning number, we would all share the jackpot equally.  Imagine 30 million splitting 8 ways – that’s some decent mula.

The next 24 hours were a pain, as I had to play the waiting game. You know that feeling of hopeless anticipation, like when you are sweating in the heat, begging NEPA to bring back the power, but you know remember your neighborhood transformer had blown.  It didn’t stop me keeping my phone close to me, hoping one of the lads would call me to announce that we had won big. I don hammer o!

As I sat there, many thoughts passed through my head. I envisaged picking up my winnings, and hitting the next thing smoking to Lagos. I would rather be a millionaire in the Zanga, than a Big Time Charlie in the land of Mama Charlie. As I sat there, I recalled an instance where a Nigerian friend of mine, from back in Scotland looked up at the sky, smiling as he explained what he would do if he ever won lottery millions.

He shook his head as he said “Esco, all I need is just 500,000 pounds; one million or ten million is even too much. I would first of all call and inform my mother in Nigeria; and  then warn her to quit from that her junk civil service job. I would then go shopping in Harrods, and then return to Nigeria like a prodigal son. I would tell my mum like this – mummy I am buying a shop for you in Victoria Island, so get ready to fly to Dubai to go shopping for stock. Then I would relocate my entire family from FESTAC to Banana Island in Ikoyi sharp sharp.

All for 500k pounds? Ok o. Besides why is that most Nigerians in the Diaspora say they would return to Nigeria immediately if they  ever stumbled upon great wealth. Being rich in Nigeria must be the lick.The Hamptons or Old Ikoyi? Hmmm…

I wanted to snap him out of his daydream, but he preferred to stay in Total Recall mode:”I would then travel to Germany to ship down 3 tear-rubber models of Mercedes – a G Wagon, an ML 500 and a small C-Class for my mum. All my rides would be German, no time for Korean brands.” What about Volkswagen?

I reminded him that he had not said anything about cars for his siblings. His answer was followed by an evil sigh “Mcheew…Na them win lottery? Berger for Apapa never close na. I would buy them first class tokunboh in Nigeria. Abi make I carry all my money give them, make them rest? I would then hire 5 domestic servants in French maid outfits to work in my mansion and serve me hand and foot.  I would contest the House of Rep election for my state, and then float a company for winning government contracts.”

I can see it now Lotto Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited. Ok o.

He was clearly enjoying himself too much, and his eyes lit up as he continued to fool himself “All my furniture for my house in Banana Island would be imported straight from England. Every room including the toilets would have an LCD TV. But I would also invest some of the money as well in ventures.”

I looked at him with my eyes open in mock surprise as I quipped sarcastically, you don’t mean it. So now you remember to invest money, 499999 pounds later. What kind of venture would this be, pray tell, O wise one?

He smiled proudly like he had just done something epic like postulating a theory in quantum physics, or deciphering the inner workings of Tonto Dike’s thought process, as he concluded: “I have always really liked alcohol and spirits. So I would open up a distillery in Ughelli, where we would bottle and export local alcohol. Forget Ciroc Vodka or even Vitamin Water, I would export Sapele Water as a premium spirit.” It is a ‘spirit’ alright.

One of my theories about human nature is thus – you can tell the character of a person by the manner and articles they spend money on when they get it. It is easier to take up a goody two-shoes, moralistic posture as a saint with a halo, when you are skint. It is the things you do, the excesses you opt for, or the discipline you show when ‘pepper rests’ that paints your true picture of your persona.

That’s why crooked politicians’ favor objects of expenditure like fast cars, faster women like runs girls or prostitutes,  insane amounts of real estate in high-brow areas and a quest to retain their mandate through selection rather than election. Wealth to them is all about enjoyment, and never about employment.  If corrupt government officials spend their illicit wealth on opening factories which employ graduates, or setting up initiatives to better the lot of the masses, they would make small sense.  But the trend is to purchase unrealistic units of real estate, which lie derelict and unoccupied because they would rather charge ridiculous sums for rent, than accept an affordable fee from tenants. There are thousands of high-end real estate lying fallow, and rooming Agama lizards and weeds in Oniru, Lekki, Maitama and Wuse. These properties are as empty as the owners.

As I sat in my flat, watching old tapes of “A Night of a 1000 Laughs”, I chuckled as I recalled  what my Britico co-workers said they would do with their winnings. Let me just say that their plans were a bit different from my Naija friend:

-          I would move from my tiny council flat in Leyton to a terrace house with a garden in Maida Vale

-          My dream is to open a center for disadvantaged and autistic kids in Brixton.

-          Esco, are you kidding me? I would call in on Monday and tell the boss to stick his job where the sun don’t shine. I would then go on a cruise with a luxury liner around Europe.

-          Men, the first thing I would do is fly out and get smashed on a lad’s holiday with all of you to Aiya Napa. Eh, Aiye wetin?

-          Oh my days! I would use of my winnings to purchase a cottage for my and my partner in Norfolk or Yorkshire

-          Norfolk or Yorkshire? Who wants to live in wet and cold Blighty? I am off to Australia or Marbella in Spain.

-          I have always wanted to do voluntary work in India and Peru, then go hiking and bungie jumping in Brazil.

-          I am happy as I am. I would keep working, and give most of my winnings to charity. I would keep just enough to pay for my funeral when I am gone.

It was a middle-aged unmarried oyibo man who made the last statement.  Everybody else thought it unusual but shrugged their shoulders, as they thought: na your ishoro be that.

In Nigeria, he would have been sent to a church for deliverance from the spirit of poverty.

And I thought to myself, maybe its best I just forget it. The lottery in life is hard work or laziness. You better your odds for success considerably by working hard at something you are passionate about, and never giving up. If I did win the lottery, there are many doors it could open for me. I could set up a foundation to fight against the work of runs girls. I could build WoahNigeria into a Disney-like conglomerate. Yes I do like cars and luxury goods, but I want something I could take with me to the grave. Not to bequeath a legacy that would make my descendants spend more time fighting in the courts for inheritance than co-existing to build something epic for Nigeria.

However I, like all Nigerians, could handle the disappointment of not winning, and still kick on regardless. In a way, we Nigerians play the lottery everyday when we vote in questionable leaders on ethnic or personal grounds; we keep gambling with our future and those of our kids by celebrating mediocrity, corruption and the illicit stockpiling of wealth. We play the most unfair and unwinnable lottery when we expect a different outcome by repeating the same mistakes that got us here in the first place. What we win is not a million pieces of silver or units of legal tender; our takings are a million steps backwards into stagnant under-development or one billion decibels of pain and frustration with our national experiment.

Needless to say, the call that I had won the lottery never did come. I reported for work on the cold, misty Monday morning, and had to contend with a few of the sad and crestfallen faces of my co-workers, especially the one who was really looking for the bachelor retreat in Aiya Napa, Cyprus. I laughed inside like, una never jam.

 

What would you do if you won or came up 1 million dollars right now.  Please be truthful and don’t try to sell a pipe dream. If you already have a million dollars, what would you do with 1 billion dollars? And if Dangote is one of my readers, good afternoon sir!

 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t want millions/

More than money saved, I wanna save children/

Common (The 6th Sense, 2000)

 

Ogogoro Be Like Woman

I must break you..

I must break you..

 

It has been said times without number that men and women are from two different planets. I am in my 3rd decade on God’s green earth, and I am no closer to understanding the inner workings of the fairer sex. Women also say that men are obsessed with shallow things, so fair play.

However I believe that some Nigerian women are another sub-species. This is a country of wide range of personalities, body-types, backgrounds, temperaments and levels of kolo-ness. After all this is the nation of Chimanda and Cossy, Dora Akinluyi and Oge Okoye, Iyabo Obasanjo and Abani Darego, Mama Bakassi and Toolz, Tiwa Savage and….you get my point.

So the Nigerian woman is diverse. But some Nigerian females are complex individuals. They play mind games on chaps who fancy them; they resort to mental backhand tactics to get what they want. Of all the things women do that intrigue, the most bizarre one is the emotional blackmail.

Emotional blackmail is a term used to describe a series of verbal and non-verbal actions females use to manipulate men into doing what they want.

Relax my female readers; this is not “bash woman day.” Read on and you would see.

I just mediated in a domestic dispute between a 30-something year old Nigerian couple. Maybe “mediated” is not the word, as the husband was physically present narrating his grieviances against his wife, when she called my phone blaring obscenities and using words like “Is that useless fool there”, and other foul words like “divorce” , “alimony.” Alimony in Nigeria? Well I never…I know of concepts like ceremony or testimony or plenty money.

And even though the wife was not physically present as I tried to adjudicate between this young couple, it was still warfare. He was trying to talk over me to her while I had her on the line, and I was trying to prevent her from smashing an emotional pestle over his head. I was unable to calm her down, and she later dropped the phone promising to call me later to vent.

