12/10/2007

30 days of thankfulness - Day 10

30 days of thankfulness. I never really understood the whole tagging thing. I mean, I was seeing people taggin others and getting tagged themselves but it didn’t mean much to me plus the fact that I was secretly hoping never to get tagged. Trust fantasy queen to commit the highest abomination in the land and tag me (yu have to get 2 white cows and 3 black hens for the purification rites). To make matters worse, she explained what it meant and what I had to do so I had no excuse. And as a reminder, I saw a backup explanation on afrobabe’s blog the other day. But trust me to submit every assignment late. So here’s mine:

I’m thankful for a God that loves me a whole lot. To the extent that I don’t have to understand or even know the reasons behind his actions and decisions; I can just rest assured in the fact that they were born out of love and I’m better off that way. I’m also thankful that He is always willing to receive me regardless of how far I drift away.

I’m thankful for a family that loves me and whom I love dearly too. Parents constantly bending over backwards to ensure we are well-provided for. Pretty sisters (abi the bribe…erm… bride price will be high) whose education is working out and a brilliant brother; the only person I can boast to without the feeling of condescension or pride.

I’m also thankful for a blogsville family who have succeeded in mis-leading me to believe that I have a bit of writing skill in addition to my other super powers (tele-kinesis, tele-pathy, tele-portation and tele-vision).

I’m thankful for my fellowship in school and the accompanying privilege of knowing more girls than I would’ve known otherwise. I guess I should also mention that the fellowship has done a whole lot in shaping my character, spirit and leadership abilities.

I thank God for good results, a good number of which I feel I don’t deserve.

I thank God for money…for an extra plate of fufu with egusi and ofe ora.

I thank God for IT, accommodating relatives and cousins, none of which are bold enough to admit they’ll miss me. Stuck and her anonymous sister for starters.

I’m thankfully for being created fine, grew finer and then…the pimples came, the beard took its time and the pot-belly appeared overnight yet I still manage to make them heads turn (I’m joking about the pot-belly o; I meant to say six-pack).

I’m thankful for a new computer and phone.

I’m thankful for quick understanding.

I’m thankful for healing for those around me and ensuring that I never need healing badly enough to become a prayer point outside my immediate family.

I’m thankful for music and bands like Paramore, Falling Up and Anberlin.

I’m thankful for a whole lot of stuff but *yawns* I *yawns* need peels *yawns* I mean sleep.

P.S: I gather that I’m supposed to tag a couple of other people but everybody seems to have done theirs some 2 months ago so I won’t bother but if yu are reading this and yu haven’t done yours, then yu’ve been tagged!!! You are IT!!!

11/26/2007

My weekend was better than yours

I hadn’t left finally and got all this wailing. Yeah? Like Fantasy Queen guessed, I was kinda enjoying it. Yes, I know I didn’t reply any comments to indicate that I was still around but that was because I was swamped with work. Here, they want to squeeze out all the juice from me, eat the insides before feeding the back to goats so I can come out as shit. And, handing over isn’t fun especially when I have to explain 4 months of arduous mental work to someone else. Phew!!! Perhaps I should hand over my blog as well cos it constituted a major part of my job profile ;). On the other hand the whole observation of the wailing from a vantage viewpoint makes me to wonder if God will let me observe my funeral from heaven. Enough now with the wailing…

…Enough???

My exit from the company has generated quite some activity. We spent last weekend at Hermitage Ranch Resort, Akodo (OK, its not “ranch” but it’s the closest thing to Obudu I have ever stayed at). A whole weekend of fun, sand, good food and more sand imagine…and all because of me? Well, not quite…but it coincided with my exit so I like to see it as a send-forth of sorts. This post is about the weekend.

We arrived at the resort on Friday after “travelling” for over an hour. I didn’t really notice the distance tho’ cos I was busy getting the office version of a school mum and trying to chat up the COO’s PA.

Shortly after we arrived, we had one long session like this where the company vision, structure etc was explained to us. Everybody got to see where they stood in the company. My name was there too…at the bottom of technology hierarchy where it belonged; but I wasn’t expecting anything else. The folks I pity are the ones who got some unpleasant surprises. We also had some indoor games and a couple of outdoor games.

Outdoor games didn’t favour some people especially when the first game was a sack race. Oh my!!! All the olemputus had to fit into the sack and run on the tiring beach sand. Even me and my bighead was panting so hard afterwards that I must’ve used up half the oxygen on the beach.

The next day we did some early morning exercises…and yet again that didn’t favour many people too. But we survived.

Then we had looooong sessions for most of the day before we were let go to chill out and have a breather before the night’s BBQ party. That’s the one that seemed to favour quite a number of people.

On Sunday we packed our stuff and left and Monday, its back to work.

At the retreat, we were promised 80% fun and 20% work. We got that and 100% slide presentations. No offense intended but all these people talking stuff that cannot be easily classified into correct or incorrect weary me.

Highlights of the retreat…I splashed around in the pool, drank 20 litres of chlorinated water (at least), and learnt to swim…Yes I did!!! I can swim. So I can now go for that Total Oil interview or Olympics 2008… Who knows?

I got to meet a lot of people too; company staff who barely knew my name, a couple of MTN staff who were on a retreat as well and a certain TV producer of one show I am positive yu have heard of (for reasons best unknown to me, I don’t want to be specific about the name of the show).

Now the food…

Yes THE FOOD

I pity the folks who got used to it; their wives and/or pockets go hear am this week. We ate like mad. The meals were buffets and better than anything Mama Ekene ever sold. I learnt valuable lessons like

S*** due to good food smells worst.

Don’t select everything in a buffet.

Don’t judge the capacity of a man’s stomach by its size; the pot-bellied ones eat less.

In addition to all that, I played volleyball, attempted football, fantasized about surfing, listened to a moving speech by our MD; I could have sold my father’s house and given it to the company during the speech. Luckily, I wasn’t with the necessary documents and I’m back to my senses now.

Have I talked about the food??? It almost deserves a second mention.

The weekend was fun for me, Hope urs was too. Gat to get back to work now.

11/19/2007

Sobs...

As month-end draws close, I become sadder and pre-nostalgic; I’m ending my IT this month. (sobs here). Hold on a minute let me get my hankie. (sniffs).

You won’t understand but these past months have been some of the most eventful for me. I made friends, took risks, engaged in stuff I had never done before, went for months without looking at my school books and its all coming to an end cos my school has resumed.

The first months I spent in Lagos, I spent scouring the streets of VI looking for a place to do my IT. While I wasn’t finding it funny then, I look back on those days and laugh. When I wasn’t getting told off by gatemen at SAPETRO towers or a receptionist at Interswitch, I was working with a cousin on a course for her master’s degree; I had to learn new stuff quickly, it also offered me an opportunity to get to know those my cousins better, offered me relief from the younger nitwits I stay with normally and I got plenty of big crush advice there too. It was then I entered the big crush project which is still ongoing. When an employer finally got to his senses and hired the best thing since guguru & ekpa (me), I joined the flow of things, worked and had fun with the guys there. In between, I visited computer village more times than I can count, got a new computer and phone, visited friends from Ikeja to Ajah and Okokomaiko (that particular trip wasn’t funny o). Saw a movie at a cinema for the first time, got a personal tour of Lagos Business School (Chuks thanks), climbed an escalator for the first time, practised pro-flirting, joined the ushering team at my youth church and helped out at my secondary school fellowship from time to time.

