PUSH ME, I PUSH YOU

Aja in the okuko's shadow...

Aja in the okuko’s shadow…

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in the fourth year of Obasanjo’s terrible second reign, when home internet was but the preserve of the Dangotes and Ibrus of this world, Esco decided to arise and take a journey to the neigbourhood cybercafé to do some browsing.

It was a Saturday like any other – NEPA had struck, and generator noises played the soundtrack to the story of Nigeria in the background, male agama lizards and the female ones doing shakara played ‘hide and seek’ in the cracks of the walls of the houses in the street, open gutters festered in the sun with the putrid smell of hot stagnant water and piss, and a bus conductor’s aggressive voice added to the medley as he barked his advertisement “Ojuelegba! Stadium!! No change o, make you hold ya side!!’

 

I got to the cybercafé, bought a ticket and logged in. The cybercafé was very full. There were all sorts of punters there – some youngsters who came to check JAMB and exam results online; then there were a few pervs who were staring at pictures of scantily clad chicks on dodgy websites; there were the perpetual scroungers who used the web to pester their relatives overseas to send the money, then there were those who typed emails by pressing one key at a time with one finger until they exhausted their credit without finishing the email.

I was a bit crestfallen when I opened my inbox messages and there was not a new message to be had. My spam box however did not disappoint. I had various ones – one for abuna enlargement; another email announced that I had just won a lottery for $5million dollars. Wait, won’t I need to have played it first before I could win?

The last email was from some dude named Anthony Prince asking me to send 5000 dollars so that he could pay the inheritance taxes to enable him withdraw his late ex-minister father’s balance from a Swiss account. He promised to share the largesse with me. As if I would ever trust anyone with a double barreled English name like Anthony Prince. By the way why do 419 and yahoo yahoo swindlers choose ridiculous oyibo names like Prince, Don, Peterpaul, Wilberforce, Vitalis, Felix. The runs men of the 80s were money doublers.

Normally I replied 419 email by reprimanding the sender saying something like “419 is a sin o” but that day I decided to let it slide. Plus key “4” on the keyboard was broken.

I was debating whether to log out, and save the credit on my ticket for another day, when commotion broke out. Alas it was between a dude and a lass just a row across from where I was seated. They were trading insults. Remember that these were the days before YouTube.  I decided to chill and observe. Kai, where is popcorn when you need it?

Apparently the chap has been browsing when his phone rang. He left his folder on the table and stepped outside to take the call. A lady in her late 20s, had just purchased a ticket, and saw the spot empty. She then shoved the chaps folder aside, and restarted the pc, logged in, and starting surfing the web.

When the dude came back, he tapped the lady on the shoulder and tried to explain that he had been there before. The girl would hear none of it, despite the fact that some people seated around there were corroborating his story. The guy explained that he would have forfeited the space for the lady but he had an urgent email he had to send to his brother who was a business partner. He was also irritated that the lady had shoved his personal belongings aside and re-booted the PC.

Before long, a heated exchange ensued between them, and the lady started getting really abusive:

Girl: “The computer is not your personal property so why should I stand up. Abeg abeg..”

Guy: “I never claimed that it was my property. Now please stand up, as I don’t have time for this.”

Girl: “If I refuse to stand up, what will you do? Infact I am not getting up from here. Do your worst!”

Guy: “This can’t be serious.  E be like say you dey find wahala today. If you see am, you go run o”

Girl: “Wetin you fit do? If you have ten heads, touch me and see what would happen.”

This was the era of the hipster  for women. Imagine a really curvy size 16 lady in bright colored hipsters, a belly chain with hips and bakassi  that would make Toolz Oniru look like Fido Dido. She was heavily made up with her nails done like Wolverine.

Every other person in the cybercafé also quit momentarily and started watching. They seemed to be willing the parties to resort to angst-filled violence like Olisa Dibua versus the staff member of that radio station; like Jim Ikye versus the world…What is it with us Nigerians and violence?

As she argued, she stood up to tower over the guy, while showering him with expletives and spittle. From outside, the both of them looked mismatched like Julius Agwu versus Eniola “Gbo Gbo Biz Girls” Badmus. The guy held his ground, and held the arm of the chair, while wedging himself against the table, to prevent the girl from usurping the space.

The girl also held on to the headrest part of the chair, as she continued her verbal tirade: “If you are a man, try me na. I will finish you today. Shebi  na Lagos we dey. Dey here, your mates are erecting mansions in Lekki and Ikoyi, you are here paying 50 naira to browse for 30 minutes and fighting over chair. Idiot!”

