The Office (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latecomer: Err…actually sir…

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

Busted!

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

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

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

Watch out for Part 2.

Have You Taken Your Medicine?

Joy is the sweetest medicine..

Poverty, lack of exposure and illiteracy in our dear country cause issues of health to take a back burner in many respects. When it comes to personal wellness, health and hygiene, for many underprivileged people, it is a ‘copy and paste’ situation.

Many take the same medicine for different ailments either to save costs or because they don’t know better:

Mama, I have headache and migraine; Swallow agbo

Ah, e be like say you done get apollo (conjunctivitis)? Swallow agbo.

Typhoid Fever? Make it 2 doses of agbo.

Your lover broke your heart, and you feel like Cupid struck you with a poisoned arrow? Chew agbo.

If you are far away from home, and feeling home-sick. Consume agbo.

Yes o. When I was a kid, I had this aunt who believed the purgative medicines like Milk of Magnesia (M & M) could cure all ailments. Bottoms up!

If you had malaria, you would hide it from Aunty ‘Laxative’, because she would administer a huge ladle spoonful into your mouth. M & M tastes like kola and bitter-leaf juice. Times 100.

That one no concern my Aunty o. My mother was out of town, and I had the misfortune of falling ill. Aunty rubbed her hands with glee.  And she nearly got me killed by making me swallow a purgative medicine for 3 straight days, until I started really relapsing. Obviously, she did not believe in ‘if symptoms persist after 3 days…’

It was later discovered that I had the flu.

One day when I was a bit older, I mustered the courage to ask her ‘Aunty why do you take purgative medicines for all manners of ailments?’

Looking at me with disdain, she sucked her teeth as she slapped her tummy ‘ It is because all illnesses come from the belly. If you fall sick, it means that a disease had made your stomach rotten…’

I felt sick to my stomach already, hearing that.

To cut corners from having to pay exorbitant hospital bills, many Nigerians patronize ‘over the counter’ pharmacists popularly known as ‘chemists’. Nigeria is perhaps the only country in the world where you get offered drugs of varying potency to suit your pocket like you were choosing between a 4 cylinder or a V6 engine automobile at a car sales showroom.

Madam this antibiotics medicine get Singapore one and original one. The original one na 700 naira and get power well well. The Singapore one na 300 naira. Na imitation, so if you rub am for body, your boil fit take like 40 days and 40 nights before e go clear from your body. The packet no carry instructions, so make you rub am anytime your body dey scratch you.’

Na wa o.

And these ‘chemists’ also have flexible buying arrangements too. They could sell you a sachet of 8 tablets from within a pack of pills; I have even seen one sell a customer a tea-spoon of Chemiron Blood Tonic syrup. It was liquid contents only, and the spoon was returned to the packet of syrup for re-use by the next customer.

If you have not already read it, I would recommend my previous article on drug abuse in Nigeria – ‘Pump Pump and the Scramble for Lekki.’

As we become a country whose middle and upper class citizens want to boogie to the latest music jams, appear on the red carpet at glam events in what is fast becoming the ‘Aladdin syndrome’ and spend cash of luxuries, health is taking a backseat. In many arguments or debates about how best Nigeria is to move forward under GEJ’s tutelage,  power generation and job creation seem to be the top priorities. What about health?

The first step to creating a healthy populace is controlling the way medicines are taken. In our dear country, we sabi abuse medicines sha.

Growing up in the grim 80s, my recollections of government health initiatives are blurry. I remember government sponsored infomercials promoting ORT (Oral Rehydration Therapy) as a treatment for diarrhea during pregnancy. It was a popular jingle, not just for the message itself, but for how the man pronounced therapy as ‘therakpi’ in his thick Yoruba accent.

I also remember when the sex education adverts came to town.

The first one I can remember is where a randy chap tries to bone this really dark sister, and she nervously says ‘ I am scared.’ She pronounced the ‘scared’ in a really funny way like how Chingy says ‘herre’.

The scene fades out to another preachy scene on sex education, before a Sunny Ade and Onyeka Onwenu duet with the lyrics ‘If you love me, you go wait for me…’ Nice song.

