Thursday, July 26, 2012

HOW TO BEHAVE AS A CAR OWNER IN NIGERIA

You have crossed that awkward, deeply uncomfortable, sometimes shameful social state of being without a car. I mean in some countries where the public transport system works, not having a car is no big deal. But you are in Nigeria, where public transport is living hell, and owning a car can be the difference between life and social death.

You had suffered the humiliation and attendant frustrations. You swore to yourself, after the girl you came to a party with left in an air conditioned car, that things must change. The Nigerian god felt your pain, heard your cries of affliction and consequently, after much tithing and prayers, blessed your hustle. Enough to buy your own car. I rejoice with you. 

You have taken the car to the man of God and they have spent over an hour with the bonnet open, anointing your car and protecting it against the spirit of accidents that those jealous neighbours and village enemies are sure to send your way. That is fine. But you also need my advice.

Your car is not beautiful unless you have covered it in stickers. Get one from your church or fellowship that declares this year to be your “year of anointing”, or your “year of unsurpassed success”. If your wife or husband goes to a different church, get one from hers too. You can never get too many. Get one sticker that declares your child to be a Star Student. Let those will dull children see it and regret that their wives didn’t take enough vitamins during pregnancy. Because of Police on the road, get either an NBA sticker or an ARMY sticker. You don’t have to be a lawyer or soldier to get them. Especially the NBA one – you can find that one in any court premises for one or two hundred naira.

Depending on how much God has blessed your hustle, get a customised plate number with your name or nickname, such as TONY01; DE DON 01; DADDY K. The ‘01’ is useful even if you have only one car. It just shows how much you have faith that more will come. Otherwise, depending on your level of gratitude to God, you can use a nice Bible verse, like ISAIAH43:4 or something like that.

Now that you are a car owner, you need to realise that your status has changed. You need to treat pedestrians with the disdain they deserve. It doesn’t matter that you were once a pedestrian crossing these same streets. You must never think like a pedestrian and do silly things like observing Zebra crossings. Those white lines are there to beautify the road. Speed across them and curse anyone who tries to get in your way.

Your neighbours need to feel your presence. They need to see just how your hustle has been blessed. Every morning, remind them by ‘warming’ your car. This process involves waking up at 6 a.m. and revving your car engine loudly until the neighbours wake up to the evidence of your blessed hustle.

You bought the car with your hard-earned cash. And that includes the car horns. Those who call your right to honk noise pollution, God will judge them appropriately and truncate their hustle. In fact, if you ask me, because of how important it is, your right to use your horn indiscriminately should be a constitutionally guaranteed right. Honk in the morning when your wife is wasting your time inside and you need her to hurry up. Honk when you see your neighbours. Honk in a traffic jam even though you are sure this will not make the cars miraculously move. Honk instead of slowing down when you are approaching a junction or intersection. Honk when you are angry. And when you are happy. There are few things as useful in a car as the horn.

At night, it is important that you see the road clearly. Nigerian roads are dark and dangerous, so you must use your full lights at all times. It doesn’t matter if you are blinding oncoming vehicles. Is it your fault that the government is not doing their job?

Other things you will learn on the job as a car owner include how to double park, how to drive against traffic on the highway, how to create multiple lanes in a traffic jam, how to beat traffic lights, how to stop in the middle of the road to say hello to a long lost friend, how to litter the street with wrappers of plantain chips bought in a hold-up, all of which every true and experienced Nigerian driver is adept at doing. I trust you will catch up quickly.

Once again I rejoice with you and may God keep blessing your hustle.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

HOW TO WORSHIP THE NIGERIAN GOD


The Nigerian god is one. It may have many different manifestations, but it is essentially different sides of the same coin. Sometimes, adherents of the different sides may fight and kill each other. But Nigerians essentially follow the Nigerian god.

This article is for all those who want to become better worshipers. If you are a new or prospective convert, God will bless you for choosing the Nigerian god. This is just how you must worship him.