The guy wiped his face, as he snapped “You are stupid for that statement. You don’t know how foolish you look wearing this undersized trouser with a tight belly chain. You look like pure water tied with rope.”

With that the girl started free-styling insults. She attacked his manhood, she abused his clothes, she said his shoe was so worn out, that the heels had chopped and had a slant like a Bobby Brown hair-cut from the 80s. She insulted the man’s handset, saying that he just carried a unit without a sim-card in it. All this while waving her hands in his face and standing over him. Her 40DDD boobs were pointing in his face like howitzers.

The man decided he had enough, so he grabbed his folder, and shoved her aside out of his way like Joseph did to Potiphar’s wife. She immediately dove to the ground, like she had been struck by an assassin’s bullet from Colonel Dimka. She started screaming and screwing her face in pain as she writhed about, with her facial expression like Davido when he sings.

“Osanobua! You have killed me o. Ah, see my face. Why did hit me. How dare you put your filthy hands on me? You are finished today. My uncle is a local government chairman. My brother-in-law’s cousin’s husband is related to a police commissioner in Edo state. You will sleep in a cell today. It will never be better for you!!”

The guy started sweating like Charles Okafor in a Nollywood film. He looked both amused and confused at the same time.

Everybody’s eyes shifted from the girl on the floor to the guy like, it is your move now.  Some people were arguing that he should have relinquished the chair to the girl. One woman was visibly pissed and gave the guy a piece of her mind for ‘hitting’ the girl. Public opinion seemed to berate the guy for putting his fingers on the girl. Like short man devil wey only get power when him see woman.

There are 3 instances when a woman can render a man defenseless in the court of public opinion. One is if she accuses you of beating or physically assaulting her (sadly, this rule may not apply in all the states of Nigeria). The second is if she accuses you of rape, whether or not you really had consensual sex. The third is if she abuses you about your lack of sexual prowess or stamina. I mean what come-back is there when an ex calls you “2 minute noodles” or “water pap.”

Silence is the best answer for a fool like you.

There are those who believe that verbal sparring with a woman is allowed as far as you do not put your hands on her in any way (including  a shove). I believe that even if you must have a verbal exchange, one way not to do it, is the way it was done in a scene in “Wild Chicks 2″ the Nollywood blockbuster   starring Tuface Idibia’s better half. Check out the action from 16.50 on the time-scale.

Meanwhile, with all the commotion, I decided that it was time for me to beat it, before EFCC would swoop on the café and arrest everybody present, and then announce on NTA’s 9’O clock news that they had busted a yahoo yahoo syndicate. I made slipped away and made a run for it like Alameisegha.

What are your opinions on what happened? Who was wrong between the two parties?

 I met a woman plus a lady that was sweet and unique/
She was no trick or no tramp, she was no freak off the street/
I was amazed, looks and attitude, I spoke of gratitude/
She wasn’t stuck up and rude, and we became cool/
From then on we leaned as friends, then as lovers/
You could be my girl, I’d be your man just forever/

 Daz Dillinger (Only For You, 1998)

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)

 

STATE OF THE (DIS)-UNION

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

So how do I start? Oh I know:

Fellow Woah-Nigerians,

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2.      KIDDIE MISSION 101

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

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

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

 

3.      LAWAN FAROUK AFFAIR – UNDER RUG SWEPT?

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

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

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

 

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

Maybe this belongs in the “Kiddie Mission” category.

 

419 QUESTIONS

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Go Esco!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy birthday to me…..

Birthdays was the worst days/

Now we sip champagne, when we thirsty/

Notorious BIG (Juicy, 1994)


The Pounded Yam And Pure Water Awards (8)

Nice...

KUDOS:

  • Karen won Big Brother Amplified yesterday. Twitter was agog with comments ranging from the hilarious to the outright ridiculous. Someone said that BBA must stand for Big Breast Awards for Karen to have won. Another person congratulated her for adding $200,000 to Nigeria’s economy. She should expect plenty of FFFs (Friends for Fame/Food). Truth be told, I don’t/didn’t  watch the show so I can’t say more. Nuff said.
  • The US NASA recently ended a phase of their space program with the return and safe landing of the Atlantis Space Shuttle from outer space. Wetin concern monkey with rain coat abi?

Well, in 1998 Nigeria constituted a body called the Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) to oversee space science, technology and travel into space. Not to knock our enterprising spirit or the great scientific minds we have in this country, but how can we purport to send a man into outer space or put an astronaut on the moon, when we can’t even put the right man in Aso Rock. Booooo..

