Please Don’t Kill My Vibe

When knowledge is distorted, violence is resorted

When knowledge is distorted, violence is resorted

Being a public figure in Nigeria requires one to be thick-skinned. Like bokoto that just would not go tender when the heat is on. A life of celebrity in our dear country is a calling for those who strongly desire fame, adulation and fortune, above the scrutiny and invasion it brings.

Trolls (see definition below) have been winding up celebrities, since the days of Mungo Park. Let us start with 1995.  Video jockeys Keke-Kenny and D-One used to host a music request call-in program on Raypower. This was during the “It is a Fubu, mehhn” era.

A listener called in, garnishing the hosts with faint praise “I like your show. You two remind me of my two favorite American acts…”

“Thank you o. Which ones?” Keke inquired, with a prodding eagerness in his voice.

“Beavis and Butthead!!”

The radio duo retaliated with curses on the mischevious caller, and then cut him off, as the program went to paid adverts.

Years later, there was a night-time movie program on DBN TV channel called “Night-Shift”, where callers could nominate a movie out of a line-up which was then aired based on votes. It was a very popular program, as the movies showed were new box-office hits, and it was either that or a struggle to find that movie to rent at Video-Mart. Some new blockbuster movies required “man-know-man” connections before you could locate them for rent. So the “Night Shift” was a welcome alternative.

Two different presenters alternated hosting responsibilities – a pretty dark-skinned lady named Eva, along with a showman type dude called Galilee.

Some mischievous callers made Eva and Galilee’s work hellish.

One criticized Galilee’s ankara shirt, and safari suit fashion choices on live TV, causing him switch to up the next day. He looked crestfallen the next day.

Another caller tried to chat up Eva on live TV too, by telling her she was kinda cute and asking for her phone number.

Then another day, a caller phoned in. He was trying to get fresh with Eva, but she stayed professional, and started outlining the choice of movies: “We have a nice line up today. You have a choice to vote for one of the following movies: Armageddon, Con Air, Face/Off, Air Force One, Enemy of the State. Make your choice..”

The caller’s choice was exact “You.”

Trolling in the context I am speaking about is sending a barb in a public forum to a public figure, with the intention to ridicule, humiliate or draw the subject into an unsavory reaction. Some trolls get a kick out of getting a rise out of celebs. These days, it is more usual on the internet, and is a virtual form of winching someone. It is the physical equivalent of poking an animal at rest with an electric prod. Unwell-wishers from your village send otumokpo, or jazz your way if they are not pleased with your stature in life.  Trolls send an electric electronic comment to your Instagram page or a Tweet fit for a twat.

Trolls used to do it in person, back in the day. I was once a show at Lagbaja’s Motherland at Opebi Ikeja where comedians were performing. One guy from the crowd tried to heckle Ali Baba, the grand guru of Nigerian stand-up comedy when he came on stage, by yelling “Baba, abeg go chop shit jare! You no funny!”

Babanla mistake of life. Ali Baba faced him squarely, and finished him with yabs. The heckler was soon moved to tears, and even the crowd pleaded on his behalf, like “Ali , e don do, abeg leave am” I muttered under my breath “Ali bomaye”

With advent of online forums, the widespread use of the internet, and the popularity of smart phones (which makes some people do un-smart things), almost anyone has access to online media content. At the drop of a hat. Or at the re-charge of a phone. The flipside of that is that everyone is seeing everyone, everywhere and in every way. Celebrities or those in the public eyes are just one “Iphone send-button” away from a reducer, an insult or unwarranted criticism from viewers operating under the cloak of anonymity or from a social media account created just for that sole purpose. Sometimes an amebo who knows the celebrity personally may choose to reveal their life-story on a social forum even though the celeb has not appointed anyone to commission an official biography. And boy do we lap it up. Stories of alleged runs-girlism, or adulterous rumps or bankruptcy are shared about the public figure, some of which are frivolous at best.

Anyone with wifi connection could tell you what Buhari wore last week, or how many Boko Haram fundamentalists were slain in a counter-attack by the Nigerian Army, or where Tiwa did her baby shower, and the amount of grains in each sachet of the Koko Garri D’Banj launched last year, You get the feeling that some people set out to trip up those in the public eye. It is a sport, and you need not show your face.

And celebs react in different ways. Some face their detractors head on, like Sallah rams at war. Some ignore the trollish behavior. Some seem to court it, as infamy is still a form of fame. Like the fire needs the air, I won’t burn unless you are there.

A certain mixed-race TV presenter whose first name rhymes with Oleku, has to be the most dignified celeb in Nigeria. Oleku put up a photo of herself on Instagram and one abuser criticized she had no breast and no bakassi. Her response was dignified like “Really bruv?” It was uncalled for – just like flashing someone

Other celebs react like a cornered catfish if you drop a bad comment on their social media page. One famous video vixen whose first name rhymes with Sunita really dishes it back immediately with blind fury like a blindsided buffalo. Like, your papa! She does not hesitate to decend into the arena if a follower tries to come at her sideways.

If it is a criticism of their professional work, then maybe it is fair enough and should be aimed at them at their area of operation ie a stage, football pitch etc. If for example leave a comment on his Instagram page that, Dr Sids “Chop Ogbono” tune has no draw (no pun intended), is that taking it too far?  On the flipside, if you complain about the way Davido screws his face up when singing, like he is trying to extract juice from a dry orange, is that a legit criticism of his craft, or does that go too far? Is a celeb fair game for any kind of verbal attack, since it is part and parcel of their profession?Personally I feel it is putting bad karma out there.

Maybe it is best to have a therapy session in the comments, where you let it all out for all posterity.

No matter who you be, dem must to talk about you/
Dem go sit down for corner just dey dissect you/
They analyze you/
Some of them go criticize you/
Some of them go idolize you/

M.I. featuring 2face Idibia (Nobody, 2010)

Ooh Child, Your Friend Has Got To Go

Make yourself at home.... in your own home

Make yourself at home…. in your own home

My street on after-school evenings was like a mini-PDP rally. Children of primary school age would hang out on the street playing “catcher” and “freeze-tag”, until our mums called us in. Fear of gbomo gbomo was real, but so was the fear of an ass whooping for staying out late.

All the kids old enough to walk came out to hang and play. There were the BMX vs. Chopper vs Raleigh bicycle wars where we raced for bragging rights about which was the best brand. Some of the younger kids played “mama and papa” games where they pretended to be married and made “soup” out of garden leaves, and eba out of sand from the sand pit at the end of the street. That is how I kissed my first crush at 7, a pretty young thing by the name of Felicia.

Our street lights sparked the Lagos night. A few gluttonous kids busied themselves aiming slippers at the ripe almonds (popularly known as “fruit”) hanging from the tree of one the neighbors Mr. Onwubiko the neighborhood sadist. The juiciest fruit always seemed to hide at the top of the tree, out of reach, and out of bounds. He would run out of his house waiving the cane of life and the kids would scramble in different directions, like a babalawo’s cowry shells. On Friday evenings, brutish older kids from the adjacent rougher suburb showed up with catapults which they used to hunt agama lizards almost to extinction. In their own neighborhood, they raced old bike tire rims for pink slips – whoever won kept the loser’s tire rim, thereby condemning the victim to many evenings of dulling. These brutes tried to bully kids from our street, until we met fire with fire with our water guns. It was a medley of childish fun.

However the kids of one particular neighbor Apostle Nimrod never hung out.  They lived in a bungalow at the corner – a family of Apostle and his wife, and two sons and a daughter aged 5, 7 and 11. One would see them moping from behind their fence, martialed by the eldest one, who deterred them from breaking bounds. Some other kids tried to beckon to them to join our din, but they would not dare, even when their folks were not home. Apparently Apostle forbade them from mixing with “those children of the world.”

One day, the middle child out of Apostle’s kin struck a conversation with me, over by her fence. She was my age – a dark-skinned, inquisitive cutie named Modupe. Her hair was neatly plaited in rows of the “periwinkle” style that reigned at the time, with shining white teeth that could make her the poster-child for Pepsodent. She liked my junior parole, and introduced me to her brothers.

Soon, I was chatting with them over by their wall every evening during playtime. I brought over comics, toys, drawings I had made, and entertained them with stories about the latest episode of Voltron, G-Force or the Kunkuru Puppet Show. It was not long before they invited me over. I had a slick mouth as a kid especially when I went on a charm offensive. I scaled the fence, and entered their house.

From what I could see, their parents were strict followers of a Bar Beach based fellowship and had groomed them to be fundamentalists. They were not allowed to watch daytime TV and had never seen Sound of Music, Storyland, Speak Out or Sesame Street.

I made myself at home, and lay on the floor, drawing a Voltron comic on an exercise book I had brought with me, while they watched in fascination.

