Monday, December 21, 2009

A Messy Xmas for Daddy

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"Have you ever imagined what Santa Claus
will be doing for the remaining 364 days?"

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way… I hear the bells announcing the coming of Xmas. Do you hear what I hear? Come on, ring those bells again. Jingle bells, jingle bells… Hark! The Herald angels sing. Yet everything is silent. Well, it’s Silent Night, holy night… Angels from the realms of glory sing. From Heaven Above to earth they come singing, “We Wish You a Merry Xmas…” Good music to the ears. But, daddy, this Xmas sounds like a messy Xmas to me. Everything is Still, Still, Still. Nothing is moving… Here they come, all ye faithful. Tearful, not triumphant but hopeful. They all wear long faces. Their eyes are blood-shot. Have they gone to Jeddah or Bethlehem to see the old or the new king? Our Sunday School teacher says we must appreciate him. O come, let us adore Him, whether born of Holy Virgin Mary or Holy Virgin Mariam. It’s Joy to the World. C’mon, ring those bells again. Sing the song, Ding Dong Merrily on High/In heaven the bells are ringing/Ding dong verily the sky/Is heaven with angels singing/ Glo-o-o-o-ria, Hosanna in excelsis. The choirmaster has promised to play another old song. Let there be peace on earth. We sing it every year and it is becoming a cliché. This is a unipolar world, yet with multi-polar problems. War in the east; war in the west. Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, drug wars in Latin America… But while ideological divides are narrowing, religious gulfs are widening. Then a “political child” was born to the world. His name is Barack Obama. Will somebody ask somebody to shout, Alleluyah? Not yet.

Here Comes Santa Claus to deliver his Xmas goodies. Daddy, what do you want? Ah! Ah! Ah! Daddy is shaking his snow-white head. All he wants for Xmas is his two front teeth. Teeth that got broken while eating bones as meat. “Everybody pauses and stares at me/These two teeth are gone as you can see/I don’t know just who to blame for this catastrophe!/But my one wish on Xmas eve is as plain as it can be!/All I want for Xmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth…” Gee! Daddy wants brand-new teeth for Xmas but he has forgotten that the dentist needs electricity to power his instruments. For the umpteenth time, government has sustained gloom during Xmas. No water. No electricity. No fuel. No generator to even recharge the inverter! Now, Daddy has got a brand-new song, “All I want for Xmas is 6,000 megawatts…” That will be the most wonderful day of the year when it happens. Can you imagine the country generating electricity at full capacity? How beautiful will the cities and towns be on Xmas eve? Can somebody shout, Alleluyah? What for? Sadly enough, the three kings of Orient love civilisation but not our Herods. They would rather strangle our hope in the manger. But Daddy, you don’t have to lose a heartbeat over that. This is a season of hope and joy. So, Daddy Have Yourself a Merry Little Xmas if grandma cannot.

Poor grandma! She went out to buy candles and matches when her neighbourhood was thrown into darkness and, guess what happened, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer! Yet we still wish her happyholiday. But grandma is not happy. She is confined into a wheelchair like our country’s paralysed dream. And so for The Twelve Days of Xmas we shall pray and sing for grandma. But Daddy, do not say I told you what I saw when mummy took us to see Father Xmas many years ago. Daddy, you promise me? I Saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus! You may not believe me but that’s what I saw. But come, Daddy, have you ever imagined what Father Xmas will be doing the rest 364 days? He is a human being after all. So, he can steal a kiss or two while on duty. Daddy, forgive mummy in the true spirit of the Yuletide. She could have been kissed under duress. The world is changing. Nowadays, anybody, even criminals, can be Father Xmas.

Life is still Ding dong merrily on high but no Gloria in excelsis. Every year the poor masses hear of Xmas. They hear of turkeys. They hear of hampers. They hear of carols. Christmas is coming/The geese are getting fat,/Please put a penny/In the old man’s hat/If you haven’t got a penny,/A ha’penny will do,/If you haven’t got a ha’penny/Then God bless you. Daddy, have you thrown your widow’s mite in the beggar’s bowl? I have given my own, the pocket money you gave me. After giving the little I had, I started beating my drums and one little angel whispered to me, “Little Drummer Boy, God bless you.” True, I’m a little drummer boy out with his drums and tambourines to welcome both the new-born and the reborn king to the world. Like the Magi (the three kings of the Orient), I embarked on a journey in the cold desert in search of the God of gods, Light of light, King of kings, the only Begotten, not created, Son of the Holy Father who grew and developed in the womb of a virgin. Holy Mary! Holy Virgin! Alas, the King of Angels had been sequestered far from Herod’s arm’s way. I did not see Him in Bethlehem or Jerusalem. It was somebody else I saw and that was in Jeddah. I said: Barka da Chrismois but he did not respond. Yaya de? Still he would not answer. Bako mi? Still no response. “Menene?” No dice. This is a season of goodwill, I tried to explain. He was just looking at me as if I had just dropped from Mount Arafat. I started singing: “We wich you a morri Chrismois/We wich you a morri Chrismois and a haffy nu yah.” The reborn king looked dazed. He was motionless. I said I had come with good tidings and he should not fear. I said your enemies may wish you a messy Xmas, I’m not here to join the bandwagon to wish you ill luck or to "emphasise" your indisposition to a radical change in the polity but to wish you well. I told him what fellow countrymen want from their reborn king. They want him to initiate a rebirth of nationalism in their sub-conscious. They want a reborn or would-be king that will celebrate Eid el Kabir with Muslims in Calabar and Xmas with Christians in Sokoto while a lighted Xmas tree gleams with the season’s goodwill in the seat of power in Abuja. Only then can we truthfully sing Joy to the World and open a new vista of hope for mankind.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Are You Sure They Won't Kidnap God?

What we have nowadays is no longer kidnapping but ‘adultnapping’.

The reactions to “M’God, They Have Kidnapped the President”, TELL, October 12, 2009, have been both funny and scary. Some see it as a clarion call for the security agencies to be more alive to their responsibilty while others see it as a comical indictment of the system that breeds kidnappers in the first place. Other issues come to play in this voxpopilogue. Happy reading.

The opilogue, “M’God, They Have kidnapped the President” is satirical but informative as well. Please don’t get yourself ‘adultnapped’ as the whole country has been ‘massnapped’ by the politicians. S A Adejuwon, Esa Oke, Osun State.

You are right. What we have nowadays is no longer kidnapping but ‘adultnapping’. When we were young, we used to hear only of “gbomo gbomo” (kidnapping or kid-nappers). Nowadays, it is “adult-napping”, “man-napping” and “woman-napping”. And you know what? This is outright stealing of human beings! Are we that cheap? Let the prayer warriors continue to pray that we do not all end up in the kidnappers’ den sooner than later.

The kidnappers are devilshly ambitious and daring like the Somali pirates. I just hope that they would not think of kidnapping God. Ayo Ademuyiwa, Ode Omu.

Don’t be too sure. Niagarans can do anything for money. If they can throw a day-old baby into a mortar and pound it like they do pounded yam in Mama Put’s buka, then nothing can faze them. And for your information, if Piriye, the little boy, could kidnap God’s mother in “God, We Have Kidnapped Your Mama”, TELL, October 12, 2004, then God, Himself, is game for those sons of a dog.

