Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Itinerary

Those of you who know me by now are aware of how I've been going on and on about my proposed Xmas trip to Lagos, abi? Well finally, here's my itinerary as dutifully drawn up by Woomie O! and scheduled by Esquire:


Dec 24th - Arrival: Oshodi, Lagos. ETA: 3pm via Easy Transport Service. To be received at Park by T. Banky, XsN, Rayo & Woomie. No male bloggers permitted to be present.

Evening - Visits to each of the above-mentioned females’ homes to assess the eligibility of their sisters and gauge the net worth of their respective Popsies just in case… To be chauffeured by Charizard in a black Toyota Corolla.

Night - Fatigued. Sleep over at Esquire's house after dinner. Will use XtraCool to make free night calls to each other from different rooms in the same house. Network will be bad as usual.

Dec 25th - Morn: Picked up by Inyamu for breakfast at Marcopolo then a quick trip to Venni Vicci for a spa treatment.

Noon - Visit to a Motherless Babies' Home for a Christmas Lunch accompanied by LG and FBA with a band of well-dressed but poorly-behaved park touts. LG will wear her white koi-koi shoe, play ten-ten with the kids and fight with them over sweets. All the kids' presents to be donated by Fashola and NURTW.

Evening - Presentation of Xmas gifts to me by Seye ( a new job in ICT, free browsing / web-hosting services for 5 years and a brand-new Acer Aspire laptop), XsN ( a Vic Secret bra as a keepsake / good luck charm and a promise of "better things to come"), Laspapi (a bike ride down the full length of 3rd Mainland Bridge with helmet & full Robocop protection gear), Standtall (a pair of kittens - which I'll apologetically decline - and an invitation to march at the 2009 World Women Rights Parade) and Afronuts (an Apple iPhone, digital camera and iPod).

Other gifts will include those from Woomie (Eko Dialogue and a month's supply of tickets to Terra Kulture - which I’ll convert to cash), Buttercup (an engagement ring plus a passport/visa to do a Masters in S.A.), Charizard (brand new wardrobe & a year’s supply of Bvlgari - no suits, ties or cufflinks, please), Badderchic (a cryptic invitation to “spend time”), FBA (3 bottles of paraga with roots, 4 fat joints & a half-smoked pack of B & H), Esquire (all the correct Naija CDs of 2008, a few wack ones & a 2GB microSD memory card) and last but not least LG (2 big bags of kuli kuli, a calabash of fura de nunu & an expired hamper). If I forgot you, kindly suggest and bring your own gifts.

Dec 26th - Morning movie @ Silverbird, evening movie @ Ozone. Chauffeured by Charizard and sponsored by Rayo. Chaperoned by Buttercup & Woomie, both wearing thongs.

Noon - Poetry recitals @ Terra Kulture sponsored by Aloofar (who will only speak in monosyllables) accompanied by Laspapi (who will beg for my autograph)

Evening - Dinner @ Rayo’s served by her 2 sisters who will fight to out-do each other. All three shall laugh at each and every one of my jokes and even some non-jokes. All 3 will burst into tears when it’s time for me to leave. Soundtrack for the evening - D’Banj’s “Suddenly”.

Dec 27th - Trip to Iya Basira’s with FBA. Peppersoup and beer of all shades & sizes to grace the table. FBA will instigate a fight while LG will add all the “aproko” and “pepper”. All 3 of us will seize a chance in the chaos to flee without paying. Panting seriously afterwards, FBA will offer me Sikirat to “relass” (relax)...

Dec 28th - Orange Awards pre-event with Afronuts. Will be chauffeured around Lasgidi’s red light districts in his red Nissan during evening time snapping pixes for our respective photo-blogs. Chaperoned by his wife & Standtall so we don’t “go too far”.

Dec 29th - Will use Badderchic’s “Invitation to spend time” Xmas present to spend a whole day and a whole night with her. What we’ll “discuss” will be none of your business…

Dec 30th - A day of complete and total rest. Sleep in preparation for Watchnight tomorrow. Person body no be firewood abeg!

Dec 31st - Watchnight Service @ any Bible-believing church nearby. Praise & Worship to be led by LG & special guest invitees, Rita and 30+. Seye on the instruments. After midnight will sneak into a Moslem Service with Esquire just in case the rapture occurs at either place first.

Jan 1st - New Year Dinner @ Standtalls’ for all Bloggers. Will watch her cats suspiciously for any hanky-panky.

Jan 2nd - Another rest day to nurse the resultant constipation. Video-conferencing with the She-Hulk, Vera Ezimora. ICT equipment to be supplied by Nysteria.

Jan 3rd - Writers Anonymous with XsN and Rayo seated on either side of me. Will pretend to be bored and “fall asleep” on XsN’s “pillows”. Rayo will giggle throughout an Erotic recital by Jaguda.