Then we heard the blare of car horns – their folks were back 40 minutes earlier than usual. Everyone panicked. I ducked and hid under the dinner table. Their dad came in and then he paused. He seemed to sense that there was an illegal immigrant in his home. It wasn’t long before he had sniffed me out from under the table, like the UK Border Agency. As he quizzed the eldest child to explain why he had let me into the house, and threatened brimstone, his attention was caught by a sheet of paper lying under the table. It was a drawing of a robeast. He almost fainted. He tore the drawing into tiny bits of paper, enough to make confetti. He turned to his eldest son, and shook him furiously like a palm-wine calabash, blaming him for flouting the no-visitors rule.

Turning to me, I was declared persona non-grata forever. I did not wait to be told to take an exit. I bailed the hell out of Dodge, grabbing my book of Voltron drawings and crayons, as I breezed pass their mum at the door. Apostle had seized the red crayon. SMT.

The over-strictness and overbearing nature of some parents invariably drive their children into a life of indiscipline, promiscuity or disdain for authority. Some of the most unruly people I know had very strict controlling parents, and they ended up lashing out against the school and then society in their adult years, as way of rebelling against their lack of a fair childhood.

There is also an opposite extreme, where parents over-smother their kids with affection, spoiling them and not giving them a certain independence required for the child to come into its own.

I guess an analogy can be made between parental smothering and the overbearing nature of the Nigerian State. Our motherland has to create a system give its citizens room to breathe and take on the world.

There is a fine balance to be struck between sparing the rod, or putting the child in a vice-grip. My folks were fairly easy going about friends and associate coming over to visit. Their thing was – they had trained me to be a good judge of character, and they trusted me to make the right decisions. Like, it is your house too – if you like, go and invite an armed robber or an axe murderer in.

I Have Exam Fever


Failure is not an option; or optional question

My law school final exams are perhaps the most difficult exams I have ever taken. There was so much material to cover, and some of the subjects such as legal drafting and conveyancing were a bit technical.

It didn’t help that the auditorium had been very hot during the classes as the Abuja sun blazed, and many lectures had turned into a fan swinging contest between students. Some hot chicks (no pun intended) undid 3 or 4 buttons on their shirts, as they struggled to cool in the heat, creating a free show of cleavage for some pervs sat some rows above. Those sat below saw bush too.

During the exam period, the campus fellowship was filled to the rafters. People who pre-exam, had spent most of their evenings and nights at the mammy market drinking, smoking or trying to snag chicks, now thronged to the fellowship on exam nights. If you don’t know by now, you will never know.

Then the exams themselves were like a body blow from Bash Ali. I opened the question paper for Company Law, and felt like I had just eaten an expired muffin from Chocolate Royal. Sick to the stomach. The objective part of the paper written earlier had been no better for me, as I played mini mini mani mo, trying to guess the answers. I tried to think of case law to buttress my answers which would incur additional marks, but none came to mind. I looked around at fellow students around me to see if they were seeing what I was seeing. The girl to the right of me, who I recognized from carrying huge textbooks and compendiums, had a dead eye stare of confusion, like they had sworn for her from her village.

I looked to the other side of me, I saw the class wiz-kid writing furiously as he balanced his spectacles on his nose with his finger. I looked across, and I saw one of the examiners looking straight at me like “Today na today; if you try cheat eh, I go put you for corner” Naughty corner.

I looked down at my question paper and blinked; I clicked my heels 3 times, but no answers came to memory.

One of the students who was an older Deeper Life SU type, had even taken off her head scarf in tension. Oh, that is it – lifting the veil to expose the sham. And somehow more answers came to me slowly like a song I wrote. I pulled out my Eleganza biro and started writing furiously, like the Nigerian Senate hurriedly passing bills in the last days of GEJ’s reign. And I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, smiling to myself with pride in my turn around in fortunes. I could feel the invigilator’s gaze upon me, as he wondered where I discovered this new found knowledge and zeal. He even came and stood behind for about 15 minutes, just to make sure I was not cheating somehow. May your blessings confuse your doubters and enemies!

Four months later, I passed the exam. Congratulobia! The call to bar party rice my folks made was redder and sweeter than those who made distinction sef. I declared big time at the mammy market, buying beer and pepper soup for friends and well-wishers alike. Even people who had failed the exams, and had to re-sit the exams, partook of my largesse.

If you are taking exams, avoid the following kinds of people:

Folks who collect extra sheet just to get a rep – this people have no chill like a broken Thermocool fridge. They remind me of overzealous meatheads at the gym, who crank up the threadmill speed and incline, or add on additional weights to the barbells, just to make you feel some kind of way about your own fitness. But the proof is in the pudding, and in this case, the results.

People who want to discuss the answers immediately after the paper. Or go through the question papers, after the fact. Or are miserable after noticing mistakes or answers not written correctly. I dodge them after the exam, like they have been infected with a communicable disease. You see, I am different; I roll that question paper into a ball, and drop it like a hot potato into the trash can, like the Lagos Islanders basketball team. Or I sow the question paper into a junior’s life so he can use it to prepare for next year’s exam. Let that man worry about it. Once I am done, I am done.

People who spend more time getting tactics ready for cheating than they would getting ready for the exam. They painstakingly construct micro-chips, or sitting arrangements, or new tattoos on their limbs containing the answers. They remind of the PDP –  politicians who spend billions bribing electorates with bags of rice, free credit and what-not; rather than using said money or even mere millions for rural electrification programs, scholarships for impoverished communities, an act which is cheaper and would make them favorites for relection. God is watching you o.

Abeg, let me go and prepare for a case jare.

Suffering and Smiling – Everything Is Going To Be Alright

lion king

I was 13 when my family fell upon hard times. My old man had invested his fortunes in a string of ventures which ending up hemorrhaging funds, akin to fetching water with a raffia basket.

The change in our family lifestyle started with the disappearance of certain perks we used to take for granted.

Holidays disappeared from our calendar. Christmas visits to the village stopped too. We had watery beans on Christmas day one year.  My father was a nervous wreck, and had an irritable temper whenever it was time to pay school fees.

My baby sister Kpomkwem, oblivious to our predicament, asked my pops as he sat on the bedroom floor sorting through piles of bills and financial statements in the red “Papa, when are we travelling for vacation. I want to go to see London Bridge”

Papa should have replied “The year 2000-and-never; besides have you finished helping to pick the beans in the kictchen?” but being the wonderful father that he was, he reassured her saying “Very soon, Kpom-Kpom, very soon…”

Very soon never came.

Now that I am older, I realize that what people classify as hardship is all relative. Your present lucrative lifestyle of champagne, luxury whips and a mega crib in Lekki Phase One, which you celebrate as having arrived, might be the worst nightmare of an Adenuga, Dangote or Warren Buffet. At that point in time, compared to the way of life I had been used to, the changes forced upon my family at 12 constituted economic sabotage.

You know how many people have a minted Uncle, who helps, pays school fees and gives them pocket money if their own folks cannot afford to? I never had one of those Uncles. My father was that Uncle, as he was the first and only one to escape the cycle of poverty my extended family had labored under for generations. I had palm-wine tappers and rural farmers for uncles/aunts, and the only freebie I ever enjoyed from them was a sack of boiled groundnuts, during their frequent visits to harangue my pops for money. My father was the support system for not only me, my mum, my siblings but also a whole multitude of relatives, hangers-on, in-laws, leeches. So when he crashed, the food chain burned. Until they found a new mugu.  Adebayor, I feel your pain bro.

Then one year there was a majestic drop in the family fortunes as steep as the sides of Olumo Rock. My father called a family meeting in his room, during which he read the riot act. Mum stood in the corner of the room sobbing, while my eldest sister took notes as the designated family secretary. Kpomkwem stood there, chewing the comb off a chicken head, with snot running down her nose.

“Going forward, there are going to be major changes to how we use resources in this house. Nobody should cook more than two cups of rice per mealtime. Mama Esco will monitor the quantity with a measuring cup. Do not use sugar for anything other than akamu. Do not use sugar to drink garri. In fact, no-one should drink garri at all, as it should only be utilized for eba. In fact, we are no longer buying sugar in this house – the Federal Ministry of Health warns that sugar causes diabetes and other health problems.” What about honey?

My old man was not finished: “No more big name brands for groceries. Dano, Nido, Pronto, Ovaltine are now non-grata in this family. All allowances have been discontinued. Elder siblings hand the younger ones your old clothes. Youngsters, if you outgrow your trousers, cut them into shorts.”

Esco was a younger one. Sigh. I need new baffs na.

We kids, looked fearfully at each other, as we pondered about this new economic order, just like some politicians are dreading Buhari’s reign. My mum was still sobbing into her handkerchief, like Mama Peace.

My dad adjusted his wrapper knot, and twisted his chewing stick, as he changed gear to a higher speed.

“Two slices of bread per person only. No more margarine, except Sunday morning breakfast before church. Moi moi is now a vanity project as it wastes beans. Try not to invite your friends over if you know they have longer throat…”

Things really got worse. We had sustained periods where NEPA disconnected us for owing. I frequently had to do the 0-1-0 involuntary diet plan because there was just enough money for one meal. Our home fell into a state of disrepair, with ceilings leaking water when someone had a bath. I became a video technician because I couldn’t let my VCR die on me. I and siblings became like crabs in the bucket, competing for food, benefits and comfort.

