Wednesday, December 29, 2010

525,600 Minutes


525,600 minutes
525 moments so dear
525,600 minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In 525,600 minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?…
As the year comes to an end, it isn’t unusual to retrospect. Either it was a remarkable year of the days flew by there should be something worth remembering. To some the end of the year might not be a big deal, just 365 days or 525,600 minutes. But remembering the END of a year is important cause it gives an opportunity to see a fresh start, a NEW beginning or an opportunity to move to the next level.
…523,600 minutes
525 journeys to plan
525,600 minutes
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?
In truth that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died
It’s time now to sing out
Tho’ the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of a friend…
The question of how to measure a year in a life gives us the unique opportunity of having answers without being wrong. Each of us have unique experiences of what made us laugh, cry, love, hate, regret, and most important of all praise God. There were those we shared those experiences together and now they are gone leaving with us their memories. When you now think about it the year was a rollercoaster of emotions.
There’s one thing I do anything I meet someone new to have an idea of their personality and I’ll suggest you do the same thing for yourself. If you have a Facebook account, perfect. Click to view your wall (do not confuse this with the home page). You can do this by clicking on your name then you would be able to read only your status updates and those pasted on your wall, pictures and comments. Once you have done this keep clicking to see previous messages until you get to your first post of the year. Sounds stressful but I can assure you by the time you are done, you would see the past 525,600 minutes differently

Sunday, December 26, 2010

25th of December, 2010

Christmas is one of the holidays I look forward to, for one it’s just a day but it’s so big the whole month of December is associated with one day, 25th. As ‘usual’ there’s the rice and chicken which at least man must taste one. Even Muslims enjoy Christmas; those I know have their Christians neighbours knock on their doors to serve them with the usual. The fact was I never got to worry about what to eat on Christmas; I just wake up late expecting the usual but this Christmas…

I woke up with the sound of my neighbours chatting, they really sounded joyful and I was glad they were up early. At least I knew it wouldn’t take long before I had my usual plate of rice and chicken plus a drink to go with it. Next sound I heard was that of their car doors, their gate, the engine, and the sound of it fade off after the gate was closed. I stayed in bed trying to rationalise what I heard. I hurried down stairs to hear from the house boy they had travelled to their hometown to celebrate Christmas. Who travels from Lagos to their hometown on Christmas day? No qualms, it was Christmas day and there was bound to be surplus food somewhere. By 1 o’clock, no show. I was stuck at home with a friend looking at each other. Everything wasn’t going on as expected. There was no Rick Dees top 40 on 96.9 Cool fm. We decided to go to the one place Christmas was bound to be celebrated.

We got to a Pastor’s house in my area, we heard from the niece say pastor don go Kwara state with his wife leaving the children behind. His kids, five of them, had to entertain us. They played interesting movies to watch, and I meant interesting movies to them. I mean, the oldest was in primary school so we had to watch Christmas sing-along, Adventures of Superbook, and…was it Iganpa Master (or something). We left there to continue our journey in search of Christmas food. I checked my Facebook page and from the status of so many people the celebrations were already in full swing. Someone even posted she had had enough to eat. I updated my situation on my wall only for me to get comments from friends suggesting I should go mama put. Even Iya Bola that I was referred to did not open for business. My friend suggested we go to his cousin’s house which was also in the same area. We got there, only to hear that the chicken was just killed. Give or take, we could come back in an hour and a half’s time.

My friend was a popular producer in the area so it wasn’t a surprise when he received a phone call about a party and there were going to be enough chops and chics. All we had to do was take okada to his house. We got to his house with our pockets one hundred and forty naira lighter but he wasn’t in. Apparently that was his mom’s house and he recently moved out. He called him and he gave us his address. We weren’t sure of the location so we had to take a bike (minus one hundred naira), at least there would be Christmas food and girls to compensate our financial loses. As we got closer we heard music blaring but we got there only to realise we were deceived by the speakers. It was just guys drinking alcohol and dancing alanta to the songs of Terry G. I did eat chicken but compared to the beer I drank, it was nothing. Initially I was counting how many bottles I had cancelled 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 6 damn! I lost count and had to start again. After pissing like half of what I drank we decided to go back home to find real food. We asked from the host our fastest route back and he pointed down the road. That was when we realised the okada we took scammed us, instead of telling us all we had to do was “take the second turning by your left” he drove us round three streets to justify the one hundred naira he charged us.

As we were walking home I knew I was tipsy but I didn’t know how much I was, at least I knew I was still walking. Suddenly I saw a naked woman fun across the road. It wasn’t like a ‘mad woman’ kind of naked, I mean, this one looked clean. I asked my guy if he saw anything he replied no. I told myself “Yes, you don dey.” I found it hard to believe that I got so drunk I saw a naked woman. As we walked further down the road we both saw the woman again, I look at him and had to tell him, “You, don dey,” for not seeing her earlier. She was walking casually on the road and everyone had a look as if they knew who she was and kept shaking their heads. To be honest, she looked fresh.

I got to my area knowing I had to eat something. Someone told me about a small get-together in his house. I opened the gate of the compound to hear prayers. I later heard it was organised by the landlord for his tenants. I was impressed. It was obvious the tenants made the landlord happy for actualising such initiative. Few minutes later the occupants were being served. I noticed some had two pieces of chicken on their plate of rice, others just one. I noticed the guy that invited me had none so I had to ask, “Guy! You know dey pay rent?” It was as if the number of chicken was determined by how diligent the tenant paid his rent. I didn’t want to be disgraced so I walked out after all I wasn’t an occupant. You know, being drunk wouldn’t be complete unless you do something ‘stupid’ and I did.

For those of you who have read this blog well you should be familiar with the name [Any], she’s a girl that stayed in my area and well she’s… (just read [Any] or Nothing). So I called this girl hoping to hear there was food at her side but she didn’t pick. I used another line after several tries and she picked. She heard my voice and stopped talking. I was confused cause the last time I had any form of communication with this girl was my birthday where she sent me a birthday text (courtesy her network that gave her five free SMS weekly). I was tipsy, hungry, and angry so I sent a text to her;

“You know my laptop has a camera, it’s not HD but it’s clear and has idle mode where I could be recording things that happen, let’s say in my room without anyone knowing. Merry Christmas.”

I didn’t send the text for her to want to pick my call, I wanted her to know the consequences of what ‘could’ happen if she pushed me to the wall. If she had replied I had only one response waiting for her, “Youtube.” I still don’t get what’s wrong with her. I don’t want to believe she was trying to discourage me from having interest in her because I have gotten that point and most important of all, Now I have [Faith]. Due to all these events, two things I learnt on that Christmas was there was no such thing as a free meal even on Christmas day and it’s never too late to ruin your day, year, or even friendship.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Claus the Maga: A Christmas Tale (pt. 2, concluding)

Everyman is born a Scammer

An hour later Santa alighted from the driver’s seat of a Mercedes GLK. He was huge and the car suited his size perfectly. He checked his watched; he still had few hours before his skin colour changed. He was noticeable as he walked into the bar especially when he screamed for the waiter. He ordered for the most expensive drink available. Although his attention was on five guys who occupied the table close to him, he pretended to ignore their presence. After his first bottle Santa shifted his attention to the guys beside him. He initiated small talk and minutes later they were all talking about things that made sense in bars, women, politics, and sports. Out of excitement Santa declared for everyone on that table, so far he had portrayed the image of a big shot. A phone began to ring and everyone eyes were on him. He brought out the phone and there was a smile on his face. “Excuse me,” he said as he got on his feet. Few minutes later he hung up still maintain the smile, the manager had deposited his supposed share of the money back to his account. He got back to his table,

“Chairmen it looks like this year is going to end on a great note. I just received a phone call and I have to be on a plane out of this country. He called the waiter to give him the check. When he was about to pay he searched for his wallet but didn’t have the cash to pay. He made him known that his wallet might have been stolen or in his car. The waiter followed him to check his car but they found nothing. The waiter demanded for the car key when he saw the possibility he might not be able to pay but Santa refused. He explained the situation he was in, he had the money to pay for the drinks which ran into hundreds of thousands of naira but must have misplaced his wallet. He asked the waiter in good favour if he could give him an account number for him to pay it in cause he was in hurry and had to get to the airport. The waiter refused and had to call others to intervene on the matter.