Jan 4th - Departure. Escorted to MMA by all the above-mentioned bloggers crying profusely. Will shed a tear or two too as I gratefully accept a 1st Class flight ticket from Laspapi. After they leave, will explain to the pretty counter girl that there’s no airport at Osogbo, my final destination. Will sell the ticket on the black market at a discount, take Easy Transport back and pocket the change.

Jan 5th - Back to my boring life and thankless job. Will demand for owed salary & a pay rise from the Boss who’ll promise the former and reject the latter.

Evening - Will go to the XtraSlowww café to send a collective Thank You note to all those wonderful Lagosian bloggers using the Acer Aspire.

Night - Begin drawing up another itinerary for Easter hols. Abuja bloggers, watch out! Na your turn!

PS: Oya, awon Bloggers, start looking for your names and plan accordingly.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

The END.
To God Be The Glory.

PPS: I’m about to introduce a new feature on my blog called “My Life’s Soundtracks” where I feature the lyrics of songs I’m feeling like MAD for at the moment. It’s actually meant to be a future feature on Esquire’s other blog which is still under construction so I’ll have to set the ball rolling here in the meantime.
Proposed Launch Date: January 1st, 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Wish, I Wish, I Wish…

Written In A Moment Of Dignified Insanity

“…and they lived happily ever after”

Those six words encompass what I call “The Greatest Fraud of Fiction.” Those words have turned round to haunt many a heartbroken man or woman who as little boy or girl happened to have read them literally without realizing the author was very, very tipsy when he penned those lines.

The words that are most probably rank closest to them in Fiction Fraud ratings would actually be the words: “I grant you 3 wishes!”

Now, what would I wish for if I had just 3 wishes?

Well, simple. The first wish, of course, would be to have an unlimited number of wishes. Then maybe a duplex of my own (maintenance-free of course) complete with a cute wife with a killer figure that matches her intellect and a few Einstein kids running around their own Neverland-type ranch playing with their friends. Then an Apple iPhone or maybe the very best of the Nokia E-series, PlayStation 3 alongside a PSP and 365 games for each console (for me not the kids), several Apple iPods each one coloured to match my moods and my own super-ultra-high-tech Home Theatre system dutifully installed in my own home theatre. Also, the wish to
give and also get the very best out of Life, love and lovemaking, 26th century laptops, fitting my entire music, photo and video collection on my phone’s 1 GB SD card, finally making it to Heaven when I die… the wish list would be endless.

So apart from becoming the CEO of Nemesis Corp and losing my virginity to either Funmi Iyanda or Stella Damasus-Aboderin (I still can’t decide which of them would be the wilder sex vixen), here’s a slightly random post about wishing I wrote during one of my moments of dignified insanity.

I Wish…

I wish I could ride a bike. No, not the 750 cc kind. I mean a bicycle. Surprised? I can’t drive either! It’s amazing that in this 21st century, there exists a full-grown adult who cannot ride. As a matter of fact, I wish I could ride anything: a boat, canoe, kayak, yacht, ATV, SUV, witch’s broom, anything. Growing up under the massive shelter of my parents who provided just too much of the sheltering for my own good denied me of this one pleasure. Like Richard Gere said in the movie Pretty Woman: “My very first car
was a limousine”

Well, not exactly. We were way too poorer than that. Our first car was LA 9745 A. That was actually the license plate registration of my father’s Peugeot 504 saloon car. I don’t know how old the car was; I was born and saw that car. We kids always tried to think of a befitting nickname for it but nothing fit better than the name: LA 9745 A.

It might sound harsh to say this but my father loved that car more than all of us combined. Till it was sold off as scrap to those Mile 1 mgbuka men, the most we boys were allowed to do was wash it. Woe betide you if you did as much as turn the steering wheel (which would promptly lock unless you had the car keys to free it). Of course by the time I entered SS1, LA 9745 A had made way for the Suzuki “bread” bus my father had started riding then. Whenever I see those toy buses being used now for transport in Osun State, I smile. My father must have been the very first Nigerian to drive the bread bus.

SS1/2 was my time of rebellion. All my contemporaries were sprouting beards and test-driving (and crashing) their fathers’ vehicles and I wouldn’t be left out. Once when my father, The Senior traveled, I took the ignition to KD (the first two letters of the bread bus’ plates) and started her up just like I’d been warming her engine for some years now. Frowning hard to recall what The Senior did when he took out the vehicle, I engaged the gear. I didn’t crash.

After several tries the best I could do was to reverse KD in a straight line and then take her back to the former packed position. Very soon I tired of the exercise and jumped down from the vehicle, ignoring the neighbours’ looks as I went indoors. I knew they’d report me to The Senior when he returned. They didn’t disappoint me, those ass-kissers.