The condom ads were the worst. Gold Circle ads always looked kinda dodgy and always seem to make it look like the viewer was a perv in the first place for opting for a ‘balloon’ contraceptive. The lass in the advert was always the unwilling party while the guy was a sex-hungry beast. Nigerian women apparently are not supposed to want sex and they dare not produce a rubber. Like you, ashewo, you.

One particular advert was really corny. It was a radio advert, and you heard what sounded like a Papa Ajasco character propose to a love interest ‘ Baby abeg come now, make we go jiggy jiggy..’

The girl’s reply was classic. She abused the hell out of the man, as if he had just asked her to kill for him.

Jiggy jiggy? What a lexicon!

Most times, even the names of diseases,  the contraception could help prevent were barely mentioned or were generalized as  ‘other yama yama diseases.’

The period of the dodgy condom ads were nothing compared to the female genital mutilation (FGM) ones. They were like scenes from a horror movie. The adverts featured a group of old village women holding down an adolescent female, while one of the women produced a brand new razor blade. The blade wielding granny dug her hands into the young girl’s wrapper, and amidst the girl’s screams, performs the crude operation. The next scene is very graphic and almost distasteful. The cutter is seen with blood all over her hands as she is gripping the teen’s clitoris with a triumphant look on her face. All these on national TV.

You get the feeling that despite some of these adverts and public service announcements, our governments over the years have done precious little in the area of health issues in this country. Cancer is the new malaria and it is a farce that people still get chicken pox in this country. Most people still rely on quack doctors, ‘chemists’ and old wives tales; and some people who know better are handcuffed by financial constraints. Educating the public is one thing but knowledge and awareness do not pay hospital bills.

Cancer and stroke are still regarded by some as a Chief or big man’s ailment. When a poor man suffers any of the above, people would claim that his enemies have ‘winched’ him.

Health in Nigeria has to be revamped from the ground up. Over to you, Oga Presido GEJ.

Before I go, here are some random thoughts and experiences regarding health and the taking of medicine in Nigeria.

  1. There is a belief among some men that a combination of a Power Horse Energy Drink and Ijebu Garri  can boost sexual performance and proficiency. I don’t know about this one. You cannot give a magnificent performance by re-writing Okafor’s laws of chemistry by combining cassava flakes and an energy drink even if it is Red Bull. No, it won’t give you wings. You may be better off trying to seduce your lass by singing Maxwell’s Pretty Wings in her ears. To be fair, I do not still know whether eating a Mango and then drinking garri is dangerous as people claim. Why would someone even want to do that in the first place?

Another popular tip for boosting sperm count and fertility is to blend Guinness, raw eggs and milk thereby creating a potent protein shake. My tip? You may want to give that to the girl instead.

2.        The ignorance of some average Nigerian fellas when it comes to using protection and contraception is alarming. Hearing that abstinence is the only fool-proof protection since condoms give about 98% protection against STDs, one chap shrugged his shoulders. This guy slept with anything walking and wasn’t about to change his lifestyle. He said he betters his odds by wearing 2 condoms at the same time, to eliminate the 2% risk.  His reasoning is that 98% + 98% = 196%. This is better than 100%. Ok o. What about your spiritual health?

 

My cousin knows someone who swears that washing his jimmy with his urine after unprotected sex mitigates any risks by neutralizing the virus or bacteria. That is a piss-poor remedy if you ask me. It wouldn’t work with Lagos ‘runs girls’ o.

3. The general public, especially in Lagos, should be educated. Please do not try or attempt to move someone who has been in an okada bike accident; the accident victim could get more hurt from internal bleeding in such cases.  Normally after an accident occurs, you would see a mammoth crowd gather around the scene, and then some people would elect to move or try to stand the victims. I once saw a malo chap who had been struck by a bus. People were trying to force ‘pure water’ down his throat. He was spitting blood, so a man tried to move him. His limbs seemed shattered to me as they looked a bit bandy, though he was not bleeding on the outside. Some other passer-bys were trying to stand him up, even though he looked subconscious and in serious shock. Another person attempted to stretch and bend the victim’s limbs, and the latter was yelling in pain. One man giving directions to the person doing the bending ‘Make you try bend him leg straight, make the bone set small.’ Bend a leg ‘straight?! Is that even physically possible? Only a winch can do that na.