There are definitely a lot of things I’m going to miss:

First and foremost, I’m going to miss blogsville. Don’t start weeping yet; I’m not going away permanently but frequency of reading around and updates will definitely drop cos I’ll have a lot less time and money for internet (free internet go end naa). Moreover, on my browser here, I had a blogroll in my bookmarks so long, it used to take me hours to go through them all; now I’ll be constrained to URLs I can remember and those who have ever dropped comments. You can start weeping now; I already am.

Then I’ll miss my free internet and the privilege of “googling” or “wikipediaring” anything I don’t understand.

I’ll miss all the mama-puts I’ve visited in Lagos island: Madam Benue and her pepper soup that for financial reasons I only got as far as looking at, Mama Bose that I promised myself never to eat at for hygiene reasons and found myself returning to for convenience reasons (abi did she use jazz?) and her husband that looked ready to beat anyone that as much as greeted their not-bad-to-look-at daughter; Mama Ekene and her not-affordable food with great-tasting egusi soup; Iya Koyo which really should be called “iyas” koyo and is a model for the future of inter-company cooperation, it is a dirty, crowded, jointly-owned/managed joint where the heat alone could get yu high, Paul & Paul (Fried Rice & Turkey. Oooh).

I’ll miss the early morning fried yam and evening boli where I was unscrupulously cheated more than a few times.

I’ll miss the odour of Lagos island that manages to stick to the inner walls of your nostrils so you could keep smelling it even in Yaba.

I’ll miss the buses which took the expression “…packed like sardines…” to a whole new level.

I’ll miss the people at my workplace; the dry ones, the ones with attitude problems, the ones who were the cause of attitude problems themselves, the quiet ones, the fine ones (that are too old for me), the ones wey dey form(dem plenty ehnn), the ones wey no send, the rich ones and the not-so-rich ones. I’ll miss them all.

I’ll miss the girl who thought I looked like a teddy bear-she explained that it was a compliment; I don’t believe.

I’ll miss the guy who seemed hostile at first but of recent has been singing a certain Freshly Ground sound that rhymes with my name every time he sees me.

I’ll miss our COO who “takes no prisoners”; he “kills em all”.

I’ll miss the fear of our chairman which seemed to be the beginning of knowledge around here.

I’ll miss sleeping over at the office; the accompanied hustling for the most comfortable chair, the continuous adjustment to the better sleeping position, the technicalities involved with taking a bath, the chatting with my Romanian friend online about boyfriends, family, lingerie and all what not.

I’ll miss my boss’s asking me every other morning how my wife and kids were.

I’ll miss the folks in my office who are always too eager to jump to the conclusion that I now had a girlfriend. I can’t talk with my sister in peace on the phone there.

I’ll miss having to wake up, take a bath and get dressed in 15 mins; I believe I broke some world records here. Where the heck is Guinness book of records?


I’ll miss my barber who was always determined to give me a skin cut even after I must have specified that I didn’t want that. And who would, after barbing, rub the clipper on my chin like there was something (beards) there.

I’ll miss my little cousins who make you dread the time when your own kids would be their age.

I’ll miss NEPA; I’m already missing them, there hasn’t been light for close to 3 weeks now.

I’ll miss Tejuosho market whose traders ensure yu take a bath afterwards, what with all the dragging, pulling, tugging so you can buy stock jeans and bootu cut. One day someone will get slapped in that market.

I’ll miss looking around in public places in the hope that I would bump into big crush by chance. Or, better still, fantasy queen hustling for bread at the palms

I’ll miss hearing all this Yoruba around me that I have been unable to understand despite all my years in lag.

I’ll miss a whole lot of stuff and people… but what must happen must. I look forward to the session being as short as possible. I can only hope that I’ll be missed too.

11/14/2007

Me, the next shakepeare?

This was a drama series I was working on in the past but never got around to going further than this. Then, I was trying to imagine what it was like in Aro Sock in the OJB days, here’s what I came up with:

Akitu: (strolls into osabanjo’s office, dragging his feet) Gunners for life!

Osabanjo: I don tell you, one day me and you go get wahala onto this arsenal matter. (whistles) glory, glory man united…

Akitu: anyway leave that matter for now. Did you watch the last episode of Gardener’s daughter?

Osabanjo: Nope, no light.

Akitu: Gen nko?

Osabanjo: No fuel.

Akitu: You for just travel go UK that evening talk say you wan go see Blair afterall the country is already used to that. They’ll believe anything you say.

Osabanjo: E be like say your head no correct. Who you dey try insult? Anyway, to be honest, I actually considered that one but they don’t show Gardener’s daughter in UK.

Akitu: See ehnn make I tell you, its not beans working this number of years with you. I can predict all your next moves including this third term nonsense you are thinking of.

Osabanjo: I swear to you before God and man that I have no such plans.

Akitu: (takes notes that in his diary, secretly wishing his voice recorder had been switched on). I hear we are supposed to have a meeting with that smart new guy you hired in the CBN.

Osabanjo: (sighs) He was the one that requested it. You know say me I no send all these school boys. He should be here any minute.

Akitu: If you no send am why you hire am?

Osabanjo: Can’t you see that people are seeing through this farce we call government. We should give them faces that’ll make them think we are serious.

Akitu: How many do these stupid Nigerians want sef? We’ve given them Ojonko and that NADFAC woman; it seems they want the whole cabinet to be full of smart people. How can we maintain our status as a PDP government in the face of all this.

Osabanjo: (laughing) Forget say I dey laugh O! This is really not funny but I’ve always been smarter than all of southern Nigeria put together. I fooled them in the 70’s and I can and will do it again.

Akitu: By the way, it seems I’m getting more newspaper coverage than you. I beat you in THISday, Guardian and Punch. You won in Sun. Anyway, considering that I’ll be the next president of the country, that is to be expected.

Osabanjo: (Rolls on the floor laughing) What did you say last? (more laughter) did you say “next president” please crack another joke.

(knocks on the door)

Akitu: My friend, get up. You’re making a fool of yourself. I think Sodulo is at the door. He already sees you as a joke but me as the next president. I don’t want to be seen as participating in your foolery.

Osabanjo: (gets up and continues laughing). Did someone just say “foolery”? (claps enthusiastically) My guy, that’s the biggest word you have used since you entered office. Where did you learn it?

Akitu: Unlike you, I have fuel in my Tiger gen and I just got DSTV. I saw that one on E! channel.

Osabanjo: You watch E!? Wonders will never…

(more knocks and Amhadu Alki strolls in)

Alki: Gunners for life!

Osabanjo: This is definitely a coup. Where are the guns and where is the general? Which reminds me, those generals don overstay for office. They should be removed. Alki abeg, handle that matter.

Alki: Me? Since when did I get that kind of promotion? To be hiring and sacking generals? When you would not allow me put just my Wife, Son, Mother and Sister as board chairmans. I no do!

Osabanjo: You think I don’t know that a good number of your “men” are running things. Until I cut their wings na when your eye go shine. Do what I’ve told you before I get annoyed.

