Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mission Impossible For Mr. Incredible?

Album Review

Artiste: M.I.
Album: Talk About It (64 mins 23 secs)
Producers: Audu Maikori (Executive Producer),
Jude “MI” Abaga, Jesse “Jesse Jagz” Abaga, Kraft
Label: Chocolate City Music
Released: December 2008
Reviewed: 20th December 2008

The Intro: December 16th, 2008. Location: Ile-Ife, Osun State. These weren’t exactly the friendliest of times to be walking around a town that had experienced multiple bank robberies barely 24 hours ago. To make matters worse, this writer had on an all-black attire and carried a knapsack. Several policemen looked at him suspiciously as he trudged the streets asking questions. The Mission? To get a copy of the recently released Talk About It CD.

Those happened to be the circumstances under which I went looking for M.I. a.k.a. Jude Abaga’s over-hyped and highly anticipated album. Unfortunately, it almost turned out to be a Mission Impossible most likely because Osun State had absolutely no part in the album anticipation whatsoever. After walking up and down Ife I could only find one stained copy of the album and you can trust my Ibo cronies! The guy, banking on my desperation and tiredness, sold it for me for N150 instead of the regular 100 bucks! (The CD is now readily available in almost every part of the country).

The cover design aside (which by the way, was unimpressive probably because I’d seen a very artsy pre-release version); in popped the CD as I awaited Naija’s self-proclaimed lyrical messiah to take me to the Afro/Hip-Hop promised land. One quick spin and I must say I was fairly disappointed at first.

Ok, hold up! Before you M.I. fans tear me apart, hear me out. For one, Talk About It is an 18-tracker album made up of 13 full tracks and 5 skits inclusive of Thank You’s. FIVE skits! Hmmm… That number of intervals in a CD can - if not well handled - turn into a distraction rather than an interesting diversion.

The first, An Outrageous Intro Starring The President can be roughly termed pre-election Arnold Schwarzenegger meets post-election Yar’ Adua. Some people might find the commando-President dialogue amusing but it does step a bit too close to overkill (no pun intended). A slight correction too…Did the album drop on the December 1 launch date or September 1 as the Intro says?

After that comes Anoti, MI’s lyrical proclamation featuring Gabriel on the Yoruba-influenced hook. It’s obvious that Anoti, which some say contains lyrics from Feel E - another MI track - has a hook meant to appeal to South-Western listeners whose followership can actually make or break an album (some other artistes like Timaya on the other hand didn’t include Yoruba on their sold-out debut albums). One good point: I like the “Anoti, Anoti” chant in the song even without knowing its meaning.

MI also commands ALL the respect I can give him here especially towards the end of each verse when he spits out his attributes Twista-style. His soft-spoken lyrical flow makes this Mister Incredible, Most Immaculate Mic Inspector, MC Interrogator, Music Innovator, Mankind Illustrator knock me out flat with his rapid fire yet ice-cold wordplay.

The L Boogie skit that comes next is unnecessary except that it probably ushers in the beat for Track 4, Short Black Guy. (And meanwhile, who really is L Boogie? A Nigerian male Lauryn Hill?) SBG which is rendered in a mellow, almost whisper-mode still delivers the cold style MI has successfully made his.

Pype, notorious on Sasha’s Strong Thing single teams up with the son of the Evangelist on Teaser, a song with a lively beat. Another favourite of mine, my only beef with Teaser stems from the fact that the instrumentals and Pype’s patois delivery sometimes overlap MI’s rap lines making them difficult for me at least to grasp. A very small price to pay for a great song though.

Talk About It which happens to be the title track of the CD is basically MI’s crusade against The System. Featuring Leony, repeated syllables at the end of the bars, a silly-sounding yet delightful hook and a very professional bangin’ instrumental, this song achieves its aim as a title track as Jude “talks about it”, critically drawing our attention to the current corrupt nature of things. As Jude himself says, we dey feel you, guy!

But the real attention-grabber is the diss track, Safe. Apart from the subtle and sometimes open lyrical bashing he gives certain MC’s by borrowing, incorporating and working their lines into his lyrics, even the hook of this song can be interpreted as a subtle diss. Just hide the album cover and ask anyone around listening to guess who featured on the hook and 9 times out of 10, you’ll get the answer “Tuface”. Wrong! Djinee’s impersonation of Tuface in the hook and adlibs seems as if to rub in the fact that Tuface’s freelance style doesn’t quite require talent.

