Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SMELL AND SHARE (PLANTAIN) ACT 2015


An Act to prohibit any form of stinginess by persons shamelessly invading the houses of their neighbours with the smell of delicious fried plantain to the detriment of good neighborliness and peace in Nigeria.

1.       A person who fries plantain shall be mandated to share the said plantain with all those who by olfaction have come in contact with the delicious smell of the said fried plantain.

2.       A person commits the offence of Malicious Frying of Plantain (hereinafter referred to as MFP) if –
(a)    S/He blatantly and rudely undertakes the frying of delicious smelling plantain in a kitchen or in an open space and finishes such frying without sharing the fried plantain with neighbors who have been visited with hardship by enduring the smell of the said fried plantain
(b)   S/He employs a cook, or otherwise commissions a third party to do the acts described in 2 (a) above.

3.       A person commits the offence of Aggravated MFP if
(a)    S/He blatantly and rudely undertakes the frying of delicious smelling of plantain with no intention to share the said plantain with a person who witnesses such frying or is in the same house at the time the frying is being done.
(b)   S/He employs a cook or otherwise commissions a third party to do the acts described in 3 (a) above

4.       It shall not be a defence to MFP or Aggravated MFP that the victim is a family member or a spouse.

5.       A person commits the offence of conspiracy to commit MFP if they witness the acts described in section 2 of this Act without promptly performing a citizen’s arrest or reporting same to the authorities.

6.       A person commits the offence of conspiracy to commit Aggravated MFP if they witness the acts described in section 3 of this Act without promptly performing a citizen’s arrest or reporting same to the authorities.

7.       Where a person is charged with an offence under this Act, they shall undergo psychiatric evaluation as well as therapy to discover the root cause of such wickedness.

8.       A person who commits an offence under this Act shall be liable upon conviction to 14 years imprisonment where they shall learn the virtues of good neighborliness and plantain sharing.


9.       A person who is a victim of an offence under this Act shall be entitled to therapy to heal them from the hurt that results from MFP and Aggravated MFP, during which period they will be served generous portions of delicious fried plantain. The cost of this therapy will be borne by the person convicted of the offence under this Act.

GENERATOR (AB)USE (PREVENTION) ACT, 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 defence to culpability if the perpetrator of sound pollution via loud generators allows his neighbors 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 defence to the offence of sound pollution.

8.   A crucial football match shall only be a partial defence to sound pollution, capable of becoming a full defence 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 rumpled clothes to work and other functions for a period not less than one month.


10. Silent generators and large generators shared by whole compounds, estates or complexes are exempt from this Act.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ORBIT GREED (PREVENTION) ACT, 2015


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.

GOOD KING, BAD KING


South Africa has been in the news all week following what has been described as xenophobic attacks on mostly African migrants, triggered by a speech made by Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, who said foreigners “should pack their belongings and go.”

King Goodwill is a learner. It is not a big deal to say nasty things about other people. We all do. It is a big deal when you do not know where to say those nasty things. Look at Oba Akiolu. He understands Nigerians. He knows that he can say nasty things to Igbo people and nothing will happen. He knows that he can say nasty things to Igbo people while endorsing a candidate and that candidate will still win elections. That is why he was bold enough to be captured on video talking about lagoon-bound opponents. In Hausa they say: “Wani ya yi rawa ya samu tafi, wani ya yi rawa ya samu mari.” Meaning: while one person may dance and get an applause, another may dance and get a slap instead. King Goodwill needs to learn Hausa. Then he would have known that South Africa is not Nigeria where hate speech begets applause and even wins elections. He would have known that in his country, foreigners, instead of being poorer than residents and begging for food and favours like sensible, grateful foreigners do, have decided to have shops of their own. You do not come to a person’s house and sit on a stool higher than the householder. It reminds me of the rumour of a certain ex-governor in north central Nigeria who allowed his commissioners sit on the floor around him, for fear they may be higher than him while sitting. The said ex-governor also allegedly had an unspoken rule that cabinet members never dress as nicely as him. 

But you know, I understand those South Africans who are trying to expel foreigners from their country. To start with they have certain exemplary qualities. They are great listeners. They listen to their king intently. They also know how to take initiative. The king only said that foreigners should pack their bags and leave. He did not mention how they would leave, whether by boat or air or fleeing machetes and fire. But they listened to King Goodwill and decided to take matters into their own hands and chase presumptuous foreigners away. They follow by example. The South African government has recently created stiff immigration rules that have made it hard for many people who were previously legal migrants and students and workers to continue living in the country legally or have their families join them. They are finishing what the South African government has started.