Santa was in a situation and he knew the only asset he had was the Mercedes GLK. The car was obviously expensive but that wasn’t a guarantee he was going to pay the money if he drove off. The waiter threatened to involve the police but Santa was adamant to use the machine as collateral. He kept explaining how he didn’t have much time to spare and needed to be in a plane out of the country within the next two hours. Sensing a dead end the waiter involved the guys he had been buying drinks for to pay up but Santa refused, “That’s the last thing I would allow. Abi wayre se e ni?” he said. “I would rather sell this car here as scrap and give you the money. Where I’m from asking someone to pay for their drinks after you invited them is unacceptable.” That statement caught the attention of so many people there even Kunle Discussion that benefitted when he declared, he saw it as a chance to have a Mercedes and he anticipated it was going to be ‘street price’. He called Santa aside, he wanted to make an offer.

The manager was still in his office waiting for the FBI agent that approached him earlier (Santa). He rememberd what transpired in the fast food restaurant earlier in the day. The manager was able to make a brief phone call and get the location of Kunle Discussion. Santa thought about the situation, the most important thing was getting the money back. He looked straight into the manager’s eyes. “I would have loved to let you go like that but it isn’t my decision to make alone. I was sent here to track you down and unless I can’t provide evidence that none of the money is in your possession then I can let you go. Because looking at the situation, it might as well be you are the one using your position collecting bribes to fund terrorist activities here in Nigeria. After all the monies are unaccounted for and you know these fraudsters are willing to compensate you.”
“No, I am not sponsoring terrorist activities.”
“But you have $10,000 in your possession; tell me what you do with the money?”
“Honestly I don’t ask for that much I just needed to make part payment for my car. I actually borrowed $5,000 from Kunle Discussion.”
“Nigerians and cars. What do you do with a car worth over $10,000?”
“It’s a Mecedes GLK 2010 model.”
“I see. So how do you drive the car in jail?”
The manager finally burst into tears. “I’ll give you the money, that should prove I’m not a terrorist sponsoring person.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Santa retorted. “Everyone would see that as bribe. What I’m here for is much bigger than that. What you can do is return it back to where it came from. You should be able to do that right?”
“Sure, no problem.”

Santa took a deep breath. Santa pointed at an Accord parked opposite the bank. “You see that car over there. I drove it here and it’s being tracked and everywhere I go it is monitored. If I move that car from this location I’ll receive a call from my superiors asking to know if I had made contact with you and what was the outcome. But I want to help you cause like I said I believe you are a nice man caught in a bad situation and I have to get to Kunle Discussion. I need you to provide a ride for me, do you have any?”
“It’s only my Mercedes I’ve here.”
“The same GLK, that would do. I need you to do this for me, go to your office and transfer the money back to the account it was sent from. That should cover your ass. Once that is done I would call you and verify it’s back into our system. I’ll also need your car key to get to where Kunle Discussion is. Don’t worry I’ll take care of your car.”
The manager took a deep breath. He didn’t know what to believe but he knew he had nothing to lose except $10,000 and as long as he wasn’t giving the hefty man in his presence he didn’t feel he was being cheated. The consequences were too great if he doubted the guy. Also his car had some really expensive security features. With a simple phone call he had more control than the person behind the driver’s seat. “Here, you can have it.”
They both walked out of the restaurant and he made sure he was in the bank before approaching Charles. He noticed Elvis was no longer with him, “Where is the boy?” he asked.
“He had to leave, I believe it was an emergency. The guy isn’t as bad as you think.”
“What made you believe I had any opinion of him it’s just that I can only describe him with negative words. How good are you in getting documents and stuffs like that?”
“Original or fake?”
“Something believable.”
“If it’s that then it depends on how fast the printer is.”
“I need to find a guy, name’s Kunle Discussion. What kind of last name is Discussion.”
Charles laughed. “That would be the type of car he’s driving,”
“Nigerian and cars.”

The conversation occurred hours ago. The manager had long deposited the money and even received a phone call from Santa confirming the money had been paid. He had no idea what next…oh! His car. He stepped out the bank and noticed the Accord was still there. From where he stood he noticed there was a paper pasted on the rear windscreen. He walked closer, ‘FOR SALE’ and there was also a phone number. He called the number and it was a male’s voice at the other end of the line. “Haalo,” it was a typical Yoruba man. The manager enquired about the Accord and he sensed the man’s voice became lively. The man explained that he was the owner of the car and had parked it there two days ago hoping to find a buyer. He told the manager his house was two days away and he could come over there so he could negotiate. Still confused and curious the manager walked to the building. “Manager, eyin ti a ni,” the man said as he saw him. The manager also realised he knew the man, he was one of his customers that transacted with the bank. From that moment he knew something was fishy. He called the police and began to track his car.


Final Hours

Charles couldn’t believe what just happened; Santa was able to get his money back and he was driving him straight to the
airport. Kunle Discussion was able to fall for the bait and offered Santa $15,000 for the machine and also paid for the bill. Santa hesitated a bit and only agreed on the condition he got ‘his car’ back on his next trip to Nigeria when he would be able to repay him. He opened the dash board and brought out car documents which Charles had faked and given it to him. Kunle Discussion was glad he was going to be one big yahoo boy on heavy wheels.
The manager was able to track his car down to the beer parlour and his doubts were cleared when he spotted Kunle Discussion behind the wheels celebrating with his friends.
“Officer, arrest this men,” he said.

The guys there were confused and had to explain the situation to the two police officers present. The manager had to tell them the papers they had were fake and he was able to prove it. At that point they knew that had been scammed. Kunle Discussion wasn’t ready to give up. “He had lost a lot and beaten on his own game. He explained to the officers about the huge dark man with white beards and the possibility of finding him at the international airport.

By then Santa was already at the airport. Before Santa alighted from Charles’s car he gave him a small bag, “Give this to Elvis and tell him Merry Christmas.”
“No wahala man. You must feel really lucky, getting your money back in one day. Even EFCC no fit do that one.”
Santa smiled, “That one sef dey.”
“Charles exclaimed. Na pidgin sweet for your mouth like this.”

They waved goodbye and Santa walked into the airport waiting for his plane. Thirty minutes later he noticed rapid movements at a distance and spotted Kunle Discussion’s face with policemen behind him. He got on his feet and began to walk towards the opposite direction with the hope of finding a place to hide. Even under the hood of his extra large bright red top, Santa could hear the footsteps which became louder as the men moved closer in the busy airport. He began to panic knowing he was close to escaping. He pulled up the sleeve of his right arm, “Just a few seconds more”, he thought. His head was raised when he felt a hand grip him on his right shoulder. The few seconds he felt he needed now seemed like hours or even days because he had vivid awareness of all that happened within the last 24 hours, was it too good to be true? He turned and saw a surprised look on Kunle Discussion’s face. The policemen panting behind him said, “This is a white man.” Kunle Discussion found it hard to believe he wasn’t facing the same guy, the resemblance was striking.
“Was los ist?” Santa asked in German. “Konne Sie erklaren sich selbst?” he added pretending he didn’t understand the English language.

