Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 Countdown Numero Uno

The year is almost over! Yipeee! 2013 has been a WONDERFUL year for me, I don't even know where to start. I apologize for the long absence, I actually had alot to write but never got around to putting the words down. Now if only someone could invent a device that wirelessly transcribes our thoughts into words, life would be so easy...A few items have been on my mind lately, so I'll just ramble a bit...

This year I read quite a number of books by Nigerian/African authors and it rekindled the fire and passion I once had for anything African. I have to admit that our Nigerian authors are very gifted and deserve alot of commendation. "Americannah" by Chimamanda was nice, it felt like she was writing her story because I could identify with the protagonist (life as an international student). Other authors that caught my eye include Seyi Atta (Swallow/Everything Good will come), Adaobi Nwabuani ( I do not come to you by chance), E.C. Osondu (BBC), Chika Unigwe (On Black Sister's street), but to mention a few. The Naijastories website is also a brilliant concept, there seems to be a rejuvenation of the reading culture and that is a fantastic trend. I still recall reading Wole Soyinka's "Ake" many years ago, still remains one of the best books I've ever read. So in 2014, try to make out a little time and read a few african/nigerian books, you'll be surprised. My new plan for 2014 is to 'sample' a few Nollywood movies, I have to admit (ashamed) that I've always been a big Nollywood critic/basher. I have watched just 2 Nigerian movies in the past 10 years (shame dey catch me) and thanks to Myne Whitman and my rediscovered patriotism, I've decided to support rather than criticize. My first project will be to watch "The Meeting" by Rita Dominic, the trailers look appetizing.

On a more serious note, the current crisis in South Sudan and Central African Republic is depressing. I honestly don't know the root of Africa's problems. I read a few history books about the colonialization of Africa by Europe between the mid 1800s and 1900s, and it was eye opening. In an indirect way, we can trace the roots of all our problems back to those days. Maybe we would have remained content as separate tribes, with our unique and individual traditions, but the truth is that modernization or westernization was and still is inevitable. There is this great divide in African nations, along religious and tribal lines that inevitably builds cracks and craters along economic and political lines. The troublesome trend is that when the angst rears its head in the political and economic sphere, the tribal and religious angle suffers the backlash. During the days of racial tensions in the West, there was this misguided interpretation of the privilege of 'skin color', a tangible differentiator that a bunch of fanatics jumped on, magnified and manipulated into maltreating a whole race. But when I look at African countries torn apart by wars and periodic genocide, I can't place a finger on a tangible reason for neighbors to fight except for the sole fact that neighbors are meant to be separated by walls and boundaries, not forced to be subject to one authority. "The problem with Africa is..." you can fill the blank, it is a sad situation.

Life as a married man has been wonderful. I am a 'modern man' which roughly translates to: I'm not the conventional guy, I believe marriage is a partnership and a journey that 2 friends should enjoy, with both parties willing to make sacrifices, the ultimate of which is love. I am not a fan of feminism, neither do I subscribe to patriarchy, I simply believe in love and equality. I've learnt alot from being married and it has made me a better man. Sometimes I get upset when I read or hear about people's (Nigerians and Africans in general) attitude to marriage or being single. We truly need a 'reorientation', a redefinition of our supposed culture, which people throw up in arguments. I don't know about you, but culture is supposed to adapt to people, not people to culture. I want a world where a girl/boy will be free to decide if/when/who, he/she wants to marry without pressure from society, a society where men and women would look beyond gender and treat everyone with EQUAL respect, that is my hope for the future.

Before I sign off, if you are not a fan of Breaking Bad, I highly recommend that you watch the series. It was one of the best shows ever written (in my humble biased opinion). As for Scandal, I don dey tire for Olivia Pope. I'm looking forward to "The Walking Dead" in 2014 though, beautiful but sad...

I'll possibly go on a blogging spree and write post for each day left till the year is over, lol. Anyway, we have just  4 days to go, let's take time out count our blessings, reflect on the year and start prepping for 2014...May our hustle never knock engine!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dilated Pupils

"...He closed his eyes, struggling to recall what the sunset looked like, the novelists always depicted the image as picturesque, but in the hazy fugue state of temporary blindness, all he could picture was shadows and blurred lines. "So this is what it feels like", he said to himself, a rueful smile crossing his lips as monochromatic shades flickered in his vision with every blink...

He brought out his phone, squinting and peeking at it, amazed at how the once sharp features which previously glared at him with digital defiance and clarity, now looked hazy like symbols buried beneath sand dunes in the persian desert. Bold edges smoothened out into curves, bright colors softened by invisible hands that left smudges where rainbows once bloomed brightly

The only distinct color was red, he could see it with his eyes closed. Soft red hues, not bright, like the color of sun baked earth reminiscent of his childhood days on the streets of the coal city. The red mist didnt hang like a halo, instead it was suspended like a cloud that had been dipped in red dye, just a quick dip, akin to a lapse and decline into temptation to gauge the impact of sin on a pristine nature.

