Monday, December 24, 2012

The Spirit Of Irresponsibility

by Jonas Dogara
Anybody wey dem born for or wey grow up for our country Naija know one or two things about spirits. When I small, spirits na those things wey dey appear with white cloth not very far from you when NEPA take light and the whole place suddenly dey dark. For people wey grow up for those parts of town where you go need to go piss for backyard, na big wahala be that o. Piss go catch you reach the level wey you go dey do break dance, but you no go still wan go backyard go piss because of spirits. Nobody want spirit to carry am go!

As I dey grow up, the whole idea of spirits come dey change. I no dey fear those NEPA spirit things again. In fact, e get the time wey man dey pray make dem take the light sef so that… You understand, abi? My idea of spirits done mature with time and now e done reach the point where I know say for Naija, everything get spirit. Na dem dey run things. You go understand wetin I dey yarn about now now.

Some days ago, I siddon for lounge for airport dey wait for flight and somehow the gist wey some people wey siddon near me dey gist come interest me. I leave wetin I dey read, begin listen to dem yarns. From the gist, I understand say the woman among dem na senator, one of the men na pastor and the other one na top federal civil servant. Dem just dey return from pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The pastor say ‘Nigeria cannot get it right, provided our foundation is not in righteousness’, and the senator and civil servant agree, with plenty spiritual grammar. You go know say dem dey go church well well. I turn look dem and the question wey enter my head na ‘Una done hear about a country wey dem dey call China? What about Malaysia and India? Na ‘righteousness’ dey move dem go front?’

I decide not to put mouth for their tori. Afterall, dem no been dey talk to me. The next thing the pastor talk be say ‘Jonathan cannot succeed until we remove the Spirit of Corruption from public office’.

Ah, spirit! After dem blame the way our country bend on ‘foundation wey no righteous’, dem done move the blame to spirits. I smile and shake my head.

Brothers and sisters, the spirit dey alive!
Plenty questions enter my head and na manage I manage not to begin fire these people with questions. I wan ask the senator how much dem dey pay her every year and whether e dey okay to be one of the politicians wey dem pay pass for the world, for a country wey get some of the poorest people for the world and which spirit possess her when she dey collect that money. Spirit of Greed? I wan ask her who pay for she and her friends Pilgrimage and which spirit possess the person. Spirit of Mumu? I wan ask the pastor, wey talk say him happy say pastors for Nigeria done dey speak out against our corrupt politicians, which spirit done possess am? Spirit of Lying?

Seriously, this whole spirit thing dey turn my belle. The way I see am be say, we done take our religion and twist am into the way e sweet us. Instead of us to take responsibility for our actions, we dey find am easy to just shift the blame. If we no fit put the blame for another person head then we go put am for spirit head. Afterall, spirit no go come defend himself.

I done read for newspaper about a man wey rape a 7-year old girl. When e go court, the first thing e talk na ‘My Lord, please temper justice with mercy. It was the work of the devil.’

If I be the judge, I go tell am say ‘No problems, my friend. We will impose the maximum sentence for rape on the devil and not you. Until he shows up though, you will have his place.’

Another man, wey him wife catch with another woman, no even bother blame anybody or spirit sef. E say ‘I’m so sorry, honey, I don’t know what came over me.’ Really?

I believe say the time done reach for us to begin take responsibility for the things wey we dey do, the things wey we suppose to do and we no do, and the things wey dey happen for our country. Time done reach to leave the spiritual and face our physical. I no believe say na the Spirit of Gluttony go make our president wan chop N1bn food for one year o. I also no believe say na the Spirit of News go make am wan read N45m worth of newspapers and almost N9m worth of magazines for one year. What about the N265m for computers wey dem been buy last year too? E no fit be Spirit of Repititive Computer Purchase!

So, when you leave your motor for road wey dey slope well well and you no put the hand brake on and the car roll back go kill small pikin for road, no be the Spirit of Death or wicked people from your village cause am. Na just gravity and your own carelessness. If you begin insist day you go bring spirits into the matter, then I hope say the Spirit of Truth and Justice go possess the police and them go carry you go court where the Spirit of Toothache go make the judge to provoke and e go sentence you to enough jail time, so that you fit experience the Spirit of Overcrowding, Spirit of Heat, Spirit of Strong Body Odour and  some other spirits wey I no go fit talk about here!

As we dey enjoy this time of the year when the Spirit of Jollification go possess most of us, make we enjoy with common sense and dey remember say we go dey responsible for all the things wey we do. Make we also come back from our jollification with a commitment to begin hold ourselves responsible for our actions or lack of action, and also hold other people responsible for their actions or lack of action.
Merry Christmas.