How I wish kidnappers could try and kidnap all the officials of PHCN. It may help solve the electricity problem in this our Niagara. Diana Omars, Warri.

I think that’s a good wish. The officials could be forced to give us uninterrupted supply of power for a particular period before they are released. That’s ingenious, if not abetting (crime)!

They have kidnapped the president? How I wish this to be real, maybe the government and the security agencies would wake up from their slumber. Aderemi Omolola, Abuja.

The security agencies are already alert to their responsibility. Every public official has a retinue of combat-ready, amphibious body guards that accompany them to board rooms, banquet halls, the loo and even their bedrooms because of lurking kidnappers. When travelling, they move in a convoy of several dozen armoured cars and wear bullet-proof apparels at public functions. That is their armour against hungry Niagarans in general.

Our country has been kidnapped already.Jude, Masaka, Nasarawa State.

Who told you? The oil wells are still running. What else do you want? Mind your language o!

Irefer to “Mama Fela of Burma”, TELL, October 19, 2009. I consider this to be a clarion call to Oby and Ngozi to come back home and perform political miracles since their sister is busy rebranding Megida’s cattle ranch. Muyiwa, Osun State.

I can assure you that they will be kidnapped on the tarmac the very moment they step on this already kidnapped soil. They will be lucky if their chartered plane is not held for ransom, too. Things are just too bad. The kidnappers would think that working in the World Bank is a sure banker for raking in dollars and pounds sterling from the duo. They went for Soludo’s father because they believed his son, a retired CBN governor, must be awash with brand-new currency notes. Lamido must be extra careful. If a retired CBN governor’s father could be kidnapped, then his own father, wherever he is, whether in heaven or on earth, will be a more credit-worthy target! Who will tame the bounty hunters? The answer, as they say, is blowing in the wind.

You are selfish for holding and hiding the picture of Aung San Suu Kyi to yourself. Hope you are not planning to kidnap her. May she live long to see her dream Burma.Ogundijo S A, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The woman is too beautiful to be shared (not what you are thinking) with everybody. Thus I have hidden her on Check the ravishing beauty today. She is, indeed, “obinrin meta” (three-in-one woman). Brain, Brawn and Beauty.

We also have many “obinrin meta” in our country. If the men can pocket their ego and allow women to rule this giant of Africa from the grassroots to the tree top, all our problems will be solved and the difference will be clear. Kievwe, Warri.

You sound like Sir Shina Peters to me who once sang that 90 per cent of the corruption and 90 per cent of the motor accidents in this country are caused by men and as a result men should give women the chance to rule. There should be no sentiments here. Women should come out openly and present a credible alternative to the cacophony of bullet-riddled, crime-riddled, sleaze-riddled and profanity-riddled voices on the political stumps. Aung San Suu Kyi did not wait to be cajoled or caressed by the political stockbrokers before throwing her ‘heart’ in the ring to be pumelled and trampled for the sake of the teeming masses of Burma.

We really need leaders who are portmanteaux of brain plus brawn unlike some of our past and present leaders. Biodun Soretire, Ijebu Ode.

The beautiful ones — sorry, the heroic ones — are not yet born.

Re: “Wanted, A National Day for Fools and Yahoos”, TELL, October 5, 2009. At times I wonder why a few fools would be lording it over many wise men and women. Aderemi Omolola, Abuja.

I wonder myself why we are wandering in the wilderness, yet we all each carry a compass. There’s hope that one day we shall be jolted to the reality of that compass in our breast pocket to show us the way out of the chaotic jungles of our own Babylon.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our Gods Must Be Crazy!

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This is “Pack a Punch” FM Radio transmitting from Onipetesi, Agege Motor Way, Eko Akete, to all the concerned people of Niagara both at home and in the Diaspora. We are now suspending our regular programming to bring you Broken News, the latest cliches as compiled by our editorial team led by Kashmir Igbokwenu.

Thank you, Amaka Abodehreen. Our research team has discovered for the umpteenth time that Niagara is a broken record and it remains stuck in a perpetual groove of oddities. What we see every day as new problems are really not. They are, indeed, recycled headaches. Most happenings and talkshops in a particular year are a repetition of the issues discussed in the previous years. What we say today is what we said yesterday, and what we are going to say tomorrow. We talk of corruption in the valleys, in the plains, on the plateaux, on the mountain tops and even in the crevices of our leaking skulls. That’s no news. The only breaking news is that yesterday’s 10 per centers are no longer in power, having been replaced by 90 per centers because inflation has made a mess of their illicit gains. Corruption is what the Okirika people call the snuff of mercantile trade while the ngbati-ngbati people call it the “agunmu” (tonic) of business. In a few words, corruption is the key to wealth in “stone-age, modern” Niagara. No need for hard, honest work. The poor continue to sweat it out in the burning tropical sun waiting for a roasted harvest from heaven. But their harvest is not forthcoming! Yet they have to pay their tax. They borrow to pay lest the tax men frog-march them to Kirikiri ... shouting lefu rete, rete lefu (left right, right left). And the powers that ought not to be but are, do not give a damn if the masses continue to writhe in pain until they succumb to abdominal paralysis. Sadly, nobody cares. Well, to care is to create breaking news. Every year we also regale listeners with persistent stories of political crisis in almost every local government area, state, geo-political zone and the general capital territory which is gradually graduating into a centre of excellence in “cosmopolitan corruption” or what the frustrated “shattered” accountants call “a melting pot of creative accounting”. Religious crisis is a must every year with its attendant rivers of blood and the usual government’s promise that it would never happen again. But we all know that before the gun smoke clears, another uprising must have erupted over an “infidel” wearing a pair of jeans and shaking her bum-bum two kilometres close to a mosque. Our country’s tale may not be that of an idiot but it sure signifies lack of collective wisdom. Every year government promises 6,000 megawatts, MW, of electricity but what we get in return is 600,000 MW of darkness, scandal, shock and pain. The Power Holding Company of Niagara, PHCN, remains perpetually on standby while generator sellers open new bank accounts every year where they tie down our hopes of ever getting adequate power supply in fixed deposits. With the sadistic support of the powers that ought not to be, they roll over our troubles year in, year out to yield more interests of pain for the masses. The only breaking news is when there is a flicker of hope for one or two hours in a neighbourhood and innocent children run wild with joy shouting, “Off NEPA! Off NEPA!” And true, true, before anybody could say, “Let there be light,” the brief sunshine has been turned into darkness. Bad roads are a recurring decimal in our mathematics of ineptitude. How about water? Every year, ordinary Niagarans get their supply of drinking water through street hawkers who sell “iced water tutu” to a hapless, dehydrated nation. The more privileged ones spend a fortune digging holes in their yards to look for trapped water underneath the earth’s surface.