He squeezed his eyes tight shut and the red hue melted in to a black hole, a crater of emptiness with no boundaries, boundless to infinity. But the red hue prevailed, creeping back gradually as the muscles of his eyes relaxed, slowly swallowing the black abyss with warmth, till it cast a glow of victory.  He stretched out his hand, reaching for a memory, a solid frame to reawaken his senses. And as his hand moved, the red mist faded, growing dull as the sunlight receeded, giving way till it merged into a pool of calmness, the color of tepid tea..."

Excerpts from my thoughts after a routine eye exam...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Le Fart & A Rant

The sun's rays filter in through the slightly parted window shades, casting warm glows on the tousled bed sheets. Outside the birds chirp merrily, an occasional high octave tune carried by the waves of the sun-warmed springtime morning breeze. Inside the room, beneath the sheets, she lay snug in the warmth of the niche carved by their intertwined limbs. A soft smile on her lips, her beauty captivating, even while asleep. The tranquility of the moment was ripped apart by the sound of a loud fart braaaaapp brraaaappp!

"What the hell was that?" She yelled as she scrambled out of the bed in panic.

"Nothing hun, I just messed", He replied bemused.

"You just messed? That was a fart?" The look of shock in her eyes and the tinge of disbelief in her voice was as clear as the call to morning prayer on the streets of Maidugiri.

"Yes o, a belch from the gluteus maximus," he responded happily For some odd reason an image of Gandalf from Lord of the Rings had just popped up in his head and gluteus maximus sounded rather apt as opposed to 'ass'. After all, she started it, who refers to 'mess' as 'fart' anyway?

"Come back to bed jor, you are acting like you've never heard someone mess before,"
But she didn't budge, now the shock in her eyes had given way to a look of suspicion.

"How come I can't smell anything?" She quipped, her voice quavering a little.

Puzzled, he sniffed the air, his nostrils twitching and flaring furiously as he sought the tell-tale scent of toxic human gas.

"Na wah o, see as we are analyzing mess like Sherlock Holmes. Come back to bed boo, it is not that serious. You should be thanking God that the smell is not proportional to the amplitude.", he muttered.

Slowly she backed away from the bed, her eyes darting around the room like a caged prey. Inwards, her brain was screaming in full panic mode, flee while you have the chance o, this is how Oscar Pistorius killed his fiancee and blamed it on non-existent house burglars!

Her eyes grew with alarm as she saw the bulge beneath the sheet where he lay. Was that the weapon ? To think that she had fallen for this serial killer's charm last night and followed him to his apartment without any suspicion. Chineke, he could have easily killed me while I was overdosed with good sex and sleep. The bastard's eyes were not moving from her right now and he had a glazed maniac expression on his face, the quiet drool of a predator about to pounce, she thought to herself, her panic increasing.

On the bed, he was licking his lips in his best LL Cool J style impression, his mind aflame with thots. Dayuuum! See how she is backing away to run and dive into my bed, he thought. Beneath the sheets, the tell-tale sign of his charged manhood pushed and strained against the sheet. His eyes glazed over in anticipation as he waited for her, his mind chanting "wa gba control".

Suddenly the pungent smell of putrified human gas wafted to her nose as her back touched the wall...automatically she switched from being the prey to the predator. "Jizos, how can you be so gross!". Realizing that he had just committed romantic hara-kiri, he sought to maintain his cool and reignite the atmosphere that was rapidly fading, but the pungent smell had hit him too, the bulge beneath the sheet shrivelling faster than the ice peaks of kilimanjaro. Quickly he tried to seize the moment, "I'm not feeling well...

To be continued...

3 Expressions/Phrases that I DISLIKE

1. Turn Up
Arguably the most used phrase this year. Blame my dislike for the word on its frequent use by Nigerians on social media. The origin of this expression is unknown, but it rubs my mental vocabulary the wrong way. Turn up at a party, club, wedding, even in church...are you kidding me? How about "Shup UP" and just have fun! Grrrrr...

2. Bruv
First of all, I don't like being referred to as "Brother X", even in church. I have one biological brother and he doesn't call me "Brother". Now some folks like to take famzing to a higher level, uncertified Brit accent et al, "Whad up bruv"...Seriously? You are Nigerian, you live in Lagos, stop it!

3. Innit
I don't even want to get started on this. If you consciously program your mind to use a word because it sounds cool, then it isn't natural, is it? or innit? Some words are best left as they are, and some slangs should never cross the atlantic ocean. "Innit" should not be granted a verbal visa to the shores of Naija.

Okay my rant is over, you can add yours  :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

F-1 Chronicles

He sat in the shadows, the glass of wine hanging loosely in his hands, the soft sound of Coldplay floating in the room like suspended musical chords. His eyes stared blankly into the distance, seeing nothing yet transfixed by the imagery in his mind. A partially-cooked smile lingered on his face, his eyes glazed and moist as the memories trickled in...

"6 years ago, a young naive student stepped off the plane from Naija. He was dressed in his favorite jeans, a thick light-brown sweater his dad had given him and a pair of timbaland boots. He had $5000 cash in his back pocket, money that was to tide him over for the next couple of months. Like every newbie, he believed that he would find a job shortly afterwards and begin the pursuit of the american dream. He spent his first night in his hotel room on the 10th floor, overlooking the Newark skyline, giddy with excitement, watching the stars as they twinkled and whispered their welcome to him..."