The policemen along with the airport security held Kunle Discussion and his friend. “No problem sir.” They told Santa. Kunle Discussion had to prove he wasn’t involved in the theft of the manager’s car and they were already tired of driving round Lagos. Santa held his smile as they dragged them away, it wasn’t his business. He knew he would have to explain how $15,000 got missing from the account but he had to give it to Elvis. He found out from Charles the motivation behind his act. His brother had a kidney condition and he had been trying to raise money for the treatment. It was that frustration that led him into what he did. It was a call he received from the hospital that made him leave earlier, that was the emergency. After hearing that, Santa couldn’t help but give it to him. He felt he deserved it more that those kinds that sent him mails demanding for ipads and laptops. What he did was what Christmas was all about. It wasn’t just about sending gifts but what the gift symbolised, LOVE.

The End.

Santa Claus the Maga: A Christmas Tale (pt. 1)

Santa Claus the Maga: A Christmas tale

Even though he was under the hood of his extra large bright red top, Santa could hear the footsteps which became louder as the men moved closer in the busy airport. He began to panic knowing he was close to escaping. He pulled up the sleeve of his right arm, “Just a few seconds more”, he thought. His head was raised when he felt a hand grip him on his right shoulder. The few seconds he felt he needed now seemed like hours or even days because he had vivid awareness of all that happened within the last 24 hours…


The Mail: It Always starts with a mail.

Santa was furious and it was quite obvious. Not only because he stormed out of the meeting with the union representing Santa’s Little Helpers, but most of his suggestions were not supported. He felt like it was him against the North Pole and he was confident that what he stood for the good of Christmas spirit. He also felt the issues brought up shouldn’t have been discussed at all. Santa’s Little Helpers were demanding for increase in their wages and everyone was threatening to strike which would be bad for Christmas that was barely a week away. So far all the reindeers of his sleigh were on strike including Rudolf the red nose reindeer. The union also discussed how the credit crunch had affected their activities. The chief accountant who was also present at the meeting gave his own analysis of the union’s proposal. If Santa were to agree to their terms, millions would be spent on labour while only $25,000 dollars would be available for the production and distribution of toys for Christmas. Santa suggested everyone should work together in the spirit of Christmas but one of the elves reminded him, “If only the spirit of Christmas could pay my taxes and my holiday to the Bahamas during summer”.

Santa stormed into his office and shut the door. He remembered how Christmas was and compared it with what he was experiencing and despite the changes he wanted the joy children experienced during the festive period to be the same. He sat behind his desk and switch on his system. Prior to the invention of the internet Santa was used to receiving letters by post but now it was through his mail box. The Union had suggested the switch years ago to save cost and time. He was going through the requests which he noticed had changed from what kids asked for years ago. Years ago children were satisfied with a doll, or they asked Santa to make their dad come home for Christmas. What he saw now was the opposite, iphone4, ipad, ps3 (one for me and another one for my brother so that he won’t disturb me when I’m playing mine). One mail read, “Santa I need a new laptop…you know what? Just give me the cash and I’ll get it myself”. With $25,000 he knew he couldn’t fulfil 5% of the wishes. He was scrolling down when he saw a mail with the subject “I need your help”. Santa read the mail and after the last line his mood changed, there was a gleam of hope Christmas would be the same and all his little helpers would still have their jobs. The content of the mail was about the heir to a very rich industrialist. His father had been arrested by the government and his properties confiscated. However, the government were not aware of a discreet account operated by the industrialist that contained close to $78 million. In order for the son to access the account he needed some amount of money to bribe some officials and transfer the sum to a foreign account. He would give 40% as compensation to whoever helped him raise the fund for the bribe. Santa responded to the mail. He needed the money to save Christmas and was desperate enough to do anything to make Christmas beautiful.

He was off his chair when he heard a voice prompt from his system, “You’ve got mail”. His eyes became fixed on his monitor screen while his right palm was placed on the mouse. With perfect eye-hand coordination he clicked on the ‘open’ icon where he read the reply to the mail he sent few minutes earlier. The heir replied he was pleased with the response and demanded to know how much he had to support him with. He also asked for his account number and asked if he was comfortable with him transferring the millions into his account. Santa responded with another e-mail. He wrote he had $25,000 and had no problem with the millions transferred into his account. The thing was Santa had no personal cash or account and would have to transact using the Father Christmas account. The next few e-mails sent were on information that would facilitate the transaction. The conclusion of it all was Santa sent the $25,000 to the account and should expect the millions in his account before noon the next day. Santa couldn’t deny he was glad and could only explain what just happened being caused by the spirit of Christmas. He would prove to everyone what Christmas was all about.


Failure Delivery

Santa woke up with a smile the following day. He was again his jolly self and the elves couldn’t understand why he was experiencing that emotion. That was the last reaction they expected considering what they concluded at the meeting. He bounced to his office and switch on his system as his eyes shifted from the wall clock and the screen. Two hours after noon there was no mail so he decided to send one to know the status of the transaction when he grew impatient. He did but the mail bounced, it couldn’t be delivered because the recipient e-mail address no longer existed. “NOOOO!” he screamed. The accountant, a young black man, opened the door. He shifted his gaze from his screen to his door. “There’s no problem here I’m alright,” he said hoping the accountant would step out. The reality of what happened was dawning on him. “Have I been scammed?” he thought. The accountant walked in and shut the door behind him. “I said I’m fine,” Santa said. The accountant took a seat, “I’m not here because of your scream Santa, I was going through the account online and I spotted a transaction was made yesterday. $25,000 was transferred to an account from your station. Do you know anything about it?”
Santa burst into tears, “I did it for Christmas.”
The accountant was confused, “You transferred $25,000 to another account for Christmas?” he asked to confirm the statement.
Santa explained what transpired and the accountant whose name was Chi had only one response, “Santa Claus, YOU have been SCAMMED.” The statement hit him so hard he fell back in his chair. “Before I walked in here I traced the account and realised it was deposited into a Nigerian account and the last time I checked the money was still in that account.”
“Nigeria, Isn’t that in Asia?”
“No Santa it’s in Africa.”
“I learnt they speak German there though.”
“No. That might be South Africa, I can assure you you wouldn’t need to speak German in Nigeria.”
“Are you telling me I can get it back from Nigeria?” Santa asked.
“Possible, but not that easy. I can’t do anything from here unless it’s transferred from the bank in Nigeria but I don’t know why anyone would want to do that during a Christmas week. There’s no point me asking what you were thinking but I’ll suggest you go to Nigeria if at all you want the money back. I can’t even believe you didn’t even consider the implications.”
“I understand. I risked the only amount left for Christmas.”
“Santa, in case you haven’t realised it your popularity here has dwindled and with an issue such as this I doubt you’ll remain Father Christmas for long.”
“That can never happen, I’m Santa Claus, Father Christmas.”
“Anything can happen my friend, Chelsea FC sacked Mourinho remember. Besides you stormed out of the meeting quite early yesterday before it was concluded. In your absence the Union suggested a total rebranding of Christmas. In most parts of the world Christmas is losing its flair. Virtually everyone supported changing the image of Father Christmas as a solution and suggested the figure of Christmas should go with the trend, someone buff and clean shaved like Brad Pitt in ‘Fight Club’ instead of a pot-bellied white bearded guy that laughs Ho! Ho! Ho! And also they suggested the new Father Christmas should have a partner, more like Bonnie and Clyde relationship, they described someone like… oh na na, what’s her name? Oh yes, Rihanna. Yes, a Brad Pitt and a Rihanna. That would involve the youths more and they would be interested coming out to see them and sit on their laps.”
Santa was disgusted and the only thing he could say was, “That’s disgusting.”
“Maybe it is. But if the Union finds out about what you did they could accuse you of misappropriation of funds and that would definitely get you out of here and they would get what they want.”
“Please, tell me you won’t tell them.”
“That’s not my job here and YOU WILL GET IT BACK ‘cause I’ll send you to Nigeria.”
“Nigeria. I’ve never been there.”
Chi got on his feet. “Don’t worry about that I’ll teach you all you need to about Nigeria, the important stuffs at least.”
“Chi, what do you know about Nigeria. You are just an accountant.”
Chi cleared his throat. “Santa, answer this question. How many Nigerians do we have here working at the North Pole as Santa’s Little helper?”
“Em…let me see. None I guess.”
“And don’t you find that weird. Santa, there’s no place you’ll go on this earth and in space that you won’t find a Nigerian. My name is Chi but that is a short form, after all I am Chinese. My full name is Chukwudi and I’m from Imo state.”
“Wow! Are you the only Nigerian here?”
“Legally OR illegally?”

