Saturday, July 19, 2014


This is a good weekend for me. I am revelling in an aha moment. Sometimes all you need is not to force something to work your way, but to find out how best a thing works. I have discovered how best Jonathan works. I have wasted the past year trying to get Jonathan to respond to my WhatsApp messages. I even tried to get his BB pin, but he wouldn’t add me. And it’s not just me. Oby Ezekwesili has been screaming herself hoarse at the Unity Fountain trying to get his attention, which earned her the title “psychological terrorist”.
However, when 17 year old Malala got on a plane and came to Abuja, I heard he ironed his best overalls with spray starch, didn’t drink, wore his prescription glasses and got all his aides to work overtime. As soon as he set eyes on her, he started talking, telling her everything, the things she wanted to know and things she didn’t really care about. Like apologising for the creases on his overall and for wearing the same colours all the time. He swore, by all the gods in the Niger Delta, that she had no reason to get angry with him, because he was doing his very best.
I appreciate this, because as long as a confession is made, it does not matter who that confession is made to. All that remains is for Oby Ezekwesili and the rest of us noise makers to channel our grievances, protests, questions, hashtags and tweets to the right office – the Malala Trust. Henceforth I will advise that requests should be made directly to Malala and copied to Jonathan. Tweets seeking the President’s attention should end with the hashtag #MalalaWillKnow. I’m not sure that Malala will have time to handle all our requests immediately. But I know one thing, when she does get round to handling it, our president will take immediate action.
After writing so much to Ebele Jonathan, I’m afraid for my career. I like to believe that I’m a good student of history. Sanusi wrote to Jonathan, he lost his job. Nyako wrote to Jonathan, he lost his job. Obasanjo wrote to Jonathan, I am sure that if he had a job he would have lost it too. For the sake of my job, I just want to tell Jonathan what we used to sing during football matches as kids: ‘Ba fada ba ne. Wasa ne.’ Rough translation: ‘No be fight.’
Speaking of Nyako, I hear that the old soldier disappeared right after he was impeached for having a monopoly on corruption, together with his four wives and children. While I agree that deregulated corruption would have saved his job, I am more interested in Nyako for other reasons. First, I like mangoes and he owns the largest mango farm in the country. And next, he was somehow able to summarise his four wives into one office of the First Lady. In fact, it has been reported that in the appointment letter of the chief press secretary to the First Lady, signed by Mr John Manassah, the SSG, it was stated that he was appointed ‘as the chief press secretary to the wives of the governor’. And you know, I want to be like Nyako when I grow up: 71 years old and still able to perform conjugal duties with four women. I am certain that if his heart was able to withstand that quadruple level of activity, then we don’t need to worry about how he will take his impeachment. But as an aside, what happens when a man upon whom four women (not counting concubines) depend on for sex, suddenly disappears? Can Adamawa afford to have that many unsatisfied women? Is this what Jonathan wants? Really?
Rauf Aregbesola has been on the campaign trail, begging the people of Osun state not to vote in Senator Iyiola Omisore, who was once at the centre of allegations in the assassination of Chief Bola Ige. I know the incumbent governor has reason to take his campaign very seriously, especially after the recent loss of his brother-governor Kayode Fayemi. But Rauf has nothing to fear. Even without uttering a word, his face and beard are sufficient campaign promises. They tell a story. And while people may look at Omisore’s face and think ‘See this big man’, they will look at Rauf’s face and go ‘See what life has done to this man’.
Apparently, 67 live giant African snails were seized at the Los Angeles International Airport early this week. The snails, which were coming from Lagos, made US customs officials panic and say that it was ‘the first time this pest has been encountered in such quantity’. Instead of sending it back where it came from, they proceeded to burn the snails alive. I just want to say that I’m disappointed in Jonathan. Of all the bad things he did this week, known and unknown, I find it most unconscionable that he would stand by and watch a national delicacy being called a pest. Why do we have a president, if 67 giant African snails can be burned to death with not so much as a response from Africa’s most powerful leader? Where are the animal rights groups that held global protests against the Chinese Yulin dog meat festival, because dogs were being ‘cruelly bound, confined, and slaughtered’? Which is worse: the meaningless torture and killing of 67 giant African animals or Chinese guys who slaughter dogs for consumption? I will send a memo to Malala on this. I trust Jonathan will listen to her.

Ps. My heart goes out to all the women, and boys of Borno still held in captivity by Boko Haram. Especially the school girls of Chibok who have spent almost 100 days in captivity. I cannot begin to imagine the havoc each day spent in insurgent camps wreaks on their lives. My thoughts are also with the bombarded Palestinians who have endured decades of military occupation, land seizures, blockades and death from the apartheid Israeli government. More especially those in Gaza labouring under the less than competent leadership of Hamas who by their ineptitude play into the ready hands of Israel and put Palestinian civilians at risk. In war, except perhaps for people dealing in arms, there can be no winner.