The Russians started out with test experiments by sending a dog first before they sent their first astronaut Yuri Gagarin to orbit the earth. Good luck nna doggy dog.

  • Egg, Bacon and Cheese Melt Sandwich from Pride of Eden…Heavenly Foods, Ikota VGC. Longer-throat like you. Ha ha. 

Shame

JUDO:

  • The JLO and Marc Anthony divorce. Normally I don’t give a shit about stuff like this, but a part of me (my Nigerian and Igbo side) wanted J-Lo to win with this marriage. How can someone so attractive and successful not have a man that she prepares night food for?  It is funny because her first husband Ojani Noa said she was so beautiful; he could drink her bath water. Depends on the soap.

What is going on with marriages these days, biko nu? I am a fella, and people expect our attitude to divorce to be “wreck it, buy a new one” but I hate to see good relationships fail.  Naija is even catching the bug, as if things are not messed up as it is. We now have to deal with the break-down of the family unit which is the first corner stone to nation building. Everywhere there is news about how Baba Bisi poured acid on Mama Bisi, or how some wife beheaded her hubby’s member with a machete after they had a row.

In Nigeria someone like J-Lo would never have been divorced. Heck, she may not have been married in the first place. She would probably be a high class runs girl, or a concubine to some wealthy magnate, or a kept woman bamboozled by one really higher up politician. Or she may be one of those self-indulgent lasses with her head in the clouds, unable to marry because she is choosy and doesn’t want a mere mortal. The problem with Nigeria is that once a girl looks a bit attractive, toasters and pervy older men begin to inundate her with cash offers and gifts. It can mess a girl’s head up. Many really beautiful girls in Nigeria are aware of that fact from a tender age, and are programmed to use their beauty as a bargaining tool for the highest (richest) bidder. Sorry my female readers but tis tres’ true. The exception might be if they are properly exposed, educated or from wealthy backgrounds.

No matter how physically attractive a chick is, a man (one man) has to marry her and live with her one day.

Contrast that with Yankee or Jand where many really hot girls don’t even know their strength. In Jand, a guy I know, Aniete, once sat down next to this Greek girl in class. This girl, let us call her, Athena, was a Greek goddess. She had long black hair, perfect olive skin, green eyes and the nicest curves ever. All the guys in the class were checking her out seriously. This chick looked like a mix of Selma Hayek and Zulay Henao. Google them.

Aniete and this chick made small talk, and ran into each other a couple of times in other classes. They then became reading mates, meeting at the library and other spots to study and work on assignments and projects together.  They were starting to really fancy each other.

Then one day, the chick asked Aniete “Do you think I am a beautiful?”

Aniete swallowed ten times. He felt like using a cutlass to swear an oath, but he held himself “I think you look amazing.”

Athena smiled as she blushed “I was afraid that you would not find me attractive”

Aniete wanted to scream in pidgin: You de craze? My brain dey scatter as I dey look you so.

But he answered calmly “Oh don’t be silly. You are a work of art”

How could this chick not see that she was awesome? What is it with this oyibo chicks sef?

And this is not absolving menfolk or Marc Anthony of any blame.

  • The Governor of Imo State appointed 94 cabinet members including a Chief Comedian of the State. This is not a new thing – in medieval times in England, the monarch had a court jester to entertain him and the court (like Timothy Claypole of Rent-a-Ghost). The people of Imo state are not laughing though.
  • People who talk or react tactlessly without knowing the bare facts of the issue at hand. I find that this is becoming common place in Nigeria. People just blurt out their un-needed opinion without being properly informed about a situation.

I will give a weird example. Who can remember Sunday Rendezvous, a popular dance show on Nigerian TV in the 80s and early 90s? The show was anchored by a sequin jacket, red bow tie wearing, heavily Jeri-curled showman type fella called Prince 2000. He used to cajole the audience into clapping by shouting “Hit me, hit me, hit me” during dance breaks.

Contestants would dance, and be picked off one by one until there were only 2 dancers left. Since the show was sponsored by the makers of Limca/ Gold Spot, a soft drinks company, Prince 2000 would make the remaining two contestants play a drinking game to determine the winner. Sweating and out of the breath, the contestants would be handed a bottle of Limca each with straws and whoever finished their drink first would be declared the winner for that week. The prizes were usually branded Limca umbrellas (sometimes given out during the hot Nigerian summer) or face-caps with Limca written everywhere.