First, you must understand that being a worshiper has nothing to do with character, good works or righteousness. So the fact that you choose to open every meeting with multiple prayers does not mean that you intend to do what is right. The opening prayer is important. Nothing can work without it. If you are gathered to discuss how to inflate contracts, begin with an opening prayer or two. If you are gathered to discuss how to rig elections, begin with a prayer. The Nigerian god appreciates communication.

When you sneak away from your wife to call your girlfriend in the bathroom, and she asks if you will come this weekend, you must say—in addition to “Yes”—“By God’s grace” or “God willing”. It doesn’t matter the language you use. Just add it. The Nigerian god likes to be consulted before you do anything, including a trip to Obudu to see your lover.

When worshipping the Nigerian god, be loud. No, the Nigerian god is not hard of hearing. It is just that he appreciates your loud fervour, like he appreciates loud raucous music. The Nigerian god doesn’t care if you have neighbours and neither should you. When you are worshipping in your house, make sure the neighbours can’t sleep. Use loud speakers even if you are only two in the building. Anyone who complains must be evil. God will judge such a person.

This is how the Nigerian god judges people who are your enemies- evil people who want to spoil your hustle; like your colleagues who don’t want your promotion; like your single old aunties who secretly don’t want you to marry that rich handsome man (who you haven’t met yet); like all your neighbours who are stopping you from getting pregnant: He violently consumes them by fire. He returns all their evil plans back to sender. So when making requests about all your enemies, do not pray that they be forgiven or that they change. Pray that the Nigerian god kills them off with such violent finality that there is nothing left of them. 

Attribute everything to the Nigerian god. So, if you diverted funds from public projects and are able to afford that Phantom, when people say you have a nice car, say, “Na God”. If someone asks what the secret of all your wealth is, say, “God has been good to me”. By this you mean the Nigerian god who gave you the uncommon wisdom to re-appropriate public funds.

Consult the Nigerian god when you don’t feel like working. The Nigerian god understands that we live in a harsh climate where it is hard to do any real work. So, if you have no clue how to be in charge and things start collapsing, ask people to pray to God and ask for his intervention.

The Nigerian god loves elections and politics. When you have bribed people to get the Party nomination, used thugs to steal and stuff ballot boxes, intimidated people into either sitting at home or voting for you, lied about everything from your assets to your age, and you eventually, (through God’s grace), win the elections, you must begin by declaring that your success is the wish of God and that the other candidate should accept this will of God. It is not your fault whom the Nigerian god chooses to reward with political success. How can mere mortals complain?

The Nigerian god does not tolerate disrespect. If someone insults your religion, you must look for anyone like them and kill them. Doesn’t matter what you use—sticks, machetes, grenade launchers, IED’s, AK47’s. If the person who insults your religion is online and you can't locate them, feel free to threaten to kill them. Like we say in Nigeria: "at all-at all na im bad pass". Something is better than nothing at all. 

The Nigerian god performs signs and wonders. He does everything from cure HIV to High BP. And the Nigerian god is creative: he can teach a person who was born blind the difference between blue and green when the man of god asks, and he can teach a person born deaf instant English. As a worshipper you must let him deliver you because every case of sickness is caused by evil demons and not infections. Every case of barrenness is caused by witches and has no scientific explanation. So instead of hospital, visit agents of the Nigerian god. But the Nigerian god does not cure corruption. Do not attempt to mock him.

If you worship the Nigerian god, you are under no obligation to be nice or kind to people who are not worshippers. They deserve no courtesy.

The Nigerian god is also online. As a worshipper, you are not obliged to be good or decent on Facebook or Twitter all week except on Friday and Sunday, both of which the Nigerian god marks as holy. So you may forward obscene photos, insult people, forward lewd jokes on all days except the holy days. On those holy days, whichever applies to you, put up statuses saying how much you are crazy about God.
These days, the Nigerian god also permits tweets and Facebook updates like: "Now in Church" or "This guy in front of me needs to stop dozing" when performing acts of worship.