Let’s begin with a little definition. In Abuja, walking, strolling or jogging are terms that apply only to people who have cars. If you do not own a car, respect yourself and call what you do by its rightful name: trekking.
Everyone who knows Abuja knows that the city is built to keep out the evil people who trek. And the residents largely comply with their hostile attitude to trekking. Sometimes however, a non-car owner will need to trek. This article is for you. It is written to help those without cars, (especially those who have no idea when God will bless their hustle) retain some respect in this trekking-hostile city.
When you hang out with friends or colleagues who own cars, or go for meetings, always be the last to arrive. If you arrive first the people who come will ask the inevitable question: “Where did you park?” or the more confrontational “I did not see your car outside.”
It is one thing to labour under the harsh condition of car-lessness in Abuja, it is quite another to be subjected to the humiliation of explaining that state of affairs before an audience. You do not want to make a long speech apologizing for not having a car and having those stares of pity or worse, of shock, before watching your reputation suffer instant decline. So, come late when people are already way into whatever it is they are doing. They will accept your apologies for coming late. We are afterall, Nigerians- we invented late coming.
Leave last or first, but never when everyone else is leaving. You don’t want people to treat you like a charity case and start casting lots over who will give you a lift home as though you were an abandoned baby found in a rubbish heap. You can’t win in that kind of situation. If you accept their offers of a lift, they will give you those looks and probably avoid you next time so they don’t have to drop you off. On the other hand if you insist on taking a cab, they will think you are a pompous pauper “with nothing to show for it”. So, sneak off while the ovation is loudest and say you have a family emergency. And it will not be a lie because really, not having a car in Abuja is a perpetual family emergency. If it is a meeting, let them leave before you. Tell them you have another meeting at the same venue and you want to just wait. Then sneak away after they have driven off.
I know the question on your mind now. What if, while you are trekking, someone that you know sees you or drives past? I understand your worry. Trekking is evidence of extreme poverty in Abuja and poverty is the only criminalized state of affairs in this city. People would rather strike deals and hang out with militants and criminals than chat with poor people who trek. In fact, if you tell anyone that you are going to walk to any distance beyond a few hundred meters they look at you like you are about to slaughter a baby. There are several ways of making sure that trekking does not truncate your hustle.
1.      Wear earphones. It does not matter if you have an mp3 player connected or a phone that can play music. With earphones you can pretend you do not hear when someone you know is honking or calling out to you. Downside: this does not always work. Nigerians are very nosy and a complete stranger will stop and tap you to say: “Heys! Person dey call you!” God forbid that this should happen to you.
2.      Carry your real shirt in your bag but wear a jersey or t-shirt and sneakers. This way you can always claim that you are doing some exercise. Or that you just wanted to take in some fresh air. Downside: Because Abuja is always sunny, humid and hot, nosy people will counter by saying: “Haba, under this hot sun?” How to fix this? You can claim you have been in an air conditioned office all day and you started feeling sick from all the cold. Of course the average Nigerian is a medical doctor and they will ask if you are “ok” because we all know that Nigerians like to sit in offices at 16 degrees. You will assure them that by God’s grace all is well and walk away before they embarrass you further.
There is of course also the knotty situation of having a not so nice car. It would seem that Abuja residents judge a person with an old rickety car worse than they judge a person without a car. Because without a car you can pretend that your car is with the mechanic or you are about to get a new one but with a rickety car, there is no salvation. They won’t even ask you questions that you can provide lies to. They will judge you, right there in front of you. And there is no comeback from silent judgment.
What to do? Perform only necessary trips with your rickety car. If you have to, apply the rules above about coming late and/or leaving early. Alternatively, park about 100 meters away from everyone else so that they don’t see you coming and when they ask that question packed with potential embarrassment: “Where did you park?” you can point in the general direction of the car without being too specific. On days when you can’t do any of these, respect yourself, take a cab and tell everyone that you borrowed your car to a friend. Everyone loves people who can borrow their cars to their friends and people will fall over each other to give you a ride home.

I wish you well as you navigate the tricky terrain that is Abuja. Ultimately I pray that God blesses your hustle and you are able to permanently save yourself from the suspicion of extreme poverty and buy a decent car. And do confident things like drop the key to your fancy ride on the table when you meet people. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Reuben Abati, in his July 9 article in The Washington Times, justified his salary by attacking Karen Attiah’s satirical response to Jonathan’s The Washington Post article. I see that my political opponents are taking this writing business very serious. And so will I. 

Let me explain what The Washington Post did. Barely days after publishing Jonathan’s PR piece, they published Attiah’s satire, totally rubbishing his article. Now, there is no worse way of truncating a man’s international hustle than that kind of thing. So, here’s what Reuben Abati did. He found another paper with a similar name, called The Washington Times. Maybe he thought Nigerians would not know the difference between The Washington Post and The Washington Times. Or maybe he didn’t want another Karen Attiah satire pouring sand-sand in his garri. 

I just want to say that the Presidency chose the perfect city in America to do their PR. Because in Washington alone, apart from The Washington Post and The Washington Times, they have Washington Hispanic, Washington City Paper, Washington Blade, Washington Informer, Washington Business Journal, Washington Jewish Week, The Washington Diplomat, The Washington Sun, The Washington Afro American, and The Washington Examiner. They even have the Washingtonian Magazine. There is no way all these publications would have a Karen Attiah satirist waiting to puncture holes in their story.
So let us look at a few sentences from Abati’s article.
What is not fair, and which stands out in many of the criticisms directed at the Nigerian government, is the attempt to ignore the issues and argue that President Goodluck Jonathan is the problem. This attempt to turn the matter of the abducted girls into a referendum on the Jonathan administration has resulted in a complete misreading of the situation and much deliberate mischief fueled by ignorance and sponsored propaganda.
After reading especially the first few words, it is hard not to have the image of Abati in the middle of a school playground in shorts, stomping his feet and screaming ‘Eees nor fair!’ But then I think Reuben is right. It is not fair to blame a man who we voted in as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Head of the Nigerian Government for failing in his responsibility. It is not fair to demand answers from a man who occupies the highest office in the land and has access to all the nation’s resources. It is not fair to be upset when his army lies that they have rescued the abducted girls, when in fact they made no attempt to do so. It is not fair to be upset that no one gets punished when the government lies to us. Eees nor fair!
During the past four years, Mr. Jonathan has taken proactive steps to combat terrorism on our shores, including military, political and social actions.
Again, I agree with Mr. Abati. Let me take the liberty of listing a few proactive military, political and social actions that Jonathan has taken.
1) Military: claiming that they have rescued the girls when they had no idea where the girls were. Because even the Bible says ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue’. So claiming to have carried out an action is a natural, proactive first step in doing that action.
2) Political: claiming that the abduction was a hoax organised by the APC. Because one needs to be sure that one’s enemies are not involved before committing great military resources in a place as large as Sambisa Forest.
3) Social: enlisting the support of touts to attack Bring Back Our Girls campaigners. Because one needs to test the resolve of people claiming to fight for abducted girls. It’s a bit like a job interview. You can’t have people half-heartedly chanting ‘bring back our girls’.
Since 2011 … [t]hese efforts [by Nigerian security chiefs] yielded positive results, notably the decimation of the ranks of the Boko Haram and their restriction to the Sambisa Forest.
Indeed Boko Haram has been restricted only to the Sambisa Forest. Because the 12-hour long May 5 attack on Gamborou, administrative headquarters of Ngala Local Government in Borno State, leading to the death of 300 persons might just have been a figment of some nosy journalists’ imagination. I’m a journalist sometimes, I know my people. Even the frequent attacks on communities around Chibok and the bombing of a plaza in Abuja may be the work of a copycat. Boko Haram has been restricted to Sambisa Forest.
Boko Haram, the political opposition and a section of the local Nigerian media may have turned Jonathan-bashing into a tasteless and unpatriotic sport. It would be sad indeed if the international media were to allow itself to be led by the nose into that game.
This is such an important point to make. I wished I said it first. Jonathan-bashing must be done in good taste and cannot be turned into a sport. It must be done in the spirit of seriousness and patriotism. Anything short of this is tasteless and unpatriotic.