If just ten percent of the Nigerian population were as diligent in their followership as those South Africans, Buhari would not have to do very much to rid Nigeria of corruption and indiscipline. Because let’s face it, Nigeria’s problem is not its leaders alone. It is the persons who beat traffic lights, who pay for their kids to pass exams, who demand bribes to give people employment, who fill up public establishments with people from their ethnic group, who discriminate against people from other religions, who refuse to follow queues, who have no respect for privacy or personal space, and those who greedily pull out four pieces of Orbit chewing gum when you offer them the pack instead of just showing some self respect and taking only one. Especially that last group of people. Nasty human beings. They will be one of the problems of the Buhari administration. They deserve to go to jail. 

On behalf of all those foreigners who do not know their place in South African society I want to formally apologise to the good subjects of the Zulu warrior King Goodwill. I know how annoying those foreigners can be. I apologise for them wanting to get a better life. I apologise for them having the audacity to own shops and want to make money off South Africans who really, by virtue of their special position in this continent should be getting things for free. I apologise for the worst among them, the disgraceful  foreigners who try to steal South African women. Horrible people. 

Just to be clear, I am not one of them. If I ever apply for a South African visa in the future, I promise to pay my repatriation fee, not try to work or find love, and leave as quickly as I finish whatever took me there. In fact, I promise that if a South African woman does so much as come near me or offer me a compliment, I will spring up and say in a loud, unmistakably aggressive tone: “Get thee behind me”. And walk away very quickly. Because I have respect. Because I care. 




Saturday, April 11, 2015

WHY I LIKE OBA AKIOLU'S SPEECH


I like to make the best of every situation, good or bad. Life is too short for negativity. A lot has happened this week that has highlighted ethnic tensions around the country. The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, self acclaimed owner of Lagos, even went as far as saying that any Igbo person who voted for the opposition party in the state was going to perish in the lagoon within seven days. A lot of people were filled with outrage and there was no shortage of condemnation. I have had time to think about it all and I think that the Oba actually did a good thing with his diatribe. Wisdom sometimes means seeing the good in a terrible situation. Let me list a few ways the Obas speech was a good thing.

The word “Igbo” trended for a while on Twitter the day the audio and video of the Oba’s statement got to the internet. I was excited about this. Before the Oba spoke, I could not have a conversation using that word that did not somehow end up in people arguing whether the name of the ethnic group is “Igbo” or “Ibo". There seemed to be some unanimity associated with the condemnation of the Oba, that the ethnic group is rightly spelt “Igbo”. We have the Oba to thank for this. What if the Oba was sensible and refused to take sides in politics? Hundreds of thousands of people would have been spelling it “Ibo". The proactive nature of the Oba has contributed positively to Nigeria. God bless the Oba for letting his mouth run. 

We now know who the real owner of Lagos is. If you travel to Lagos or speak to people who live in Lagos, you no doubt have heard different ethnic groups claim ownership of Lagos. Some Yorubas would claim that Lagos is Yoruba land. Again some non-Yorubas would say, like Orji Uzo Kalu allegedly said, that Lagos is no man’s land. Me, I don't like to put my mouth in people’s quarrel so I cannot say if Lagos should belong to any ethnic group. All I know is that I now know whose name to call when I am asked, who owns Lagos. The Oba of Lagos did not mince words when he said: “for the time being, I am the owner of Lagos.” I don't know about tomorrow but for the time being, the quarrel of who owns Lagos has been settled. We thank the Oba for being bold enough to come forward and settling this quarrel. For the time being. 

We now know that someone is bigger than Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This is very important. I was beginning to think that in my lifetime no one would challenge his power and hold on politics. In fact the Financial Times calls Tinubu Nigeria’s Machiavelli. The Hausa say, “gaba da gabanta”. There is no one so big that he doesn't have someone bigger than him. The Oba made it clear that “even Asiwaju cannot disobey” him. Now we know that if the APC leader gets too powerful there is someone he cannot disobey. Instead of criticise him we should befriend him for when will need him in the future. Because who will call Tinubu to order when he starts misbehaving?

It has boosted the Nigerian economy in the most unusual way. I am sure that before the Oba threatened to arrange for death by lagoon drowning for anyone who voted his “blood relation” Jimi Agbaje, people who sold life jackets had slow, sleepy days at the office. Suddenly, by way of protesting the Obas words, dozens of people purchased life jackets. Imagine what this has done to the life jacket market. Now those who sell them will have more sales which will lead to more profits, which will increase their purchasing power, which will in turn inject needed funds into the Nigerian economy. Just by one speech. The Oba should be put on a retainer. 