"A few weeks had gone by, no one told him it would be this hard to get a job on campus. He had filled out countless applications, polished his nigerian accent as best as he could and smiled as hard as he could while dropping off his resume at different offices. The smile felt permanently etched on his face, like a mask that couldn't be washed off. Beneath the smile, he was nervous and worried about the future. The academic work wasn't an issue for him, but his naivety about America being the promised land was gradually wearing off..."

"Finally! At last! He heaved a huge sigh of relief as he started his first job, a desk attendant. His Warri friend back in Nigeria had laughed when he told him with pride that he finally got a job. "Na security work u dey do for there?", was the question. He sought for the words to explain that being a desk attendant was different but at that point he didn't care, he would have gladly taken a security gig if they would hire him. The job paid $8.15 an hour for the graveyard shift, all he could hear in his head was the sound of gold coins...ka ching..."

"Bros, I'll give you a simple word of advice: Find someone and arrange your papers. You can't make it in this country on an F-1 visa, that was the 'advice' he heard from his fellow africans in diaspora. "Nna men, you gotta do what you gotta do, just arrange the thing sharply, else you go roast for here". He laughed it off, that was not even an option for him. He still remembered when he first went off to Port Harcourt for his undergrad, his father's advice had been : "Biko, don't get any girl pregnant, those Port harcourt and Calabar girls there are very fine o". His mother had retorted angrily "How will he get someone pregnant? He is just a young boy, abi all the bible we have been reading in this house is in vain? Emma ekwu zi na o di ihe a (Emma, stop saying things like that)". So he couldn't imagine himself 'marrying for papers', that was simply impossible. By conventional standards he was pretty intelligent, so getting a job after graduation didn't look like a daunting prospect for him. Moreover, Abraham had a son at age 100, how hard could this possibly be...

"He pulled the tie off his neck in anger. He had spent hours at another frustrating career fair, smiling like a circus monkey, speaking polished English, and handing out his resume to prospective employers. It was all a ritual, they would accept his resume, gush about his excellent grades and qualifications, commend his almost American accent, and then hit him with the common chorus "we'll get back to you...". But they never got back to him, he looked at the mirror in despair. Maybe it was his skin, but he was fairer than Obama for pete's sake! Or his accent? C'mon, even the Indians thought he was American. So what could it possibly be? After a few minutes, his eyes finally opened. He realized that being referred to as an "International Student or F-1 student" was not a compliment, it was just another fancy term masking the harsh reality of life. He jumped on google and tried to trace the path to making it in the promised land the hard way, the chart read: "F1-H1-Green Card-Citizenship-American Dream". He found it quite funny. "So which dream i dey since?", he wondered to himself.

NB: This is dedicated to a special group of people, my Day 1 homiez : G.Sachs a.k.a. Confam Bubbler, Fuji Rockstarz a.k.a. Mushin,Yung Ronaldo, Femo, Babse, Chris Phelps, Fola_Munchen and Remix... We go make am one day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

April 17

Las Gidi…

Early in the morning, long before the break of dawn, he tousled and turned around underneath the sheets, his hands searching for the warmth of his fiancee's body. He murmured sleepily with undisguised contentment as he traced the outline of her body, his thoughts lost in transition in the oasis between sleep and dreams. His eyes fluttered open a few seconds after as her voice tickled his ears, "wake up boo, we have to be at the registry on time", she said. He pulled her closer to himself, still awed by the reality of their fast approaching civil marriage; it still felt like a dream. His suit was neatly hung next to her champagne dress, the attire creating the illusion of betrothed garments linked by the fabric of love. His tie was red, the color of passion and he had even picked out a red pair of boxer briefs to match, not that anyone but her would know, he chuckled mischievously. "Good morning honey, soon to be Mrs E", he whispered in her ear, the thought of being introduced as her husband still causing waves of excitement to ripple through his head. She smiled as she wriggled out of his embrace; his eyes never leaving her, the rush of flowing water snapped him out of his reverie...

Bumblebee was waiting for them to get in the car, "biko lets start going o", she called out. They had agreed to leave the house by 7am and she had been ready since 6.45, true to fashion, the bride-to-be was still putting finishing touches on her already perfect makeup. The red brooch she had on earlier had been replaced by a silver one instead, Bumblebee had picked it out herself because it matched her outfit better. A few minutes later, she sighed with relief as the couple hurried out of the house in to the car, the journey was about to begin...

He stepped out of the car, adjusting his tie one final time and walked briskly towards the registry with his bride beside him. They made a striking couple, even though most of the men clad in black suits had picked a red tie, there was no disputing who the hottest bride at the registry was. He could feel the eyes tracking their steps as they stepped into the hall; a cameraman was almost stumbling over himself as he captured their entrance on video. "Oga come and write your name here, u be number 20", the registry officer beckoned to him as they walked in. A few minutes later, he was seated next to his bride on the wooden bench; waiting for his number to be called...