At this juncture, we have to pause for a public service announcement. After it, Kashmir will continue by reading an extract from one of his random musings, which is relevant to the issue being analysed. …

Thank you, Amaka. I remember writing that piece in a moment of abject frustration. I believe our country was running out of ideas and it appeared we were all doomed because what we are witnessing every day, every week, every month and every year is a vicious cycle of hopelessness. Instead of things getting better for mother-witch, she is busy producing more female children, thereby piling witches upon witches. Apology to our female listeners for the gender-insensitive proverb. Yes, as I was saying, the editorial news analysis I did bears some relevance to this current issue and I quote. “As someone who discusses (the nation’s) problems at different fora, I’m beginning to have constant headaches now. Year in, year out, the same problems keep recurring. Most comments and editorials in the media this year are a repetition of the issues discussed in previous years: Niger Delta crisis, cement and fertiliser scams, water and electricity problems, poor and dilapidated roads, railway and aviation contract fraud, election manipulations, pipeline and tanker fires, et cetera, et cetera. They only have different pegs and headlines.” I wrote that analysis last year (see Pack a Punch, July 27, 2008). If you go through the same analysis and compare the content with what you have this year, there is little or no difference. Next year, it’s going to be the same. It will be the same problems of political gangsterism, “myturnocracy”, “kleptocracy”, “militancy”, “kidnapocracy”, “adultnapology”, “subsidiology”, and so on and so fifth. What then do we do? Some have suggested a peaceful revolution, the kind of revolution that will change the mindset of the people from docility to positivity. But this is no breaking news either. We have heard this before. Magazinefuls of grammatical bullets.Aluta continua! Aluta continua! Everybody has been saying it but nobody wants to use his head to break coconut for others to eat. The country has remained a country of ‘anything goes.’ We have become local dogs that eat any rubbish thrown at them! Even the national anthem has been condensed into a popular chorus: “You eat your own/ I eat my own/ 50-50 no cheating. Potential heroes have been amputated and consigned to the wheelchair of national disorientation. For instance, Balarabe dared the lion in old Kaduna State during the Second Republic with his people-oriented programmes and he was eaten up by a ferocious, blood-sucking mafia. The same hydra-headed mafia forced another revolutionary governor in the same state to throw in the towel, despite his awe-inspiring military accoutrements. Kongi, the literary wizard, tried with his plays, poems and pantomimes but ended up lamenting that his is a wasted generation. True, the country continues to waste away its potential because the ultra-right wing rebels have continuously captured the national beef. The powers that ought not to be have turned Niagara into a giant anthill of the savannah where “monkey ants de work and baboon queens de chop.” Yet the masses continue to grumble and do the same thing the same way and expect a miracle! The gods must be crazy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


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Since Opilogue debuted never has there been this kind of letter received. As the Americans are wont to say, it is unbelievable! It's awesome!! But who can help decipher it? Here is the letter slightly edited to suit Opilogue house style. "Mr. Opilogue, good day. These are just some basic tips for your survival. If you want to be angry just watch Ekiti Elections Tribunal. If you want to feel drowsy listen to the new Baba. If you want to feel bored watch David's Knesset in session. If you want to waste a whole day attend Banky's House of Probes. If you want comedy tune to Drug Lady's rebranded Federal Mumbo-Jumbo, FM, radio. If you are allergic to lies avoid Anthony General and his Queen Latifah at any biribiri crusade (whatever that means). If you have kids eager to learn Hausa and Fulfude avoid the Turainic school owned by the new Mamangida. And if you are disgruntled join the Ruffy Dubby party in exile and start throwing missiles at Aso Rock". By Jove, I don't know what the hell the fellow is talking about. Does anybody know? Eh! Before you start guessing and taking undue advantage of the big 'IFs' let me quickly respond to some other letters. Open the mail box, please.

I refer to Shh! Megida Is Resting, TELL, July 27, 2009. The manner you undress our wickedness, sorry, I mean our nakedness, calls for caution. As for me, it is better to live in a fools' paradise than die there. Yes. The driver may be slow, we shall eventually get there. Nike Adesanya, Osogbo.

You are quite right. It's better to die as a king in hell than live as a servant in heaven! We are all local champions!! But come o, which kind talk be this, that you don't like the way and manner Opilogue has undressed your nakedness? When? Where? How? Abi which kind wahala be this? I siddon jeje and you begin dey call me "Vanessa, the Undresser". Chei! Thank God this is not a Sharia-compliant nation or else you would have ended up in a Sharia court like the Sudanese lady who wore jeans the other time and unwittingly disrobed the religious chauvinists. Yours would have been worse! Thank God for His mercies. Joke apart, tell that driver if you know him very well that he should press harder on the accelerator or snails, ants and tortoises would overtake the nation's vehicle on its journey to outer space.

Your work on banana, apart from its being informative, portrays you as a trado-herbalist. Erinosho Mike, Ijebu Ode.

You are right. But how about the day I write about how armed robbers operate? That will portray me as an armed robber, abi? The more you look...

Re: Drop Dead Today, Write Your Will Tomorrow, TELL, July 20, 2009. Who told you I should drop dead before I write my will? Anyway, I have written my will like Michael Jackson did but it's not within my reach. It is inside the big ogas' bank accounts in Switzerland. Akpa Jude Osita, Enugu.

That's a wise decision. Only wise men bank with Swiss banks because Switzerland is a safe haven for the good, the bad and the ugly from developng and starving nations.

For Michael Jackson to have written his Will at 42 means he had assets and liabilities to share. But a struggling African man has nothing to share except his wife and children. By the way have you written your own will? As for me, I’m not ready to die now. S. A. Adejuwon, Esa Oke, Osun State.

Death is no respecter of anybody. If you have four wives write a will today on how they should be shared just in case! A will in hand is worth more than two in the grave.

Good day. I am an ardent reader of Opilogue. Please, I just want to point this out that Michael Jackson actually died a Muslim and not as a Jehova's witness as you wrote in "Drop Dead Today...." Dotun (no address).

Thanks. I did not know that he had converted to Islam before his death. Records show that he actually performed the shahada (declaration of faith) on November 21, 2008 in the home of Steve Porcaro, a keyboard player and one of the composers of his record breaking Thriller album. I went further to visit an Islamic babalawo (aafa?) who divined for me and revealed that the King of Pop became either Mikailu or Mukaila or a name that sounds like that (Mikaeel). The babalawo also looked at his opele (native crystal ball) and saw that an elder brother of Michael's had earlier become converted and gone to Mecca! He was very emphatic about his discovery despite my dooubts but he was dead right. He was actually referring to Muhammad Abdul Aziz aka Jermaine Jackson. But na wah for these African Americans! For example, Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X, during the Civil Rights Movement days converted to Islam and went to Mecca only to have a stopover in Niagara enroute Ghana (in the early 1960s) and got nicknamed "Alhaji Omowale". Cassius Clay got converted and became the legendary Muhammad Ali. Wacko Jacko also made sure he joined the pantheon of great African-American converts (of the Nation of Islam pedigree) and became Alhaji Mukaila(?) Jackson before his death. He sure must be in aljanah by now. Aleyi wa Salaam (God grant him eternal rest).

Mr. Opilogue, you take my breath away. Your words (Re; Drop Dead...) are immortal like the lyrics of Wacko Jacko's songs. Segun Akinade, Agege, Lagos.

My advice. Always wear an oxygen mask whenever you are reading Opilogue just to make assurance doubly sure. Now inhale! One more time! All’s well that ends well. Happy reading.