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter


Monday, November 5, 2012

Gbenga Osowe: You Be Linus?

by Jonas Dogara

One thing wey been dey common for people wey grow up for ajepako area na to dey give person guy name (nickname if you be ajebutter) whether because of how the person been look or because of wetin the person dey like to do. For example, if person get big head, boys go dey call am Edmund /HEAD-mund/, Edwin /HEAD-win/ or one kain name like that. If na the person nose been dey ‘important’ for him body, him guy name go be like Nosakhare /NOSE-I-carry/, for big lips na LIPton, for big eye na Isaac /EYE-saac/, for person with big hands na Andrew /HAND-rew/ and so on.

Some of these nicknames na to hail the person but some dey wey we dey use to abuse person or to talk about the kain bad habit wey the person get. That kain time, the name na to use warn people wey dey around make them take beware for the person. For example, if person sabi thief them go dey call am Tiffany /THIEF-any/. So if the person dey around you, boys fit talk something like ‘Guy, hold ya wallet well o, dat babe wey dey near you na TIFFANY,’ and if you be sharp guy, you go just code and arrange yourself well so the person no go do you strong things.

But the kind people wey their own bad habit they vex me pass and wey I wan talk about na the people wey like to dey lie in and out of season. This kain people we dey call dem LINUS /Lie-NUS/ if the person na man or LAIDE /Lie-dey/ if the person na woman.
We still dey wait for Linus pant to catch fire for Naija

I agree say almost everybody dey lie at one time or another and no be everytime wey people lie e be for bad purpose, but for people wey be LINUS or LAIDE, lie na their way of life. In fact, e done dey their body to dey lie sotay if you ask say wetin be their name, dem go first tell you wrong name before dem go say ‘sorry oh, na lie,’ come tell you their real names.

I bin sabi one LINUS when I bin dey serve (NYSC) for Nasarawa and the guy na senior lie lie person. This guy own problem be say, no time wey him no dey lie and nothing wey him no fit lie about. If dis guy greet you say good morning, you need to check time again because e fit be lie. This guy nack us one wicked tori one time so. E say him carry Army officer motor go somewhere and another officer from Abuja come see the motor begin pursue am. Two of dem come dey run at high speed (like say na Formula1 for this our bad roads) before another officer come intervene say na him give the guy motor. Another lie wey the guy bin tell us be say him sleep on top tree from night till morning when armed robbers attack them for night journey. In fact this guy fit tell you say him dey listen for CoolFM or any other radio station when him enter plane or say him dey there when dem do him senior brother naming ceremony. Ok, I gree say the last one fit hard am small, but you done understand how LINUS dey behave now abi.

Seirously sha, among our leaders, e be like say we get people wey be professional LINUS. For our Federal Government sef, dem dey! Dem no dey fear to lie give anybody o. To lie give ordinary Nigerians na small thing sef. Dem dey another level. Na so dem go lie give Oga Presido sey Nigeria don improve for one kain corruption something-something, and Oga Presido no check well before e come out for public and repeat the lie. If to say sharp people and some oyibo dem no shout ‘Haba! Why una dey lie?’ we no for hear the truth. 

Na the same Spirit of LINUS wey dey our government body na im make dem tell us say Madam First lady no sick and she just go abroad go ‘rest’, but dem still ask us to pray for am.  Abeg, if person wey just dey ‘rest’ need prayers, wetin person wey dey sick go need? All the lies wey our government don give us done make me belief say na LINUSOCRACY we dey practise for Nigeria. We done reach that level wey if you no sabi lie, e fit hard for dem to gree make you work for our government.

Abeg, make I ask some questions sef. Why people dey tell all this mature lie dem? If we no lie, we go die? Why person go do something wey him know say bad come lie say na devil cause am? Where e see devil? Plenty other questions dey to ask, but no need to go there. I done realise say LINUS dey everywhere and everybody wey dey lie get the LINUS FACTOR for their body.

So, before you lie next time, make you ask yourself say ‘this lie wey I wan talk so, I really need to talk am, abi I just be LINUS?

Till we see next time, my name na Gbenga (no be LINUS o!).

Make we yarn for twitter @gbengaosowe


Thursday, October 11, 2012

How And Why?

by Jonas Dogara
Some time ago I get small discussion with some friends wey just come back from Europe where dem go school. As those kind tori dem dey go, everybody dey yarn about wetin him see/do. Some of dem see elephants wey dey fly, dogs with six legs, giant millipedes wey dey talk, woman with three breasts…. Hmmm, make we no go there.

Seriously sha, plenty interesting things come out of the tori, but the one wey touch me pass na one experience wey all of dem share, even though dem go different schools for different countries. That na say for their classes, they oyibo people no dey fear to get up and disagree with their professors or ask dem strong question. And as the oyibo dem dey challenge their lecturers like this, the Naija people mind dey cut!

If you dey wonder why the Naija people mind dey cut, then you no go school for Naija. Because anybody wey go school for Naija know say to stand up for public and disagree with your lecturer fit mean say you go leave school with a ‘Degree Attempted’ certificate o! Or maybe strong carry-over go gum you until you bring your papa and una village chief to come beg.