1 hour later, he was sweating profusely, the sweat dripping down his face like teardrops. To the casual observer, he looked like a nervous man, in reality he was dying and praying for their turn to approach faster. The hall was packed, some brides were dressed in complete wedding gowns, there were a lot of guests and family members in support and the icing on the cake was the presence of a Fuji band of praise-singers who never failed to burst into a rendition of songs compiled with a newly wedded couple's name once the final vows had been said. His eyes sought out his bride in the chaos and he saw her smiling and laughing with a few of her friends who had come for the occasion. She still looked radiant, unperturbed by the heat. "My wife is a goddess" he hummed tunelessly under his breath, his eyes never leaving her face. A few minutes later she noticed his gaze on her and smiled back at him, the sweat still pouring down his face...

"Number 18, 19 and 20, couple only”, yelled the registry officer unceremoniously, beckoning to the approaching couples to come forward. Finally, it was almost their turn, there was no point trying to freshen up, he was already soaked with sweat, nevertheless he linked his arm with her's as they walked inside. He was a bit surprised by how quick the ceremony was conducted. In his mind, he had envisaged a romantic ceremony, where he would look into her eyes and promise to love her for the rest of his life. The scene that was unfolding before him didn't look so romantic. Nevertheless, he was still excited. A few minutes later, it was their turn. They looked at each other with excitement as they approached the registry officer, then the ceremony began...

It happened so fast that if u so much as blinked or closed your eyes to sneeze you would have missed everything. First of all, the registry officer sounded as uninterested as Obasanjo watching a Kanye West rap video. He zoomed through the words faster than a Formula 1 race car, never pausing to catch his breath or even acknowledge the pleadings of the groom to speak slower. He stumbled over the vows trying his best to repeat the words correctly. "Did u just say endow?" He asked quickly, trying hard to keep pace with the staccato burst of words rushing out of the lips of the registry official, whilst keeping his gaze on his Bride's lips. The officer seemed not to notice or chose to ignore him, continuing his quick fire approach. A few seconds later, he mumbled "now u may kiss ur bride". The couple kissed shyly while their guests ooohed and aaahd encouragement in the background, the photographer on the other hand was asking for a longer kiss for better pictures. His pleas fell on deaf ears, the kiss was over in a heartbeat, the registry official motioned to the newlywed to sit and then asked slowly in clearly punctuated words, "so Mr and Mrs E, what do you have for us?"...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Marriage Diary

Evolution of a bachelor to a husband

1. Putting the toilet seat down.
2. Waiting happily for her to finish dressing, while admiring the beauty of God's craftmanship.
3. Waiting for her to pick what she'll wear so that you can coordinate colors.
4. Getting used to saying "my wife said.../meet my wife...". Never knew the word "wife" could taste so sweet.
5. Going to zumba class with Mrs E, as a show of support. (Yes I did, I was the only guy there, lol)
6. Coming home early from work/having someone to come home to.
7. Watching a whole season of  "Grey's Anatomy" or some random series with Mrs E instead of watching the NBA finals. Also, heaping insults on Olivia Pope in Scandal, how can she be sleeping with a married man, what rubbish!
8. Missing soccer for a walk in the park. (Wow, never thought that could happen, lol)
9. Taking lunch to work and coming home to a warm meal. My wife is an excellent cook!
10. A "goodbye honey/have a wonderful day" kiss in the morning...

Marriage is a beautiful thing, maybe the best thing in life.

No wonder Adam took the apple from Eve without hesitation, I'll would have eaten the whole apple tree for Mrs E.

Ruben Studdard (Flying without wings)
"Everybody's looking for that something...
One thing that makes it all complete...

You'll find it in the strangest places...

Places you never knew it could be...
Some find it in the face of their children...

Some find it in their lover's eyes...

Who can deny the joy it brings...

When you've found that special thing...

You're flying without wings..."

You are the place my life begins, and you'll be where it ends. Te amor!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I didn't choose the color of skin to be born with,

didn't pick the family to be born into,
neither did I pick the first school or church to attend,
nor pick my siblings, 2 came before me and one after, I never had a say.
But time changed everything.
As the hands of time moved, I had the opportunity to choose.
I picked a major and a university to attend,
selected friends, made enemies and savored different music genre.
Lived my life the way I wanted within the boundary of my power,
fell in love, proposed, and married the woman of my dreams.
If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Life dealt me a good hand...

I saw a little girl running in the afternoon heat, a pair of tattered flip flops on her feet, held together by strips of rope. She had a rapturous expression on her face, unfazed by the burning heat. She had barely any clothes on save for a pair of old frayed panties. You couldn't tell what color it was, it had aged gracefully but even the fabric couldn't withstand the harsh conditions it had been subjected to. The little girl didn't seem bothered by her near nudity as she ran up to an old woman laboring under the weight of  a basket, bursting at the seams with cassava stems.