I must my congratulate my soon-to-be predecessor on his wonderful new catch. He was able to attract Malam Shekarau, former book-burning Governor of Kano State, to the education ministry. In 2007, I remember the zeal with which Shekarau and his government publicly burned Hausa romance novels and subjected Hausa authors to a heavy-handed censorship board. We hope that he brings this book-burning zeal of his to the ailing educational sector. Because nothing purifies as perfectly as fire. (Trivia: Shekarau sometimes wears white socks. Just putting it out there)

PS: Please do me a favour. Join me in celebrating Shekarau, our new education minister. Burn this after reading.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


If anything ever convinced me that Ebele Jonathan is afraid of my presidential candidacy it is the fact that he has suddenly decided to become a writer. He wrote in the Washington Post:
My silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness. My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation.”
I don’t blame him. I blame people like Leonardo Da Vinci who said silly things like: Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” That is why my soon-to-be predecessor has refused to respond to any of my messages. In fact you recall, even when I went to the villa, he refused to come out of his room, sending the equally silent Namadi Sambo to represent him at the event.
All of this reminds me of an urban tale in Kogi politics, where during the 2003 election campaigns, to spite Ibrahim Idris, owner of Ibro Hotel, Prince Abubakar Audu who was seeking re-election said that those who know how to sell food should stick to selling food. My reaction to Jonathan will not be out of spite. But I will say that those who know how to be silent should continue to remain silent. Let those of us who are writers be writers. He should not drag it with me. It takes years to learn how to be a doctor or lawyer, but everyone thinks they can jump and become a writer. And perhaps I should just remind Jonathan that Yevgeny Yevtushenko said that when truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.
The 2014 FIFA Men’s World Cup is the first time I have followed football closely. I have always found fanatical following of football both weird and energy consuming. However, the quality of the football and the drama have more than compensated for my time. Also, as president come 2015, I should start watching what most Nigerian men watch, if only to feel what they feel. I will resume my football atheism after the World Cup.
If I was president, I would have given the Nigerian Football Team an award in spite of their crashing out of the round of 16. Our team was undoubtedly the most contented loser in the round of 16. Whereas most losing teams broke down, holding their heads in pain or crying their eyes out, ours only stopped short of celebrating. Commendable. Joseph Yobo, the captain of the team, led by example in this regard. Even though he got on the score sheet as a French scorer, he was enthusiastically saying hello to other players right after the game, as if losing was the most normal thing in the world. God bless the Super Eagles.
When I heard that Dino Melaye had a new light-complexioned woman in his life after the old dark one left, I congratulated him for moving up in the world. As a lawyer I am trained not to draw conclusions after listening to one side of a story. So the fact that photos of his old wife after being allegedly battered by him are all over the internet didn’t deter me from wishing him well in his new upgraded hustle. I only warned that hitting the new light-skinned woman could produce disastrous evidence in a court of law. The previous dark woman claimed to have been hit with a wooden plank. She is quite dark in complexion and it was hard to tell by just looking that she was ‘planked’.
Sadly only six months after, news reaching my campaign office is that Alero, the light-skinned woman who is allegedly pregnant with Dino’s child, has moved out of the house after claims of beatings and false imprisonment. Life is cruel sha. Dino should travel home to Kogi and kneel down in the village square and beg his enemies to forgive him. This is surely home trouble. And I know that he hangs out with Jesus and all every Sunday on Twitter, but this matter is beyond that. Some spirits you have to confront yourself. I wish Dino all the best in this hustle. Perhaps I should just add that Dino has denied hitting Alero “or any other woman”.
Ps. After allegedly spending 470 million dollars on CCTV cameras in the FCT, the Nigerian government, following the most recent bombing in Abuja, advised residents to install CCTV cameras in their homes and business premises. That the Nigerian government has the effrontery to say this, without fear or shame, says something not about the government, but about us as Nigerians. Maybe we do not feel enough ownership of the money that comes from crude oil. Maybe if the money spent by government was taxpayer’s money in the real sense of the term, people might be more proactive in demanding accountability.

Ps. 2. This week in Lagos, the Nigerian army allowed its men sink to a new low. Like outlaws in an ungoverned countryside, the men and women who took oaths to protect Nigeria and Nigerians from internal and external aggressors, became arsonists and attackers in retaliation for an accident involving one of their own. It is too much to ask citizens already living in fear of insurgents under the worst of third world conditions to also live in fear of the people who should protect them. It is too damn much. 