What was the issue between the couple? Wait for it….

I then turned to the chap, and I gave him trite advice in a nutshell: Dude, I will try my best to reconcile you lot, but ultimately it is you who are responsible for keeping your marriage intact and preserving your home.

The guy shook his head as he tried to protest but I cut him off like Zenith Bank money van police escort. I explained that going forward, we were going to use a technique I read about somewhere. Rather than yelling loudly at your spouse or partner and having heated exchanges over a disagreement, you write your concerns and grievances as a 4 page letter, and hand it to him/her to read. When people are angry, they get defensive and less conciliatory. Women especially detest being abused or reprimanded, and you are unlikely to win an argument with your wife/girlfriend/friend by verbally sparring. Or so I think…

Nigerian women especially will out-shout you, and they will bring out weapons that go beyond the rules of engagement. Weapons don’t will torpedo your welfare and any attempts to wage warfare Look at you, so you can open your mouth and call yourself a man.

So this dude agreed to write his wifey a delinquent letter. I, Esco, have been granted a special dispensation to reproduce the letter for the first time, for the benefit of all subscribing Woah-Nigerians. I have touched it up off course, to make it a bit more readable. Haha! Listen (or rather read) and learn:

 

My dear wife, alias partner, aka permanent girlfriend, it is a cold world (and hot country) out there. I head out every morning at breaking day to seek out our daily bread (and remember you only eat sliced butter bread which is more expensive). Life is painstakingly hard without marriage squabbles jumping into the mix. I am already contending with opposing forces every day of my daily life – our township brethren want to give me hypertension with financial and cultural demands, LASTMA officers want to intercept my car for trivial traffic offences like buying hawked UTC Marble cake in traffic, NEPA wants to take power whenever they wish not caring if I am plugged unto a life support machine or not (sometimes I think the off/on power switch at PHCN is being controlled by a politician’s toddler who flicks and plays with it constantly for fun), the police want to take shots at me even though I was the one who called to alert them to armed robbers in my yard. My pastor wants to oppress me with a new Cessna private jet even though he knows I have been on Legedis Benz ever since our car lease company decided to do their ogbanje repo moves; Lagos Internal Revenue Service wants to put yellow tapes around and seal off my business premises due to unpaid taxes. There are runs girls who want to give me a “hot one” in my office, so that they can attach my salary.

That is why every Saturday, I put aside a set time in the afternoon to relax, recuperate my sanity and download normality into my banal existence. This is when I carve out a crevice in the fast pace of time, to watch football matches, and cheer a winning team since the party I voted into power are scoring own goals every day. But my dear wife, this does not seem to register with you for some reason.

Of all times to ask me to come and hook up the gas pot to the burner, it is when Chelsea Football Club is playing a vital match. Of all the days, weeks and months since we got married, it is only this particular time on Saturdays, you deem it fit to invite your talkative and poverty-stricken Uncle and his wife over to our house for brinner (breakfast, lunch and dinner). You know that they are incapable of comprehending when they have overstayed their welcome. I will have you know that it is especially difficult listening to Victor “Chelsea have leaded” Ikpeba’s commentary on the match, grammar shells and all, while listening to your Uncle display his rank ignorance on a wide plethora of subjects, with his wife nodding like a Red-neck lizard. He not only seats in my special and strategically placed chair, he eats my fried snails and struts around my living room like drunk housefly. Baby, I am frustrated with this marriage.

Before I married you, I knew your strengths and weakness and accepted both. Let me begin with your strengths – you are a powerful orator, never requiring a public address system to announce private issues. You are very generous too – but with my possession and earnings. The beneficiaries of your largess are conveniently your family. Now, timing has never been your forte. Timing with words or timing with time-keeping or timing with requests. I find it odd that you want us to pray before we have sex. That means I can never enjoy a quickie with you.

I can bear all of the above, but when you interrupt my weekend football sessions, I lose it, like our government has lost the plot.

Now, you were angry because I peacefully asked you to wait 10 minutes till it is half-time so I could sort out your request. You started foaming at the house, screaming and poking your fingers at me. As I turned to address you, Fernando Torres, the Chelsea striker missed a sitter when through one-one-one facing the keeper  in the penalty box (does he ever score; but that’s beside the point, isn’t it?). You distracted me from the match and now I have missed a vital play.

You raised your voice at me like an owambe party announcer. And I am like, please stop waving your hands at me like a Yellow Fever warden, it is making me nervous. Out of the side of my eye, I saw Nwaolodo our 45 month old daughter watching us closely soaking up the events like Ijebu garri. I have told you many times to stop exhibiting violence in front of the kids. Nwaolodo’s teacher has already confided in me that the child behaves aggressively in school towards other kids. She extorted Bornboy’s lunch from him, and blew ground chalk in Binta’s face. Then last week, I saw her with a novel that wasn’t hers. She had stolen a classmate’s “Eze Goes to School” book and had drawn jaka-jaka all over it. At her arts class, the teacher was visibly shocked when she drew a picture of Ibori’s head.

Now she is just standing there watching, and seemingly willing us to come to physical blows like Dick Tiger versus Bash Ali. Or Samuel Peter versus Joe Lasisi. Or Karen Igho versus the security guy at that Club in V.I, or Don Jazzy versus…

Violence is never the key. You seem to have gotten it on lock though.

So back to our matter at hand. You got impatient and tried some guerilla tactics by standing between me and the TV, blocking my view totally like Face Me – I face You buildings. Then the worst happened – I heard the commentator scream “Mikel shoots likes a trigger happy MOPOL. Goal!!!!!”

I heard it but didn’t see it. Why? Your ample frame had blocked everything – the beautiful set-play, the creativity and genius which accompanied it, and the well-taken strike. Goal ocha!

You blocked my view of my 40 inch plasma screen; baby you are baying for spilled plasma o!

Choi! Baby you have killed me!! You made me miss a Mikel goal which is an oxymoron, like incorruptible Nigerian politician. Baby you have murdered peace! Where does this marriage go from here? From Mushin to More Hits?

Seeing that you had broken me emotionally, you now twisted the knife in by announcing to me: Since you have refused to help me connect the gas pot, I cannot cook, so they would be no food to eat today in the house, and definitely no pepper-soup. I have locked the kitchen. By the way, Nwaolodo had the last 2 packs of Indomie for dinner.

Baby Walakolombo! Papa Emeka our neighbor, make you come judge matter before I lose it quick, like stolen Brazilian weave.

Wait and it gets worse, I cannot even get your family members to intervene, as they are a motley crew of mercenaries.

Your mother is like Medusa’s twin sister. She seems to derive joy whenever we argue and cannot be trusted to be fair. It is so transparent the way that she calls my phone whenever she hears that we had a tiff (which is the only time she ever calls me). The conversation always starts without the customary “hello” greeting: “In-law, I heard what happened…” Even before my daughter told me the story, I judged that you were wrong. I raised my daughter right…you are the problem. You were also wrong for my daughter.

Following Esco’s prompting, I have decided to be brush everything under the carpet. After our argument, I left the house without finishing the match, and drove down to Esco’s place to clear my head and have a cold beer. Here is my apology for 2013:

Please darling, from here on now, do not make me choose between you and Chelsea FC because it is ridiculous. You are my physical wife, my old earth, Oma, the apple of my eye, the corned beef in my moi moi, the battery in my blackberry. If I didn’t value you, I would not have paid that outrageous dowry your hungry father placed on your head. I could have used that tidy sum to buy land in Mowe or shares in Spring Bank.

Chelsea FC is my trophy wife. Unlike Arsenal. Ok bad joke.

I hope we put this all behind us. I will never let you go like LASTMA when they catch you using one-way. Our love will grow like an udara seed. I love you like Yoruba people love fish stew. Our bounty will be plentiful like Igbo people in Houston. Please forgive me. But your mother is another matter….

 

Part 2 next.

 

Girl don’t even start again, I beg your pardon/

and get your hands off my six button cardigan/

Big Pun (Punish Me, 1998)

 

Do Me (2)

Just try am, you go see pepper today

When my little cousin was about to go off to University, I called her and gave her some advice. Nothing too preachy; just some basic rules for keeping safe from sexual predators and pervy hawks.  I am a lad, and I know all the tricks of the game: nobody was pimping my little cousin. She later confessed  that the advice I gave her helped her and some of her friends she shared them with, and were gems that should be codified into a journal or something. Ah bless.

Seeing the rising incidents of rape and sexual assault, I have decided to draw up this set of rules for the benefit of my reading audience. Guys could have a read too, but they won’t be needing them unless they are super-star entertainers or billionaires. Naija girls won’t molest you unless you are loaded or famous, abi?