The basket was old, very old and worn. You could almost hear it sigh with every step the woman took, the silent complaint of an inmate who had given up on the possibility of parole. Baskets may be inanimate but they groan too, their lifespan wasn't meant to be this tough. The white man coined a term for it,"MTBF: Mean Time Before Failure." The basket had served its time, failed, been patched up, died and resurrected by prodding fingers that wouldn't let it rest peacefully in raffia paradise. But it's plight didn't seem to bother the old woman who had loaded it full with cassava.

She grinned as the little girl hugged her tightly around the waist, balancing the basket deftly by shifting her feet so the cassava stems wouldn't spill out. The woman's face was weather-beaten, her skin stretched tightly across her face, barely covering her jaunt bones. On closer inspection you could tell that the woman wasn't old at all. Her eyes were still young, but her bones creaked and ached like a rusty machine pummeled by the hardship of a struggle-filled life. The woman's smile revealed a pair of gleaming white teeth in sharp contrast to the dull glow of her skin. The woman had never been to a dentist, toothpaste was a luxury she had never been exposed to. All her life she had relied on her chewing stick and it had never failed her. She looked down at the little girl's hair,  trying to decide if it was due for plaiting, her face creased with concentration. The little girl's voice snapped the woman out of her reverie. "Mama, nnoo! Ka m nyere gi aka..." (Mother welcome, let me help you)

The little girl didn't pick the family to be born into, life had dealt her a tough hand. Only time would tell the choices she would make...

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Tale of 2 Cities...

It is rumored that Las Gidi is the city of the gods, positioned not so far from the exact spot that once held the foundations of another fabled city, Babel, a city whose link to fame traces its history to the pages of the Bible. If you remember the story, you would recall that the residents of Babel sought to build a bridge to Heaven, but fell short. A testament to their failure was the vast number of languages that set in afterwards, the harbinger of confusion as their descendants were scattered all over the face of the earth.

What the historians failed to mention was that the exact coordinates of Babel were never known, but rumor had it that the builders complained of the tremendous heat. It almost felt as if the angels were ironing their heavenly garments, transferring the full brunt of the galactic juice that powered their steam irons to the mortals on earth. The tower had sought to create a hole in the bowels of heaven for man to ascend, in retaliation, the angels had dumped buckets of hot water on their heads. But that remains a myth, for all we know, the residents of Babel were scattered across the face of the earth, each speaking a different language, unified by their stubborn resolve to succeed wherever they went…

Las Gidi

The young man stood in the middle of the road, clad in a pair of well worn dirty blue jeans and a threadbare t-shirt that had the words "BABEL" emblazoned on it. The sun was relentless, the heat overbearing and intense, the sweat trickled down his face in steady rivulets, tracing a grime path down the side of his oily skin. He yanked the formerly white colored face towel out of his back pocket, and wiped his face furiously. He took a glance at the crumpled cloth, his face grimacing at the dirt stains etched all over the previously pristine white cloth. He sighed deeply and stuffed it back down the throat of his pocket, pulling up his trousers slightly as he did so. There was no reprieve in sight from the heat, so the only viable alternative was to soldier on and bear it, everyone else was in the same boat. He continued his duty of controlling traffic, his mind focused on the wad of notes he would receive from the compassionate motorists.

People milled about with aimless purpose, footsteps crisscrossing the landscape of the dusty terrain, phones glued to ears like extra appendages, the human traffic akin to the sluggish movement of a centipede. The roads weren't any better, the tranquility of the day had long been murdered by the incessant sounds of blaring horns, frustrated drivers yelling and gesticulating angrily at each other in different languages as they sought to maneuver their vehicles out of tight spots, whilst the poorly maintained cars groaned with the effort of twisting and turning their metallic frames at angles they weren't designed for.

The potholes belched contentedly as cars sank into them, the jarring impact on the car unabsorbed by the shocks and struts that had long since lasted beyond their expiration date. The jolts were transferred to the passengers cramped up in the back seat of the beat-up commercial vehicle, their complaints muffled by the loud arrhythmic horns blaring in the sun-baked air. The driver wiped his face with a dirty rag that substituted as a handkerchief, his face not betraying any emotion or cognizance of his passengers’ complaint. The taxi driver glanced at his once clean handkerchief which now bore no resemblance to its original color and muttered curses under his breath, "Lagos na wa".

Up in the skies, the angels kept on ironing their garments, oblivious to the mortals below. Babel or Las Gidi, it made no difference, the cycle rolled on…

Thursday, May 9, 2013

American Wonder

Chukwuka had never been to the USA before, infact he had never breathed oyibo air before. The closest he had come to travelling 'abroad' was his visit to Ghana and Cotonou, which couldnt be really classified as travelling 'overseas'. It was common knowledge that any flight that lasted less than 2 hours could not be graded as an International flight. But if you heard Chukwuka speak, it would never occur to you that he had a green passport. The fact that he even had a passport was like magic to his friends, a passport was the license to enter plane overseas, that was what they all believed. His regular convo was packed full with American lingua, and it was common to hear him refer to his friends as 'dudes'. "Dude, you gorra be tripping", was his way of questioning your opinion. Most of his friends had no clue what 'tripping' meant, but since Chukwuka was viewed as an 'yankee' boy, they grinned foolishly each time he lapsed into his americana accent.