I visited your blog ( and wanted to leave a comment but couldn't do so. Please, what option do I use from the select profile options to send my comments? Halima Ahmed, Kaduna.

You need to register a Google Account to unlock the door for you or choose the 'anonymous' option and then leave your name at the end of the post.

But, please, consider those of us who are not "dot com" compliant before you relocate Opilogue completely to the internet. Dr. Charles, Minna, Niger State.

Lakita, please note that the world is like a masquer dancing. If you want to enjoy the spectacle you do not stay on the same spot in Minna. You must move with the time. Very soon newspapers and magazines will only be available online. So,like the Boy Scouts, BE PREPARED for the great change. Kaji ko, Lakita Charlie?

Mr Opilogue, how will you describe that NAFDAC angel-turned Musa's megaphone? Ajayi Olusola, Ondo.

Hmmm...This is agidigbo drum that you are beating here but I guess I understand the rhythm and blues. And I will answer you accordingly. Well, the woman you are probably referring to remains an angel, if not to you at least to her husband. Then remember the immortal words of Professor MAMSER: If you are a teacher, teach well; if you are a manager, manage well; if you are a director, direct well; if you are also a brand manager, brand manage well...The "angel" has acquitted herself very well as a faithful card-carrying member of the party in power. Needless to remind you that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. No be so? Let's just thank God for her. She is no longer where barons can remove her headgear with bows and arrows, not to mention AK – 47s

I have read "Diplomatic Yabis" (TELL, November 20, 2008) and I find it real knowledge of the (Niagaran) situation and problems. I wonder if you could help in e-mailing some of your write-ups to my box,

I don't encourage the substitution of GSM number or e-mail address for the name of a reader. It is too surreal and it creates a lot of distortions. Now, see me, see trouble. I can't figure out your name. Are you Fabian Duru Jnr or Fabian, the Okada man, as that yahoo address seems to suggest?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mama Fela of Burma!

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“She is like an infernal spirit sent by God to confound and torment the
tormentors of Burma and all dictators of the world, be they in khaki or agbada”

My friend, women are powerful o!

Are you just knowing that? From time immemorial, women have been known to have bottom power. And they have always used it to get what they want.

Shh... I’m not talking of Eve’s bottom power, that honeypot of sweet nothing. I’m talking of strong women who have influenced events in their immediate environment and the world at large with their vision and commitment to selfless service. Women like Corazon Aquino, the late president of the Philippines, who led “People Power” that resulted in the overthrow of the Ferdinand Marcos regime; Rosa Parks, the African American icon of the civil rights movement who refused to vacate her bus seat for a white passenger and subsequently changed the complexion of the struggle for racial equality; our own Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Mama Fela, who led an all-women opposition against the then Alake of Abeokuta that resulted in the hapless king’s abdication of the throne; the women of Aba who, in 1929, led the riots against excessive tax by the colonial masters, and many others in contemporary history.

By the way, sorry to interrupt you, whose picture are you holding? Is it that of your oyinbo sweet sixteen?

For where? This woman you are looking at is a sixty-something, fire-spitting product of God’s creatively activist imagination.

Sure? You mean this janjala woman? This lepa shandy?

Shhh! You are playing with fire. She is what the ngbati ngbati people call obinrin meta (three-in-one woman). Some may even call her iwin, a sort of enfant terrible, to the powers that “ought not to be” in her native country.

Where is that?

Burma, of course. Or is it Myanmar or whatever? Just one of those “yanmar yanmar” countries still under military dictatorship.

You mean this is the woman that has been causing the Burmese generals sleepless nights? What’s her name again?

Aung San Suu Kyi. That’s the iwin, the obinrin meta, the ogbonge amazon, the enfant terrible, the scourge of military dictatorships and arrowhead of the pro-democracy movement in Burma.

It appears you know a lot about this woman whose name I cannot even pronounce. Is it because she is a paragon of beauty? Or is it because she is doing what many a he-man cannot do, especially in Africa? But before you tell her story, please show me why this woman is obinrin meta and why you call her iwin.

Simple. As you will soon discover, she is like an infernal spirit sent by God to confound and torment the tormentors of Burma and all dictators of the world, be they in khaki (uniform) or agbada. As for her being called obinrin meta, that’s also easily explainable. Metaphorically speaking, she is a combination of brain, beauty and brawn. She is pretty, powerful and fearless, fearless like Gani. If you are in doubt, ask the generals who continue to sleep with one eye open because of the fire they have placed on their roof. She is an untouchable rose among thorns. And literally speaking, she is three persons rolled into one as her name, Aung San Suu Kyi, suggests. Aung San is derived from her father, General Aung San, who is considered to be the father of modern-day Burma, having negotiated the country’s independence from the British in 1947. Kyi comes from her mother, Khin Kyi, who was appointed the Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960. And Suu is from her grandmother. She is the third child of her family. Her father was assassinated the same year he helped negotiate independence for his country. She grew up with her mother and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo. The former got drowned in a swimming pool accident in 1953 when she was eight years old. The other brother emigrated to the United States of America and later acquired American citizenship. While on tour of diplomatic duty with her mother, she made sure she continued her education, earning a degree in Politics in India and later going to Oxford to have another in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1969. She was at the United Nations for three years, working primarily on budget matters. In 1972, she got married to Dr Michael Aris, a Tibetian scholar. They had two sons, Alex and Kim Aris, in 1973 and 1977 respectively. In 1985, she got her PhD in Oriental Studies from the University of London.

She must be a very richly endowed bourgeois.

Not exactly. Her foray into politics has turned everything virtually upside down for her but the stoic character that she is, there is no giving up. In 1988, she returned from London to Burma to take care of her ailing mother and test her bearing in the political waters of Burma. She helped in the formation of the National League for Democracy and became its secretary-general. The party won the 1990 general elections called by the military junta and by virtue of her position, she was to become the prime minister. Her party supporters were agog with expectations but, suddenly, a Babangida, a sort of “devil ex machina” (permit the jollof expression), surfaced from nowhere to annul the election and the military refused to hand over power to her. To date, she has been placed under house arrest 14 times. As it is typical of malevolent dictatorships, the Burmese military regime has turned deaf ears to all humanitarian appeals to temper ‘justice’ with mercy. For instance, she dared not go abroad to meet her ailing husband who eventually died of cancer in 1999 because she would not have been allowed back into the country. Instead, she opted to stay and tend to the pro-democracy struggle. She also remains separated from her children who live in London and her only remaining brother. The struggle is her life. She has once again proved like Mama Fela, the ideological matriarch of the Ransome-Kuti family, that it does not matter who wrestles the monster to the ground — man or woman — for as long as the predator is conquered. Gani must have been very proud of her. He was wont to say if the male rat cannot move fast enough it should make way for the pregnant tortoise. Who is our own Aung San Suu Kyi?
Aung San Suu Kini (what)?

Friday, October 2, 2009


Did you receive this message on October 1?

"We share the same independence day with China but do we share the same vision? Let's hope and pray that our collective HOPE for a better Nigeria is not kidnapped and held hostage for ever. Happy Independence anniversary".

It was supposed to be an innocuous birthday wish to fellow countrymen and women on Nigeria's Independence Day, October 1, but the reaction was a tsunami of mixed emotions:

We do not share the same vision with China because if we do our dream and race to greatness will not be as slow as the pace of a pregnant snail. Amazing Owen, Okokomaiko, Lagos.