  1. Guard your grill: Nas said “school your sons, teach your girls karate”. Every girl should know how to defend herself if cornered.  I know that is easier said than done, because a Nigerian man on a rape mission is like Oge Okoye and ‘runs girl’ films. And fighting off more than one guy may be asking too much of any member of the fairer sex (unless the girl is built like Apolonia). But I have always told my little sister and my girl the following: You don’t have to know Krav Maga, kung fu or gidigbo to ward off attackers. You can gorge the man’s eyes with your pinkie, thumb and index fingers. If you have one of those manicured fake acrylic nails, put it to good use girl. Or you can yank the attacker’s nuts sack(scrotum). Any brute would cry like a baby if this is done properly, I don’t care if he is built like Gentle Jack or Torino. A quick tugging motion diagonally is all that is needed, with all the strength you can muster. Think of it, like you are yanking a Birkin bag off another girl’s hands at a 60% off sales event. That should do it.

This would only work if your attacker is a man. If it is another female trying to rape you, sorry o.

You can also attack his legs, by stamping his knee caps so hard  that they break inwards. Do this if you are both standing. If you are wearing Loubotins with 4 inch heels, stick them in and twist, till the rapist bleeds. Loubs don’t come with red heels for nothing. This one is risky though – do not try if you are wearing fake or knock-off brands, as the heels may break instead. Don’t try either if you are wearing Gladiator sandals.

I wonder why in a country that produces red pepper, tatashe, really red hot chili and suya pepper, we do  not have an indigenous pepper spray firm. Such a company would make a killing in sales. Maybe I should become a ‘consultant’ to any interested investors because girls would rush pepper sprays like they do Blackberries and weaves. Yeah I can see it – Esco’s Anti-rape Suya Pepper spray. I could do a partnership with the makers of Baygon insecticide. Or maybe I should name the pepper spray “Be-Gone” instead. Have you seen the way those things maul roaches?

I would have advocated that a Nigerian company produced stun guns for personal defense, but I thought about it and remembered NEPA/ PHCN. See how that went? Nigeria has a problem with electricity so how can we think of making electric stun guns. Maybe unless we have one that uses fuel  to generate the electric shock, just like an “I Better Pass My Neighbor” generator.

2.  Don’t go to a guy’s crib alone especially if you don’t plan on getting down. Yes I am talking to you. Girls need to stop deceiving themselves by saying that guys should be able to hold themselves no matter what. Honey, flee from all manners of temptations and danger. As Segun Arinze used to say in those old Nollywood flicks, “do not enter the snake pit unless you want to tango with the Cobra”. Or trouser snake.

By the way, Segun Arinze used to refer to himself as The Cobra. He looks nothing like a cobra, unless he is referring to its hood.

3.  Don’t underestimate any chap, and write them off as harmless or platonic friends. Any guy who is not related to you (ok, there are exceptions but I hope thunder would fire them) could try to sleep with you. Body nor be firewood. Some girls delude themselves by trying to compartmentalize their male friends. “Oh, Sabifok and I are like best friends, he would never think about it. I even knew his ex- girlfriend.”  Meanwhile you are wearing “cross-no-gutter” mini-skirts in front of this dude. Babes, buru gawa jor.

And don’t deceive yourself thinking that this guy is built like Teju Philips while you are thickset like Monique, so there is no way he could overpower you. Agro makes super-humans of timid people. I refer you to the Konji Principle, Volume 2.

 4.  Always hold your trans-card (or transport fare) or have a means of transport, if you are going to see a dude. Some guys use the threat of not dropping the chick off to force the lass into sleeping over. Keep your phone charged too, and have some credit for goodness sake. Try keeping 2 phones if you can preferably, Glo and another network. For some girls, this may be damn near impossible, especially if it is the dude that paid for your phone and credit in the first place. Good luck.

5.  Do not bait guys by aiming to “chop his money” and flee. Many guys are gracious in ‘defeat’ but there are nutcases out there, who believe in ‘tits for tat”. Get it? Tits for tat. In other words, it takes two hands to wash each other properly. A chap called Chima used to hook his rich 419 cousin with girls from his uni. His cousin Shaba would treat the overwhelmed girl to shopping and dates, and then take them home for a shag-fest. Until Chima introduced Shaba to this really street-smart girl called Ijeoma. Shaba took her shopping to various stores where she picked up clothes, a really smart watch and some make up accessories. She complained that she needed provisions and toiletries for school, so he obliged her.

He drove her back to his house for ‘desert’ and that’s where the drama started. She refused to let him get down, and acted like she was surprised he was bringing all this up. She thought all his kind gestures had been a friendly act. Shaba was having none of that, and keep trying to take her top off. So Ije told him to give her a second, while she used the bathroom.

Shaba strolled to the fridge to fix himself a drink, when he heard a loud noise like a smash. He rushed to the bathroom, and broke the door in. Ije had been trying to bail through the toilet window, and had smashed the water closet as she stood on it to elevate herself. She was lucky not to have sustained any injury. Shaba was amazed – the toilet was on the first floor (2nd to yankee people). Ije smiled sheepishly.

Shaba dragged her back into the bedroom, and she had to give it up sharp sharp. What a jerk! 

6.  And if despite all of the above, the unfortunate deed happens, make sure you tell someone. If you have elder brothers, let them know. If you have cousins who are in confra, let them know, and point them to the house of the person. If you have a Chief who wants to marry you and has been making advances, let him know so he can organize his thugs. Trust me, there is no shame towards a rape victim. Nigeria has evolved – we have entertainers dressing up half-naked and people spilling their life secrets on Twitter. We have a weak central government and a free-for-all economy, so there is no shame in being raped. The supposed stigma is too small/irrelevant for the victim to hide the act and carry a lifetime of pain and distrust of men.

So there you have it. Stay safe and be good.

Do Me


The  raping of a girl in Abia State by a group of 5 lads, allegedly ABSU students  generated a huge uproar some weeks ago. The lads also had the gall to upload a video of the act, sending huge shock waves across Nigeria and the blogging community. A week or more later, a similar act was perpetrated by 2 LASU students, who lured and raped a lass. The events of the past few weeks have served to bring to national consciousness the issue of molestation and rape in Naija.

Rape incidents are not new in Nigeria. The advent of the internet and access by many Nigerians to smart phones and data plans has served to blow incidents that would otherwise be hushed up. Is there something about our culture that makes ‘no’ not mean ‘no’ ? People have argued this same part of our culture heaps a certain kind of stigma on a rape victim, discouraging her (or him) from speaking up or filing a report with the authorities.

In many aspects of Nigerian life, ‘no’ may mean ‘maybe’ or ‘later’ or ‘e go be’, just the same way an appointment to meet someone at 9am, ,may mean 12 noon or 2000 and never. Does this also apply to sexual advances? I mean we have all been brought up on local movies and TV shows, where the chap chases the lass, and in the early stages of ‘toastery’ she acts like she can’t stand him. Some females may even slap the chap at the mention of a date or insult him venomously (see Danny Wilson’s “Raggamuffin” video). Later on, she has a 360 degree change of heart, and they end up shagging/marrying/ or chasing each other at Bar Beach. A young male sees this, nods to himself and takes mental notes: No means ‘it depends.” At first if you don’t succeed,……..try again….

But remember that sometimes, Romeo must die..

Do Nigerian chaps feel entitled to sex once they are in the same room with a lass? An incident happened in England some years back where these 2 Nigerian chaps (Daniel and Akin) went to a club in the West End and pulled 2 oyibo chicks. They took them back home to Daniel’s flat. Akin was staying over briefly, because he had come down from Coventry for a few days. When they got to the crib, Daniel’s chick was ‘co-operating’ with him, so they chilled on the couch playing tonsil tennis. The other girl didn’t want Akin anywhere near her, and spurned all his advances. She didn’t even take her shoes off, and refused the offer to change into a pair of Akin’s shorts.

Time to go to bed, and the lads laid a huge comforter on the living room floor, so that everyone could sleep. It didn’t take long before Daniel and his girl started making out seriously, solving some ‘bedmathic’ solutions. Eventually everyone fell asleep. Not Akin. Around 3am, not able to take it anymore, Akin ‘mounted’ the other girl, slowly pushed her underwear to the side, and started having sex with her. The girl did not say a word or move an inch. When Akin was done, the girl stood up, and went to the bathroom. When she returned, she tapped her friend to wake her up, and announced that they should leave because she had just been raped. Pandemonium galore.

Her friend grabbed a mobile phone and started calling the police. Akin and Daniel ‘begged’ these chicks from 3.30am in the morning till like 8am. Dem no gree o.They called the police, and that’s how Akin was arrested. From Daniel’s flat in Kensal Green to the police station to Old Bailey court.  He is presently in Belmarsh prisons, at the custody of Her Majesty. Like Tuface Idibia once crooned: Ogogoro be like woman; if you shack am, you go high o.

