Tuesday, June 29, 2010

To Sir With Pun!


“Everything about everyone of us points to the fact that everyone is unique… This is the foundation on which I have built my persona which has become a brand”

The editor appreciates your desire to grant this interview and prays you oblige me a copy of your private part.

Do you really mean that? Are you sure your editor actually said it the way you've put it to me? I guess he must just have asked you to ask for a copy of MY PRIVATE PART for review in your magazine.

But, sir, we are saying the same thing. You yourself have just said it, so what is the problem? Once again, in case you didn't hear me well, can I have a copy of your private part as requested by my editor?

Okay, you will have it at the end of the interview. Or are you in a hurry to have it now?

Wharrrever!.... Let me just begin the interview by asking how you came to be so different among all men I have ever come across. You are the first area fada (father) I ever knew and you are so punky!

Thanks for the compliments. You are really knowing of area fada for the first time? Maybe it's because you are such a young girl. Have you ever heard of somebody called King of Boys before?

No! But what kind of man would call himself king of boys?

Late Pa Majekodunmi of Ibadan was the King of Boys during his own days. He was a first generation area fada (father) whose popularity and generosity went beyond the Ibadan city walls in the 1970s and 1980s. At over 70, he was as agile as his young followers. At such an age, the King of Boys stood out of the crowd. He treated the boys like his equals and they loved him for it...

But you have not really answered my question, sir.

If only you will stop interrupting ... As I was saying, it's people like late Pa Majekodunmi who tend to prove the point that it pays to stand out in a crowd and make the difference. I had the best of liberal education that money could provide and after graduation, I felt within myself that I needed to be different from the pack.

What's the philosophy behind this choice of yours?

Thank you, my sister. I borrowed my philosophy from one author called Herman Melville who once wrote that "it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation". I just wanted to be myself. You see, everything about everyone of us points to the fact that everyone is unique. And this has been scientifically proved. No two people have the same fingerprints. My DNA coding is just as different from that of yours, even if we are twins! So, why can't I be me? And you be you? This is the foundation on which I have built my persona which has become a brand. I refuse to be like the Joneses because he who blends with the crowd can easily get lost. Look at Muhammad Ali, the boxing legend. He refused to be like other fighters of his time by promoting his talents on a higher and unique pedestal. While others fought with only their fists, he brought razzmatazz into the fighting profession with his legendary 'Louisville lip'. Our own Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, too, stood out from the pack after rediscovering himself as a revolutionary musician. He was more than an avant-garde artiste. He was an irritant gadfly on the private part of the powers that be and...

Sorry to cut you short. Since you mentioned private part again, maybe I could just quickly ask this question: why the reference to your private part in the title of your book?

Have you really seen MY PRIVATE PART?

Nnnnnoooo, sir! And...emmm...emmmmm... I don't intend to. O ti o. No way!

But your editor asked that I should give you a copy?

Yyye...yyyeee...yes, sir! I didn't know that's what you meant.

Look at you! Even if one wants to eat toad for supper at least one should look for a fat and juicy one for that matter... I don't blame you. All grasscutters claim to be big, robust and mature. Well, to answer your question, MY PRIVATE PART, no pun intended, is just a semi-biography detailing aspects of my private life hitherto unknown to the public, especially my constituency, made up of the performing musicians, dispatch riders and the 'footwagen owners' association of Niagara.

You said your private part...

Point of correction. The correct title of the book is MY PRIVATE PART...

We are still saying the same thing. It is your private part, not mine...

Young girl, don't get on my nerves. What's really wrong with you? Or is this temptation by subterfuge?

Sir, I'm not tempting you by whatever. The point is that my pastor will not forgive me if I mention the title the way you want me to...

You are like the squirrel in the tale who will not listen to corrections and warnings. I say MY PRIVATE PART, not YOUR PRIVATE PART, is the title. Now, say it...

Sorry, I can't say it as it is.

There you are! And you say you work for a media house that is bold, daring and different from the others. Do you want me to change the title of my book because of your religious sensibility?

Sir, this thing you are asking me to do is ethically and morally wrong. It offends morality … But if you don't mind, let us proceed with the interview... What advice do you have for the youths of nowadays on this philosophy of being different?
Let me first of all start with you. From the little I have seen of you, you need to reexamine yourself, identify your strengths — your gifts and talents — and give them expression in your own special way. No doubt, you were designed to be an original unto yourself. You are a reporter today. Tomorrow you may rediscover yourself as a Bimbo Odukoya or Mrs Okonkwo or Mrs Ashimolowo, go for it. Mount the stage and prophesy... Every individual should realise his or her full potential. Just be yourself. And that reminds me of John Mason who said: "You are born an original, don't die a copy". If you try to be like someone else, then who will be you? Be different. Brand yourself and become a marketable prodigy.
Thank you, Mr. Shirley Boy. Now, for the umpteenth time, can you give me a copy of your private part?

Over my dead body!

*First published in TELL July 23, 2007

Monday, June 28, 2010


Pix credit *www.nigerianbestforum.com

Yeh! Yeh!! Yeh!!!