In all, the Nigerian god is very kind and accommodating. He gives glory and riches and private jets. And if you worship him well, he will immensely bless your hustle.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

HOW TO BE AN EXPATRIATE IN NIGERIA


I have always held that the Nigerian god is far too kind. Kind to our political leaders in spite of their wickedness, kind to our religious leaders in spite of their hypocrisy, kind to our traditional leaders in spite of their complicity in all the mess we find ourselves in. And kind to foreigners. I mean, you can be a technician from the roughest, poorest parts of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and suddenly become a foreign engineer with servants, a huge salary and a secure mansion in the best parts of Abuja. We are in awe of expatriates. 

I’ll share a little story: A Nigerian family friend who is a senior engineer with a big foreign construction company went to the mansion of an influential Nigerian politician together with his young white junior assistant to carry out some repairs. As they entered the house, a daughter of the politician gave the white man a seat and ignored his black superior. The white man of course kindly explained that he was not in charge, but his boss who had been totally snubbed. Don’t ask me how the story ended. The moral of the story is that we love you more than we love ourselves. Nigeria is expatriate heaven. 

You have left hardship, harsh winters and a horrible economic recession in your nice developed country and are now an economic refugee in Nigeria. Of course, we don’t know this- you are the expat who will save us from ruin and teach us how things ought to be done. You have gotten a job with an organization or company that has applied for expatriate quota for you and secured a nice house with a generator, car and a driver. You have said goodbye to your family and your depressed, alcoholic friends and moved to Nigeria. Maybe you have even come with Hector, your cat. God will bless you for choosing our country. I mean you could have ended up in dingy Togo but you came here. This is how you must conduct yourself while living in Nigeria.

As soon as you arrive get in contact with other expatriates. There are online groups like Abuja Expats and you will quickly find whatever it is you need, from stores that sell foreign food to people selling off their furniture and books.

You are here to work and live large, not contaminate yourself with the locals. You can enjoy this country while pretending to live in your own country. Identify hangout spots that are ‘expat joints’. Your expat friends will tell what joints are suitable for expats- joints with food so expensive it scares the locals away. If there are any locals you can be sure they are in the safe upper classes. You don’t want to go get lost in a crowd of locals and catch some deadly disease like malaria or dengue fever or god forbid, ebola. Do nice expat things like jogging with fellow foreigners through the nice safe streets of Abuja and a nice picnic after. Of course there will be the odd local, but that is ok. One or two black persons in awe of you makes it nice and colorful.  

When you are able to muster the courage to go to a non-expat joint, come in groups and dance with each other in a corner. The important thing is, you have done something revolutionary: risked kidnapping and disease by going to a local joint. Have a local guide- a nice junior local staff from the office who understands the  pecking order.  Drink as much as you can and party as often as you can. Where else in this messed-up global economy can you enjoy this much luxury? 

Do not learn a local language. What’s the point?

Complain about everything in the country. Complain about how you can never find the kind of food that your cat, Hector, enjoys. Complain about how nobody cares about animals. Talk about how rude the locals are and how sloppy everyone is. Complain about how bad the driving is and how loud (except if you are American) everyone is. Complain about how nothing works in this country, about how everyone is trying to rip you off, about the heat. Because, in your cold, civilized, recession-hit country, everything works. 

Have a nice upper-class local couple who can agree with you when you talk about how horrible things are. Invite them for dinner occasionally. This proves you are cool with the locals and are not racist. 

Avoid the local food. Something terrible will happen to you if you eat the local food that is so low in nutrition and high in cholesterol and bacteria. Hire a cook who knows how to make food from your country. 

Expect the locals to respect your culture even though you are in their country. It is ok to dress inappropriately, after all in your country, you are a free to wear whatever you like, or nothing at all.