More people will learn how to swim. Think of it this way. You may not immediately see it, but if there were Igbos in Lagos who had been procrastinating about taking swimming lessons or letting their children learn how to swim, this will encourage them to take it more seriously. More Igbos learning how to swim. More people who teach swimming getting work. Economy getting better. More children, especially Igbo children becoming good swimmers at an early age. And importantly, possible international medals for the country in swimming. They say black people can't swim. The Oba is changing all that. Revolutionary if you ask me.

Most people did not realise that the two candidates were related to the Oba of Lagos. One is his chosen boy, the other is his blood relation. People might listen to this and realise that in the end, whatever the outcome, they will all sit in the Obas palace settle this like family members over cold drinks. This will make people less violent about their support and lead to peaceful elections. If you look at it this way, the Oba was actually advocating peaceful elections. 

I think that instead of screaming about dragging him to the International Criminal Court, we should be nominating Oba Akiolu for the Nobel Peace Prize. He deserves it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

HOW GOODLUCK JONATHAN SHOULD SHARE HIS MO IBRAHIM PRIZE


I do not know how to feel about this. President Goodluck Jonathan is being suggested for the Mo Ibrahim prize for achievement in African leadership, for his singular act of placing a phone call to General Buhari. Knowing how many times I have tried to call President Jonathan, Mo Ibrahim should think of a concession prize. A Mo Ibrahim prize for perseverance, for those whose many phone calls go unanswered. But that is not what this article is about. It is not about me. Because I was raised well, I will rejoice with the president when he wins the 5 million dollar cash prize. However, I think that he must share that money with a few people who all contributed to this almost-award-winning phone call. Permit me to explain why, how and with whom this money must be shared.

1. General Buhari
The first person who should receive a part of Goodluck’s 5 million is General Buhari. For picking up the phone. It would not have been a phone call if the other party did not participate. Buhari could have been in the loo, or had his phone on silent when Jonathan called. Buhari could have lost his voice due to wild celebration. Imagine that. Say Goodluck called and Buhari’s voice was half gone, and Goodluck couldn't hear what he was saying. That could have been construed as aggression and Goodluck might have changed his mind about conceding and activated his people to subvert the entire process. Imagine if like David Umar of Niger State who refused to pick all seven of Governor Babangida Aliyu’s congratulatory phone calls, Buhari did not pick when Goodluck Jonathan called. Buhari must get at least one million for taking that call and for speaking clearly. 

2. Power Holding Company or Nigeria(PHCN)/ Chinese manufacturers of mobile power banks/ Importers of generators
Imagine there was no electricity leading up to the elections. You can say, well, we could have used generators. So, imagine there were no generators. And imagine that even if there were no generators, Chinese people had not flooded this country with mobile power banks for charging handheld devices. There would have been no phone call and Buhari might have gotten angry on one side and Goodluck angry on the other and who knows, we might have been at war now. PHCN, the Chinese, and importers of generators need at least 200,000 dollars each. 

3. Telecoms providers
Now, imagine everything was right: Buhari had his voice, had his ringer on and phone charged, there were generators and power banks just in case, and there was electricity. Then imagine that in spite of all of this, the telecoms provider that Jonathan or Buhari was using went off. No network. And imagine that the telecoms provider gave that wrong message of a phone being switched off or being out of network coverage. Especially that “out of network coverage” one. Jonathan might have thought that Buhari had fled the country or was maybe in Libya or something. It would have made Goodluck declare a state of emergency or give an ill-advised speech about Buhari running away and how this implied defeat. Then Buhari would have done his own speech and, boom! We would have been at war. Whatever telecoms provider Goodluck and Buhari use, they each deserve like 500,000 of Mo Ibrahim’s dollars. 

4. The person who gave Buhari’s phone number to Goodluck Jonathan
Imagine if he or she had gotten the number wrong and Goodluck called the wrong person. Imagine if, by coincidence, the person Goodluck called was a northern sounding person, who could have been construed to be Buhari, and the man said, “This is not General Buhari.”  Or worse, if the man just started speaking Hausa, unable to understand what Goodluck was saying. Goodluck would have panicked and thought that already, before even being sworn in, Buhari had already begun trying to northernize the country. Goodluck would have thought that perhaps if Buhari was sworn in, he would change our lingua franca to Hausa and force all Nigerians to use it or be flogged or jailed. And this would have made him call in the service chiefs and declare a state of emergency. That would in turn have triggered violence across the country. CNN would have had a great time reporting from yet another conflict zone, emphasizing that as predicted, Nigeria was incapable of transferring power between civilians and had descended into chaos. Their reporters would have unpacked their helmets and blue bullet proof vests with “PRESS” written in white. CNN would have been hailed for their great reporting of the mayhem and killings and perhaps even gotten awards for brave journalism. We must thank the person who gave Buhari’s phone number to Goodluck Jonathan for getting that 11-digit number right and give him at least 500,000 dollars. Because a lot can go wrong in 11 digits. 