Why the hell do they always try to give victims ‘pure water’ in Nigeria? Someone has just been in a fatal crash and a passerby just shoves water in a sachet in their faces, like it is some magical elixir.

Here are a few examples:

- a chap got electrocuted while trying to illegally ‘tap’ light ‘from a NEPA pole.

As he lay on the floor in ‘shock’ (no pun intended), his neighbors brought him

‘pure water’ to drink away the pain.

- Two 8-year olds started vomiting after coming in from playing outside. It was discovered that they had been playing ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ by pretending to ‘cook’ and chew leaves and flowers from the plants in the garden. The domestic servant administered 2 doses of ‘pure water’ before phoning their mum who was at work.  Now the kids had cholera as well as food poisoning to contend with. (By the way, I hear palm oil works a treat for cases of poisoning). Don’t quote me on this though!

Nigerians should have access to free training in first-aid and basic resuscitation techniques, like other developed countries so that not all emergencies would become fatalities. I would give you a few local examples I have heard though: if you swallow a large fish bone, while enjoying a sumptuous meal of ground rice and ogbono soup, swallow a large lump of eba. It works if drinking water does not.

 If you feel like throwing up after eating a meal without enough pepper, chew raw garri.

4.  Regulate the sale of potent medicines over the counter. Nigeria is the only country in the world, where anyone has access to any types of medicines no matter their strength. No prescription is required. One chap who lived in Jand made a pretty penny anytime when he came to Nigeria one summer. He was over-joyed one day when he discovered that a pharmacy close to his house sold Viagra. All you needed was cash. He bought a very big box and took it to his school in Jand to sell.

There are people here who are regularly ‘sipping on some syrup’. When I was a kid, there was this boy whose mum used to give him Multivite as a treat if he was good.  Multivite had a lovely sweet taste. Lucky him – my mum used wielded the stick not the carrot. If you behaved badly, you had beans  for lunch and for dinner. That’s how I managed to grow tall because I was never good. Nne dalu biko.

5.  People should be educated about hygiene and how to control parasites that cause diseases.

In Health Science class back in primary school, we were taught what insects or parasites caused which diseases. It was an amusing subject for me as I discovered that health science was very discriminatory.  For example, we learned that the male mosquito is people-friendly and merely sings in your ear, so it can get a pass from your fly swap. It is the female you should machine-gun to death with your can of Baygon or Raid. It carries the anopheles parasite that causes Malaria.  So net the male, but spray insecticide on the female. This sexism extends to insects, eh? By the way, I kill both.

For cockroaches, use a color code instead. Brown roaches should be stepped upon or smacked with your ‘silpas’ or shoe. However, stay away from the white ones which could cause leprosy. Heaven forbid if the ‘water’ from their insides touched your skin as you tried to swat one. Just go to your village to give them your burial date. So there is also racism in the cockroach kingdom, eh? Kill the brown skins and spare the oyibo roaches. Doctors and biologists, please explain o.

And what about scorpions? Run away from all of them whether black or white.

I built a tolerance for drugs, addicted to the medicine/
Now hospital emergency treat me like a fiend/

Prodigy (You Can Never Feel My Pain, 2000)            

A Letter To Our President (And His Wife Too)

 

Dear Mr. President, tell me what to do

In a 1999 Nollywood movie, which name I cannot remember now, the opening credits featured a song that struck a chord with me and which I never forgot to this day. The first line of the lyrics went “Oga Obasanjo, when you reach Aso Rock….”

It was basically an appeal song by a tortured but hopeful soul in touching pidgin English, to the then newly elected President, OBJ, asking him not to forget the masses when he assumed office, and further outlining measures he should take to improve the socio-economic situation of our dear country.

If only the singer of that song knew how good we got it then relatively; OBJ went to Aso Rock, and nearly transformed it into Olumo Rock, choosing to make a fortress out of the presidential villa by seeking a 3rd term. He was later banished to his chicken farm thankfully.

More than ten years later we are still singing the same tune.  Now we are belting it out, while using spoons to create a beat on our empty plates, in NEPA induced pitch darkness, cowering from religious bigotry, kidnapping and a the new threats of bomb attacks.