What's troubling you?

Sir, can't you see the legislators fighting themselves?

Point of correction. They are not fighting themselves but one another. That's what I taught JSS 3 last week. Nobody fights himself except he is mad.

Exactly, sir! I think they are mad.

No, they are not mad. It is mad that is madding them.

Then we should leave the public gallery immediately, sir. Our literaure teacher says we must always be far from the madding crowd.

Actually I didn't know this would happen today we wouldn't have come visiting on the day the road to the national assembly was famished. Well, I hope you did not see too much of the ugly display.

As for me, sir, I saw plenty. I saw a law breaker, sorry, a law maker give another one a blow on the head. I saw one tear the dress of the other to pieces and made him look like a student on a rag day.

Sir, I also saw something.

What's that?

I saw a woman almost disrobed and I bet they would have exposed her nakedness if not for the TV cameras that saved the situation.

How do you mean?

Master! If those people didn't fear anything at least they feared the cameras. I could see that anytime they saw the TV camera panned in the direction of two combatants the others would provide a human shield to cover them.

Okay, let me tell you that what you saw was just a child's play compared to what normally happens in Japanese, Korean, Pakistani and Indian parliaments. Even in the old Western Region it was battle royale in their house of assembly. There was even a time that the fighting was so tough that the law makers had to jump out through the window to escape the mini war inside during which matchets, knives, guns, tear gas, amulets and talisman were used. Anyway I hope you have learnt a lesson from this. Liadi, you used to say you would like to become a legislator, do you still think that is feasible in view of what we have just witnessed?

It's still feasible, sir. It's the most lucrative business in the (Niagara) world. Even at the point of death I'd like to have a bite at the national cake also. All I have to do is that I will always arm myself to the hilt with American, British and Native insurance before leaving home everyday. Actually it's good I came here today. The works of our elders are works of wisdom. I have learnt a lot. As Chinua Achebe says in "Things Fall Apart" when mother cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth. We have watched our elders in the house and we shall put to practice what we have learnt, insha Allah!

Bullshit! God have mercy!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Sabainah Monologue


“Life after power is sour like yoghourt. It is not as sweet as fresh palm wine”

Is this Ita Eko or Ita Oko? What is this? Look at me, a whole me spending two nights with ordinary wetin-you-carry, street urchins, pickpockets and other petty felons. What an insult! If it's not because of the rain, you don't pack chickens and pigeons together. Do you? That’s an abomination! Now it's raining cats and dogs and heaven is let loose on innocent pigeons like me. What have I done to warrant this humiliation? I did not do anything to disgrace our House. Did I? But I know. Everybody knows. Now that they have got me, they don't even need to go on with the trial any more. They have achieved their aim. I, Sabainah, the VIP daughter of the VIP-in-chief, remanded in custody? It’s all photo trick. I know their game plan. It's not me they have remanded, it's their olodi. Yes. I know it. I can see daddy with my inner eye as he ponders along the corridor, trying to temper his angry nerves.

Poor daddy! I now see why he didn't want to leave Mr Langbodo the other day. It is the same reason why Mugabe, Kibaki, Campaore and Gaddafi don't want to leave. Life after power is sour like yoghourt. It's not as sweet as fresh palm wine. Sergeant Doe tasted it and refused to let go. He told Nancy, his wife, “only death can take us out of this mansion. This thing called power is sweet". That's what daddy threw away just like that, like the proverbial Alaatan who threw away his beefy ration. Was he afraid of a Yormie Johnson or a Jerry Rawlings knocking on our door with bayonets? Now, see where his 'patriotic' decision has thrown me, Sabainah, his daughter! A whole me languishing in police jail and all these rugbe rugbe (riff-raff) wetin-you-carry recruits twisting my tail and groping me in the dark. No thanks to NEPA. No thanks to EFCC, daddy’s frankenstein’s monster. When we are down with a major problem, the little ones set our bodies up for a game of hop-step-and-jump!. O ma bloody se o! What a pity! If daddy had had his way with a third bite at the apple, I wouldn't be here today. But see poor me rubbing shoulders with area boys and these unkempt things in custody! How are the mighty fallen…!

But come to think of it, why are they doing this to me and Baba’s disciples? Why is the Demolition Party, our party, doing this to fellow members? Is it every foe and friend that our "caterpillar" must destroy even without an election in view? Or is it a case of the falcon not hearing the falconer again? If gold rusts, what will iron do? What would have happened if the Air Conditioning (AC) party had been in power? Freeze me and daddy to death? God forbid! But I don't blame them. If there's no opening in the wall, a snake cannot gatecrash into the bedroom in the middle of the night to put asunder what God has put together. Eewo! Taboo! See what my brother did to my daddy. See what daddy did to my mummy. See what mummy did to daddy. See what my sister-in-law did to my brother. See what my brother did to our daddy-in-law. See what daddy did to... See me, see trouble o! How many teeth are we really going to count in the mouth of a person with double denture? They are legion! We have done very bad things to ourselves and, now, outsiders are cashing in to do worse.