Wetin this group of I-done-go-abroad Naija people discover be say, heaven no fall down and nobody die because people disagree with or challenge the ideas of their professors. Actually, the professors dey welcome those kinds of disagreements because e mean say the students dey pay enough attention to wetin dem dey talk, to the point where dem feel say dem get opinion. So the lecturers go explain until the students understand, and na there e dey end. Nobody dey fail; nobody dey bring him ambassador to come see the lecturer.

Na my belief say, na because we been get human beings wey always dey ask question, challenge the way things dey and disagree with society and authorities, na him make man done make progress from an animal no know much about him envirionment to one wey fit fly to other planets. This culture of asking question, disagreeing and challenging na wetin the oyibo society dey encourage and na wetin dey cause change be that. Their educational system dey based on this, from the lowest level to when people wan get doctorate degree. But e no only dey restricted to education o. For social and religious issues, oyibo no dey fail to ask question, disagree with wetin people believe or challenge ideas. Plenty examples dey to show how people dey affect the world with their questions and challenges. Galileo Galilei make plenty observations about the earth and other planets, including say the earth no dey flat, as the Church (we be the authority at that time) believe. In fact, dem find am ‘almost guilty’ and lock the guy up for house arrest for the rest of him life o. But that idea live even after the man die and we know today say the guy talk true. For our own dormot here, Mary Slessor, come challenge the idea say twins na bad thing and eventually we stop to kill twins. Some of us wey dey read this thing no go dey alive if not for Mary Slessor work.

For Naija, to disagree with your lecturer, oga for office, papa, mama, pastor or imam or any other person wey ‘senior’ you or dey in a position of authority over you, fit land you inside hot pepper soup. Dem bring us up for a culture wey say people wey get authority over you or wey dey elder to you always dey correct. In fact, dem no dey lie! So anytime you disagree with somebody like that, e be like say you done talk say him dey lie or you wan show am say you sabi too much, and the person go use all the power wey him get to press your mouth close.

But na inside this our culture na him some of the problems wey we get for our country dey. Most of us done grow up not to ask question, not to disagree and not to challenge. Our whole ‘home training’ dey designed to keep us like this. I done hear of people wey their papa dey mess anyhow e like for house. And e tell dem say for him to mess na good thing. No be good thing for any of the children or the wife o. Na just for him! So anytime the guy release him gases for house, everybody go say ‘thank you, daddy’. And even though dem done grow up now, nobody done manage question their papa or discuss am. That na how the matter dey. We go laugh say this small example no dey important, but na exactly with small things like this we dey take know the big ones. As my people dey always talk, na from mess smell you go know shit smell. If we no dey challenge or ask questions about small things for our houses, how we wan take come out come tackle the big issues for society?

For our country e get so many things wey need questions, challenge and new ideas. Some of dem na small things wey we feel say no dey important, and some na big issues. But again, if you no look the small things, how you go take look the big ones? For most state-owned primary and secondary schools (at least for Rivers State), girls must keep their hair low until dem reach SS3. And even for SS3 dem need to follow certain rules on which kind hair dem go fit make. Now hair no be one of the problems wey dey worry us o. But the question I wan ask na ‘why?’ How the low cut or lack of low cut dey affect their education? I know say some of our neighbouring countries no get these kind rules, and I no sure say e done affect the education of their girls. Another one na about Law students for our universities. For my alma mater, the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, the law students always get to dress formally go class. Restriction dey on the kind colour  wey you fit wear o. If you wear green trouser and yellow shirt and purple tie dey go class, anything you see, make you take am! I know say e dey happen for many other universities too. How the dress code dey affect the quality of lawyers wey we dey produce for our country, I no know. Wetin I know be say this pattern no dey happen for many other countries, including the developed ones, and e no be like say their lawyers dey bad.

Make you understand say I no dey argue for or against the rules for these two examples wey I just give o. I only dey ask why. And I deliberately no mention any very serious wahala dem. I wan let you think about dem for yourself.

For most rules or conventions wey we get, reason always dey why dem put am in the first place. But as society dey grow and change, we suppose dey review these rules and conventions everytime. Three important questions dey wey we suppose ask:

(a)    Why dem make this rule?
(b)   The reason make sense then and e still make sense now with everything wey we know?
(c)    Make we leave am, change am or throway am?

I no go belleful if I no mention our religious nature. Religion na big part of our lives for Naija and our Men/Women of God (both Christian and Muslim) na very big influence on how we dey live and the things wey we dey do. I no be Muslim and I no really know how that side dey work, but as a Christian, I know say for a lot of Christians their ‘Daddies and Mummies in the Lord’ na almost God. Dem no dey lie, dem no dey make mistake and if dem talk, na God done talk so. I also know say these days everybody get access to the Bible and Koran and Hadith. That one mean say we all fit read these books for ourselves and we fit engage our Men/Women of God for discussion about all things religious.

Afterall, no matter how holy these people dey, na still human beings dem be, with the same tendency to use their own sense of wetin of morality as wetin God talk. We need to separate wetin God talk with wetin some people feel say Him suppose talk. I no talk say make we fight out religious leaders o, but I say e go good if we ask dem more questions and demand more explanations. God no go vex.