What they didn't know was that Chukwuka had burned the proverbial midnight oil studying and learning every single detail there was to know about the US of A. He could sing the American national anthem backwards and could tell you exactly what MLK wore on the day he gave his "I have a dream" speech. His knowledge of american affairs gave him leverage over his peers and everyone assumed that his yankee nature had been acquired from frequent travels abroad. After all, it was well known that Chukwuka vanished regularly for weeks in a year and each time he came back from one of his mysterious trips, he always had a new story to tell.

"Nah men, I was gone for awhile, I was kicking it with my dudes in the Bronx"

"The Bronx? Is that in America too ?" they would ask.

"Dude, you gorra be tripping!"

He would point to the tshirt he was wearing, which had BROOKLYN etched on it, and explain how the Bronx was just a stone throw from Brooklyn.

"Datz where my nigga Jigga grew up!"

This never failed to excite his listeners. Chukwuka was on first name basis with all the celebrities they heard about on TV. Last December, he told them that he had spent his holiday with "Jigga and Bee". To think that a young boy from the village could be rubbing shoulders with the beautiful Beyonce was simply amazing.

"Nna, did she sing or dance for you?"

"I hear her hair is like mammy-water"

"Shebi they said her husband is a cultist. Did you hear her praying while you were there?"

At this point Chukwuka would raise his hands and stop the questioning with a "Dude, you gorra be tripping!". A hush would descend on the gathering, and everyone would wait for him to reveal secret details of the lives of Jigga and Bee.

"Look, you gorra go easy with these questions men, Jigga and Bee are my niggaz, I can't be gossiping about them behind their backs. You gorra be tripping to think I'm gonna do that. Even Kanye doesn't talk about this stuff..."

The eyes of his listeners would bulge at the mention of a new name.

"Kanye West? E kwu zi na (you don't say!), you saw Kanye West too?"

Then the chorus of voices would clamber over each other

"Hmmm, that Kanye West sef, is he not a cultist too?"

"Who is Kanye? Is he from our village? His name sounds like an Igbo name"

"What do you mean? Is Kanye West not friends with D'Banj?"

"But D'Banj is one of us, is he not osi-na-nwata-buru-ogaranye-1?"

"Stop advertising your ignorance my friend, do you think he is a trader's apprentice like you?"

"You are the fool. Have you been to America before? Common Lagos, you have not visited"

"I don't blame you, ewu (goat)! Just because you mistakenly travelled to Sagamu, you think you have arrived?"

"Guys, you gorra be tripping! What the fuck! Shit men!"

Chukwuka's angry voice would snap everyone back to reality. Amidst the angry looks being cast around, he would announce that he had to rest, and then escape further questions.

It never occured to anyone to ask Chukwuka why he always came back to the village after his trips to America. The fact that someone who was friends with Jigga and Bee could sit around with them and play cards was fascinating. They held tightly to their sole link to America and didn't want to risk his anger by asking questions that seemed pointless. After all, when the famous americans came back from the moon, no one asked them how they got there and who they saw. Some questions were best left unasked, for all they cared. All that mattered to them was that they were friends with someone who was on first name terms with Jigga and Bee. Maybe, someday, Chukwuka would invite one of them on his trips, and they too would have stories to tell their mates. American wonder!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PaCoLiSo...Chapter 8

The holdiay had just finished and the new semester was still crawling, classes had not started and students were streaming into campus. The beauty of those early days of the semester was in the gossip, tall tales and extended periods of gist. People exchanged stories of how they had gone to London on vacation and seen the King of England, how they were on the plane and the pilot put the plane in reverse because of turbulence upfront, stories that would make Shakespeare's jaw drop. But it was alot of fun. For the Pacoliso residents, it was a time to catch up.

Samurai had just endured the 9 hour road trip from Abuja to PH via Edoline, and he was looking forward to the new semester. He had spent his holiday relaxing and 'gyming' (this was a Naija term for exercise which roughly translated to benchpressing iron and concrete, gyms were non-existent, a bench and 2 concrete slabs was equivalent to a gym), so he was pretty impressed with his physique. To spice up his new Johnny Bravo look, he had invested some of his pocket money in buying 3 brand new BYC vests. "Chicks will notice that I have upgraded from singlet to BYC", he muttered to himself happily. The evening was spent gisting with Shimon and other neighbors (as at this time, Samurai and Shimon had become popular in Pacoliso and their room was the hanging spot).

Early the next morning, before Oga Sam's turkeys were awake, Samurai rolled out of bed, put on slippers and did a few push-ups. Shimon was awakened by the sound of someone panting with exertion...

"25, 26, 27..."
"Bros, are you okay? Wetin you dey do?", he asked sleepily.
"29, 30... I dey gym...32", Samurai muttered between count.

After a few seconds, the count stopped. "I'm going outside to jog for a few minutes. Since we don't have classes yet, I want to start gyming and jogging to keep fit. Do you want to join?" Samurai asked Shimon, who was still curled up in bed.

"Gym ke? I don't have any weight to burn. Enjoy yourself", was Shimon's response.