Nobody has sympathy for us. Is this what they call nemesis? Where are my baba’s friends? Are they just summer friends? Or are they friends at all? Are we that bad? We pressed buttons as usual, but the buttons are stiff and the response very cold. It's no longer business as usual. This one is worse than daddy. He is ready to step on any toe no matter how sacred. He is even ready to crush the toe of the person who bought him the executive iron shoe he is wearing. The other day, we begged him to intervene but he said his hands were tied. You kuku know my daddy. God bless him. He asked him pointedly who tied his executive hands. He had no answer to that question. He was just looking booooh… murmuring and murmuring and murmuring like some distant waters without a soul. What are you murmuring?” daddy demanded to know. He was incoherent. All we could hear were "roll of law", "dew process", "feace and sucurity", "stability" and whatever. Then he started gazing at daddy. Come and see cinema for inside Aso Hall. Daddy roused him back to life with a shout, "Ocee, are you there?!" He jumped up and started murmuring again, "I zee zomezing! I zee zomezing!" I seeee. Is this the “zomezing” he saw? I, Sabainah, omo baba mukomuko, (the direct descendant of the one who drinks eko for breakfast every day), rubbing buttocks with hardened criminals in the junior version of Ita Oko (detention centre)?! O Nina and Frederick! “Time Changes Everything…” O la la!!

Look at this one looking at me as if I'm Lagbaja, omo Lakasegbe. They don't have to stare at me like that?! My own Lagbaja is not wearing masks. My face is in all newspapers across the length and breadth of Niagara and on the internet. It's even on YouTube! Good things, after all, do come out of evil. Don't they? All these yeye rugbe, dane-gun-carrying wetin-you-carry can never be 'famous' like me. Some drugs can only be like Panadol; they can't be Panadol. Lai lai! But come o! What has popularity got to do with it? Are these people really telling me that the law is no respecter of anybody? In our own farm, all animals are equal but some are more equal than the others. If these “things” think I'm lying, they should find time to visit our farm, a micro world for this quintessential animal called man.

*First published in TELL August 25, 2007.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


*Credit: oohsa.wordpress.com

You really wanted to know how Africa can win the World Cup? Simple. First and foremost we should learn to believe in our propensity and capacity to bring about the 8th wonder of the world in South Africa.

How do we do that?

It's as easy as drinking akamu. A Ghanaian player set the ball rolling last month in England.

Who is that and what did he do?

It's Kevin Boateng, the Prince of Ghana as well as Portsmouth where King Kanu holds court. He jazzed his country's opponent in the opening round. Michael Ballack, the German machine, is no longer a threat to the Black Stars. Whether by actual tackling or by remote control we should demobilise our potential opponents. And let me tell you this, African magic is already working. Rio Ferdinand is already out of the World Cup race for England. Arjen Robben, the Dutch, may also end up in Robben Island nursing injury during the tournament. Our gods are already awake doing the job for us.

Na lie! Which gods? How about our own players who are down and out? Michael Essien of Ghana, our own Mikel Obi and Didier Drogba a.k.a Aderogba of Ivory Coast have also had their chances of representing their countries messed up. Are the African gods also responsible for this?

Don't worry yourself. The gods are not to blame. In football the end justifies the means. Use what you have to get what you desire. *If you are less busy let's go down memory lane to examine how Machiavellian tactics had been used before to achieve a continental objective.

You must be kidding!

Siddon dia (sit down there) and be talking grammar. World Cup is no tea party. It's the equivalent of war. Every nation or continent is ready to play dirty to have a grab of the golden goblet. Fair is foul; foul is fair. Every team wants to win either by clean tackles or by unlawful shouldering. Jersies will be torn and bones will be crushed.

So, where is the FIFA fair play plea?

My friend, fair play does not win trophies. It's Machiavelli all the way. *So if you don't mind let's go down memory lane like I said and see how the fair play doctrine was sidelined by the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest...In 1958 a precocious 17-year-old Brazilian boy caused sensation at the World Cup in Sweden and made his country win for the first time with his computerised football. In 1962 he was back to cause further upsets in Chile as Brazil won back to back. In 1966 he was back yet again fully loaded to cause further havoc. His artillery legs and nuclear war head were the cynosure of all eyes. Brazil looked certainly set to win the World Cup in England the third time consecutively but that was not to be. A carefully planned ambush on the field of play by Portugal was enough to take care of his dancing legs and Brazil's hope of a third win. Brazil subsequently crashed with him because he was the pivot around which other players oscillated.

Are you suggesting that African nations should field butchers, a.k.a bonecrushers, as defenders of our continental pride?

Why not, if not? I have told you the end will always justify the means.

No, I don't think that's appropriate.

Eh, look at you! Do you know what Italy did to Niagara in 1994? They studied our style of play and they found out that Daniel Amokachi was the bull, the engine room of our operations, and they technically put him out. They also devised a diabolical means of excusing Amuneke, another bulldozer marauder, from his duty post after scoring his Alice-in-Wonderland goal against them.

So, what are you suggesting we do?

