Saturday, May 16, 2015

THE BURDEN OF DARK SKIN

Comrade Adams Oshiomole, governor of Edo State, just remarried, five years after losing his first wife to cancer. His new bride is Lara Fortez a young, light skinned woman, from Cape Verde. Expectedly, Nigerians have formed committees to debate the motives behind this union. And I am very unhappy. I will tell you why. 

First off is that everyone seems to be implying that Adams Oshiomole does not deserve a beautiful wife. This is where, as a dark skinned person, it worries me deeply. The world we live in is rigged against dark skinned people.  Dark skinned people must work twice as hard as light skinned people in Nigeria to prove either their worth or their innocence. 

When was the last time you saw a very light-skinned Nigerian criminal? All the armed robbers that are paraded by the Nigerian police are usually dark skinned. Yes the SSS paraded the light-skinned Kabiru Sokoto, but they did him the courtesy of buying him a brand new t-shirt after they caught him hiding. When they paraded him before journalists, his face showed no signs of being tortured. So also the light-skinned alleged mastermind of the Nyanya bombing, Aminu Ogwuche. No swollen face or beating. Just stress from the long flight after being arrested. And the dark skinned law enforcement officers looked sorry about it. If either Kabiru Sokoto or Aminu Ogwuche were dark skinned, they would have been shirtless and sitting on the floor with a split lip or swollen eye. That is why I always advice dark-skinned people to avoid crime. Because they will be the first to be caught. And when they get caught, no one will feel bad about giving them a thorough, visible beating.

So, now, in the minds of Nigerians, because Oshiomole is dark-skinned, he must have seduced Ms Fortez with his wealth? Why is he considered so ugly? Is it his nose? Oshiomole has a much smaller and better nose than former Cross River Governor, Donald Duke but the latter is always considered good looking because he is light-skinned. (And you will agree with me that a good nose is crucial to a good face.) If Donald Duke had married Lara Fortez, Nigerians would have been drooling, calling them “lovely couple” and praying to all the deities in Nigeria to give them happiness and children as beautiful as they are.  A dark-skinned person in Nigeria is ugly until proven otherwise. 

There are many reasons why Lara could have fallen in love with Adams. First, I am told by a reliable source that he knows how to “treat a lady”. I do not know what that means exactly and as a child of God, I will not ask for details. But it is good enough that people say that about him. Also, Adams has very visible eyes. Eyes are not my thing, but I know for a fact that some people are deep into eyes. For those people, once a person’s eyes are on point, they fall in love. Lara might just be one of those people. And if she is, good for her!

Lara might also be a sapiosexual. Someone who is attracted to intelligence. Have you listened to Adams give a speech? The man is an orator. For sapiosexuals, intelligence is the most sexually attractive feature and Lara might have sat down one day at a dinner and listened to Adams relate how he governs Edo State and makes sure he pays workers salaries on time and thought, oh my God, I love this man! If so, Lara is a sensible woman who knows the important things in life. She will go very far. 

Lara may have fallen in love with dress sense. By that I mean his brown shirts. You see, not many people can wear those brown khaki shirts continuously and still look attractive. She may have admired that as a sign of consistency and dedication. He has been wearing those brown shirts for decades now. As a committed comrade, she knows that he will bring that sense of commitment to the marriage. Sometimes all you need is consistency. See where consistency got General Buhari? You can never go wrong with consistency. 

I once saw a CNN article that listed Nigeria as one of the countries with the sexiest accents in the world. Granted, CNN can’t even locate Nigeria on a map, but there must be some truth in that. Maybe Lara heard Adams' accent and thought, oh my God, listen to that strong, loud, sexy Nigerian accent. I know, because the same thing happens to me with Irish accents. I remember once taking a tour of the Berlin wall and getting lost because I was following a bunch of Irish tourists who were speaking loudly. Thank God for Google maps that helped me find my way back. Europe is not a place for a dark-skinned person to be lost.