For the next few hours, Chi taught him the basics about Nigeria and Nigerians but it was obviously not what Santa expected but Chi argued it was necessary. He told him to referring to guys as ‘chairman’ was a good way of making their acquaintance. Also of the lessons was how to make a presence in order not to be taken advantage of. “Santa, there are situations where people would want to cheat you out of what is yours in Nigeria. When that happens you have to know what to say. Repeat after me ‘abi wayre se e ni?’”
“Aby wayray shey her nee,” Santa responded.
“No Santa! If you say it like that they will wose you slap.”
“I only got the slap part, but I get the point. Aren’t you supposed to be teaching me about the politics and stuffs, about what’s right and wrong?”
“And what good would that do. Scamming is bad, you were scammed. What can you do about it cause apparently the con told you the intention for requesting for the fund. You have to be really street and have the ability to adapt. I’ll give you some movies to watch, Sunday Dagboru, Jenifa, Omo Getto, just to have a feel of what you might face. I would have given you any movies by Mercy Johnson but I don’t want you to be distracted.”
“Aren’t you coming with me?”
“Has my visa permit expired yet? Besides whom do you want to cover your tracks over here? I’ll link you up with my brother down in Lagos, Nigeria. I’ll tell him all he needs to know and assist you during your stay. I don’t know how long it’s going to take you but I’ll reserve a plane seat for you every day but you know you have to be here before the weekend. I’ll ask one favour from you please do not tell my brother my income.”
Santa didn’t get why he would ask for such a favour but that wasn’t important. He needed to prepare, from the perception he had about Nigeria he decided to watch some movies on his own, the Ocean’s Eleven series, Hustle, and Lie to me. After all he needed to be street.
“One more thing Santa, I’ll give you a solution to drink. It’s called the Michael Jacko concoction; it changes the skin colour of a black person to white and vice versa. It’s only effective for 24 hours but I’ll give you enough for one week. The last thing we need is Father Christmas to be kidnapped.”


Welcome to 9ja

Less than 24 hours later Santa was two hours away from landing in Nigeria on a commercial airline. His mind raced back and forth and ended with the hope of everything turning out as planned. He had taken his time to draft the possible ways to get the money back within the shortest time. Christmas was days away and all payments were made on the eve. Even if there was going to be anything like Christmas that year, he needed the only cash available, also to save the image of what Christmas was. He clearly didn’t feel Father Christmas having a girlfriend. He marvelled at the Michael Jacko concoction Chi had given him, it was a Pigment alteration solution, a drop was all it took to turn Santa’s skin colour from white to black and it would remain black for the next 24hours.

He stepped out of Murtala Muhammed airport with nothing but a briefcase 6 in the morning. His eyes was searching for someone who would be holding a cardboard with… he spotted him. His name was boldly written on it, S-A-N-T-A. He walked to stand in front of the person. Chi’s cousin, Emeka, had striking resemblance with him and there was no mistaking. Emeka noticed the person that caused an eclipse in his front fitted the description Chi had given him, big, fat, black, with white beards. He helped him his with his suitcase, “Welcome to Nigeria, Mr. Santa.” He followed him to a beat-up red Toyota Starlet parked outside. “I will assist you with everything you might need and already I have made some preparation. I’ll explain as I drive you to your hotel.”
Santa was still sceptical and that was the point he noticed he hadn’t uttered a word. Emeka had been driving for the past twenty minutes through the heavy traffic and nothing seemed to be moving except the sweat dripping down their faces. “I didn’t get your name.”
“You didn’t ask. My name is Emeka but my nickname is Emekus.”
“Anything simpler, like…”
“Charles. That is also my name.”
“You said you’ve made some preparations, what exactly? I left in quite a hurry that I didn’t have time to make any myself? Moreover your brother told me he would take care of everything.”
“Chukwudi explained everything to me. He traced the IP address of the initial mail you received to a cyber cafe in Gbagada, here in Lagos. I was also able to track the email address of the yahoo guy that scammed you on the streets.”
“Are you like a computer hacker or something?”
“Not really, I work at Computer Village I repair phones but I know small about computers sha.”
“Computer Village,” Santa repeated. “It sounds… wow! I love the name, you have ‘computer’ which signals technology and associated with cities and then ‘village’ which sounds ‘rural’. I have to thank you for making that possible it must have been really difficult.”
“Somehow sha but it was possible. Let’s hope he hasn’t spent the money because yahoo guys hardly keep loose cash lying around this festive period.”
“I hope so. It would really mean a lot to me.”
“Santa I’ve already booked a room for you at Sherlaton hotel.”
“Sheraton hotel, isn’t that too much?”
“It is, that is why it’s Sher-LA-ton hotel. It’s not that bad. They have a bed”
Santa thought, “Aren’t there suppose to be beds in hotels.” He took a deep breath. Nigeria is indeed beautiful, where I’m from I hardly see colours like this. But I can’t help but noticed the type of cars also stuck in this traffic, Nigerians must really love cars.”
“That car thing is seen as a necessity; at least man must have one small thing to push him around. Nigeria is one place where a man would rather buy a very expensive car while he finds it difficult to pay his house rent.”
“I see cars everywhere and it’s like on every street you see a car with a ‘For Sale’ sticker on it. It’s materialism like that that would push youths into becoming con artists.”
“That reminds me, my brother said he works for you. The thing is I don’t know much about his work or where he works. Like how much does he make? My brother talks about how life is really rough for him over there.”
Santa was shocked Charles asked him that question because Chi anticipated it. He was confused about life being rough for Chi because he was the flashiest staff in the North Pole. “Enough I guess. That isn’t my department so I wouldn’t know precisely.”