If we want the World Cup to stay in Africa we must do the following. We all know that the oyinbo people don't like noise. We can catch them on that. We should bring in African musicians to come and play, sorry, make noise, at the stadium anytime an African team is playing. Let's bring Alariwo of Africa, the guy who sang "Kini Big Deal", Fuji crooners like Obesere, oko onikulikuli (grand lover of groundnut cake sellers), and all those who sing noise to come and confuse them. In addition we can put about 10,000 well trained African monkeys in the stands yelling and making a hell of a noise and calling the oyinbo players names and hissing and spitting any time they have possession of the ball as they do to ebony players in Spain and Portugal. And the real Mccoy of it all? Let every African be blowing the vuvuzela and hitting metal gongs on and off the field of play to destabilise them. Make noise in restaurants, in front of their hotels, in their bedrooms, at their training camps and even when they go to the gents! Make it difficult for them to urinate or concentrate. Bring in all the sangoma, babalawo, marabouts and voodoo men in Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Benin Republic, Mali, Senegal, Sango-Otta and Arochukwu and everywhere to work in conjunction with African witches and wizards to render the attackers against our teams impotent in front of goal even if their team doctors and psychologists had injected them with high doses of viagara and ecstasy and birbiturate, all combined. When they are face to face with African goalkeepers they will see lions not human beings and run away, abandoning the ball in the 18-yard box. Whether by crooked means or by lawful elbowing we must to win! Yes o!! And if going native or malicious is dated our players should be asked to embark on a three-day dry fast before any match and make sure that they don't drink water during half time. Already the Niagara Pray Association has already sent an advance party of aladura led by Brother jacobin and it is camped on the Table Mountain praying and fasting and cursing and speaking in tongues... "Whatever we tell the referee is what the referee will hear, jah Jehova. It's whatever we do or say that the referee will accept, jah Jehova. In this World Cup, all goals scored against any African team will be rejected for offside positional play, jah Jehova. When penalty taken against us let the ball end up in the moon, jah Jehova". That has been their prayer since they landed on the Table Mountain, almost burning the mountain top with candle fire. But I learnt their prayers on penalties have already been answered. FIFA has forbidden the ojoro tactics of strikers who often run, stop and confuse the goalkeeper before taking a penalty shot. Just go straight to the point, says FIFA. That will help African teams. Shoot straight at our goalkeepers and no goal will be scored. Yashin!

Does it mean Ronaldo will not be allowed to play his panada (dummy) penalties again?

You mean banana shots?

No, I mean panada, ojoro (deceptive) penalty kicks. Who is talking of banana? Is he a monkey? I mean he will run and then suddenly stop to see the goalkeeper move before making hay.

At least not when he is playing in Africa. If he does, not only FIFA will fight him but all the gods of Africa will descend on the pitch and bite him to death. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Don't you think that's too much for ordinary Word Cup?

Ordinary ke? You must be joking! Remember Escobar of Colombia? He was killed for scoring an own goal in a World Cup tournament. Is that ordinary? Our U-23 team beat Mexico, Brazil and Argentina in 1996, Atlanta Olympics, do you know how many people committed suicide over this? Anyway, I was just joking about Ronaldo invoking the anger of the gods. There are many ways of killing a rat. Some of the players who can be thorns in our flesh can easily be taken care of without violence. Let's begin with Argentina. All our players need do is make a mess of Messi by taunting him, calling him "short man devil", "Falklands Fokker", "messy diapers" and "little humpty-dumpty" and he will lose his senses and do a Zinedine Zidane against Yobo. The instant penalty, of course, is a red card. We should adopt the machiavellian tactics pioneered by the Italians. If we should meet Portugal it's easy to render Ronaldo impotent. Just detail two busty Falconets to closemark him. Because he loves women he will be too carried away "ball" watching to notice any jabulani on the field. Ah! Africa, we are win before before (We've won even before kicking the ball)!! … Because it is Africa’s turn to become world champions. We must to win either by crooked tackling or by lawful shouldering and elbowing, afterall fair is foul; foul is fair in war.

Meaning we can go physical, psychological or metaphysical to achieve this?

I repeat, fair is foul; foul is fair. The World Cup must stay in Africa, placed on the Table Mountain in Cape Town for all men to see the glory of zoning and clowning and clannishness in Africa, nay Niagara, the giant in the sun.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sex and the Bishops


“(A gay bishop), being head of a diocese, is like the head of the police being an armed robber, or the head of the fire department being an arsonist”