Pressure builds character. Hardship is life’s greatest onye-nkuzi. People handle strife in different ways. Some of my siblings struggled to adjust, while a few took to the change like a cattle egret to rubbish dumps.

My first sister, who used to be a fashionista discovered how to get bargains from bend-down clothing at Yaba Market and still look sharp. I learnt how to eat, be dissatisfied, but resist an Oliver Twist bang on the head from asking for seconds. I found ways to make the darkness from a NEPA outage my friend, by reaching deep into my thoughts to cool and entertain myself as I lay there in the blackness of still night with the intense heat. I learnt how to jump Danfos/Molues from one end of Lagos to another, with the dexterity of a California surfer. I rode the iron horse (okada) like the Biker Mice from Mars and became a connoisseur of street food. I nearly learnt the art of not paying the bus conductor, but the fear of lynching overcame me. Learnt how to be a have-not, and not be envious of those who had bastard money. How to feel dignified in lack, and not to cower in insecurity. Suffering and smiling is a delicate art.

I also became a mathematician, as I learnt to subtract fake fair weather friends (air-conditioned love) from those with unconditional love. And divide my resources so that it stretched like a catapult.

An ex-schoolmate’s pops went bankrupt in the mid-90s, when N55m deposit got swallowed up in a failed bank. They moved from their house in VI Extension to a 2 bedroom flat in Aguda. His children changed schools from St Saviors Ikoyi to a jakande school somewhere around there. I visited my friend once after his brother had survived a mishap, almost falling into the neighbourhood well, when trying to retrieve a fami. They were feeling sorry for themselves because they went from oil wells to water wells. Their dad used to fly first class, now he was flying Chisco night bus on the weekly. He never recovered his fortune, suffering a massive stroke from worry a few years later. Very few of their old friends from VI came to see him.

In Nigeria, success has many friends, but poverty and struggle are orphans and outcasts. Our country does not operate a safety-net system or a welfare initiative like certain western nations. So everyone, no matter how well-off presently, is just one miscalculation away from poverty. There’s no middle ground, a shrinking middle class, and no parachute support from government to save one from middling penury in your time of need.

The first pain of a child is seeing struggle etched on the face of its father. However everything I went through back then made me resilient, defiant and humble. I have endured two major tough periods in my short life. The first prepared me for the second. The first was as described above, and then the other was in my adult years – a 3 year funk, during which nothing seemed to work for me professionally or personally. I appeared to have a huge monkey on my back, the size of a Bagco Supersack. My blog was born in that period of difficulty.

If you are going through a tough time right now, believe that it is only for a moment. I hope I can encourage you somehow:

  • Keep on keeping on. When you are struggling, it seems easier to go into hiding. Nah, put yourself out there; stay striving and keep networking. Keep your head up, like a plantain seller balancing a tray. Distribute your resume, share your business proposal and continue shoving your business cards into people’s hands. It will bear fruit, as all seeds do. Except for an agbalumon seed ravaged by a local champion.
  • Resist acts of desperation. It is imperative that you get your mentality right, because there is no force more unclean than an act done in desperation. Life owes you nothing; you have to work hard for your success. Shun bad influences like an ill wind that blows 2nd hand smoke. I remember a philosophical gem scribbled on a bus: The downfall of a man is not the end of his life. You will soon rise again, like the rate of the dollar against the naira

Lord willing, you will be up and running in no time. One Love.


Some get a little and some get none/

Some catch a bad one, and some leave the job half done/

I was one who never had and always mad

Naughty By Nature “Everything’s gonna be alright” (1991


mass appeal copy

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”  Ghandi


Change, and the fear of it, shapes our behaviors. Even in marriage and relationships (sorry to bring up again). The typical man marries a wife hoping she would not change; and that’s why most men are terrified of marriage. Girlfriends and mistresses stay the same mostly. Wives are likely let themselves go or become naggy, grabby, protective, comfortable – stop trying hard etc. Shallow I know. Many females on the other hand go into marriage or relationships with the hope that they can somehow change or mould the man to who/what they want. From an every Friday clubber to a family man.. From someone with Olisa’s dress sense, to a dapper dude who can be This Day Style-worthy. From a mummy’s boy to one who would take charge and intervene if mum insulted the wife. From a lay-about with more business cards than businesses, to a go-getter who would find contracts with little or no contacts. Or vice versa .Hence why females are more likely to marry a chap with “prospects” and guys mostly like “ready-made” hotties. It may be shallow to you, but please do not shoot the messenger.

Why do you think runs girls spend money on plastic surgery, butt lifters, booby holders – it is to hold change captive. Read on, this article is sweet o.

Amidst all the arguments, counters and rebuttals flying about who Nigerians should vote into office during the Presidential elections this year between Field Marshall Buhari and Oga Jonathan (as if those are the only 2 candidates and parties), much has been glossed over. No single man (or woman) can bring change to a nation, if the populace retains the characteristics of a nwamkpi goat – only thinking of a full belly and showing a relunctant obstinacy for quality leadership. It is like the blind leading the blind. Or the one-shoed man presiding over the shoe-less. Secondly, aspirants at the state and local level are just as important and deserving of our scrutiny (or mutiny). It is no good if we appoint a maverick presido, then one’s state governor or local government Chairman siphons public funds like an ex South-South governor whose surname name rhymes with Alarm Blow Likes Geshia. You are better off in that instance with a wicked military despot whose name rhymes with Kafanchan. It is the trickle-down effect of democracy you see.

Nigerians, in fact human beings in general are scared shitless of change. We Nigerians hate uncertainties even though we are a country of wild, frightening uncertainties. A place where who you know propels you faster than what you know.  For a while in Nigeria, the only constant was that pure water cost N5. And even that changed later. Clamour as we want for it, do most of us even completely comprehend the full imports and requirements of social evolution, never mind socio-economic revolution? Or the kind of change which is required to turn this country full circle towards the light (and not just NEPA). There are many who feel that it may require the supreme sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears by everyone to put Nigeria back onto the right path. I remember people walking on guinea fowl egg shells in fright during the early days of the Buhari military regime when you either queued or observed decorum in public places like banks and bus-stops, or you were arrested by WAI corps and queued in front of a firing squad at Bar Beach. Yep, back then you could be whisked away to Alagbon (makes Guantanamo look like Sheraton Hotel) for even being found in possession of a bag of semovita in your trunk, which was mistaken for cocaine.

Are we ready for change? How ready are we for change? Yes we want bread, energy and motorable roads, but are we ready for stringent taxation so that a welfarist state is well funded? Are we ready for the erosion of constitution freedoms that security will impede to fight the scourge of terrorism? Would we be able recognize a credible candidate if we saw one, even though he didn’t come bearing vote-inducing gifts like bags of rice or cockerels, but tried to sell us socio-economic reform rhetoric? How many of us are ready to focus on issues and interests and not positions. On logic, not ethnic. I recently heard someone say she had intended to vote for Buhari until she saw a campaign photo of him without his hat on, and he looked like “tortoise wey wear cap.”Mbanu! That is quite trivial. Besides after seeing our various past heads of states adorn different head gear, like fila, bowler hat, military hat etc, the only hat we need the next president to have on is his thinking hat. Like I always say we will never put a man on the moon, unless we put the right man in Aso Rock. Esco for 2019?

Would a technocrat thrive in charge of Nigeria? Or do we need an fundamentalist chief executive who will make fearless and extreme changes. Like how Murtala used to show up unannounced at government departments and fire late-coming civil servants. Or how Comrade Oshiomole reviewed that primary school teacher’s reading skills and chided her for her errors in pronunciation.

Most Nigerians look at any reformer as an “aradite” or “aka gum”. Or simply “That man is wicked sha”

The fear (or need) for change have driven and shaped events in history – the Arab riots, the first Nigerians coups in 1966 (our national annus horribilis), the rich subjugating the poor in Nigeria, old men refusing to give youth a chance, people wanting to acquire enough wealth to last till Rapture). That way their lineage and generations unborn are safeguarded from change to an extent – poverty and social irrelevance is kept in abeyance. Apparently they have never heard of wicked brothers-in-laws or relatives who wait to usurp your inheritance. Just like the grave robbers in Ancient Egypt.

Every January, I tell myself that that that year would be our year. Maturity has made me realize that we need to self-assess first before we talk of our communities. You cannot build a nation without first constructing your moral character. So I have decided to start the evolution of self, and outlined the areas I hope to address and I enjoin you all to try it with me starting with this year. Every little helps.

  • Have more respect for human life: No, you do not have to be a reformed Boko Haram disciple to make this kind of change in your life. I find that in the past few years the typical Nigerian has become numb from seeing so many barbaric deaths in newsprints – the victims of one bomb blast, accident, mass lynching, plastered on the pages of popular blogs and online journals with their twisted and mangled limbs and innards. Sometimes we just flip the page or click on to the next fashion article just to ignore the horrific site. The face of terror no longer surprises after a while, and it makes for grim statistic that over 15,000 Nigerians have perished due to terrorist acts since 2009. Grim statistic – Boko Haram has killed more people since 2009 than Ebola did.

