Sunday, January 22, 2017


I was in a hospital yesterday to see a doctor for a referral to a sleep clinic. I think I may have sleep apnea. Also my gastric ulcer is acting up again. The only responsibilities I currently have are writing two books and taking care of my one partner. I don’t have a side chic  to worry about or children to feed. I am young. Yet I need to go to the hospital. Imagine if I was in my 70’s and had 180 million people to take care of (including 469 with special needs). I would probably be doing it out of a hospital ward. So I understand why President Buhari has to take yet another medical leave. I also understand why it has to be in London. Apart from the obvious reasons, allow me to explain why I think he needs and deserves the rest in London. 

First let us clear the issue of London. Some say, why London? I say why not London? The British invaded our country and imposed themselves, their religion and their language on us in a form of violence otherwise known as colonialism. They plundered the land and then they left. The least we can do is outsource our healthcare to them. Let them treat (or manage) our president. I know we are paying for it, but they are providing the service and that is what matters. There is nothing wrong with outsourcing when you alone cannot handle a service. We are providing the world with crude oil, mineral resources, human resources (and some militancy), the least they can offer us in return is healthcare. 

Think of Mr Buhari’s tenure so far. There is a lot that could have made him exhausted and in need of frequent medical treatment. Let us start with the courts. It takes a lot of guts and energy to ignore the courts when they ask you to release a person they claim you have been holding illegally. I do not have children but I have friends who have really troublesome toddlers. The type that wont stop crying until they get what they want. I see how those friends are often exhausted in the morning from having to listen to the constant wailing. Buhari has to listen to wailing from Amnesty International, Amnesty Nigeria, Human Rights Watch, the Islamic movement of Nigeria, the supporters and friends of the journalists that keep getting arrested these days, those complaining about killing of Biafra protesters. That is a lot of noise.  Personally, I don’t know why people think that just because a court has said Zakzaky should be released Mr Buhari should respect the court order. It is just a court and the judge is just a human being. And a mere human being should not make our president do anything. It is a miracle he has not broken down. He is a strong man and I think also the fact that he doesn’t drink or smoke helps. So if he says he wants to go to London and get treatment, I support it and so should every patriotic Nigerian. 

I think China must have been listening to Mr Buhari’s speech when he said he belonged to Nobody because they recently walked into Nigeria with a business card that read People’s Republic of China aka Nobody. Then they asked him to send Taiwan away. And just like a repentant man that has been caught with another woman he asked the mistress, Taiwan to leave his matrimonial home. China was happy with it and I think we will get our 20 billion dollar loan. Any man who has gone through a cheating scandal and survived knows just how draining and stressful it all can be even after your wife forgives you. As a child of God I have not gone through it, but I know people who have. This is enough to wear the president down. 

Sometimes you have a child that is a thief or a criminal. But then it is your child and your can’t throw them away. Sometimes you must ignore them and let them come to their senses. You must let them learn from their mistakes and find their way back to your loving arms. This period of waiting is stressful. You will endure the gossiping of neighbors and the taunts of rivals who never fail to remind you that your child is or was a thief. Recently we saw documents that showed that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation put his hands in the north east pie by using his companies to secure contracts from a committee he was a member of. Imagine the energy it takes for the president to ignore that. Or to ignore the many disloyal Nigerians who tell him about a certain Minister of his who is more corrupt than anyone being chased by EFCC at the moment. Of course these are baseless rumors but imagine hearing that everyday. You too will end up in hospital with high blood pressure. 

I remember once when I shattered the screen of my father’s new smartphone. He loved that smartphone. It was a mistake, not a careless one, but a mistake nonetheless. I was taking a charger from a top shelf and it landed on the phone charging on the floor. My father was upset. The whole incident made me tired and upset. I went to my room afterward to sleep. Mr Buhari’s airforce just killed over 200 people in an IDP camp in Rann. It was a mistake. Imagine how exhausted I was after shattering one smart phone screen. Then imagine the exhaustion that follows killing not 10 or 50 or 100. Over 200 and counting. Please let him go and rest. 