However before handing the winner his prize, Prince 2K would ask the contestant what he felt about the taste of Limca. You would normally hear ridiculous adjectives like “Supepe (superb)”, “beautiful”, “exciting”, “delicious” from the contestants.

There was this one contestant, who having been asked by Prince what he felt about Limca, answered enthusiastically “The taste of Limca is very stupendous.”

Prince 2000’s face dropped, and he quickly withdrew the microphone from the winner, as he shoved him off the stage without giving him his prize “Ok that is alright Mr. man. Get off the stage and go back to your seat.”

The winner’s perceived crime? Prince 2000 thought that “stupendous” meant “stupid”.

Oh by the way, I think NEPA/PHCN is  really stupendous.

The Pounded Yam And Pure Water Awards (7)

Na you biko

  • My first Pounded Yam Award goes out to you. Yes, you. My awesome readers. Nope, it is not because it was blog election time recently. These thanks have been a long time coming. You guys keep me going on days when my pen feels heavier than my sword. I would have said that you guys are the wind behind my back and the earth beneath my feet but some people may misunderstand and think I am swearing for them.

Nah seriously, you guys are gems. I should really start a competition and give away gifts on this blog. Should I give gifts or presents? They are actually different things you know. I would explain one day – that’s another topic for another day. What would be an ideal prize? An I-Pad or sanitary pad? A new Blackberry minus the battery and charger? A plastic fan for days when NEPA takes light? An Airtel sim card? A branded 7Up umbrella? Or a boiling ring to help you with preparing Indomie and getting ready for work? Or maybe I should give out La Pearla Lingerie (which I must inspect on you myself – girls only oh) or a Shan George CD? I think I will give this one some thought. Or you decide.

  • The current season of Love in the Wild showing on Wednesdays at 9pm Central Time on NBC (Yankee only sorry). I am sure Don Movies would carry it after the season finishes, so it would be available in Nigeria via our neighbourhood 50-in-1 DVD hawkers. It’s a reality show where a group of guys and chicks spend time in a jungle, completing tasks and getting eliminated couple by couple. Think Rock of Love meets Gulders Ultimate Search meets I am a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Now mix that with Fuji House of Commotion, and you may come close to this hybrid of a show. Watching episode 3 of the show, I have finally concluded that some girls’  head dey touch, and that’s why they can’t have a normal relationship with a fella. There are girls who show epic forms of emotional instability ranging from unrealistic expectations, delusions of grandeur to over-clinginess. Believe me, shakara beats desperation any day. If a guy says hello to you, it doesn’t mean ‘hi’.

Unfortunately in this cold world, there are sad, sad men who beat their wives up and mutilate them. Akolade “Jack the Ripper” Arolowo murdered his beautiful wife in cold blood some weeks back, and now it seems that Nigerians have our first own psychopath. Or this may be the first domestic fatality that has really caught national consciousness due to the fact that they are middle class professionals so it hits close to home. Rest in peace Titilayo ….My heart also goes out to their daughter.

Provided that they were not party to a cover-up in anyway, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for his folks. This is a real hot mess of a situation to be in; I mean how will be able to live down this shame? They are lucky that they are Yoruba sha. They could relocate to Oyo or Ogun state, start a new life and change their surnames to Smith or Tokunboh.  If they were Igbos, they would have been socially finished in every manner possible. First of all, the killer’s sisters would remain unmarriageable; any chap who is interested in marrying them would start preliminary investigations, and be told the full story by player-hating amebos. These town-criers would also tell the suitor that madness and murder runs in killer’s family blood. Their village would probably ostracize the parents as well.

In some quarters, it would be a different story however, if the parents suddenly become billionaires or came into a huge fortune. Then, they would be treated as royalty by some village elders; the whole matter may be hushed and they may even be given chieftaincy titles to boot. Standards differ, huh?

  • PES 2012 – I am a massive Pro Evolution Soccer fan, and I have owned almost very installment since it came out in the 90s. Girlfriends/wives would hate this game – it is almost better than sex (with some girls o), and it is smoother than French silk on the ass (so I heard o). It even feels better than cold pure water, after hours in a hot Lagos molue bus.

Jon Champion the English correspondent for Konami (the makers of this game) recently released this video-blog via twitter regarding the developments/improvements on the game coming out this October. I am glad that you can play as some of your favourite European teams, but I think it is time for Jigawa United, Kano Pillars, Owerri Heartland FC and Enyimba FC to feature in a Pro Evolution Soccer game, no? They could code the game so that the referee would make sure no Nigerian team can win an away match against another Nigerian team, just like in real life. Also, they should fix Osaze in the game. He is so charcoal skinned in the game – can’t they see that he is ‘a half-caste.’  I selected him once, and thought it was Obafemi Martins I was seeing.