The Senior’s reaction was puzzling though. He walked round the car while I washed it the next morning inspecting every bumper and taillight and when he was satisfied that there wasn’t a scratch on KD, he turned around and went back to his shaving ritual. Immediately, I began scratching my head in exactly the same spot I’d been earlier expecting a scalp-splitting blow from his belt head.

His silence should have been my passport to painting the town red behind the wheels of KD but I then overheard him say to one of his friends who asked him why his kids weren’t driving yet: “My children have refused to learn with this my bus. They say their friends will laugh at them when they see them.”

It was partially the truth (especially the laughing part) but the lie in the statement stung me. We were practically dying to learn, if for nothing to at least crash that car. He just wouldn’t release the keys. In those days, part of my rebellious tactics involved proving my father’s lies to be true. We all refused to learn with the bus. Or any vehicle of his for that matter.

So many years later, I wish I could ride. Maybe a bicycle first, then a motorbike, then a car, then a plane? I don’t know.

I wish I were rich. We were poor. Broke ass poor. We did eat three times a day but sometimes it was equivalent to one meal split three ways. I don’t know why we were because it wasn’t like there wasn’t any money available. It just wasn’t readily at hand.

I know my parents weren’t rich but that didn’t mean we had to wear the same clothes year in year out while The Senior changed his wardrobe countless times, did it? Ironing those clothes was once my job for a very long time. As I felt those rich fabrics I wondered why mom didn’t stand up to challenge him when we had to go out as a family and only he had something appropriate to wear. And even after a while the family never went out together anyway. We just couldn’t. Even if we wanted to, our 3 year-old clothes got tired of us wearing them and decided to go on strike springing leaks in every seam. The Senior just had to have his though. After all a good-looking head of the house makes up for the other rag-wearing parts of the body, doesn’t he?

I wish I could leave the Ghosts of Fashions Past far behind but even when I have the money to buy clothes, I never do. My shoes get worn out yet I am paralyzed by the fear that my money will soon run out and I’ll be broke ass poor again. Or that I may end up like The Senior with his countless rows of shoes which I had to polish in the mornings before I dragged my cut sandals along the tarmac as I walked to school. I wish I could go out and spend, spend, spend, knowing that tomorrow when I wake up there’ll still be more to spend. Not just for me but for my future kids.

I wish I could be more human. It still puzzles my mom till now. “All of us went through the same family-in-trouble times,” she says to me, “why then does it seem to have affected you more?” I retort and tell her I inherited my over-sensitivity from her. Only both of us seem to feel wounds so deeply to our hearts than all the others. Every single minuscule hurt makes our heart bleed and we then seal up the gaping holes in our slow-healing hearts with stone. Mom turned to prayer a long time ago and it worked wonders for her. Me, I just turned into a hard-nosed cynic stuck full of principles and unbreakable rules. A stout disbeliever in the human nature. Just one big mistake and I delete your name from my phonebook forever. And I NEVER look back.

I wish I could laugh again. Once upon a time, my problem was that people didn’t take me too seriously because every sentence I made was constructed in such a way as to make people laugh. I had my different styles of laughter than could at least trigger a smile from a broken or grieving heart. If only those people could see me now. My inner motto used to be “Joy to the world”. Nowadays I wish my motto could be “Joy to my inner world”. The kind of humour I create nowadays is usually the sarcastic kind. What happened to those days laced with peals of laughter when I would roll on the floor in stitches? What happened to when I could so easily smile in a picture? What happened to the days of taking pictures?

I wish I could love again. Once was an incurable romantic. Now an incurable realist. I know there is no such thing as love but still I miss the unconditional nature of it all. The total lack of restraint when rolling on a newly-made bed sweaty from work and with your shoes still on clutching in your arms the one you love. Drinking in her perspiration, filling your nostrils with her unwashed hair and both of you kissing without brushing your teeth. The trust, the certainty, the belief that when she says we’ll see by 8 pm, she actually means 7:45 pm.

Knowing that you could take a bullet shot for someone you never knew from birth, someone tied to you not by an umbilical cord but by love and faith almost akin to the type that moves mountains. Risking that ride on a motorcycle driven by a mad okada man in the raging wind and rain just to see her, for the touch of her hands, the sound of her voice. And when you stand shivering in her doorway, the first words that come out of her mouth are: “You shouldn’t have! Look at the storm outside. What if you killed yourself?”

It sounds over-clichéd but you say it anyway: “Babe, you know I’d die for you…”

And feeling her heartbeat as she lies cuddled in your arms while the rains beat madly on the rooftops and the angry winds howl all around you. You sense God’s presence, you think you can hear His voice saying: And I looked down on both of you. And I saw it was good…

I wish I could get help. I can’t help it. I listen to other people’s problems and make them my own. Willingly I offer advice but no one seems to realize that I also need someone to talk to. My sister, like the Psychologist she is, does try to help once in a while. I jokingly tell her I would never take advice from anyone whose job description starts with “Psycho”!