Incidents like this have been occurring in Nigeria for ages with a different outcome. The chaps would ‘beg’ or threaten the girl, and that usually would be the end of the matter. There is this girl I know who once told me that she was raped by her brother’s friend who she had a crush on, when she was just 16. She was in S.S 2 then, and the chap was a 2nd year student in University. She had stopped over at the guy’s house after school. The guys and 2 of his friends all took turns shagging her in the living room, and then she ran home crying but didn’t tell a soul. She said she had buried the terrible memory in the deepest pits of her subconscious.

What?! I asked her why she didn’t tell her elder brother or her folks. She confessed that her brother would have been really pissed and brushed off her allegation saying something like  “Nto gi, why did you go to his house in the first place. It is good for you’. Her folks would have sneered ‘ Ashewo, your waka waka don carry you enter gbese abi. If you like, next time make you no come home straight from school.’ What kind of family is that? The Adams Family or the Fuji House of Commotion?

The act of forcing a girl to have sex against her will occurs far more often in Nigeria than one imagines. A girl comes over to see a guy whom she is not even dating, and is ‘coerced’ into ‘dropping’ .Or some rude guy hands the girl a refreshment in her hand, as he is shoving his penis into her mouth.

There are many other examples. Guys who coerce the girl into having sex by refusing to drop her off, or shutting the exit doors, and falsely imprisoning her. Or the  case of the rich aristo chief who took a girl on a shopping spree at the Palms. When they got back to his hotel suite, he started taking off his agbada, and strapping on a Gold Circle condom. When the girl tried to protest saying “Ah, Chief, I am not in the mood o; besides I have a yeast infection”, the Chief barked as he shoved his manhood towards her pelvis “Ehen? And then? Ti ya n’ime!!!”

Chief had 4 rounds that night.

Or when a girl says  “I have the ketchups, so we can’t even have sex”, there are guys who would counter “That is all well and good but what do I tell junior who is now stiff”.

As lads, we have to exercise self-control even if a girl comes to spend the night dressed like Tiwa Savage in her new video for ‘Love Me, Love Me, Love Me.” We have to keep that trouser snake sheathed. A cold shower is better than a cold cell.

Throughout history, many famous or successful men have fallen from grace after they were indicted and imprisoned for rape crimes. Tupac and Mike Tyson are moot examples. After Tyson went to jail for rape, he lost his boxing mojo, and was never the same prized fighter again, and took to biting ears like Goldie songs. He now rears pigeons. He lost bouts to boxers who would have beaten previously with his eyes closed. Even Bash Ali would have had a good chance of beating Tyson.

To prove how heinous the act of rape is, rapists are treated as the lowest of the low in the social hierarchy in American prisons. Once your fellow inmates ask you what you are in jail for, and you mention rape, you would get assaulted and picked on, or even shanked with a sharp object by other prisoners. Only child molesters have a worse reputation than rapists. Put it this way, even a prisoner who is serving time for stealing an 80 cent loaf of bread is treated better than a rapist. I don’t know how they would be treated in a Nigerian prison though. I mean corrupt politicians have been raping the economy and our treasury, and the few that went to jail for it had thanksgiving dinners in Kirikiri.

A lot of chaps have gotten burned by misconstruing a girl’s intentions. Chaps that like to look for an imaginary ‘green light’ in the girl’s posture, often get the wrong message that the girl is DTF (check “Jersey Shore” for the full meaning). Some guys have a problem discerning what is green light or even light at all. If a girl so much as looks as them, they would sprout something like “Abi, una done see? This babe dey fall for me, mehn. I go carry am go lodge.”

There should be a condom that has a small print on it which says ‘Girl has now consented to sex, so hereby executes the contract by tearing open this section.”

The magic condom would only be operable by females. It would probably have a seal that guys find damn near impossible to open, and only females can, a bit like a bra strap’s hook.

Until then, we have to treat our women with respect, and condemn all acts of sexual assault and rape on our sisters. I want to commensurate with the 2 girls who were forcefully violated, and I hope that the only silver  lining behind all this unfortunate events would be a greater support for rape victims, general public enlightenment on the subject of sexual assault and a re-orientation of our police agencies on how to investigate and treat the crime of rape including offering counselling and victim support.

I have a bit more to say on this subject, as will be covered in 2nd part. Till then I dedicate the following song lyrics to any of our Nigerian sisters suffering any hurt as a result of molestation. Keep your head up.

 

Princess of the Nile/

And sweet black sexy child/

Ooh I like your style/

First mother on the planet/

I know it’s getting scary/

And all these wannabe pimps is all that you meet/

But you have got to shake them off like fleas and nigga meat/

And use your God-given talents and abilities/

No matter where you’re from, you get much respect/

Coolio (For My Sistas, 1995)

Baby, Don’t Do It

Mba nu....


As a kid growing up, I really loved Jackie Chan movies. He was a modern day Superman taking out all the bad guys with his vulnerable style of martial arts, plus he was mad funny. He was realistic unlike Steven Seagal who would break everyone’s legs and bones like okporoko and not sustain a scratch himself. Jackie Chan was real unlike Mojo, Benbella or Garth who were heroes on Nigerian comic strips in the newspapers. Garth was always falling for treacherous double-agents (Guardian Newspaper), and Benbella was always getting beaten up. Nackson,even had more mojo than Mojo (Vangaurd newspaper).

One of my wishes as a child was to travel to China to meet Jackie Chan.

On a visit to a Chinese Restaurant in Surulere, I asked the waiter “Hey, you are Chinese. Do you know Jackie Chan? Is he your brother? Una resemble

Carefully balancing the plate of hot soup and Wong Tong soup, he answered with all the restraint he could “Jackie Chan is actually from Hong Kong, not China. Besides I am Taiwanese”

What is the difference, I thought to myself. But I remarked “Okay Taiwan; na una country dey make fake toys…”

My mum ‘eyed’ me furiously, so I stopped saying more.

That ‘eyeing’ became a secret code for ‘shut it, boy!’ or ‘baby, don’t do it’

I would like to apply the same code to the same categories of people in Nigeria:

  • You only spent your adult life in Jand/Yankee, yet your foreign accent is even stronger than the citizens there. You act as if agege bread and public transport is beneath you. You criticize everything about Nigerian life, and remark about how The Palms and The Galleria are glorified shopping centers where you are coming from. You start pronouncing Nigerian words in an annoying manner, just like when Stephen Keshi, the former Super Eagles captain pronounced Bournvita as “Born –vira” in that 94 beverage ad. You broadcast your foreign pedigree or “pre-degree” in every update on Facebook or “Twirra” We all hear you. You need to quit forthwith.
  •  You follow fashion blindly. Nah I really mean that literally. You follow fashion and you don’t see as a result. Biko nwa nne,  don’t wear sunglasses indoors unless you have apollo, you are a huge superstar, or you are a funky malo.going to Bar Beach on Sunday. When you start wearing glasses to the extent that you can’t see properly or nearly cause accidents all in the name of fashion, then there is a problem. Beauty is pain? Try accidents and incidents because you nor see road because of shades. Dude was wearing sunglasses at 6pm and cruising on Lekki-Epe expressway bumping 2Pac’s “U Cant C Me.” Ojuigo then crashed headlong into an okada carrying a passenger. The Consolidated Association of Okada-Riders of Nigeria Lekki Branch surrounded dude with anger and revenge in their hearts. The first slap he received took the glasses off. See how he was finally made to take the frames off. By the way, these okada men should really quit mobbing motorists after accidents.
  •  Think about it before you press the send button on your BB  especially forwarding those needless messages which require the recipient to follow suit or die within 7 days. There is one that has been catching pervy people on facebook recently – you click on a pornographic still and it shows up on your wall. You are what you forward.

You know how drunk oyibo girls on a night out start texting guys who they fancy or exes who have scorned them. The next morning, it is a bad idea as they now look foolish. This should have the same effect on people who forward dead jokes or tired messages via BBM.

Don’t forward messages or boring jokes. In fact don’t text/forward/bbm anything you cannot physically say yourself to the recipient’s face. Nope I refuse to forward this religious message and its doesn’t mean that I am denying my faith or refusing to propagate the gospel. I am just denying you the sender the opportunity to drive me really mad.

 This all reminds me of a time I took up a part-time Market Research job while in university. The job entailed making calls to customers on the company database and asking them a set of questions from a questionnaire, and informing them of new or available products and services. Due to the range and volume of outbound calls, I spoke to nut-jobs and some of the weirdest people in the U.K.

I remember calling a customer number, and a very gruff man picked up the phone. He hardly allowed me introduce myself and my mission before he launched into a tirade:

Me: Hello. My name is Esco, and I am calling from X Company. We are conducting a market research, and would be grateful if you could spare 5 minutes of your time to answer….

Crazy man: What?? Why the fuck are you calling my home? Who gave you my number…

Me: I apologize if I caught you at a wrong time. I….