The skit before track 9 (Blaze) tagged Random Guy Buying Blaze From Dodgy Guy is avoidable still and its novelty wears off quickly. Enough said. Blaze itself features MI, his brother Jesse Jagz (another very good lyricist), Ice Prince and the female rapper, Blaise. The rap lines are way tight as usual but putting Blaise’s line towards the end with the tempo slowed down weakens the strength of her delivery and makes her inclusion unfortunately, look like an afterthought. Throwing her smack dab in the middle of the lyrical battle would have enforced her standing as a rapper equal with her male contemporaries instead of the condescending effect achieved by her seemingly slowed-down lines.

On Area, MI features his 9th guest artiste, YQ. This song, despite its fine points, does sound “commercial” - a CD track filler. Fast Money, Fast Cars which comes next chronicles the life of a high-class street-walker and features a complex beat courtesy of Kraft (Mode 9’s sidekick?) and yet another Yoruba-influenced hook by Wizkid. MI’s message in the lyrics comes across very clearly even through the forest of name-dropping. As he says towards the end, “Ashawo na ashawo no matter what you drive / You can spend your life to get money / But you can’t spend money to buy life”. Of all the songs in this CD, this one hits home hardest.

A Short Discussion On The Situation of Things By Two Yoruba Women is exactly that. The title of this skit apart from being the longest says it all actually. This by far is the best skit and despite the fact that the entire conversation is carried out in Yoruba, one still gets the sense of what is being said. Moreover, it works very well as an Intro to Money, MI’s reflections on his growing-up experiences and his efforts to make that stash. The million dollar rhetorical question asked in the simple hook is a question everyone asks almost every day: Where money dey go?

My undisputed fav song in the entire album is Forever, a love track complete with smooth, silky blends of Hip-hop and R&B vocals with an engaging drum-centric instrumental. I could write a whole review of this song alone but I won’t. It’s my BEST, period!

After that comes the predictable religious tribute Jehovah though there’s nothing typical about this starting from the beautiful recitation of Psalm 23 in the beginning, MI’s flow and the Eben and Lindsey chorus. Jehovah apart from the sincerity and depth in the message still goes to show that religious isn’t necessarily synonymous with dull. MI would mos’ def succeed as a Gospel-rap artiste if he fully toed that line.

Depth and sincerity are also evident in Hustle, a clarion call of sorts to all hustlers to “run for us, run” and even though it means getting that H-1 visa, he still urges them to eventually return because “if you don’t come back, what good have you done?” The only thing wrong with this song is its position in the playlist as it seems a bit misplaced (to my musical ear) sitting just after Jehovah. I can’t really tell what it is but the continuity effect in the CD gets lost here somehow. Well, if you have a problem with that, just use your shuffle button.

Then the Thank You’s and Ova Ish… I don’t know about you but I always let this play to the end like as if it was a full track of its own. The instrumental to “Jehovah” and the way MI takes time out to thank everybody (well, almost) while still introducing two more of his future musical projects does it for me. Novel. The way I listen to it continuously, you’d think I was expecting him to thank me on the track!

And finally, Crowd Mentality. Most people use this track as a pointer to who MI is. When I heard MI was releasing a CD, I actually said, “Oh, isn’t he that guy who sang “Crowd Mentality”? What can I say about this track that hasn’t been said already? If you’re still unsure, you can even check out the dopest lyrics ever here. If Hip-hop was a national anthem, this track is definitely one of its stanzas. I would still buy the CD even if this was the only song on it.

As an aside, it’s quite interesting the descriptive way M.I. captions his skits but my media player/MP3 converter didn’t find the lengthy full-sentence filenames funny. Never since Mya’s If You Died I Wouldn’t Cry (‘Cos I Never Loved You Anyway) have I seen song titles this long. Had to re-name one of them, “A Short Discussion” before my converter would have anything to do with it...

After the hour-plus experience that is Talk About It, is this album really worth talking to people about? I’ve got just one thing to say: What kind of question is that anyway?