Ps. 3. I just saw this tweeted by Pastor E. A Adeboye: "If the one blocking your marriage is an insider and they refuse to let you go, they'll be buried this year." In my mind, there is hardly any difference between this kind of violent, unkind, and not to add superstitious speech and the violence of those who kill in God's name. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Sometimes when I want to write satire, things happen which make it impossible. Nigeria is living, breathing satire and all one needs to be filled with both laughter and incredulity is to read news coming out of Nigeria. Other times one is just too sad to use any humour as is the case with this article.
On June 25, a bomb was detonated in a shopping plaza a five minute ride away from where I live in Abuja. The windows and door rattled slightly and I didn’t realize that an event that ended the lives of at least 21 persons and permanently changed the lives of many others had just occurred. It made me think. Our first reaction when a bomb goes off or violence breaks out is to call our loved ones in the area and ask if they are ok, or if they knew anyone who died. When the answer is no, we end by saying a variant of ‘Thank God’. The frequency of the bombings and killings have numbed us and forcibly reduced the sphere of our worry to those we personally know. Tragedy fatigue has robbed us of normal responses to mass deaths: demanding answers, demanding accountability, demanding security.
My friend Abang Mercy missed the blast by only a few minutes and was visibly shaken when I met her later that day. Thank God for my life o, she said. As people around the country called me to find out if I was ok, I lost count of ‘Thank Gods’.
The failure of the Nigerian state has increased the significance of the Nigerian god. If there was a power tussle between a functional government or state and a supernatural wonder-working being, then that tussle has been resolved firmly in favour of the Nigerian god. That is why instead of demand accountability from humans who get rich pretending to run Nigeria, we ask the Nigerian god to take charge, to change things, to make things better, even to touch the heart of the leaders we elected into office.
I have a quarrel with this god though and wonder what one has to do to escape being slaughtered in the middle of the night by bandits, being blown to bits by suicide bombers and IEDs or dying because our hospitals have no decent emergency care. Are the persons who die senselessly because the people who should be doing their job aren’t, deserving of death? Should we be thanking god for taking their lives and sparing ours?
I have a bigger quarrel with Nigerians who have taken power away from those being paid to exercise it and dumped it in the arms of the Nigerian god whose desk is already full of requests for husbands, children, safe journeys, prosperity, dream cars, promotions, protection from village enemies, protection from wicked neighbours and mothers-in-law and holy ghost fire for general purposes which may or may not include consuming enemies by fire. I will explain why.
The same day the blast happened I was at a debate organised by the BBC which had the Nigerian Defence spokesperson, the Minister of Interior (who oversaw the deaths of young job seeking Nigerians), the Governors of Niger and Rivers and the Commissioner for Information of Borno State. The hall was also full of young entrepreneurs, professionals and activists. Accusations were traded and especially the Minister, Abba Moro, got booed more than once. In fact two persons directly accused Moro of the deaths of young people whose lives ended because of his woeful planning and negligence. The army was blamed for being ill equipped to fight the insurgency to the hearing of the Defence spokesperson. An outsider might have seen all of this and had hope for the future of Nigeria, thinking that perhaps young people were ready, finally, to take on their leaders. But just like actors in a show, the moment the debate was over, so was the anger and rage. Young people swarmed around the same people who had borne insults minutes earlier. The villains stood proudly to receive people bowing to greet them with smiles. Of course not everyone was part of this charade. At least a couple of people continued the confrontation, especially with Abba Moro who smelled like he must have fallen in a bucket of alcohol on his way to the event.
What is my point? For as long as we keep having two faces – one for when our corrupt leaders are not looking and another when we actually meet them – these men and women without consciences will keep raping us. Unless citizens can rise up and demand accountability and not cede their powers to the Nigerian god, nothing will change. Unless first we believe that we have the power and next, USE that power as citizens, we will keep making those calls after bomb blasts. And if it continues long enough, some day we will find ourselves saying not “Thank God”, but “O my God”.

The sooner we relieve the Nigerian god of duty, the better for us. The sooner we realise that as far as governance is concerned, we, the citizens are the only gods that our leaders need to fear, the better for our country. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I must begin by congratulating the good people of Ekiti State. We all watched the elections with bated breaths. Especially as on social media the elections had already been concluded in a free and fair manner with Fayemi being declared as the Twitter winner. In fact some declared that they would have nothing to do with Nigeria should the real Ekiti people vote in Fayose in a free and fair election. However, as rice bearing both PDP and APC logos flooded the state prior to the elections, I was afraid the people would get confused and not know which candidate to vote. Because rice, when stripped naked, looks all the same. But Ekiti people proved me wrong. They proved to me that they could tell rice from rice. In the end, after cooking Fayose’s rice and Fayemi’s rice they came to the wise conclusion that only a consumer can come to: that Fayose’s rice was more nutritious. That takes wisdom. Unlike my soon-to-be-predecessor who doesn’t congratulate foes who unexpectedly win, I wish to congratulate Fayose on his landslide victory. The people of Ekiti deserve him. I will work with him when I become president.
At this point in trying to write this article, the ideas in my head are clashing with the sound of my neighbor’s very noisy generator. The only ideas that emerge now are all the sinister things I could do to stop this generator from running. Permanently. I see the hand of my soon to be predecessor in all of this. His intention is to withhold electricity so that the noise from all the generators around will stop me from thinking my campaign through and defeating him come 2015. But his plans will fail.
However, it is not my political opponents who planted my neighbor’s loud generator close enough to irritate me and truncate my hustle. It is my neighbor who willingly became a pencil in the hands of my political enemies. Because I care, I will enact legislation to stop people like my wicked neighbor from truncating the hustle of all thinking people come 2015.
An Act to reduce air and sound pollution, to provide for punishment for stupid neighbors with loud generators and other matters related thereto.
1.       Notwithstanding decades of irresponsible leadership and sabotage which has situated most parts of Nigeria in perpetual darkness, and notwithstanding the rights of citizens to seek alternatives for power supply, no citizen shall irritate or abuse his or her neighbors with the sound of his generator.
2.      It shall be an offence to cause sound pollution with the use of noisy generators.
a.      Seeing as air pollution is pollution of air, water pollution, pollution of water, the correct term for infractions covered by this Act shall be sound pollution and not noise pollution which is a nonsensical term. The only other term allowed for pollution of this kind will be aural pollution.
b.      Persons who use the term noise pollution shall be liable to frog jumps for using a term that makes no sense.
3.      It shall count as a defense to culpability if the perpetrator of sound pollution via loud generators allows his neighbor’s to tap from his electricity.
4.      It shall NOT be an offence to pour water, salt or other damaging substances into the fuel tank of an offending loud generator belonging to one’s neighbor.
5.      Persons who cause sound pollution with their loud generators shall not bring an action for damages or bring a criminal report to the Police in the event that a neighbor who as a result of being irritated by sound pollution, destroys the engine of a generator by secretly or openly pouring water or salt in the fuel tank of an offending generator.
6.      Persons who cause sound or aural pollution with their generators shall be liable upon conviction to a term of imprisonment equal to the length of time they have cause sound pollution with their generators.
7.      Heat is not a defense to the offence of sound pollution.
8.      A crucial football match shall only be a partial defense to sound pollution, capable of becoming a full defense only if such person invites his neighbors in to watch the game together. The presence of cold drinks at this event shall be an added advantage.
9.      Anyone who causes sound pollution at any time past 10pm at night or before 7am in the morning commits the offence of aggravated sound pollution and shall be liable upon conviction to forfeiture of the offending generator and wearing squeezed clothes to work and other functions for one month.
10.   Generators shared by whole compounds or estates are exempt from this Act.

