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Category Archives: Urban Culture

8 Odd Truths about Nigerians and the Economy!

Hey people, the exchange rate for a dollar is now 407 freaking naira! I was just shaking my head about the Nigerian economy and how everything is so expensive. I recently asked a Lagos babe on Instagram with a human hair online wig store for the price of one of her wigs and she sent me her price list in dollars! I laughed out loud and faced my business.

Who dollar epp?

Certainly not the Nigerian economy!

Someone I know was doing an online masters and chose to pay for his course per month but with the new dollar rate, he is paying almost triple what he was paying before! #badmarket

An egg is now sold for forty naira and the adamant market woman insisted on mixing the big ones with the pinchomic kekeres stating that no one was gonna buy the small ones from her if I picked all the big ones- like I care. First come, first serve abeg!

Why does the economy seem to get worse but Nigerians still find a way to adjust? The structural adjustment program of the late 80s has become the Nigerian nightmare! 

Fuel is where it is, 141-143 naira per liter, people have quit complaining since it is at least available. 

Everything is pricey but really I didn’t come here to rant. I haven’t said anything new. We know this and we hustle to survive each and every day and sometimes we get lucky!

I wanted to instead blog about eight odd and maybe even hilarious occurrences that are now rampant in the name of the hustle! It just makes you wonder…

1) Magas are still paying because they are above the economic crisis! Ask any taxi driver. A couple of days ago I needed to take a cab to UBTH because I really didn’t wanna drive and after haggling with the guy for what I considered the best price, he relented. Dude was as loud as he was fast and I couldn’t help chuckling in between prayers for my safety when he announced that it was the ring on my finger that made him agree to that price. “Sista for Bini we know say na those small, small unifasity gehs get all the money. If na them, na 5k last. You know dem get haccess!” So if you have ‘access’ you are above the Naija wahala!

2) The upcoming elections have made some people in Benin mega rich. While politicians are spending loads of money to get people on their side, the carpenter in charge of the wooden structures for the posters and billboards is smiling to the bank every day not giving a  rat’s arse about who actually wins. Making money out of national headline news good or bad- is what the true hustlers are doing now.

3) People are now gay for pay! Forget that it is an offense, we see guys on Instagram who boast about bae paying them truckloads of money for services rendered and it’s all just part of their hustle. Aristo chicks move aside, it seems the boys want a piece of the action too and they’d go to any lengths and it really seems like a lucrative business in this harsh economy especially since the mega rich seem mega kinky.

4) Houses are still springing up everywhere at alarming speed! While the average Nigerian is counting his precious naira notes, builders, foremen and construction engineers have not stopped thanking God for the booming business because ‘built in three months’ mansions are still cropping up every where you turn. Where EFCC oh?!

5) Still on property, everybody is suddenly into property sales in Lekki near the new trade free zone, just beside the next International airport and across the 4th Mainland bridge ;-). This utopia of sorts has more sellers than buyers and one begins to wonder just how much they have been promised as a cut. If you need a new hustle join the band wagon and for those relentless sellers; no thank you people ahn ahn it haff do!

6) Windscreen washer boys are not smiling! The other day a friend was in traffic when some dude attempted to wash his windscreen (we know the drill), he refused and washer boy got mad, he stood in front of the car, pressed the bonnet as hard as he could (he for try leave dent sic) and with a menacing expression kept demanding to wash the windscreen with an ‘I go wash am oh’ threat every 5 seconds till the traffic light turned green. Abeg when in traffic make sure your windows and doors are securely locked, not just for them but for all the other uniformed troublemakers lurking everywhere!

7) Local government boys have become the absolute worst. They have zero chill, zero filter and hustle or die attitudes. They are the area boys, the community boys and even the band of riff raffs hired as traffic law enforcement officers and then fired after years of menace. If you own a shop or you are building a house in a developing area or you are a traveling sales man, you know these people and fear them even more than the police, VIO and road safety combined! Where’s your roof-repair permit? Or your sit outside your house license? Where’s your switch on generator permit or your drive on our roads certificate? They chase, deflate tyres and make trouble like a legion of demons and their permits, receipts and licences never finish so your papers can never ever be complete! ‘Oga you no get this other receipt, na 10,000 naira, na yesterday dem make am, oya park’. The hustle never ends.

8) The two months salary human hair wigs, weaves and bleaching creams are still hot cake oh. The theory is simple, you need to spend money to make money. Uncle likes what he sees, uncle pays to see it again, the circle of life! So stop asking yourself who is buying all these things (face your wage)!

The list is endless, hate the hustle but put some respek on it! People are doing whatever it takes to survive and even in this dire economy, holidays in Maldives, first class tickets and tear rubber cars are still the order of the day, seems like some people couldn’t be bothered about the dollar! 

What weirdness have you encountered around you in the name of the hustle?

TGIF #friyay (hope money to turn up dey?)

Have a great day Chutzpah fam, may God bless your hustle!

xoxo

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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Urban Culture

 

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Recipe for my husband’s birthday cake (by popular demand)

Le boo had his birthday a couple of days ago and I baked him a fabulously decadent cake. I am not a professional baker and my cake making resume doesn’t go further than cupcakes and those home made naked cakes. I certainly had never decorated a cake before but after hubby flat out refused to let me order him a cake I took it upon myself to bake him one because every foodie knows that a birthday is not complete without a birthday cake!

So here’s my recipe for the chocolate and vanilla marble cake.

Recipe:
1. 2 and a 1/2 cups of flour
2. 225g of unsalted butter
3. 1 cup icing sugar
4. 1 cup granulated sugar
5. 2/3 cup milk
6. 4 large eggs
7. 4 teaspoons of vanilla essence
8. 1 teaspoon of salt
9. 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
10. 4 teaspoons baking powder

For the cream and decoration
1. 1 pack of malteasers
2. 1 pack of M&Ms
3. 1 cup of coconut candy
4. 1 cup of peanuts
5. 4 packs of whipped cream powder chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavor
6. 1 stick of unsalted butter (200g)
7. 2 cups of icing sugar
8. 1/3rd cup of milk
9. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
10. Cappuccino wafer stick

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven (most Nigerian ovens come in low, medium and high. I let mine preheat on medium) then grease your cake pan. I used a 9 inch Teflon cake pan. Rub butter on the sides of the pan and lightly dust it with flour.

  1. Get a mixer! They have some pretty affordable ones available in stores and online. Mixing butter and sugar by hand is tiring and for a woman who has to multitask an electronic mixer allows you do other things while it creams. Allow the butter to melt a little at room temperature before putting it in a mixer. I used the K- beater in my Kenwood kitchen machine and set it to medium. Put the butter in first and let it mix till it is fluffy then add the sugar (both granulated and icing sugar) and allow it cream till fluffy.
  2. Break your eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla essence and whisk them together. Add the mixture to the butter and sugar into the mixer.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and add it to the mixer.
  4. When thoroughly mixed, divide the mix into 2 halves. Leave half in the mixer and add the cocoa powder to the one in the mixer and allow it mix together.
  5. Get your greased cake pan and put in the cake mix from each half spoon by spoon alternating vanilla and chocolate. When it’s all in, get a clean wooden spatula or the handle of a long spoon and draw a Z in the cake mix once or twice to give the cake it’s marble appearance.
  6. Put it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick put into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Do not open the oven before it’s 45 minutes to prevent your cake from collapsing which might happen if a cold draught gets in.
  7. When the cake is done put it on a cake stand to cool.
  8. Wash your mixing bowl and put in the butter, whipping cream powder, milk, icing sugar and vanilla essence and allow it mix until it forms a thick cream.
  9. Refrigerate the cream for 10-20 minutes.
  10. Put the cake on an elevated stand and scrape off any burnt edges.
  11. Use a spatula to slather cream all over the cake and the sides of the spatula to smoothen the cream so that the thickness is even. Save some of the cream.
  12. Put the cake in the fridge for 5-10 minutes so the cream sets a bit
  13. Get a board and rolling pin and grind the cup of roasted peanuts till they are crushed to very small pieces, set aside.
  14. Take a sharp knife and cut the wafers into two or three pieces to fit the height of the cake.
  15. Divide the M&M’s according to colours
  16. Bring out the cake from the fridge and sprinkle the peanuts at the base of the cake all around
  17. Line the sides of the cake with cappuccino wafers and put an M&M on top of each cylindrical wafers, the cappuccino helps the M&M stick to the wafers.
  18. Pour the coconut candy in the center of the cake and use M&M’s to spell out the birthday message on coconut candy.
  19. Line the top of the cake with M&M’s and malteasers but leave space between the big balls and the little balls.
  20. Get your remaining cream and a piping set and draw a twist out decoration on the base of the cake with the icing, all you need to do is have a straight line of cream and gently twist it so it forms a ring.
  21. Also draw a line of cream with a wider nozzle in between the malteasers and the M&M’s and around the coconut candy.
    And that’s how you make a home-made decadent fabulous cake.