If you are into Hip-hop and still haven’t gotten it, then you must have been drinking some cheap stuvvs. So what if this review pointed out a few flaws? If I had to appraise all the fine points of this album, each song would be a whole new post of its own. After this CD, I’m totally convinced I’ll be buying his “Illegal Music” and “One” projects whenever they drop.

Remember that Media player/MP3 converter I talked about earlier? I used it to convert my own copy of this album for my PC, my phone and my media player meaning that no matter where I am, anytime of the day, MI’s tracks keep blasting in my ears. I’ve got lots of music but only one other CD has that distinction.

MI’s got it down cold! This album is dope! This Abaga’s album fully deserves a 9 out of 10. Now go talk about it.

This review is done… One!

Additional Resources:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Esquire's dish

I’m in trouble! Ye! Mogbe o!

Public service announcement: Due to the large amount of questions thrown at esquire, he has suffered a cardiac arrest.

Well, I almost did (suffer a heart attack). Do you blame me? How am I supposed to answer all those questions? I have never been so questioned in my life! It’s like being on the hot seat, a really hot one this time around!

Well, after drinking like 20 cups, sorry, jugs of water, I managed to recuperate myself. As a sharp boy, I have decided to pull a smart one on ya’ll. The answer to all (yes, all) your questions are: ALL OF THE ABOVE!

There. I’m done. Or are you still reading? Which kain trouble be this na? NE, you’re a fool for this one! I’m never going to forgive you! Just when I thought of going on a hiatus, you decided you will fast-forward it by linking me with this ish.

Anyways, what’s a man to do than to be a man? I have decided to stand up to the challenge and answer your questions, though it may not be as witty as that of those two. (Yes, those two! They pulled a conspiracy stunt on me and left me to bear my cross all along) I’m not use to writing stylishly or in a way that will make ya’ll laugh and I know I’ve been doing a bad job already on this post but please bear with me.

Buttercup: (1) What prompted you guys to, uh, join forces? (2) Did you meet on blogville? (3) Are y'all in relationships at the moment?

Esquire: (1) Its joblessness! Or what do you think will make three young vibrant minds to come together and rant about the Nigeria media they so know nothing about? Its joblessness! That, or they are just trying to be relevant! Who cares about what they say? The Nigeria media will do what they like, however they like. Is it today that people start to talk? They are just singing “le fenu so” for us. Whew! I’m crazy right? Yeah, I know! It’s just the way I now feel about it all. Sorry if I bored you. (2) Yeah, we meet on blogville or rather he discovered me and just decided to stick with me for no reason that I can see! He’s the brother I wish I had on blogville. (3) No. Only Wo answered this question correctly, NE was just blabbering about his being single. I said no because only I and NE talk regularly and I’ve met him twice. Wo and I only talked on the phone once and that was the end, like it never happened. She’s ignoring me, I’m ignoring her. Simple.

LG: Happy blog-versary! The funny thing is mine’s also this month so that makes us ….?

Esquire: Ajo lepo niyen! (Translation: we are joined together then). Lol!

AlooFar: How would you like to save the world?

Esquire: I be Superman? I begi! On a more serious note, it’s not possible to save the world. That is like the only thing that is not possible in this world! Yes, to save it! Even God Himself cannot save us. We are His greatest mystery. He still can’t believe He created us. He is still experimenting with us; marveling at our twists and turns everyday; wondering what other foolish thing we can do. But he is the all-knowing God. He had predicted we could go out of hand, that’s why he planned a rescue mission for mankind – Annihilation!

Danny Bagucci: What one thing do you think if you changed about your world would make the most difference?

Esquire: JAMB question! Answer: My social status. I like myself, I like who I be. I like how/who God created me. I am a humble and nice person, self-gratifications apart. I would remain the same if I am a little richer than this.

Seye: (1) I see you have deleted a question. Was it a bad question? (2) If you had one wish…I WISH! What would it be? (3) What exactly keeps you going in the blog-o-cycle?

Esquire: (2) I wish I had super-powers, all sort of super-powers you could ever think of. It’ll be fun! (3) What got me started in the first place. I like writing. I like seeing my writings published. It gives me joy. Even if y’all don’t read or leave comments on my blog, I just like to publish my thoughts.

Solomon Sydelle: SERIOUS question… Shortbread or Okin Biscuit?