Santa checked into the room to freshen up while Charles waited downstairs. There was no time to waste. It was almost noon and Charles had raised his hope about seeing the scammer at the cafe he usually operated from. He check his watch, he still had hours before the pigment alteration solution wore off.
“Let’s go,” he commanded as he caught up with Charles in his car. Charles started the engine and accelerated off. In less than 30 minutes he parked by the road side.
“We are there.” Charles pointed to a nearby storey building. “That is where the cafe is. I’ll go in and check if he’s around and from then on you…”
“Don’t worry Charles, I know what to do.”
Charles disappeared into the building and walked out few minutes later to signal he wasn’t around. He joined Santa in his car. “Don’t worry, he’ll soon be here.” They ended up sitting in the car under the scorching sun for the next hour until Charles saw the guy. He tapped Santa indistinctively on the shoulder, “That’s him! That’s him!” Santa saw the young boy walking towards the building, he was younger than he expected, around 18 years of age or probably younger. He alighted from the car fast and walked towards the guy. He caught up with him as he was about to step into the main building, he was about to walk up a staircase within building that led to the next floor.
“Hey!” Santa screamed as he got closer.
The guy turned as he kept walking. With his back facing the person behind him he placed his phone in his boxers. Santa’s grip was strong on his shoulders as he turned him to face him. The boy had a stern look on his face.
“Ha! Wetin?” he shrugged his shoulders to free himself. “You be EFCC?”
Santa had nothing to say. It appeared the young guy wasn’t intimated by his huge physique. He knew the boy would walk away soon and he needed to make his presence felt. He pushed him against the wall and with a very stern look he said, “Abi wayre se e ni?”
He noticed the look on the boy’s face changed. He was obviously frightened. He dragged him outside where he revealed who he was. He was the person he conned amd parted with his $25,000, The boy was going down the emotional lane, from stern, fright, he then expressed sadness and began to cry. The tears touched Santa but there was no need pitying someone that deceived him.

The boy whose name was Elvis told Santa what he needed to know. He wasn’t a scammer, in fact Santa was his first attempt and he was surprised he got a response within minutes of sending out his first mail. He became even more surprised when Santa was willing to pay the money into his account within the hour. He wasn’t an expert so he asked someone who had experience to help him out. The other guy took over asking for the account details. Santa wasn’t interested in those stories, he needed to know where the money was.
“I was supposed to get paid today, the guy that help me said he would settle me. He told me that they usually use a bank manager for huge sums like that and pay it into an account he operated that would make it easier to withdraw. Unfortunately the manager has not been busy with management since morning and he no get time for us and…”
“Are you telling me that there’s a possibility the money is still in the account.”
“There is because that’s where I’m coming from.”

He dragged Elvis with him into the car where he instructed him to sit in the back seat. “Tell him where we are going to.”

Charles drove them to the bank it wasn’t far from where they were. As they were about to make a final stop Elvis spotted a man crossing to the other side of the road. He entered a fast food joint. “That’s the bank manager.”
Santa got his cue and walked into the same location casually. The bank manager was placing an order and took his seat at the far end of the eatery. Santa sat opposite him, the manager raised his head.
“Yes what can I do for you?” he shifted his gaze from him to the main road which was visible due to the glass structure of the building.
“I suggest you focus your attention here cause there’s a possibility that we are being watched.” Santa paused.
“Watched!” The manager began to lose his composure.
“There’s an ongoing investigation and you happen to have tangled yourself in the web. Right not the FBI is suspecting some terrorists movement in Nigeria and have decided to use the pretext of online scam to sponsor their activities. We have traced the money to that bank and realised they used someone with authorization to withdraw the money.” Santa paused again to give him time to think.
“I don’t understand.”
“I don’t mind you not understanding but I’ll be gutted if you pretend. A specific $25,000 was sent recently and a team was sent here to trace the amount to the destination. Where’s it now?”
“I don’t… I mean Kunle Discussion is with it, I mean part of it.”
“What exactly do you mean? Kule Discussion and part of it.”
“Kunle Discussion, he’s the guy I usually transact with. He gets the job and in the end he gets his cut and I get mine. He was here moments ago.”
“So how much was your cut in this particular transaction?”
“$10,000.”
“And I’m guessing the rest should be in his account?”
“No, it’s with him. Cash.”
“SO you get $10,000 for sitting on your desk?” He noticed the eyes of the manager glowing, he was close to tears. “You seem like a good guy but I don’t think that would exonerate you from all charges. Or what do you think? With that said, I need to continue to track Kunle Discussion so where is he?”
“I don’t know. He calls me and I pick whenever we have business, nothing personal. I’m sorry.”
“Why are you apologising? I’m just doing my job. Could you do one thing for me and ask Kunle Discussion where he is heading to?”

The manager made the brief phone call and was able to get the location. Kunle Discussion was at a bar, Road Runners. Santa thought about the situation, the most important thing was getting the money back. He looked straight into the manager’s eyes. “I would have loved to let you go like that but it isn’t my decision to make alone…”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ade Soundtrack of [2010]

2010 wasn’t a spectacular year in music. For one most of the songs that made impact in my life or were soundtracks to my experiences were either released last year or by artistes that continued their run from the previous year. The songs listed below are not the best songs or albums I’ve heard but they made 2010 easier to be especially during my [Any] episode. No doubt 2010 was an emotionally charged year for me, loving and hating the same person. I hope my choices were also the soundtrack of your year at one point or the other and if you haven’t heard any of the songs then try to, and if you can’t get ‘em, contact me I’ll lace you up. The thing is there are lots of them so this is how it’s going to be, imagine you are at an awards show and I’m going to be presenting the most impressive song of each category.

Most Impressive Pop Song: ‘Whataya want from me’ by Adam Lambert. This song was written by P!nk and produced by Max Martin and Lambert nailed the vocals. This was one song that ‘played’ well during my break-up stage. I found myself asking her that question several times.

Most Impressive Producer: Dr. Luke. I’ve to put all sentiments aside on this one, I hated most of his work this year because the production sounded similar, and he became too monotonous. ‘California Gurls’, ‘Teenage Dream’, ‘Tik Tok’, ‘Dynamite’, ‘Your Love is my Drug’, became annoying if you play them back-to-back. He no doubt enjoyed this year and I’m expecting something original on Britney Spears next album.

Most Impressive Pop album: ‘La Roux’ by La Roux. ‘La Roux’ wasn’t released in 2010 but I appreciated it in 2010. Elle Jackson has the most emotional voice I’ve heard and the album has songs that dealt with different aspects of a relationship. From ‘Bulletproof’, ‘In for the Kill’, to ‘Cover my eyes’ these songs are on point and feel free to scream as you sing along.

Most impressive R&B album: ‘Element of Freedom’ by Alicia Keys is no doubt my favourite Keys album. One track that stood out for me was ‘Love is my Disease’ and it helped during those days. I was disappointed that out of her seven submissions for possible Grammy nominations for the 53rd edition, she had none.

Most Impressive Hip-Hop album: ‘The Adventures of Bobby Ray’ by B.o.B. Fact #1, B.o.B is in no way one of my 20 all time favourite rappers. Fact #2, Not one of all the artists featured would be included in my top 10 favourite anything. Fact #3, None of the songs would make my top 1000 songs. Still, the album was enough to be the most impressive hip-hop album I heard in 2010. I will select ‘Kids’ as one track that stood out.

Most Impressive collaboration: ‘Deuces’ by Chris Brown, Kevin McCal, and Tyga. Definitely the most matured song from Chris Brown and you don’t have to like him or hate him for transforming Rihanna. One of the few songs that had rappers sticking to the title of the song instead of bragging. “And all that attitude I don’t care about it but all the shit I do for her, you gonna hear about it”.

Most Impressive Rock album: ‘Approaching Normal’ by Blue October. Since I got this album last year I’ve never stopped playing it. There is a track for every situation you are in life and every emotion you can ever feel. This is no doubt one of my all-time favourite albums and it has helped me a lot to focus on a better tomorrow. I can’t even count how many of my write-ups that have lyrics from Blue October. Can’t wait for what they have next.