Good morning, Monsignor.
Good morning, Father Osanyin. And if you don't mind, let me also say Dominus vobiscum (May the peace of the Lord be unto you).
Et cum spiritum (And with your spirit, too). Please, I have something very important to discuss with you, sir.
What's it about?
It is about this raging controversy in the Anglican Communion over the issue of the consecration of a gay bishop in the US.
How does that concern us, Catholics?
Ha, Monsignor! I think it more than concerns us. Since the Episcopal Church installed Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, USA, the first openly gay bishop to be so consecrated, the Anglican Church has known no fury like a congregation scorned. The rest of the Anglican world has risen up in arms against the pro-gay elements in the church and leading the opposition is Peter OmoAkin, a Niagaran bishop, who has become an icon of ecumenical defiance to Robinson's appointment.
What's our own problem in that?
Simple. Whatever is troubling Aboyade is bound to trouble all Oya devotees, whether now or later.
Father Osanyin, you've come again with these your fetish proverbs.
Fetish? This is the more reason why I'm here this morning. Some of the faithful among us believe that what is happening to the Anglicans is 'fetish', 'sodomic', 'gomorrahic' and, therefore, can never happen to us because we are more conservative, better organised and, lest I commit heresy, more catholic than the Pope. Look up, sir, and see the writing on the wall.
What?! Are you saying we may also have openly gay bishops controversy? Never! We are Catholics, not Protestants.
Yes, sir, but I think we may soon have a rebel gay padre or bishop or a lesbian Mother Superior that may turn the applecart and make nonsense of our credo.
Never! We shall excommunicate them or send them to Siberia, the land of Never-Never.
You dare not say that. Even the Pope, himself, has hinted that the Catholic Church is ready to accept gay reverend fathers and bishops, provided they adhere strictly to their oath of celibacy.
Clever Papa! I trust His Holiness for ordained wisdom. Celibacy, poverty and obedience to the papal order. Hmmm... The Holy Father is a genius like his predecessor. Clever Pope, indeed!
Why do you say that?
It means a gay clergyman cannot practise homosexualism in the sanctuary of Roman Catholicism because he is supposed to be celibate. So, being gay or not being gay is out of the question because there is no room for him to exhibit and indulge in his sexual reality or preference or whatever you call it.
Sir, we have to be careful. A celibate environment can be a breeding ground for homosexualism and lesbianism. For instance, I learnt Robinson, the gay bishop, had his first homosexual relationship while in the theological seminary! After two years of therapy, he was rehabilitated and got married to his first wife, Isabella Martin. His 12-year marriage to this woman produced two daughters.
You said first wife. Does he have a second wife?
Yes, sir. His second 'wife' is a man called Mark Andrew and they have been together for about 22 years.
Doing what?
Nobody has ever peeped into their bedroom but that's the bone of contention. Bishop Peter OmoAkin and company say homosexualism is a sin and it is not compatible with the teachings of the Bible. They say it is bad enough to be gay, but worse to be a gay bishop in charge of a diocese. And they are vehement about it, so much that the church has been divided into two. They argue that Robinson, being head of a diocese, is like the head of the police being an armed robber, or the head of the fire department being an arsonist.
Or the head of our nunnery being a serial rapist! That's too strong an indictment.
But the gay bishop is not bothered about the hue and cry over his consecration. He says his mission is to challenge his congregation and to reach out to those on the fringes of society. Then he says something I'll never forget.
And what's that?
He says: "The only way you get through Easter is through some Good Fridays". That is food for thought and it has dropped an anchor in my memory. It appears we, clergymen, find it difficult to understand the kind of emotional turmoil causing some kind of internal combustion in fellow human beings and minister unto them instead of callously and selfishly condemning them. Everybody has a cross to carry. When our Lord Jesus Christ carried his own cross 2,007 years ago, we sympathised with him; why should they not empathise with a fellow clergyman on his own spiritual road to Golgotha?
Let me tell you something. In the Catholic Church, we know how to tackle such problems.
What do we do?
We just transfer all potential troublemakers to Rome! When Martin Luther did his own thing in the old Christiandom, the Protestant Church emerged. We shall not be caught napping, like those Anglicans who are now in two camps: the GAY and the STRAIGHT. Or, as the indomie generation will put it, the zip-up and the zip-down groups. Jesus Christ! The men that God put together are now being put asunder by virtual reality. What a pity!
But for how long shall we continue to postpone the day of the sex rebels in our own church, too, as religion is no longer exclusively an expression of faith but also of creativity and freedom?
And also of mercantilism and entrepreneurship a la Niagara. Remind me next Sunday to deliver a homily on Virtual Sex Reality and the Church.
I am sure the Charismatic Movement will kick against that with everything it has.

*First published in TELL August 20, 2007.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Playing Soccer on Table Mountain