I am trying to retain my ability to be shocked anew. That is how you maintain your humanity and compassion. If you get shocked enough, you may be able to do something about it. Just might. Every Nigerian life should and does matter. From the most corrupt Abuja politician with an inflated ego, bloated bank account and pot belly to the most destitute beggar scrapping for a living in a remote village in North East.

My other plan is to cut off people who do not seem to respect my safety. Some years ago, before the Lekki toll roads came onboard, I once “boarded” an iron-horse (okada) in Victoria Island and asked him to convey me to Ajah. The okada rider was a speed-demon with the death-wish of a drunk Molue driver reversing against traffic. We took off like a rocket with the rider maneuvering past and overtaking cars at a break-neck speed while narrowing scraping their side mirrors. It was like Super Moto GP. I held on to my helmet for dear life.

Then at full blazing speed, this dude’s phone rings with the most ironic ringtone: “Vrooom, Vrooom!! Fire the ninja! Area father…..” Where did this funky malam download Charlie Boy’s number from to use as a ring tone?

At this point, we were blitzing past Civic center, which everyone know is an accident-prone area where a side road from 1004 flats meets Ozumba Mbadiwe. This blood-clot dude proceeded to reach into his dashiki and attempt to pull out his Nokia, while trying to delicately balancing the handlebars of the cycle with one hand. I cautioned him immediately ”Aboki, abeg no answer ya handset for main road o. Make you face road, biko

Dude did a chameleon-esque 360 turn with his head, as he faced me like the Exorcist while raining insults on me like FFK on crack “I dey craze? Wetin consine me?” Wow, I have never had someone abuse me before in the first person.

Dang, believe you me, this rider was cursing me out and still managing to maneuver through gridlock traffic while turning to face me. My heart sank to my stomach. It stayed there till we got to Ajah.

Key note – stay away from products, services and situations that do not make your safety and wellbeing a priority.

  • Be less selfish: The negligence of our government has made us self-sufficient individual fiefdoms who generate our own power, provide our security and look out for only our own. 2015 is the year Esco decides to take a better and genuine interest in ordinary people you meet in the course of life. I have become notoriously bad at remembering people’s names. As soon as I am introduced to them my mind wanders off. In Nigeria, it is especially important as we usually do not relate to anyone outside our peers on a first name basis, so sometimes remembering a person’s real name may be difficult. You call your boss or senior “oga, egbon, di anyi, sir, your Excellency”. Even when we reprimand, we do not use first names : “Mr. Man, please revise this your stupid car away from here.”

Give to the less privileged. If you are the less privileged, give to the hopeless and downtrodden. If you are the latter, don’t forget to say your thanks. Give to charity. Heck, form a Charity. Does not matter what the cause is as far as it is noble and moral. Like Movement for the Preservation of the Agama Red Lizard. Or, the Say No to Boko Haram Coalition. Or SARGE (Society Against Runz Girls Exploitation).

  • Listen more, talk less. My new thing now is keep your mouth shut Esco. Shine your eyes and ears. Look at physical cues – communication is 90 per cent body language, 5 % verbal, and 5% winch. You will be surprised what you learn when you listen especially in a country like ours where people love to prattle on and get their point across. Listening builds patience and perception and knowledge. One day when NEPA takes power, just switch off your phone, sit in the dark and listen. You will hear your next door neighbor’s true machinations.

While you are at it Esco, write more. Or no?

  • Eat healthy, exercise and stay healthy. Many foodies profess to have a sweet tooth. I have a carbon one, as I LOVE carbohydrates – rice, pasta, yams, pastry. Nigerian food doesn’t help either with calorie content or portions. The average plate of rice served in our country has more grains than the sands of the Kuramo I hear a dieting trick for portion control is to divide a portion into two parts and eat half so that you eat less. Well that doesn’t work for me, as sometimes I buy 2 meat-pies instead of one.

I formulated another trick lately. This is where you eat the healthy fraction of a meal and discard the other part, so you do not feel you are missing out on what you love. It is more sustainable. For example with Gala, I eat the beef filling and throw away the canda (pastry). Same with a plate of pounded yam and Affang soup, I just eat all the meat, fish, periwinkles and soup, and disregard the poundo. You should try it. Nigeria needs you healthy and functioning for 2015 and beyond.

Exercise. Trek instead of using your car when you can. Exercise caution too. Not everywhere is safe for trekking.

  • Learn something new, that takes you out of your comfort zone. A new software or computer program no matter how difficult. Or a different language like say Abiriba Igbo or Tiv or Norwegian or Mongolian. Or Lekki-British. Take a module or course or subject that looks difficult or would otherwise disinterest you, like Further Mathematics, or Philosophy 101. Visit a new clime. Like Ewekero or Afikpo or Ugbomiri, or your mother-in-law’s maternal village. Travelling abroad? Opt for somewhere rather than the typical Nigerian staples of Canada, USA, Dubai or UK. Even if it meant like my friend suggested, spinning a globe and stopping it with my finger and going where it landed. Do not heed if it points to Isiala Ngwa, Chibok or Syria or Potiskum. Nigeria needs you alive and healthy for 2015 and beyond.

Break the cycle of monotony. Embrace new cultures and new ways of doing things. This is the year we try to escape living a lifeless ordinariness. I have often heard that you something annually that scares you. Scratch that – try something that scares you anally. Last year I overcame my discomfort with public speaking. I just focused on the huge forehead of a front member of the audience and avoided eye contacts like crazy while gesticulating with my hands wildly. I also didn’t field questions from hecklers. Yep I ignored critics like Doyin Okupe.

I, Esco will do something this year that bloody frightens me – something not unlike confronting my flaunting local government chairman about the source of his wealth even if he rolls with armed MOPOLS. Or fly Bellview airlines internationally. Or take up Nollywood acting classes to learn Jim Iyke’s method acting. Or undertake a road trip through the 36 states of Nigerians ala the Bako family in that famous Primary School English textbook (but after the election, and depending on who wins), or set up a soup kitchen in an economically disadvantaged city. What will you change about you this year so that you become a better Nigerian?

May Nigeria and its citizenry thrive beyond 2015 and beyond!

If your life isn’t  in order, seize control

Adversity is a lesson, be composed
Above all, spread love hate stains the soul
Those with no purpose are afraid to grow
He who walks in small steps has a way to go

On the road to the riches, you are exposed to resentment

Everybody wants to eat, but they won’t do the dishes

Cormega, HOME (2014)


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)

Shant’gree Birds

It is the thought that counts - action is overrated anyway


We are in the season of love. Valentine’s Day is upon us, and its yet again that time of the year when we celebrate the loves in our lives, the sugars in our teas, the fish in our stew, the ones who take our breaths away. It is that time of the year when we celebrate the special sombori.

But Esco is not in the mood for any jagbajantis celebration of love. I prefer to go the other route and talk about those nonsense somboris who make us gnash our teeth, or cringe at their behavior. I want to talk about dangerous women in a man’s life who have caused him pain, grief and almost a certain death. All men have had that sort of woman at least once in their lifetime. I am here to talk about poisonous girls, or ‘angry birds’ as they are known. Seeing that majority of my readers are female, this post would not be popular. Heck, I may only get one or two comments.

I will be handing out this categories of girls, hibiscus flowers that I plucked from my neighbors bushy backyard. Here goes:

  • Girls who show you only one side of them, and then flip one day totally throwing you off balance. I once dated a chick who was the epitome of style and grace – to me. All my friends couldn’t stand her. Their nickname for her was ‘madame’ and that was because they said she had a nasty streak in her. Thing was, I couldn’t see it. She took proper care of me. If my car had a problem, she would come get me.  She would drop me off at night and watch me walk across my landlord’s perfectly cut lawn into my BQ, before she sped off. She typed my school project – all 5,000 words of it on her dad’s dusty Fujitsu PC. When she learned that I loved pancakes, she brought me some every morning for a month! Esco was getting fat.


She soon took over every aspect of my life. Esco was getting sprung. Soon, I was giving her my money to hold, and she was giving me pocket money. She was First Bank/ first lady/fair lady. And I was fair game.


But I noticed that other girls were scared shit-less of Madame. When I first started going steady with her, a friend of mine cried begging me not to. I couldn’t understand it. I noticed that my circle of female friends trickled until I was stuck with Madam only. I later found out that most girls were terrified of Madam and her circle of intimidating friends who were a powerful clique in the girl’s hostel. They threatened, and even once beat up another girl who was flirting with one of their fellas. This clique called themselves “The Powerpuff Girls.”


But Madam was very meek and submissive around me. If we had an argument, she would back down, and never raise her voice. Then she would massage my male ego my tenderly urging me: Babe please come to bed.

Soon Madam had Esco wrapped around her finger. Or so she thought.