Esquire: I remember OKIN biscuit. Back in the days, when I was primary school, OKIN was the favorite. We were still eating OKIN during early high school days until Haansbro came with their kill-all-classics brand. So, OKIN is out of it, I’ll just settle with Shortbread.

Laide “Ex-schoolnerd”: Don’t know what to ask… here goes nothing. Are you happy?

Esquire: At the moment, yes. That’s because I am writing this.

SpicyTee: (1) How old are you? (2) What are you wearing now? (3) What makes you tick? (4) Why do you write so lengthy? (5) Where is the party?

PS: No story oh….

Esquire: (1) A lil above franchise (2) Shorts or as we call it here, boxers (3) Another JAMB question. You know what JAMB questions are? They are questions only JAMB can answer by themselves! Can you please define ‘tick’? (4) NE answered this suitably (5) www.medianemesis.blogspot.com

Ps: your questions are quirky.

Vera: (1) What is the inspiration for your name? (2) Describe a beautiful woman. What would she look like? What would she act like? What would she sound like? (3) What would you rather have: a big wedding & a short honeymoon OR a small wedding & lengthy honeymoon? (4) Who do you like better: Beyonce or Jennifer Hudson?

Esquire: (1) I adopted Esquire because I like its semantic form. However, esquire describes me - a gentleman. (2) My favorite question! A beautiful woman is one who has all the right features, in the right places, at the right proportion. Forget virtues, I’m down for looks... and features! If you are beautiful, you are beautiful. You can’t fake it. (3) It’s all-of-the-above for this question jare. I want both big wedding and lengthy honeymoon. We’ll be gone till November baby! (4) Beyonce… because I have a crush on her! Add Mary J. Blige and Ashanti and Alicia Keys to the list. But sentiments apart, like Wo said, Beyonce and Jenny aint mates, even Rihanna can’t be ranked next to B.

Rayo: Have you had or do you have serious blog crushes? Name them please…?

Esquire: Woomie O! It’s official! Do you blame me? You shouldn’t! I’m 19, she is 19. I’m single, she is ….? We are both the youngest doing this (or so I think). It’s only logical to be …? I didn’t say anything o, before you start getting ideas. But it’s just what it is – a non-serious blog crush (if there is anything like that).

Esquire: Questions please.

Since there's no more questions, I'm out!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oya, Make We Answer…

Or rather, make me and Woomie answer first. Albeit almost a week late!

My, my, my… We asked for it, didn’t we? Good thing you guys didn’t seize the opportunity to hammer us with some really probing questions oh… I was mighty scared thinking someone would ask those going-red-in-the-face type questions (note to self: next time don’t promise to answer anything)

Thanks to those of you who did ask (special shout out Buttercup! Little did I imagine we’d start receiving questions even before the Anniversary) and like they say opportunity does come but once so if you didn’t take the chance to ask for our photographs, well what can I say…

Obviously, in line with the current re-branding exercise, my two partners-in-crime seem to have re-branded their tickle buttons, making them difficult to find so anyways, I’ll put up our answers first then Esquire will come in later with his so do check back for updates.

I did promise we’d answer honestly so without much ado, let the Interrogation, sorry questioning begin!

Buttercup: (1) What prompted you guys to, uh, join forces? (2) Did you meet on blogville? (3) Are y'all in relationships at the moment?

NE: (1) Uh, to form Voltron? Ok, just kidding… Actually, I invited Woomie to join because in my opinion she has a great personality plus she’s also a great writer and she expressed her views concerning TV so well in a comment she wrote. Esquire on the other hand has the same qualities and is very good when it comes to music.
(2) Yes, we all met on Blogville though I’ve also met Woomie once and Esquire twice in real life and they’re so, so nice! I don’t regret I did one bit.
(3) I speak for myself on this one. Sadly, no I’m chronically single. I’m still searching frantically but no one dey give me face so I just dey maintain. If it goes for anything sha, I do have MASSIVE crushes on certain female bloggers though…

Woomie: (4) Am I in a relationship with Jon Xaiver? Nah. Come to think of it sef, Jon, why haven't you 'toasted' me??? lol. I have met him only once, but then there're phone conversations once in a while. We have what I call a 'healthy' friendship.