My belief na say e done reach time wey we go throway the culture of not asking questions or challenging. Now na the time to begin dey ask the important questions ‘why’ and ‘how’. If dem dey do something wey you no understand, wey you no like or wey no make sense to you, ask questions. If you get a better idea, talk am and try to change the system. If you no understand how something dey work, ask how e dey work. Maybe you fit get a better way for that thing to work and our country to dey better because of you. ‘Na so we dey always do am’ no be correct answer!

As with everything for life, we need to dey careful and try our best to ‘exercise restraint’ when we dey question or challenge, so that we no go insult or offend people. Because, when people done dey vex, sometimes even when you dey talk true, dem no dey listen.

As for you wey somebody go ask question, challenge or disagree with, abeg no vex. If you no get proper answer/explanation apart from to vex, then maybe the person wey dey yarn with you get point. Maybe the time to listen well and change done reach.

The truth be say, the time to mistake mumu for respect done pass. Make we begin think, question, challenge and suggest new ideas.  That na one big step to that new Naija wey we all want.

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Man Die

by Jonas Dogara
The Pidgin English language na the best language for the whole universe! Yeah, I know say you no agree, but that one na your own wahala. My own wahala be say, sometimes e dey hard to fit capture everything wey you wan talk, the way you wan talk am, or as you for fit talk am for another language like English or French. This na one of those times wey e be like say one language no do me to yarn my mind. But I go try.

Courtesy: Owain Thomas
I no dey happy. I dey sad. I no dey feel okay. My belle dey turn me. I wan shout for somebody. I wan cry like small pikin. I wan do all these things plus many more... But no matter how I write am, you no fit still understand complete how e dey do me now. And instead of me to do any of those things wey dey hungry me to do, I siddon here dey joke with my friends and colleagues, dey smile….

I dey smile, because even inside all the bad feelings wey I dey get, the pictures and videos of the good times still dey pass through my mind. I dey remember the small small wayo (alias magic) wey been dey make me laugh and happy when I dey small; the sweets, chocolate and biscuits; all the message dem wey I always dey happy to go; some of the craze food dem wey we dey chop, like akamu and dried pepper; when I dey learn how to drive, my misperformance dem and the plenty laugh wey we laugh; the stories about interesting places wey I never go and people wey I no go ever meet; the stories of a young man wey dem force to fight during the Nigerian Civil War and when e get chance e throway gun and run leave the fight; all the second-hand Rothmans smoke wey I inhale.

I no be Nostradamus, fortune-teller, dibia, babalawo, T.B. Joshua or God. So, I no fit really see the future. I dey sure say all the drinking and smoking no help at all because dem dey actually kill too. But e get one small part of me wey dey think say, if to say the people wey dey in charge of our hospitals do wetin dem suppose do, when dem suppose do am, maybe… just maybe, I no go dey write this piece now.

On Monday (1st October), I vex for the kind health care wey the government dey provide us for Naija. I show that vex in plenty ways, and one of those ways na to write for my blog about my uncle wey dem rush go Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, on Friday (28th September) morning and for three days, no consultant come see am to read the results of the tests wey dem do. So, on Tuesday (2nd October) dem finally come see am, diagnose and begin give am the drugs wey dem suppose give am, and all of us begin dey hope say e go well.

The man die this morning.

Na the man wey dey responsible for all the things wey I dey remember now and many more wey I go dey remember as time dey pass.

To you wey dey read this article, for how long we go continue to dey tolerate corruption and the corrupt system wey dey make us poor and lead us and our fellow citizens to untimely deaths either through violence (by the security services and criminals) or through a health care system wey no dey work? Till strong thing happen to you?

To my uncle, if you fit read this thing where you dey, then know say even though the country never change now, we wey dey here must change am. I also want you to know say if family go still dey for that side wey you dey now, then you go still be my uncle. I dey miss you already. I dey even miss that smell of Rothmans for your house. And if Rothmans dey that place, then just dey smoke dey go. If money finish, just buy some on credit and when I come, I go pay.

Adieu Bro.

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter


Monday, October 1, 2012

Family Matters

by Jonas Dogara
I never wake up on Independence Day with this kind vex before. But I sleep with vex and I wake up with even more vex. I decide not to write this piece last night because of the vex wey dey my mind, with the hope say with less vex for my mind, I go write well. I done wake up and I still dey vex and I must write. So if this piece no be the kind of thing wey you dey used to from me, if I dey yarn plenty, abeg forgive me.

Yesterday I go Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, the biggest and best hospital wey the Rivers State Government get for Port Harcourt. I go there to visit one of my relations wey dey there. I leave there with tears for my eyes and with anger for my heart. Yes, anger. Dem say we be ‘children of anger’. If I no been agree to that title before, now I embrace the title with two hands and two legs!