So Samurai went out and ran from one end of Pacoliso to the other, his flip-flops (slippers) slapping the ground in rhythm while the sweat ran down his body. Since it was the early hours of the morning, the sound of footfalls was an alien intrusion. A few heads peeked out of their windows wondering if there was something amiss. All they could see was a shirtless figure jogging from one end of the compound to the other. As the skies brightened and darkness gave way, a few of the early birds in Pacoliso could make out the face of the lone runner, and the smooth ripple of his muscles as he jogged. After a few minutes of observation, one of the few guys in Pacoliso, Bitterleaf came out of his room and joined Samurai. After about 30minutes, the 2 runners sat down in front of Samurai's room and stretched and gisted. By this time most Pacoliso residents had woken and noticed the 2 well built young men jogging.

The next day, Samurai came out again like before and started jogging. After 5 minutes Bitterleaf had joined him, 5 minutes later Agbani and Potential BigBoi joined them. This time they all ran 20 laps. Afterwards, they gathered under the tree in front of Samurai's room and began 'gyming', benchpressing concrete.

Agbani (male) was as skinny as a rake. Potential BigBoi (male) was also skinny. Samurai couldn't figure out why they were jogging, but he was glad for the company. When it came to 'gyming', Agbani and PBB struggled to carry the weights, while Samurai and Bitterleaf offered tips and encouragement. That day, the 4 of them agreed on a detailed exercise regimen: 20 laps of jogging (starting at 6am) and 30 mins of gyming afterwards.

"Ol boi, some of the estate babes wan join us o, is that okay?" Bitterleaf asked.

By the 3rd day, there were the 4 guys and then PinkPanther. The routine continued and the number kept increasing. A week later, Samurai was awoken by a buzz of voices, he glanced at his watch and noticed he had overslept, it was 5.10am. He could hear Bitterleaf's voice at his window, "Guy, where you dey, we dey wait you". When he finally made it outside, he froze. There were over 30 people standing outside waiting for him, a good majority of the Pacoliso babes and even faces of visitors. Bitterleaf was buzzing around like an army drill sergeant arranging everyone in a straight line, Potential BigBoi was offering to help a girl named ExcessWaist (she was shaped like Toolz) if she got tired, Agbani's eyes were alight with excitement (fine fine girls wey no dey talk to am before were standing close to him, wearing few clothes, chei, see heaven). For a few seconds, Samurai didn't know what to say, it was evident that they had all been waiting for him. Shimon came outside and started laughing, it was almost like the start of an african marathon, people were jostling for space, adjusting hairnets and scarves, pulling down bum shots. A few people wore running shoes, others rocked flip flops.

Samurai took a deep breath, walked to the centre of the pack, a hush descended. He spoke:
"We'll jog 20 laps, the first 10 at a slow steady pace, then we'll pick up speed gradually and finish the final lap at a sprint. Don't overdo yourself, try to partner with someone. Afterwards, when everyone has finished, we'll gather here under the tree and..."

He was unsure what to say, he couldn't say gym cos most were girls. So Pink Panther cut in, "the guys can gym, while the girls do aerobics".

"Which one be aerobics again", Potential Bigboi muttered.

"You'll wind and stretch your waist and your body", Shakira responded. (Shakira was arguably the best dancer in Pacoliso, and her dance moves were so hypnotic that guys were always caught staring with their jaws on the floor whenever she danced).

"Okay na, the boiz sef go follow wind waist! Wetin u wan tell press!" PBB retorted joyfully, his mind on fire with the image of Shakira winding waist. All the guys nodded furiously in support, "we go wind waist and do aerobics".

Samurai continued, "in that case, after we finish jogging, we'll rest for 5 minutes and Shakira will lead the aerobics session for 30 minutes and the guys can gym afterwards".

There was a general agreement to this proposal. He smiled, happy with his mini-speech. Not knowing how to start off the race, he muttered "Let's run" and trotted off, behind him the rhythm of happy feet followed his lead...

NB: The "exercise project" lasted for 2 weeks and fostered great friendships. It was the beginning of a new chapter of friendship at Pacoliso. People came from far to partake and it became a popular hit.The project wasn't sustainable, after 2 weeks classes started and hunger became a factor, so energy had to be conserved.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Olivia Pope & My Oga

Hello World...

So over the past few weeks, the naija social media circle has been on fire with the gist of "Oga at the top". Your boi couldn't resist watching the clip and I laughed till I nearly passed out. After laughing sha, I tried to imagine how I would feel if my father was the dude on TV, then I said to myself "na lie, e no fit happen". I can't categorically call my papa a genius but the man sabi book well, where else did I get my small brain from if not from him and momsi. No be say I dey brag, but my papa used to carry 1st in secondary school, all our fathers were "1st_carriers". Back in those days, no one came second, just 1st. (If your papa didn't come 1st, please let me know) Me sef, I have sworn to tell my kids that I was the brightest student of my time, the matter must be embellished to the highest order.