Ps. Next week I will be attending a security conference organized by the office of the National Security Adviser on “Security and Development Challenges of pastoralism in West and Central Africa”. To get my invitation, I had to send my home address to one of the organizers. Do you see where I am going with this? Yes. The government people now know where I live. Just thought to put it out there.  
Ps 2. It is almost 70 days since the largest single kidnap in recent Nigerian history occurred in Borno State. What is going on?
Ps 3. The spirit of Alamieyeseigha that helped him escape London police (in the form of a woman), helped the Super Eagles escape shame yesterday and finally win a World Cup game. I congratulate them.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I want it to be on record that I congratulated His Royal Highness, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano, ex-Central Bank Governor, and ex-bow tie addict. I also want it on record that at the time of writing this article my soon-to-be-predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, has not yet congratulated the new Emir. And if there is any reason you should be suspicious of Jonathan come 2015 it is that a man who cannot even fake happiness for his neighbour’s success is a man you should be afraid of.
Many others have congratulated the new Emir of Kano. One of the first to do this was the unofficial Emir of Twitter and ‘certified ruffler of feathers’, Nasir E-lrufai. (I hear Nasir wants to be governor of my state and hasn't even thought to tell me- I will deal with this another time. Today is for another diminutive man.) But while Malam Nasir might be ecstatic about his friend Sanusi’s ascension to the throne I am not. Please be patient while I explain.
When I become president I would have to take off my shoes in his palace. If there is one part of my body I am self-conscious about (apart from my newly acquired beer belly), it is my feet. Not that my feet smell when I take off my shoes. (Ok, yes my feet smell, but that is not the point.) I lost all my toe nails growing up so if you took a picture of just my feet, you could swear they belonged to a seventy year old man. In fact I used to avoid houses where I knew I would have to take off my shoes (before I discovered socks, that is).  
Sanusi’s ascension to the throne has put a lot of people out of business. Of these many people I am most concerned about the person who used to sell him bow ties. One day the man was supplying dozens of expensive bow ties, and in one act of Kwankwasiyya rebellion, this bow tie dealer has to find something else to sell. Think also of the many young professionals and persons who began wearing bow ties because Sanusi made it fashionable. In fact, as a former critic of bow ties myself I can say that pre-Emir Sanusi cured me. I used to say that bow ties should only be worn by waiters and for special dinners. No one can tell the full impact of Governor Kwankwaso’s act of rebellion on Nigeria’s bow tie economy. And with the recent rebasing of our economy that made us leapfrog into first place ahead of people with better electricity, roads, healthcare, schools, wines, and vuvuzelas, the sudden deletion of bow ties from our national life is a threat.
However the least Jonathan could have done was send a congratulatory message. He could have called me to accompany him if he was too ashamed to go. Even a half-hearted one-liner would have sufficed. Like:
“Well done Sanusi.”
“Well done my boy.”
“We can’t question God.”
“I don’t know why God is doing this to me but congrats.”
“Your hustle cannot truncate my hustle, so, enjoy.”
“Enjoy your hot Emir’s regalia.”
“Good luck ruling Kano.”
“Good luck.”
I am just saying this because I don’t want to inherit an irritated emir of the largest and richest emirate in Nigeria. Jonathan should make peace with Sanusi for the sake of my presidency. I would do the same for him.
Now to the nagging issue of the passport of Emir Sanusi. Jonathan can very easily solve this issue of him not congratulating Sanusi by inviting the new emir to go to the Nigerian Immigration office for a new international passport in lieu of the one seized at Kano International Airport in May. Jonathan can say that they want to take a new photo of him with his turban because it is a shameful thing for anyone to see the emir’s naked head. This can be done quietly. Or if Jonathan wants to brag about it, he can invite newsmen and hand over the new passport himself. Because as president I don’t want to be dragged into issues of the previous presidency. I will be busy planning the invasion of a small European country.  
Speaking of traditional titles, Stella “armoured cars” Oduah was in Ogbaru in Anambra to receive the title of Ada Eze Chukwu conferred by the traditional rulers from Anambra North. I also want to congratulate her. It is not easy to go from being probed to being crowned. I wish her a long and fruitful reign. May her hustle never be truncated (again).
Ps. I have spent the last couple of weeks in Germany and let’s just say citizens will have to bear with me if in 2015 I ban sausages in Nigeria.
Ps. 2 Over 60 days have passed. The children of North-Eastern Nigeria still get kidnapped. They still live horrid lives in conditions beyond our imagination, with men who do not hesitate to kill or rape or maim. Is it too much to ask that our government stop hinting at knowing the sponsors and actually track down these funders of terror? Is it too much to ask that someone does something serious and secures the release of the girls (and boys) held by militants?