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For questions and clarifications please drop a comment. Thank you.

Xxx

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2015 in Urban Culture

 

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Makeup by KB- the glam squad is in town!

Hey Chutzpah fam,

I know you aren’t happy that I haven’t blogged in a while but I am reading for exams and even though I am brimming with hot gist, I still haven’t found the time to write a lengthy blog post. Forgive me darlings. I will make it up to you soon.

Talking of makeup I recently started a new business. Your favourite doctor and blogger is now a makeup artist. Always loved painting and now I get to paint faces and make you fabulous!

So…Officially introducing MAKEUP BY KB!!!

Makeup by KB offers a wide range of services:
…from looks that take you from ‘drab to glam’ to ‘skincare regimens that actually work’.
We will pamper and pretty up your face while guaranteeing a look that doesn’t scream too much makeup.
Our services:
– Bridal makeup
– Makeup for that special occasion
– The Nude look
– The Party girl
– Runway makeup
– Celebrity inspired make overs
– Pageant makeup
– Makeup for TV and photo shoots
– The facial spa& skin doctor
Our glam squad (for now me, myself and I) will come to you wherever you are. Send me an email (nitarules@yahoo.com) today for a touch that will transform…

Follow us on instagram @makeup.by.kb

I posted some pics of my face all prettied up (see below). My mum used to sing this song when I was a kid….

“I’m so pretty, oh so pretty, it’s alarming how pretty I feel…
And I pity, anyone who isn’t me today…”

Lol if you need to feel that pretty, just holla!

Take care Chutzpah fam,
I’ll be back
Xxxx

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2 Comments

Posted by on June 17, 2015 in Urban Culture

 

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SM Etiquette 101: 7 anti-drama rules!

Have you ever wondered if there were actual rules guiding the use of social media? Have you ever felt like throwing your phone into a bucket of water or closing all your social media accounts because of something that happened? Are you looking to lead a drama free life on social media? Then this is definitely for you!

A couple of days ago, an altercation happened between friends. One of them was in the habit of munching chats between she and anyone else who happened to be on her blackberry so if she was giving you gist, she served it hot Linda Ikeji style. In her defence she said she preferred to give info straight from the horse’s mouth and that she was too busy to type long messages and didn’t think stuff said in private to her was something you should be afraid to say to the person’s face. Sounds like she had a pretty strong argument ay?

However on the other side of the great divide, is the other friend who treasures her privacy and would speak her mind about issues and people without reservation to a friend in confidence like most women do but would never imagine a third party reading every single thing she sent to her friend verbatim so imagine her utmost shock and anger when the subject of her most recent rantings sent her munched conversations where she expressed her displeasure about said person? A breach of privacy that left her in an unanticipated hot mess!!!

Plenty drama…

Now everyone is entitled to their beliefs and judgment calls especially on social media but the ripple effect can’t be ignored. While some people have become multimillionaires from leaked sex tapes others have been utterly disgraced and had their marriages or relationships end abruptly due to social media related wahala so here are 7 anti-drama rules to using social media- BBM, Facebook, Whatsapp, messengers, Instagram etc.

  1. Everyone is on social media these days: Your mother, your pastor, your boss, your husband’s family, exes, enemies, bossom buddies, your boo etc. And most people have a mix of these people on their social media. So posting stuff should be akin to taking a walk on the main road in broad daylight; anyone can see you. Rule number 1- do not post personal pics of you that would make you uncomfortable if some person or the other saw them. Remember that some of you have more followers than you can keep track of and with munching and repost apps everywhere you can’t be sure that your post would not go viral and break the internet.

  2. Do not share a private conversation or picture shared with you with someone else without consent especially when it is of a sensitive nature which involves naked or sexual pics or chat, disses, gossip etc. Rule number 2- respect other people’s privacy! Well unless you are a blogger who makes millions from this kinda stuff like Perez Hilton or TMZ but if you are a regular person then imagine how you would feel if the tables were turned!

  3. Do not say something about someone that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying to that person’s face. The funny thing about so called private chats on social media is that they always have a way of going public. In fact once you type the words ‘this is between you and I…’ that’s the beginning of trouble! There will always be people itching to know the latest about you (monitoring spirits) and those ready to go any lengths and there will always be people who serve info from the horse’s mouth and others who might leave their phones lying carelessly about without passwords! Conspiracy theories abound and unless you love drama make sure to keep your chats plain and instead call the person if you need to say something private. Phone calls aren’t bugged half as much as chats are munched! Rule number 3- if you can’t eat it (your words), don’t say it!

  4. Avoid arguments on social media. The problem with words is that they can be read with varying emotions and thus interpreted to mean different things. ‘What is wrong with you?’ could be interpreted as a question of concern, anger, chastisement etc but the person who it is directed at is not a spirit and can’t know for sure how you meant it to be said so a lot of misunderstandings happen online. So unless you are looking for attention howbeit negative, avoid arguments on social media. Rule number 4: Don’t speak words with double entendres unless you plan to send mixed messages!

  5. Some responses rub people the wrong way: ‘k’, ‘kk’, ‘aii’, ‘ait’, unfunny/distracted ‘lol’ or ‘lmao’, writing in CAPS and indiscriminate use of emoticons. The average tolerant person is unperturbed by these conversation killers but if the person was passing on serious info (like how much he loves you hehehe) or receives these in response to a long epistle he/she sent to you then it comes off as slightly offensive.
    P.S: Writing in capital letters looks like you are shouting! Rule number 5: Don’t write in shorthand to someone you wouldn’t speak in monosyllables to!

  6. Do not save sensitive info or pics on your phone/tablet or computer. Every device is connected to the internet these days and all it takes for something personal to get exposed is for you to leave it on a device that is connected to the internet. Quite recently a lot of celebs had their naked pictures surface online and hearing that their systems had been hacked made me wonder about the wisdom behind leaving such material lying around for some criminal hacker or frenemy to break in and steal. One must think twice about sending nude pics to a lover or even passing sensitive information like access codes or pins to someone via social media. Hackers abound! Rule number 6: The best place to hide something is in plain sight; if it can’t be hid properly then it should never be created!

  7. Bullying someone online makes you look like a sad, pathetic loser no matter how valid your points are. It’s funny how cyber bullies operate from the comfort of their homes under anonymous identities and aliases and spread hate and malice online. A lot of people have committed suicide or cried their eyes to sleep on account of this. Yes a lot of people pretend to be who they are not on social media but their escape from reality should not be your concern and if you feel the burning desire to call them out please do so in private. Relishing the open disgrace makes you no better than the hoe you are calling out besides I should warn you that many people have learned to give it to cyber bullies as hot as they get it cc: Rihanna and Davido! If you must fight a war online do so in plain sight with guns blazing- Rule number 7- anything else is plain cowardice!