I hope that you enjoy Nigeria and slowly get used to the heat and the reports of explosions and violence. Not to worry, you are safe. When we kill each other we usually leave out the foreigners. And the guys who used to kidnap foreigners are busy with more official duties. Stay well and God bless your foreign hustle.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DESTRUCTION OF NIGERIA


Sometimes the leaders of a country can unilaterally destroy a country or lead it into war without the active participation of its citizens. That is very selfish. In Liberia or Sierra Leone for example, all those selfish war lords didn’t seek the participation of the citizens when they were killing people over diamonds. They just did. But our leaders, God bless them, they believe in equal participation, in the deregulation of stupidity. They let us pitch in and help and they have been doing so for the past 50 years. 

Because of their kindness, I have decided to give you some tips on just what you must do to help the leaders bring this country to a halt.

First you must believe the leaders when they come home and tell us how much our tribe and religion is the best and how the others are just evil. Assisting them is crucial in this regard, because we are the only ones they can use to achieve their goals. So if a man from another evil tribe is trying to get an allocation of land in your office, make it really difficult for him. Create a distinction between indigenes and settlers. Make sure the settlers suffer in your state, even though they have been there for 100 years and the constitution guarantees them rights. Do not allow them to contest for elections. Discriminate against them and attack them for owning property even though you have refused to get your indigene behind up and work. The leaders need us to create these divisions so that they can live in peace. It is our duty to help them. 

When our leaders are campaigning for elections we must listen to them and vote only people from our region or religion. This is important because only your ‘brother’ can govern properly. All other people have evil intentions. If he is Muslim, his sole intention is to Islamise Nigeria and if he is Christian his intention is to sell our country to the godless wine-drinking West and to the Arab-(and by extension Muslim)-hating Israeli’s. 

As a civil servant it is important not to work. Spend as few hours as you can in the office and while you are there make sure you attend to your personal business. If you are a man, disappear for your private business and if you are a woman spend most of the day filing your nailS and marketing fabric, perfumes and shoes. It is evil for anyone to expect you to work on your files as soon as they come. 

We need to assist our leaders in causing chaos. Yes they have tried by not building roads or when they do, building tiny insufficient and substandard roads but we must help create congestion by never following traffic rules. Traffic rules are for people who have nothing better to do with their time. Where there are three lanes create a fourth and if you are ingenious, a fifth lane. Then at the junction beg someone to let you pass or enter by force, thereby creating slower traffic. 

When these leaders steal money, we need to encourage them. Give them chieftaincy titles and honorary doctorate degrees. Give them awards. Never make them feel uncomfortable, reserve the best spaces for them in church and on the prayer grounds. Collect their tithes and huge contributions for the ‘lord’. Then pray for them. The Nigerian god has a special program of blessing for corrupt leaders.

If a leader, while unable to provide health care, electricity or security comes out to say he will use a billion naira of our money for feeding in a year, we are allowed to do something: scream on Facebook and Twitter. But that is all we are allowed to do; we must let him get his one billion and eventually make jokes about it. 

When they try to divert attention from the fraud they are committing by throwing red herrings that we can quarrel about while they do their business, we must recognise it and proceed to fall for it. We must spend as much time as we can quarrelling until we are sure our leaders are done concealing what they want to conceal. 

When some disaster happens to us, orchestrated or worsened by the actions or inactions of our leaders, we must never attack them. We must attack each other. This is important. Find someone of another tribe or religion to kill, burn their houses. If you have a grievance against the government, blow up your neighbours. This will solve a lot of issues. Then after the violence we can spend time arguing over whose religion is more peaceful than the other. 

You must also remember to be corrupt yourself. If you are  policeman, don't forget that collecting 20 or 50 naira at checkpoints is an effective way of contributing your quota to National corruption. If you work for government, make sure that the contractors oil the wheel of corruption by insisting on your own cut. If they refuse, make sure their payment gets delayed.  I could go on and on, but I am sure you can find creative ways of being corrupt in whatever sector you work. You are after all Nigerian.

Finally and most importantly we must do something- we must forget. There is no better way of supporting our leaders than forgetting.