I hope that Jonathan can wisely invest the remaining 1.9 million dollars that will remain after this distribution. A lot of good can be done with 1.9 million dollars. 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

NOW THAT WE HAVE LOST


By the time you are reading this, the deed will have been done. I will have lost the elections to one of the main candidates. I will be grieving as I await the official confirmation of being denied what should rightfully be mine. I mean, my name and party logo did not even appear on the ballot papers! As you read, just know that it hurts really, really bad. Sometimes God allows good people to experience hardships visited on them by their enemies. What can I say?

I have many options before me. I have no doubt that there are countless people who love and believe in me. They know my abilities. They chose me. They too will be unhappy. I can cry about how hurt I am and how my followers have been hurt. We can have a big angry party where we will talk about how to deal with the people who stole our mandate from us. Because they love me, it will not be hard to convince them to begin civil disobedience in reaction to this loss. 

This option has its down sides. For one thing, it will mean making many more motivational speeches and screaming myself hoarse. I do not have the energy for that. This election has already made me lose weight. And even if I wanted to, what will civil disobedience do? It will only make my enemies get the excuse they have been looking for, to arrest me and permanently truncate my political hustle. God forbid that after losing elections, I end up getting arrested. 

Another thing is, they rape men in Nigerian prisons. I am a virgin. It would be a tragedy to get raped at my age. 

The other thing I can do is to create a parallel government. Declare myself president and appoint a cabinet. Create confusion. My followers are loyal. I know they will back me. But what will this achieve? For one thing I do not have the money to do this and no foreign government will give me backing, mostly because I have written bad things about most Western countries. The only countries I haven't written bad things about cannot help me. Like Togo. Or Djibouti. Again, as I do not have access to oil wells I am as good as useless to the world. I will only end up getting arrested by the army and then I might be tortured (God knows I cannot stand pain) and then end up in prison. And then that prison rape situation again. Not funny. 

I can also just keep quiet and let the more vocal and zealous supporters take matters into their own hands. I can claim that I had nothing to do with it and that it is not possible to be in charge of all my supporters nationwide. But then they will be doing it in my name and in 2019 when I want to run for office again, people will make documentaries about how I am a mass murderer because I allowed my zealous supporters get violent. So keeping quiet is not an option. 

I can prepare to go to court and challenge the elections. I am a lawyer and I know how expensive electoral litigation is. Where will I get 200-500 million naira to pay Senior Advocates? If I had that kind of money I would just buy a private jet and go and cry in a nice resort in Seychelles. There is crying and there is crying. Crying in luxury is not the same as crying in penury. Why would I want to make some lawyer fat? God forbid. 

All I can do is speak to my followers. Please find below a short speech, after which I would retire from politics to private life until the 2019 elections:

Dearest Supporters,
I hope this finds you well. If so, doxology. It is with a heavy heart I announce that which you have probably already heard: the temporary truncation of my presidential hustle. I am angry. You must be angry too. But pause. 

This anger can be used to destroy or to rebuild. We can go to the streets, spill blood, burn things. Or we can sit down, strategise and try to engage this government to demand good governance until we get the opportunity again in 2019. 

What can we do in the meantime? We can have a shadow government where we critique government policies and come up with more sensible alternatives. We can live above board and be leading lights in what ever we do daily. We can start to be the change we want to see. 

The road ahead will be tough. They will make fun of us because they truncated our hustle. They can flaunt their power. But we are the masters of our fate and we decide how we will react. I say we shock them. Because they think we will be violent. Let us shock them. Let us move on. But let us not give up on Nigeria. Let us keep demanding accountability and good governance until we save enough money to begin the 2019 campaigns.

Until then, stay well and God bless. 

Your one and only presidential aspirant,

Elnathan John.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

MY NEW NIGERIAN PRISON



I need to clarify a few things. I was very worried when the First Lady, Dame Patience Faka Jonathan expressed fears about prison, saying that she was not ready to “feed my husband” in jail. While I can think of many reasons why her husband could land in jail when he loses the elections, that is not the point of this article. 

I am worried that she doubts her capacity to provide food for her husband if he ever gets to prison. This says a lot about the state of our prisons. A place that can make a strong woman like Dame Patience doubt her ability to fulfil her marital vows is a terrible place for anyone to be in. 

Indeed I have visited a Nigerian prison and I can totally understand the First Lady’s sentiments. Even just writing about it evokes the dreariness and pungent smells. 

Before I proceed let me just say that observing Dame Patience Jonathan on the campaign trail recently has made me wonder if I should not just swallow my pride and get married. Everyone needs a partner like Patience Jonathan: someone who can shamelessly defend you in public. I have friends, but they only defend you when it will not make them look bad. Once they have something to lose they politely pretend they have been struck by lightning and can’t speak up for you. But Patience is different. She opens her mouth and loyalty for Goodluck Jonathan just oozes out. It is impressive. I need a Dame in my life. 