I really think that our president has endured enough. And if we want him to continue his service in 2019 we must allow him to rest as often as he can in London. If Great Britain had any shame in fact, they would be offering to pay for his treatment as part payment for the evil of colonialism. That is the least they can do. We wish the President quick recovery and hope that the First Lady does not miss him too much in his other room. But thank God (and white people) for things like Skype and FaceTime. At least they can see each other.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


It is here on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital city that the perfect metaphor for how you feel presents itself to you. It is dancing delicately on the edges of this almost-still body of water called Usuma dam: empty plastic bottles and cans of soft drinks, polythene bags, disposable cups and plates, the condom wrap torn in a way that you think suggests urgency, a lone leg of worn out slippers… 

You say it to yourself: flotsam. But then you think, flotsam is debris and wreckage from a ship so technically the detritus from people picnicking at the dam isn’t flotsam. You like the word, so you use it anyway. Flotsam, you say out loud. That is how you feel these days, how the city makes you feel. Floating, aimlessly in a place with no soul, no flow, no character to its movement. Flotsam, because you feel like you have fallen off the grid and can’t say what you have been doing here for six years. Flotsam, because much of the wealth this city boasts of, feels like the debris from a country wrecked by open theft and corruption- the cars, the vulgar mansions, the money. 

You have always wanted to climb the hills around the dam but they always looked too steep from the ground, not something that any of the shoes you had could execute. You have always skirted about the hills, enough to contemplate its magnificence but not enough to experience its beauty, the view, the thin freshness that you imagine the air up there must have. This is perhaps another metaphor for how you have lived, for too long. Skirting, never really going the whole way. 

Skirting. Like when a lovely journalist you barely knew asked you to be spontaneous and come with her on a road trip and you said you’d think about it. You packed a bag but thought, what if I have an accident, there are always accidents on Nigerian roads, what if there are people killing people on the roads, these things happen. Skirting. Enough thought about being spontaneous to contemplate what nice things could happen, enough to pack a bag and feel the rush of blood to your head, but not enough to leave the house. 

The dam is lovely on a weekday because there is no noise or activity, no lovers looking for a quiet place to fondle, nothing to upset the balance of things. Only glossy colorful wild lizards that you think might be five-lined skinks with bright blue tails and olive to brown striped bodies everywhere. You hope for a snake or a monkey. You walk gently trying not to scare all the things creeping and crawling because you realize you are in their space. Sometimes the city does this to you- makes you forget whose space you are in. Or maybe it is Nigeria, where personal space means nothing, where a person can start screaming in the name of Jesus in a crowded bus, or your neighbor who is fasting can play Quranic recitations loud enough to give you a headache. You walk trying not to upset the balance of things.

You stare at an empty bottle of wine, Don Morris, between two large rocks up on the side of one of the large hills. You imagine two people, or three, sharing a bottle, passing it around, laughing, maybe smoking- you look around for cigarette butts. Maybe the rain has washed it away. You are careful not to leave any stories behind in the form of a bottle or disposable cup. You think these bits of trash upset the balance of things.

Finally you decide, after torturing yourself with thoughts of all the things that could happen- you sliding down a slippery part of the rock and scraping all the skin off your body, you tripping and plunging down to the rocks below or just losing breath and collapsing after the reaching the top- finally you decide that you are tired of skirting; tired of being afraid to die, tired of feeling like flotsam, tired of being afraid to upset the balance of things in your life.

You start climbing. Slowly at first, crouching, walking sideways, gauging the steepness and then increasingly, more confidently, taking bigger strides, straightening. Halfway up and panting, you realize that most of the steepness was imagined. 

At the peak, you find it all undisturbed. No debris. Even more five-lined skinks. And air, the quality of which you cannot remember breathing. Before this city hardened you, you might have cried. This is beautiful you say to yourself but suddenly ‘beautiful’ seems like such a bland word to describe this. You stop trying to describe. And just take it all in. 

You have not just discovered the meaning of life and yes, your problems will still be there when you go back down. But in this moment you feel many things shatter inside you- walls and fears. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of death - for now. In your head you go, if ever I want to kill myself, I know just where to come. You mean it in a nice, this-place-is-a-good-place-to-die way. 

And as you climb down you think, smiling, of all the things you need to do which will upset the balance of things, but which will stop you from just floating, aimlessly: write more about your dead brother, trust someone, love without fear.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

HOW TO ENJOY NIGERIA IN 2017 - A recession manual

Nigeria has gone through a rough patch in 2016. We officially entered a recession and experienced one of the worst shortages of foreign exchange. The Naira took many hits and plunged far below the dollar. A lot of expectations have not been met and many that I know have experienced difficult moral situations trying to respond to actions of the current government. It would be a shame to go through the same in 2017 so I have come up with a little manual on how to enjoy the new year with no stress or moral dilemma. 