Akitu: If…

…to be continued (don’t wait for it)

11/07/2007

21

At 21,

Lindsay Lohan was arrested for possession, transportation and usage of narcotics.

Albert Einstein graduated. I’m graduating at 21…do you guys sense a correlation here?

Michael Jackson was not looking like a cast from planet of the apes (the non-human cast)

Obasanjo joined the army. (and Nigeria’s fortunes dropped)

Ernesto Che Guevara had spent a year in medical school. I almost bought a shirt with his picture on Saturday.

Bill Gates officially registered the Microsoft name.

Paul McCartney got a new violin…

Tiger Woods turned pro…

Julius Aghahowa (the 21-yr old version of him) had played at world cup, Africa cup of nations and Olympics…

Mary Onyali had already won a bronze medal… do they do “football age” in athletics?

William Shakespeare began his successful career in London as actor, playwright and part-owner of playing company

Elvis Presley got his breakthrough.

Adolf Hitler settled into a house for poor working men. Yes, that’s right; the same Hitler that killed millions and whom many dogs are named after.

Nigeria was… pretty much where we are today. The terms have changed but Ettehnomics and Ettehnocracy were very much in play then

Chris Brown…isn’t even 21 yet. All these small children sef.

Walt Disney had started an art company that was unprofitable cos he and and his partner were inexperienced. The company was taken over by his financiers.

Rihanna is not 21 yet. Another nwata kiri.

50 cent entered a studio for the first time. I better pass am; I entered a studio at 20. Wait for my album; Get saved or die trying.

Britney Spears was ranked the world’s most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine, she opened a restaurant, dumped Justin Timberlake, picked up some dude from Limp Bizkit. And I must have been the world’s most powerful non-celebrity.

On the 9th of November 2007, zeezueo hubicde naddlo aka BigHead will be 21.

(BTW those 3 unreadable words are 3 of my 4 names with the letters jumbled up. Go figure.)

Before I became 21, I had

3 blogs

A whole lot of friends

Tripped for exactly 11 girls (2 from primary school, none from secondary, 2 from SAT lessons and 7 from University).

Run 5 businesses (1 from secondary school, 4 from university) which all eventually packed up cos I spent my capital.

Chewed close to 1000 naira worth of chewing gum.

Played in less than 10 soccer matches, 1 basketball match and a quarter of a game of tennis.

Used 2 computers.

Never smoked.

Learnt how to drive and bought my first license.

3 bank accounts and 1 ATM card.


Drank a little beer and decided to stay away from alcohol in general

At 21, I hope to:

Graduate in peace

Make my first million

Get my first proper job

Get my first girlfriend

Learn a new language

At 21, I wish I could:

Get married

Get a car

Get a house

Start off my company

Make a lot more than one million naira

Get a dog

At 21, I definitely don’t want to:

Look like a cast from planet of apes

Join the army, a political party or a fraternity.

Settle into a house for poor working men

Do drugs, smoke, or drink.

21, here I come.

11/01/2007

Help I've been…No! I'm being Robbed

A cousin/fellow blogger put this up and encouraged me to put it on my blog too. I'm obliged to do so considering that most of what he says here affects me too. Read on:

I am very proud of the progress that Nigerian banks appear to be making. In less than two years, many of them have at least doubled in size and value (according to what some people consider to be the questionable financial results they publish). Besides growing in size some of them have improved the quality of their service delivery by training their staff more, and introducing some new services.

Even though Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have been available around the world for quite a long time, they are only just catching on in Nigeria. The ability to carry a small plastic card around instead of cash is long overdue; especially since previous attempts were not this popular or widely accepted in Nigeria (the valucard was like a status symbol).

I, like many people have an ATM card and I also love the convenience it provides, but more and more I am getting increasingly pissed by the whole thing. It's a good service and it should be encouraged, in fact let me just start from the beginning…

Last year while I was at school (University of Nigeria), a rumour started that a thousand naira had vanished from people's accounts, and that when they asked for an explanation, it turned out that the culprit was the bank (and since I welcome any accusations of libel if they have the guts I will mention a name), Intercontinental Bank. Account holders (mostly students in the case of their Nsukka branch) were told that it was to pay for an ATM card. Before long it was confirmed to be a fact and I was miffed, because I could not and still cannot understand why they did not attempt to sell this new service to us, but instead chose to impose it. I cannot imagine it ever happening that management at Globacom will one day wake up, decide I need some service they come up with, and because they have access to my account simply reach in and pay themselves for it, and after doing so not have the courtesy to inform me of what they have done…since I will eventually find out. Let me mention for accuracy's sake that they eventually started issuing ATM cards at no cost to customers, but as far as I know did not bother to refund the ones they stole from. In my annoyance, I wrote a letter (not politely) demanding an explanation from the branch manager but never delivered it, perhaps because I saw that I was going to be a lone soldier in my cause.

Now some months ago, I heard that customers (at least at Intercontinental Bank), were charged a hundred naira any month they used the bank's ATM machines irrespective of the number of times. This was another detail I was not aware of, because the geniuses at Intercontinental Bank seem to presume that I am too stupid to understand things if they are explained to me. You know, people are always complaining that we duel too much on theoretical things in Nigerian universities, so they just went ahead out of the goodness of their hearts and arranged a practical experience for their customers. Please, this hundred naira should not be mistaken for the one collected when another bank's machine is used, because it is clearly stated that that is in addition to any fees your bank may charge.

Finally, this week the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back was dropped, and I decided to start typing again. I had already seen a notice at Intercontinental Bank announcing that by a certain date withdrawals below a certain amount (I think fifty thousand) will no longer be ACCEPTED or carried out over the counter, but only by the ATM machine. Then this week, I heard that they are planning to charge a fee per withdrawal at their machines. This has not yet taken effect, but what's to stop them.

I may not on my own, be able to do anything about this, but at least I will not take it lying down and I will (if nothing else) fail trying. This is simply NOT [not even in a twisted society like ours] the proper way to do business. There is simply no excuse for reaching into people's personal accounts simply because you have access to them, which is a fact only because you are supposedly trustworthy. If a service is good, you do not have to steal from people's accounts, trick or force them into accepting your service. A sad percentage of us may be illiterate, but with a service as good as ATMs can be, posters, handbills and word of mouth (especially from satisfied customers) will do the trick.

Now the service is popular, and people like me who were robbed have put the robbery behind them and use the service even after hearing (not being notified) about the associated charges. So why come up with a ridiculously high limit for withdrawals over the counter. I am a student and even if they (as I hear they will) have a lower limit at Nsukka, it is unfair for a bank that pays some kobos into accounts as interest, to charge us (many of whom barely manage scrape by) for withdrawing our own money, because we are using a service imposed on us. Also, even if the limit in Nsukka is five thousand it will mean that thousands who can only withdraw less than that at a time will be compelled to use the five machines they have in the town (three on campus, 2 in town as at the last time I was there) which almost never all work at the same time. Thanks to Soludo, I can walk into the banking hall and demand the right to withdraw five thousand and one naira. The one naira will certainly be less than what they plan to charge for using the machine and I will happily sacrifice one naira to avoid the fee if they insist that they do not have change.