Money, cars, fame and fortune, the legacy of a good name, super-intelligent kids who live on to become great parents to their own kids and take care of their wellbeing at every step, and most of all happiness; the kind of things The Senior never gave us.

I wish for all of these.

But most importantly, I wish to be human again. I wish for love.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Re-Introducing The Phoneparazzi

Foreword: Shortly after creating a photo-blog called “The Phoneparazzi”, I happened to later lose interest and even contemplated deleting it. Imagine my surprise when upon going through my first post again, I discovered certain people had previously left comments on it for me! So here I find myself heralding its launch and re-posting what was originally meant to be the foreword to that blog…

Blog - Real Life - The Gist

Saturday 22nd March, 2008: I was the cyber-fresh author of this blog. I had a vision and I was beginning to see MN as a long-time legacy I’d be pursuing to re-educate the Nigerian media on what I feel is wrong with the system. There was plenty to be done and I had lots of time to spare.

Then around 5pm on that fateful Saturday evening, my state of urgency changed. Cruising down the Benin-Asaba expressway with my elder bro at the wheel, relishing the fact that we had conquered the madness that was long-distance travel and anticipating the welcome we’d receive upon arrival, we lost our attention for just a few seconds. 20 minutes was all that was left of the time between us and home.

By the time 20 minutes were over we were still tied up with our seat belts to a car that had veered off the road, flipped once turning 360 degrees through the air and traveled an immeasurable distance without control to land upright in a ditch.

The loud grinding noises, the blackness, the sudden upside down / downside up feeling, the shattering glass, “missiles” flying through the air, the feeling of being carried along in a vehicle knowing there was absolutely nothing we could do… these are remembrances I’ll take with me to the grave. But that was not to be the day.

To the utter amazement of everyone we calmly opened the car doors and walked out. We survived the ghastly car crash with just scratches and a few bruises but the car? I didn’t know a car could go to pieces so quickly. I used to slightly detest that VW Passat car at first when my brother bought it but somehow I know GOD - and that car - saved us. And yes, seat belts sure do work too.

Oddly enough, if the accident didn’t kill us, the sympathizers would just as well have finished the job. The average Nigerian sadly, knows nothing of Rescue 101. Only the shouts of people forcing me to sit down on the road as someone upended a bottle of water on my head was enough to give me the high blood pressure I didn’t have in the first place.

I am very much aware that in every disaster scene there exists the other kind of “sympathizer”, the one who with no conscience whatsoever, steals your scattered belongings. Instead of doing the normal thing, jumping up and down and shouting “PRAI - PRAI - PRAI - PRAISE DA LORD!!!” my attention was caught by the other group of people who were helping us gather our widely dispersed luggage. I can’t start imagining how I must have looked covered in dust and a bit of blood, scrambling about looking for the portable DVD player that made up the centerpiece of my bro’s customized out-of-this-world automobile entertainment system before a sympathizer would “recover” it for me.

When the inventory was eventually taken the only casualties of that accident were the car and my Samsung SGH-C230 phone. Now, I really loved that phone but maybe someone on that crash scene loved it more than me. I don’t know. Before using (and losing) that phone I had previously used a Sony Ericsson T100, a Sagem My-X7 that mysteriously died after just 2 days and a Nokia 1110.

None of the phones I’ve ever used in my life have been classy phones but my C230 was my world. Due to its SMS - copying capabilities, I had archived cherished text messages from my very first phone line, crazy-sexy-cool MMSes, some treasured ringtones and anything else that could fit into its limited memory space. Best of all, I loved it’s radio and I didn’t mind its lack of a camera one bit.

After the jubilation of survival, the loss of that phone hit me pretty hard. The Good Lord, however apart from saving my neck from the Casualty Ward decided He wasn’t done with me yet. Since that fateful day in March, I have been offered a Motorola C975, a Sagem My 501C, a Nokia 6020 and a Samsung SGH-E250 by friends and siblings. All free! I have given away my original N1110 and the Moto and Sagem have issues so now I’m sticking to my 6020 and SGH-E250. They’re still not classy phones but both of them do come equipped with cameras and connectivity. (Of course, I’m still wishing for my dream Nokia E- / N-series, SE Walkman, Apple iPhone or Blackberry and Christmas is around the corner so please, don’t say I didn’t ask!)

I’ve always loved photography but those two camera phones unleash the paparazzi in me. A camera phone is a wonderful thing; it can go where even a camera can’t go. And I can’t help but to blog about these places. But I won’t say much about it here when there’s a brand new place somewhere else to do so.