Do you think we are really independent? We are only independent in political crisis, corruption and selfishness. We are ironically called the giant of Africa instead of the dwarf of the world. Babalola, Igboho.

China is the most populous country in the world while we are the most populous in Africa. That is where the similarites end because their leaders are visionary while ours are visionless. Festus Ogunniyi, Igboora.

We cannot wait to see the day we shall attain such level of vision like the Chinese's. We cannot be celebrating other people's greatness every year. Dagogo Anims Jumbo.

You make me remember the ageless saying in the golden book, "Where there is no vision the people perish". That is what is happening to Naija. The vision of our leaders is to make naira and nothing more. Celestine Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

Happy independence annivesary. I pray that God gives our leaders the political will to act and move the nation from the status of a sleeping ant to that of the true giant of Africa. Mercy, Uniben.

While Megida is enjoying a deep slumber in Aso Rock, please let's continue to mobilise the progressive forces to wake him up to his responsibility and rescue this nation from its apparent failed status. Ayo Ademuyiwa, Ode Omu, Osun State.

The good Lord will turn things around in this 49-year-old independent country such that our votes will count during elections so that we can have people who want to serve the nation and not those who want to serve themselves when in power. Biodun Owolabi, Ikole-Ekiti.

While wishing us (happy anniversary and a better tomorrow), think of Andoaaka as our minister of justice; Ibori as a godfather of the commander-in-chief; Anenih as chief sponsor of Soludo and Ribadu and el-Rufai as wanted men... Let me ask, if you were Allah, would you answer Nigerians' prayers? Sule Ahmed, Wudil, Kano State.

I think Nigeria will do better without the likes of Andoaaka and Yar'dua. But with the implementation of the Uwais electoral reforms Nigeria shall be free one day. Happy celebrations. Ajayi Olusola, Ondo.

Our country has been on fire since independence and there is water, water, water eveywhere... but none to use to quench it. Na wah for this country o! Diana Omars, Warri.

I totally agree with you (Re the Opilogue: "Wanted, National Day for Fools and Yahoos") and suggest we declare October 1 as our annual April Fools Day. Moyo Onamusi, Wuse, Abuja.

May God bless Nigeria. Evangelist Saji Ishiaka, Gombe.

I think we have gone past the day of grace. Nigeria needs deliverance from the grip of evil men and women holding us hostage. Until they are swept off we can't make any meaningful progress. Immasuni Innocent, Abuja.

Let's have faith in this country of ours. If penicillin could be made from mould, surely there's still hope for Naija. Ebiason David.

I received your message. Praying and keeping hope alive, I think, is giving them a blank cheque to continue plundering our goodwill. We should fight them with whatever means as long as it is within the confines of the law until they do the right thing. Kunle Bamidele.

Yes, a cabal hijacked and held our collective hope hostage. But for the crudity of their method we should all join the Niger Delta militants to wrest our destiny from the hands of this indolent, myopic cabal. M. Ayantoye, Ogbomoso.

I have been thinking on how our nation can be salvaged but what can my thoughts do? Only God can. Naija can be great again. Mrs. BAT, Suleija.

We are celebrating not because we are happy but because we have no other country to call ours. Omotayo Taofiq, Ilorin.

Yes, we are independent of the whites but enslaved by the blacks. Good people, great nation indeed! A fool at 49 is definitely a fool for the millenium. Samuel Idowu, Awka.

Don't, for a moment, think that God will not keep His promise for this great nation. He will. He will. He will. However, we shall need to get rid of those vultures first, either by persuasion or by force. Rasheed Alli, Igboho.

Thanks for this information. I don't know that we share the same independence day with China. But come o, Mr. Opilogue, our own greatest problem now is that we have not seen TELL of last week in Afikpo not to talk of the one for this week. Ogbonna Nwachi, Afikpo.

The nation is in such a gory state. What a pity! Ayotunde Okunowo, Ijebu-Mushin.

We pray Nigeria go beta. Halima Ahmed, Kaduna.

The prayer is inevitable that God should dispatch his angels to fish out and arrest these kidnappers of our collective hope wherever they are, irrespective of their positions. I see us getting there. We must not give up. Surely there is hope. Pastor D Shingyu, Kaduna.

Let's sing, "Which Way Nigeria?" by Sunny Okosuns to wish fellow Nigerians happy independence anniversary. Fr. U S Mbonu, Orlu.

Don't say I told you but what Nigeria needs now is the iron hands of a Chairman Mao. I detest dictatorship but if we must rate ourselves with China we must be ready to endure what the Chinese people went through to be where they are today. Amobi, Abakaliki.

We have tried a lot of policies and systems but here we are as a nation still in need of prayers. Kris Omotosho, Abeokuta.

God help Nigeria o! Jeni Ijeme Ejere, Afuze, Edo State.

It is my prayer that we shall be liberated from the cabals who have held our collective destiny for so long. Pastor Caleb Olufunmi.

At 49 a crippled giant still sulks on the effect of a contraption bequeathed to it by a vindictive former president who was out on a revenge mission after losing his bid to perpetuate himself in power. Nse Bassey, Oron.

I believe the fervent prayers of believers will preserve the collective hope and aspiration of Nigerians and launch us into greatness. Jonathan Ekperusi, Warri.

I thought you'd send me Ghana-must-go (bags) full of amala (and orisirisi) as my own dividends of independence. As for this Naija thing, I don't know... Paul Ndor, Cross River.

Thanks for your independence anniversary message. Please make sure you wear green and white dress today, sing the national anthem and recite the pledge. Eat only green vegetable and white meat in green plates and speak WAZOBIA language only. Idowu Batteries.

The situation of this country saddens me. People no longer believe in the country. Ask a day-old child, he is ready to "chill out" given the chance. Where do we go from here? Nike Adesanya, Osogbo.

As we celebrate our independence today, may Nigeria become a better place through selfless activities to those in our immediate environment. Happy anniversary. Jumoke, Lagos.

May almighty God deliver us from the demonic forces that continue to blur our vision. Kajogbola Mufutau, Iragbiji, Osun State.

Yes, we share the same independence day but never the same vision. It's up to our leaders. Emmy Sunny, Kabba, Kogo State.

Hmm hmm hmm! E get as e be! Shimen.

We can only hope and pray for divine intervention. Demola Fagbemi, Osogbo.

When a lizard falls from a tree it wonders why people don't praise it! But it praises itself for surviving the fall. We deserve to praise ourselves and thank God for surviving 49 years of failed leadership and continuous state of hopelessness. Frank Eguefo, Ughelli, Delta State.

We do hope that Nigeria and its leaders would get their bearings right by doing what is right at all time so that the 50th anniversary would be a memorable event. Ezekiel Ade, Akute, Ogun State.



ARISE O COMPATRIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Opilogue Has Gone Bananas!

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"Language is dynamic. I agree there is no excuse for bad grammar, but for those who choose the informal medium for text messages, it is a matter of style"

Reactions to Mama Has Got a Brand New Drug, TELL, July 13, 2009, have been unusually overwhelming. The reason is not far-fetched. Banana is sweet. Everybody wants to have a bite!