 If you are also a fan, you can view the  PES 2012 video blog  here

Till then I am still rocking PES 2011 with respect.

  • Asaba Airport has just commenced commercial flights. My own state (Imo) has an airport (a national airport at that), which I am very proud of. Yes it looks like a set of boys-quarter bungalows with a Yipee tank looking control tower, but it is still the only airport built by the people in Nigeria. Yes, even the nappy airport in that Jimbo cartoon from the 80s looks better than my state’s own, but na una sabi.

Asaba having its own airport is massive. Now people can leave my state airport alone, and have an alternate route. It would encourage economic development in the Delta region and make Asaba a true commercial hub. How times have changed. When I was a youngster, travelling for Christmas with my family in our trusty 504 station wagon, Asaba was a shanty town bordering bigger cousins in the then Bendel state. It was the last stop until you crossed over the Niger bridge to the core Eastern lands. I remember Asaba for the fact that they sold a “donut-type” akara. Have you ever seen or had one? It is an akara with all sorts of filling in it – chopped eggs, onions, tomato, sardines, corned beef, the seller’s nappy hair strand etc. On its own, it was a’ight, but combined with a healthy slice of Chukwuemeka Special Bread Loaf, it was a delightful treat. Asaba also had a well-known food market.

Years later, Asaba would become a state capital and have hotels, joints and government buildings. This is special. I am still waiting for my village to get an upgrade to a town, and then become a capital, so I can become its first Mayor.

You no try at all...

  • Presido Goodluck appointed his ministers and special advisers, and now I feel as mad as Chris Tucker did in Rush Hour Part 2, when the comedian accused the owners of a casino of being racist because no black singers were featured. Our president does not send youngsters at all. Barak Obama’s Director of Speechwriting, a chap called Jon Favreau is actually a 30 year old who graduated in 2003. Yes, those  famous “Hope” speeches of 2008 were actually drafted by a Caucasian youngster. Why won’t GEJ appoint young professionals to government positions? Why can’t President Goodluck appoint someone like Esco to write his speeches or addresses to the nation? I would have the whole country in stitches. Some parts of the speech would be written in pidgin English and I would throw in a few expletives and Igbo idiomatic expressions. Besides how come NYSC still hasn’t been scrapped despite unrests in certain parts of the country? Is the Nigerian youngster on a path to career and physical extinction? I know NYSC allowee (annoying term for ‘allowance’) has been recently increased. Where else in the world, but mighty Nigeria would your government pay you twice as much to risk dying?
  • Its 2011 and there are Nigerian artists and ‘civilians’ still rocking a mohawk hair-cut. I normally do not comment on people’s style choices, unless they are standing next to me for a photograph or standing in for me in a representative capacity, or if there is business involved and I could lose a fortune if they dressed like Bjork or that guy in Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns TV series. Please, please, if you are fortunate not to be a baldy or a slap-head, do not try to look like The Last of the Mohicans. In Yankee, rocking a mohawk makes you look rebellious and fashion forward; here in Nigeria, it makes you look like people in your village have sworn for you, or that you are on the first notch to catching craze. Some people may even feel sorry for you when they see you in a mohawk, by shaking their heads and cursing your misfortune, and thinking that NEPA must have taken light while the barber was still cutting your hair. Yep, mohawks make you look irresponsible, and apart from that they do not flatter the ogo. In fact unless, you are Mr. Tee from the A-Team, leave it for the red Indians. As Mr. Tee would say “Be cool, fool!”

Na small small

At last..

No lie, sometimes when I am by my lonesome, I like to observe the environment around me, and try to come up to answers to the whats and whys. I have seen a fair bit in my short existence on this earth, and there are times I have thought that I have a life one could write a book on. But who doesn’t?

I have seen my family robbed by AK-47 toting armed robbers on Sagamu-Ore express way, making a trip during the Xmas holidays – they took cash, jewelry, boxes of gear but spared our lives and my trusty Sony CD-changer. We still stopped over at Iyayi Station Benin City for refreshment and treats.

I have been in parts of Nigeria where poverty and despair were complete, etched on the faces of the children, the elderly and the old at heart. I have been on a road in an Abuja municipality, and seen a drunken bus driver lose control of his vehicle on a wet rainy surface, skid, and fall into a ditch, the bus on its roof, and tires still spinning upwards. I and my friend who had been driving behind pulled up, and rushed to help. The conductor was sitting dazed by the side of the ditch, while the driver was still attempting to push the bus upright without a care for his injuries. We had to insist that he sit still, because he was still in shock, and was more worried about what he would tell the owner of the bus. And the bus ironically had an inscription on it “The downfall of a man is not the end of his life.”