This recession manual is about saving. The recession means that our government no longer has the spending power it used to have. It also means that there will be less money that will trickle down from the biggest spender in Nigeria. Saving and cutting down on expenses can save you a lot of stress. Here are ideas on what you can cut out of your life for peace of mind in 2017:

  1. Side lovers: See, I am not here to judge anybody. It is your life and only you can decide how you want to live it. But facts are facts. Side lovers are a major source of expenses and many people, men especially, do not realize how much more they spend with each additional lover they have. You can negotiate with your main partner or wife. You can say no to them especially when you have been together for long. But once that new side lover opens their mouth to ask for something, you are falling over yourself (like investors falling over themselves to come into Buhari’s Nigeria) to please them. It is not your fault. It is nature of forbidden love (or sex). Consider sticking to your wife, girlfriend or partner in 2017 and see how much you will save on movie tickets, popcorn, data for Skype or FaceTime, nails, weaves, clothes, gifts, and even fuel. As one who has recently become monogamous, I can swear by this and how much savings is involved in it. I do not know how you are going to break off from them — as a child of God that is not my area of specialty. Some people I know have pretended that they found Jesus and told their lovers that they didn’t want to keep living in sin. Others I know have told their side lovers (especially ones they were financing) that they have become bankrupt and those side lovers who were there mostly for the money disappeared. The danger of this is that if you have a side lover that has caught deep feelings, then this excuse cannot work. In that case, I sympathize with you.
  2. Pretentious fruits: This is a thing in the big cities — Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt. Seedless grapes, kiwi and the like which are imported into Nigeria, cost a fortune. These pretentious fruits are hardly even ever fresh because of the distance they have had to travel. Pretentious fruits are often involved in (a) above because one often needs this with side lovers. If you cut out side lovers it is easier to convince your main partner or wife that these overpriced fruits are not really necessary and that it is far better to buy whatever fruit is in season in Nigeria. Fruits in season are fresher and often come from around, so you will be buying healthy fruits but also patronizing Nigerian farmers which will in turn grow our economy. #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira
  3. Weddings: If you have done or helped organize [or even just attended] a wedding in Nigeria, you will agree with me that if you are on a budget, no matter what you do, people will still find something to complain about. Unless you give out iPads and Smartphones at your wedding, people will complain about the color of your jollof rice [and say you were stingy with the tomatoes even now that the price of tomatoes has dropped] or the fact that the meat was too tough or too tender [hence overcooked or already going bad when it was boiled], or that the DJ was probably a jealous ex of the bride [and thus played the worst music to ruin her wedding], or that the takeaway packs were too small. Something. So don't stress yourself. Also, if you have been invited to a wedding, do not feel pressured to buy the too-expensive ashoebi. Buy the couple a gift and if they are really your friends, they will forgive you for not being able to indulge in their extortion. 
  4. Walking and car pooling: I know how the people most ashamed and tormented by signs of poverty, are poor people. Poor people are afraid to be seen trekking. Poor people are afraid to ask for things, before somebody will abuse them and call them long throat. Rich people are not afraid to take a walk. I remember once I was taking a walk some people saw me and said poverty was worrying me and I was trekking up and down in Abuja. So I stopped taking walks pending when I would become rich. That has not yet happened but I am trusting in my prayers this holiday season. My point is, don't be like me. Sometimes, walk. It is healthy. And you get to see your city in a way most people never see the city. If you have a car, sometimes see if someone is going your way so they don't have to use their car so that they will also feel free to offer you a ride another time. That way you cut costs. 
  5. Beans: Look, I know the stigma that beans has. I know that if you have visitors in Nigeria and you offer them beans, that will be the beginning of foul rumors about how you have fallen from grace and you are so poor that you offer visitors beans. But see, beans is nutritious. It is tasty. It stays in the stomach for a long time. It is cheap. There is no plastic beans. Don’t allow the devil use rumor mongers to stop you from saving money. God will judge rumor mongers. Beans also helps with weigh loss if you eat more of it and cut out the heavy carbohydrates and starch. Just make sure to balance with vegetables that are in season. 

I pray that as you make those phone calls cutting off those side lovers, God will meet you at the point of your needs in 2017 and cushion the effect of the recession.