Most Impressive British song: ‘Pass Out’ by Tinie Temper. One spectacular aspect of this song is the instrumental, it had a bit of every genre and a beautiful reggae to rock climax. When you’ve got wonderful earphones you might actually put this track on repeat and keep acting up till you pass out.

Most Impressive Nigerian song: ‘Oleku’ by Ice Prince. What’s so special about the song? The rap was not that spectacular, the production was 100 percent digital, and the chorus- most people don’t know the meaning. Yet it defined Nigerian music in 2010. Expecting another ‘Oleku’ from Ice Prince, Brymo, or Jesse Jagz is long thing.

Most disappointing comeback: Toni Braxton ‘Pulse’. I was expecting her 2010 release to be the comeback in a genre where it has become so dependent on hip-hop. Once upon a time Toni Braxton was untouchable. The most disappointing aspect for me was the alternate album sounded better that the original compilation. The fact is Braxton has had in difficult in her career from labels to critics. I won’t deny the fact I liked few of the songs on the album especially ‘Hands tied’

Most annoying Song: ‘DJ got us falling in Love’ by Usher. I like Usher and that’s why I hate the song. It sounded like a song he stole from Justin Beiber, childish. O.M.G was partly acceptable because he was desperate for a hit although the lyrics also sounded like Justin’s. A grown ass man jumping around just doesn’t work for me anymore.

Artiste to watch in 2011: Lady Gaga. “I’m beautiful in my way ‘cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track, I was Born This Way”. ‘Born this Way’ would be the name of her 2011 release and I have no doubt that would be the album that would define next year. When out of you seven previous singles, none didn’t fail to reach number one in America. Mother Monster keep it coming.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cock Teasers & Blue Balls (Prequel to 'The Player with the First Team shirt')

Cock teaser (n): A female that makes a male think he’s “gettin’ some” only for her to give him blue balls (Ade, 2010). Cock teasers are everywhere- schools, on the street, parties- you cannot avoid them and without permission you are attracted to them. They are mostly the girls you know you can’t get but for a split second, they make you see the possibility of you having them. Of course they wouldn’t be cock teasers if you don’t make an attempt, eventually you do and in the end… blue balls. Blue balls (also called epididymal hypertension) is a state where a guy is seriously aroused and has got a massive hard-on but he’s unable to release because the chic decided she’s not interested in going down on/with him. It feels like having a retrograde ejaculation, like the sperm the guy was about to release (due to excitement) was finding their way back into the testicles and it is usually painful. For those who haven’t experienced this (including females), imagine you want to pee badly but you can’t. The discomfort you experience with blue balls is worse. The sad part, when you’ve got blue balls and you decide to masturbate the relief you feel is not significant (I wonder how I knew). There is a strong relationship between cock teasers and blue balls, the first cause the later.


My first encounter with blue balls was at a party. You see the way girls dress nowadays, you hear the lyrics of the songs they dance to nowadays, and you’ve noticed the dance moves they have to these provocative songs while dressing the way they do. That’s a for sure blue balls outcome. For a split second I got a feeling that that night was gonna be a good night, so I threw caution into the wind. This girl was so hot she was smoking (then again I was also pursuing happiness so how would I have known she was really fine) and I was looking for a way to dance with her. The moment I got my chance the general stood at attention and I knew from that moment my own don be. My plan was now to dance with the chic until it was time for everyone to go home. When it was that time, it was her boyfriend that personally thanked me for making her have a wonderful time and walked with her outside. I just stood there, the general too. I guess every disappointment was a blessing cause I found the cure to blue balls that day (I hoped to find the cure to cock teasers as well). I was standing outside alone when a guy called my attention to assist him push his car to start which I did. As I applied force to make the vehicle move with the help of one other guy, I realised the pain I was experiencing below my abdomen region was reducing. Then it made sense, having an erection was all about blood flowing to the penis so it becomes erect, ejaculation involved contraction and that enabled the blood to freely flow out of the penis. When pushing an object like a car, you body experience similar contraction as if you were about to release. That also made it easier for the blood to flow out. When the car started I asked the guy to turn off the engine for us to push it the second time. I needed my blue balls to be totally gone but I told him “the engine gear accelerator might have false start. (Whatever that meant).”


One truth is not all blue balls were caused by cock teasers but they were the major cause (no doubt). I had this friend who had his girlfriend coming to town. It wasn’t just a visit, it was an appointment. She was a virgin (that’s always subject to speculation) and she told my guy she was ready to become a woman. One irony was that guys would use every Shakespearian line to convince a virgin to sleep with them and when she says yes they ask, “are you sure?” as if they cared. I just had to say that but my friend was different, he wasn’t that deceptive. He prepared for the match day, got cds and baby oil (which was very important). He was gettin’ some. The day she arrived he let his guards down, why should he care about having a careless erection when he knew what would happen in the end, it wasn’t cock teasing, that was flirting. When it came to issue of the day, my guy brought out his instrument most especially the baby oil. The girl on her own part must have been satisfied with his preparation. But as my guy barely penetrated that was a sharp scream then, “it’s paining me.” Lil’ Wayne said “I don’t play with fire expecting not to sweat” and in that situation both of them should have known that. For the next four hours that was the circle of event, it started with my guy giving a small speech preceding the entry but he was stopped by “it’s paining me”. My guy had to retire with his dick far from tiring. For hours it has stood at attention and what followed next were the worst blue balls a man should ever experience. The chic had no way of understanding what my guy was going through but knew he didn’t get what he hoped. She thought the pain in his eyes were those of disappointment but it was “a lingering sensation of heaviness, aching, and discomfort in the testicles due to the continued vasocongestion.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pursuit of Happiness

“Crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit
Feelin’ lit feelin’ light, 2 a.m. summer night
I don’t care, hand on the wheel, drivin’ drunk, I’m doin’ my thing…
People told me slow my roll I’m screaming out ‘fuck that’
Imma do just what I want looking ahead no turning back
If I fall if I die know I lived it till the fullest
If I fall if I die know I lived and missed some bullets
I’m on the pursuit of happiness…”
Kid CuDi, “Pursuit of happiness”