My point is, there are a million reasons why Lara would fall in love with Adams. It is hypocritical of Nigerians who only recently, chose a light-skinned presidential candidate over a dark-skinned one to be pointing fingers at Adams for going after a light-skinned woman.

Ps. As I pray for God to bless my dark-skinned hustle, I am looking for my own light-skinned woman who can love me for who I am. Or at least for my fabulous t-shirts, my height or my solid, dark eyes. Because money, I don’t have. In the words of my friend Chioma: I am still a struggling writer. 

But if I find her, I promise to treat her right. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

SAVING BLACK AMERICA


Something has been bothering me on the international front. I really want to tell President Jonathan but I doubt he will be in the position or mood to listen. For one thing I know he is very busy moving his things out of the villa. This is tricky because after nearly six years in that palatial building, one can get too comfortable and start buying things as if one is going to be there forever. Patience Jonathan must be having a problem deciding what to take, what to leave behind and what to sell off. (I wonder if she will sell the fittings she bought to Aisha Buhari the way the former tenant of my new house insisted I should pay for the kitchen cabinet she installed. I do not know Patience that well so I cannot say if she is the type to dash Aisha her kitchen cabinet or insist on a refund.) But one thing is sure: unless they have a house in Abuja or Otuoke as big as the villa, moving will be very difficult. 

Jonathan must also be busy folding his clothes and gathering his hats. I gather they are quite a lot. I think he should auction them online. I know many who would want to buy clothes and hats worn by a former president. 

My other option is to discuss this issue bugging me with president-elect Muhammadu Buhari. In addition to all the meetings with politicians looking for a soft landing, he is probably busy with the tailor making his clothes for the handing over ceremony. 

So I will just say what is bothering me here. It is America. Let me explain.

Nigeria is the most populous (and arguably the most powerful) black nation on earth. It should be providing guidance on matters affecting black people all over the world. In the last week, the United States of America has descended into turmoil and especially in Baltimore, there has been rioting, violence and looting following the death in police custody of a black male by the name of Freddie Gray. He was arrested by police and while at the back of the police van, sustained injuries that eventually led to his death. The death has been ruled a homicide.

As someone who was in the running to become president in Nigeria, the killing of blacks in America by law enforcement worries me deeply. And I refuse to be silent. The days when countries could just do as they please with their citizens, especially their minorities, are over. The world is now a global village and countries must have a minimum level of conduct if they want to be respected among the comity of nations. America must tell us, if they want the black people they stole from Africa hundreds of years ago or not. Because nobody forced them to take black people to America. They were the ones looking for cheap labour because they were too lazy to work in the fields and clean their own homes. If they agree to return the blacks however, the least they can do is return them in the same condition they met them here - healthy and alive. The same way if you buy a television and you do not want it anymore, you cannot return it with the screen broken. No one will accept it from you.

America needs to stop massacring black people. 

Some have said that because Americans are addicted to guns, any attempt to stop or reduce the liberal use of firearms will lead to trouble. They might just die of withdrawal symptoms. For me, they do not have to stop extra-judicial killing altogether. They should just make the killing democratic. There are white Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and Latinos. They can start by killing other groups of people and allowing the blacks to get off on time served. This is only fair. 


I hope that when Buhari is sworn in he will have the will to speak to this issue with the firmness that is required from the leader of the largest black nation on earth. He must warn that there will be consequences for killing black Americans, especially as it is likely that many of them are descendants of Nigerian slaves. He must threaten them with sanctions. Like refusing to accept any aid from them. Because these days, “sanctions” is the only language some countries understand. If all fails, he must evacuate black people from that violent, gun loving country, before they are killed off. That would be a brilliant way to start his foreign policy. Until then, I hope his tailors do a good job on that inauguration babban riga.  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

HOW TO DEAL WITH POLITICAL LOSS


You have done well. Fought gallantly in the dense, dangerous, unpredictable forest that is Nigerian politics. You have grappled with wild animals trying to take you down, been bitten by poisonous snakes within your camp betraying your cause, and tried to cut through the thick vegetation of prejudice, sentiments and bias. And although you gave it your best, your party lost the elections. It is painful, especially if the winners gloat when you are down. But you are only down. Not out. This is how to make sure you do not recede into political oblivion or worse, ignominy. 