Gee! Thanks, I have always been allergic to banana but given my constant constipation and your advice, I'll give a banana a day a trial. Amobi, Abakaliki.

Sure? Why not contact your doctor first before carrying out the "instruction" of an armchair "doctor".

Hello, professor of banana studies, "UniPlogue". Will you want to prescribe it for our leaders? They are sleeping and dreaming on duty. Agbor Arikpo, Ore, Ondo State.

Nowhere was it suggested that banana is a stimulant. So let them continue enjoying their deep slumber until another Obama comes to neighbouring Togo or Burkina Faso to wake them up with some home truths.

This your prescription is "gbogbohunse" (cure all). Tell me, where is your medical school located? Omoniyi Ikuomola, Ibadan.

At Orita Mejo ("Eight Roundabouts"), Ibadan, with a school of dentistry located under the bridge at Ojuelegba in Lagos. And like you rightly (?) said in the excised portion of your text, "banana may soon cure toothache." How about that? A trial will help in restructuring your dental cavity. Just try it.

Ha! Since when did you become a consultant to the Olu Akinkugbe Foundations of this world? S Oyiborhoro, Sapele, Delta State.

Look at you! Do I need to be an Akinkugbe to know that banana is a good foundation on which to build a reservoir of energy for the hard working Niagaran? Siddon look like most African leaders while the rest of the world has bolted away from the dungeon of under development!

Nice piece but I was just wondering: Were you a doctor before? Or do you own a banana plantation? Are those pieces of information medically certified? Emma Uwadiegwu, Abuja.

Why are you worrying yourself? Will a banana a day kill you? If you are in doubt, just heed the woman's advice to her son. Hold a hurried dialogue with your legs and run to the nutritionist or medical doctor nearest to your home. Chikena!

I don't understand the last paragraph where you talk about one who is predisposed to having diabetes. Are you saying banana should not be taken by diabetics? Joshua Buba, Port Harcourt.

Don't read the last paragraph in isolation. Try to relate it to what the mother had earlier told the son on what she normally does to avoid morning sickness, and I quote, I know what to do. Just snacking on banana between meals helps to KEEP BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS UP (capitals mine) and avoid morning sickness. Unquote. The son, towards the end, expressed his desire to be having banana for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. And the mother was wise enough to caution him not to eat banana in excess. Relate it to the woman's raison d'etre for eating banana when she is pregnant. Does that make any sense? If your doubt persists after two days, contact your family doctor.

Too good to be true, like the son exclaimed. If I know of any factory producing banana, I'd have said you're doing a paid job for them... Adeniyi Adeoye, Akure.

Only bad news is good news? Thanks for being a true Niagaran (cynic?).

Hmm... Much ado about banana. Tina Amadi, Isolo, Lagos.

Much ado about banana? Sir Victor Uwaifor must not hear that. For him, after "Joromi", it is "Sweet Banana". And it is really sweet!

So, you like banana? No wonder you always go bananas with words. Amadi Yacub, Shadawanka Barracks, Bauchi.

Since you are writing from within Shadawanka Barracks, Bauchi, I don't know what to say. As you see me so, I fear people wey fit go bananas with guns, wallahi talahi!

I just finished reading your banana page of TELL, July 13, page 54...(no name, no address).

My banana page? Kai! No comment.

You have just highlighted everything that is wrong with our education (re: Hammer House of Error! TELL, July 6, 2009) for 80 per cent of the nation's graduates are glorious school leavers. Ajuwon Oludeji Johnson, Ibadan, Oyo State.

Softly, softly, abi you wan start another "identity crisis" crisis? Lagbaja himself don sing am for record. He talk am say, "even oyinbo too dey shoot (grammatical) bullets" gbosa gbosa like that. So wetin remain?

Agreed that all of us, from the highly placed to the lowly placed, are speaking and writing terrible and dangerous English, must you expose us? Uncle Patrick and Pastor (Jehovah) must hear this. Kris Omotosho, Abeokuta.

Then I'm finished! I have no bullet proof vests to withstand their fusillade of biblical, nay, grammatical inexactitudes!

Let me ask. Where is the culture of letter-writing in this? SMS is now becoming the order of the day. Blessing A, Port Harcourt.

Thanks for reminding us of the art of letter writing. Those were the good old days when lovers used to live in the Garden of Love. Those were the days when letters were masterfully crafted (and "lovely dated") to win the hearts of damsels and Princes Charming in their shining armours. Those were the days when men would read Shakespeare's plays like Romeo and Juliet before writing their loved ones and the ladies would have to read romance novels to learn new expressions and pick some new words and phrases to adorn their love letters. Nowadays, it is SMS text messages which are not even composed by them but by anonymous authors of the Onitsha market literature pedigree. God save the Queen!

I disagree. Language is dynamic. I agree there is no excuse for bad grammar but for those who choose the informal medium for text messages, it is a matter of style. S Oyiborhoro (no address).

Oro di hun! Oro pesi je! Supposition kills proposition! Nothing more to add.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gani, the Law Was His Own Weapon

Credit: TELL Photo

La 'ilaha-Lahu wahdahu la sharika lahu lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu yuhyi wa yumitu wa huwal-hayyul-ladhi la yamutu biyadihil-khayru wa huwa 'ala kulli shay in qadirun. There is no god except Allah; He is only One; He has no associate; to Him belong all sovereignity and praise; He causes life and death; He is ever-living who will never die; He possesses excellence and He is the most powerful over all things. True, Allah is the Alpha and the Omega. He has done His will and who are we, mere mortals, to question His wisdom? He does as He pleases. If He likes He can spare the wicked and strike down the merciful just as He has done to Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, our brother and benefactor. Weep not, comrades. Let me now invite the leader of the Social Science Party to deliver his speech.

Thank you. In this casket lies one of the greatest men of our time, Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, author, publisher, philanthropist, human rights campaigner, activist lawyer, maverick politician, visionary leader, scourge of villainy, veritable conscience of the nation, champion of the interests and causes of the masses and the sphygmomanometer with which the blood pressure of dictators is gauged. We salute his undying courage and love for the country. On behalf of the members of our great party I join others in saying farewell to our dear leader.