LG: Happy blog-versary! The funny thing is mine’s also this month so that makes us ….?

NE: Simple… That makes us (you and me) ONE! ***wink, wink***

AlooFar: How would you like to save the world?

Woomie: From what? eh!@? From what? Aloofar??? From runaway bloggers like you??? Please Please Please, I'm still not talking to you. Come back!!! Or at least explain why you're leaving.

NE: Actually, not very much thank you! Ok, I could spout lines about how through super-heroism or ecological protection or by loving the world one person at time I could achieve world salvation but honestly, that’s so not true. Moreover, the Son of God actually did a better job of it than I could ever try to…

Danny Bagucci: What one thing do you think if you changed about your world would make the most difference?

NE: Truly? My low self-esteem. If I had learnt to believe in myself a whole lot more when I was younger, I’m sure my world would have been a whole lot different by now.

Woomie: Danny, I thought real hard about this question. What would matter most is if the way people see me changed, first they see me as a person, then as a woman. If I changed into a man, it would make a major difference.
Note: I haven't considered this craziness...ever! Women R.O.C.K.!!!

Seye: (1) I see you have deleted a question. Was it a bad question? (2) If you had one wish…I WISH! What would it be? (3) What exactly keeps you going in the blog-o-cycle?

NE: (1) I NEVER delete comments except the spam ones. Guess someone sent in a question twice and probably deleted the comment themselves…
(2) Ha! Been answering this one since I read fairy tales as a kid. Simple… I’d wish for uncountable wishes! However free, fast, unlimited internet access does come close.
(3) I’m not sure what keeps me in the blog-o-cycle, actually. I think of throwing in the towel countless times especially when I write something serious and get no comments but occasionally, when I look at my Feedjit feed it’s reassuring to know someone out there is reading. That must be it.

Woomie: (2) I would wish for a million more wishes, one wish doesn't cover everything I want, for myself and the people I care about. But if that was impossible I'll just wish for God to take away all the evil in the world.
(3) Blogville is the one place where I've found real people, down to earth, generous-with-sincere-advice kinda people. People care in blogville, even if they don't, at least they pretend to and it's what matters. The anonymity intrigues me. There's you and Jon Xaiver and Buttercup and Afrobabe miles apart, yet we can talk and share ideas and laugh and cry together and just be ourselves. I can be anything I want to be here in blogville and no one sits in total judgment of me, when something good or bad happens, I want to rush and tell my people here, when I want to laugh I know where to go. It's the circle of friends that we have here, the sincerity and the surprise that it's even possible that keeps me going.

We've got some wonderful people here.

Solomon Sydelle: SERIOUS question… Shortbread or Okin Biscuit?

Woomie: Mehn! Solomonsydelle, you've got the wierdest question. Okin (four corner) anyday anytime. They stopped selling it around and I miss it a lot.

NE: SERIOUS answer… Shortbread. Believe me, I’ve eaten enough Okin to last a lifetime. But seriously, Madam Solo, you astound me! You KNOW Okin???

Laide “Ex-schoolnerd”: Don’t know what to ask… here goes nothing. Are you happy?

NE: No. Reason? I know I have the potential to be the Best in everything yet I hardly do anything to tap that potential. It kills me inside everyday. That’s just one reason.

Woomie: I cannot say I'm sad, that would be ungrateful of me. But I definitely could be happier. There are so many voids to fill, so many places to go, so many things to do, a million and one unspoken words. I could be happier, but I am grateful for life(in the true meaning of the word), for laughter, for my job, for one or two friends, for my family...I am happy about these things. I am happy.

SpicyTee: (1) How old are you? (2) What are you wearing now? (3) What makes you tick? (4) Why do you write so lengthy? (5) Where is the party?
PS: No story oh….

NE: (1) Football age: 29
(2) Shorts only. It’s 4:22 am right now yet the Lagos temperature is HOT!
(3) I dunno… I guess I could say God, love, meeting people, the belief that I’m unique, my innate potentials, etc, etc
(4) Expression. Or even better, Wealth of Expression. I don’t belong to the one-sentence-on-your-Facebook-wall Brigade and I believe some things are best expressed in a free-flowing lines. It’s just like a good book or movie you sit down with despite the length. I still have to learn how to summarise though… Would you like to teach me? **wink, wink**
(5) Blogville Hall (next door to Planet One) he he!!!
PS: 5 questions yet no story?