Sunday, June 8, 2014


I know. Bad question. 60% of you don’t have it at all and the remaining 40% see it only rarely. God will judge the matter. But stay with me as I explain a few things about the little electricity we have.
Ok. This one is complex. There are companies which were once part of the old NEPA that you know, broken into Generation companies (those who generate the light) and DISCOS or Distribution Companies (those who make sure the light, or darkness reaches your house). To control all these guys and make sure things run according to the law there is the oga at the top, NERC, Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission. NERC makes sure people pay the right price for electricity and that everything goes according to plan. Don’t ask me what that plan is.
You used to have NEPA officials come to your house and ‘read your meter’. They used to ask you how many boiling ring you get? How many deep freezer? And then slam you a random bill. The new meter makes sure that you pay for only what you use plus a little something called a fixed charge.
Calm down. You know that people bought over these distribution companies. The investment they make in equipment and keeping that equipment running needs to be recovered somehow. The fixed charge should not last forever. It is a little less than 1,000 naira every month because the cost of the investment is spread over many years. So it is possible that when this cost is recovered you will stop paying the fixed charge. Maybe 10 years. Maybe 15. Who knows. That is why you should live healthy and use moringa. So that you will live to see what electricity will be in future.
Yes na. Don’t you want to pay for only what you use?
The ogas at the top in NERC say no. But sometimes because it is slow in coming, some people who can’t wait for the normal process may pay to make sure they get the meter. However you are supposed to get that money back.
To distribute electricity, the companies rely on fuel- gas. Because the ogas at the top who control everything in electricity- NERC- don’t have control over gas, sometimes, they have shortage and cannot distribute the electricity they have. Sometimes, vandals break gas pipelines and this too creates a shortage.
Look around. This is not the UK. It was proposed but people in the petroleum industry didn’t want to have gas removed from their control and we all know how powerful they are. So now we have the funny situation of control of electricity without control of gas upon which electricity companies depend. Not funny at all.
MYTO means Multi Year Tariff Order. It is a system of calculating how much you will pay over a period of time. Every year, minor reviews are done based on how much gas prices are or what the inflation rate is. The major review is done every 5 years and it will take into account everything and set new prices. Why they call it this complicated name beats me. Why not just Tariff Order?
Good. You were listening. Your electricity bill is made up of a few parts, one of which is the fixed charge or wholesale charge (or the cost of generation). That charge is different from the retail tariff which is the cost of transmission and distribution of electricity. So, the fixed charge has been reduced effective May 21, ranging from 17-50% depending on where you live. This is because, the minor reviews of the MYTO showed that the country was not as bad as they thought it would be so they don’t use as much for generation. Things like inflation and exchange rate is better than they thought it would be. However the retail tariff has actually increased. Why? After the minor review they found that the “available generation capacity”, was 4306 MW. This means the maximum amount of electricity they have to distribute. Their projection was that they will have 9061 MW to distribute, which would mean more money for them and cheaper electricity because they have more electricity to sell. Now, they use the same amount of money to distribute less than half of the electricity they thought they would have. This whole story means, you the consumer will have to bear the cost of this loss. It is not your fault I know, but now they say that the law says you should pay the fair price for electricity. Basically meaning that whatever losses they make in generation capacity will be borne by you. Life is not fair abi? I know.

Well, the NERC oga has said that there is an order effective May 1, 2014 which says that if you have not had electricity for 15 days no one should charge you fixed charge for that month. If they do, you can report to NERC. How will NERC resolve this? Don’t ask me, just report first and see what will happen.

Hold on, I don’t work for NERC. If you have any questions, go to their office at Adamawa Plaza in Central Business District, Abuja – the very bad road (the worst road in the Abuja City) near the Federal High Court. Or call them +234-9-4621400. Or tweet at one of the ogas at @eyoekpo. Or email them at I would have asked you to go to their website, but honestly, that thing is not designed for the average consumer of electricity in Nigeria- it can’t really help you. They need someone who has at the back of his or her mind that normal people will read it while writing, to write for their website.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I am not sure when the entire urban population of Nigeria got into chewing gum. Growing up, chewing gum had such social stigma that it was common to hear someone being told that they were chewing gum like a prostitute or the more colourful term, ashawo. One day, I woke up and everyone was chewing gum, in offices, on the streets, everywhere. And every traffic jam had chewing gum for sale. A certain brand of chewing gum burst on the scene. Orbit chewing gum is now more ubiquitous than Coke on Nigerian streets. As president I would have to insist that whatever company produces that chewing gum sets up shop in Nigeria. That, or I ban the importation of Orbit chewing gum. They cannot be making so much money and not be paying us taxes. But that is a matter for 2015.

Orbit has become part of urban culture. Orbit is a conversation starter. A guy wanting to speak to a girl or vice versa only needs to whip out a pack of Orbit and offer it. Orbit is the one thing strangers don’t say no to. A person who doesn’t even like people of your tribe will take your Orbit chewing gum. As president I may not be able to stop the social impact of Orbit but I can make sure it does not become a problem. How can chewing gum become a problem?

I notice that many people get depressed or angry when, after offering a stranger or even a friend Orbit, that person proceeds to pull out two, three or more pieces from a pack of 14. And you can’t say to someone you have offered gum that they are taking too much. This is causing friction in our country. Some people have devised a way of preventing this by actually just giving one piece from the pack themselves. This can make a person appear stingy. And in Nigeria stinginess carries great stigma.

Nigerians need not despair. There is a solution. As the proactive president-in-waiting that I am, I have come up with legislation that will criminalise pulling out more than one piece of Orbit chewing gum when offered. Find below a draft:

An Act to promote generosity by persons able to purchase Orbit chewing gum and decide to carry same about, prevent greedy ingrates from shamelessly pulling out multiple pieces of Orbit when offered the pack to take gum from and to provide for punishment for chewing gum greed and matters related thereto.

1.   Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
      Orbit means Orbit chewing gum in a pack of twenty, Orbit in a blister pack or any other type of imported chewing gum.

2.   The offence of Orbit Greed
(1)  A person commits the offence of Orbit Greed if
(a)  He or she, upon being the beneficiary of the generosity of an Orbit owner, decides to greedily take out more than one piece of gum from the pack
(b)  He or she asks for Orbit chewing gum again after already being the beneficiary of the generosity of an Orbit owner who has hitherto on the same day offered him/her Orbit chewing gum.
(2)  A person who commits the offence of Orbit Greed shall be liable upon conviction to public flogging for one hour every day for three weeks.

3.   The offence of Aggravated Orbit Greed
(1)  A person commits the offence of Aggravated Orbit Greed when he or she commits Orbit Greed more than once in the space of the same 24 hour period with the same person.
(2)  A person who commits the offence of Aggravated Orbit Greed shall be liable upon conviction to public flogging for three hours every day for three weeks.