Interswitch (which I understand is owned mostly by banks) has to get paid, but it does not have to be like this. Nigerian businesses do not seem to understand what it means to be ethical. Ethics do not have to be alien to us, they may be an extra inconvenience, but they are worth it in the long run especially for companies that seriously mean to outgrow the Nigerian market.

If this was America where people can be sued for sneezing without covering their mouths, goodness knows the story would be different, I may have sued for the "great emotional and psychological distress I suffered as a result of the one thousand naira I lost and the resultant effect on my academics". Seriously though, I wish I knew some young lawyer, fresh out of school who was interested in taking on a giant and becoming a famous or notorious "Lagos lawyer" like the ones referred to on news.

In the future, efforts should be made to educate customers on the advantages of services, Nigerians are NOT stupid and we are more than capable of appreciating a good thing. I think banks will make a decent sum without forcing customers to use ATMs. If they must charge then let them - JUST TELL US FIRST, the different banks can then compete for who will charge the least.

As part of my not lying down, I will post my thoughts online, write newspapers, Intercontinental Bank and possibly speak to customer care at the bank so that I make my displeasure known to them officially (hopefully they will not be as rude as the girl I spoke to this week at Glo's customer care). I hope other people who are displeased will do something. I feel we are often too willing to accept things, even unfair things once we have an excuse to call it "normal" or simply because many people accept it also, so please let me just say that there is nothing, absolutely nothing normal about being forced to accept and pay for a service you have not even requested for even if you would eventually have done so.

It will give me great joy to hear that the bank has received several letters or complaints from dissatisfied customers who are not satisfied with the poor flow of information. UNhappy customer, UNhappy bank.


This was written by CovertNigerian

10/29/2007

Back!!!

Welcome blogville’s newest SCJP. (do I hear hands clapping?) Thank you, thank you, thank you. Like you must have gathered, I passed; Haters take note, this big head passed his SCJP and will soon be moving on to conquer the SCWCD and after that, the SCBCD, then the SCDJWS, then SCMAD, SCEA and then… enjoying the alphabet soup? Don’t rush it; eba is on its way.

I missed blogging. You guys cannot imagine how many times I wanted to just visit… had to resist the temptation; 30k was at stake. But you know how with every achievement, the achiever makes up a story to make it all the sweeter, well here’s mine:

I haven’t slept or taken a bath for the past 336 hours. Just been reading. That would make me really smelly; poor choice.

Let me try another. I prayed and fasted for 2 weeks non-stop. Too far from the truth; sad to say, but blogsville wasn’t the only part of my life hit by the exam preparations. Lord I’m sorry.

I haven’t stared at any fine girl for the last 2 weeks. Even me, I can’t believe that one; would make me either married or Stevie Wonder.

I haven’t thought of “big crush” for the past two weeks... I wish; I not only thought, I also called, texted and gisted about (about not with) her too.

Should I make it about TV? Yeah lemme try that one: I haven’t watched any movie, series, cartoon or lame bank advert in 2 weeks. God, are you seeing me?

Let me see… How about the truth? I slept at my office three times in one week, including a Sunday night, watched just 2 movies in 2 weeks, been having bread/yam for breakfast, rice for lunch and bread again/boli for dinner. Where’s the protein in that? Certainly not the huge piece of meat my mama-put DIDN’T give me. I must have added a few kg with all that sitting down to study and voracious eating (study makes for huge appetites, you know). So yes, I’m that fat kid who had to pay for 2 seats in the bus. Laugh all you want. You see, that the problem with the truth; its not sensational enough. But that’s it. That’s why I’ve been AWOL all this while. Thank God its over.

How’s everyone been over here? On my end, the air is fresh, the rain keeps falling, the one-legged chickens can’t come out to scrounge through our refuse, the traffic is same, the network has been busy, my credit has been low (as ever) and we may as well use our electricity pole to pluck mangoes. It seems a NEPA official got dissed by a girl that lives around here. Abi did I splash water on one of them while imaginarily driving around in my imaginary Mercedes S350? Abeg whatever it is, I on behalf of the whole Robert Mugabe street issue an official apology. Please give us light.

These NEPA people cannot imagine how much havoc they are causing. The most of which being the impact on my dressing. I now dress like a clown to work cos I can’t iron my better clothes. Pink t-shirt with lemon green trousers, polka-dot singlet on shorts, show-belle bra-top with skirt…did yu see anyone with any of those colourful combinations. Yep, it wasn’t me. But for real, I wore certain things I’ve avoided wearing forever for the first time last week. This weekend I’m definitely going to buy myself some more casual, no-need-for-iron clothes. I can’t afford a repeat. My already-battered dressing reputation is still reeling from last week’s hit.

On the other side of things, my cousins have been good, you would be surprised the amount of favour you’ll get from kids in exchange for a piece of chewing gum. I now stock up regularly on PK. Their (my cousins) selectivity (big word, huh?) has stepped up a bit and good old 4-for-5 naira robotron or 2-for-5 naira bubba doesn’t quite do the trick; PK is the minimum they’ll accept and not harass you for the next, say, 20 minutes. What are kids turning to these days?

My facebook account has also been enjoying a fair amount of popularity; I put up a class picture we took in JS 1 and at the last count, it had garnered 90 comments. We were basically having a class conversation there, reliving them memories. I’ll put up some of the funnier ones later.

I feel like updating forever but I have to start studying for my SCWCD. My textbook: SCWCD for Psychos hit by green meteor rocks. Authors: Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Lex Luthor and Chloe Sullivan. Publishers: Smallville books inc. I have just 2 episodes left of season 4…oops, I meant 2 chapters of the 4th edition. And then, I move on to Alias SCWCD for dummies by Jennifer Garner. Can’t wait.

Big Crush update: Either fine girls are so nice or there’s something about the weather in Lagos that makes “big crush” endeavor to reply all text messages and even call occasionally. It must be the weather. Cos back in school where it’s a lot colder, you’ll be lucky to even get flashed. I called one girl that had been flashing the other day; when I asked why she hadn’t called, she said the weather was cold. So? Cold weather apparently, according to her, affects the network and makes it impossible to call. Now, that was news to even me, an electrical engineering major who’s done a few courses in communication. E mean say for winter Russians go pack their phone and buy stamps. Abeg MTN, Glo and Mtel take note and do something about it. Let’s see what excuse they’ll come up with next.

10/16/2007

Wasted Weekend

Somebody save me, let your warm hands break right through me just save me; I don’t care how you to it, dang, dang, ding, dong. Yeah, I know I mashed up the lyrics a bit; Sue me. And for those who haven’t caught on, that’s my version of Remy Zero’s theme song for Smallville and a summary of my weekend.

My new week resolution: Stay off series. When buying bootleg DVDs stick to movies. But the problem is that I didn’t buy the 2nd, 4th and 5th seasons of Smallville nor the 3rd and 4th seasons of Alias lying in my wardrobe; eating my time. Got to summon the courage to return them and not borrow anymore.