Any Nigerian on the street could outline what areas of the country need our new President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s urgent attention – power generation, security, job creation, the Niger Delta question etc. History has taught me that when we clamor for certain things from our government in Nigeria, we get something radically different.

As for me, I believe that everything we require the government to take action on can be summarized in 3 simple words – Bread, peace and freedom. By bread, I mean food on every Nigerian lunch table and the development of agriculture. Peace refers to the Delta militancy, the rise of religious bigotry, kidnapping and the breakdown of law and order. By freedom, I am talking about socio-economic emancipation, a truly laissez faire economy with state and individual rights so that businesses can boom, and entrepreneurship and private enterprise is encouraged. My own list below touches the little things, the economists, the opposition, social critics, government watchdogs and political lobbyists fail to pick up on.

I have decided, like any long suffering Nigerian citizen to voice my grievance and draw up a list of things that GEJ must take care of during his 2nd stint in power. I have decided to draft a letter to the president, and copy his wife Ms Jonathan. We too, need shelter from the rain under the national umbrella. Maybe my list is better off under my pillow, with my broken tooth, as I wait for the tooth fairy.

  1. The government should provide free milk to young kids at school.  I grew up a Samco and Ribena baby in the 80s, and this has shown in my orobo build today. The situation has changed as Nigeria tethers on the brink. I was in the east some years back, and witnessed a toddler in being fed unapologetic akpu (fufu) for breakfast! He also had that for lunch/dinner as well. Sadly as a result, he never grew taller than M.I. as he is in his teens now.

 

2.       Aso Rock should be reconstructed so that at least it should be accessible to the public, at least for viewing. Pardon the use of irony, but Aso Rock should not be more than a stone’s throw from the main street in which it     is  located on in Asokoro. Government should be visible to the common man, and every Nigerian should be able to point physically at the apex seat of the executive arm of Government; Martin Luther King once staged a March On Washington, all the way to the White House. We should be able to match on Aso for peaceful demonstrations. We would also like to have excursion trips for kids to Aso Rock. Heck, we could even have a hit TV series based on Aso Rock, like The West Wing was for the White House. We could call it the North Wing, or the South-South Wing. And Jim Iyke would play the president – I know he would love that. Now if only we could just see the damn place!

3.   The ingredients and nutritional content of all food products made and sold in Nigerian should be listed on the product wrapper itself.  Yes that includes pure water sachets. Though I fear that I may not like what I may find –      H2O, dirt, particles, the worker in the pure water plant’s hair, salmonella, everything – 200 calories. On the flip side, you may not really want to know what animal some of the suya you eat is from. Ignorance may be bliss sometimes.

4.  Do something urgent about potholes, road infrastructure, flooding of rivers and over flow of lakes and erosion problem in many parts of the country. By the way Mr. President, could you build a 2nd Niger Bridge across Asaba and Onitsha? When I was a kid, taking road trips to our home-town in the east during Xmas in our family car,  whenever we crossed the Niger Bridge, I and my siblings used to recite the names of all the major rivers in Africa, in a famous kids song at the time “Nile, Niger, Benue, Congo, Orange Limpopo, Zambezi.’

Now I could just imagine that if I took kids of today, and they decided to do the same they would sing clueless about the bodies of water  ‘Lagos canal, flood behind my house in Lekki, lagoon near National Theatre…’

5.   Ban NYSC or revamp the youth service program. The sad deaths of youth corpers lynched during the recent elections should be the final nail on the coffin of this monolithic program. NYSC does have some merits though but it should be about security of life first. During service, I saw some of the worst examples of corruption, ‘tribalism’ and nepotism in our dear nation.

First of all, the leader of our platoon misappropriated the bulk of platoon money in his care on beer and cigarettes at Mammy Market.  Then just before the bonfire night, the Yoruba and Ibo girls in another platoon fought about who should cook the rice given by the Commandant and Zonal Inspector to each platoon to celebrate the bonfire night.  The Ibo girls spitefully said that they do not want ‘ofe mmanu’ (oil stew), as a racial slur towards the Yoruba girls. The Yoruba girls retorted that the Ibo girls would cook mass-production ‘rice pottage’, as Ibos normally do. The boys in the platoon intervened, and so all the girls decided to prepare the meal together.  I am sure you have heard the saying that too many cooks spoil the broth – these ones murdered it. The outcome was mass production rice pottage floating in a sea of oil. Corpers still chopped it sha.