4.   The offence of Serial Orbit Greed
(1)  A person commits the offence of Serial Orbit Greed when he or she commits Orbit Greed more than once in the space of the same 24 hour period with the different persons.
(2)  A person who commits the offence of Serial Orbit Greed shall be liable upon conviction to public flogging for three hours every day for three weeks in three different communities around where the offence was committed.

5.   Attempt to commit Orbit Greed
(1)  A person who attempts Orbit Greed commits a felony and is liable upon conviction to daily frog jumps on a highway of the courts choice, for 7 days.

Ps. President Jonathan’s army began the discombobulating confiscation of newspapers this week. To attack the only thing which is free in this country – expression – is to attack the very soul of the people. I do not understand it- how soldiers can intercept and take newspapers away. First off it is not even a very smart thing to do, seeing as you can find most stories online anyway and everyone is a click away from what they don’t want people to see. If nobody was searching, now everyone is going to want to know what was in those newspapers they confiscated. And the explanation of the army about “materials with grave security implications” is a too weak an explanation for sending armed soldiers in bullet proof vests to confiscate newspapers. Also, at a time when our army’s capacity to fight insurgency and insecurity is increasingly doubtful, it makes no sense using the army against a defenceless media.

And finally, if the president is going to let shameful things happen under him, can he at least have the balls to take responsibility and stop denying that he has anything to do with it? Can someone at least remind him the meaning of “Commander in Chief”? 

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Sometimes despite your best efforts at providing the best and transparent governance, electricity, good roads, affordable and qualitative healthcare, and education, there will be persons whose aim will be to bring down your government, sometimes in concert with the opposition party. Enemies of your hustle.
It does not matter what these groups call themselves, or whether they have religious or political ideology. It does not matter if the group uses a cool hashtag or is adept at sneaking YouTube videos to international journalists. What is important is that you quickly, as a temporary but effective measure, blame someone. Never, ever admit that you could have done something to stop it or apologise for not responding to news of an attack timeously. This is a sign of weakness. Jesus did not die for you to be weak.
When there is an attack by insurgents (we must thank the Americans for giving us this very useful all-encompassing word) the first step of a responsive government is to issue a statement condemning the action. It is important that someone Googling the terrorist action finds many headlines reading: President condemns bombing/massacre/kidnapping.
People underestimate the power of condemnation. No one likes to be condemned, not even murderous insurgents. I have no facts to back this but I can bet my three shoes and Tecno phone that secretly, the people who plant bombs get ulcers and gnash their teeth when our president condemns their action.
In addition to condemnation, get aides in the presidency to take crucial steps like blame the insurgency on the opposition. Even if your army had earlier kidnapped the wives and children of fighters and engaged in extrajudicial mass killings during security operations, the real reason any insurgents will attack during your presidency is if they are sponsored by the opposition. Sometimes justice means that you kill unarmed civilians who are suspected of being insurgents.
The opposition is always mean and after insurgents might have kidnapped say, school girls, they sponsor ex-government officials who have withdrawal symptoms from being in power to organise protests demanding that you bring back the abducted girls, as if you sat with the insurgents over nkwobi and moringa juice to plan the abductions. God will judge under-employed ex government officials.
Naysayers may suggest otherwise, but there is really no need to equip the army with high tech equipment. This is a sign of fear and once insurgents know that you are taking real steps to empower the army, they will be emboldened. So even if you give allocations to your army chiefs, make sure it never reaches the soldiers in the field. Also the soldiers in the field must not get too comfortable so you must do things like reduce their rations or cut their allowances in half. This will teach them discipline. That is what they signed up for and if they want full allowances and proper food they should have joined the Ministry of Petroleum. Or applied to Dangote for a job.
It is important however to deny as much as you can until there is full evidence of an attack. If girls are alleged to have been kidnapped, let people from your government deny that this happened. Let them issue statements denying that your army did not respond quickly. Let them deny that your soldiers are not motivated. The key words here: Deny, Deny, Deny.
This is what denial does: it makes it less real in the minds of the citizens. And when it is less real in the minds of the citizens it reduces the work you have to do. And did a holy book not say “death and life are in the power of the tongue”?
Sometimes after a great tragedy you must show that nothing can stop you from being happy. Because that is what terrorists want, to make you afraid, unhappy and destabilized. So if you had planned a campaign rally the morning after a bomb goes off killing hundreds of people, you must react by first(as mentioned above) issuing a statement condemning the attack in the strongest terms while on your way to the campaign ground. Then you must campaign your heart out, dancing to whatever song the invited artist is singing. After all you will already have booked and paid for the music and you do not want to waste government resources by not dancing to the campaign music you have paid millions for. 
There are times when you just do nothing. Wait a few weeks until everyone really gets fed up with your silence. This is why: sometimes the only way to galvanise citizens against terrorist is by allowing them to get upset. Because if you take steps immediately a bombing or kidnapping happens, citizens will be spoilt and take government for granted. It is important that they contribute their anger to national development and the fighting of insurgency.
In the end, after all the denials and condemnations and blaming of the opposition, you may have to dialogue with these insurgents. This is probably the best step in the long run: offering them money for dropping their weapons. An amnesty works wonders and saves you from the stress of dealing with what led to the insurgency in the first place. And really what is the use of opening old wounds and spending time looking for remote causes when you can just grant amnesty? Why are we blessed with oil wealth if not for times like these when as usual we can throw money at a problem and watch it being solved?
For the politician who is understandably too busy to read this article find below a summary of how to deal with an insurgency in brief bullet points:
·         Condemn in the strongest terms.
·         Blame someone, especially the opposition. They are haters.
·         Do nothing. Sometimes silence is the best answer...
·         Only weaklings apologise for failure. Never apologise for messing things up. 
·         Sometimes after a bomb, dance. It improves blood circulation. 
·         When citizens are angry enough, offer amnesty. Money answereth all things.
·         Enjoy the rest of your presidency in peace. Because like Tuface said: "Who God have bless, no man (or ex something) can curse."

