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!