Please disregard the rules above if you thrive on drama or crave endless attention!

Social media is a tool and should not control us. So many friendships have been ruined all because they got caught up in the ripple effect that a breach of another’s privacy ultimately led to.

Avoid putting your entire life, romance, achievements or drama on social media. It makes you look like you are over- compensating for a deficiency by creating an illusion!

Say No to Cyber Bullying!

That’s all folks, have an incredible evening Chutzpah fam,
Xoxoxo

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Urban Culture

 

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Gerrout!

This is a story  by Dr Fada Fajuitan that is told from two angles. A rather long but thought provoking read…

“GERROOUT”

A tale of two stories

Story 1

“GERROOUT!”  The solitary vein on Scarfaces forehead looked about to burst.

This is not the beginning of the story, neither is it the end. Truth be told, Scarface is not an Italian drug lord. Scarface is a Nigerian, Yoruba sef.

We should start this story from the beginning it’s just a bit difficult to decipher where that should be. Is it the useless bus that broke down kilometres from his bus stop? Or the greedy transporters that charged triple the usual fare from Ojota in Lagos to Iwo-Road in Ibadan. In fact as far as Fresh-Boy was concerned that was the beginning. He reasoned that if he hadn’t been flat out broke, he would have taken a taxi from Iwo-Road rather than the useless bus and therefore would have never met Scarface. So that’s the beginning of his story.

Ojota, Lagos at 8 am on the 31st of December 2014 he was fleeced by greedy transporters. A journey that would usually cost N1000 suddenly cost N3000 overnight.   Now because of the holidays the greedy transporters tripled the fare. Fresh-Boy would have shouted and caused a major commotion but decided against that when he saw other passengers paying the fare without even a hint of unwillingness. This was a fight he wouldn’t win without support and it didn’t look like he was going to get any. Besides as Fresh-Boy, he couldn’t bring down his rep by arguing with those local touts. Hin no dey dia level at all.

So that’s his beginning the 3k, as he would call it. The only snag is that there’s a lot of time between the 3k and most of the story where nothing really happened. In fact only two things of note happened between Ojota and Iwo-Road. The first was the traffic at Berger because of the fallen tanker which is of no concern to us and the second was the MASSIVE road re-construction going on at the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Fresh-Boy took several pictures of the re-constructed parts and posted them on facebook and twitter with the hashtags #GEJTRANSFORMATION, #FOWARDWITHGEJ, #GEJ2015 for the rest of the journey he checked his phone frequently for comments, retweets and mentions. Fellow Jonathanians did not disappoint him and the bad belle Buharists were also buzzing around his posts with their bitterness and spite. Of course he didn’t take pictures of the pot hole ridden parts of the road there is no point giving your enemies the weapons to fight you with.

The reader might wonder what “GERRROOUT!” has to do with #GEJ. Well, that’s why I said it’s difficult to pinpoint the beginning of the story but be rest assured, they are all parts of the story.

Now, the time between the hashtags and the scream is about 3hrs a lot of time with nothing much happening but one thing. He got to Iwo-Road, discovered that he was too broke to take a taxi and boarded the useless bus from Iwo-Road bus stop to Ashi. The bus never got to Ashi with him as a passenger on that trip.

The useless bus was a Liteace bus. He knew this not because the name Liteace was visible anywhere on the bus but because haven spent the first 18yrs of his life in Ibadan he had to know what a Liteace bus looked like. They were the standard means of mini-van transportation in Ibadan and were all in varying stages of decay. This particular useless one belonged on a scrap heap. It was little more than a metal box with four wheels and a sorry engine.  The ‘little more’ part were the planks of wood for passengers to sit on. Anyway, taking a taxi would have cost at least N500 an amount he definitely didn’t have so the useless bus was his only option.

As with most useless buses in Ibadan it broke down kilometres from its destination.

“Ki lo tun se oko yi” the driver frantically asked no one in particular as he tried to restart the vehicle. Both the driver and conductor jumped down and started reaching under seats for screw drivers and what-nots.

“E jor e ma binu” the driver said this time looking at the passengers, “boya batiri re ni”.

Fresh-Boy was having none of it, “abeg I wan come down” he said to the passenger between him and the door. This was Ibadan passengers don’t pay until they get to their destinations, very much unlike Lagos where passengers have to pay immediately they get into the bus, so there was no way he was paying one naira for this half trip. Hell no.

“Se wa ni san nkankan ni” the hapless driver said eyeing Fresh-Boy.

Fresh-Boy turned to give him a stare so ferocious the driver immediately backed down.

“Oga o” the driver said giving up on any chance of getting some money from this passenger as he watched Fresh-Boy walk away.

So Fresh-Boy a few kilometres from his destination was walking under the scorching sun looking out for another means of transportation, another mini-van or even a bike. He realised that by not paying the driver of the useless bus he had saved N50 from the N100 he was meant to pay for the journey from Iwo-Road and since there was no other means of transportation in sight he decided to use the extra N50 to buy water. There was no point in dying from thirst. He looked down the road and saw provisions store not too far off.

“Abeg u get chilled bottled water” he asked the woman in the store.

“fifty naira” she replied.

Two gulps of chilled water later…… “Ahhhhh” the exhilarating exhale of a man after two gulps of chilled water under the scorching Ibadan sun. This is a feeling second only to finally shitting when having diarrhea and the toilet is far.

That was when he heard it.

“Jonathan is clueless”, this was coming from a man in the corner of the store. On any other day Fresh-Boy would have tackled such a statement straight away and defended the president but with his thirst to quench, politics could wait. He continued taking precious gulps from the bottle of water.

“Osi ni man yen se l’Abuja” the man continued, “o kan je owo wa lasan ni”.

Fresh-Boy took a closer look at the source of these annoying statements and immediately noticed the tribal marks on the face of the man sitting in the corner reading a newspaper. Scarface must be another Jonathan hater.

“After spending one billion on just food alone he cannot think again” Scarface continued switching to English.

Scarface finally looked up from the newspaper to look at the other people in the store and as with most men discussing politics with themselves he tried to draw people around him into the conversation.

“Imagine, boko-haram attacked two state capitals and all our president could do is condemn, condole and promise to stop the insurgency” he said staring directly at Fresh-Boy.

Fresh-Boy started getting irritated. It was bad enough that this man was disturbing him with unnecessary chatter but the insults to the president were really annoying him. He wanted to point out the fact that federal troops were pushing the insurgents out of major towns in the north-east but he wasn’t going to. He wouldn’t give Scarface the pleasure of a debate.

Noticing that Fresh-Boy wasn’t giving him the time of the day Scarface decided to throw one last insult at the president before returning to his newspaper. “President of the dead and the dying” he said as he readjusted the newspaper to continue reading.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I am neither dead nor dying sir”, Fresh-Boy shot back. He couldn’t take it anymore.

“So you think Jonathan is not killing Nigerians?” Scarface said folding the newspaper and putting it down. It was obvious he was relishing the possibility of a debate.

Fresh-Boy was up to it. People like Scarface never saw anything good in the president, they were always on the lookout for faults. Such people were all over twitter and facebook and he was used to tackling them there. This was an opportunity to tackle one in real life.

“Sir the president is trying his best it is not easy to govern a local government let alone a whole country”

“Well his best is not good enough” Scarface replied with a finality that further irritated Fresh-Boy.