I wasted a neat portion of last weekend watching Clark Kent beat up psychos. How did it start? Let me take you back to Tuesday. I woke up that morning and realised that I had dragged my feet too long about taking computer certifications so I decided to ask my dad for the money for the first exam. He agreed within minutes and I figured it will take me about 2 weeks to get ready. I decided to put in a few more nights at the office to augment whatever extras blogsville left me with in the day. My first night: Wednesday. Should’ve been very convenient what with the sallah break the next day but a few minutes to six pm and my younger brother calls to inform me that he’s a few metres away from my office; coincidentally, the boarding school he attends gave them the sallah break off. And of course, the nitwit couldn’t call in advance so there went my night at the office (not as if I looked forward to that anyway).

In my hurry to leave the office that day, I forgot the book I was studying for the kain exam. Perfect excuse to spend the next day watching Smallville. No such luck though, thanks to NEPA. I relocated that day to a cousin’s house where there was light (at least, before I arrived). Thanks to NEPA again, I spent the afternoon there trying to carry my little niece, prevent here from jumping downstairs and eating potted plants.

Friday. (I hope you’re keeping track here). I managed to make it to my office to get a few hours of study off plus collect my book thus nullifying all excuses not to read at home. (Who needs excuses anyway?). At the office, I met a few people online and spent more time chatting instead.

Today is Saturday. Actually early Sunday morning but if you consider the fact that I haven’t slept since Saturday, you’ll understand why I call it Saturday. I actually tried studying but I got bored quickly and decided to throw in one episode of Smallville. Just one episode. Couldn’t hurt, could it? One episode became two, two became three. Three became… you know the drill. NEPA does their thing a couple of times and just before my battery runs out they undo their thing and Clark Kent is up and running again. The time now is 3:09 am and my battery is at 79% and still charging so even if our transformer chooses to explode this night, one more episode will still get in. Yipee!!! By the way sef, why does Clark like confused Lana when fineeee Chloe is tripping all over the place. They should let me play Superman so I’ll rewrite the script *wink*. Did I feel sleepy at any point? Of course. But I made coffee *double wink*. All for Smallville.

On to other EQUALLY IMPORTANT matters, I’ve decided to give calling BIG CRUSH a break. I don’t have enough gist with her yet and calls now tend mainly towards asking whether her cold has gone and whether she has started her computer lessons. The next thing we’ll be discussing the weather. Tufiakwa! I took a hint when I called once and she didn’t pick cos “her battery was low”. Can’t blame her though (am I attracted or what?). The break’ll just be for a week and hopefully with the help of certain peeps on blogsville, I’ll have rolling-on-the-floor-with-laughter-with-tears-rolling-down-my-cheeks yans (that’s an official call for help).

On another note, I just posted profile pictures on my hi5 and facebook accounts. Had an influx of friend requests, profile comments and picture comments too. I really am not a bad looking fellow. The one problem: the postees are all guys. Not a single girl. Do I hear snickering? Ekene? Stuck? It has nothing to do with my prestigious all-boys secondary school.

Can’t leave Lex waiting for too long. Let me return.

Somebody save me, I don’t care how you do it just save me….

10/09/2007

We thank God O!

Isn't (s)he pretty?


I’ve been for a while trying to figure out how the minds of Nigerian politicians work. Are they just plain, good-old, stupid? (Abi do they think we are the stupid ones?) Or wicked? Or greedy? Or childish? Hungry? Playful? As in what exactly drives them to act the way they do? As if to compound the mystery even further, some weeks ago I stumbled on Alamieseigha’s speech at his thanksgiving. Yes, that’s right…you heard me, thanksgiving. The things we see in Naija. A common thief escapes from UK for money laundering dressed as a woman. His men whom he incidentally stole from give him a hero’s welcome. He gets arrested in Nigeria and after wasting his time (abi was it ours?) he gets away with a slap on the wrist and foreign health care. After which he gets another hero’s welcome? Pays courtesy calls at the state house, does thanksgiving... Do you blame me for wanting to know how their minds work?

Anyway, at the kain thanksgiving, he gives some long speech about his “Journey through the valley of the shadow of death” (God and His Word has suffered at the hands of Nigerians). Here are some excerpts and a few of my more printable thoughts and comments. Knock ya self out:

“………………………………………………………………………………………”

“………………………………………………………………………………………”

“……………………………………………………………………………………….”

Oops! Fellow bloggers, never procrastinate O. I read the kain article and started my post while I was still burning with anger. When the anger subsided, I put the typing aside and promised myself that I would continue typing later. By the time later came, I couldn’t find the paper. I procrastinated looking and right now, there’s no hope of finding it anymore. Anyway, there’s one thing Alamieseigha said that I just can’t forget, for the mere stupidity of the comment. Let me give you that while I continue looking for the newspaper.

He said that while he was in Dubai (abi was it Germany?), he needed to travel to the UK and he called two of his children that were in the UK to fly down to meet him (wherever he was) so “they could help him carry his bags” that “we know he is an old man and can’t carry his bags alone”. Talk of stupidity my friends. Pay round-trip tickets for 2 children when you could have simply tipped a porter (abi na bell-hop, dem dey call those kain people). Or maybe that wasn’t the reason why he called his children down, maybe I’m over-estimating the stupidity of these guys. What I ask, nevertheless, is whether this is the kind of “wisdom” he has been using to administer Bayelsa state. Little wonder some exaggerators say that in his time, there was only one road in Bayelsa (I hope they were exaggerating o!)

That’s all peeps. (This last statement constantly reminds me of a former schoolmate who couldn’t tell jokes and deliver his punch line well and had to say stuff like that so we’d know the joke was over). Let me get back to looking for the paper.

P.S. As you must have noticed, I have something against Alamieyesigha. I don’t deny it. I know a lot of you excuse his troubles as a result of falling out without baba, I’ve heard my aunt say a couple of times, “…but Obasanjo is a bigger thief…”. Nevertheless, he should have been punished for the one he was caught for and when a government with liver comes in, they could feed on OBJ. As it stands now, Alamieseigha, Tafa and the rest like em’ have done their “fair” share of punishment and no future government would like to revisit their case.

10/03/2007

Oshodi and other unrelated things


I didn't take that picture


“…you are a bastard”

“…your papa, your mama be bastard…”

“…I say you are a bastard”

“…all your pikin na born-throwaway…”

Bloggers don’t get scared O! You guys are aight. The above is only a snippet of a driver-passenger(s) “conversation” in the bus (one of the many) I plied on Saturday. The time was sevenish in the evening, the traffic was mad, the driver was rough, folks were jumpy with tempers on the edge.

Aren’t y’all already asking what I was doing in that bus by that time of the night? I was on my way to Oshodi from Mile 2. Ehen? So you’re now asking what I was doing in both Mile 2 and then Oshodi abi? Oshodi was on the way home and mile 2 was on the way from Festac. What? More Questions? What I was doing in Festac? You know what? Lemme start from the beginning.

In my last post, I hinted that I was supposed to hook up with BIG CRUSH a.k.a radar-blip (from now on, I’ll refer to her simply as banc… don’t even bother; you would never figure out how I arrived at that pseudonym…infact, if you do, I’ll send yu credit :-)). Anyways, I called banc during the week and we couldn’t come up with a venue so we decided that I go to her house on Saturday. I’m naturally scared of other peoples’ parents especially those of girls talk less of fineeee girls. Nevertheless, I threw caution to the wind and agreed to meet her there.