Can I now call on Mallam Zakaria Biu, leader of the Maryland Mendicants Movement, to present his short address.
Assalamu Alaikum, Jama’a. As you see me so, me I sabi this man. Na good man sham! He kind well well. As you see me so, me I dey represent all beggars wey dey for this our country, no be Maryland alone. I am for the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless and the hopeless. Gani na our aboki. Na mutumin kirki; he no be mutumin banza like those wey dey government. But me I no sabi the thing wey that person wey speak before me dey talk. He call our friend, Gani, “flenty flenty” names wey me I no Sabi. He say Gani na blood pressure. He talk am say our aboki na sifigicinimameta or wetin he call am? Kai! Menene? Which kind suna be that? Wallahi, me I no sabi that one before before. Ka ji ko? Me I sure say na this kind dogon turanci (big grammar) wey kill am, no be cancer at all, at all. We dey too knack grammar for this our country. Hospital, 'e no dey. NEPA, 'e no dey. Road, 'e no dey. School, 'e no dey. Food, 'e no dey. Water, 'e no dey. Na soso big, big grammar for radio, for television, and for paper yet no peace, but na wahala everyday. In fact the time wey our aboki dey alive we dey tell am say all this your turanci no fit work. He no go listen. Me sef I tell am say if na for bow and arrow we get am boku for north. Dagger, akoi fala fala. Talisman, he dey “flenty” for we pocket. I talk am say we fit do Boko Haram for we oppressors. Even I tell am say for your people sef, dem get original juju like the people of Okija but he go tell me say law na him own juju wey he dey use to fight. One day, I ask am, you be Timi the Law or wetin dey do you sef? He just vex “flenty flenty”, he come talk say him own law no be for chop and quench but for...but for...wetin again be that word he use o? Kai! Me I don forget...Yes, I get am! I get am! He say him own law na for (social) engineering. I look am for face sotey I come ask am, you be engineer too? Aboki surprise me well well when he talk am say true true he be engineer. Me I think say he dey craze. Abi na me de craze? He say he be like mechanic wey wan repair vehicle (this country) wey wan yamutu. That kind proverb me I no sabi am at all, at all. But the thing wey I sabi be say Gani na great man.

Thank you, mallam. I shall now call on Gani's old schoolmate to say a few words.

Let me begin by saying, I have not come to bury Gani but to exhume the past when Gani was a kid. We were two of a kind. I was stubborn. Gani was rascally. The two of us constituted a double thorn in the flesh of our teachers but Gani was a particularly troublesome pupil. Here he was, a microscopic tiny Gulliver among giant seniors yet he was atakorowonuado. He was the proverbial mosquito that perched on the wrong side of one's anatomy. He would stand like a junior David before any of the senior Goliaths and take them up on what he called acts of injustice and wickedness. He loathed their dictatorial, arrogant tendencies. I'm not surprised that he chose to champion the cause of the oppressed throughout his enduring life. He was a fighter, very bold and daring. I remember Gani used to kill snakes with his bare hands. This may sound like a fairy tale but it happened on so many occasions. He once did kill a snake like that and brought the fresh carcass into the classroom. Both teacher and pupils fled through openings other than the exit door where Gani stood triumphantly, giggling with his long, swirling "trophy". He was the type of student who would be asked to kneel down, close his eyes and raise up his two hands to the high heavens while others were being taught arithmetic, geometry or algebra and he still excelled in any test arising from the lesson he was deprived of. And what was his offence? He opposed the dictatorship of the "student bourgeoise". But Gani did not care. He was ever ready to risk his own freedom for the benefit of fellow compatriots. And, perhaps, I should say this. The seniors really feared him for being too quarrelsome and hyper argumentative. The principal, however, saw something in him: "This boy would make a good lawyer." Ladies and gentlemen, here lies GANI, the principal's, the principal and the principled lawyer of our time.

At this juncture, may I call on the Lisa of Eginland, who is the representative of the Osemabook, to deliver a short address.

I want to remark that we are really pleased with the tributes already paid to the memory of our son, brother, uncle, father, granny and chief ombudsman of the masses, Abdul-Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. We are indeed pleased to listen to his exploits while on this terrestrial pedestal. To some of us in Eginland, Gani had only behaved to type. As we say in Yorubaland, the offspring of Ajanaku will always take after the elephant. Gani is a true son of his father who was a wealthy timber merchant, a lover of education and a great opponent of excessive taxation of the poor. He was a devout Muslim as well as a prolific polygamist. He had 15 wives and 40 children. His own father, Chief Lisa Alujonnu Fawehinmi, was a valiant warrior who fought many battles for and on behalf of the Egin people. Gani, his son, did no less. Fighting for others runs through the veins of the Fawehinmis. Don't be surprised if Mohammed, his son, rises up from the wheelchair tomorrow, on the direct command of Almighty Allah, to carry on the struggle where his father stopped. Nothing is impossible with Olodumare (God). Mohammed will not be the first alujonnu (enfant terrible). His father was. His grandfather was. His great grandfather was. Allahu Akbar! Olorun tobi loba! God is great!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Much Ado About Sex

What the hell is going on in Berlin? Do we need blood and urine tests to determine the sex of an athlete? Why not just roll up ‘her’ skirt and find out?

Seeing is believing! Isn’t it?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heaven Knows No Fury Like a Woman Infibulated

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Opilogue knows no fury like a woman infibulated. So? Since the publication of Woman's Inwomanity to Woman, TELL, June 29, 2009, readers have continued to show their anger at a custom they describe as a "wicked", "bestial", "barbaric" (even “mamaric”) and "out of this world". Both men and women are up in arms against infibulation and those who practise it. There's just no describing their anger except we let the words flow unhindered from, as you will say, the horse's mouth. Here we go.

In Woman's Inwomanity to Woman, I could not bring myself to comprehend the enormity of the bestial act until I gave the article to a friend who burst into tears after reading it. That such is still practised and widely acknowledged in our African society leaves much to be desired. Keep on exposing such barbaric acts. Tina Amadi, Isolo, Lagos.

No woman, no cry? No woman, no cry? Please, ask your friend to stop crying first before we can expose more “mamaric,” sorry, “barbaric” acts. Opilogue is supposed to make people laugh in order not to cry.

Nna, I don't think there can be anything more wicked than infibulation. By the way, where did you get the word? I hope it's not from fible. Dagogo Anims Jumbo (no address).

Is it the word that is wicked or the art of infibulating which has enraged many a reader to no end like the woman below?

We also do it (circumcision) in my area, but it is not like how you sound in infibulation. It is simply mind blowing. Do people really do that to innocent girls? They should be shot through their own genitals! Mrs B (no address).

Ooops! Hankali, madam, hankali. Doing that will be out-heroding Herod! Haba! Wetin! Menene?

The Opilogue contains less of the usual dose of humour. I think it is appropriate that way. We should not gloat over woman's 'inwomanity' to woman. Mallam Adedayo, Osun State.

Good talk. Only a Macduff, that is, "the man not born of a woman", would gloat over woman's 'inwomanity' to woman.

It's very informative, in spite of the tinge of witty humour. Comrade Dayo Oladeji, Saki, Oyo State.

As gory as the story of infibulation is, some readers can still glimpse some laughlines? Sure, Opilogue without "a tinge of humour" is like Dangote without sugar.

I hope the affirmative action will be reinforced for the sake of FGM (female genital mutilation). Sehinde Ilegbusi (no address).

Affirmative action? How do you mean? Women are already claiming equality of the sexes by cutting and tearing up themselves(?) without interference from male anaesthesiologists and orthopaedic butchers called “cosmetic surgeons.” What further constitutional proviso is needed?

Only God knows where your legs go carry you go! Abi, wetin concern you with women's mutilation of their private parts? Who knows where and what you go go see again? Kris Omotosho, Abeokuta.

Are you accusing Opilogue of voyeurism (lookery)? This is blatantly unfair. Well, for your information, our lawyers have been briefed to sue you for premeditated libel, malice aforethought, slander aforetold and bad belle after the fact of injury! We shall meet in Kootu Ashipa (People's Court).

Woman's Inwomanity to Woman is funny and educative. You make me remember Camara Laye's The African Child. Nice one. Olumide Ogunsusi, Lagos.