In its place, a program should be created where youths who graduate have the option of working on huge Federal funded modernized plantations and dairy farms growing food and cash crops. Here, we can solve the unemployment and food problem in one fell swoop.

The government should keep the NYSC anthem, by the way. I loved that song – ‘Youths obey the clarion call, let us lift our nation high…..’ *Sing with me*

6.  Abeg Sir GEJ, create a Social Benefit plan for older people in this nation. My grandmother until recently when age overwhelmed her at almost 90, had to fry and sell groundnut in the village to supplement her income. We her grand-kids do chip in as well, sending her favorite crates of Guinness Stout and provisions to her in the village. She is of the opinion that very bitter things absolutely prevent diabetes and sugar build up in the body, so she drinks stout like water. She also likes watching wrestling – bless her. Many old people are not so lucky in Nigeria.

7.  Outlaw child abuse and hawking. About two years ago, I was driving back home from work  in very slow Lekki traffic around 6.30pm, when I saw this kid of no more than 8 or 9 crying loudly on the side-walk. You know this type of cry where the person has his mouth open, with snot dribbling down his nose.

8.   For some reason, I felt very worried, so I wound down my window and asked the child what the matter was. Pointing to his sparse tray of 3 oranges, he explained that he had run to make a sale to a customer in a car, and by the time he had returned to his tray of oranges, someone had stolen all but three. He was wailing because he was afraid of what his guardian would do to him if he came home without the full amount of money for the sales. I asked him how much he would normally make for the whole tray. He replied N250!!! I then gave him N400, and told him to go straight home.

Relieved and very thankful, he took it. As I drove off, I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw that he just moved to a spot further down the road, to keep on selling the remaining 3 oranges. My heart bled for Nigeria that day. How could N250 (1 British Pound or $2) make a child cry like he had just been beaten up. His mates in developed countries are probably surfing, roller-skating or at home playing video games on Xbox Live with their friends.

9.  Government should promote measures that foster unity and neighborly love among different ethnicities. The recent riots in the North really sadden me. Abroad in some neighborhoods when a person moves in, your next door neighbor comes over with muffins, pudding or a steak/kidney pie and welcomes the new person to the neighborhood. I dream of a time when we could do the same. I can imagine a Fulani man moving in to a street in Warri and an Urhobo woman taking over Starch and Palm-nut soup to introduce herself and welcome him to the street.

Or maybe, government should give a tax exemption and a stipend to couples who inter-marry from different ethnic groups. If say, an Efik man marries an Itshekiri lass, they should get some cash payment or tax holiday from the Federal Government. I swear if that happens, I would just ‘manage’ Tiwa Savage and Omowunmi Akinfesi as my 2wives. Munachi Abi can wait.

10.  GEJ, please encourage and promote the production and exportation of local produce. If Nigerians can learn how to ‘package’ our products in a decent and marketable manner with ace quality control, the sky would be our limit. When I was in England, I had 2 oyibo girls ogling me for jollof rice during lunch. They also loved chin-chin too, whenever I brought some to work, like wow it is so crunchy and tasty!

I can imagine Nigeria producing and exporting canned moi moi spam (in a corned beef type tin), Kellogg’s Ijebu Garri with Nuts Cereal, Uncle Ben’s Ofada Rice, Campbell’s Ogbono Soup, Kilishi Beef Jerky.

11.  Finally Mr. President, you need to do something about the learning and spread of Nigerian languages and culture. In Lagos, many young people speak  English with a phony Lekki-British accent, but cannot say a word or write a sentence in their own dialect. Even pidgin English now sounds very funky and is loosing its ‘pidgin-ality.’ My Waffi roommate in University used to say ‘Abeg, make you give that radio bele’ (meaning please turn up the volume on the transistor radio).

Now I hear polished pidgin on the radio and in general conversations, like No mago mago; no wayo o. Or ‘abeg free me jor’

We had the Goethe Institute promoting German language and literature in Victoria Island some years back; why can’t we have a Benin Institute in say, England. Edo culture is so rich, that it should be up there with the best.