“A president who stopped ebola from spreading all over the country, a president who transformed the agriculture sector, a president that brought trains back to Nigeria, the man built 9 new federal universities, he built 125 almajiri schools to help those backward northerners. In fact during his presidency guinea worm was eradicated in Nigeria and polio cases reduced from over fifty in last year to just four in this year”. Fresh-Boy wasn’t too sure that all he was saying was the absolute truth but he knew that on social media these were the points argued in favour of the president. He was spewing them out staccato.

“Sir, I am just coming from Lagos and I witnessed the massive repair work going on at Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road that had been abandoned for years” Fresh-Boy was on a roll. “In Lagos, Apapa-Oshodi expressway is also undergoing massive repairs, go to the airports and see transformation, the whole of eastern Nigeria had no international airport until Jonathan upgraded Enugu airport, work has started on the second Niger bridge and the dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja is almost complete.” Fresh-Boy was in his elements, he knew most of these things from the PDP twitter overlords on his TL and the information was now proving very useful. Let this Jonathan hater counter his points if he could.

“My friend your first statement is wrong, it was Fashola that stopped ebola jor” Scarface smirked.

Fresh-Boy couldn’t believe his own ears, of all the points he put forward it was this one Scarface decided to pick on? Anyway he had an answer to that.

“Was it Fashola that stopped it in Port-Harcourt also?” Fresh-Boy shot back.

“That was Ameachi” Scarface replied still smirking. “Young man, you seem to like this Jonathan man abi?” Scarface continued. “Oya let me counter you”. Scarface adjusted himself on the chair and leaned forward.

“First of all, if not for Fashola and his Lagos people ebola would have finished us in the country.” The smirk didn’t seem ready to leave his face. “Now, let’s talk about the economy. Do you know the current exchange rate for the dollar? Do you know the price of crude oil? This government has managed this economy so badly. They have even spent all the money Obasanjo saved yet there is no improvement in the life of the common man. You talk about airports, go to MMA1 and see how bad it is, I hear the place now smells because the ACs are bad and the toilets are not cleaned regularly. That is our number one airport o” Scarface paused staring at Fresh-boy.

Fresh-Boy wasn’t sure the airport was that bad but he had no proof. He hadn’t been there in a year and the place looked pretty bad the last time he was there, but not as bad as Scarface painted it.

Scarface noticed that fresh-Boy was a bit subdued and he decided to charge on with his own arguments.

“Let me continue. All these transformation they keep talking about, where is the transformation?” Scarface paused once again for effect. ”Do you know that in 2013 Jonathan went to CNN and told the world that by December there would be stable electricity in Nigeria. That was last year o, 2014 is about to end still no light.” Fresh-Boy had to endure another Scarface pause for effect.

“That is not all, two hundred and something girls were abducted since April and their president did not even bother. It was not until that Malala girl came to Nigeria that he decided to meet their parents. Is that a president?”

“That is Borno State government’s fault o” Fresh-Boy found his voice.

“Even if their abduction was the fault of Borno States government, Jonathan as president should have mobilised all available resources to rescue them as soon as possible. But no, he would just sit in Abuja and continue to condemn, condole and promise. Now another almost 200 women and children were abducted which you should know, except you don’t read the paper” Scarface now had that annoying attitude of someone who feels like he knew more than the person he was talking to.

“That’s not all o. All those road works you mentioned are just patch patch work if you don’t know. Other governments have done it before, give them one year, the pot holes will return. The agriculture one too, has it reduced the price of yam in the market?” Scarface was now obviously gloating.

“Answer na!” he continued. “Do you know when last federal workers were paid?”

If only this was twitter, he knew people on his TL he could rely on to finish this man. Fresh-Boy really needed to study more on Jonathans’ achievements to be able to campaign for him off social media. He decided to reach for his personal joker.

“Sir, which government has done YOUWIN for the youths of this country?” This one he was very sure of. His own brother had participated in and won during YOUWIN3 and he himself was preparing his business plan for YOUWIN4. No one could tell him YOUWIN was fake. His brother now employed 14 young men and women, 2 of them being graduates. In fact, this was the reason he was spending the New Year holiday in Ibadan rather than in the village with his parents or in Lagos. He wanted to take pictures of his brothers business and post them on facebook and twitter as proof of Jonathans achievements.

While both men argued back and forth, neither noticed the bored woman in the store with them. After selling the bottle of water to Fresh-Boy she had picked up her phone and was busy with it. When the men started arguing politics she plugged the ear-phones connected to the phone in her ears. She hated politics and couldn’t didn’t like the fact that her dad liked to argue politics so much.

Now the reader is wondering why we suddenly remembered the woman in the store. You see, she happens to be to daughter of Scarface and would play a minor role as the story unfolds. So we have to re-introduce her.

Let’s get back to the arguing men.

“You want to talk about youth employment abi? Do you know about the youths that died during the immigration interview?” Scarface said.

Now, the bored woman in the store was not really listening to anything on her phone, she was just trying to block out the conversation. When her father mentioned the immigration interview a look of worry crossed her face. She took off the ear-phones and turned to look at her father.

“That was an unfortunate incident sir” Fresh-Boy retorted

“Unfortunate incident?” Scarface said getting up from his seat. “You call a poorly planned exercise where millions of applicants were packed like sardines into venues to write an exam at the same time and they had to climb on each other just to breathe an unfortunate incident?” Scarface was beginning to raise his voice.

“Those youths were unruly, all they had to do was be patient” if this was going to turn to a shouting match, Fresh-Boy was ready for it.

“You said?” Scarfaces’ voice was suddenly low and icy. His eyes had turned to slits. The woman had gotten up from her seat and now looked very worried.

Fresh-Boy didn’t notice the tension. “I said they were UNRULY”.

That’s when it happened.

“GERROOUT!”  The solitary vein on Scarfaces forehead looked about to burst. Suddenly it was like there was a wild beast in the store. Goods were flying in different directions as Scarface charged at Fresh-Boy and he would have mowed him down if his daughter hadn’t held his hand.

“Daddy, please calm down” she begged.

The fiery anger in Scarfaces’ eyes would have destroyed Fresh-Boy if it could be converted to some kind of energy.

“Daddy, e jor e ma binu” the woman continued has she held Scarface.

Dazed and confused Fresh-Boy turned to go out. He couldn’t understand what he could have said that would cause this amount of anger. As far as he was concerned this was even a low point in his argument.

As he made to step out of the store he heard something that made him turn back.

“I’m sorry” this came from Scarface. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you”. The anguish on Scarfaces’ face seemed to have suddenly drained him of all his energy. He collapsed into his chair buried his face in his hands and started crying silently. Fresh-Boy wouldn’t have guessed he was crying but for the heaving of his shoulders.

The dramatic turn of events further confused Fresh-Boy.

“My sister was one of those that died during the Immigrations recruitment exercise” the woman in the store said seeing the confusion on Fresh-Boys face. “We haven’t fully recovered from the shock and my dad was worst hit” she continued

“Oh my God” Fresh-Boy could feel the family grief. “I’m so sorry sir” he said.

“No, I should apologise, I shouldn’t have brought up the topic” Scarface said. At this time Fresh-Boy didn’t want to call him Scarface anymore. He felt like an evil person with the nickname he had given the man. He decided he wouldn’t leave without at least making some amends.

“I am Nonso sir” he said stretching out his hands to shake the man.

“Mr Kamorudeen” the man replied grasping his hand.

At that moment Nonso looked into Mr Kamorudeens’ eyes and so not a political opponent, not a Jonathan hater but a hurting man. A man who wanted to give his family the best but felt he had betrayed them. He saw a fellow Nigerian in the struggle for a better tomorrow.