Crazy Man: Who sent you to call me. It was my ex-wife, wasn’t it? Why, that bitch! It was my ex-wife, wasn’t it!!!!!

 Me (now fearing for his ex-wife): Nah chill, it wasn’t her. Actually…

Crazy Man: Who sent you then?

Me: Nobody sent me…

Crazy Man: If nobody sent you, then why did you call?

Good question. I had no answer to that, so he put down the receiver. Not gently though.

BBM chain message sender, if you have nothing better to do, please put your BB down gently.

  • During the reign of Ivan The Terrible in 16th century Russia, a tax was imposed on any man who wanted to grow or keep a beard. Yes, you paid your weight in roubles/gold if you decided you wanted to sport a goatee or gemu or Ricky Ross (this was a status symbol).

I think this tax should be imposed in Nigeria – it will swell our government’s coffers and deter some of our fashionista wanna-bes too.

Have you seen the Oliver De Coque-esce or Ojukwu-ish beards on some fellas recently? Rick Ross done cause bad thing for Nigeria.

This also goes to females carrying huge hair follicles on their heads in the name of attachment or weaves. Nope, I have not joined the league of Brazilian weave bashers – far from it; that is an over flogged issue, and it doesn’t bother chaps anyway (as far as we are not paying for it). But my only issue is when the hair starts to wear the girl, as opposed to the girl wearing the hair. If you are lekpa, don’t wear an orobo bundle of weave. If you have a mama iyabo hair-line, stay away. If you have Frosties flakes kind of dandruff, disregard these weaves. If you are a smallie, please quit wearing a weave that is almost taller than you, that it reaches your ankle. You are not the Little Mermaid. Or the Small Mammy-water.

 

You can shuffle up the cards I’ma learn the deck/
When I do the game is mine , man I’m aiming high/

Beanie Sigel (Stop, Chill, 2001)

Laugh Wan Kill Me Die For Here (LWKMDFH)

Hardy Ha Ha...


I would like to think that I have a great sense of humor. If you tell a good joke, you can rest assured that I would bless your efforts with laughter. I do like to wind down and have a laugh with friends and family. But I also prefer to read or watch material that is witty, intelligent, and original. Yep, I do get those sarcastic dry layered (as in not wet) jokes too, like the ones Britons tell.

And I am not just talking about English stand up or mainstream comedians. Watching James Bond movies, you are likely to hear some very witty punch-lines in 007’s dialogues. Like when Q (the weapons expert) was showing Sean Connery how to use one of his new inventions, a bomb alarm clock, which as he instructed “You are not likely to wake up if the alarm goes off.”

Ricky Gervais is hella hilarious as well – that is one of the funniest guys alive. Anyone who has the bottle to insult the cream of Hollywood with hard-hitting jokes at a major awards ceremony, but still get Robert “Raging Bull” De Niro to giggle uncontrollably like a child deserves a pat on the back. Read about the jokes here.

I really enjoy British comedy – I really do. Peter Kay and Graham Norton are beasts. I am not just name-dropping, I actually do watch them. No awards for that. Some Naija people had never even heard of Amy Winehouse, but it was funny to see how quickly they jumped on the twitter bandwagon this past week. Rest in peace Camden Princess.

Me dad was a comedy buff as well as one of the funniest guys ever. He used to tape the Benny Hill Show though he didn’t let us watch it because that dude was a bit dirty (Benny Hill not my dad).

There is a difference between funny and irritating. I used to have my chin in my palms watching “Some Mothers Do Have Em.” Frank Spencer is rather irritating – destructive vandalism isn’t amusing at all. Mr. Bean tries, but I find that the studio audience prompts me to find the comedic value agreeable. Oh, and I don’t think Chris Rock is all that either. His high pitched voice doesn’t equate to funny, though Everybody Hates Chris was a very very good show. It was probably because he just added voice-overs and wasn’t in it. I find Terry Crews a better comic act in films than Chris Rock. There I said it. Print that.

Nigerian comedians have held it down for years. In fact they kept it going when music was having a hiatus and in the pre-Living In Bondage Nollywood years. I remember our mai-guard buying and playing one of those Zebrudaya comedy cassettes, playing it on his transistor deck, and laughing in Hausa-Fulani. Clarus and Gringory were really funny, but Chief Zebrudaya was a cut above in his weird English “Adam and Eve are walk in the nakedness of nude. Are you were.” Or “Fa fa fa foul”

Oke Bakassi is another really hilarious chap. He just says the weirdest things ever, and they come out as comedy gold. In a movie, he was in a beer parlor with his cohorts when policemen came to arrest him. Warning the policeman, he threatened “Officer if you touch anyone here, you will lose your uniform.”

In the movie Endtime, where he played a crooked church agent working for fake miracles pastor Clem Ohameze (Pastor Weaver). During a worship session in church, he pretended that he was an agent from then underworld sent to kill the pastor and deceive his ministry. He was apprehended by the church ushers and brought to the front of the church to be questioned by the powerful pastor. The following exchanged ensued:

Pastor: Who sent you here, demon?

Okey Bakassi: Pastor you are lucky o. I was sent here from hell to come and destroy you but the Satan is a devil sha.

When Okey Bakassi and Nkem Owoh were combined in a movie, it was in the classic Nollywood blockbuster “Pam Pam”. This movie contained more funny parts than Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys. Pam Pam should be archived and placed in the Nigerian National Film Registry (if we have one). Failing that, every Nigerian movie buff should have a copy (original one o).

One of my best scenes was when the 2 guys who played good-for-nothings looking for big money schemes met a set of twin sisters who were from wealthy homes. They chatted the ladies up, so the ladies invited them over.

They were in the ladies’ bedroom chilling and eating ‘chicken’ when the girls’ father suddenly came back home and caught them. Their father was a rich looking, chief character, and was angry to see his pets with 2 unsavory gold-diggers. Okey Bakassi and Nkem started trying to formulate lies. Here was the conversation:

Chief: Young men, what are doing in my house with my daughters. What do you even do for a living?

Nkem Owoh: Sorry sir. I am a carver of hair follicles.

Chief: Carver of what? I will slap you now o

Nkem Owoh: Sorry, I meant that I am a barber

From  Nights of a Thousand Laughs to Crack Ya Ribs, we have comedians doing their thing. For a mere pittance, you can watch established comedians perform on a stage, at a show that may start late, and in a hall filled past its capacity that it may constitute a fire hazard. If that isn’t funny, I don’t know what is. By the way AY is really doing something different with his TV show, and the concepts behind it. No resting on elbows.

And comedians are now hired to anchor events. In fact, we have taken a huge step from asking bitter or old school relatives to MC our weddings to hiring boring tribute bands to perform chopped and screwed washed up hits that bore everyone at the reception to now paying for comedians to at least make the business of getting married easier to swallow for all concerned. I have been at weddings where the comedian MC did a good job of making everybody laugh – including the unserved, the jealous unmarried friends, the scorned exes of the couple and even future wicked mother-in-law.

Do Nigerians enjoy comedy because it creates an escape portal from the myriad of problems in our national life? Is comedy the new opium of the Nigerian masses, a bait to stymie our attentions, while crooked politicians laugh all the way to the bank with treasury loot? I think not. I think we do comedy very well because generally we are happy, humorous people. Look around you, get down from your car and take a walk on a Lagos street and you are bound to see enough material for a book, film or blog. To think that this particular blog is centered on ordinary everyday happenings in Nigeria is a moot example. So I wonder why our movies are not more original, and cannot seem to escape the tried and tired themes of boobs for bucks, banal superstition and blackberry babes. Even the actions and inactions of our leaders provide enough material for a quirky comedy if not for a horror movie. I don’t know what is funnier than legislators coming to blows over Ghana-Must-Go bags or a governor’s apologetic plea to Boko Haram.

From Samanja, to Papa Aluwe, to Halo Halo and Fawlty Towers, Nigerian TV has always had comedies. Even when our movies lose the plot generally with the script or storylines or bad acting, they still make you laugh at the pitiful attempt.

However, there is a step Nollywood must take when making comedies. And that is to get the small parts of dialogues right. A lot of the exchanges in our movies are uninspiring and outright flat in delivery. There is no use of wit or sarcasm, to make our storylines build up with dynamism. The monotone, with which some acts drone out their lines, and the unimaginative nature of the script, makes it look like Nigerians in general are simpletons. No, we do get it. People in this country were brought up with some well written comedy shows like Basi and Company, New Masquerade and even Icho Kwu (the one with the Igbo court clerk and oyibo judge). I watched Basi & Company recently and marveled at how well the script was written. Of course it was written by the late playwright – Ken Saro Wiwa. It was original, the characters were deep and interesting and different, and it was funny. Trivia: did you know it had a book series?