Here’s re-introducing my formerly-new, temporarily-rested blog: The Phoneparazzi, where I’m hoping to present to you my mostly unconventional views on Life as seen through the eyes of not just my camera phones but other cameras as well.

I hope you like it!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hen-llo Part 2 & Some Random Ish

***Long personal post alert*** (Heck! ALL my posts are long anyway…)

For some time I’ve been blogging about serious issues so I’ve decided to let my hair down and give you guys some Random Ish I’ve been wanting to gist about for a while now. If you happen not to like the gist, well, take solace in the fact that I’m officially insane anyways…

Good bye November
November, I admit was a very rough month. Within the course of those past 30 days I believed in myself, lost faith and re-believed in myself countless times. I can’t recall anymore if I should be called the Prodigal Son or Forgiving Father or both at once.
In November too I have sacked and re-employed myself numerous times to recall. Several copies of my continuously-rewritten and hurriedly-re-edited resignation letter (with the dates altered) say as much. I fear that by the time I hand in the REAL resignation letter, the boss might actually take a good look at it, let out one of those his deep-throated laughs and order me to Ile-Ife to monitor our equipment there. To add insult to injury he will then proceed to fold it into a paper plane and toss it out of the window where it will hit me on the head as I rush to do his bidding swearing once again that I’ll resign next month.
Boy, was I glad when November came to an inglorious exit! December is already shaping up to be a great month and some of the reasons I said so include some of the gist below.

BlogSpeak Part 2
Remember I swore before that I wouldn’t be calling up any bloggers after Chari’s dissing, abi? Well the threat seems to have worked: now they’re the ones calling me! First, Woomie’s been calling me most weekends beginning from the last in November, me and Esquire have been taking full advantage of Xtra Cool’s free calls and by the time December 1st rolled by, guess who called me up than the lovely Rayo herself! Saying I’m still flabberwhelmed and overgasted is like re-polishing that well worn cliché.
I especially like talking with Rayo cause her brilliance comes through in her gist (what else did you think I was going to say, dirty-minded people!) and just like Esquire the convo flows as unobstructed as the Osun-Gbodofon River. Best of all I only do manage to get tongue-tied once in a long while unlike when I talk with ... (fill in the gap).
Interestingly she was the one who actually scouted for my number and not vice versa which made me feel really, really special, I tell ya! Some people say Lagos gals are too forward and stuff but if such forwardness means I get calls from chicks like her, then who the hell am I to complain? Take my number jo!!!

As A Result Of Which…
…I’m seriously nursing plans to hit Lasgidi this Xmas! Visiting the Centre of Excellence is nothing new but this will be the first time I’ll be spending my hols in the city almost all my Ibo brothers are planning to flee from.
Of course I’ve already got my itinerary drawn up and I’m fully booked till next Christmas but I’m very willing to squeeze out space to meet any blogger who’s willing to take me to any one of the following places / events: Writers’ Anonymous, Terra Kulture, Silverbird Cinema / Ozone, any Iya Basira or similar-themed Shayo joint (where I must witness at least one broken-bottle fight after which we’ll then flee without paying), the Bra Beach (yeah, you read that right) or any Beach for that matter, any upbeat night club (where I’ll sit down all night because I can’t dance and I must get my very first taste of Moet, Hennessy or Chardonnay), a really deep and moving Religious experience (preferably Catholic), British Council’s WAPI, a strip club (I’ll “mistakenly” forget my glasses beforehand) and last but not least, your house (where your mum must be nice, your dad must be absent and only your beautiful single sisters must be introduced to me). And all outings must be all-expense paid by the host/hostess of course!
There! I’m done… Let me start packing my two shirts, two trousers and one shoe.

Airtime Plus
Just when some people were saying I lambaste the NTA too much, I happened to run into my kindred sister last week doing almost the same kind of job I do here but on a newspaper.
Saw Onoshe Nwabuike’s Airtime Plus byline in The Punch Newspapers in a piece tagged “From Mumbai To Jos” where she painted the laughable scenario of CNN trying to get film footage and news reportage of the Jos Mayhem from Nigeria’s local TV stations.
Loved the whole read but I’ll admit the opening statements instantly got my attention. Onoshe, while trying to describe NTA’s perceived “neutrality” on national issues at stake wrote, and I quote:

“NTA whose corporate logo should be the ostrich, would carry on as if nothing was the matter…”

Wow! And to think you people say I’m harsh, ehn? I’m still ROTF picturing how the new design of NTA’s corporate logo would look like with that ostrich positioned somewhere in the middle.