 Story 2

Someday before March 16th

“GERROOUT!” Daddy Ibidun was livid. Was this man saying Ibidun was unruly? That she caused her own death? His fury unfortunately wasn’t all directed at the man in front of him. Some of it was directed at himself. He had always felt guilty. That somehow he had caused the death of his daughter. And the man standing in front of him seemed to be pointing fingers at him, accusing him of killing his precious Ibidun. Ibidun was not unruly, she could never be. She was the most focused and organised person he knew. Somehow, he was the unruly one. It was his being unruly that pushed her to her death.

Kemi was beside him trying to tell him something but he couldn’t hear her through his rage. The tears welled up in his eyes and he collapsed into his chair. He buried his face in his hands and started crying.

Now, this story has a definite beginning.

It all started when Ibidun received the text. The text was the messenger of death.

They were all in the sitting room that evening watching TV, or let’s just say they were all in the sitting room and the TV was on. No one was watching it. Mummy Ibidun was calculating the days returns from her shop, kemi was busy with the internet on her phone, Sola was playing a game on his mothers’ phone in the corner, Ibidun who had come home from Lagos for the weekend was loosening her hair and he was reading the days papers.

Ibiduns’ phone vibrated and she paused her hair works to check it.

“Daddy awon immigration ma pe wa fun interview” she said turning to her father.

Though her mother was in the same room, she called Daddy first. It had always been like that. She was daddys’ girl. The bond between her and her father was something her mother and siblings neither understood nor could get in between. When she was a baby, he was the only person that could get her to sleep. It went as far back as that.

He folded the newspaper and put it down to answer his daughter. “Iyen da, that’s good. So ojo wo ni wan fe se?” he asked switching between his native language and English as is common with most Nigerians.

“Daddy you think I should go for the examination” Ibidun asked. She knew her Dad didn’t think much of her present job. She was working with an IT firm and though the pay was just thirty five thousand naira after taxes she loved the job. She had always wanted to work with computers and had even had to stay at home for three years before finally securing admission to study computer science at LAUTECH. Now she loved the job but hated the pay. Thirty five thousand naira is not the kind of salary a graduate should be earning for working from 8 am till 6 pm Monday to Friday in a city like Lagos.

Daddy Ibidun also knew his daughter was considering not going for the examination. “Ibidun, let’s look at it this way” he wanted to sway her to his argument. “If you go for the examination and secure the job it would be a big plus. This is a secure government job with a good salary and I’m sure with your qualifications you would be deployed to their IT department. If you don’t secure the job, you can always go back to your current job. This is a win-win. On the other hand if you don’t go, you might be missing out on a great opportunity to further your career in your chosen field”

He knew he had convinced her, besides he could always make Ibidun see things from his point of view so she was likely to agree with him anyway.

“Daddy, I am tired of applying for these government jobs. You have to know someone to get one” she said in a last ditch effort to avoid going for the examination. They both knew how many times she had rushed off to one government job interview or the other without success. Her graduating grade of second-class lower was also not helping with the corporate world. She had finally settled for the thirty five thousand naira job after years of a futile search for a good job with good pay.

Daddy Ibidun on the other hand wasn’t about to give up. He himself worked at the federal secretariat in Ibadan and as far as he was concerned this was the next best sector after oil and gas. Nowadays, even his friends in the banking sector envied him. He wasn’t doing badly.

“But you can’t continue with that you job na.” he said countering her. “What day is the interview jor” he continued.

“March 16th, it’s going to be nationwide so I can write it in Lagos” she replied.

“No o, o ma better to ba se l’Abuja. I will call Mr Priye, he will help with the processing”. Daddy Ibidun was taking no chances this time. If he had to, he would pull strings to get his daughter this job. Mr Priye was his colleague in Abuja and the man had a lot of contacts in high places.

“In fact let me call him now” he continued.

“Ok sir” Ibidun said. She knew she really had no choice at this point.

 

March 16th

Daddy Ibidun can neither be described as a muslim or a Christian. Sure, he was born into a muslim family but this man hadn’t gone to a mosque in years and at the rate he visited the local bar, he could receive a customer of the year award but he believed in God and occasionally said a prayer when the situation demanded one.

The morning of March 16th was one of such times. His wife, Mummy Ibidun was to undergo surgery for fibroids that day and his daughter Ibidun was to write the immigrations examination that morning also. So he prayed that morning. He sat on the bare floor in a corner of the room and prayed. The last time he prayed was when Kemi ran off with a good for nothing man. His prayers were answered then as she returned contrite. He believed his prayers would be answered now also. The main crux of his prayer was his wife’s surgery but since he was already praying, he might as well throw in a prayer for his daughter also.

On his way to the hospital that morning, he noticed several young men and women in white tee shirts and shorts on the streets. He was shocked at their large number as he knew they were all going to the Ibadan venue of the same examination Ibidun was writing that morning.

Now, the surgery his wife was to undergo that day is not the story here but it is inextricably connected to it. The surgery itself went on without undue incident. Mummy Ibidun was out of the theatre in a few hours and she was wheeled into the recovery room. A few minutes later the doctor called Daddy Ibidun to his consulting room to brief him on the outcome of the surgery.

“Sir we were able to remove 3 large sub-serous and one large sub-mucous fibroids amongst many others” the doctor said.

Daddy Ibidun had no idea what sub-serous or sub-mucous meant and he wasn’t interested in knowing at that point.

“Is my wife going to be alright?” was all he asked

“Definitely sir, she is still drowsy from the anaesthesia but I’m sure that in a short while…………” the doctor didn’t finish his sentence as Daddy Ibidun’s phone started ringing.

“Hello Mr Priye, please can you call me back, I’m a bit busy” Daddy Ibidun said as he picked up the phone. Mr Priye probably called to give him a progress report on Ibiduns immigrations job application. This wasn’t the time to discuss job applications.

“Ehen, doctor you were saying?” he said cutting the call as he was about to cut the call.

“Yes, as I was saying, the surgery went on fine, your wife ………” once again he was cut short by Daddy Ibidun’s ringing phone.

Once again it was Mr Priye. It just might be that he needed to speak with one of Mr Priyes contantcts. That was probably why Mr Priye was insistent on talking to him at that particular time.

“Sorry doctor, please let my answer this call, it’s about my daughter” Daddy Ibidun apologised as he made to pick his phone

“Hello Mr Priye, thanks for all you’re doing for Ibidun o, I’m really grateful. So how is her application processing going?” he said

A few minutes later Daddy Ibidun was being revived in the doctors consulting room. Mr Priye wasn’t calling to give a progress report on Ibiduns application. He was calling to inform her father that he had just identified Ibiduns lifeless body in a morgue. She had died during a stampede at the examination centre.

The centre in his life fell out that day. Daddy Ibidun was never the same person again.

Shortly after the incident the president condoled with the bereaved and announced that siblings of the dead would be given automatic employment. That wouldn’t bring his precious Ibidun back but even that promise was never fulfilled. Neither Kemi nor Sola got a job offer from the government. The government simply forgot about the incident and moved on leaving the bereaved families to mourn their loss. Daddy Ibidun was worst hit. He felt he had sent his own daughter to her death when all he wanted was a better future for her.

December 31st

As with all civil servants, Daddy Ibidun woke up on the 31st of December and prepared to go to work knowing fully well that not much work would be done that day. He wasn’t disappointed. When he got to the office most of his colleagues just came in, signed in, hung around discussing the coming year for a while then took off. By 11 am most of the secretariat was empty and he decided there was not much staying at work. Besides he wasn’t interested in the discussions. The gloom over him following his daughters’ death hadn’t fully lifted and discussing a future without her in it wasn’t something he wanted to do. So he took permission from his boss to close early.

On his way home he bought the days newspaper as usual but decided to make a detour to his wife’s shop rather than go straight home. There wouldn’t be anyone at home anyway.