Some days ago I was browsing YouTube, looking for the football match where Liverpool were trounced 3 – 0 by a smaller team, when I discovered a video, chronicling all of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie punch lines and quips. You know I really like Schwarzzo and was rooting for him even during his recent tabloid quibbles. I have always preferred the Terminator to Rambo (Stallone) even if I must confess that Stallone is the better, more technical actor. However Schwarzzo’s magic is his effortless charm, and the little quips he drops in movies, which are less than the sum of their parts.

Please enjoy this video of the Ex- Governator’s wise-cracks in past movies. Watch for scene 2.11. I enjoyed it…

Finally my take: The funniest guys in the world?

Nigerian – Okey Bakassi, Seyi Law, Alarm Blow, (his face alone), Dauda, John Okafor.

Foreign – Martin Lawrence, Mike Epps,  Chris Tucker, Terry Crews, Ricky Gervais, Graham Norton, Mario Cantone, John Witherspoon., Kevin James, James Spade.

Please name yours – and no, Esco does not count. Lol.

Sergeant Pepper

At all, at all, na im bad pass

We have heard it announced, advertised on radio as infectious jingles, and appear on daily prints – “Police is Your Friend”. In Nigeria, the police’s role is to serve and protect. In fact our Police Force’s motto is “Serve and Protect with Integrity”.

They have not always done that, so now we beg them to protect our votes and safeguard our democracy by policing the ballots during elections. This picture evidences a betrayal of our collective trust. The last time I saw a picture of a Naija policeman on the web, he was carting away a huge bag of rice at a food scramble organized by Ms Jonathan last year.  In doing so, he displayed the brute strength and temperance of a U.S. Navy Seal in endurance training. Meanwhile people were being trampled to near death a little distance away, in the ensuing fight for PDP rice melee.

Ironically, the Nigerian Police Force service crest has a huge elephant inscribed on it. Not the most fleet-footed animal in the world. Slow, moody with a short memory. Reminds you of someone, eh?

Looking at the above picture, though we highly doubt it, the policeman’s superiors may summon him to Ikeja High Command to answer a query as to why he was catching 40 winks on duty while our votes were in danger of being misappropriated away by election fraudsters.

I struggle to think about the sort of excuses he may come up with in answers when confronted by the Inspector General. Which kain sleep I go dey sleep when elections de happen? Tufiakwa!! Never!  I  no sleep at all, lai lai. Make I explain:

  1. Sir, I was only checking my pulse because my heartbeat has been a bit irregular.
  2. I was only feigning sleep; it is part of a covert police operation to catch scheming ballot box thieves
  3. It was the work of my enemies who are people from other ‘tribes’ envious of my position as a designated ballot security agent. They sent a paparazzi photographer to snap me at my moment of weakness.
  4. I was playing a simple game of ‘spin the cap’ to pass the time. Honest.
  5. I was meditating in prayer for the success of the elections. And for you sir. May your enemies never catch you slumbering, sir. May EFCC never Tafa you.
  6. Some people from one of the major political parties tried to bribe me to help them perpetuate electoral fraud, but I refused so they ‘jazzed’ me with a ‘poisonous’ N1000 note so that I would pass out on the job. Funny enough that note seems to have disappeared too.
  7. I was searching for my service pistol on the ground.
  8. The person in that picture wasn’t me. It was ‘photo-shopped’ or ‘trans-imposed’.
  9. I was killing a ‘jigger’ bug by stepping on it, at that precise moment the picture was taken.
  10. I was possessed by a wicked spirit which made me unconscious for half an hour. Its name is “Esprit De Corps”

If all of the above fails, he can fall back on the fool-proof Nigerian excuse:  Please,  it was the work of the devil, sir.

Ah, sleep is the cousin of death.

Fatty Bum Bum

Great, I have shed a couple of pounds..

Lounging on my lazy boy sofa  yesterday, I was flicking through channels on the TV bored to tears,  when the Tyra Banks show came on. I was about switching the channel when a part of the conversation between Tyra and a dark-skinned plump lady caught my attention. The woman had discriminatory issues against overweight and obese people, saying that they disgusted her so much that she had stopped talking to her best friend who had gotten very large by gorging on sandwiches, cookies and fast food.

The lady also argued that the American society should quit trying to dance around the issue of obesity in the name of political correctness by encouraging the use of terms like “big”, “curvy” and “chubby” rather than “fat” and “obese.”

The show had a roundtable discussion with about 4 or 5 women including some obese ones. One of the ladies said whenever a “ fat” person tried to seat next to her in a bus or a public place, she changed seats. She also added that she, like many employers post-recession apparently, was adverse to hiring overweight candidates for jobs as they could not perform as efficiently as slender employees. Someone else with the same inclination, added that obese people usually smelled bad as “dirt and body sweat were likely to accumulate in between stomach folds.”

Tyra was amazed. She felt that this was a discriminatory issue that needed to be brought to American national consciousness in the same manner as racial discrimination or religious bigotry. Having been a victim of abuse herself when her cellulite-laden derierre was snapped on camera spilling out of a one-piece bikini while on holiday in a beach and appeared in various tabloids some years ago, she sighed as she observed that there were no laws which guarded against weight discrimination.

Do overweight people have it rough?

In the 2009 movie The Watchmen, one of the “superheroes” a character named Rorschach refused to answer a question, saying to the interrogator – “I dont like you…because you’re fat.” O ga o.

Underfeed on sight..

Weight is also an issue in Nigeria, but perhaps many people still mis-read how serious of an issue it may be. There were traditional fattening rooms in ancient Calabar for adolescent teenage girls in preparation for marriage and adult life – but the ladies were not only fed and plumped up, they were thought very useful life skills; Ibo men are known to have huge girths due to having fufu, carbohydrate in a lump form, as their traditional staple diet. When people see a strange dark woman in her late 40s and above with a large bosom and a massive bum enter a room, they are likely to greet her by half-kneeling and saying “E ka aro ma” as quite many older Yoruba women are built like that. I won’t say it is because of the ewedu.Jo o, my Yoruba friends; I am just illustrating a point.

 

Many Nigerian foods have a high calorie content. Even moi moi if cooked with groundnut oil, egg yolk and corned beef included can be potent, steamed as it is. A huge loaf of Agege bread and agonyi beans (palm oil and all) may hurt your waistline nearly as much as a steak and bacon double whooper with cheese from Whattaburger.

Eba anchors the stomach, and ogbono soup goes straight to the thighs. Its sooo hard.

 

Mind the fish-bones...and the calories


There was a time people equated your social status with the size of your stomach, face and thighs.  E-Honda was rich and respected, Dhalsim was not. A muffin top or a double chin was a sign of affluence. If you were an middle-aged Ibo man on the come-up, those thick-folds behind your neck, nicknamed “obi oko” signified that you were a man of means. If you had a 32 inch waist and a slender build, you were presumed to be a man of beans. And beans in Naija used to be seen as poor man’s food.

Now attitudes are changing a bit especially in the urban metropolis of Lagos, Port city and Abuja where the demography of middle Nigeria has been changed forever by the “blackberry generation” and the “repatriates” (Diaspora returnees). Okay let me break this down: fat may no longer seen as cool. And we have some people in this country who will want to tell you this to your face. Every.chance. they. get.

At a wedding, whether you are a guest or the groom – bros, see as your belle dey shoot comot from inside your coat.

 

In a danfo or molue bus – Madam, e be like say you go pay double o. See as you fat reach. Make you dress inside well well, or make you come down make my 2 passenger enter motor. E san wo iseyin.

 

At a Tejuosho market shop buying clothes – Aunty, if you like make you divide yoursef into 3; this cloth no go size you. See as you don stretch the material go. Abeg free am, I no get ya size. Make I call my brother for shop B23 see if im get your size.

 

In Nigeria, strangers are friends who will know you in a minute whether you like it or not. Someone whom you have never said a word to before is likely to grab at your love handles, or slap your muffin top as they lament about your weight gain.

 

And even outside the shores of our dear country, the criticism goes un-abated.

An elderly woman of about 70 from Warri travels to Atlanta, USA to visit her son whose wife has just given birth to twins. Iya ibeji or twin tower of doom? On the 2nd day of her stay, the man takes mama to a chinese buffet for dinner ( a rite of passage for most Nigerian people visiting Yankee).

The man and his mama go for their “first round.” Mama does not recognise all the strange-looking dishes in front of her, and plays it safe by ordering rice, vegetables and the steamed tilapia.

As mama sips her drink, she spies a 20-year-old, 280 pound oyibo girl in the booth next to theirs who has just returned from the food-tables with a plate loaded with fried rice, spring rolls, fried biscuits, chow mein, fried pork, spare ribs etc.

Mama is amazed as she watches the girl make short work of the huge plate of wood in mere minutes. Mama eyes the girl sternly. The girl does not notice or pretends not to notice as she works a huge pork rib laden with honey glazed sauce.

This process repeats itself, as the girl finishes her food, and goes for more and more.