M. I. A. Bloggers?
Does anyone remember Venom… er sorry, my mistake… Serum? I tire jo. After the long chit-chat we just started I was very surprised that homegal seems to have gone AWOL! Been swinging by her blog every time I go online and the “gossip” on it is going so stale that shame don begin to the catch me because of my huge blog presence there. If anyone knows her, abeg tell her that has offered to refund all her browsing money so that they can sell her URL to another person quick quick. (And Esquire, since you were her biggest fan, kindly deliver the message).
Then there’s good old Jo Isreal who came up with her original idea of us rating Naija songs via her “Rate It with Jo” blog. Novel concept, slow response and now Jo seems to have packed her bags. Why do all these great ideas (like The Nollywood Critique) die so suddenly?
What is it sef? At least Carlang warned us in his 42nd post before going AWOL and the dude was so smart to cover his backside in case he never blogs again (he's back again!) unlike another new blogger called RUKKY. Girlfriend wrote what I’ll describe as the best first post I’ve read ever ( 45 other commentators currently agree with me) only for her to disappear soon after I started picking interest. I’ve even gone as far as to include her in my personal ashawo list (a.k.a. the blog crush). Ahn ahn RUKKY, na so our love wan start?
So Serum. Jo, and RUKKY, you pipu better return before Christmas or I’ll start leaving nasty remarks in your comments oh! AlooFar sef don teach me one better method to make people return from their “by force” leave.
Oya, First Warning…

I’ve got a Blog crush!
Ok, I lie. It’s blog crushessssssssss actually. What do guys blog? Simple: We know Blogville is that one wonderful place where you get to meet all these fine-fine ladies with razor-sharp intellect. Think we’re fools? Nah! So kindly permit me to indulge in my fantasies abeg. But seriously, how come so many Naija female bloggers are so fine? Is Ty Bello doing all your profile shots or are you gals stealing people’s pictures off Facebook? These damsels are really getting my temperature rising through absolutely no fault of theirs and I’m lusting big time! (I really need deliverance).
Anyway unlike so many people, I do crush and tell so I’m very much tempted to spill the beans on my detailed Ashawo list soon. But first of all, with my tongue fully sticking out, let me introduce you people to the babe who’s currently occupying the Number 5 spot…

Ladyguide, How Far?
Nobody - least of all, her - knows of this but I’m leaking the secret now. There’s one very special blogger called LG and I dey trip for the chick any time I visit her blog but my dilemma is this: For starters I’m beginning to wonder if this love (abi na lust) isn’t misplaced since I never see her face even by “mistake”. Second her profile picture is a white elephant which makes me wonder if this our “project” won’t turn out like the proverbial white elephant typical of Rural Road and Water Schemes dotted all over the place. Thirdly, and to make matters worse she calls me “egbon” meaning she’s supposed to be my younger sister, abi? LG, abeg why call me egbon instead of something more “chewing-gummy” like sweetheart, sugardrops, honeypie or cupcakes? The “incest” undertones to the whole thing don dey bother me oh…
Anyway, abura, I don “kola” you now abi? Expect the zobo later!

Something’s Cooking
My pipu, as darling LG (I’m still tripping) would say, something dey fire wey I don dey cook small-small and I’m about to open the cover and let you guys get a sniff. What am I talk about? I’m talking of my own style of Blog Awards for the movers and shakers of blogville this year which I have conservatively tagged “The MN Recommends Awards 2008."
There’s definitely not going to be an award ceremony of any sort and I’m not going to be giving out any plaques (where the money?) but I’ve been working very hard to compile a list of blogs / bloggers mainly of Naija origin who have made my 2008 very special and whose blogs I’d recommend anytime, any day. (Why of Naija origin? Because Naija bloggers are the BEST! The only foreign bloggers who are good have some inherited Naija blood from us inside them)
Of course it’s not a novel concept but I’m trying to make the MNR awards much different from lots of blog awards floating out there which you’ll agree are more or less like chain letters with each nominated “recipient” nominating in turn 5, 6 or 7 of his or her friends to spread on the award.
It’s been really hard work writing up the piece which I’m doing single-handedly by the way, and I’m still trying to design an appropriate logo for the “Awards” (Afronuts, Archiwiz, Black 007, Femi B, HELP!!!) but I’ll try to make it my very last post of 2008 so please stay tuned for the buffet. Of course I’m not taking it too seriously so in the meantime, feel free to drop comments about the craziest categories you can come up with and the bloggers who you think deserve to win in them though I cannot guarantee that they’ll make the final cut since time is very scarce nowadays.
And just in case I don’t make the schedule for the Awards post myself, I’ll just re-edit this post, delete this section and deny I ever said such a thing…

In the interim, despite the disarray of my ramblings I have actually enjoyed writing this unlike some of my heavy posts of late. Let’s do this some other time ok?

XOXO (Lady Koko, what does this mean by the way?)