Dem call me on Friday morning say one of my uncles dey very sick and dem rush am go hospital. Dem say e dey like say the man just dey shake anyhow, he eye dey shine like say dem use toothpick hold am open and e dey sweat like say e play football. My mama sef rush go the hospital.

I finally reach the hospital on Friday evening, around 6 o’clock to see my relation. Drip dey connected to him hand, and him mouth and eyes dey shake like say fly wan perch on top and e dey try to chase am away. I ask my mama wetin doctor say dey wrong with am. She say dem never talk anything. Doctor order dem to do plenty tests for the hospital, and even though we suppose get Free Medicals for Rivers State (as the governor tell us) dem pay plenty money to do the tests. Now, some of the test results done come out but no doctor done come look the results. The House Officer (as dem dey call one of the doctors) wey actually admit the man for morning, show that evening too. E no come check the patient wey e admit or see the results of the tests wey e order dem to do. When my mama, approach am to ask am if e go come see my uncle, e reply say e just come for another thing and not to see patients, and that no be him dey ‘on call’. Then the guy waka comot. That na how Friday end.

By Saturday morning, all the test results done come out, but nobody come see my uncle. E still dey the Emergency Ward and dem dey give am the drips wey dem dey give am since Friday morning, without diagnosis. I call my mama on Saturday evening to find out wetin dey happen and she say one Consultant been come there with him students, but when she meet am, the man say e come to see patients wey dem just admit that Saturday, therefore e no dey see another person. E finish and e go. Na so Saturday pass, and my uncle still dey as e dey – no diagnosis and no proper treatment!

Yesterday (Sunday) evening, I reach there around 6 o’clock again for evening and na the same thing I see. My mother and aunty done already tire. E be like say make dem slap somebody. My mama just dey talk say ‘It has not always been like this. I bath him. I change him, I do everything. The nurses are overwhelmed…’ By the way my mama na retired nurse, so she know wetin she dey talk about. Thank God say e done finally fit close eye dey sleep. I ask her who we fit complain to, and she say the people wey we suppose fit complain to, na dem suppose come treat the man – the consultants! And if you say you wan bypass dem and go to the management of the hospital, who you go see for the weekend? I just siddon there with my mama, dey listen as she dey tell me about the different people wey done die for that Emergency Ward, since Friday wey she reach there…. So, like my uncle, these people no fit afford to go any of the very expensive private hospitals for PH or fly go Germany like Patience Jonathan, so dem just dey die like fowl here.

Who dey responsible for this kind of healthcare system wey dey set up to reduce our population as quickly as e fit? The government. The governments of Goodluck Jonathan and Chibuike Amaechi. As, I understand, the Rivers State Government just dey retire experienced nurses like say the nurses dey disturb dem! Dem dey retire nurses more than dem dey employ. Also, because of the long freeze in employment into the Civil Service, during the tenure of Peter Odili, dem get big gap for experience between the old nurses and the new ones wey dem done employ now. So we get a situation where none of the State hospitals get enough nurses, compared to the patients wey dem suppose deal with. And as dem dey retire the old nurses, na who go teach the new ones? The result na say the standard wey no been dey very good sef done dey drop well well. For the Emergency Ward, last night with very many patients, na just two nurses dey on night duty. I no know how dem go cope with all those patients.

But government no go take all the blame for this one. What about the hospital management and the doctors themselves? Wetin happen to responsibility as a human being? By responsibility, I mean say if you get job, and dem dey pay you to do this job, you need to do the job. Whether you say the conditions no dey perfect, the money dem dey pay you no reach, nobody dey actually monitor you… e no matter. You need to do your job. If the conditions of work too bad for you, then resign. Why doctors no go come work? Why dem no go come see patients? Why a doctor wey admit patient and order dem to do test no go come see the results of the test and talk wetin dey worry this man or order some more tests? And if you say no be you dey on ‘on call’, why you no go get the person wey dey ‘on call’ to come do him job? And who be the administrators wey suppose dey make sure say doctors actually do their jobs? A few months from now, these doctors go find reason to go strike, and the whole of Naija go divide into two, with arguments for and against the doctors!

Just before I leave the hospital I turn to my aunty and mama and say ‘Last year, una say una brother Jonathan na the best thing wey go happen to us, abi? How far na?’

And both of dem turn to me ‘Na him go come solve the problem?’ one of them ask me.

‘Him go do everything? This corruption no dey before him come?’ the other one add.

I no be stammerer, but the plenty things wey I wan talk begin jump over each other and I just end up with very big stammer. I leave the talk there and take my vex go house….

This no be one of those articles where I go begin dey tell you wetin the solutions to the problem be. I go leave you to think about am, while I go try to solve my uncle own.

If you get anything to dey happy about, then ‘Happy Independence Day’.

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gbenga Osowe: E Go Done For Belle

by Jonas Dogara
Tunde na one of my personal padi when I been dey for university, and I like the guy wella wella. If anybody sick, na Tunde go carry the matter for head; if you no dey class, na Tunde go do photocopy of him note for you and the guy writing fine no be small. E be like say na computer dey type one kind wicked font for him note.