*Credit: southafricatoday.wordpress.com

They have been kicking one another in the groin as if the crotch is the ball. Battles royale, no doubt. Yet they call them international friendlies. A kick in the face, a stud on the backside and a mock wrestling combat with a goal-bound attacker...Foul! It’s a penalty!! The kicks and the tackles are bone-crushing and the acrobatic gladiators are having a field day. Their Nike boots uproot grass blades and their Adidas studs dig black soil out of the turf. The stadia are engulfed in the euphoria of the soccer fiesta. From Cape Town to the City of Gold, from Durban to Port Elizabeth and from Soweto to Sun City, everybody is dancing the Samba dance and getting down to it. Even Zuma, the Zulu, is not left out. He dances like a possessed “Brother Jero” and speaks in strange tongues like a “Sangoma” Then he hits the air with his clenched fist, jumps up and down like a spear-wielding Zulu warrior about to capture a new wife and...and... increase the population of the spectators… Noise, noise, noise everywhere. Will somebody make some noise? Now, can you hear the sound, the high-decibel overwhelming sound of the vuvuzela? The message is clear. Africa, blow your horn. Beat the gong. Blow your sax. Let’s hear the tambourine. Play the maracas. Play the conga. Play the agidigbo and beat the talking drum...Bring up the war songs, and pump up the volume. Yes, digbolu kolu. Bafana Bafana, can’t you do like your ancestors? Sizwe Bansi is dead, yes, but Sisi Bonsue is dancing bonsue dance for the Bafana Bafana. Now wake up the roving souls! Make the click sound. You are not alone in the struggle to free Africa from the clutches of European and Latin American domination in soccer! The Black Stars are coming, armed with borrowed PHCN power extinguishers, to dim the stars of the perpetual winners. The Elephants will trample on their soccer boots like the jackboots of Guinea and Niger are trampling on the common man. The Indomitable Hungry Lions will roar and eat the other teams for dinner on the Table Mountain. The Desert Warriors will ride on camels and race to the battle field to stab them with Arabian swords and draw out the first blood in every encounter. Bafana Bafana will plant banana peels in the veld and ambush the soccer-roos and football tigers lurking in the undergrowth. Let them slip and get trapped in the eighteen-yard box when it matters most for them. Let the fighting Zulus come out with their spears to fight the invading Lakayanas. Blow the whistle for the Xhosa braves to come out and defend the fatherland once again. “Kill the Ball”. Sing and dance the miners’ dance. “Kill the Ball”. “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica”. Everybody sing a song, a song of war. “We Shall Overcome”. Where are the Super Eagles? Let them and their supporters come with their lager packs and talking drums as they lead the battle cry, “digbolu kolu, digbolu kolu, Africans, can’t you do like your ancestors? Digbolu, kolu, digbolu kolu...” Make some noise and let them lose their concentration. Yes, this is your year. Africa, this is your year. The moin moin that enters Agege bread in Hungryman’s restaurant can never and will never come out alive! Eewo! Taboo! This world cup is ours, no Jupiter or Neptune can snatch it from us. Iro ni. It’s a lie! Africa shall win and place the World Cup on the Table Mountain in Cape Town for all men to see. Yes o! We shall all drink mqombothi, the African beer, with that gold cup, insha Allah! Igwe! Igwe!! Igwe!!!

Come, are you running mad? What’s wrong with you? Are you soliloquising or what? You are just rambling and rambling like the Ramblers Dance Band without letting any other person talk. You are not even coherent. Why all these shouts of Allah and Igwe? Is there anything amiss?

You must be an ignoramus. Don’t you know that an African team is set to win the World Cup on African soil come July 11?

Fa...fa...fa...foul! What did I say? Foul, not even ordinary foul, it’s guinea fowl!! It’s a lie! For where? No matter how cheap pork is no Muslim can have it for dinner, except a made-in-Taiwan adherent.

I see! Are you Carlos?

No, I’m not carlous or what do you mean?

I mean, are you Carlos Alberto Torres?

Who the hell is that?

He is a Brazilian football legend who said recently that no African nation can win the World Cup this year even if it is played with African electoral commissioners doubling as the centre referee and linesmen.

Haba! That’s uncharitable. What’s that supposed to mean?

Well, he said no African team can go far not to talk of winning. He said our record at the youth level may be impressive but we don’t stand a chance at the senior level.

This is demoralising.

You haven’t heard anything yet. He said, yes, we may have good and skilful players but we need to be more professional.

He may be right. Physical play alone does not win a match. The state of mind also matters. So does the attitude of the player. And, of course, becoming a world champion is not a one-day affair. You can’t just wake up and say you want to win the World Cup without adequate preparation.

I don’t care what you say. All I know is that the World Cup must not leave Africa for the next four years. The moin moin that enters the belly of Agege bread will never come back. The cup has entered Africa and it’s not going back because an African nation must win it. It’s possible if we do our homework very well.

How do we do that it?

You mean how do we fix it? In every African country there are many “Mr. Fix It”. If South Africa does not have we can lend them one.

If you don’t mind, can you be specific on what can be done to achieve this?

Waitii! You are going to Oyo and you are in a hurry, who tells you that the Alaafin will not be in his palace all day holding court? Just be patient like Patience whose patient dog is now eating the fattest bone on the field of play and sipping scotch-on-the-rock inside the rock.

That one na ngbati ngbati proverb. When you are ready, you will come down to my level in the dressing room.