PS: If you succeeded in reading up to here in one sitting you truly deserve a kiss. Here it is: MWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! (Ladies only)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

F**k Mr. Feedjit!

Online - Diatribe

It is indeed rare for me to engage in this kind of diatribe but I just have to say it again:

F**k Mr. Feedjit!

For sometime now I’ve been secretly experimenting with a few minor makeovers to give this blog a new facelift but most of these free stuff just ain’t working. And it’s so exasperating ‘cause I’m paying N120 an hour at the Super-Slowwwww cyber café for the frustration when I can get aggravation free of charge just by stepping outside. Moreover it’ so, so annoying especially for someone like me who prides himself in being a PC nerd when technology starts to make a monkey out of you.

Well for those of you who think I’m speaking in tongues, Feedjit is an e-traffic / tracking tool for your blog or website that tells you and humanity in general the geographical (real world) locations of people who drop by to visit your virtual world. I cannot boast to know the full technicalities of the stuff but I think Feedjit uses your PC’s IP (that’s Internet Protocol) address to do this. Its intrusive, Big Brother / Conspiracy Theory dual function is another matter altogether.

If you’ve been doing your blog rounds religiously, then you are bound to have seen and been smoked out by Mr. Feedjit who then conceitedly proclaims for all to see: “Mushin, Lagos arrived from on” or stuff like that, Mushin being your current location. He takes prominent stand on several blogs like Inyamu’s Eldorado, Funmi I’s and so many others out there.

Mr. Feedjit admittedly does bring his own really cool factor to any blog he makes an appearance in but before you Bloggers out there who employ his services start feeling XtraCool (no endorsements intended) just because Mr. Feedjit says “Gravesend, Kent” has discovered your blog (finally, your first overseas blog hit!), just hold your horses! Mr. Feedjit can also be a BIG liar!

As the picture on the left says, Mr. Feedjit seems to think I’m in Abuja FCT, the capital city of Nigeria whereas I’m actually milessssss away down here in the Southwest (click on the picture to see a bigger view). So just in case you see Bangladesh, Turks and Caicos, Hawaii, Barbados, Sudan or Afghanistan on your blog’s Feedjit feed, please kill your rejoicing. The visitor might just be in good old “Egbedore, Osogbo”, “Fola-Agoro, Lagos”, “Abakaliki, Ebonyi” or “Emuoha, Rivers”.

But why all this ranting? Well, I’ve spent a whole lot of my cyber time and loads of money just begging Mr. Feedjit to grace (or disgrace) my blog with his presence to no avail. I mean, admit it: who doesn’t want to see “Iceland, Iceland arrived from on” on their Feedjit feed? (That statement alone gives you double bragging rights - one, the fact that someone all the way from Iceland thinks your blog is so cool enough to visit and two, actually went to the trouble of clicking your link on Funmi I’s blog!)

But Mr. Feedjit has chosen to ignore me and anytime I go through the entire process of trying to put him on my blog I see the same thing: NOTHING!

Click, click: Nothing!

Cut and Paste HTML: Nothing!

Log-in: Nothing!

Refresh: Nothing!

Log out: Nothing…

So Mr. Feedjit, f**K you!

I’m still going to keep on trying to put you on my blog. Whether you like it or not…

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

That We May Not Forget…

News - Public Opinion

(Dedicated to Esquire - who doesn’t know who Uzoma Okere is)

By this time a month ago, a young lady was physically assaulted on the streets of Lagos and had part of her clothing taken off by several Naval ratings who made up the convoy of a certain Rear Admiral. We all know the story, right? The panel set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assault on Uzoma Okere by Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade’s escort has submitted its findings to the Chief of Naval staff. Job well done.

Why then do I get the feeling that the usual trumpet calls, elephant parade and acrobatic performances by clowns that herald the arrival of a circus are trailing somewhere at a distance not too far behind that report? The fun fair it seems may actually be coming into town…

Now, first of all, I never usually do this. I never champion any cause especially in Nigeria because I know that based on the idiosyncrasies of the “Nigerian factor”, most causes are bound to fail.

Many causes in Nigeria turn out useless. The sequence is usually very predictable. Something “wrong” happens, someone cries out, a national uproar then ignites our primitive instincts for mob action, the Federal Government once in a while succumbs to our wishes, a panel is set up and weeks later a recommendation is submitted, it gets lost or the panel never finishes sitting.

The end result is the same: Nothing ever gets done.

Sometime later, the very same “wrong” occurs again and we pick up the monkey circus a few steps behind where we left it off last time.

The same thing I fear may be the case in the Uzoma Okere saga. Since the storm broke, I had decided not to get involved in this even till weeks later when I found out that the said lady was the daughter of the Sergeant-At-Arms of the National Assembly. (Don’t gawp at me. I live under a rock.) I heard of the gist first via Inyamu’s blog, proving once again that blogville has its uses.