I think that somehow the fear of imprisonment should at least make those in power think seriously about decongesting and upgrading prisons. If Jonathan had decongested and renovated prisons, his wife would not be petrified of jail. 

I suspect that President Jonathan watches only Africa Magic or NTA. Because if he watched nice foreign films and TV series like Prison Break or Shawshank Redemption, he would have seen how nice their prisons are and probably extended his transformation agenda there. 

If I become president I will make sure that all our prisons (except where rapists and child molesters are) have point-and-kill on the menu at least once every week. That, and things like banga soup on Sundays. Patience Jonathan would have nothing to fear. She would not need to cook. I cannot speak for Buhari, but I nothing can derail my plan to ensure all prisoners have a balanced diet - fruits, vegetables and all. 

My plan is also to have a gym in the prison. I saw one of Jonathan’s campaign ads where he was in a gym working out with fancy equipment. Our prisons currently do not have any provision for someone like Jonathan. My government will change all that. 

When I last visited prison, I asked the head if there was any provision for conjugal visits. He responded with an emphatic no. “It is prison!” he reminded me. “Prisoners don’t have such rights.” No wonder Patience Jonathan is afraid of Buhari. I would be afraid of anyone who was planning to stop me from having lawful carnal knowledge for many years. That kind of frustration can lead to further crime. As president I will make sure that every prisoner (except for sex offenders), has conjugal visits at least twice a month. We will provide beds and rooms for that purpose. We will even have plus-size beds for people who are on the big side. Nothing will be left to chance in this new Nigerian prison. 
***
There is only one week to the elections. The Americans sent one of their officials to speak to the Presidential candidates. Instead of speaking to all the candidates, he chose to speak just to Jonathan and Buhari. This is not right. It feels like the rigging has already begun with America. Are they trying to say to the world that the rest who want to be president are not important? America is like those aunties who would buy gifts for your siblings and not for you. They want us to fight amongst ourselves. I am protesting this action of the Americans by boycotting some of their very important products that have found their way to Nigeria. Like Jerry Springer and Kim Kardashian. 


PS. I am serious. I am looking for my Dame. Someone who will unconditionally, shamelessly defend all my inadequacies before man and God. If you see someone that fits, email me. Thanks. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

FEMI FANI KAYODE SHOULD BE CLEAR

So, Femi Fani Kayode recently accused some APC leaders of showing “an unhealthy interest in the affairs of little boys” and indulging in “gross and perverse intimate acts with them in his spare time in an obscene, indecent, shameful and completely unacceptable manner.”

Now I have spent the last few days thinking of this. I hate to jump to conclusions. What does he mean exactly? Does he mean like giving young boys too much chocolate or other sweets? Or does he mean allowing them stay out late or letting them watch things like Game of Thrones or 50 Shades of Grey? I am confused. I think Femi Fani Kayode should be clearer in his accusations. But if he means that APC leaders are allowing young boys watch things like 50 Shades of Grey, then I will be very upset. That is why I am glad that our censors board banned the movie in our cinemas. Because I believe that if you want to see naked men and women having sex, you should work for it by doing things like reading a book. The last time I checked it was still legal to sell, buy and read 50 Shades of Grey. 

Femi Fani Kayode made further accusations. He said that a certain APC leader “ended up eloping with and eventually marrying the house girl of his former leader.” This one I disagree with. I am a firm believer in human rights. That means the rights of all humans whether they are men, women, pastors, sex workers or house girls. I believe in the right of a house girl to be upgraded through marriage. I believe that this APC leader deserves praise, not condemnation. He has shown no discrimination based on class or social status. These are the kind of men Nigeria should trust to care about the masses: men who see a woman and do not allow what she does for a living to prevent him from eloping with her. Again, I think Femi Fani Kayode should mention names so that we can celebrate these people appropriately. 
***

They say it is bad to rejoice when tragedy befalls your enemy. That is all they say. But what they do not say is that, it can be deeply satisfying when your enemy lands in trouble. It was exactly how I felt when the King of Morocco said that Jonathan lied about speaking to him on the phone. I did not rejoice, because it is bad to rejoice. But it was satisfying. Because everyone who knows me knows how often I have tried to call, text, and WhatsApp Jonathan to discuss how we can move this country forward. He has ignored me for the past few years. It all makes me remember secondary school when this one guy kept telling everyone he had kissed the mixed race girl. Meanwhile he snubbed the many black girls who liked him. Then one day when he was bragging to everyone about kissing the mixed race girl, she appeared from behind him and said: “You kissed who? You liar!”