His wife wasn’t in the shop when he got there as she had gone to deposit some money at the bank before it closed for the holiday so his second daughter Kemi was manning the shop.

“Daddy e k’abo” she said when she saw him “You left work early today”

“Yes, there’s really no work today and most people left early” he replied as he pulled up a chair to sit on. He opened the newspaper he bought to read and as is usual nowadays the headlines were of Boko Haram activities and government corruption.

The major editorial was about the missing girls. The plight of the girls made him remember his own daughters’ death and anger towards the president rose in his heart.

“Jonathan is clueless” he said looking up for approval. That was when he noticed the customer in the shop. He was one of those young men who tried as much as possible to look and sound like all those musicians on dstv. In his mind he automatically christened the young man Hip-Pop.

Hip-Pop was not interested in discussing with him on the presidents’ lack of clues so Daddy Ibidun went back to his reading.

“Osi ni man yen se l’Abuja” Daddy Ibidun continued to himself. “O kan je owo was lasan ni”

The editorial further described the lack of equipment facing the soldiers on the front while their superiors wine and dine with the president in Abuja and this further infuriated Daddy Ibidun.

“After spending one billion on just food alone he cannot think again” Daddy Ibidun continued switching to English.

Daddy Ibidun once again looked up from the newspaper to look at the other people in the store and as with most men discussing politics with themselves he tried to draw people around him into the conversation.

“Imagine, boko-haram attacked two state capitals and all our president could do is condemn, condole and promise to stop the insurgency” he said staring directly at Hip-Pop.

Hip-Pop looked like he wasn’t interested in the conversation. Daddy Ibidun felt that was one of the problems with Nigeria. The youth who are the future of the country didn’t seem to be interested in the future of the country. His own children had absolutely no interest in politics despite all his tricks to get them interested. Hip-Pop seemed to be like most other youth.

“President of the dead and the dying” Daddy Ibidun said as he looked down at his newspaper to continue reading.

Hip-Pop answered him this time.

“I am neither dead nor dying sir” Hip-Pop said.

“So you think Jonathan is not killing Nigerians?” Daddy Ibidun said folding the newspaper and putting it down. This youth might still be redeemable from political apathy, he thought.

“Sir the president is trying his best it is not easy to govern a local government let alone a whole country” Hip-Pop said.

That was another problem, Daddy Ibidun thought. With the general poor performance of politicians it was easy to confuse gullible people especially young people into believing that the president was doing his best. If Jonathan knew he couldn’t manage a local government, why did he contest for the presidency?

“Well, his best is not good enough” Daddy Ibidun said to school the youth.

That was when Hip-Pop proved that he knew about some national issues, albeit just a little.

“A president who stopped ebola from spreading all over the country, a president who transformed the agriculture sector, a president that brought trains back to Nigeria, the man built 9 new federal universities, he built 125 almajiri schools to help those backward northerners. In fact during his presidency guinea worm was eradicated in Nigeria and polio cases reduced from over fifty in last year to just four in this year”. Hip-Pop said with passion.

Daddy Ibidun was impressed a bit. The young man had a few facts wrong but he tried anyway. He was now convinced that Hip-Pop was one of those Jonathan supporters. Maybe his parents were members of the same political party as the president.

Apparently the young man wasn’t done reeling out the miserly achievements of the president.

“Sir, I am just coming from Lagos and I witnessed the massive repair work going on at Lagos-Ibadan expressway, a road that had been abandoned for years, in Lagos, Apapa-Oshodi expressway is also undergoing massive repairs, go to the airports and see transformation, the whole of eastern Nigeria had no international airport until Jonathan upgraded Enugu airport, work has started on the second Niger bridge and the dredging of River Niger up to Lokoja is almost complete.”

Well, this young man was obviously interested in what was going on in his country even if he did make some mistakes. Daddy Ibidun took it upon himself to correct the mistakes in Hip-Pops mind.

 

“My friend your first statement is wrong, it was Fashola that stopped ebola jor” Daddy Ibidun said smiling.

“Was it Fashola that stopped it in Port-Harcourt also?” Hip-Pop asked.

“That was Ameachi” Daddy Ibidun replied still smiling. “Young man, you seem to like this Jonathan man abi?” Daddy Ibidun continued. “Oya let me counter you”. Daddy Ibidun adjusted himself on the chair and leaned forward.

“First of all, if not for Fashola and his Lagos people ebola would have finished us in the country.” The smirk didn’t seem ready to leave his face. “Now, let’s talk about the economy. Do you know the current exchange rate for the dollar? Do you know the price of crude oil? This government has managed this economy so badly. They have even spent all the money Obasanjo saved yet there is no improvement in the life of the common man. You talk about airports, go to MMA1 and see how bad it is, I hear the place now smells because the ACs are bad and the toilets are not cleaned regularly. That is our number one airport o” Daddy Ibidun paused to ensure Hip-Pop was following him.

“Let me continue. All these transformation they keep talking about, where is the transformation?” Scarface paused once again for effect. ”Do you know that in 2013 Jonathan went to CNN and told the world that by December there would be stable electricity in Nigeria. That was last year o, 2014 is about to end still no light.” Daddy Ibidun said before another pause. If the young man didn’t get anything from this encounter at least his confidence in the presidents achievements would be shaken.

“That is not all, two hundred and something girls were abducted since April and their president did not even bother. It was not until that Malala girl came to Nigeria that he decided to meet their parents. Is that a president?”  Daddy Ibidun said, this time referring to the article he read in the newspaper.

“That is Borno State governments fault o” Hip-pop finally found his voice.

“Even if their abduction was the fault of Borno States government, Jonathan as president should have mobilised all available resources to rescue them as soon as possible. But no, he would just sit in Abuja and continue to condemn, condole and promise. Now another almost 200 women and children were abducted which you should know, except you don’t read the paper” Daddy Ibidun countered. The young man seemed to desperately want to hold on to his belief in the president and this made Daddy Ibidun smile all the more.

“That’s not all o. All those road works you mentioned are just patch patch work if you don’t know. Other governments have done it before, give them one year, the pot holes will return. The agriculture one too, has it reduced the price of yam in the market?” Daddy Ibidun continued. The young man was now obviously confused.

“Answer na!” he continued. “Do you know when last federal workers were paid?”  He was ready to inform the young man that he himself hadn’t been paid his salary since October.

“Sir, which government has done YOUWIN for the youths of this country?” the young man asked in a last ditch effort to hold on to something worthy about the president.

They were presently not talking about YOUWIN but if the young man wanted to talk about Jonathan’s government and its effects on the youth, well he had some lessons to teach the young man.

While both men argued back and forth, neither noticed Kemi who was in the store with them. After selling the bottle of water to Hip-Pop she had picked up her phone and was busy with it. When the men started arguing politics she plugged the ear-phones connected to the phone in her ears. She hated politics and couldn’t didn’t like the fact that her dad liked to argue politics so much.

“You want to talk about youth employment abi? Do you know about the youths that died during the immigration interview?” Daddy Ibidun said.

This time Kemi looked up. She had a worried look on her face as he mentioned the interview. He felt if that was what it would take to get her to realise that the present government had a hand in her sisters’ death then he would talk about it. Maybe it was time to finally discuss the event and confront the hurt it caused their family.

“That was an unfortunate incident sir” Hip-Pop retorted.

That was the same phrase the government had used to describe it. An event that took the life of his first child and other young Nigerians was nothing more than an unfortunate incident to Jonathan and his apologists. This really got on his nerves.

“Unfortunate incident?” Daddy Ibidun asked getting up from his seat. “You call a poorly planned exercise where millions of applicants were packed like sardines into venues to write an exam at the same time and they had to climb on each other just to breathe an unfortunate incident?” he continued. The young man and his stubborn support for Jonathan had really begun to annoy him.