But what did I learn from the "my oga at the top" saga? First of all (go down low), the man wasn't prepared. I think that was the key issue, I don't want to say he didn't know his job because we clearly don't know what his job details are. But if you are coming on national TV to refute allegations of job racketeering at your establishment, I believe you ought to do your research pretty well. It is almost like going snowboarding with running shoes. But then, this is naija, where anything goes. Secondly, how in the world did his boss agree to send him to represent NSCDC? Clearly the man lacked PR skills, he was basically setting him up for failure. You don't send an engineer to a business meeting to discuss figures, there's a reason why we have PR fellas and spinners, abi the oga no dey watch "Scandal"? Hire Olivia Pope for goodness sake!

Lesson 3, if you don't know the answer to something, don't be bullish and act like you know. A simple, "I can't remember right now" would have been better than "I cannot categorically tell you". If you study the clip carefully, you'll see that the guy was trying to buy time but kept stumbling further into the hole he already dug with his first statement. The art of spinning a tale requires that you buy a little time with your first reply.

Lesson 4, when you are thrown against the wall or thrown to the ground, don't just bounce up immediately and start swinging. Take a moment to catch your breath, else if you jump up right away, your knees will wobble and give way. Especially when the odds are not in your favor, you have to fight smart. The panelists were clearly out to 'expose' the fraud at NSCDC, they were prepared with facts and figures, our oga was not and from the look on the faces of the panelists, 'dem wan finish the guy'. Our oga's brash display of aggression (a la waiteee wait...), only served to anger the panelists more. So once they sensed blood, they went for the kill. Let's replace our oga with Olivia Pope and see what would have happened:

Q: What is the website of NSCDC ?
A: I can't remember right now.

Q: Are you saying you can't remember or you don't know?
A: I never said I didn't know it, I just can't remember it right now.
Q: Is it that complex to memorize?
A: Like I said earlier, I can't remember it and I don't want to give you an incorrect answer. I don't memorize website addresses for a living. Do you know the official website of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? I'm sure there's one and you should know it because you are a Nigerian.

Sadly, our protagonist and icon of comic relief has been thrown to the dogs. I hear he was suspended, tough luck. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make any excuses for him, but the truth is that there is a gross lack of professionalism that is almost a 'standard' for Naija. I won't say the culture applies only to the civil service, because there are also folks in the private sector who dress sharp but have weightless skulls because of the lack of brain matter. Knowledge is no more a virtue people yearn for, swag and effizi have replaced that. At least the older generation can blame their non-exposure to the internet as a reason for their inadequacies, but what excuse will the present generation give? Shebi we'll all tell our kids "I used to carry 1st when I was your age".

Trust Naija people to make videos and even t-shirts to 'celebrate' another man's mistake. The speed with which a single faux-pas goes viral is alarming. As in, you can fart in the elevator in Vegas and the gist will be in Yaba within 3 hours (that's faster than an Arik flight o). I hope everyone learnt a little lesson from the whole escapade. As for me, I sharply logged on to my company's website and memorized every single detail of the company profile. You can't catch me slipping, abi are you a learner?

I have one final question for anyone who follows "Scandal". Is Olivia Pope good, bad, stupid, wicked, unfortunate or just a triffling side chick? Because I can't seem to 'place' her. I mean she comes across as strong, independent and a justice league defender, yet she be tearing up the sheets with Fitz (who is just a complete ass in my opinion). I'm curious to know what women think of her. Feel free to comment.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Fort Wayne, Indiana

Ages since my hands dabbled with the pen or since I inked the thoughts of my mind with letters. Alas, the hands of time have spun out of control, the seconds clambering over each other in haste to form minutes and then hours. Whither has the first month gone? 31 days, vanished like thoughts that never existed. Glancing back over my shoulder, I can't seem to track the beginning of the year or how we got to February. The mystery of the passage of time still remains unresolved, like the blackout on Superbowl Sunday. Permit my mind to drift, what really happened to the power? Surely, the rigorous gyrations of Beyonce's waist couldn't have triggered a power cut. Considering the coincidental nature of SanFran's non-existence play and the timing of the power cut, I'm tempted to believe that voodoo may have been a factor, New Orleans does have its history. Or better still, the Government was trying to make budget cuts and power happened to be in lower standing compared to Defence spending.

Considering that 2013 is speeding along like a roller coaster, I'm a bit behind on targets and plans for the year. But that's the funny thing about life, we get so carried away by the rhythm of living that we forget our dreams. I stumbled on a video online that has unconsciously given me the spark I need for this year. One particular phrase caught my attention, "sometimes in life, sight can be a have to be blind, in order to be focused". That has been the bane of man's existence, time management. This year, my plan is to do a few things differently, no more flowing with the tide of life. Every man has to pause at a point in his life and re-evaluate and assess himself. We all need to ask a few inward questions: What are the things that matter most to me ?(Health, Family, Career...) Then we need to figure out how much of our current time we devote to those key areas we have identified. If you discover that you are not spending quality time on the things you consider most important, then there has to be a change.
This year, the dream is to be focused, no more excuses for failure. 2013 starts today, Happy New Year (belated)

A big shout out to all readers of this blog.