Then one day, after we had graduated from school, she came to my place to visit me. We chilled in the crib for a bit, then it was evening time. I decided to see her off to get a cab. We strolled to a major street to hail a cab, and stood there trying to look for an empty taxi passing.


Then a cab was passing but it had a man and a woman inside it. Madam then muttered something under her breath, as the cab passed us. The cab had gone down the road, then stopped and now did a U-turn and started coming towards us.


It stopped a few meters from us, and the woman inside jumped out, just as the man she was with was trying to restrain her.


The woman bellowed at Madam in alatika English: “Young girl, repeat that statement you just made now. What was the statement you just said, when we were passing.”


I was perplexed. I looked at Madame, then looked at Alatika, and then looked at Alatika’s bobo who looked like he too was spoiling for a fight.


I was going to try and shield Madame, but she shoved me aside and confronted the woman head-on, eyes-bulging like Segun Arinze: “What did you hear me say? Is your ear blocked.”


In fact Madame was so angry that she had a vein popping on her forehead. You know that vein that sticks out on your forehead when you are sucking a dry orange hard?


Chukwu a julu! Was this my normally calm girlfriend. The two lasses started a hot exchange there, almost coming to blows. I was trying to calm my chick the fuck down, but she wouldn’t listen. She was really cruising for a bruising.. It was becoming like that scene from Jenifa Part 1 where the Gbo-Gbo Bigz Girl crew took on the Runs Girls crew.  People started gathering, including some people from me yard and street, along with okada riders, abokis, maigaurds, neighborhood hangers-on. The whole parole was beginning to smell one kind like badussy (butt+ ——y)


In the heated exchange, the truth came out. Apparently Madame had called the woman an “ashewo” when the cab was passing. know females are blessed with 50/50 vision and ‘blue-tooth’ ears. The woman had read Madame’s lips (don’t ask me how), as she muttered the words under her breath, and the woman had ‘commanded’ the cab driver to do an ‘automatic 360’.


Now there was more trouble – the woman’s oga was also now spoiling for a fight. With moi.


I was non-committal, like bros, if they sent you, tell them that you didn’t see me. Besides I only fight people whom I can see the top of their head. I cant see yours, so I wont (cant) fight you.


Some of the hangers-on there, managed to diffuse the situation. But me and Madame were never the same again. I had seen the other side of her, she had desperately tried to hide from me, and she probably felt exposed. By the next month, we had decided to cool things off.


Madame, here is your hibiscus flower.


  • Girls who refuse to be friends with you because you cannot date them. Mami, some girls eyes de chook now o. This used to be a male problem before. Guys only befriended girls to see if they could sleep with them. In fact I was like that once. I only kept a girl as a platonic friend, only if I wasn’t attracted to her at all. She had to be terribly ugly before I could relax and be chill with her. But I have matured over the years. I realize that not all relationships with members of the fairer sex need be sexual. There are other forms of relations to be had, except the physical, and now I have tons of hot friends, that I have remained cool with on a pure level. They are not that many, but I will get there.

However now, I find that it is girls who have that nasty streak of ‘all or nothing.” I know some girls want to marry or get a steady date quick, but this Oliver Twist behavior has to stop. I once had a female reader contact me directly, and we chatted a bit over a few days. Then she started asking for my photographs and contact details. I warned her if you see Esco, you nor go like am o. I wor wor o.

She begged me to send her a bb picture of myself. I write a blog, so my penmanship represents me. I sent a bb picture of my finger, and she got upset. Soon she got the inclination that I was wanted us to be friends, she cut me off immediately. I felt used. It is not fair o. Here is your hibiscus flower.

  • Lasses who have unrealistic expectations of men.


Sometimes, girls, and boys, but since I am talking about girls, then some girls need to ask themselves if they are emotionally mature to date or marry. No I am not asking if they have now sprouted boobs and lumps to be fondled, or if hair has now cascaded their armpits. Marriage is 80% about trust, friendship and perseverance, 15% about romance and 5% about sex. Money and in-law problems have a huge share somewhere there.


Please ladies, chill with your expectations from your significant other this Valentine season. Don’t be mad because you expected a box-card ( I have never understood why they fell trees for this waste of a thing), and your fella gave you miniature card. It is the thought that counts. I personally prefer sending E-cards. They are environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and then most of all I get to choose the wordings. And I am a skilled poet, so I can compose an ode to serenade my love interest.


So what if you wanted White Diamonds by Liz Taylor, and he gave you Malizia Uomo instead?


 I would now have to love you and leave you with an exchange between Richard Pryor’s character “Sugar Ray”  and his girlfriend played by Berlinda Tolbert  in the 1989 Eddie Murphy-produced movie “Harlem Nights.” See what happens when compromise reigns supreme:


Girlfriend:  Are we going to talk about your son all night? Or are you going to make love to me?


Richard Pryor: Why don’t we make love……and talk about my son in the morning?




Girlfriend:  Well…What if we made love all night……and then made love all morning? And all afternoon?



Richard Pryor:  What if we made love real hard for 10 minutes and drop off into a deep coma-like sleep? Meet me halfway.



Girlfriend: l’ll give it a shot.



Scene fades….


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!


No Vex


Sometime ago, my cousin who lives in England, received an official correspondence from a professional organization that I am affiliated with, addressed to me, because I had used her address as a forwarding address. It was a copy of a replacement certificate of membership which I had ordered from them at a cost off course.

Unfortunately, when my cousin was trying to open the envelope to see what was included in the mail, she mistakenly tore the upper part of the certificate. The next time I saw her, she handed over the torn certificate with an apology and a cheque for 25 pounds for me to order a replacement certificate. I looked at the cheque, and dreamed of all the things I could do with it –  purchase a new bottle of cologne (Emporio Armani Diamonds by Armani, which was new at the time); squander all of it on kebabs and chips and a bottle of wine, buy a pair of slip-ons from Clarks, load my mobile phone and call Naija, enter Poundland and buy 25 bucks worth of candy for people in Naija who were waiting for ‘Janded’ stuff; sow (or sew) it into someone’s life in Nigeria; blow it buying 2 packet shirts at the NEXT clearance sale on Oxford street; renew my subscription to 442 magazine; buy a kpanjo phone without camera from Phones 4 You, and use it as a spare phone to put my MTN sim-card; ‘repatriate’ the 25 pounds back to Nigeria and utilize it on next summer as forex.

As you may have noticed, none of my thoughts went to ordering a replacement certificate. But deep down within me, I knew I could not accept the 25 pound check from my cousin. No be her fault say the certificate tia (tear). But I was amazed at her willingness to take responsibility and attempt to make amends by apologizing and handing out payment for a replacement.

Many people in Naija would label her a mugu, and me a bigger mugu (maga) (the superlative term for mugu is maga) for rejecting the free-fall cheque. In Naija, many people fail to take responsibility for their actions. They just gloss over their wrong-doing, offer lame excuses and throw an abject apology towards the victim if he or she persists for too long. I have even seen where someone apologized, and when the victim insisted on compensation, the person retorted “Fuck you jor”.

The above example is a simple illustration but study our national life. Hardly do you see somebody hold up his/her hand and accept that he or she has erred.

Have you heard of a guy called Lawrence Anini? You have? Okay, what about Monday Osunbor? Maybe or probably not. Do you know why the name Anini would forever live in infamy in Nigerian memories? He was the Jesse James of his time – a reckless armed robber and car tif (thief). He terrorized the old Bendel State, robbing, killing, looting and pillaging. Osunbor was his side kick, and the muscle of the operations.

When they got caught, Anini the ‘strong-man’ of the Bendel State criminal underworld was singing like a tolo-tolo. A forgettable memory of the period following the capture of that infamous gang is NTA news footage of Anini begging for forgiveness from the Nigerian public. This dude who had slaughtered many innocent victims, swore that he had turned a new leaf since his capture, and would be a model citizen if released.

This nigga is talking now about turning a new leaf. But what about people you and your blood gang murdered and robbed. The difference between Anini and Osunbor, is that while Anini was pussyfooting trying to curry public sympathy, Osunbor manned up, and was ready to face the consequences. In fact Osunbor last words were for a message to be delivered to the youths of the time to shun crime and fast money. Today, the name ‘Anini’ is the definitive word for thief or rogue or ole, the same way Indomie defines noodles, Maggi means all kinds of stock cubes, once it is blue detergent powder in Nigeria, it must be Omo (much to the chagrin of Elephant Blue Detergent).

Osunbor is just another Edo surname, confined to the subconscious of Nigerian people’s memories.

And it is not just criminals in Nigeria who refuse to take responsibility for their actions. The ordinary man on the street just wants to gloss over his wrongdoings. And why won’t he? He watches our politicians lie, squeal and tell half-truths, get caught and blame it on the work of saboteurs. No Naija politician has ever resigned out of disgrace or scandal. In fact up to 2004, and I stand to be corrected, Ebitimi Banigo, a former Minister of Science and Technology is the only Nigerian politician to have ever resigned on a matter of principle. Catch a  Nigerian politician on camera with a Ghana-Must-Go bag filled with cash with his pants down being fellated by a ‘runs’ girl in a dingy Abuja hotel, and he would swear that it wasn’t him, and blame it on photo-shop.