But as people wey get sense dey talk, nobody dey perfect. E get something dey wey spoil Tunde - him no sabi cook! And instead of him to try improve, na so so excuse e go dey nack you. If Tunde cook any food for you, even if na ordinary white rice, comma must dey inside. E no go gree listen to you sef, if you wan talk. Anything wey you complain about, the guy get something to take answer you. If na salt too much and you complain, my guy go tell you say make you use mouth wey no get salt chop am or make you comot the salt for your mind and chop the food. Tell Tunde say salt no reach and e go tell you say make you lick salt and chop the food. The one wey the guy dey do wey dey pain me pass na if him cook food wey no done. When you complain, the answer wey this crase boy go give you na ‘chop am like that, e go done for belle’!

You fit dey wonder sey wetin konsign you about Tunde, wey make I dey yarn plenty. The thing be say, na the same problem wey Tunde get na him Nigeria get. The way wey Tunde dey take reason say e go done for belle na im oyinbo people dey call ‘mediocrity’. Instead wey we go do as things go better, we dey belleful with the attitude of ‘chop (or manage) am like that; e go better after’. 

Na that yeye behaviour dey make us no dey start preparation on time (for sports competition), and when competition wan start, we go begin spend money like say we dey pluck am for tree. See the Olympics wey just finish some weeks ago na. We been dey think say e go done for belle, but by the time e happen, dem clear our doubt! Even wooden medal sef, we no fit take come back (if not for the Paralympians wey comot shame for our eyes). But nothing go change o! Nobody go answer question for how we manage spend plenty money for nothing... and when time reach for next Olympics we go start another ‘e go done for belle’ preparation.

Na dis same mediocrity make ‘small sickness’ catch our President wife sick and dem carry her go obodo oyinbo, sake of say our own hospital for here no ‘done’ reach to treat Her Excellency. Make we no forget how long late President Yar’adua stay for hospital abroad before e die o, and plenty other Naija people wey we sabi wey no dey near our hospitals. For those of us wey pocket no reach to go outside Naija, no wahala, we go manage am like that.

I no wan talk about our schools whether na primary, secondary or even the higher institutions. Na there this ‘e go done for belle’ behaviour ‘done’ pass. Teacher for primary school no go teach pikin wetin e suppose know, e go say e go know am later. The pikin go reach secondary school and the teacher for there go say e suppose don sabi the thing. Na so the pikin go carry ‘undone’ knowledge go university. When e comot for there, companies go talk say ‘Nigerian graduates are not well baked’! Baked ko, fried ni! Like say no be all of us get the fault.

Abeg my people, this na time to begin rearrange the way we dey think. Anything wey we wan do, make we dey do am well, sake of say if e no done, na all of us go suffer am.

Make I go check the food wey I put for fire before e go ‘over-done’ because I no fit say make e ‘undone’ for belle later.

My name na Osowe Oluwagbenga
@gbengaosowe for Twitter


Monday, September 17, 2012

Make We Yarn

by Jonas Dogara
I done struggle with wetin I wan talk now for some days. The question na whether make I yarn about am or make I bone and yarn another thing. Eventually, I decide say I go yarn about am. Afterall, this na matter of life and death.

Since I small until now, I no fit begin count the number of times wey yawa done gas for Northern Nigeria because of religious issues and nobody fit count the number of people wey done die from these problems. Almost every year, we dey get this kind wahala. Sometimes na big ones wey dey cover the whole North and other times e fit be small one just for one town or one state. E done almost turn to normal thing. But, my friends, nothing normal about wetin dey kill people o! Nothing normal about am at all!

Many things dey worry me about our general attitude to these religious wahala dem wey we dey get. I go just talk about the two wey dey worry me pass.

1.       To Stereotype and Generalise

With many other issues for our country, we dey come out and show our prejudice and our stereotypes in the open. E no dey cause fight. With religious matter, na different thing. But because we no dey come out openly as Muslims and talk bad about Christians or come out openly as Christians and talk bad about Muslims no mean say we no dey talk.

When we dey for our house, or with friends of the same religion, we dey talk any kind rubbish wey enter our head. If a mad man from Denmark, draw cartoon wey insult the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) then the mad man must be Christian. E no matter say you never see the cartoon and say this mad man fit never enter church all him life. As a result, all Christians hate Muslims and dey evil! If some criminals wey say dem be Muslims decide to bomb a church for Jos, e must be religious war and all Muslims na blood-loving vampires. E no really matter say even though these criminals never attack mosque yet, a lot of the people wey dem done kill for their other attacks na Muslims.

E no dey hard us to just generalize. When we do this kind thing, we dey forget those our good friends, classmates, neighbours and colleagues wey never ever do anything to harm us before, yet dem be of a different religion.