He stuttered as he replied: “I was just playing na. Don’t you know play again?”

Perhaps Jonathan should have done this to save face. Told the country that in fact, the lie that he had spoken to the King of Morocco was just a joke in the face of all the heat from the Presidential campaigns. I can understand that. Nigerians would have forgiven him for attempting to provide comic relief to Nigerians during this tense period.

But because I like to give the benefit of the doubt, I have one other scenario I want to propose. Perhaps it was all 419. Someone collected money from people in the presidency to arrange a phone call with the King of Morocco, then arrange with some Arab sounding person to speak to Jonathan on the phone. If that is the case, then my sympathy is with President Jonathan. It can be annoying to be conned. 

(I hear Jonathan has recently admitted that he actually did not speak to the Moroccan King. That is not good enough. It is like you and your family going to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage and when she says no, you showing up to deny that you ever even liked her.)

***
Professor Ben Nwabueze has called for a Government of National Unity, whoever wins the elections. I do not like this. However, if all the other candidates agree, who am I to say no? I believe in democracy. All I ask is that I become Minister of the FCT in that new arrangement. I am not asking for much. The other parties can share the remaining positions. I do not mind focusing on fixing all the traffic lights, replacing the manhole covers, taking care of urban poverty and homelessness, treating sex workers better and making sure that we have 24-hour ice cream shops. Because I care.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Penis Makes Everything Ok.



I am taking a walk around Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent onto Ahmadu Bello Way and back. So far I have counted two men peeing in public. Last week, I started counting the number of men I see everyday peeing by the road side in the city. Not as research for an article or anything, I quite like to do pointless things like that - count the number of Peugot cars, the number of women with chin hair, the number of men with moustaches. And like a game of cards, the results don't matter at the end of the day. Public peeing survived one night and now, many days after, I still can't stop counting.

If you know Abuja city, you will agree that it is one of the most difficult cities in which a man can pee publicly. There is concrete everywhere and to the public peeist (you are right, I made the word up) there is nothing as inhibitive as concrete. Grass or earth are the preferred spots. Grass and soil do a perfect job of soaking up all the guilt involved in expelling one’s pungent waste in the open. Concrete is unforgiving, constantly reminding you of the consequences, in wetness and in dryness. It takes a peeist with a faulty bladder or no conscience to do it on concrete. 

***
I walk past a woman in front of an ATM, off Ahmadu Bello Way. I assume she is trying to jump over an open part of the sewer as she starts to lift her loose, pleated skirt. When the skirt reaches about halfway up her thighs, she straddles the sewer, arches her back slightly and lets out a single stream of urine. Both men and women look on in horror. People tap others and point at the spectacle. A taxi slows down and the driver screams, asking if she has no shame. People shake their head in that what-has-this-world-come-to? fashion. 

I am curious about the mechanics: how she is able to get the urine to flow straight down without squatting or pulling up her skirt completely. She is looking straight ahead, not at what she is doing. And she is making no errors. I almost want to ask her how she does it. 

Only a few blocks before, I had passed by a male peeist doing his thing against the fence of a hotel. He didn't seem to be in any great rush so I knew he didn't have a bad bladder - he was one of those no conscience peeing-on-concrete ones. No one stopped or stared at him. But for the fact that I was counting, I might not even have noticed. 

***
I am thinking of Rifkatu who is submitting a bid for a contract with a government agency. She wants me to go with her to see a older civil servant who can advise about the bid, because each time she sees him, he tells her how great her figure is and makes her sit for a long time while he tells her about his holiday home in Houston, Texas. 

“Now he wants me to come to his office at 8pm to talk about the bid,” she texts. We both know what bid he wants to discuss alone after working hours. 

***
There are some things that never leave you no matter how hard you try. 

About 12 years ago, in university, my friend Udi told me about this huge, soft-spoken bodybuilder with a pleasant mien who had tried to violently rape her in his secluded room far inside the wooded staff quarters. A friend of hers who was present, asked her why she followed such a huge man to such a secluded location. Udi maintained an apologetic silence. 

One year after, I was in that wooded silence, visiting a friend of mine who had rented a room from a lecturer. He too told me about his bodybuilder-neighbour who tried to rape almost every girl who ended up in his room. Sometimes he succeeded. Sometimes they escaped, looking dishevelled. I was upset. I asked him why no one had reported the matter. He was upset, feeling judged by me. He said I didn't understand. 

That afternoon we heard commotion coming from the bodybuilder’s room. A woman was screaming, fighting. The bodybuilder was silent. When the falling and breaking sounds stopped, they were replaced by shrill, desperate-but-defiant screams. 

