I DON HAMMER ONE MILLION DOLLARS O!!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

More than money saved, I wanna save children/

Common (The 6th Sense, 2000)

 

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)

 

Akwukwo Na Tu Uto (Literature is sumptuous)

Image

Knock, knock!

Na who dey there?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Esco began work on his memoirs…..

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Trivia: Omotola or Genevieve? Answer: Yvonne Okoro…

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

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

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

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

Nas will prevail/

Buy the book when it’s up for sale/

Nas (Rest of My Life, 2004)

How To Spot A Runs Girl In 365 Days

 

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

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

____________________________________________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

Nas (Black Girl Lost, 1996)

These Nigerians In My Office Sef

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

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

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

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

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

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

Form Activist’s PC was switched off.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then suddenly the other phone started ringing again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eh? Kilo wi?

5.  THE IT MAESTRO:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remi avoided Segi like Boko Haram States after that.

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

The Office (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latecomer: Err…actually sir…

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

Busted!

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

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

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

Watch out for Part 2.

THE SIDDON LOOK CULTURE: JUNGLE JUSTICE & THE BRAVE 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOOOKPA!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Most of us only care about money making/

Selfishness got us following our wrong direction/

Wrong information always shown by the media/

Negative images is the main criteria/

Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria/

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

Whatever happened to the values of humanity/

Whatever happened to the fairness in equality/

Instead of spreading love we’re spreading animosity/

Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity/

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

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

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

Got to keep my faith alive till love is found/

 Black Eyed Peas (Where Is The Love, 2003)

STATE OF THE (DIS)-UNION

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

So how do I start? Oh I know:

Fellow Woah-Nigerians,

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2.      KIDDIE MISSION 101

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

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

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

 

3.      LAWAN FAROUK AFFAIR – UNDER RUG SWEPT?

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

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

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

 

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

Maybe this belongs in the “Kiddie Mission” category.

 

419 QUESTIONS

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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