Our everyday life is based on passing the buck. You are stuck in traffic on a hot summer afternoon on a busy street in Lagos, and someone upends your car, cracking the bumper into 2 and smashing the brake-lights.

The person gets down from his car, assesses the damage and puffs out his gorilla chest as he mutters: “Sorry o” and he dangles his keys impatiently. Some people do not even cut out their engine, when they come down to inspect a damage that was their fault.

And to him, ‘sorry’ should be the end of the matter. If you persist that you and he exchange insurance papers (if you are brave enough for kasala) or that he pays for the damage, the idiot may further throw you the only apology in the world that sounds like an insult “Sorry na!” Pscheeeww!

If it is a bus or okada driver who wrecked your motor, he may even try to prostrate, and bide his time until back-up arrives. Then you would be royally fucked.

And you are like, dude, the last time I checked, sorry never fixed a Mercedes Benz rear grill. Or a Kia Rio one for that matter.

I was in a car once with my friend’s older brothers, and we were driving into a paid parking lot on Marina when a man in his 50s was backing up from a lot and crashed into our slick Honda vehicle. The man got down, ‘begged’ and tried to convince my friend’s brother to forgo asking for a repair. The gash was really bad, and the car door couldn’t even shut. The man said that he had just come to distribute some wedding IVs for his daughter’s wedding. He then asked us to forget about the crash, and shoved some IVs into our hands, inviting us to the wedding as ‘special guests’ to come and eat, drink and be merry. The wedding reception was at Onipanu that Saturday. We were all weak.

I mean, we like red party jollof rice, but not that much. Please fork out money for our  car repair.

This happened to me, and as the guy kept on saying ‘sorry’ it was really beginning to piss me off. His ‘sorry’ just made me madder like Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the below scene from the 1996 classic Pulp Fiction. I double-dare you to say ‘sorry’ one more time

So what is it about our national psyche that makes us reluctant to bear responsibilities for mistakes or wrong-doing? I remember reading an edition of Island News where this 45 year old carpenter was arrested when neighbors caught him sleeping with his 12 year daughter, Can you believe that this brute tried to put up a defence? He first said that he only slept with her after their mum died and he needed ‘companionship’, and he only did it once. He even tried to blame the girl, by saying that the girl was dressing provocatively?! Your own daughter?  This dude should have had a stone put around his neck, and chucked off 3rd Mainland bridge, so he could swim with the fishes.

Or did you guys hear about the LASU dudes that raped a girl. Never ever once where they apologetic for their crime. Please peruse their explanation in this link, and see if you can trace any ounce of remorse or sense of responsibility in their confession.

The part that irked me most was one of the rapist’s cry that “I regret everything because it has landed me in big trouble. Unfortunately, my father is not alive to bail me out of this. Please help me beg Sandy to forgive me.

Note that he does not regret the pain and anguish he had caused the rape victim. Bail you out? We need more fathers like Mutallab’s own.

The Nigerian psyche and cultural inclinations are to think that apologizing profusely, throwing one’s self on the floor, and passing the buck to Satan, claiming that it is the devils work, shows remorse. Someone takes responsibility and doesn’t try to shirk the blame is seen as a hardened criminal. Bystanders would remark ‘This man dey very wicked o’

In boarding school, a Form 3 student was caught stealing a box of Golden Morn and a tin of Nido powdered milk. His modus operandi was that he would wait till it was time for student’s assembly, then scale into the dorms, and break into people’s lockers. The guy was caught by the house captain and taken to the school captain’s quarters where he received a thorough beating from some prefects.

As the thief sobbed uncontrollably and begged for mercy, the school captain asked him” Next time, when you see someone else’s belongings, what would u do?

He replied as he swallowed huge tears “I would run in another direction.”

The school captain further inquired as he brandished a huge scratcher (a cane made up of twisted metal hangers) “What direction?”

The thief answered “The opposite direction!”

He was released with a warning and not forwarded to the house-master for suspension, as was customary.

Another guy was caught stealing a few weeks later. The prefects gathered and flogged him, but he didn’t shed a tear or ask for forgiveness, not even once. As they thrashed with scratchers and belts, dude manned up and didn’t show any emotion. He was beaten to a pulp and then suspended.

It even starts from childhood. A kid was caught stealing meat from a pot of egusi soup, and he denied an intent. I was just checking the temperature of the soup.

Recently, my friend and his wife and kids came over to my place to visit us. His 3 year old son, Rasaki, was a bit of a brat. Remember my 40-inch Sony Google TV? This boy kept trying to climb the glass TV stand, and hold on to the television set. He tugged at it once, and it looked like it would heave over and smash. My girl was gracious and smiley, but I wasn’t finding it funny at all as I swallowed. If that TV got smashed, you could bet your bottom dollar that the boy’s kids would not offer to replace it. Their defence would be ‘Eiyaa, sorry, but he is just a child.”

I had to act fast by tempting him away from the telly. So I called out “Rascal kid, Rasaki, come and take biskit (biscuit).”

He ran towards me….and away from the TV. It worked.



To the families, I never meant to cause no pain/
I know the truth, but if you want, then I shoulder the blame/

Puff Daddy (Pain, 1997)

Andrew’s Kpali

Over-seas, under-g

One of the enduring memories of the early 80s was that grim ad where a guy named Andrew wanted to check out of Nigeria by all means due to the SAP induced economic hardships. In the advert, he was advised not to do so by another older Nigerian, but to remain and contribute his quota to national development. If only Andrew were living in these present times, he would find out that he could not ‘check out’ on a whim as was easily possible during those times.

Now, first he would have to fork out a king’s ransom to obtain an E-passport from the rowdy Immigration Office in Ikoyi. He may also have to bribe some unscrupulous agent to help him get the privilege of getting an interview date that is not sometime in 2090.  Then he would find himself queuing on Walter Carrington in V.I, after paying an arm and a leg in visa fees, only to be given a 10 year ban for sneezing during the interview. He may need to write an English test before being allowed to do his Masters in Jand. In fact, people who plan to ‘check out’ nowadays for good or for school, do not tell anyone outside their immediate family of their plans, until they are safely on terra firma in Heathrow/Gatwick/JFK airports. Some bad bele people dey beef travelers for Naija.

Some people equate leaving the country with a golden ticket to utopia. There are people who believe that once you cross the border or our hemisphere, you are welcomed to a land filled with milk and honey. You can see it in some people’s actions, though they try to act ‘normal’. I remember some years back, when I went to the British High Commission in Lagos for my student visa interview, I ran into some girl I  recognized from university. I and this girl never exchanged a word back in school because our paths never did cross like that. The girl saw me across the waiting room, and gave me a golden wink, like so Esco you are planning to Jand, eh? Me too oh.

She was called for her interview before me so she walked into the waiting room nervously. I looked around me in the waiting room, and people’s faces looked nervous and anxious, because Naija people dey fear visa interview officers.  One guy was biting his nails and cracking his knuckles as if it was a doe or die affair, and that if he was not granted a visa, his world would end.

Then the girl I knew from school, walked out of the interview room, pumping her fists in triumph. I felt embarrassed for her. The look on Nigerian people’s faces in the waiting room of embassies is always priceless. Some people hissed, while a few looked enviously at my former schoolmate, like “You are going to Hollywood baby.”

There was time at another embassy interview, that I saw someone I knew after coming out of the interview room,  and he was gesticulating widely with his palms like ‘did you get it’

It is not about the size (or length) of the visa, it was what you do with it.

Then you have the boastful loudmouths who brag or show-off about their travels on Twitter, BB or Facebook updates. I know this lass whose Facebook updates always go like this “Dubai state of mind” or “Jetting off tonite“ Like who cares?

For a good while, for many Nigerians, travelling abroad entailed either going to England or the U.S. Now there are many more popular destinations, as the world is now connected as a global village, and now almost anybody can go ‘away’ – Ghana, Canada, Southie (SA), Dubai, China, Germany, Italy (work visa program) – in fact anywhere but here.

Even the ordinary man on the street equates travelling out with easy dollars. And this ridiculous belief is shared by people who should know better. I had this place I used to go cut my hair in Lekki. It was a barber shop, with 4 barbers who usually engaged in banter with the cutting public. One of them in particular was a really flamboyant dude – he grew dreadlocks which looked more dada, he always wore some white sneakers like that, and liked playing Lil Wayne videos on the salon DVD. This guy was obsessed with Lil Wayne to a fault. He used to try dressing like Lil Wayne, even with the dreadlocks (dada), white wife-beater vests (shimi), and the bling (dog-tag). He ended up looking like Denrele instead. He even started grinning and laughing like Lil Wayne. Ha! He would rewind and play the ‘Lollipop’ video a million times and marvel at the stretch hummer, the girls and the champagne and fantasize about relocating to Yankee, where he heard that cash was easy, and that barbers earn a fortune. He usually grilled the rich people’s kids whose hair he cut for information about their summer trip to the States.