“Help me,” she shouted, “Mummy help me!”

“You see what I was telling you?” my friend said. 

We agreed to go and confront him. My friend who knew the bodybuilder very well, knocked on the outer wooden door. There was silence for a few seconds followed by the click of the key in the inner iron door. He thrust his head out of the slight opening asked what we wanted.

“Is everything ok? We heard screaming.”

“No, it is just me and my girl, we were having a little quarrel,” he said to my friend. 

“We heard shouting, thats why,” my friend insisted. 

“Don’t worry, everything is ok now,” the bodybuilder said and slammed the door shut.

We both walked away and sat on a bench in the open courtyard to hear if there would be more shouting. There was silence. About thirty minutes later he walked out of the room with a bucket and walked into the shared bathroom. After taking his bath, he spread his prayer mat opposite his room and faced the east to say his late afternoon prayers. I wondered if she heard him from inside the room as he bowed and whispered the words “Allahu akbar”, God is great. 

About an hour after that, the bodybuilder emerged from the room, holding the girl's hand. He said hello to us as they walked past. She too said hello, without looking at us, in that subdued tone of humiliation.

My friend and I talked about reporting the incident for weeks. We had no idea who the girl was, whether she was a student of our university or from somewhere else. Although we knew another girl who admitted to us that the same thing had happened to her, she said there was no way she was going to report the incident or even admit to the school authorities that anything of the sort happened. 

I have never stopped thinking of all the other things we could have done. 

***

Khadija calls just as I get to Adetokunbo Ademola Way. 

She asks if I know how she can find an institution where she can learn how to paint, something formal. I do not know much about this but I suggest she finds a good artist and intern there. 

“I tried one,” she says, but then right after getting her number the painter began calling her very late at night.

“Why will he start calling me in the middle of the night just because I left my number with him?”

I know it is a rhetorical question but in my head I try to answer why. Because he is used to doing it. Because he has gone through life believing it is ok. Because he can. 

She will try to find a painter. Preferably a woman. 

***


As I reach my house, I feel the urge to go out dancing later at night. Alone. Sometimes I just want to go out and watch people dance without having to dance or talk to anyone. Partly because I like watching people but mostly because compared to most club-going Nigerians, I dance like a three legged dog. All I will need is money in my pocket. I will not need to worry about the officials in Abuja who randomly arrest unaccompanied women at night who they think are sex workers. I will not have to think about cat calls or what people will say of a woman having drinks by herself. 
I guess my penis makes everything ok.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

HOW TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR YOUR CANDIDATE


Give me a minute here. You think this is a waste of your time and you have nothing to learn from something that you should know how to do instinctively. I’m sorry to break it to you, but only few things come to us humans naturally, like lying and cheating (but just the act of cheating- getting away with cheating is something you have to learn). Every other thing must be learned through reading or observation. 

I see you got to the second paragraph. You are one of the smart ones. This shows you have at least one of the qualities of a good supporter: willingness to believe anything. Let’s start there. 

A good supporter must suspend all common sense during the election season. People who hate your candidate will fabricate all sorts of lies and spread them in the media. It is your job to first, deny those facts to yourself without thinking them through and next denouncing the peddler of that fact as a god-forsaken liar. It is important to not give those ideas a chance to breathe in your head otherwise you start believing them. You know like those friends who will come and tell you they saw your significant other in this place with this other person just to plant seeds of doubt in your mind and make you break up - next thing you know they are dating the person they made you break up with. Bloody traitors. The world is full of them. So if you read something bad your candidate did in the past, like killing people or stealing public funds, reject it in your mind - cast and bind it in the name of whichever God you worship.

Especially on social media, do a search of your candidate’s name and anywhere you find people talking about him, jump in and attack. Think of it this way: if you were riding in a bus, and two people were saying negative things about your spouse, would you let it go? Wouldn't you stop them and say, that’s my spouse you people are talking about? It is better to shut those kind of people up quickly because, think of it: what if someone hears those lies in the bus and before you can attack the lies, the person drops from the bus? That will be it! You may never see them again and forever and ever, they will believe the odious lies that they heard and somewhere in the world, someone will believe that your spouse is a horrible person and there will be nothing you can do about it. Isn't that a spine-chilling thought? Think of this possibility every time you hear someone criticising your candidate and do the right thing: attack. That may be the only chance of saving him from a lifetime of infamy. 

There are times when you want to tell everyone about your candidate and praise everything your candidate does but then you are filled with guilt because, you have never done the same about your parents or even worse, about the God you worship. You may feel that your God will feel slighted and jealous about this sudden reverence you have for a fellow human being. Don’t let that guilt get in the way of telling everyone about how much of a saint your candidate is. Your God will understand. I think so - I mean I don’t know about every God but the main ones might not mind. Who knows, your God may even like your saintly candidate. (We can never know until after the elections and INEC reveals which of the candidates your God preferred to ruin the country.)