“Those youths were unruly, all they had to do was be patient” Hip-Pop said raising his voice.

Now, Daddy Ibidun was really angry.

“You said?” He asked. Was this American gangsta wannabe saying his own Ibidun was unruly. Was this good for nothing scum of the earth saying his precious daughter caused her own death.

He didn’t notice that Kemi had gotten up from her seat was approaching him to calm him down. His fury was targeted at this sorry excuse for a human standing in front of him. In his mind the young man was the government and all the evil it represented.

“I said they were UNRULY” – Hip-Pop said.

That’s when Daddy Ibidun lost it.

“GERROOUT!”  He screamed.

Kemi quickly rushed to her fathers side to hold him and try to calm him down.

“Daddy, please calm down” she said holding his arm. “Daddy, e jor e ma binu” she continued trying to get her father away from the young man.

Daddy Ibidun collapsed into his chair and buried his face in his hands. It was like the emotional torture of ibiduns death suddenly washed over him and consumed him.

The young man suddenly looked dazed and made to get away as fast as possible.

Daddy Ibidun realised that his anger was misplaced and this young man had no hand in his daughters death. He decided to make amends before the young man left.

“I’m sorry” he said. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you”.

Kemi went to the young man and explained her sisters death to him.

“My sister was one of those that died during the Immigrations recruitment exercise, we haven’t fully recovered from the shock and my dad was worst hit” she said sadly.

“Oh my God” Hip-Pop said looking from Kemi to Daddy Ibidun. “I’m so sorry sir”.

“No, I should apologise, I shouldn’t have brought up the topic” Daddy Ibidun said. He really shouldn’t have brought up the topic. The pain was still fresh in heart and there was no point stirring it up over again.

“I am Nonso sir” Hip-Pop said stretching out his hands to shake Daddy Ibidun.

“Mr Kamorudeen” Daddy Ibidun replied as he grasped Nonso’s outstretched hand.

At that moment Mr Kamorudeen looked into Nonso eyes and it was like he could see into the young man’s soul. He didn’t see a visionless youth, he didn’t see a stubborn Jonathan defender. He saw hope for the future of Nigeria.


Dr Fada Fajuitan is a writer and medical doctor with a passion for Nigeria. You can follow him on twitter @ireloju.

 

Disclaimer: This story and the opinions expressed are those of the writer alone and do not represent the views of the owner of the blog as this blog maintains its political neutrality. The youth are the future of Nigeria, your vote counts! We pray for a free and fair and most importantly peaceful election this year…MizChutzpah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Urban Culture

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lagos traffic…the never ending story!

  Sorry I’ve been off radar for a while. The hassle of moving towns, getting a new job and developing a whole new routine got me busy as a bee with my mind doing cartwheels. I still had time for a mini-vacation in Benin tho’. 😉 That town does things for me that the hustle and bustle of Lagos could never do. Everybody needs a rustic getaway every once in a while, won’t call it a vacation per se cos vacations imply laulau spending and please note I wasn’t talking about your village, that would be too cliche! 😉

Of course I’m gonna miss Abuja and all the family and friends I left behind not to mention the peace and quiet and obvious laid back attitude everyone has. Even the hustle is done in slow motion unlike Lagos. Too bad Boko Haram has got everyone there living in fear. Every public place has become a checkpoint for our Naija bomb squad. Even women’s handbags are no more sacred, they get to be brutally ransacked when visiting some government offices. I heard the outgoing corpers in Abuja won’t be getting a POP in Abuja for security reasons, ah well they are better off stressed than dead. Was reading in the papers that MEND sent a letter that they plan to bomb Eagle’s square on Independence day and I found it amusing. The MEND group like a second wife are obviously bemused that Boko Haram has stolen all their shine and public spotlight. I guess no matter how full of terror a terrorist is, he still needs attention like a diva on a red carpet! 😉 May God protect us all as MEND and Boko Haram fight over the coveted most feared position this Independence day. Truly I pray for a peaceful 1st of October. Enough lives have been lost and our land stinks of shed blood. GEJ we need to get you some Redbull so you can put more energy into curbing this menace. Meanwhile your people are solidly behind you.

One thing that will always make Abuja seem attractive to me is the lack of traffic. It took me more than an hour to go from Ozone cinemas to UNILAG yesterday and I silently told myself ‘Welcome to Lasgidi!!!’ Anyone who lives in a major city knows there’s a price to pay. Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, motorist or molue-ist every morning, every evening and sometimes in the afternoon just when the sun is hottest, the combo of blazing sun, blaring horns and speedometers reading 20km/hr (sometimes less) is as common as NEPA taking light and the sacrifice you pay for being urban!

I thought about making a list of the things that cause traffic, but that wouldn’t be quite an interesting list since the causes are usually the same. The biggest in my opinion being some impatient person usually a danfo driver who breaks a traffic law, tries to overtake and ends up facing on-coming vehicles and has his band of follow-follow goons behind him thereby causing a traffic jam cos the cars can neither move forward nor backwards. Other common causes are jalopies breaking down, flat tyres, LASTMA and MOPO picking the wrong time to do their jobs, accidents, floods, bad roads, armed-robbers and pedestrians competing with cars for road space. Many times the people would prefer to sit in their cars cussing and complaining rather than getting out of the car and tryna solve the problem. Thank goodness for the Lagos agberos who are God-sent for such a time as this. They immediately take on the role of traffic-warden aka yellow fever when the uniformed, pot-bellied men have gone AWOL!

So, instead I thought about the funny stuff you see people do in their cars or while sitting in a bus, when stuck in a traffic jam, things that you’d only see done in Lagos traffic! Naija 😉 Here are my top ten!
10.) Pinging/Tweeting: Since blackberries became pure water, Lagosians have made it their duty to update their status or tweet about traffic. Giving a second by second account of how hot or annoyed or late you are thanks to traffic has become the most common Lagos status update followed by ‘MTN ooooh’ and ‘Nepa please bring light’ and of course the occasional ‘Baba God noni!’ Usually one eye is on the phone and the other eye on the lookout for LASTMA or theiving agberos depending on your current location!
9.) Get out of the car to see what’s going on. This is a favorite for most men in traffic. They usually do it for aproko reasons though a select few do it to go pee in the gutter or hail the gala man or fan ice-cream seller for some quick chops! Usually they aggravate traffic cos they are not in the car when the cars begin to move leading to more horns honking. Other times, they cause unnecessary panic by peddling false rumours i.e thieves operating in front!
8.) Become the DJ of Club ‘Eko bridge’. Yeah everyone has a radio in the car, from the cab guy to the guy in the S-class and when the traffic’s heavy and cars are crawling, radios blaring usually substitute for car horns. From owambe songs to hip hop to gospel to hausa music, everyone has a radio and wants his neighbour to know that regardless of the way my car looks, I beta pass you! Some motorists even go as far as dancing in the stationary car which often looks like a raucous from the outside.
7.) Nose picking. I know all of us have seen this, and most of us have done it. But when traffic is at a stand still, it’s like everything becomes so much more extreme and so much grosser! I guess because you can REALLY see the person digging and scraping and twisting that finger up there and with bated breaths we look to see what will be done with the newly discovered treasure! Ewwww…
6.) Make-up application. No matter where a woman is heading, whether it is home or the office, traffic always provides an excuse for her to look into that tiny visor mirror and re-do her makeup. We could swear that some women pray for traffic to give them some extra time to apply the pancake and to keep the car in one position so the eyeliner doesn’t run when applied.
5.) Eat gala. Trust me if there wasn’t a huge market for gala fostered by the constant Lagos traffic, the street vendors wouldn’t consider it their number one merchandise.
4.) Sleep. Yes traffic in Lagos can be that bad. And after a long day at work, it isn’t unheard of to have to wake the man in front of you with your horn when the cars start moving and he has dozed off. After all there’s no traffic in dreamland…
3.) Honk the horn with all the frustration you have piled up. Who are you honking at? Nobody’s going anywhere. It won’t make the goons causing the hold up in front to get a brain and the noise aggravates the heat so just relax ok…
2.) Make advances. This is ridiculous but twice I have been asked for my number while sitting very bored, in traffic. Usually by the guy in the adjacent car who believes in making the most of a bad situation. I never gave ’em half a chance but I’m sure somewhere in Lagos, a couple are thanking Lagos traffic for leading them to true love!
1. ) Make out. If you haven’t witnessed a horny couple making out in Lagos traffic then you probably haven’t been stuck in traffic enough times at night! From kisses to suspicious female heads bobbing below window level, Lagos is a place where nothing is strange just look and you shall see… 😉