Saturday came.

I was washing my clothes that morning when I felt and saw the onset of a drizzle. I whispered a quiet prayer and the day became clear. I felt immediately that God was on my side. Let me let you in on a little secret: I’ve been praying some one-liners about this whole banc thing; that if it is His will, He should make something work out between myself and her.

But not all signs that day were positive. In one of the buses I entered on my way there some guy was preaching. I usually don’t listen to bus preachers (my reasons would be the subject of another post). However this particular preacher’s voice had a way of penetrating through the sounds of Switchfoot my mp3 payer was emitting (I’m loving Oh! Gravity, by the way) and I was hearing parts of his message. Particularly the part where he says: “…and all you girls going to see your boyfriends…” and goes on to tell a gory story about one such girl that was used for rituals along the way. As I hear him, I tell myself, “well, I’m not a girl so the girls here affected can take note”. As if he read my thoughts, he extends the message to boys going to see girlfriends. My response to that one?: by the second dictionary definition of “girlfriend” which I want to believe he meant, banc is not my girlfriend (at least, not yet :-D). At this point I didn’t want to hear more (cos the next thing would have been clarification of the meaning of the word “girlfriend” to include banc) so I plug in my earphones tightly and hear no more.

I found banc’s house with little difficulty and the ball got rolling… At this point let me summarise my visit:

I’m liking banc a lot:

She’s brilliant, fineeeee, friendly, down-to-earth, listens to rock…. Let me stop here incase banc ever gets to read this; we don’t want doctors to be faced with an extreme case of SHS (Swollen Head Syndrome).

Yep, that was the summary of my visit. Let me expand, we gisted plenty, went out to eat (Tantaliser’s jollof rice is …arrrgh… the thot leaves a bad taste in my my mouth. I guess it was just that day’s rice anyway cos I’ve eaten stuff from tanties more than a few times and those weren’t so bad). We also walked around a bit and talked a bit more. I originally planned to spend 2hrs there; arrived by 1:30pm and left by 6:00pm. Do the maths. My pocket isn’t complaining so much either, so everyone went home happy. In summary, I had a swell time and the best thing is that she said she did too; I like to believe that she wasn’t just being polite.

On the journey back, things weren’t so swell as the initial snippet must have indicated. I was passing through notorious bus stops after dark and honestly couldn’t help remembering the preacher from the to-trip. I got home safely though. Thank God. And I’m yet to be convinced that He isn’t on my side. Though certain things banc said tend to indicate that my work might be harder than I initially imagined.

She said that her next relationship should be looking at marriage. I don’t mind that but she also said that the person she would marry is probably already working. Now, that worries me cos I’m still in school and even though I plan to be marriage-ready quickly, things don’t always work as you plan. Also, have I ever said that banc is older than me by exactly 11 months, 5 days??? But age is just a number, isn’t it???

The second thing she said that worries me a bit will not be understood without knowing the kind and nature of advice that I have received. Here’s a sampling of them (Yes, I know I’m a jew-man; I’ll add one to that, I’m nerdy too):


“Don’t start what you can’t finish” (Jide)


"...i think u should go visit her in her house and gist..." (A Kel called wonder)


“Be yourself” (Ayo)


"...there is no rush for anything in life. what is meant to be will be..." (Stuck in her throat)


“You don’t have to spend so much the first time” (Jide)


"...the beach?..well, as long as you have the van danme(did i spell it well) look, an ak45,pocket knife...cos when one of those igbo smoking agboros decide to obtain you of ur 'cab fare'...u go know.
u could buy snacks or chocolates, go to her house, just seat outside in your car...em...sorry...bicycle?..lol.but really, i think most girls are really impressed with conversational skills and realness in a guy, than how deep his pocket is(sometimes)..." (fantasy queen)


“Don’t plan what you are going to talk about” (Ugo)


"...beach ke? she might want to eat fish and chips. thats at least 800bucks?..." (femme)


“Ask her to show you around” (Tony)


“Make your intentions known early so you don’t get stuck as a “good friend” (Jide)


“Long distance relationships can work. Don’t wait till you graduate” (Jide)


Thanks Guys.

With reference to the last one above, she disagrees, “…likes her boyfriends around…”. Maybe, I’m thinking in fast-forward and will soon be tripping on my shoes-laces. I think from now on, I’ll maintain a wait-and-see posture and, as stuck-in-her-throat advised, let what will be, be.

In addition to all the advice I’ve received so far, I’ve learnt a few things on my own too:

The responsibility of keeping a conversation interesting isn’t yours alone; the other party also has a part to play.

Don’t judge your rating in the crush’s eye by the other people around her/him. As I was leaving, Some guys came around in a car (for the peeps who haven’t coded yet, my car was…some months away from reality) I may be wrong, but I think she didn’t mind being with me instead and the guys got impatient and left.

By the time my mind is through with the analysis of that day’s events I’ll have more “lessons”; it’s (my mind) currently facing an overload of information.

In the while, she moved a pawn when she called to thank me for visiting. My bishop now has access to her rook (who plays chess in here?). The next move is mine. I’ll keep y’all informed. Have a great day.


9/25/2007

To piss or to be pissed on?

Choosing what to wear to work today was tricky business. The dilemma started last night when NEPA didn’t restore the power they “seized” in the morning and there was every likelihood it wouldn’t be restored by the next morning, making it impossible to iron. And trust NEPA to justify paranoia; I woke this morning to darkness. My what-to-wear dilemma was further complicated by the following:

1. I was limited to clothes that could be worn without ironing

2. The fact that I don’t have as many pairs of jeans as I would have loved (who does anyway?)

3. I was supposed to see my BIG CRUSH this week and would have wanted to reserve one of my more better-looking outfits.

4. I would be sleeping…erm (coughs)…working overnight at the office tonight so I needed to wear something comfortable enough to work and sleep in… and trousers that won’t get dirty easily (or least, make the dirt no show) so I just have to carry only a spare shirt.

5. Tomorrow, I’ll be going out and I gat to look presentable enough. I’m sleeping at the office, remember? So I’ll have to carry the shirt I plan to wear.

See my problem? Rocket Science abi?

After sleeping over the problem, I made a decision, had my morning devotion, took my bath, cleaned my teeth, had breakfast and looked at my watch…

Wow! I had 15 minutes to spare before my usual departure time. I was overjoyed. You won’t understand but when you tumble out of bed with 45 minutes to get ready for work for about a week and end up forgetting to pray or carry your phone or take a bath on a couple of days, you’ll know what I’m talking about (I’ve never “forgotten” to take a bath yet O!).

So here I am rejoicing on the inside and thinking, “what can I do with a good 15 mins?”, my youngest cousin wakes up and is trying hard to jump on my back. Trust me naaa, I’m doing a great job keeping her off. From this point on, I’ll utilise a timeline in my narration.

15 mins to go: That’s we are abi? I decide to send a text message.

11 mins to go: I’m through with the first message and decide to type another.

6 mins to go: I’m through with messaging cos I’m almost out of credit and for want of something else to do, I decide to sit in the parlour and wait it out.