He wasn’t the only one obsessed with ‘checking out’ of Nigeria. There was another of them, a light-skinned barber called Osa. Osa usually cut my hair, because he was a better barber than the Lil Wayne impersonator, and I preferred him because the impersonator was always miming the Wayne’s songs close to my ear-drums, which is really irritating. Major Payne.

Osa said that he was just deported from Sweden about 3 months back, and it was his life ambition to return to Europe even though his passport was stamped with the deportation order.

Sweden? Before then, whenever I thought about Sweden, my mind went to Volvos, Abba, Ace of Base, beautiful blond women, Dolph Lungdren action flicks and IKEA furniture. Apparently they have a free tertiary institution scheme, which has attracted Nigerians there in droves.

Apparently Osa had travelled to Sweden on one of those schemes, but to hustle. He didn’t attend school, but hung out with some Nigerian dudes who had been resident in the country for years, and were into ‘business.’ They painted the town red, bar-hopping and going to clubs. They were at a club one night, when some people got into a fight and a girl was stabbed. Before anyone could say ‘Jackie Robinson’, the police had arrived and sealed the premises, and were checking every patron one by one. Osa was drunk, but he sobered up quick. The police didn’t buy Osa’s story that he was a student at the wrong place at the wrong time. He was booked and later deported. He had only been in Swedo for 4 months.

Back in Nigeria, he took up barbing in Lagos. He said that his family and friends in Benin had no clue that he had been deported, save for his sister. He was too ashamed to go back home and face people who were expecting ‘big things’ from him. Daft, I know.

Osa moaned about suffering in Nigeria and wanting to travel out every time I went to shave or cut my hair. I tried to advise him to try and get some education or try a business or develop himself and make the most of Nigeria. He was not interested. Bro, if you are a barber, try and be the best one you can be. Nigeria needs your talents more.

Then one day he met a white girl online at a cyber cafe. They started chatting everyday on yahoo messenger. Then the gist turned to love. The girl was originally from Ireland was living and working in South Africa, with the World Health Organization as a nurse.

Some weeks later, I was at the barbers when Osa told me that the girl had told him to come over to SA for a visit. First of all, I thought it was a scam, but he showed me the girl’s pictures, some texts and and an email he had printed out. Not entirely convinced, and fearing that it might be the work of scammers fronting as a girl to entrap mugus, I told him to wait and see if the person would ask for money or a kind of financial inducement. But nothing of the sort.  Southie nurse was as real as Yvonne Chaka Chaka..

Osa was happy. He said “I no fit believe say I would soon be in South Africa. I would go and visit Mandela.” He did not tell any of his barber co-workers about the impending trip, as in his words, make them no go jazz me. He only told the nail file worker in the girl’s beauty department, and the chap begged Osa to bring him “Umqombothi” from South Africa.

The next time I came to the barbers, Osa was looking depressed, cutting a customer’s hair. I had half a mind to stay out of what was bothering him; besides I had just barely come out of a 2 hours Lekki traffic and the smarting Lagos sun. But Osa kept hissing and sighing until it became criminally impossible to ignore him. He had gone for a visa interview at the South African Embassy some days before. And, yes you guessed it, he had been denied.

I asked him what supporting travel documents had he taken for the visa interview. He said he had taken his passport, an invitation letter from the girl,  a letter of employment from an computer sales shop he did part-time work in and a ‘souped up’ bank account statement.

So why was he not granted the visa? Wait for it, it is the daftest reason, I have ever heard. After grilling Osa on how he met the girl, why he was making a personal trip, what he does for a living, how he met the girl (to which he lied that she had come to Nigeria for holidays some months back), the interviewing officer still looked dissatisfied. The offer looked at his application, and asked him one final but irrelevant question: “ You said, you speak to the girl on the phone every day right? What is her phone number?”

Osa faced dropped, as he drew a blank. The interviewing officer ended the interview, and stamped Osa’s passport with a huge red ink. Denied.

When I heard this, I was so pissed. I told Osa that he was a moron. In this day and age, who the hell remembers anyone’s number, especially an international number off-head. That is what a cellphone’s address book is for! And due to Osa’s ignorance, he didn’t have the confidence to stick it to the man. The officer just played on Osa’s intelligence (or lack of). Some Nigerians fit fall someone hand sef.

Osa said the girl cried when she heard he was denied, and swore that she would come and visit him in Nigeria soon. But Osa discouraged her, because he wanted to leave the country instead, and besides he didn’t have money “to take care of this oyibo” if she came here.

When I came to the barber’s two weeks later, Osa had some anxious news. Apparently, the girl had insisted on coming, and was arriving in a week’s time. Osa was anxiety personified. He worried about how she would cope with NEPA, what she would eat, where she would sleep, what she would do for entertainment. In fact he worried about how he would get the cash to foot all the bills for the above.

He said that some of the “Lagos big boys” whose hair he had cut at the salon had heard his story and promised to help. One said he and the girl could lodge at his hotel for a week. Another told him to come and collect a car (Honda End of Discussion) from his fleet for his use during the girl’s visit. Another told him to come and lodge the girl in his big house, but at a price – so that they could ‘sandwich’ the girl. Osa had politely declined the last one.

I knew what it was all leading to – a plea for cash from me, but I didn’t want to indulge his crassness. According to him, he needed more money to “buy Indomie noodles, cartons of sardine and Uncle Ben’s rice, and also cash to take the girl go Silverbird, Shoprite and Alpha Beach.”

I told him: “I don’t have silver or gold, but I would give you a gem of an advice. Make you no go bankrupt yourself say you wan dey impress your oyibo girlfriend. When someone comes to visit you from outside Nigeria, the person would be more interested in eating our local cuisine and going to our own local joints. Carry the girl to places like Olaiya to eat designer rice. Take her to Kuramo beach and buy her cowrie shells. Or go to Lagbaja’s Motherland or Fela’s Shrine. You don’t need to spend beyond your means. After all she knows that you are a barber so you are not well off.”

Osa was nodding repeatedly, but I could see that my words were going in one ear and exiting the other, because he was nodding faster than I was talking. Ok o.

A month later, I came to the barbers and Osa was there. The girl had come and had left some days before. She had refused to sleep anywhere but in  Osa’s house, and made sure she ate all the Nigerian food. She especially loved guguru and epa featuring boli and made Osa buy it for her every evening. She even convinced Osa to take her to see his cousin in Benin. He showed me pictures of them together on his phone. She looked a bit like Kelly Osbourne before she had lost weight.

How had she coped with NEPA? Osa said that he would get up when NEPA took light at night and fan her with a huge raffia fan, ignoring his own sweating, until she cooled down and fell back asleep. She still sweat buckets though, but there was a night he fanned her for 5 hours non-stop.

Wow! So I asked Osa, do you love this girl? He became evasive. Later he confessed that he liked her as a person, but more importantly she was his ticket to South Africa, then Europe. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This guy is an incorrigible imp.

I did not visit the salon for almost 2 months as work took me outside Lagos, and the next time I was there, Osa wasn’t there. One of the barbers and the manicurist then told me that he had quit his job and travelled to SA. Armed with pictures of he and the girl from her trip here, the girl’s bank account, and another letter of invitation, Osa had this time crammed the girl’s number and had reapplied for a visa. He was successful this time, and quit his job, by pointing to a sharpened Wahls clipper and telling his boss where to stick it.

This just showed me first-hand how vital some people see travelling out of Nigeria.

About 3 months later, I went to Ikota Shopping Complex to do a few things, and as I was driving by, who did I see? It was Osa looking very tore up. If his situation was bad before, it looked worse now. I stopped the car, and wound down my window. He tried to duck when he saw me. What had happened? He had been deported from SA. I didn’t even want to hear the full story, as the thing tire me sef. Some impatient drivers were honking behind me, so I told him that I would see him later. His situation looked like he was back to minus one.

Nigeria is a tough country no doubt, and I believe everybody is free to travel and reside wherever they please. It was even commanded in the bible, and in fact, the one-time human beings tried to stay in one place (the Tower of Babel), they were dispersed by God. What irks me is the mistaken belief or fantasies of some naïve people that the living abroad automatically solves all their problems, or that they wont need to work hard to make it when they get outside Nigeria. Desperation sucks as well.


Esco – Now writes a blog about Nigerian life, which has now clocked over 50,000 hits. He still drinks water directly from the bottle without using a cup, watches reruns of Jersey Shore, and still dreams of owning his own online newspaper.

Lil Wayne wanna be – Still works as a barber, but suffered bouts of depression when he heard that Lil Wayne got sent to prison. He would have emulated Wayne but thought twice when he remembered the difference between Rikers Island Correctional Facility and Kirikiri Maximum Prison. He was distracted by a Lil Wayne performance at an award show on TV, and mistakenly gave a Lagos Big Boy a bald patch while cutting his hair. He received an “Olisa Dibua-esque” beating.