2.       To Form Ostrich

The ostrich na interesting animal. Sometimes when e see say danger dey come, e go run small and bury him head for sand. The idea be say as e bury him head for sand, e no dey see the enemy wey wan lem am, therefore the enemy no dey see am too. This, my people, na mumu wey done ripe! And this na the attitude wey we done adopt when e come to religious matter for this country.

Since wey I grow up to sabi something for this country, na wetin I done notice be this. Everytime we get this kind problem, nobody dey actually wan engage people of other religions for yarning. Christians go dey discuss with Christians and Muslims go dey discuss with Muslims. Anytime the gist na between Christian and Muslim, then we go so ‘insulate’ the gist because we dey fear to yarn the wrong thing. At the end we no dey discuss anything wey dey really get any impact.

During the Danish cartoon wahala, I been dey live for Northern Nigeria and for my big house, we get both Christians and Muslims. Fear, been dey catch us Christians for wetin fit happen to us, but dat na different matter. The thing wey I notice be say even in the middle of this very serious crisis, the Christians and Muslims wey done dey live together as friends, cook, eat and drink together, play football together and chase babes together no fit actually siddon and discuss the issue. While dem dey kill people for other Northern Nigerian cities and we dey hear the news every day, we still dey fear to discuss am between ourselves, make e no be say we come offend the other person. Dat na the ripe mumu I dey talk about. And na wetin done dey happen everywhere for this country for many years.

The question wey we go ask the ostrich na, because e hide head inside sand and e no see the lion wey wan come chop am mean say the lion no go chop am again? The same question na him we suppose answer for this country. All this time wey we no dey gree discuss this very important wahala wey we get, e done stop the wahala from coming again and again and again? E done stop people from dying? Our own na case where even problems wey no start for this country fit result in the death of many people for here. At the end, more people go even die for here than for where the problem actually start!

Where We Suppose Dey Go

While the whole North Africa, the Middle East, Nigeria and Sudan dey boil because of the film wey somebody make, wey insult Prophet Mohammed (SAW), Twitter been dey also boil for Nigeria. People dey discuss am and everybody dey talk how him sense reach.

Some of the talk dey show how ignorant people dey – both Christians and Muslims – about the other religion. And dat kind of ignorance dey just lead to some general statements wey no just dey wrong  but dangerous! This kind of generalization need to change. If somebody from your village go prison because e thief, e make your village thief people village? Why if one Christian/Muslim talk something e go come be say all Christians/Muslims be like dat? Dat kind of lazy thinking no dey help us.

During all this talk, some people no dey talk at all too and some people dey advise say make people no talk again. Me, I be one of the people wey follow talk, and I go continue to talk. Because, since we already know say our ‘no-talk’ policy never really stop bad things wey dey happen, why we go continue to dey close mouth? E no make sense to me.

Remember say for our country we done gum together with our different tribes and religions, and na so we go dey. If we go live together, then we need to find a way to understand and respect each other and live in peace. We need to begin to protect ourselves from the foolishness of people wey no get our interest as Nigerians for their mind.  Make we begin yarn. Make we begin engage each other. Make Muslims being engage Christians and vice versa. Make we discuss, argue, disagree with our mouths (not with knuckles and weapons) and finally reach a point of understanding and tolerance wey go lead to peace and harmony.

When we, the few wey get access to education and exposure, begin to understand say we no need to dey fight and kill, no matter the provocation (whether na by people we no even be Nigerians or by Nigerians), then true true we go dey on the road to change. Then we need to take this message to our families and friends; our churches and mosques; our pastors and imams; to the people wey no go school and people wey eye never open.

Very importantly, we need the government to come in and do their work. First of all, government get to stop these killings and destruction wey dey happen anytime religious wahala come up. Make government no wait until people done die and property done loss before dem begin to condemn the killings and sympathize with the families of victims and people wey done lose property. 

Lastly, from history, we know say no matter how good our mind dey, e go get some wicked people wey go still want to go out and spoil everything wey we dey work for. That na where the law suppose to come in. Like most European countries done do, e done reach time to introduce Anti-Hate and Incitement laws. Dat way anybody wey use him position as politician, pastor or imam to preach hate to him listeners/readers/congregation or encourage dem to go out to kill and destroy go done commit crime and suppose face the law. Anybody (even if no be political or religious leader) wey come out for public (even for internet) begin encourage hate or violence against a group of people, whether na based on tribe or religion go done commit crime too and suppose face the law.


We no fit continue to dey do the same things and expect say the results go change. We need to begin do things differently if we go solve some of these problems wey we get. The time to begin do things differently na now.  Country people, make we yarn.

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Title Nigeriana

by Jonas Dogara
‘The families of Ntretepe and Ntretepete (no be real names) wish to thank friends and well-wishers for the outpouring of love and support during the burial of our late mother, grandmother, aunt and sister, late Mrs. Eunice Ntretepete.…. This is signed by Right Honourable Chief Andy Ntretepete for the family.’