Our languages should not be left to go extinct. I was at a wedding a good few years back where the 2 fathers-in-law went at each other hammer and tongs when it came to the time for presenting and breaking of the kola-nuts at the start of the reception. The father of the bride wanted the reception proceedings conducted in Igbo language as the couple were both Igbo. The father of the groom disagreed as he preferred English, and the two of them grabbed furiously at the microphone. It nearly descended into a food fight, but Nigerians would never waste good chicken wings by tossing them at someone in anger.

The hot exchange between the 2 fathers had gone something like this:

The father of the bride – This is an Igbo gathering, so Igbo should be spoken. Igbo kwenu!

The father of the groom – People of different ethnicities are gathered here, and it would be unfair to alienate them. Besides this venue is in Lagos, so do not turn this reception into your village meeting.

The father of the bride – You are not a true Igbo man. You better remove that red cap and Isi –Agu tunic you are wearing. Any fool will tell you that the kola nut does not understand English or any other language but Igbo’

The father of the groom – See your head like isi-ewu. The kola would not understand your bad grammar either.

Well, at least we the audience learnt a few Igbo expletives that day.

I admire Yoruba movies for trying to promote the language by making the dialogue itself Yoruba and using rich proverbs. Movies like Omo Ghetto and Jenifa come to mind. Game shows of the past like Tan Mu O did well even though I did not understand a word.

But I have a problem with the translation in some of these Yoruba movies. I know Yoruba people are quite chatty, but please explain how in a movie dialogue, an actor speaking Yoruba would rant for about 4 minutes saying something like ‘Ni to ri na, mo fe ka wa lo si ile to gba lo si ya agba tori kpe…”

But the translation would be a very short sentence “Ok we will see later”

 

I tire oh.

What do you think, and what issues would you include in your letter to President GEJ?

I‘ve been born to represent, for that I’ve been heaven sent/
And I meant, every word, in my letter, to the President/

2Pac (Letter To The President, 1999)

 

* Picture courtesy of http://www.nigeria-anew.blogspot.com

Nigeria at 50 through the eyes of a concerned Nigerian

 

Look, we ask ourselves these questions when the answer is staring us in the face. Politicians don’t want any change! They are very much against it. I was thinking about our nationalist icons who at very young ages had that fire not just of patriotism but also the spirit of Nationalism.  

I have seen messages where people have called others who question what the nation should be jubilant about, unpatriotic. Should we be blindly patriotic or should we celebrate mediocrity? The resources that we abundantly possess can take us to the next level; it can guarantee the future of generations unborn. But, no! Our leadership has failed us on every front – roads, electricity, security, water, jobs, education, health etc.  

I will not spoil the moods of those celebrating, but they should not call others who care, who can reflect unpatriotic. These “unpatriotic” people think not of today but tomorrow; generations who won’t have the little luxuries we have today which makes us sit in our comfort zones and think it is all peachy.  

Yes, we are still united as a country and that is so because we as citizens have chosen to be one.  

However, the need to do more is of necessity – the need to demand a change.  

The very definition of a government by the people, of the people and by the people should reflect in the actions of our government towards its citizens.  

We demand basic good socio-economic infrastructures as the barest minimum. We can afford it! We should have it! We demand jobs for our graduates, policies that will ensure non graduates have a source of livelihood, proper utilization of our resources…. It is not too much to ask that we have trained teachers at all levels, schools and universities running all through the academic year, nurses and doctors in hospitals, kids in school.  

Is that too much to ask of a nation at 50?  

   

When will I finally get to rest? Through this suppression/  

they punish the person that’s asking questions/  

And those that possess, steal from the ones without possessions/  

The message I stress: to make it stop study your lessons/  

Don’t settle for less – even the genius asks questions/  

Be grateful for blessings/  

Don’t ever change, keep your essence/  

The power is in the people and politics we address/  

Always do your best, don’t let the pressure make you panic/  

And when you get stranded/  

And things don’t go the way you planned it/  

Dreaming of riches, in a position of making a difference/  

Politicians and hypocrites, they don’t wanna listen/  

 Tupac (Me against the world, 1995)