5 mins to go: I’m all relaxed wondering when I’m going to see this radar-blip and thinking up possible opening lines: Here are some of the best lines I thought up: “Hey, how are you doing? You look…” Sorry, that’ll be all for that trailer. Hold the thought for a few days and I’ll tell you what I actually said. Now, where was I with my timeline?

4 mins to go: My butt is feeling cool…

3 mins to go: “cool” is a little cooler than usual and maybe a little wet.

2 mins to go: I’m sure my butt is wet. I dismiss it as sweat.

1 min to go: Na wah o! This one wet pass sweat O! It has to be water, blood or piss. I start praying.

0 mins to go: I jump up. The bottom of my shirt is soaked. Same as my jeans; the same pair that took me at least 8 hours to decide on. Upon a little investigation, I find out that one of my cousins started his night on that chair and took a piss there before migrating to the room.

5 minutes later: I’m running to catch up with the neighbour I hitch a ride to work with; wearing a different shirt and pair of jeans. She has been waiting for a while. I settle in her car, panting… and thanking God that she waited for me and that I found other clothes to wear and then…

…I feel some more moisture in my boxers. I smile to myself wondering if all that piss came from 1 child and let it dry.

9/18/2007

Accomodating me

My uncle and aunt whom I’ve been staying with since I came to Lagos for my I.T. have been so nice and I planned on doing this entry just about them to describe how nice they have been.

But as I type this, I do it with a sprained left thumb… I think the kids have made a case for themselves to be included, I have gotten the message (ouch!) and I will talk about them too.

Now back to my uncle and aunt. You know how people say that when you experience good luck for so long, bad luck is on its way. That’s the way I feel right now. These my relatives have been soooooooooooo nice, I constantly feel it’s about to end.

I think I’ve dilly-dallyed long enough. What exactly is “nice”?

How about the fact that the only work I do in their house is…em, let me see… wash the mug I use for tea in the morning and that is when I’m not in a hurry to leave.

I rarely make my bed (the kids undo my effort within the hour, so don’t blame me),

I don’t fetch water (I used to but found out I could get away without doing it, me I no be suffer-head),

I don’t wash plates (Yes I know I said I wash my mug but mugs aren’t plates; are they?)

I don’t wash clothes…OK, you got me there; I do but only my clothes,

I don’t cook (That one is for their own good),

I don’t sweep, clean, change babies nappies (There are no babies and no nappies),

I don’t wash bathrooms, rock anybody to sleep, sing lullabies

I don’t climb trees to pluck mangos for anyone, make brooms from palm fronds, plant tomatoes, nothing.

Name it, I don’t do it.

Apart from that, they are so generous with food, money, name it. I know that in many homes you dare not go near the pot if you aren’t a member of the family. Here, I’m not only encouraged to go near the pot, I’m also pushed, from time to time to put stuff in it. I strongly resist the push (bread will do when I’m hungry)

Also, as an I.T. student, I get a small stipend from my employer which is big enough for me to be considering taking that blip-on-my-radar out (my big date still hasn’t happened, don’t worry, when it does you’ll know. NEPA would give light you for the rest of that day). As I was saying, my stipend is large enough to take care of me, my transport, feeding, credit, the occasional gala, chewing gum money etc yet my uncle gave me some extra the other day.

Infact, I’m treated like a celeb/aje-butter here. I mean, to the extent they give me rice and stew in different plates. Now that doesn’t happen even at home in Warri.

But the kids…

Before I go on, let me categorically state that I love children. So you can let all ya kids come around me. Nothing go do dem. I promise. (two fingers crossed behind my back)

But then, there are children and there are cHiLdReN. My cousins can be summarised this way: “I hope I wasn’t that way when I was their age”.

They are rough, have little respect for other people’s property, ignore all instructions below 6 repetitions, they see dirt as good (Omo detergent, una don see wetin una cause? Sorry my peeps in jand may not understand, Omo detergent has this advert like this where they “see dirt differently”). Back to the children… they take privileges as rights, are polite only when they want something from you, love to touch my things, the other day day, they took turns in pouring my cheap perfume on themselves, one of them broke my padlock to get to my earphones, they run into the bathroom and lock it just as I’m about to use it, some still bed-wet and my bed is seriously endangered whenever I don’t sleep in their house

Now, don’t get me wrong, they love me but to them, to love is to punch, slap, jump on, pinch, bite (I mean, the youngest, a girl, bites my butt, my fully-clothed butt though, for fun. Imagine!!!). And they can yab ehnn… I’ve been called gorilla, idiot, orobo (Their neighbour, a similarly pesky kid, started that one). I’ve been asked if I was mad, crazy, whether I went to school, and don’t be fooled by our being Igbo, the yabs know no ethnic boundaries.

Some things they do make me wonder, others make me smile and comot my cap for parents especially mothers that have to tolerate this from their children for God knows how long.

To mothers, you got all my hugs and kisses. To my aunt, you’re the best. To my uncle, I got your back anytime. I’ll be rich really soon and I must reciprocate. Your kids will be welcome in my crib anytime. To my cousins, Ebube my thumb is still paining me, if it lasts longer than 2 days, I’ll tell your mum… no, your dad (wicked smile on my face). Somto, your addiction to TV will put you in trouble. To Amara, stop biting my butt. I don’t enjoy it as much as you. And the three of you, DON’T CLIMB MY BED, DON’T OPEN MY WARDDROBE, DON’T TOUCH MY COMPUTER OR PHONE, YOU’LL COMPLETE THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM WHEN I DECIDE YOU COULD, NO, YOU CAN’T FOLLOW ME TO AKOKA, AND YES, I MEANT IT WHEN I SAID I WASN’T GETTING YOU ANYMORE SWEETS.

P.S. I know most of you blogonians will start thinking I’m lazy. I am, I am, I am. It’s the way forward. All the lazy peeps in da house put ya lighters up. Oya. Where my lighter? Ebube!!! Somto!!! Where’s my lighter???



Awwww, Aren't they just so cute and harmless??? Don't be fooled by that, my friends. One of these "cuties" here is my butt-biting cousin and the other is the pesky neighbour that calls me Orobo. Can you guess which is which?



9/12/2007

Bighead on TV

I have appeared on TV exactly…em…(scratches head)…em… once in my life. It was back in primary school; I think primary 5.

TV station: boring Delta TV.

Occasion: My school’s speech and prize-giving day.

Guess who was getting a prize… yes, it was me. I used to be a brilliant boy those days, you know.

At least 10 years had passed and no more TV appearances for me and a couple of weeks ago I would have gotten another.

TV Station: Can’t be sure but probably something government-owned like LTV

Occasion: Environmental Sanitation

Guess whose environment was dirty…

Here’s the full story:

I decided to spend that weekend at another aunt’s house instead of my regular uncle’s house. That morning she woke me and my cousin, her son up that it was environmental sanitation and we should go and keep their environment clean. We grumbled but obeyed. Like 30 minutes into the exercise, there was a little chaos. The mallams who had been conducting their usual mallam business (whatever that is) suddenly got up and doing, closed their shops and started cleaning.

The boys playing on the street hid their balls and disappeared into their homes to watch from the safety of their windows.

All pedestrian traffic vanished.

I have always been quite slow to react at times and my cousin is worse so we just hung around and paused our cleaning to watch.