Anyway we Lagosians have learnt to adapt. We sweat less, our blood pressure shoots up less in response to the traffic and generally we have learnt to take all the stress in our stride. After all who wan die on top traffic? It is an evil that is here to stay and we are ready to combat, avoid, tackle and bear it any way we can. Many have resorted to waking at 4am, getting to work before 7, dozing in their cars till work starts and then after work, chilling at city mall or silverbird till around 10pm when the traffic eases up. Say ‘amen’ if I just described you! Ah well, it’s all part of the hustle. 🙂

May God bless our hustle, have a great night peeps…xoxoxo 😉

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Memoirs, Urban Culture

 

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LASTMA is your friend!

photo courtesy dailytimes.com.ng

Growing up there was this jingle on TV I loved, ‘Make una call police oh, make una call police oh!’ It ended by saying, ‘The police is your friend!’

In kindergarten our teacher, Mrs F always emphasized that the police was our friend. We always preferred to be police when playing ‘police and thief’ and after traffic wardens, police were the next set of people I loved to randomly wave at while my mom drove by in her white peugeot 504. Those were the days.

As I grew older and became cooler, I wondered why Lagos didn’t have cops or bobbies, we had olopas and mopos and our traffic controllers were called yellow fever! Why give such disrespectful names I wondered? Did it have anything to do with their shoddy appearances and shifty eyes?

Everyday I was regaled with tales of evils done by the very people supposed to protect us from crime. Tales of bribery, thievery and harassment. I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes. Even my friend Y who wanted to be a police officer back in primary school promptly gave it up. No one wanted to be part of the oppressive lot that asked for your particulars and after asked for your fire extinguisher and chasis number only to beg for something for the boys after delaying you for several minutes.
No one wanted to be associated with law enforcement agents who’d kill a man over 20 naira.
The police force became on the most part a band wagon of half-baked, barely educated riff-raffs who smoked igbo on the job and were as trigger happy as the number of bullets in their fire arm allowed!
There were a few good men no doubt but somehow the bad cops always craved the spotlight!

People quivered as they neared a police check point. Frantically searching for the photocopies of their car documents and any lose change and silently saying a prayer to God and on the flip side, the police seemed to quiver at the sight of actual armed criminals remembering suddenly that they had kids at home and a wife to feed.
Citizens learned quickly that running to a police station for help when a house was being robbed or when they needed a hero was the most futile of attempts.
The Government continued to loudly air on government-sponsored stations that the police was our friend and there to serve and protect while ignoring the plight of the police force, leaving them under-paid and desperate despite the potential risk their lives were subjected to on a daily basis.
Yes the police was our friend. Our friend, the thorn in our side and just another on the lists of menaces to our increasingly corrupt society.
In lasgidi we thought things couldn’t get any worse. Most of us had even mastered how to handle these uniform men and some of them were actually nice and helpful till the governor at the time introduced LASTMA, the force to be reckoned with!

If you’ve never driven a car in Lagos or been in a car that got flagged down by LASTMA, you can stop reading now.
LASTMA is unique because these blood-thirsty law enforcement agents don’t carry a gun or any form of ammunition yet they are feared above the police by majority of Lagosians.
Yes they are supposed to be there for our own good, afterall road traffic accidents have sky-rocketed and obeying traffic regulations goes a long way to ensuring preservation of motorists’ lives but like every common man given power, the average LASTMA guy has seen it, tasted it and gotten drunk with it.
It has become a very lucrative job!
It pays the bills, puts food on the table and pays for shayo whether the government pays their salaries or not.

Their highest number of victims come from the group comprising of johnny just come motorists. Drivers not familiar with the Las gidi terrain, who look frantically for the no U-turn sign and find none only to be shown a barely visible, crooked, half-buried sign by an over-eager LASTMA guy with a wide grin on his face! “Thanks for falling into my hands” he seems to say.
After you stop sometimes you are unfortunate to have left the back door open and a Lastma guy jumps in. Following this are the two longest hours of your life as you beg, bargain, reason, beg again, scream, cry and eventually part with an undisclosed and usually exorbitant sum of money and you never got a ticket cos they make you believe they did you a huge favor by saving you from paying the hefty sum charged to offenders at their office. You feel frazzled and far from ecstatic and the Lastma guy can barely contain his excitement as he counts your hard-earned cash, promptly pockets it and bids you a good day as his mind wanders to Mama Eze’s bukka and the huge plate of food he’ll order not to mention that bringing money home to the mrs tonight means he may be getting some! So yes you’ve given to charity, a bitter lesson learnt and the LASTMA office non the wiser!

I’ve gathered some tips Lagosians swear by in tackling LASTMA!
I call it my LASTMA-SURVIVAL GUIDE:
1. Makesure all your doors are locked.
2. If they flag you down, speed off unless you are on Ozumba where there’s a traffic light every 5 minutes or if you can spot a LASTMA vehicle.
3. If they ask for your licence, always give a photocopy.
4. If they are hell bent on taking you to their office, immediately beg. If that fails, speak their language immediately (please tell me you know I’m talking money)
It costs you less in the long run.
5. Watch your car key like a hawk, they’ve been known to snatch them from the ignition in the twinkling of an eye.
6. If your seat belt is bad put it across you and sit on it.
7. If you see them afar off, double check your seatbelts and reduce your speed. Also look out for easily broken traffic regulations and avoid falling for ’em.
8. If your car lacks air-conditioning still wind up the glasses when approaching them. Some say it is better to keep a barrier between them and you even if you die of heat!
9. If they are in your car and are acting unreasonable, scream at them and threaten to drive to a destination unknown. (I must warn that this only works on rookie LASTMA guys)
10. Pray against LASTMA as you leave your house!

As a doctor, much as I hate to be on their side, especially with the level of corruption amongst their ranks, I must warn that they were put there for a good cause.
Everyday the average emergency doctor sees at least three victims of road traffic accidents and only one out of three survive.
The commonest causes of such accidents are drunk driving, exceeding speed limits and ignoring traffic regulations.
LASTMA is actually here to help.
Better your money, than your life but to ensure they do a better job;
1. Ensure they give you a ticket if the money they are collecting from you is exorbitant. Caution fee is 15,000 naira. That way the money doesn’t enter their pockets.
2. Be vigilant. Some armed robbers disguise themselves as LASTMA guys.
3. Most importantly, obey traffic rules.
-Use your seat belts
-Don’t run a traffic light or a stop sign
-If you’re not sure a U-turn’s allowed or if it’s a one-way, slow down and ask, don’t drive head-on into their hands.
It’s christmas season and Maga must pay!
Help them help you.
Don’t be the maga.
LASTMA is your friend and speed kills!

May we all live to see 2011. Amen.
Have a great day peeps and merry christmas! Xoxo

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Uncategorized, Urban Culture

 

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