I grew up learning from observation that there were two major vices that had the tendency to make the youth lose their way. That was sex and drug abuse. Sex is something I’ll assume everyone have heard the implications (of unprotected sex) from different sources. Drugs are those stimulating substances that alter the functioning of the body, and I don’t mean for medicinal purpose. I’m talking about those ones that you ingest and when you are in the club every song played sounds like a hit song and every girl dancing could be the next Most Beautiful Girl in the World. I’m talking about those ones which for a moment you would find happiness and forget about your cheating girlfriend/boyfriend, your pitiful life (if you have one), or even the economic state of Nigeria. By definition, they include depressants, hallucinogen, stimulants, and psychedelics. Every parent knows this and the concerned ones make conscious effort to shield their children away from them. I know I grew up seeing everyone that held a cigarette a ‘bad guy’ even though I didn’t know the consequences or what it did to the body. A fact is no one can precisely say where they pick up certain habits or learn them at least. Eminem once rapped about kids learning about sex on the Discovery Channel and that reality shows how unpredictable the places we could learn certain habits parents shield us away from. I remember when I first heard the track “Something about Mary” by Wyclef, I had no idea the ‘Mary’ he was referring to, the “I wouldn’t mind a kiss from Mrs. Mary…” was actually Mary Jane or Marijuana ‘cause “…she’s home-grown and you can hold her in your back yard.” I thought he was singing about a chic in his neighbourhood growing up. As obvious as that song was with the mention of LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide), ecstasy etc, I still had no idea it was about drugs. I learnt about drugs on the Oprah show, I learnt so many things I wasn’t suppose to from that family oriented talk show. I learnt about blow jobs, t- bagging, rainbow party, crystal meth… you name it. So Oprah I thank you for exposing me to what my parents wouldn’t talk about, sex and drugs. I remember the episode on crystal meth (professionally known as methylamphetamine and it also has a street name, Yaba). That episode showed me the consequences of substance abuse especially the relationship with these drugs and the brain. The human body has got neurotransmitters so these drugs either (in simple words) excite, dull, or make the brain see double. I couldn’t help to conclude that in Nigeria a ti e le (Yoruba for ‘we are not even hard’). The substance we abuse the most is alcohol. Alcohol is different from all other drugs and substances. Contrary to what I’ve heard a lot of people say, alcohol doesn’t make you high, let’s say it makes you dull because alcohol is classified as depressants (same category as tranquilisers). It slows down the way you reason consciously and that’s why you become poorly coordinated. What it might take you ten seconds to think about before you utter, alcohol might reduce it to one, giving you less time to think it through if it was the right thing to say. If you want high, try cocaine and allow all you dopamine neurotransmitter comes to life. Alcohol it is also cheap; second to sex it is a poor man’s source of entertainment. The best of all, you can get in anywhere and I know Catholics who don’t mind taking a sip in church. Upon all these Nigerians don’t even consume alcohol to be tagged ‘binge drinkers’. Sure some drink and beat their wives or forget their way home, but in Liverpool don’t be surprise when you see someone drinking cologne or using Vodka as eye drop just to get that instant distance from reality. Those are people in search of unrestricted pursuit of happiness.

Everyone deserves the right to pursue happiness and that’s why I understand when someone takes a bottle of alcohol, either shepe, Star, or Vodka. The best part for me was when someone crosses that line of ‘sanity’ to ‘insanity’, which was when their will power is at its lowest. I have seen a few people misbehave after getting drunk but nothing special. One I should have witness back in school (instead I was out chasing girls) was a chic who resided in the same building I stayed. She was stepping down weed with Kasapreko a.k.a Alomo bitters (or the other way round). It was a normal evening and guys were just chilling also in their pursuit of happiness. She made a statement that began an episode, she complained that someone’s TV was too loud and wanted her to reduce the volume but the thing was there was no light, no TV on. There was no doubt the hallucinogenic effect of the weed had taken effect. She moved to the next step, confession time. She talked about losing her virginity and about the guy, how she was seduced, “as the guy touch my breast the thing sweeeeeeeet me” she kept on blabbing and began talking about the guys she had slept with in that building. One thing I’ve come to understand is that, no matter how many bottles you’ve consumed, vodka, star, Gulder, or whatever, one hot slap would bring you back to reality and that was what happened.

My cherished wasted experience was with a guy I respect (no homo). Previously I’ve heard about this guy when he was wasted, one time he knelt in front of a female hostel confessing his undying love. I was in my friend’s room when there was a loud knock on the door. The door opened and this guy stepped in, wasted. Initially I had no idea but as he began to yarn I knew the guy don dey. This guy talked about his dick and how it was curved, how a girl ‘saba’ his balls and so on. Guys around decided to exploit that opportunity by asking him questions and he responded truthfully (after all we were bored). He was talking about a girl and how the girl held his ATM card, the next question was for him to say his PIN. Despite the alcohol the guy responded “X-X-X-X”. As a street boy, alcohol no dey work where money is involved. It was as if his eyes cleared, he kept on talking but the PIN to his ATM was one thing he wouldn’t say. One thing I learnt was there will power and pieces of information even alcohol can’t reveal but a lot of people don’t believe that and it’s of the benefit to those who can exploit that. I had a chic I told her a liked her but she didn’t believe and to be honest I only said it just to stir up something. After a few bottles (two and a half to be precise) I told her I loved her and she was the only one I thought of and all those sissy talk. This girl believed me, who says every drunk is honest; it’s just a pursuit of happiness and would say and do anything that would make us happy. Think about it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No one Man should have all that Power

This write-up is an abridged version of ‘I got the Power’ by me.


In growing up we believe one of the most important gifts we have is the gift of freewill. The gift that every man has to make his own choices that would affect the rest of his life, that even if you force a man to a river you cannot force him to drink from that river. So powerful and widespread is the belief of man’s freewill that it became one of the assumptions of the movie ‘Inception’. Nolan assumed there was difficulty in planting an idea in a man that would lead to a corresponding action without him being aware. To plant an idea into a man’s head he wrote the characters to walk into a man’s dream and from that dream enter a deeper level of dream, and another one inside that dream. But that was fiction and for the first time the fiction portrayed was more complicated than reality. It made the idea of planting an idea into someone difficult which honestly it isn’t. There are people with such power that even in their sleep (or death) possess control over individuals, control that questions and changes an individual’s freewill consciously or unconsciously. One truth about the movie ‘Inception’ is their portrayal of an idea, an idea is very dangerous for many reasons. First of all an idea can be created by any individual with the ability of abstraction. You can then ‘transduce’ an idea from abstraction into reality. If successful it could either benefit or destroy people or topple government. When Mark Zukerberg had the idea of Facebook it was mere abstraction but now...he controls what millions of people do with their spare time. That is the fraction of the power of an idea when made real. Like I said, there are people who have the ability to ‘plant’ ideas into someone’s head and they do it easily and no one man should have all that power. The power here is the power over freewill.


Yes, we have freewill (to some extent) and it should be expressed by our individuality and should make us unique. True early socialization affects who we see ourselves as but I’m focusing on those individual changes we make during our youth when we are more aware of ourselves and adolescents’ struggle in finding who we are. Yet more people than expected have their lifestyle influenced by forces beyond them, first we have the entertainment industry. I understand the power the entertainment industry has when it comes to our individuality, hey!, I won’t deny I’m not being affected but the least I gotta be conscious of it. But that is the entertainment industry, it is an industry (and not one person) and the growth of the industry is directly related to how well they can influence individuals. For a musician to become successful a lot of people would have to want to relate with the musician and vice versa for a less successful one. So they need that power of influence to build the music industry. They plant their ideas in your head (and mine) through their music, videos, interviews and before you know it you change your facebook profile name from ‘Toyosi Obi’ to ‘T-wizzy lepa to-bad Obi’. The power the entertainment industry has is no doubt strong but limited. Yes it is a billion dollars industry but they still have to plant their ideas at the convenience of the audience and demography. You understand? Let’s imagine the entertainment industry want to plant an idea that a particular product is good for everyone and we have to use it. Due to the difference in demography different methods and celebrities will have to be used. The same audience D’banj would appeal to is not the same as Sonny Bobo. That is the weakness of the entertainment industry, a single individual is only as powerful as the audience they control which is usually not significant compared to the population of the world (even for Oprah). Another weakness is the strength of the control. We might spend our last cash to buy ticket to see our favourite artistes perform or watch a movie and that’s around the height of what we can do. The cost of vanity is vanity, we wouldn’t kill ourselves for the sake of entertainment but for religion? Jim Jones.