It turned out the commissioner for environment or something like that was in the vicinity with a long procession of sycophants and government workers plus a few cameras. We thought they were just passing through but the drama was just starting.

The next thing we heard was, “Number 4, Obasanjo Street (Not the actual street name, of course), your environment is dirty”.

Wait a minute, the street name sounded familiar; I asked my cousin and he confirmed that what I just heard was our address. The procession stopped and the next thing I’m seeing all sorts of colourful uniforms jumping out of vehicles. It was like a carnival. There were like 3 shades of green, 2 shades of pink, black (Of course, we all know who that is... our dearest olopa), brown and purple (if you count trousers) and white. The vehicle with the mega phone kept repeating the same “Number 4, Obasanjo street, your environment is dirty” statement and added a few more. The uniforms started harassing the occupants of our compound (There are 6 flats there). They asked everyone including my elderly aunt to come down and clean gutters, promised to “seal the compound” and “arrest us all”. We were informed that we had “broken the law”. A crowd gathered. A shouting game started. That evolved into a blame game and ended as an who-go-do-pass-who game. Me, I just stood by, watching, laughing… and, with the corner of my eye, ensuring none of the cameras came around. Being a big head, if any did, some part of my head would be caught. And we won’t want that, would we? The next time this big head is going to appear on TV, it’ll be for my take-over of some big corporation (MTN, my eyes are on you). Jokes apart though, the whole episode raised some pertinent questions that I’m still hoping to get CONVINCING answers to:

*Is it appropriate for civil servants to have political affiliation? Because all the local government officials present that morning wore action congress t-shirts. Abi isn’t that enough proof of affiliation?

*The uniforms and co that were harassing us that day, didn’t they have their own environment to clean?

*What does the law say about environmental sanitation exactly? Do they have the right to arrest people and seal up compounds?

*Does it make economic sense to ask people whose time is worth a whole lot more to come out and clean gutters on the roads?

*Did the said commissioner and his cohorts visit highbrow areas like Lekki, VGC and Ikoyi and ask the “big men” there to come out and clean as well?

*What exactly constitutes your “environment”? Cos we were being harassed over a major gutter beside a government-maintained (coughs)…er… unmaintained road?

A whole lot of other questions popped up that day between myself, my cousin and the rest of his crib unfortunately I can’t remember most. What I kept on saying that day was that a lot of what we were blamed for was the responsibility of the “blamers” and we have taken rights as privileges for so long that no one’s really sure which is which anymore. This is not to say that we can’t act in the event that the government fails but not to the extent that they threaten to arrest us (and almost get bighead a second TV appearance) for not doing their job.

9/05/2007

Perching Simplified

Could it be the one in white? Or the one in Orange? No? OK Maybe it’s the one in the Ankara??? No its definitely not the one in Ankara; she’s talking too animatedly and she’s too distracted to be the one. Forget the one in brown; she’s definitely not the one; there’s too much intent in here demeanour. The one in Orange? Can’t be… she’s standing; that would not happen if she was the one. What are we left with??? The one in white? Most definitely, she fits the bill; eating a little too fast, talking a little too little, more than a little annoyance written on her face. She’s definitely the one who bought the food that the remaining three women were sharing; some obviously taking more than a “percher’s” fair share.

Can you beat that analysis? Nah, I don’t think so especially when you consider the fact that all that was conducted from my bus window on my way home from work and within the span of a minute. That kind of expertise comes only with experience which comes only from over 8 years active perching experience.

For those ajebos here that don’t decode slang like we warri boys, the term “perching” in English refers to the simple and time-honoured act of begging. But I think “perching” sounds more dignified so I’ll stick with it.

When exactly did I start perching? My memory is hazy (maybe because the beginning coincides with the beginning of my memory) but my earliest memories say primary 4.

How did I start? When we were going to school those days, my mum would give us a biscuit which when compared to all the “wonderful” things I could have purchased with 5 naira in those good old days, didn’t seem so crispy anymore. My solution? Yeah, you guessed right… I perched. For 1 naira coloured water (aka ice cream. So “creamy”), for bits of “kuli-kuli”, for choco milo (they’ve re-resurrected that product; new perchers have been born), for chewing gum, sweets, coconut candy (still love those), sausages, “kpo-kpo garri” (Can’t blame you if you don’t know what those are, I barely remember myself), and even other people’s biscuits.

I got into trouble once in primary 5 when my seat mate who daily “supplied” me peppermint and ice cream was discovered to have been robbing his parents to “feed” us and that technically made me an accomplice (I think his folks still look at me somehow today). I paused for a while then.

Just a while though…

In secondary school, I learnt the slang “perching” and the new rules in the game. Perching in my school was something else, it was an institution. First of all, I think every extortionist senior is a percher of sorts. The next worse group were boarders; our victims? Day students. We perched their snacks and yummy lunch off them. Till today, I remember how yam and fried egg cooked in Yinka’s house tastes. Perching didn’t start or end in the class; the HQ was the kiosks where snacks, drinks and ice cream (same colored water though more tastefully done. FAN’s Orange Drink ruled then) were sold. Some went for break to buy, some went to perch, the rest just waited in class to perch for the surviving remnants.

A popular proverb says that “As the hunters (insert perchers) learnt to shoot without aiming (insert: perch mercilessly), the birds learnt to fly without perching(pun unintended)”. Boys had to devise methods to deter perchers; of course, the best inventors were the perchers themselves. One of the first options, was not to spend or soak garri (that’s right, we perched for even that) anymore. That wasn’t sustainable so most guys just resorted to hiding… hide where? Provided you were on the school premises, the hardened folk were bound to find you, even before the first spoon. Things were hi-tech those days; I’m convinced guys had motion detectors, infrared, night vision, remote olfactory sensors and other stuff even the U.S military hasn’t thought of yet. When hiding stopped working, our boys invented the most disgusting means yet; they started spitting (Yes, saliva, phlegm, the whole bunch right into the food. On bread, it could be mistaken for butter). Now that deterred most, including me but some guys were unstoppable, talk of addiction.

Heroic stories abounded, mere boys were transformed into legends based either on perching prowess or deterring capability. I particularly remember the story of how Yomi was perching out of someone’s bottle of coke and out of a corner of his eye spotted his father who had come on an unscheduled visit. His father had seen him perching… what did he do? He returns the bottle of coke, “You can have the rest of MY coke, I need to go and be with my father”. That was just brilliant.

Perching popularised certain phrases in school:

“Abeg, one gulp”

“Make I base your soaks”

“Dat guy na miser”

“Chop alone, die alone” etc

So you thought sanguine, choleric, san-mel, etc were the only personality types available? Perching brought out new ones: perching-coy, perching-pity-face, perching-by force, perching-silently. I think I was a perching-pragmatic-easily-disgusted-not-so-easily-deterred-with-plenty-of-self-respect. Quite a combination. Right?

Somehow when I left secondary school, I stopped perching. Infact, I’m now a little reluctant to accept even when offered and I offer a lot myself too. But my past has become my history. I hope none of my guys really remembers those years… the stories wouldn’t look too good outside this blog (definitely not on my biography), the tales could fall into the ears of my children and they could become perchers, my epitaph could mention that (Arrrgh, that would be distasteful). In summary, please don’t tell anyone.