Mama decides to have some fruit as desert and strolls to the fruit section, which also has the ice-cream and cake. As she serves some diced paw paw on her plate, she notices the 280 pound girl pouring chocolate/vanilla ice-cream into a huge cup.

Mama cannot keep quiet this time. Yelling in perfect Waffi pidgin, she chides “ E never do you?! E never-never do you?!!! You still de shop food again! Na only you?!!! E never do you?!!!”

The oyibo girl dropped the contents of the cup on the floor, as she turned away bursting into the tears. Everyone in the restaurant turned around looking dazed. Some mothers covered their chubby children’s ears and eyes with their palms.

The son came and led angry mama away.

I think mama should be chosen to be a trainer on The Biggest Loser.

Tyra despite her brief “annus horribilis” during she added ‘weight’ and received criticism has no idea. She should come to Naija, a place where overweight people are likely to be called more than that.

Forget terms like BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) or “curvy”. Even “fatso” sounds tame. Try words like fatty bum bum, fuji ropo ropo, spare tyre, 50 litre jerry-can, fatilizer…

The word “Orobo” does not count because when you hear that word used to describe a person, you imagine a curvy girl with cute weight or baby fat in just a few places. Think Jasmine Sullivan or Ini Edo. By the way, much props to Wande Coal for bringing Nigerian bootylicious sexy back.

While we are on the subject, why do people generally use the term “morbidly obese” but never “perilously lekpashandous” or “fatally thini-beku”?

There used to be some parts of Lagos where overweight people are taunted on

the streets. Someone once told me that the story of her life could be summed up in this bit of poetry:

People used to see me and say “Here comes the Michellin (tyre) / Later I became immune  to their insults like penicillin /

Mama is not the only one that I have heard or seen have a serious go at an overweight person, with good intentions or not.

Many years back, I used to go to a gym 2 days a week to lift weights. The gym was owned one of the slimmest 50-year-old Nigerian women I had ever seen. She  was also absolutely gorgeous, with firm legs and washboard abs. The gym had a trainer who took on clients on fitness programs.

There was this  middle-aged, light-skinned,  married Ibo woman who had just joined the gym and had taken on the trainer who had planned a steep weight-loss regime for the lady who was quite big. The woman always clashed with the trainer as she could never keep pace in her work-outs and kept on complaining of fatigue.

There was a day I got to the gym, and saw the woman munching on boiled groundnuts while she casually did a slow walk on the treadmill. The trainer was furious as he had instructed her to do a 5 min brisk walk, then 10 minute fast jog and alternate this until she had done 45 minutes. The lady had ignored him, and reduced the treadmill pace to a very slow stroll, as she shelled and chewed a huge bag of peanuts.

At that moment the owner of the gym walked in, in her sports vest, showing her brick stomach, and some Nike running shoes. When she saw the big woman chewing peanuts, she lost it and laid into her:

“What the hell do you think you are doing. As fat as you are, you still snack on groundnuts?”

The embarrassed pea-nut woman turned red as she tried to feebly explain “ But they are the boiled ones, na”

The gym CEO disregarded the explanation “ Boiled or fried, you really should not be eating groundnuts. Each nut contains 5 calories. You keep on coming to my office for weight counselling and complaining that you are not losing any weight, but we now know what you do when you go home. As overweight as you are, you should only snack on fruits like pawpaw or orange. All the weight you have are on your stomach and thighs!”

Turning to the trainer, she ordered him to confiscate the bag of groundnuts and throw it in the trash bin downstairs for good measure.

Then she walked up to the treadmill, and increased the speed to sprint-mode. Groundnuts woman ran herself into the ground that day.

Me, I was weak. I remembered that I must have had at least a 1000 peanuts earlier that day. Inside my Ijebu garri. With 5 cubes of sugar. With 4 big table spoons of Dano powdered milk. Full cream, not  Dano slim. Plus a huge plate of beans. Agonyi, not baked beans.

I got on the treadmill asap.

Thankfully, it is not all doom and gloom for heavy or curvy people in modern Naija. Sometimes there is reverse weight discrimination.

In some joints or eateries, waiters may serve big people large portions of food subconsciously and get call them madam/uncle to boot. For example, if Apollonia from the Nollywood blockbuster “Blackberry Babes” (a.k.a Bobo Bigz Girls from Jenifa) and say, Agbani Darego went for lunch to Olaiya Food Services or Bank Olemoh to buy ‘designer’ rice, and they both bought N200 rice each, Apollonia would receive jara.

In many rural settings or smaller cities/towns, big sized men are better regarded or respected on default.

And there are still many Nigerian men who like a bit who love heavy women. I know someone who only fancied orobo girls. When he saw Monique for the first time in a Busta Rhymes video, he was in love, and totally disregarded Vivica Fox who also appeared in the same video. This chap also believes that Jenifer Hudson has sculpted her body to ugliness. And he would gladly buy Apollonia 10 Blackberry smartphones if she so desires.

Toh bad

In Nigeria, most managers or top executives have a 40- inch waist or over. You are perceived to be chopping life if you sport a huge pot-belly and you can do that if you are as slender as say Sadiq Daba of the 80s TV soap “Cock Crow at Dawn” (no disrespect).

Even our army generals and the top brass of the Nigerian military are barrel chested and are built like Baron Greenback of the Dangermouse cartoon series. Only Idiagbon of blessed memory looked trim and as slender as a character from Top Gun . Okay,  Buhari looked trim when he was Head of State, and still does, but since he is Fulani, it is in his genes and so does not count.

I hear Obj eats pounded yams like crazy, You are what you eat; if mama catches him, eh?

 

Yeah, and if I may say so myself, I think Wana looks nice.

What is your take on all of the above?

…used to call me fatso/

Now you call me Castro, my rap flows/

 

Notorious BIG (Victory, 1997)

Far from ugly but they used to say that I was too chubby/

But now I have got money, the honies aint got nothing but love for me/

 

Big Pun (I’m not a Player, 1998)

Arsene knows best, eh?

Crouching tiger, hidden dragon...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I saw this joke somewhere, and being a Blues fan (the West London ones, of course), I couldn’t resist…

The last time Arsenal won a trophy:

  • Yaradua  was still a governor
  • Airtel Nigeria was still called Econet
  • The movie ‘Crash’ starring Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard, Matt Dillion had just come out
  • Nokia 3310 was the most popular popular phone in Nigeria
  • George W. Bush was inaugurated for his second term as the 43rd President of the USA
  • Tony Blair was still the prime minister of the U.K.
  • Justin Beiber was still ‘jacking’ for Common Entrance…

Packaging

Package for me? I never ordered Agege bread..

For many English words, there is the ordinary meaning and then the Nigerian meaning.

Take the word “Packaging” for instance.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it as “the act, process, industry, art, or style of packing” or “the manner in which something, such as a proposal or product, or someone, such as a candidate or author, is presented to the public.”

Fair enough.

In our dear country, Packaging refers to the act of doing the barest minimum to reach an acceptable standard even though the overall substance lacks quality. It also means padding a substandard material to bloat its appearance in excess of its utility.

Ok enough with my heavy grammar; packaging means – the more you look, the less you see.

I will illustrate as I always do.

There are times you order suya from a mallam and it comes wrapped up in sheets and sheets of newspaper. As your mouth waters in wanton anticipation of groundnut and pepper flavoured beef chunks, you  begin unwrap your “package” of suya which most times you will find, is harder to undress than an Egyptian Mummy. When you finally do, your face drops as you see the object of your affection in all its scant glory – a couple of bare strips of meat, but lots of onions and raw tomatoes. This looks like unwrapping a birthday gift wrapped in expensive paper only to discover the umpteenth photo frame gift you have received that day. Oh you shouldn’t have, you really shouldn’t have.

Not that I think that suya has anything in common with cheap photo frames, but you should get my drift. The suya mallam has expended the cost of 10 Sunday Thisday newspapers in wrapping up a N100 stick of suya, and has added N50 worth of “salad” materials for you. I hope you didn’t skip dinner for this – fufu or not.

  

At last some suya - it isnt called foil for nothing

 In my school in Britain some years back, there was this chap who barely managed to pay his school fees, and was put on some installmental payment plan by the Bursary Office on the pain of death that he pay up fully or he wouldn’t  be allowed to graduate. The situation was so bad, that the chap left the city where our varsity was located, and relocated to a much bigger city so that he could get 2 better paying jobs. He only had an average of 2-3 classes a week, so this chap made a 1 hour commute via train to the University on lecture days, spent the night and returned till the following week.

One of the jobs, this chap did was the famously known “freshen up.” For those who have lived in the UK, you know that most clubs or big bars have a steward/attendant manning the toilets. The steward had an assortment of sprays, perfumes, after-shaves and eau d’toilets arranged on a desk inside the toilet; some even stocked condoms and chewing gum. Whenever any customers or patrons used the loo and was about to wash their hands, the toilet steward would offer the customer to “freshen up” by offering him assorted hand creams to use or to spray any or some of the colognes on the table.