Funny? Mrs B (above) must not hear this or else ... she might cause your genitals to be tied to the stakes and shot! C’est finis! O pari! End of cinema!

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"Those who do this must be shot in the genitals".

Wao! I haven't read TELL for quite some time but when I came across a copy and your bit on the last page, it is like the most hilarious stuff I've read in a long while ...You rock! Staphaine (no address).

Adequate response is stuck in my throat! One, I'm sure it was not Woman's Inwomanity to Woman that you read because that cannot not go down as "the most hilarious stuff" you've ever read. Two, you did not supply any address but don't worry. Opilogue can easily trace you to the nearest Big Brother House because you, too, rock. You are “da bomb!” Or is that not the language of TV reality shows? Opilogue can use forensic means or even native “airforce” (I don’t mean witchcraft oo!) to trace any anonymous reader. Hmm, wondering what has just hit you? Calm down. I'm just pulling your legs, not for infibulation though­!

Each time I read Opilogue, I doff my hat. The university you attended must be superb. Hope it is not UI. Aderemi Omolola, Abuja.

If it is UI nko? But if I may ask, which university is not a university even including Unipetrol and Unisex? I'm sure you are not going to give me the Bola Ige classification. Are you? You had better watch it!

I like reading Opilogue. It is meant for only the wise. Without wisdom, one may not be able to understand it. My prayer is that the good Lord will continue to give you the wisdom to write more. Ogu Chioma, Port Harcourt.

May the good Lord also continue to provide you with the wherewithal to purchase a copy of TELL every week. And the wisdom to decipher and dance to the agidigbo drumbeats. Na you biko!

It will be good if you can convert the writeups to comedies. Think about it. Oyekunle, Abuja.

I thought about it immediately and I came to the sad conclusion that the Niagara situation deserves more than comedy. Remember the immortal words of William Blake, the English poet, "Excess joy weeps, excess sorrow laughs." That's what you see in Opilogue. It tries to make you smile in order not to cry aloud in the face of untoward suffering in the midst of plenty. Talk of tragi-comedy and you will score a bull’s eye without being melodramatic. That’s the story of Niagara.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Woman’s Inwomanity to Woman

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Fire Down Below: Circumcision in Progress

Ol’ boy, you are still reading? I thought you’ve finished your semester exams.

Yes, I have. But that does not stop me from reading to enjoy myself.

That’s true. So, which book are you reading?

It’s The African Child by Camara Laye. I just love reading the book.

What’s so fascinating about it?

Everything you can imagine. But the part I love most is the growing up years of the author in his native Guinea, especially the ritual of circumcision. I just love that. You know what? In the traditional African setting, a man is not a man until he has undergone that ritual. And this is done just as he is about to reach the age of puberty.

Let me tell you, I do not subscribe to this idea of circumcising a child at an age when a boy is already dreaming dreams. It is painful and traumatic. I can remember my friend’s experience. He was not circumcised until he was in secondary school. That time, he would not bathe in the open like other boys. He would wait until everybody had left the stream before undressing and having a quick one before prying eyes could spot his hooded member.

That’s the price he had to pay for culture. In our own village, if girls knew a boy was still carrying a hood about, they would be teasing him with shouts of “aladodo … aladodo!”

Ehen..en, that reminds me... What’s “aladodo” in English?

“Aladodo” simply means a boy or man who carries his member about with its “parachute” yet to be detached.

You mean Camara Laye went through this ordeal?

Sure! The Malinke, Laye’s ethnic group, are neck-deep in this rite of passage. I’m sure all those Camaras, Diarras, Toures and Diallos of Guinea that you have heard about must also have been “aladodo” sometime in their lives. Every male goes through this ordeal whether consciously or sub-consciously.

How about the girls?

My God! I think they are very, very unlucky in the traditional setting. While the boys have their foreskins or hoods or “parachutes” or whatever removed, the girls have theirs “beheaded” phiam, just like that! Just like they behead people in Saudi Arabia. Pity!

Pix from
Shh... Stop bleeding!

That’s cruel. And most of this beheading of the female thing is even done by women! Can you imagine!

That’s what I call woman’s “inwomanity” to woman though feminists who, however, prefer to be called gender activists, will describe female circumcision as “a natural continuation of the ancient patriarchal repression of female sexuality.”

They may be right. Circumcision, in this regard, is an understatement. It is what my activist female friend calls female genital mutilation, FGM. She says there are three forms of the FGM, the first of which is circumcision. This involves the removal of the prepuce of hood of the protruding part of the female member, PPFM, and it is the one they say is the least severe.

What is PPFM?

You want me to use all my mouth to pronounce the name? Before I finish saying “cli....” they would have clipped my wings and tied me to the stakes awaiting verbal execution for murdering decency. So let it be. The second form of the FGM is excision and it involves the removal or partial removal of the PPFM and all or part of the female genitalia (I hope that is not offensive either). It is the commonest and it accounts for 80 per cent of all forms of mutilations in the world. However, the mother of all forms of FGM is the one called infibulation. It is the severest, the most wicked and the most uncivilised. I shiver to describe this criminal act.

Go ahead. You can’t frighten an old woman with the size of your “tuber”. Neither can you resort to using a knife to decipher a word no matter how big it is.

That one na proverb! Anyway, as I was saying, infibulation requires the removal of the PPFM, the inner genitals and most of all of the outer genitals. Wait o! I hope this is not becoming too graphic and obscene. The two sides of the vulva are then stitched together with thread, reed or thorns to prevent the girl from sleeping with a man. Osanobuah!!! Picture that in your mind. Don’t you feel like shivering? You haven’t heard anything yet. The natural opening is sewn together like a bag of cocoa being packaged for export. A tiny opening is just preserved by the insertion of a twig, allowing for the passing of urine!

Jeeesus Christ! What wickedness is that?

Wait a minute... The ordeal is not over yet. The girl’s legs are then tied together for one month or more to allow the wounds to heal and scar tissues to form. Djibouti is notorious for this kind of man’s inhumanity to man. It is a country where about 95 per cent of the women are circumcised! It is scary! A total of two million women undergo FGM every year in Africa and some parts of Asia and South America. It is common in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia in the Horn of Africa and in some parts of East Africa. So also in West Africa, but less of an issue in matrilineal societies like Ghana and Senegal. Yet, female activists continue to fight for the right of women to be spared the agony of unnecessary female circumcision. They argue it is of no positive value; rather it represses women sexually and endangers their lives through post-removal complications and trauma which often lead to depression.

I think circumcision should be banned all over the world. It’s gruesome.

If you mean female circumcision, yes. But as for male circumcision, no. For how long will a man be carrying “lagbaja” (the masked one) about in his pants? However, I have good news for mutilated women who want to have their paradise restored. Burkina Faso is it. It is where circumcised women regain their sexual identity through surgery, a kind of restorative intervention discovered about 15 years ago. It is the only country in West Africa where women who have suffered the physical as well as psychological trauma of circumcision can have their mutilated organs rebuilt and repackaged, and, if you like, rebranded a la Sisi Dora: Good surgery, Great women! Tra la la!

Woman's Inwomanity to Woman was first published in TELL, June 29, 2009.