Woomie: (1) I’ll be twenty years young on the fourth of July.
(2) A pink shirt and a pencil skirt. I’m at work.
(4)Eeerm…this’s Xaiver’s question, not mine.
(5) The party is over luv!!!

Vera: (1) What is the inspiration for your name? (2) Describe a beautiful woman. What would she look like? What would she act like? What would she sound like? (3) What would you rather have: a big wedding & a short honeymoon OR a small wedding & lengthy honeymoon? (4) Who do you like better: Beyonce or Jennifer Hudson?

Woomie: (2) I think physical beauty is overrated. I don’t care about the hips, the hair or the skin. I care about the mind…I love a beautiful mind.
(3) A small wedding and a lenghty honeymoon mehn!!!...a lifelong honeymoon actually.
(4) I like Beyonce better...she is a D.I.V.A. and Jenny is too, but she and Beyonce ain't mates mehn!!!

NE: (1) LOOOOONG story. Anyway, here goes… The “4 Eyes” moniker stuck on me ever since I started wearing glasses and since I have multiple personalities, I assigned an “eye” to each one. Weird huh? Well, once while commenting on a photo of a Naija celebrity in which one of her nipples was very visible, I started with the words: “I spy with my Naughty Eye, something starting with ‘N’” and from there, the four N eyes were born.
The rest are nicknamed Natty, Nutty and Nemesis but I prefer just the Naughty one nowadays.
(2) A beautiful woman is just that: beautiful. Not merely physical, mark you (not that I would mind that) but I do actually love a beautiful brain and character more. So she doesn’t have to look beautiful, she should act decent (with a dash of the devil sprinkled in sometimes) and as for her speech, so long as she can keep me otherwise occupied, she can say whatever she likes…
(3) Well, how about a very small wedding and a life-long honeymoon? Ah! Woomie, I chose my answer first oh!!!
(4) Ain’t really got much “like” for celebs but after watching Dreamgirls I think I prefer Jennifer Hudson better (also I seem to be having something for big-bodied women nowadays). The celeb I like best though goes by the name of Vera.

Rayo: Have you had or do you have serious blog crushes? Name them please…?

NE: YES! Names? In no particular order: SpicyTee, LG, Woomie, Vera, Ex-schoolnerd, Bombchell, Fantasy Queen, Badderchic, Bumight, Lil’ Woman, Buttercup, Funmi Iyanda, Afrobabe, Princesa, et cetera, et cetera and you too, Rayo dear… Need I say more?

Woomie: When I was new in blogville...I had a crush on The Whisperer. I hope he never reads this...it was he who encouraged me to start blogging. But that's all it was sha.

PS: Well, well… This was fun and I’m already looking forward to our second blog-versary. Here’s hoping ALL you guys will still be around then so we can do this again.

Take care and have a GREAT weekend!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

It’s Question Time: On The Eight of March…

…roughly 365 days ago, I put up my very first post on this blog! Yay!!!! Today is actually my very first blog-versary (or whatever they call it) so I’m raving MAD as in STARK BONKERS at the moment!!! For someone who never celebrates anniversaries, I don’t know why this one has been shacking me pass LG and ogogoro combined for the past 2 WEEKS!!!

No, it wasn’t my first foray into blogging (I had actually started a personal blog sometime earlier which I later scrapped - then started again, then scrapped) and my profile reads I joined Blogger in February 2008, meaning that for the first few weeks I thought and thought and thought of what my first salvo on this blog would be.

I did have the Sasha album review already laced out but I felt it would be bad form jumping the gun like that so what did my crazy ass do? I went ahead to do an imaginary interview with myself!

Looking back at those early posts, the zero comments (I almost cried when I got the very first one) and the philosophies and ideals I started off with, it sometimes shames me to see how differently I’ve evolved in just a year, I don’t know why…

Anyway, towards the end of that post, I wrote that anyone who had any serious questions to ask could mail me via any of my two e-mail addresses but that’s so old-school now. And so in line with a new way of marking anniversaries that will soon be the norm as practiced by Charizard and of late, Vera here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m giving any blogger who’s interested anyway, the chance to leave comments asking me any question (and I mean any, not even one that’s remotely serious) on anything you’ve ever wanted to ask me and I promise to answer them as honestly as I possibly can. Moreover, since my questioners might actually be few, there’s no actual limit at all to the number of questions you can ask.