I have seen my best friend Paul start with marijuana and then get hooked on more dangerous substances until he became a complete druggie, now a permanent guest at Yaba, and an uncomfortable subject for his father when quizzed by amebo friends:

“Paul my son? Oh, he is his 3rd year at Medilag studying medicine.”

“That’s strange, my daughter is also in year 3 at Medilag and says she has never seen him.”

“That is because he is doing the part-time program”

“I never knew medicine programs in Nigeria had part-time”

“Well, they do now. Let’s head out for a beer, jare”

I have seen cancer ravage a loved one, until he was pissing blood, and passed on in a dingy hospital with NEPA issues. He died in the dark.

This is the only country on God’s green earth where someone would ask you for a favour or a tip, with scant disregard for your own comfort or considerations. They want what they want NOW. I have told you the story of how a toilet attendant at a loo in the Silverbird Galleria was close-marking me for a tip when I was taking a leak at the urinal. And I was like “Dude, give me a break or get bathed with a jet of my finest golden premium brine”

The attendant was undeterred nonetheless ‘Bros, anything for me?” Water nor get enemy.

On the other side, I have seen the wonderful parts of Nigerian life. Like the Lekki breeze on my face, as I drive with the windows down on traffic-less weekend evenings. The opportunity cost of driving with the windows down are wicked anopheles mosquitoes and bugs flying in and chewing my limbs, hawkers pushing their wares in my face and the odd pick-pocket/chain snatcher, but in this state I am happy. I would also have stuck out my arm, to cup the air as I speed on, but for dare-devil okada riders.

Seeing the inherent good-natured part of some ordinary Nigerians is a sweet sight for sour eyes. By-standers are always ready to offer you directions if you ask for help, although they usually get ‘left’ and ‘right’ mixed up. “You go take right for the next junction, come fire go straight then turn left, then dey go. You go see another right turn, but no take am oh or you go lost. Take left instead” And the guy giving the directions was pointing right as he said left.

So I asked, ‘Oh you mean left, and not right, right?” The bystander looked at me like I was mad or something “Oga, abi you no sabi road? So you nor know ya left from ya right, na wa for you o.” And I scratched my head, as he started all over again. At least I am not paying for Sat Nav.

It is still amusing though, how you can plant a seed or an idea in this country, and if it is watered the right way, you can build or grow something tougher than leather. You go, Nigeria!

All that I have seen and heard have meant something. Different aspects of human behavior amuse me to no end; but no species of humans on this earth can compare to Nigerians. That is why this blog was conceived in the first place - we may never have walked on the moon, but see how gracefully Nigerians prance the earth. I wanted to talk about the beautiful and weird things Nigerians were doing when the critical cameras of the world were switched off on us. Things that made others go ‘Woah! That is epic”

Amidst all the complications of Nigerian life, it is the little things that amuse us. What amuses you?

Some questions go unanswered, that’s what I’m afraid of/
Sometimes I can’t show, but I know what I’m made of/

DMX (Coming From, 1998)

Friend Or Foe

A former work-mate Jay was giving me the low-down about something that happened to him recently.

A while back, he had attended an awesome Halloween party, and had decided to go as a traditional masquerade. Ingenious right? The last costume party I attended, I had gone dressed as a Navy Captain. I came away with a few girls’ numbers at the end of the night. Maybe, some mistook me for a rich former Chief of Naval Staff. My uniform did come stacked with my rank and many badges of honor. Ok, too ‘many’ information….

Jay brought the mask back home after the party, and hung it as a decoration on his room wall. It was a really grotesque mask – just imagine the alien’s face in the movie Predator. I chided him for hanging up the mask in his room, as it stuck out like a sore thumb, spoiling the overall décor of the place.

Fast forward, a few months later, he pulled this really hot chick when he met at a wedding in Ikoyi. They spoke on the phone for days, and then she promised to come visit him one Saturday.

Jay got the place ready for the lass’s visit. He tried to make the pad ‘condusive’.

He took out the sofa from the room, so that the girl would have to sit on the bed.

He turned down the thermostat on his split unit AC so that the place was very chilly, in case his female visitor required ‘warming’.