God bless your hustle as you fight insurgencies and those trying hard to truncate your hustle. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I did not realize Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer for the Nigerian Police, would call me out. I did not know setting out this week that I would so perfectly fit the non-specific profile for people who engage in suicide bombing. Until I read his blog. The italicized sentences are lifted directly from his blog titled "How To Identify a Suicide Bomber".
 He behaves in a way similar to someone with no future.
Sometimes I behave similar to one with no future because I do not see any future with myself and Nigeria in it. Not with the things I see and hear. Not with the brazenness with which my country’s leaders make things disappear. So yes, in complete disregard for my future I have refused to get a job. Because I love to write at night and sleep all morning. I love ice-cream even though I have recently discovered I am lactose intolerant- which is a thing I thought was a white disease until I fell sick after taking a tin of milk. I am addicted to Vodka and Red Bull, both of which are dangerous for me because of my weak heart. I shouldn’t even be drinking at all. I only recently stopped smoking, not because of my health, but because my teeth have begun to crack and in this life three things petrify me the most: having children, going blind, and losing my teeth.
His mental state could present clues – his eyes are secretive, he makes obvious attempt to avoid eye contact with the people he perceived to be his enemies and always looking at every possible exit.
Staring. I have struggled with this over the years. It has landed me in much trouble because I used to love looking into people’s eyes. But after three women (and one man) claimed that I had initiated flirting, I stopped. Even my friends agree that I have a flirtatious gaze. So these days I just avoid eye contact altogether.
Also, I am claustrophobic. So the first thing my eyes scan for upon entering a room is the exit. I am all about exits. There is something about being able to quickly leave a room which comforts me. I like to leave when I feel breathless, when someone says something annoying and there is no way for me to say my mind, when the room is too cold, when the room is too hot, or when I still smoked, to have a smoke.
Mumbling prayers – may be fervently praying to himself, showing the impression of whispering to someone else.
I was religious once in my life. Now, I am so detached from religion people assume I am an atheist. But this is incorrect. I cannot bring myself to believe in evolution and other big-bangy things. Again, if you fly in Nigerian airspace or drive on Nigerian roads, you have to be at least temporarily religious. So yes, once I am airborne, I mumble fervently, praying that the engineers did their job and that no one was bribed to let a faulty plane fly.
Sometimes also I just talk to myself. I find this helps me relax and helps me remember when I am in a place with nothing to write down an idea that has just come to me. However, we have cases of mental illness in my family. I have a close aunt who has lived with mental illness for a long time- she mumbles to herself. I often wonder if I just like doing it or if this mumbling is a symptom of something more sinister.
He shows no response to any authoritative voice, command or instruction.
I resent commands or authoritative instructions. It is the reason that I cannot stand the army. It is also the reason I do not see myself doing a 9-5. I quit my first job in a cool law firm I was emotionally invested in because my then boss, shouted at me. Upon entering my office I cleared out my desk, signed a check for one month’s salary and emailed her my resignation letter.
He wears slack or puffy clothes. This gives the impression that his body is excessively larger than his head or feet.
So, I am ashamed to say this but the last time I weighed myself I was 106.5kg. My thighs look like elephant legs and rub against each other. The body fitting clothes I used to wear are no longer appropriate. So I wear size 40 trousers instead of 38 which is my actual waist size. Comfort over fashion.
He appears to be focused and more vigilant on his target.
Because I get distracted easily I tend to need more energy to focus. It makes me look funny.
He will usually have his hands placed in the pocket, around the button of the detonator and ready to set off the bomb at the slightest opportunity.
When I am nervous I put my hands in my pocket. I am not sure it helps but it hides my trembling hands.
He may most likely have a clean shave or low hair-cut especially when he is ready to carry out the task. This may be done to disguise his real appearance.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am always clean shaven. In fact I shave all of my pubic hair. I cut the hair on my head on the average every 4 days. If I go more than 4 days I get a massive headache and become very irritable.
His breathings are heavy and rapid.
Due to my lack of exercise, I am just a lazy sack of potatoes most times. After a short distance I am panting. When I used to smoke it was worse.
He walks awkwardly or clumsily in an unusual and odd manner.
I have been clumsy for as long as I can remember. I kick things and break things. Growing up I didn’t take it seriously until I realized that as an adult I was as clumsy as I was as a child. A friend of mine gave me a book about dyspraxia a few years ago and if this book is anything to go by, I most certainly have the condition. One of the major symptoms of dyspraxia in adults is poor motor coordination skills, characterized by clumsy gait and movement, difficulty changing direction, stopping and starting actions, and poor balance. But then this is Nigeria. Who do you tell, I have dyspraxia? People just call you clumsy or lazy or forgetful. One day if I spend enough time abroad, I will see a doctor.
He looks aggressive, restless, irritable and nervous.
Another set of symptoms of dyspraxia, which I have had for as long as I can remember is easily getting stressed, depressed, anxious, impulsive and/or erratic. I cannot sit still for long and have to rock my legs continuously. My mother used to wonder why I could never sit still. She used to say, in the living room that my movements were making her eye ‘turn’. I have learnt to deal with my irritation and restlessness by avoiding people in those moments. I am also teaching my lover to deal with it by explaining beforehand that I am irritated and do not want to be touched. It is difficult, but slowly, my lover is getting it.
Often times, he may not know the route to his target destination very well, hence he may occasionally ask for directions.
I am horrible with directions. When someone tries to describe a place to me I tell them not to bother because really, there is no point. I just ask them to email or text me the directions with landmarks and all. When I get to the area, I ask for directions. I find that often I have to ask many people because some are just too proud to say I don’t know and give you rubbish directions.
He will usually have an unusual herbal smell. This is as a result of incense used in the final rituals performed on him as he takes off for the suicide mission.
I hated incense as a child because we had neighbors I was afraid of who used incense, and so I associated it with witchcraft. These days I love it. Especially the combined smell of incense and tobacco. It makes me feel like I am in some Arabian palace getting a full body massage. Whoever thought of incense should get a Nobel Prize for peace methinks. 
Ps. I just think that Frank should have done the honorable thing. He should have invited me to Force Headquarters to ask me if I was going to blow up anything, instead of exposing me to mob violence in this roundabout way of speaking. This is not what Jesus died for.