* To be continued.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The GodAllah Solution and the 'Primitive Tribes' of Naija

"Power, in this country, seems to continue to oscillate between two major power blocs, the arrogant and the ignorant"

*Photo courtesy abc.net


Chairman, First Gentleman, Mr. Depooti Waif Jang, husband of our amiable, beautiful and stylish first female governor of this blessed state, Her Excellency, Mrs. Queen Jang, obongs, obas, obis, emirs, chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, gentlemen of the press, ladies and gentlemen. I am happy to welcome you all to the third in the series of the bi-annual STATE OF THE TRIBE lecture and it's a big privilege to introduce to you the lecturer for today, in the person of Professor Al Mazoori, the famous itinerant motivational speaker who is blessed with a combined honours degree in History and Anthropology. Professor Mazoori, as some of you may be aware, is not a stranger to us here, but as much as I would have loved to recount his antecedents, I have been asked to allow these to come from the horse's mouth. Prof, over to you, sir.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, I want to express my gratitude for being invited to this great nation of yours to do what I have been doing in other parts of Africa and the rest of the world. The last time that I was here I talked about the similarities among the people of Africa and how really related we all are (See KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU, TELL, November 29, 2004). In 2006, I was back to talk about the seeming peculiarities that exist between your country and Ghana (See THE GHANAGERIA SIAMESE TWINS 1 & 2, TELL, October 2 & 9, 2006). Now I have been commissioned by the Civil Rights Association and Democracy Watchman of Niagara to take an anthropological look, this time, at your seat of power and see if there is any deviation from old practices and practitioners.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not here to cast aspersion on any power bloc, neither am I here to judge anybody. My mission is to find out if real progress has been recorded in your march towards the promised land of democracy. Unfortunately, it is, as they say in Kenya, not yet uhuru. Very sad, indeed. Power, in this country, seems to continue to oscillate between two major power blocs, the ignorant and the arrogant. For many years, you have been led and ruled by the ignorant who seize power but do not have any ideological basis for doing so. Theirs is to be in charge of the oil wealth that you are blessed with and dispense favours to cronies such as spouses, cousins, relations, political stooges and henchmen. To them, the age-long theory of utilitarianism, a doctrine which says that actions are right if only they are useful for the benefit of a majority, has no meaning. The second group which understands the need to initiate programmes that will bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number, choose to be arrogant and nonchalant. They forget that those who are in the position of power have the responsibility of improving on the welfare of the citizenry. They also forget that it is not the number of mansions they build on reclaimed lands of Lagos and Port Harcourt that matters but the quality of castles they erect in the hearts of the people.

One other thing my research has found out is the lack of a permanent national framework on which everybody in power must build. What I have discovered is that there is no clear-cut national policy on how to direct the affairs of your country. It is an all comers' affair. Everybody rules according to his whims and caprices, pardon that cliché. But do I really have to beg for a pardon? When you are discussing a cliché which the Niagara issue is, actually, you can't help running into dated expressions. Niagara, in the international community, has become an irritant, worrisome cliché. Terrible, isn't it? For instance, have you not been talking and shouting about peace and unity since independence? Is the country peaceful? Are you united? And I blame the respective occupiers of your seat of power since independence for not thinking out of the box. I learnt that your seat of power used to have only a mosque as the only place of worship until a Wild Christian came, by happenstance, to power and caused a chapel to be built also. To me, that is a reactive measure. What stops a Niagaran President from saying that for the sake of unity, the seat of power will lead by example and henceforth have a common place of worship for both Muslims and Christians? On Friday, the Muslims go in to knock their heads against the floor in the direction of the Kaaba, shouting Allahu akbar! and, on Sunday, the place is rearranged for the Christians to go in, to kiss the lifeless feet of a statue on the altar, shouting God is great! If Aso Rock, I learnt that is what you call your seat of power here, could worship together (both Muslims and Christians) in the same building, the entire country will take a cue. Never will anybody burn down any place of worship again, except 'Worst Class' savages!
Then how about this? Instead of an ecumenical church which you have in your capital, Abuja, why not a chursque, a church-mosque of sorts, where all Niagaran Muslims and Christians can worship during the National Day celebrations? (Some murmurings in the audience) ...Sorry, have I stirred any hornet's nest? Beg your pardon? No, no, no, there are no infidels anywhere in the world. This is what I have been preaching on my lecture tours. Everybody is a believer. It is only the ignoramus that will label another fellow an infidel or unbeliever. We all believe in something, so let's come together and worship that Being we believe in once in a year, for the sake of our country. That's not too much a sacrifice. Is it?

Let me end this lecture by reminding us all that there's nothing wrong in having a cabal, mafia or inner caucus in any political setting. It depends on the interest they are serving, the ruling elite's or the people's. During the process of gathering material for this speech, I came across some of the most prominent mafia groups in your country. The list is long but permit me to mention just a few. They are the military mafia, Kaduna mafia, Arewa mafia, Katsina mafia, Polio mafia, Polo mafia, Gumi mafia, Egba mafia, Ekiti Parapo mafia, First Lady mafia, Ijebu mafia, Ikenne mafia, Ndigbo mafia, Amala mafia, Ogbonno mafia, Langtang mafia, Okija mafia, Gbegiri mafia, Bakassi mafia, Fattening Room mafia, Oil mafia, Ahoy mafia... Whether seadogs or seagulls or landhogs, why can't all the mafiosi come together for the sake of the country? But this I know — myopic visions, class interests, primordial stereotypes, savagery, primitiveness, wickedness, greed and inordinate ambitions are always cogs in the wheel of progress in many African nations. The rest of the world look up to Niagara to put its house in order but for how long shall we wait for the "giant in the sun" to wake up from its deep slumber? I'm sure we do not have to wait till the Second Coming. Thank you and GodAllah Bless.