He ‘arranged’ rubbers at every nook and cranny of his pad, to be ready whenever or wherever it went down. He put one on the bedroom dresser, put another under one of the pillows, one on the window seal, another in his pocket, two behind the television unit.

He warned the gateman not to leave his post, to prevent a mix-up.

He did some push-up, pull-ups and bicep curls with really heavy weights. Then he showered, dressed up and sprayed a healthy dose of Pleasures for Men by Estee Lauder.

The girl finally came around 2pm (African time), wearing a really smart tank top, some skin-fitting jeans and some really nice shoes. Jay was like wow! Jay said that she had a figure like a palm-wine keg. 

They chatted a bit, dug into some take-away that Jay had sent his house-boy for, and even watched a bit of the rom-com “Notting Hill”. By the time the part of the movie where Hugh Grant and Julia Robert’s characters climbed a wall into a garden came, Jay and his date had started snogging.

They were making out just fine, almost heading for a technical knock-out, when the girl looked up and noticed the mask.

Jay said that the way this girl flew out of his arms and bed was like a scene from Matrix where Keanu Reeves did a limbo type movement to dodge a bullet in slow motion.

Her voice trembling, she shreiked ‘What is that? Is that ojuju?”

Jay tried to explain calmly “Nah, love. It is just a simple Halloween mask.”

The girl was not convinced. She moved towards the door “What is a grotesque mask doing on your wall? What is it? There must be something wrong with you”

Jay tried to explain to this chick and allay her fears. She nor gree o. The die was cast – she even refused to finish the movie. After a while, she received a ‘phantom’ call from her bestie, and said she had to meet her cousin in Ogudu. She bounced out of the crib like she was running from something.

Jay was left with a bruised ego and the damn mask on the wall. He took it down from the wall, and hung it in his living room instead. Let it bother uninvited guests now instead. Like the landlord and his agents.

In Nigeria, people dey fear. And most tragedies are usually blamed on one’s perceived enemies. If a politician got caught in EFCC’s net for misappropriating public funds; he would usually blame it on perceived enemies who are ‘intimidated by his profile.’

A neighbor’s son got caught with stolen car parts. His ma threw herself on the floor, rolling as she cried ‘My enemies have finally gotten me. Mo ti ku o…”

And at that point, I felt like defending her so-called enemies. I could swear I never saw anyone else with her son, when he living it up, blowing money fast. Even his friends would have been weak.

There was a program on TV sometime recently where a guy said he had just recovered from an ailment. According to him, he had ‘stepped’ on poison which had been an entrapment by his ‘enemies’, and had fallen ill. And I am like, wait a Nigerian minute (which is long by the way if you add African time), which one is ‘step on poison’ again? I never knew people could actually ‘step’ on poison? I thought they just put it in your food or beer, when you stepped away briefly to the loo. Or is there Wi-fi or Bluetooth poison now? But it made me realize how Nigerians feared their enemies.

Sometimes in some quarters, if a person bought a new/used (or tokunboh or Belgium) automobile in Nigeria, family members would gather and make professions, pouring libations on the tires to ward off enemies.

May you trample over your foes with these big-ass 17 inch rims.

May you never ride shot-gun while your enemies are handling the steering wheel. If it is my Bentley, I don’t mind actually.

May you see your enemies in your rear-view and never with your head-lights.

May your enemies be forever in your boot, but never in your bonnet? Don’t say amen here o. Some Ferraris and Lambos have their engines in the trunk instead.

Someone even prayed: May you never go backwards as you drive this car. All well and good, but you still need to reverse out of this tight-ass parking lot after these prayers end.

At church you could see members of the congregation tapping away on their blackberry or catching 40 winks or scoping flesh lustfully, but as soon as the pastor starts prayers binding ad destroying enemies, everyone springs to attention with the chorus of a resounding amen. And why not; you enemies may park behind you on the church car park, and be no-where to be found after service ends to start with.

If every person has enemies, then that means everyone is somehow an enemy to someone right? Then who are the good people then? Am I someone’s enemy even though I wish no man any evil? Haba, na wetin? My take is that everyone who has a village must have enemies.

Think well. Your enemies checked your SSCE, NECO and JAMB results before you did. They are the ones you hid information from when you got a visa for Jand (even the 3 month one).Your enemies were the last to know when you were interviewing for that choice job, but were the first to know when you landed that lucrative contract. If there is a way to trace your facebook page visitors (like Hi-5 used to have, and Linked-In does), you would see that your enemies check on you 24/7.

If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, should I really be hating and cursing him too?