Religion is no doubt powerful and it should due to what it stands for. It would be dangerous if one man infused his personal ideas easily into religion, it’s dangerous but not impossible. It has happened; it is happening and would continue to happen. This is one instance where one man can have all that power. The influence religion can have in a person’s life cannot be underestimated. I use to wonder how Jim Jones could get 912 of his followers to commit mass suicide. Social psychologists call it systematic indoctrination but you can call it brainwashing. I had this friend whom we had similar taste and interests and he did what I could see myself do. He attended a church with the hope of getting a chic, there’s no crime in that. To reduce the long story, he began to change his lifestyle. The obvious one was when his hair began to shine (too much cream or what do girls call it) and he began to sing like them, I don’t want to criticise anyone but Christ Embassy fellowship was where he attended. I noticed a lot of the guys there adopt similar outlook, same as their pastor’s. I’ll not generalise and say it has to do with Christians, I mean, with how powerful the Pope is and the Catholic Church I haven’t seen anyone who dress/talk/walk like him. So I know it is a Pentecostal thing. It isn’t about what the Bible says but what the pastor said. Reverend King was a big surprise to many, I couldn’t believe when a member of his congregation was screaming “He is Jesus Christ and one day you will all regret persecuting him”. But I have to give it to him, he was a psychologist. I wouldn’t blame anyone. Imagine standing in front of a congregation and tell them to bow their heads or raise their hands. The fact that they do as their told boost your ego, and you can’t help but feel larger than life. The Pastors began to think big, bigger church, larger congregation, wider reach. The world must see them as if you are the only pastor. The power is no doubt intoxicating to know people are always expecting to see you; to know where ever you go thousands would follow. They want to dress like you and talk like you. Like I said earlier no one man should have all that power. Let’s take all sentiments aside and ask ourselves, if Pastor Chris or Bishop Oyedepo wanted to convince their congregation that Jesus had a child will they succeed?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What's in a Miracle without Jazz

If you’ve been in Nigeria long enough and you hear the word ‘jazz’ there are two things that would come to mind. The first is the music genre while the second is embedded in supernatural beliefs involving the use of charms in achieving desires. I’m talking about the second, the one historians have labelled as being part of the African culture. Growing up in Nigerian you can’t escape being socialized to believe the existence of Jazz. I remember the Yoruba movies I watched during my early years, supernatural forces and powers were the central theme. There was an actor called Abija who was cool at being the bad guy and another one, Lalude, who was the protagonist most of the time. Then the winner between battles in these movies was based on who represented good and had the longer incantation which usually ended with ‘ile’ meaning you should fall down (and die). The good guys always won. Then I began to watch ‘English films’ that changed the script. They substituted the ‘good jazz’ with Christianity while if you were involved in any jazz at all there was high probability the character was going to die in the movie (unless the character repented). But one thing became clear to me, there was good and evil and if you believe in miracles then you would believe in Jazz. Apart from the movies I watched, I grew up hearing tales of Jazz which you might have heard the same stories but never questioned it. The bros around then would tell these stories that they probably heard from someone else who never confirmed it. I remember one about a guy who wanted to fight with another guy. He unbuttoned his shirt and hung it in the air. That act made the other guy and spectators run. I also remember another one; a guy wanted to become an armed robber and was given ‘protection’ that prohibited him from walking beneath electric cables. It had been working for him until after a stick up and he was being chased by the police who shot at him. The bullet did no damage until he ran beneath an electric cable while trying to escape, he got hit and died. Recently the stories I hear most of the time involved Yahoo boys and the tortoise (sounds like children’s tale) but I’m not going into that. I have also heard about a yahoo guy that was given a jazzed ring which mustn’t be in contact with any liquid. After a night out partying he decided to wash his face and he forgot about pulling the ring out of his finger before he did that. Consequence: He got blind. The fact was these stories were heard and never experienced but I didn’t doubt/believe them totally.

I got home one day and heard one of my distant cousins (I never knew existed) was coming from America to stay with us for a while. Days later I heard he would be arriving with his mom. Days later I heard their stay was indefinite. Fifteen minutes before they walked in I heard the punch line, the cousin had a psychological ‘malfunction’. It wasn’t up to ten minutes this cousin walked in and he wanted to spar with me (which wasn’t going to happen, forget say I dey chop fufu). He was bigger as expected and looked alright but I noticed he kept spitting on the floor which I learnt was the side effect of the medication he was using which was prescribed by his doctors in America. He had been in coma for over three months after being jumped back in the states. For reasons unknown some boys decided to literally beat the living day light out of this guy leaving him in a coma. Call it shock or trauma but this guy had the tendency to be violent and his thought was like a bad disc, he could repeat himself for over five minutes. I remember being woken up by the sound of him fighting with his mom in a free-for-all fight. They were literally exchanging blows like boxers. To avoid this it was important for him to take his drugs but that only made him sober (for a while). The drugs were not making him better and down here in Nigeria there were alternative options. He was taken to one place in Ogun state where he was put in shackles and the use of force was used to exert control or self-discipline. The beating they gave him was more than enough for someone to confess to what they didn’t do. After a couple of months he returned looking worse, you could see the signs of where the shackles were on his wrist and feet. I looked bigger and I felt bad for him, he was too calm. Unfortunately or fortunately that only lasted for few days and he was back to his ‘usual’ self. It was hell now ‘cause there was no more drugs to ‘humble’ him. When all else fails, including our personal effort, we men fall down to our knees to recognise higher power. His mom decided to take him to church, she belonged to the Celestial Church of Christ and they showed promise. I happened to witness one of their prayer sessions in my house. They came from another angle to explain why the guy was in that case. They claimed that before he relocated to America with his mother he was very rude to an old woman here in Nigeria. It was the woman that cursed him and the events occurred to put him in that state as punishment. You know the saying, if you all you got was a hammer you’ll see every problem as a nail, so I wasn’t surprised by what they said, religious people see issues from that angle. They gave him cooked snails to eat. One thing you have to know about land snails is that their body constantly release water that’s why they looked slimly and wet. Seconds later my cousin began to act like a snail. He kept complaining of head ache and sweated profusely all over his body. I don’t mean hard labour under the hot sun kind of sweat, what he wore looked like they were drenched in a bucket of water and brought out. Sweat was dripping from it that it had to be squeezed before it was hung on a line. The Alagba (Pastor) claimed the curse was being released. She brought out olive oil and began to sprinkle drops on him. His body began to make sounds as if something was running, trying to hide, in his stomach. It was audible amidst the loud prayers being said. Oh boy! I fear that day o! The guy was in serious pain while cradling his knees close to his chest and his body was making weird noises. That whole episode lasted for about an hour. The pastor claimed the sound from his body was the ‘curse’ attempting to still hide in his body. The only thing I could think of was what was a miracle without jazz. The fact was whether she was right or not, nothing changed afterwards. He was still the same and I had to feel for him. Medical, physical, and spiritual method didn’t solve his problem. His mother packed their bags and off to America, at least she still had a son.

One thing I have noticed is that when all else fails and desperation pushes you to the wall using jazz might not seem like a bad idea. Even the most religious of us all might bend rules. And either you are religious or not you take caution when you see a charm by the road side or anywhere else, you still accord it its respect. In my area there was a plot of land place where people had converted into an illegal dumping site. The owner of the land did all he could to stop this but Nigerians could be redundant. Despite the sign ‘DO NOT DUMP YOUR REFUSE HERE’. One day we woke up to find what the owner left at the dump site. There were two poles stuck to the ground about sit foot apart and tied from one pole to the next was a red cloth. In the middle was a clay calabash tied to it with white polka dot on it tied to the cloth. Either the people in my area believe in jazz or not, I know no one dared to dump refuse there since then. Everyone just ignored it as if it wasn’t their habit and one of my guys that I asked claimed he wasn’t scared to still dump refuse there but when I dared him he never did. The behaviour exhibited shows the fear of man for uncertainty. I kept wandering, what would happen if I dump refuse there after all I’m the curious one but then again what if it was really jazz (like the ones I hear about)?