Here’s also another really sweet part: You don’t have to ask only I, Naughty Eyes, the questions. Yes! You can ask the entire Editorial Team (that’s including Esquire and Woomie O!) any questions and they too will be sure to answer them (I’ll force them to if they don’t… I know all their tickle buttons!)

So here’s hoping you join us in making our day extra-special by asking any really funny, witty or I-just-want-to-know questions you can come up with and I tell you, we can’t wait to start typing the juicy answers!

I’ll let this run for a week then I hope to put up the answers in my next post coming up on the 16th. Meanwhile, I’ve got a poolside party to attend with all my female blog crushes so you can bribe me if you want to make the ever-expanding guest list. (OK, I’ll even invite some correct guys too…)

PS: By the way, still copying Vera’s tradition, I will be accepting flowers, cakes, love letters, perfumes and cards so do feel free to give them to me in person or via my e-mail addresses (both of them do work but Yahoo keeps transferring all my cakes to the Spam Bin). All other congratulatory messages should be aired on the TV or Radio!

Gotta bounce now…

Today’s a WONDERFUL day for us. We hope it is the same for you too…

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Religious Stupidity And Other Such (Newspaper) Utterances

In one of the opening scenes of The Rock, one of my all-time favourite movies, Nicholas Cage’s character, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed takes a day off work, sits down at home with a guitar and contemplates the justification of raising -- not to talk of having -- children in such an evil world.

You can’t blame him really for having such “un-African” thoughts. A short while ago, he just frantically defused a chemical weapon that almost claimed not just his life but those of his colleagues as well. The bomb in question came disguised as, of all things, a baby doll.

Recently, while going through The Guardian Newspapers of Tuesday, February 24th, I have thought these same thoughts. Is this the kind of Nigerian society I would like to raise my future kids to see?

Violence Escalates In Bauchi, CAN seeks emergency ruleAdmittedly, I had no previous idea that there was on-going sectarian violence in Bauchi State not to mention the fact that it went on for 2 days before making the papers. Equally annoying (to me at least) was also the fact that there was no official Federal Government pronouncement on the issue. It was as if what was going on in Bauchi wasn’t happening at all.

Once again, commonsense became a non-existent commodity as my dear brothers and sisters went on rampage killing, maiming and destroying the toil and sweat of their fellow common men all in the name of religion and a church’s parking space during a Friday Jumat service.

My fellow country-people, where are our senses? When will we learn that the only ones we hurt when we carry out murder and arson in the name of the Almighty are we ourselves? Time after time, the leaders of different religious sects come out publicly to tell us that none of their tenets endorse such incessant cycles of violence and yet none can explain to us how come they are incapable of restraining their followers from taking the laws into their own hands.

When you burn your pensioner neighbour’s house built at the expense of the sweat of his 35 years of meritorious service or you kill the akara seller’s 25-year old son all in the name of exacting revenge for your Creator whose Commandments explicitly forbid the very act, I can then only wonder as to the wisdom of these our counterfeit religiosities or the sanity of we its followers.

Equally frightening was CAN’s proposed bill to the National Assembly that Nigerians aged 21 and above be granted the legality of obtaining weapons for defense against violent attacks by miscreants. My people, in these days when my dear country is unsure of who defines a miscreant or what constitutes self-defense, does it make any sense to further give insanity a license?

It is shocking, says PDP
The shock in question in this instance arising from the fact that the political party lost its governorship seat in Ondo State to Dr. Olusegun Mimiko in an Appeal Court judgment. Normally, I am not one to trade issues on politics but a statement credited to PDP’s national publicity Secretary, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, does make for interesting reading. While commenting on the issue, Alkali has this to say, and I quote:

“While our faith in the judiciary remains unwavering, we are deeply concerned with the trend of judgments, some of which breed unnecessary tension and instability. It is our belief that the uncertainties that characterize some of these judgments do not augur well for the sustenance of our democracy.”