Especially as outgoing president, you need to deal with the emotional turmoil that comes with defeat. You do not want to be driving through the streets seeing your  smile and campaign pose in all the billboards around town. Your campaign billboard that says Vote For Me, standing after you have lost, is like a man who, upon being turned down by a woman goes to camp outside her house, even when he can see that she has chosen and married another man. You are not that desperate. Order the removal of all your campaign billboards and posters. Not just for your peace of mind. For the people. Your love for the people will not allow you to subject them to the perpetual guilt that comes from constantly staring at the face they rejected at the polls. Many people will look at your face and regret the fact that they either didn't go out to vote or voted for the other, lesser candidate. Who knows what that guilt can lead to. You do not want to be the cause of depression and suicides. Also, because you love the country so much, you do not want the incoming government to bear the cost of taking down your awesome billboards. They will all ultimately regret the mistake of not electing you but in due time, your absence in their lives will make their hearts grow fond of you. 

However, this magnanimity does not extend to the idiots from your own camp who contributed to your downfall. Animals. Those ones must be dealt with. Sack the ones you can sack and ask those who took money from you without delivering to return the money. No need to be ashamed of this. The Hausa people say, “jin kunyan mara kunya asara ne". Meaning, feeling shame in dealing with a shameless person is a waste [of time]. 

As a presidential aide whose principal has lost power, life can be tough. You have spent years insulting the evil enemies of your boss. You have called some people children of Satan and likened your boss to Jesus. Because let’s face it, some people need to be identified as children of the devil.  You have confirmed time and time again that indeed God was personally involved in the campaigns and your boss was surely going to win and shame all his detractors. But somehow, it didn't quite happen the way God had prophesied to you and your boss lost the elections. God works in mysterious ways.

Do not let your heart be troubled. Although it is hard for an aide to get a similar position in a new government after all those insults, all hope is not lost. Use the new freedom you have to better yourself. Go to Harvard and do one of those short courses they design for people who can and want to pay lots of money for a paper with Harvard written on it. Write a book about all the good things you did while you were in government while exposing all the bad people. When you return to the country in one or two years, Nigerians will have forgotten how strongly they felt about you and you will just be an ex-presidential aide. Organise a book launch and invite all the people you used to know in government and let them all donate to offset the cost of printing 1,000 copies of the book in Dubai or China or India. If you are lucky you may even make a huge profit. 

If you are in the big league and somehow a lot of money went through your hands while you were in government as a Minister of head of some parastatal, and your party is no longer in power, someone in the new government may accuse you of theft. That is what victory sometimes does to small people. It makes them see everyone as a thief. But you are not a thief. God knows and your supporters know. However, to prevent anyone soiling your name, quickly hold meetings with the new people and try to reach a deal. Let me be clear here. The fact that you are trying to make a deal to return some money in no way implies that you are guilty of any crime. It is like a marriage. Sometimes you concede or apologise in an argument with your spouse not because you agree or were wrong but because you want peace in the home. Being at peace is better than being right. You want peace in Nigeria. So if the need arises, return vast sums from your personal savings. The idea is to prevent a situation where, one day while you relax in your mansion, having champagne and watching the new season of Game of Thrones, some rude EFCC people will be sent to harass you. You know the worst part about those EFCC people? They do not take their shoes off when they enter your house to arrest you. I mean, do your arrest, but show some respect for the rug. 

If you did not contest elections at all, it may just be easier to look for an opportune time to decamp from your party to the new ruling party. People may scream, but you know that Nigerian political parties are like restaurants. Sometimes, the restaurant you always eat at may suddenly stop getting the snails you love eating and you may have to try another restaurant. Someday when the first restaurant resumes selling snails you can go back there. No one will judge you for changing restaurants just like no one should judge you for changing political parties. 

It is my hope that after your political sabbatical, you return energised and ready to  reclaim your spot in the limelight again. God bless your hustle. 


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.