Never fail to say that you know that your candidate will win. Even though you have only one vote and you cannot say for sure how the rest of the country will vote, there is one thing you know: your party and candidate are God’s gift to Nigeria. In fact people should be thanking God that your candidate has chosen to abandon personal pursuits and has decided to sacrifice time and resources to serve Nigeria. And as the singer Tuface famously sang: Who God have bless no man can curse. God has stamped the victory in heaven, and whatever is decided in heaven cannot be stopped on earth. Your candidate will win. There is no other way. 

In the unlikely situation that someone does find incriminating evidence that your candidate has done something not particularly praiseworthy, you must react by pointing out how the other candidate also does similar things. In other words, as Doyin Okupe, the presidential spokesman once said: ojoro cancel ojoro. Or in English: two wrongs make it all right. While you are at it, do well to use very effective catch phrases like: He who is without sin should cast the first stone or No man is perfect or My candidate is only human

It is important to be vigilant to the fact that anyone who stands in opposition to your candidate must have been paid by the other party. You need to regularly accuse people who do not support you of being paid. Because anyone with half a brain should know that your candidate is the only hope for Nigeria and if he does not win, Nigeria will crumble. God forbid that Nigeria should crumble. 


Thank you for sharing your candidate with Nigeria and the world. It is my hope that everyone will join you in seeing the light that only you and your candidate can provide. God bless. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

GRANDFATHER, DEAR GRANDFATHER


I just threw up. Honey irritates me. The sticky, nauseating taste of tumultuous dreams. False sweetness. Discomforting viscosity. I had to chew on bitter kola to get rid of the taste and smell - the pleasant after taste of truth following its initial almost unbearable bitterness. A familiar, bitter start to cure a discomforting, sweet ending. Sweet irony

My grandfather systematically takes out and lowers his limp, wrinkled penis into the toilet seat. He needs to find the right angle so he doesn’t mess up the hospital toilet seat like he did yesterday. I can see because I am with him in his final days of pain. 

I am patient. I will not descend to the depths of irritability and its attendant violence. Like my grandfather’s which happens not due to his age and illness but from seventy years of habit. It seems less now - he has little energy to be the man he was.

I was taught to revere age in spite of what oddities accompany it. So, I respect my grandfather and care for him, especially now that his proud heart is failing. Every evening I bring in his tasteless dietaries and escort him on his torturous trip to empty his inflated bladder and bowel. I am by him when he groans at night and when he cannot eat and when he shivers from the cold in his weak bones.

He has had his day. He once drowned in pools of sinister, cacophonous laughter, playing draught with his loud arrogant friends. Day and night. He would walk in just before midnight and wake my mother up with the heavy descent of his wide swarthy palm upon her back. The effective awakening was a reminder that even after twelve hours of working in the neighborhood bakery, a good daughter ought to wait up for her father. A good daughter ought to know that when her father has a night out, he needs some food. Grandma had died of a bad kidney and there was no submissive wife to lighten my mother’s load. Grandfather would scream and bicker to make the slightest point. He would curse and spit and slap. Effective communication. 

I am patient. For the first time I understand mother’s brashness and aggression, her temper and delirious tantrums. I have seen that beneath it lays a good heart, battered by years of brutish treatment. When she loses her temper as she often does, I know that they are only echoes from a childhood gagged by filial piety. In these few weeks with grandfather, I understand when mum tells me that even an imperfect marriage became paradise for her. Instead of being irritable when she screams, I pity her as I would a person suffering from some hereditary disease.
I am learning patience. 

These are his final days. It is a bit early for him, considering the history of longevity in the family. His pain is getting worse by the day and mother still refuses to see him as have his two older children. I see frustration lined up in every crease on his perpetually frowning face when his weak lungs do not allow him to raise his voice. He has not spoken for sometime now. Not that he cannot speak, but the pain in speaking is very great.

As he groaned last night, I looked into his jaundiced eyes and tried to see beyond the unpleasant phenomenon grandfather had become. I couldn’t see beyond the grim testimony of seventy odd years. But life has judged him and will go no further. 

Mother has agreed to attend the funeral together with the rest of the family. They want a quiet funeral. They will not indulge the old man even on his way to the grave.  They will shed quiet tears at the graveside. Not sorrow. Tears of freed slaves finally leaving a brutal master. At last, they will live their lives without crouching under the shadow of his heavy hand. I will watch it all, feeling vicariously, the new lightness in their crushed hearts and the numbness in their cicatrized souls. 

Gracious death. 
Bad ending. 

Good start.