All these postulations and theories are giving me malaria, abeg. As I go to cool off with some tender cow-leg pepper soup (okay this too is hot), let me pray for each and every one of my dear readers as you begin the 2nd half of the year:

May your pain be champagne.

If you are Fanta Chapman just out of the fridge, your enemies would be Limca in a 23cl ‘solo’ bottle straight from the crate.

If you are a Mercedes ML 500 from a V.I. dealership, your enemies would be a Daewoo Racer old model (without AC) with a “For Sale” jerry-can on it.

If you are a Hollywood blockbuster starring Johnny Depp, your foes would be a Yoruba movie with wrong English subtitles and gold tooth alatikas.

If you are a Celebrity poker game on ESPN, your enemies would be a local game of Ludo with 2 of the red and green seeds missing and the glass broken.

If you are a packet of Chivita juice, your enemies would be an agbalumon seed spat on the ground.

If you are a Transformers (movie), your enemies would be NEPA transformers with the mercury missing.

* Just joking, but I wish you all well. God bless.

Enter-scare-ment (by A.D. of “Memoirs of a Good Naija Gurl”)


Let me start by saying I’m a very patriotic Nigerian, as patriotic as ‘patriotic’ can be (except I don’t watch NFL); in fact green and white runs through my veins.

With that said, I think I can begin.

I do not understand what the standard for entertainment is in Naija anymore, especially in music and movies. The other day I was listening to a radio station (the only radio station that would never play foreign tracks) and all of a sudden, I heard a song………..no a number……….no a rendition.

 

It sha had beats and someone was singing, it sounded very familiar. Oh My God, it was…….Oleku in……wait for it……Hausa! Chei, I couldn’t help the weird expression on my face. Like…….seriously, the dude translated the whooole thing, like we translate English worship songs to our dialect, the only difference was where he spoke in English, sorry sang in perfect English ‘tell me something that I cannot do’, I  guess the Yaro must have thought he did something different, I mean he sang in English but Ice Prince sang in pidgin!

 

Come on, where’s the ingenuity? I thought the copy-copy act was only for foreign songs, now we have to hear different dialect translations for songs that already sound mass produced and baseless, or completely copy the few good ones, I won’t be surprised if soon we hear Naeto C’s Ten over Ten in Efik or M.I’s African rapper in Idoma………..hey don’t even think about doing what I just said, it’s so not a good idea.

 

Another troubling duo is Peter and Paul – please don’t crucify me yet, I’m not criticizing their style or anything oh, It just bothers me that in all their lyrics, they have to die for their love interest, I mean, if I were to count, P-square has outlived a cat! If dem die for the babe, how dem go no say the babe don gree?

To digress a little, I remember when Bruno Mars released the hit ‘Grenade’. I’m not into the secular industry, but I listened to the lyrics till the end and I just had to laugh. How will you jump in front of a train for me and take bullet for me and even catch grenade for humble moi and still ask me if I’ll do the same for you………..dude, how now, you are already dead!

 

I remember Christina Aguilera muddling up the words to the American anthem during Super Bowl 2011 ceremonies; all I could think of was imagine if Terry G was asked to sing the Nigerian national anthem before a national engagement with the president in attendance. He would start with ‘Arise O Corpation…’ and replace Nigeria with ‘Naija”. Former Information Minister Dora ‘the explorer’ Akinluyi boss would have been swallowing hard wherever she was.

 

Now to the movie industry…………hmmmn, Nollywood I hail oh, I must commend your good works and efforts, but sometimes una no just dey try, una dey fall my hand. I remember watching a movie, I wish I can remember the name so you can see it for yourself.  In the movie, Kenneth Okoronkwo was Ngozi Ezeonu’s son. I swear I’m not kidding and the funny thing was that no make-up was even done to at least make Andy look younger. That one I might even pardon small-small oh, but the one that vexes me so much it makes me laugh is when we can still see a member of the crew or any equipment while watching (speaker or camera track or cameraman) or audibly hear the director giving instructions, all this we still find on a supposedly edited and final copy.

 

I remember a movie where Mikey (Micheal Ezuronye) was being chased and he had to scale a fence and he did, but after the jump, the next thing we heard was, ‘heee, e wound, Mike you wound’, Ehen, e no wound, flesh just comot him body small. There’s always an issue with sound, it’s either the background music is just overshadowing the actors voices or there’s no music at all and I can still hear the director barking at his crew.

 

I know the young shall grow, but Nollywood should be a teenager by now, abi don’t you think so.

 

 

Yours………..forever Nigerian

A.D