We must forget especially during elections. We must forget what they did in previous years. If they killed people, we must forget. If their relatives were caught laundering money, we must forget. If they suddenly became rich after holding office, we must forget. If they had a track record of supporting corruption, we must forget. If they built no roads, no hospitals, no industries, we must forget. Forgetting will help our peace of mind, especially if they are from our part of the country. Forgetting will take us closer and closer to that path that our leaders have been carefully creating- the path of destruction. Anyone who tries to remember what they have done, God will judge them harshly. 

Do all these and I assure you, you will have the privilege of being part of the destruction of this country. It is not easy, but together, we can achieve it. God bless our collective hustle.

HOW TO BE PRESIDENT IN A TIME OF CRISES

God knows why he makes people what He makes them. We do not choose; we cannot complain. Some people he made to peddle ‘okpa alele’ in Somolu; and others he carved out of wood to become president. Even Farouk Lawan, whose evidence room is full of dollars, is it not a trial from God that he is facing? Nigerians don’t understand this: they keep hassling you and complaining as if being president was your idea in the first place.

You are doing the best you can to run this country, God knows. I don’t mean to tell you what to do, but consider these reminders on just how you must continue to govern this nation.

Because you are Nigeria’s chief representative, you must make trips. They are important and you must let nothing stop you from making these trips, especially if you are going to nice sunny countries like Brazil with nice clean beaches. You must go even if two or three states are grinding to a halt because of explosions and violence. The thing is, if you cut short your trip because some miscreants with bombs are terrorising people, everyone will think you are afraid of them.

You may not be a lion or general, but no, you are not afraid of them. So, let them bomb; let people retaliate. After all, a prophet is not loved in his own home not so? If not, why do they keep inviting you around the world to give keynote speeches? And here at home, every Tomilewa, Dike and Haruna thinks they can insult you and your loving wife. (And ehen, about that, the rumours about her ‘receiving gifts’ from governors and their wives when she travels are totally baseless. She is a child of God. God will judge harshly those spreading hurtful rumours.)

And these trips, you see, they are an avenue to make a statement of how great and populous we are. People criticise you and compare your robust entourage to the embarrassingly small one of the Prime Minister of Britain. Ignorant people! How many people are in Britain? How can you compare over 160 million communal people to 62 million individualistic people? They don’t care about each other - that is why somebody can die in an apartment and not be missed for 3 years. Here, we care about each other and we care about our president enough to have 100 plus people follow him on an official trip.

There are many wicked people in this country. They may know that prior to your swearing in, you submitted an asset declaration form to the Code of Conduct Bureau, but they will still ask that you publicly declare your assets. What is it that they want from you? Do they want kidnappers to start following your children? God will judge them. You must let them know, you don’t give a damn about any public declaration. Yes people like Obama can go on air and be declaring things and even telling Americans what he weighs and if he has quit smoking or not. That is his business; no wonder these days small countries like Iran can even snub America.

You are a strong president and you will not give in to these wicked people. After all, is it public declaration of assets that will fix electricity and build roads? Will telling Nigerians what you own put food on their tables? It is all the fault of that your ex-boss who made you do it in the first place, God rest his soul. If he had not ignored your advice and gone to declare to Nigerians what doesn’t concern them, would these wicked people have been asking you to do it now?

One thing you must never do, Your Excellency, is actually take responsibility for the mess that happens in your government. Why should you? Are you the one who is stealing pension funds, stealing oil money, bombing churches? You do not need to come on air and say, our government has let the people down. No need to apologise at all. Worst case scenario, sack some people. If anyone is not happy with that well, they can go chew on agbalumo.

God is happy with you and that is all that matters. People just need to wait a few years to see how this government will transform their lives. And no, you are not thinking of 2015 yet; it is too early to do that. But you know how God does his things. Anything can happen.

Till then your Excellency, I wish you safe flights as you represent Nigeria across the globe. God bless your hustle!