Manicurist – Was promoted to a barber after Osa left. Still thinks Nosa is in South Africa as is still waiting for his Umqombothi.

South African nurse – Met a South African man at the airport on the day of Osa’s deportation, and they later hooked up for lunch, dated for a while, and are getting married next month. They are planning to come to Lagos for their honeymoon!

Osa – He is abroad, but not yet in Europe. I hear that he was among the Nigerian guys held and nearly killed by Libyan guerilla fighters recently. He was disappointed because he had one more border left till he hit Italy.

For the sake of your name, oh Lord/
may we break away from the chains abroad/

Nas (Ghetto Prisoners, 1999)

****N.B: Cheer up T.B


The Jungle

Laws are a vital part of society. Without the rule of law, and the respect for it, society becomes a free for all – a wild west country with people usurping each other’s rights, and people converting their neighbors properties. No one would be safe, and there would be psychos strapping C4s and dynamites to themselves and going on murdering sprees blowing innocent people to bits, and greedy Gregs misappropriating public funds. Sounds familiar? Happens already? Nigeria much?

Well most people would complain that we have a lame-duck government. Some would hiss if you said that the government is there to serve the people. This same people swear that our country is a lawless nation with the characteristics of Mad Max country. The truth is that laws have been formulated since time memorial, and if people followed them, things would be much different. Someone once told me, that Nigerians do not break the law, they just bend it, till it becomes their intended. Splendid.

I prefer to look at the following laws recently passed by the various levels of government, and say my fair bit. Enjoy:

  • A Tenancy Law has been passed by the Lagos State Legislature banning 2 years rent. Why this hasn’t been done since is beyond me, but it is a welcome development. Landlords of face me I face you tenements demand 3 years rent at a go, and disappear into thin air without ever doing anything to improve or maintain the structure of the lettings.

When I was in college (sounds better than University), there was these fuji landlord who let out a house which had not even been plastered! It was just a structure of blocks and rods, and barely had any electrical fittings. Students were desperate for accommodation, and rushed in droves. The landlord collected security deposits as well as one years’ rents from each tenant, and then took all the time in completing the house one plaster of cement at a time. The house didn’t have doors or windows, so it looked like Pan’s Labyrinth. The tenants saw the landlord driving past in a newer model Toyota Camry, and he did as if it wasn’t him who owned the building. When they tried to approach him, to come and finish the house up, he got very aggressive and evasive.

  • Spring Bank, Afribank and Bank PHB went down under some weeks ago. Despite all the CBN’s rhetoric and theories, one thing is sure – people will be out of jobs, and customers may lose out. The CBN’s plan is to transfer asset, debts and liabilities  of each institution to a bridge bank to administer in the interim.

This may work out but most stakeholders have adopted a siddon-look stance. My father lost millions in life savings in the mid -90s when one of the quack banks of the time went bust.

It was us kids and those who relied on him for upkeep who suffered. And boy were we many. Nigeria has that umbrella effect, especially Igbos. If your father came upon hard times, it wasn’t just his nuclear family that suffered socio-economic hardship. You had cousins who even cried more than the bereaved, and villagers who drank panadol for your family sickness.

In my house, things changed overnight. Meals were the most affected. We used to have 1-1-1-1. Which is a nice breakie, a huge sumptuous lunch,  a mid-day snack and then a light dinner. Then it became 1-1-0. Then 0-1-0 finally. No wonder some people do 4-1-9 to survive.  From Satis beef sausages and hot rolls from Big Treat for breakfast to akamu (pap) without milk and plenty lumps in it at 11am.  We became vegetarians involuntarily – rice without meat. Have you had stew without tomato or a sandwich without bread? Well I did. The infamous food of champions, Benji (beans and yam in Igbo) became a staple in our house. If I was lucky and had spare change, I could upgrade to Benjamin (beans, yam and mineral). Glory be to God, none of us dropped out of school due to fees. One day I would talk about this phase of my life more in detail. Stay tuned, or buy the book when it is up for sale.

My cousins were worse for it since they depended on me dad for their upkeep.  They used to add water to egg whites and whisk the mixture so that it could go round a family of 4. The whole family shared a bedroom to cut costs. One night while they were asleep, Arinze one of the kids felt someone tugging on him. He thought it was his brother Emmanuel, so he said ‘Emma, please leave me alone, I want to sleep. I am tired.”

Emma replied ‘It is not me o.”

Arinze opened his eyes and saw a huge rat (rabbit) chewing on his fingers. He had gone to bed after eating a dinner of fufu, without washing his hands. The rat had also given him a Tyson hair-cut. It had eaten lumps out of his hair.

Nigeria, eh!  Please let us join the B.A.N.K.S (Banks Are Not Kind SMT) movement to save our economy and jobs.

  • Still on the Lagos State government, I heard something about a proposed Lagos State Ban on flogging which would make it unlawful for parents or teachers to discipline their kids, with a 3 year sentence if found guilty. I know some people who would be doing 25 to Life if that law were passed years back. I mean there are parents who seem to get a kick out of disciplining or chastising their kids in public. Back in Form 1 (JSS 1) in secondary school, it was the final day of a term, and parents were waiting near the school gates to collect their children who were boarders.

As I managed to escape the attentions of a prefect in my dorm who wanted to send me on an errand, I packed my box and dashed to the gate area. Ah, alas utopia – there was my old earth (mum) waiting to take me home. As I dragged my box to where she was standing, another student a fellow JSS 1 student, a really scruffy dude called Gozie was pulling his own belongings – in a wee Jimtex travelling bag. His father had come to get him and was looking irritated when he spotted him (Gozie).

Mother hugged me, and we were about to leave when Papa Gozie started laying into Gozie.

As he was abusing Gozie, he was looking at my mother as if to report his erring son: “This idiot boy is always in the habit of misplacing all his belongings in the boarding house? All he has left is a 2 shirts, his books, and the clothes on his back, all packed into this travelling bag. What have I not done? I even labeled all his things with his name including his uniform and boarding wear. He has lost his mattress, his bucket, his soap dish, his school uniform, some of his textbooks, his iron, his cutlery, but unfortunately he has not lost his head…” and Papa Gozie slapped Gozie venomously on his head as he said the last bit. Gozie (Headmaster was his nickname) did have a massive head that would put Timaya and Noble to shame but that was beside the point. The sound of the slap echoed around the school, and people turned to look.

I and my mum opened our mouths in disbelief. It wasn’t like my mum was a saint. It was just that she did her flogging in private. In fact my mum didn’t always have to flog me or anyone of my siblings. Sometimes she would throw her Jaguar slippers at you if you tried to escape punishment. Anybody who grew up in the 80s would know Jaguar slippers – the shoe of choice won by most Nigerian women. It looked like a cross breed between a Scholl and a Mary Jane pump, and came in all sorts of colors including blood red.

My mum’s own was like a boomerang when she threw it. You would run away from the room as you tried to escape, and bolt down the corridor, and turn left into your room, and the Jaguar slippers will make a left and right turn, and hit you. That should be child abuse now, abi? Then it was discipline and I have turned out okay. Yeah, I was flogged and disciplined as a child, and I turned out alright. I am not dysfunctional or bi-polar as some child psychologists would have you believe about recipients of corporal punishment. Balance is key, of course.

  • I am sure some of you would have heard of a recent Lagos law that if you get a lady preggers and abandon her, you would go to jail. There was an uproar when this law was first announced as critics feel that it is a moral issue which the law should have no part of. Proponents of the law have argued that  the law is there to checkmate irresponsible behavior by those who would want to take advantage of young women. While the law itself aims to do too much in my opinion, I am all for any law that prevents the wanton exploitation of innocent girls.

I mean there are dirty agbaya men in Nigeria who make passes at orange or groundnut hawkers, sometimes even in their early teens by making this sexual innuendo –laced  indecent proposal “ If you agree for me, I go buy all your gra-nut but I no go collect any.”

Or “how much na this your 2 oranges”, as the pervy imp looks down from the tray of oranges to the teen hawker’s cleavage. Imprison them all, I say.

As regards the pregnancy law, trust me the rich and powerful in our society have more to fear as they are ones sowing their wild oats about. On the flipside this may be a lucrative time to be a D & C (abortion) doctor, as this is what this law may promote.

I remember when I was in secondary school, there was this kid whose mum was one of the concubines of a very popular billionaire politician, so the kid took the politicians surname. This politician had fathered children all over the place, but he still provided for his concubines and mistresses and their kids even if they lived all over the country The man must have had over 30 children.

For Inter-house sports Day, the politician was asked to chair the event, and arrived with his huge entourage. The kid escaped the attentions of the security detail, and ran up to the politician greeting “Daddy! Daddy, good afternoon.”

The politician drew back from his embrace, rather embarrassed and confused as he failed to recognize the kid. He whispered as he inquired “Eh, which one is your mummy again?”

Live like the Kennedy’s, above the law/

Big Pun (Boomerang, 1998)