*First published in TELL September 22, 2008.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thierry Henry, God Have Mercy!


“My friend, you must learn to use what you have. Spit at any racist like Alhaji Diouf would do or headbutt any bigot with all the energy of a Zinedine Zidane"

My friend, did you see the Red Devils demolish Barca in their backyard last February?

Who are the devils and who are the barca?

Poor you! I thought you are a football fan, like me? Sorry o.

You had better be.

Actually, I'm not particular about the match. What pained me was the pathetic look on the face of Samuel Eto'o Fils throughout the match. I could not say whether he was suffering from the pain of defeat or that of his injury that had sidelined him for months before the gruelling UEFA encounter between his club, Barcelona, and Liverpool.

Is that the African player who was always booed by the Spanish fans? Why were they always making him an object of attacks?

Don't mind the bloody racists. One day, Eto'o will give it back to them measure for measure.

I even learnt he once spat in the face of an opposing player who had tormented him with racial abuse throughout a league encounter.

To be frank that was rude. No wonder, the coach of the opposing team remarked that what Eto'o did "was something that people who had just come down out of the trees would do".

What! That remark makes him more sinning than sinned against!! I wish I could skin him alive for that. But these oyinbo people self! They are too full of themselves. Some of them so much believe in the Aryan race superiority theory that they treat us, black people, like vermins.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth!

Wait. You haven't heard anything yet and you already feel like drawing daggers. Let's see what you will do after hearing what I'm going to tell you.

What else are you going to tell me that is worse than what you said the oyinbo man said about our own dear Eto'o Fils?

Just wait and see. The two stories I'm about to narrate are real. The first happened on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where one Tommy Hilfiger, a fashion designer, was a guest. On the show, Oprah thought she was throwing Hilfiger a lifeline to redeem his image by asking if it was true he said if he had known that blacks would buy his designer clothes, he would not have made them so nice. Do you know his response? He said he wished black people would not buy them as they are made for upper class white people.

You don't mean it! And what did Oprah do?

You can trust her. The old lady of talk show just showed him the door.

Serves him right. But it’s good she did not spit in his face.

How about if she did? Well, that's an argument for later. The second story has to do with what happened on a British Airways’ flight between Johannesburg and London recently. A white woman, about 50 years old, who was obviously still living in the apartheid era, was seated next to a black man. All the while, she was feeling uncomfortable with the sitting arrangement. Soon, she called the attention of the air hostess. "Can you people see what you've done?", she asked. "What's the matter?", the air hostess responded. "You obviously do not seem to see my predicament, do you?" She was showing accelerated anger. "You put me next to a black man. I do not normally sit near people from such a repugnant group. Will you please give me an alternative seat?" The hostess was dumbfounded. When she regained her composure, she pleaded that she (the racist) should be calm while she went to look for a seat for her. A short while later, the hostess came back to tell the woman that almost all the places on the flight had been taken but, if she could tarry a little, she would go and see if there was a place in the business or first class. Soon, she was back to break the news that she had talked to the captain who informed her that there was a seat in the business class and another in the first class. Before the woman could say anything, the hostess was quick to point out the fact that it was not unusual for the airline to allow someone in the economy class to sit in the first class. The woman was already smiling. She was sure of having another seat, and in the first class for that matter! Then the bombshell. "Madam, given the circumstance, the captain feels that it would be scandalous to make a passenger in the first class sit next to someone so disgusting like you". Then she turned to the black man, "Sir, a seat awaits you in first class. Please collect your hand luggage and follow me", she said. The bigot was humbled.

I think that's the kind of thing Eto'o should have done. It's more sporting to punch an opponent than to spit at him.

Is that why oyinbo people have turned ice hockey to boxing and wrestling? If a black man dare do what they do during ice hockey matches, psychologists and psychiatrists would have been called in to examine our pedigree!

I think I support the subtle way the racist woman was dealt with.

And Eto'o should have done something similar to that.

Like what?

Like throwing an egg or rotten tomato at the offending player.

Say that again! You mean Eto'o should excuse himself from the field of play to run home and launch egg and tomato missiles at his tormentor? You must be out of your mind. No African will wilfully throw an egg away. It's too much of a delicacy.

How about tomato?

How many people can afford to put tomato in their soup, not to talk of throwing them at one bloody racist abusing their forebears? My friend, you must learn to use what you have. Spit at any racist like Alhaji Diouf would do or headbutt any bigot with all the energy of a Zinedine Zidane. If Jesse Owens could spite Jim Crow with his famous black power salute at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, why not pack a punch today and give that bloody racist sitting next to you a bloody nose?

Ah! You mean an eye for an eye?

Why not? Even a nose for a nose.

Remember, civilisation began in Africa.

O yes, but where has it led us? Contempt, insults and stereotypes.

I pity Thiery Henry who has just decided to pitch his tent with the Spanish racists.

God have mercy!

*This Opilogue was first published in TELL July 9, 2007