Most oyibo customers liked to freshen up, especially female ones who went to the toilets to touch up their make-up after boozing and sweaty dancing. The customer would usually then give the steward a tip, usually 1pound. Some drunken oyibo customers have been known to give up to 10 or 20 pounds in their drunken stupor. However no Naija or Chinese customer would give you more than 1pound, unless your cologne was called “Weakness for Men” and the club had served ogogoro and vodka cocktails.

At the end of the club night, the steward would calculate his overall takings and tips, and give the club a percentage (usually 20-30%). It was nasty work for some, but on good nights could pay up to 300pounds, which if you multiply by 5 days a week, is a decent sum to earn, albeit by spending time in toilets. It also helps that the bye-product of fish and chips is not nearly as bad as someone who has had lafun and bitter leaf topped with Star lager for dinner.

 

  

I have all types of perfumes for that smell "worrying" you

 

So this dude managed to make a tidy sum while working his “freshen up” job on exile. After some weeks, he decided he needed to travel to Nigeria to “floss” small. He quit his job, and spent a week thronging Zara, River Island, Hawes and Curtis, Charles Tyrwhitt and Cecil Gee buying shirts on discount. He also hit JJB Sports and copped a couple of sneakers and the latest Arsenal jersey for that season which he had inscribed with his name. His surname was longer than California’s governor’s now, so he spent quite a bit on the lettering.

He then hit Naija for Christmas vacation – and was a regular presence at all the events- bent

He returned to the UK flat broke in January, only to meet numerous demand letters from the school busary. Direct debits do not go on Christmas holidays, you see.

 

When he came to beg me for a loan, he explained what had happened.

I asked him why he travelled to Nigeria despite owing money up and down.

He answered unashamed “Packaging. I had to represent in Naija now.”

As at the time I graduated, he was still trying to pay off the remainder of his outstanding fees, and the school was threatening to downgrade his degree to a diploma.

Packaging, the Nigerian one, epitomizes all that is wrong in our dear country Nigeria today. People put up an act, a façade, mystifying smoke of the Wizard of Oz proportions either to win contracts, execute contracts, gain admissions, climb social ladders, conduct business or relate with people.

In Nigeria, there is no truth, only reality. And trust me, you don’t want to deal with human realities, expunging Godly truths. In the 2007 movie “The Last King of Scotland”, Forest Whitaker’s character Idi Amin tells James Mc Evoy’s character Nicholas the following chilling words “We are not a game, Nicholas. We are real. This room here, it is real. I think your death will be the first real thing that has happened to you…”

Nicholas did not die eventually, but he was hung with hooks through his bare skin about 6 feet in the air. That was real too.

Peep at another scenario:

The President decides to attend a private function in a certain state and as a result there is an influx of government ministers, senators and dignitaries. The globe-trotting, very corrupt, pot-bellied state governor decides to quickly commission a bore-hole to give the impression that he is performing and utilizing the state’s monthly subvention efficiently.

So the governor invites the President, some senators, commissioners and government dignitaries for the commissioning. The President sends a message at the last minute that unfortunately, he will not be able to attend and sends a special aide on “water and borehole matters” in his stead.

The borehole is being commissioned in the village of the Governor’s mother-in-law, but the press conveniently ignores this fact, as they are looking forward to rice and transport money after the event from the state secretariat.

At the main event, journalist cameras keep flashing; town criers go to town defending the South Africa frequenting governor on the pages on huge dailies. His cronies claim he has been globetrotting to seek foreign direct investment for the state – in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

State universities give the governor honorary degrees. Huge signs are put up at strategic areas of the state hyping the project as part of a government’s economic agendas and economic manifesto as well as irrefutable proof of taxpayer’s money in action.  The governor arrives in the cockpit of a 2011 Lexus Landcruiser SUV and cuts the ribbons to commission the project before dashing off.

The village ruler gives the Governor a chieftaincy title in absentia and adopts him as a son of the soil, and promises to support his re-election.

A few weeks later, that borehole breaks down and starts sprouting yellowish soil strewn water. To hush the farce, the commissioner for information quickly renames the project as Fanta for all by the year 2012.

It is in every area of our national consciousness – a chap presents a business proposal to you and seeks to influence your decision to award in his favour by whipping up sentiments and inducing nepotism. Ok you are related to his best friend because your grandfathers were cousins twice removed. The proposal is presented in very nice looking binding materials and the paragraphs are typed to within an inch of their life. On close scrutiny, you discover that the huge figures and million naira projections do not nearly add up, and that this project proposal was hurriedly and careless prepared without the expectation that it should stand on its merit. It has been “packaged” with the belief that other “extraneous” forces will push its case forward instead.

You toss it aside like an Olympic 20 leaves exercise book.

The chap tries to offer you an “incentive” to “look the other way”. You complain that you cannot, as you have had a stiff neck all your life.

The proposal presenter is angry, storms out of your office, and heads straight to (choose one)

  1. Babalawo
  2. Pastor of his church
  3. Report you to his best friend, saying you were acting like a mugu.

Note that he does not go back to “unpackage” and properly prepare his empty proposal.

And we have been packaging for years in Nigeria.

No books in the University? Buy hand-outs. If books were food, a hand-out will never satisfy because you are reading to pass exams and quench ignorance and not to gorge and be full of knowledge.

We have been packaging when we produce graduates that leave school and learn the most important skill of queuing for jobs or finding an “uncle” that can channel their resumes to the powerful tables for employment in crassly unprofessional banks. I watched The Social Network recently, and I cringed. Not one public Nigerian university can produce graduates or drop-outs of such ilk – entrepreneurs who would be able to take risks and create business empires.

We package our family by seeking comforts not legacies; we package our roads with gravel to cover pot-holes; we package our elections by focusing on persons, not personalities or issues. We package our businesses by offering poor value or customer service for money. Fly locally or internationally with some of our local airline carriers, and you will be well packaged like a parcel for delivery. As soon as you collect your boarding pass, it seems an invisible “by air mail’ sticker is stamped on your fore-head. I once travelled with a Naija airline where the plane did some F-16 stunts when attempting to land. Many of the passengers were scared stiff – never mind, the airline had served us chin-chin and hot Caprisonne. Talk about V.I.P treatment.

And the air conditioning was not working either. One old mama attempted to wind down to let air in.

But guess what, that airline has a user-friendly website which processes payment in the most efficient manner. The airline’s logos and tickets look world-class too. The airline company also employs yellow pretty looking air hostesses who wear the shortest skirts. But that is where it ends – as soon as you are aboard, the air hostesses stop smiling. Do you want to fasten your seat belts or do I have to bind you with a rope. Yeye Economy passenger.

Ok o, but the AC doesn’t also work in the First Class Cabin either. What did they pay for then? First class passengers get to board and disembark first. O—kay….

Even moi moi gets packaged now to make it what it isn’t – in foil paper, nylon or tins. What happened to our dear old moi-moi leaf?

Beans casserole aka Bean Loaf aka Cowpea Muffin (but never Moi Moi)

 

And our ladies package too. They package their looks – fair enough. But do you also have to package your interests and accents too? Especially to steal a march on others girls? Come on, princess.

A Lagos urban legend has it that a girl so “over packaged” herself that she deceived a world naive ajebo chap into proposing to her. She switched up her accent, made up a false history and padded aspects about her childhood. She claimed for example that she had attended Queens College Yaba, when in fact she had attended Queens School, Ugbaja. She ordered take-aways from Ghana High and the other eateries and “repackaged” them as home cooked treats in Thermos flasks and visited the guy everyday at his office during lunch. This girl couldn’t even boil water without burning it.

Off course she “packaged” her appearance as well employing Mac, L’Oreal, Bobbi Brown, Almay as well as fake eye lashes, acrylic nails, dental fronts and lace front wigs. She even employed a padded bra and a healthy slice of Mouka foam to upgrade her front features from a 32A to a 34DD.

When the overwhelmed guy was confronted with such beauty and grace, he liked it and decided to “put a ring on it”.

The wedding reception was held at the National Theatre.

In the morning after the wedding, the guy turned over and wondered who the stranger lying next to him was. It was the girl of course, now very plain-looking and unpackaged.

As Zebrudaya would say, “she are  now walk in the nakedness of nude.”

She greeted “Good morning, ‘oney” in a thick accent.

The guy was stunned, as he quizzed “Who the heck are you; where is my wife?”

The girl answered “I am your wife. Remember, we got married yesterday. They served chicken at the wedding”

The guy fainted. He must have suddenly gone cold turkey.

  

  

You’re an actor, you’re not who you’re depicted to be

Jay Z (Blueprint II, 2002)