That singular fact of her parentage seemed to answer a few questions that had run through my mind in the earlier weeks.

For one, I had always wondered what gave her the “liver” not to put her car on top of her head, hitch up her skirt and clear out of the road when the sirens were passing. (I do not seek to trivialize the issue at stake here, please. Most of us would have hoisted our cars if it was us).

I have watched the notorious video countless times (it makes me sick to the stomach each time) and correct me if I am wrong but I seemed to sense a bit of resistance in her demeanour when those Naval animals were manhandling her. I asked myself then: could it be that Uzoma was a lady who hates outrightly all forms of victimization or could it be that Daddy’s name was being put to the test there? I decided not to judge Uzoma. I wasn’t at the scene and so I can never tell truthfully what she said or did. What I do know is that NOTHING warrants the stripping of another human being in public.

Countless Nigerians have been harassed daily by the military but very few of them make the news. I have once seen an innocent bystander beaten to a pulp just for the simple crime of looking at a soldier in a “funny” way. I have seen a guy who was making calls at a phone stand stripped in public for no apparent reason. The para-military group involved later issued a statement that they had suspected him of being a “cult member” and wanted to find out if he had the markings on his body. The two victims in question had no fathers in the National Assembly or nearby bystanders with handycams to film the event.

I fear that despite the power of Daddy’s name or the media outcry, Uzoma’s case may just as well be swept under the rug of “distraction with other important national issues”. The nation is too concerned with the killer “My Pickin” mixture, the crisis in Jos and the reading of the national budget to care anymore. The attempts to thwart the course of justice through changes in the venue for sittings and the failure of certain witnesses and counsel to appear might just have been the opening acts in what may turn out to be a circus after all.

Rear Admiral Arogundade, the Flag Officer Commanding, Naval Logistics Command, Oghara and his six Naval ratings (whose names seem to have been conveniently withheld since) were supposedly requested to appear before a panel chaired by Rear Admiral Umosen who also happens to be an FOC. Was I the only one who saw something odd in this?

Over the past few weeks, my views of Uzoma and Harry Arogundade have changed drastically. It is now a case of one versus the other. The People’s Court is in full session and our cries of “Crucify him!” might even drown out the reading of the verdict itself or its implementation.

As someone pointed out to me recently, Uzoma is a very lucky person. Had she been anyone else, male or female, she would have been calmly beaten and possibly shot dead with her body later displayed in full public view on Newsline as being that of a robbery suspect. Maybe the next time we pick up stones or bottles or tyres to lynch that accused witch, kidnapper or robbery suspect on the streets of Lagos, Kaduna or Aba, we just might consider the fact that the “suspect” might actually be as blameless as Uzoma.

Despite running the risk of wrongly predicting the outcome of the panel’s report, I suspect Arogundade might end up getting a ridiculous punishment which he will never serve out anyway while his pack of dogs may suffer the full brunt of “the law” for literally enforcing Oga’s "figurative orders" just to appease we the mob. Will Rear Admiral Arogundade be made to resign? I still very much doubt it. Uzoma’s harassment may have very well been blamed on the notorious Unknown Soldier if not for the hard evidence. It now left solely for that panel to prove me wrong.

When all this hue and cry dies down, we will just as easily forget those certain individuals whose efforts in championing Uzoma’s cause while truly deserving of commendation have gone unrecognized. No-one will applaud the efforts of the cameraman who (with apparently shaky bravery) recorded the crucial video that captured a decisive moment in time and carved an everlasting cinematic niche in journalistic Nigeria. Who remembers Closecalls, the chap who put it up on CNN’s iReport? We are too busy joining the Petition group and sending Friend Requests to Uzoma on Facebook to care despite the fact that we would have shunned her Profile page before November 3.

The endeavors by bloggers like Inyamu and Funmi whose posts on the matter further exposed the can of worms that is public harassment and the taking of extra-judicial powers into their hands by the military will go unsung. Nobody seems to recollect anymore the pains suffered by a few people who dared to intervene.

But there is one moment in this saga which I will never forget. In the video posted on iReport, a certain young lady in a white blouse who appears somewhere in the middle of the camera footage openly questions the actions of those Naval rat(ing)s through her gesticulations and then tries to put Uzoma’s clothing back on even despite her weak struggles. She will go unnamed and subsequently become history.

Seeing those two young women caught up in the midst of it all gave me a hope in the New Nigeria. One that is not just content with the onlooker status but actually lends a hand to oppose that which is wrong. When I saw that soldier beat the bystander, I turned my face and walked away so that I wouldn’t be accused of the crime of “lookery”. And paraphrasing the words of Wole Soyinka, “The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny…”

May we all someday be like that brave young woman.