Saturday, May 30, 2015


I do not know if it is blessing or a curse, but I see signs in everything. I see multiple layers of interpretation and hidden messages in all that I read. It is in this context that I read President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration speech. Many  persons have expressed fears that the new president will come in guns blazing and change everything from our religion to the ease with which we can find sex workers in places like Abuja. I on the other hand, saw messages of love and tools for every possible relationship out there. It seems clear from that speech that President Buhari understands that once you have Nigerians in happy, fulfilling relationships, they will be easier to govern. 

Below are the subliminal messages I read in Mr Buhari’s speech. His great words in italics are quoted, verbatim:

I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation.

Sometimes a situation might arise that may lead to the breakdown of a relationship or marriage, prompting an otherwise devoted family man to take a new wife. This may lead to tension in the home and even in the immediate community. Upon hearing that the man is about to remarry, neighbours may begin to whisper about possible tensions and rejection from the old wife. They begin to anticipate battle. Sometimes the neighbours are so sure there will be a battle that they take sides even before the old wife reacts to news of a possible new wife. They start to create scenarios. It is up to the old wife to display sportsmanship and accept the new state of affairs. And sometimes, the old wife, like Goodluck Jonathan, will shock the neighbours, put them all to shame, welcome the new wife and move on with her life. The silly neighbours will have to look for another person to satisfy their thirst for blood and war.  
I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

This one is revolutionary. Honestly, I did not think that Buhari was this progressive. Some people are just not cut out to be in a relationship. Some people just need friends with benefits so that nothing ties them down and prevents them from achieving greatness. Because, let’s face it, family and relationship commitments can sometimes impede greatness. How many truly great men and women have also been consistently loyal husbands or wives? Not many.
Let us consider the case of Dame Patience Jonathan. If she was not married to Dr Goodluck, do you think he would have tolerated everything that she did? But he did. Everytime. Because: marital commitment. Sometimes one needs an open relationship to truly thrive, to belong to everybody and to nobody. 
Inspired by Mr Buhari, this is what I will tell the next woman I become involved with: I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody. And if she doesn't like it, she can go join Mr and Mrs Jonathan in Otuoke. 
A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.

Some people are vindictive. After a break up, they go round saying nasty things about you to your friends and even to people who respect you. Some will tell everyone that they were the one who was feeding you and buying your shoes and clothes, including the ones you were showing off on Instagram. Some will tell everyone the size of your penis or how bad you are in bed. When they see you with a new person they will do everything in their power to scuttle your attempts at finding love again. Well, to those people, I say, change is here. Let the past be “prologue”. Move on!

We are going to tackle them head on.

Any relationship where intimacy begins “head on”, is bound to succeed. Too many Nigerians, especially Nigerian men, do not know the value of tackling intimacy, head on. 
Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States have to be clarified if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. 

Relatives. Inlaws. Especially those stubborn siblings and cousins of your partner who insist on constituting themselves clogs in the wheel of progress. Sometimes relatives must know that in matters of love there are limits to how much or how often they can express their opinions. But of course, this does not mean that if a man is beating up your sister or cousin, or a woman is destroying your brother’s life you should fold your arms and close your eyes to what is going on. Know when to shut up and when to act. 
We have an opportunity. Let us take it.

This is a line I can’t wait to use as I look for a partner in the future. As I lay my case about why she should be with me, I will look into her eyes and end with the words: “Baby, although I belong to nobody, in the words of a great man: we have an opportunity. Let us take it.”

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Of Kings and Coups

The only way you can enjoy this article is by forgetting everything you know about democracy. Assume that the different forms of government are like wine. Different people like different things. Some like white. Some like red. 

While Europe and America have come to almost exclusively choose democracy as a form of government, some countries still maintain their monarchical governments like America’s close ally and one of its best friends in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia. Or like Great Britain which spends millions of dollars on its monarchy every year. But like the Hausa say, one person dances and gets applause and another person dances and receives a beating. Not every monarchy is popular. If you are a black country, especially one without oil, a monarchy in whatever form can be a bad, dangerous thing. I can’t explain it. Just like two people eating the same shrimp but one person ending up having allergies afterward. Or how, from the same type of scandal Kim Kardashian can make a fortune while Monica Lewinsky can have a very difficult life full of infamy. Life is weird like that. I am a writer. Not a philosopher. 

But sometimes, despite having an allergy, you can still be addicted to a thing. Like me. I am lactose intolerant but find myself still buying yoghurt and ice-cream. It makes me sick afterward, but the joy of eating them makes it worth it. In Africa, even though monarchies can earn governments sanctions and sermons from the exemplary countries of the world, we still insist on having them. Maybe it is because we see the British monarchy and admire it so much. Who knows. 

Anyway, Africa loves monarchies and there are countless kings whose rule, just like the British monarchy, is not limited by stupid things like terms. The only difference is that, because we have been prescribed democracy, these kings, from Robert Mugabe and Paul Biya to JosĂ© Eduardo dos Santos and Faure GnassingbĂ© (who took over from his late king and father GnassingbĂ© Eyadema), have to find a way of balancing monarchy with majority rule. [Because except you are a Saudi king, loved by America, democracy is the only acceptable way to govern a country these days.]

Because these African kings are smart, they have found ways of organising elections for people to ask them to stay longer in power. That is a good compromise if you ask me. I think that is what the relatively young king of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza is trying to do now. That is why I do not criticise him much. He just needs to ask the other kings how they do it. 

However, even the most popular kings face opposition. Except perhaps for the British queen who somehow succeeds in being popular even as she becomes more expensive to keep. I don't know how she does it. 

Sometimes opposition to a king comes in the form of a coup. Every long serving kings knows how to avoid coups. Sadly, a failed coup is not like a failed marriage or a failed attempt at wooing a person. You literally die after a failed coup. Except you quickly leave the country. Otherwise, you die and no one will even plead for you. Because in most countries of the world, treason is punishable by death.

So, if ever you get too tired of a king, you must think carefully before you attempt a coup. Because a coup must be one hundred percent successful. I have a couple of modest suggestions:

1 Make sure America and Europe don’t like your long serving king. A king that does business with America and Europe will be hard to remove. Even if your coup is successful, your government will be frustrated and you may never be recognised, leading perhaps to a counter coup, in which case, if you are unlucky, you will be toppled. And killed. You don’t want that. Work on making sure Uncle Sam and his friends don’t like your friend. If your king is popular with the West, like say the Saudi King, you have only two options: pray for a popular uprising like it happened in Tunisia. Or just leave matters in the hands of God. I have heard that God works in mysterious ways.
2 Very importantly, make sure your king is in the country when you do your coup. A coup when your king has travelled is one of the easiest ways to fail these days. Especially if he has friends abroad. He will simply regroup or frustrate you from outside. You need to first capture the king. Then you can change the rules. Like in Egypt.

I deal with the world differently. I used to frustrate myself trying to understand how the Saudi king can be America’s friend and Mugabe an enemy even though they both suppress opposition and have refused to allow democracy. I have come to terms with the fact that the world is different for different people. The smart ones find a way around the uncomfortable rules: like my alcoholic friend who became ill and was banned from drinking alcohol by the doctor. He found a way around it by dipping his bread in alcohol and chewing. He didn't drink. And he was happy. I mean, he ended up dying, but that is not the point. The point is, he didn't break the rules, he didn't drink. 

Whatever you do, don't break the rules. 

God bless your hustle. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015


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


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.