Correct me if I’m wrong but is Prof. Alkali implying that the judiciary ought to rule in favour of a governorship aspirant whose party was accused of corrupt electoral practices just so as to avoid breeding “unnecessary tension and instability” as Alkali puts it?

Between me and Prof. Alkali, one of us seems to be getting our Law Logic 101 mixed-up because I fail to see how an Appeal Court overturning a fraudulent decision to favour the people’s choice in Ondo and other states with disputed election results “doesn’t augur well for the sustenance of democracy”.

Is Alkali thus suggesting that by allowing governors who rig elections to hold on to illegal mandates, our fledgling nascent democracy (a term I dislike) is further nurtured and strengthened? One would have thought that the imposition of a corrupt governorship candidate is the very thing that “breeds unnecessary tension” and definitely does not “augur well for the sustenance of democracy”.

I think it’s high time PDP and all other political parties as well realize that it isn’t the number of governorship seats they win that matter but how well their elected governors represent the interests of the common man they all swore to serve and protect on their Swearing-In days. And how transparent the process that got them there was in the first place…

Akpabio seeks capital punishment for kidnappers
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio stated during the child dedication of his Special Assistant on Projects Monitoring that plans are underway by his state government to send a bill that makes kidnapping punishable by death for passage into law.

I have just one thing to say to this and it’s no different from what I said on the proposed self-defense bill: given our tendency for adjusting Dictionary definitions to suit our meanings, who then gets to define the meaning of the word kidnapping?

Not surprising in a nation whose Police is yet to give proper definitions to the terms: bail and rape. Or what should constitute your vehicle particulars…

Vision 2020 still a mirage, says governor
Yet another statement from a Governor, this time Anambra State’s Peter Obi who said this while delivering a lecture at NIPSS Kuru. Inasmuch as I agree with Obi’s utterances concerning the futility in the 2020 dream especially due to the lack of implementation of any of its policies, I find an excerpt from Gov. Obi’s lecture to be very revealing.

While comparing Ghana and Nigeria, Obi said that recently, there was a public outcry in Ghana over that country’s Speaker’s planned $16, 000 - funded, 3-weeks holiday which compelled the Speaker to return the money. Now here’s the interesting part:

Obi said, “If it were in Nigeria, nobody would raise any alarm. In fact, it was not even up to the amount of money Nigeria(n) public servants give to their girlfriends.

Kindly notice that the emphasis on part of the above quote is mine. I’m not so sure about the “raising an alarm” bit of it but I have no doubt in my mind that Obi should be familiar with the implications of the “girlfriend allowance” part of his statement seeing that as one of Nigeria’s topmost public servants, he also belongs to the group he just so self-righteously fingered…

In Conclusion...
While many may not share my views on the above, I do feel apprehensive about these examples of rudder-lessness we continuously display for our children to copy through our utterances and actions -- or the lack thereof. Are these highlighted statements above the issues I would want my kids to keep in mind whenever they sing that part of the national anthem where it says: “The labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain”?

Constantly I ask myself the same question they shall ask of us then: what “labours”? What are we doing now to make this country one which they can boast of and say they are “Proudly Nigerian” then?

On a lighter note, it wasn’t all Doomsday material in the papers. There were the Art pages partly focusing on the Society of Nigeria Artists’ elections beginning on page 116, a piece on the dignity of the courts written by Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN (no other) and two rather remarkable Letters to the Editor on page 20. Both concerned past military leaders but the more interesting one was Nkeiruka Abanna’s “Letter to Gen. Murtala Muhammed” which had this rather thought-provoking statement concerning the Nigerian Youth:

“The youth, whether learned or not have lost their psyche, evolving into criminals smarter than any security operatives, taking crime to the next level while mothers wonder if these criminals trying to out-do each other lived in their wombs for nine months”

One moot point the above statement did miss was that the mothers (surprisingly) still tie the lace and wear the gele these criminals buy, abi? Thought for another post…

Also of note was the Rotary Club of Lagos’ donation of free medical check-up to 500 people, the kick-off of Brazil’s Carnival by quote, dancers and drum bands marching behind topless, sequined beauties, unquote and the beginning of the Lenten period marked by Ash Wednesday.

And not forgetting my current area of specialization, the Vacancies…