That na the announcement wey I hear last Saturday, and e nearly make me crase! Right Honourable Chief! I done dey hear titles all my life, but this one na the one wey finally make me holla. Wetin happen sef? Person no go rest for these mad Nigerian titles wey dey make shame catch the person wey hear dem? If dat man na my papa…

Titles na normal thing for human life. Every society get e own titles, and with civilization and education wey done spread round the world, e get some titles wey dey common all over the world. The normal ones like Master, Mr, Mrs and Miss dey common all over the world, for different languages. Titles for royalty like King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Lord, etc. na normal thing for different cultures all over the world. Religious and political titles like Revd, Imam, Senator, Governor, etc. dey. Titles for the military and police, like Sergeant and Colonel dey and we also get the academic ones like Doctor and Professor too. The only professional title wey dey common all over the world na for doctors.

Coutesy: The Vanguard
For our country, some wise people decide say these title dem no do for us. We need more. I no dey really sure when dem decide am and why. E be like say some people wey go school well well, but no be medical doctors, believe say their own professions dem need title too. Or maybe dem just feel say traditional rulers and politicians dey oppress dem with their titles. So dem create the professional titles. No be we invent professional societies and organizations o. Bodies like the the Royal Society of Engineers (UK) and American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (USA) done dey for a long time. But we decide say e get something wey dem never really address – titles! So we address am in a Naija style. Because of that, we get people like Barr. Edem Duke, Engr. Aminu Idris, Arc. John Chukwu and Surv. Adewale Johnson.

As life dey go on, people titles fit change. So somebody fit go from Mr to Dr or from Miss to Prof or Miss to Mrs. Na normal thing. For some parts of the world, when doctors become consultants for their field dem dey change from Dr. X to Mr. X or Ms. X. No be for Naija sha. God go wound that person wey go ‘reduce’ your title! Sometimes too, person fit get the right to use two different titles. The normal thing for other parts of the world na to choose one when you dey yarn about the person. Because you no actually call out or write out all the titles wey somebody get, no mean say the person no get those titles again. Example of this, na the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Because of wetin him be and the kind school wey e done go, e get plenty titles. The guy get PhD, na professor, na head of the Church of England, na member of the House of Lords and Privy Council and many more things. If you actually write everything out, him suppose be The Most Revd and Rt Hon (or his Grace) The (Lord) Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams, FBA, FRSL, FLSW. But I never ever see where anybody actually call am or write about am like this. Na always simple Dr Rowan Williams or Archbishop Rowan Williams.

For our country sha, that one wey I just talk now, na rubbish! How you wan take tell Naija man or woman say e go get title, but make we no address am with all him titles all the time na? Complete rubbish! If you no address am complete, na trouble you dey look for so. If na for occasion, the person no go gree stand up from him seat. If na for school and you mistakenly call your lecturer something ‘less than’ him/her full title, you dey set P with carry-over be dat. So, we dey get title combinations. We dey combine these titles ‘as the spirit leads’. No matter how the thing sound for ear, e no matter. As long as all the titles manage enter, e dey alright.

One of the cases wey common pass na Dr Mrs. I no dey sure why women dey feel the need to add the Mrs to the Dr for their names, but before dem marry dem no dey say Dr Miss. Surely, if Dr Mrs dey okay, then Dr Miss suppose dey fine too na. Abi na to tell the female Drs wey never marry ‘sorry, you hear?’ As far as I know, nothing inside the Dr wey make am man title. So, if a woman get the right to use the title of Dr, she no need any other title to explain her sex or marital status.

The traditional ruler for where I come from for Rivers State been be professor before e take the stool. The first time I see where dem write him name after him become ruler, the title na King Prof! I just open mouth and no sound come out! E dey like say somebody blow me for belle! King Prof! So, with all the military titles wey Prince Charles of Wales get now, when him become king of England, e suppose become something like His Royal Highness, King Colonel-in-Chief Air Commodore-In-Chief Commander Charles, abi? If a medical doctor come get PhD or somebody wey done get PhD already come get a second one, why dem no dey become Dr Dr or maybe Dr-squared? Anytime I see the man name, all I dey think na ‘Oga, no dey greedy: choose one!’

Most of my lecturers for university been be Engr Drs. But e get one wey been no get PhD but na chief for him village. I always dey wonder how him title go be when e get PhD. Engr Dr Chief or Chief Engr Dr or maybe another brilliant combination. I no go bother you with plenty more examples of title combinations as I dey sure say you done hear dem before too.

I just dey wait for na when other professions for Naija go join the title bandwagon. We go get people like Geologist Ndidi Mazi, Accountant Andy Pam, Historian Mercy Daka, Economist Paul Akwanga (to get babe go hard small o) and Chemist Kabir Musa (dem go need to add small explanation to show say dem no dey sell medicine). The sweet part go be how professionals like urban and regional planners, public relations people and agricultural economists go address demselves. And when dem go begin mix these new titles with Alhaji, Alhaja, Otunba, Eze, Mallam, etc.

Somehow I dey feel say if to say the English people never already say ‘Master’ na for small boys wey never become men, Naija people wey get masters degree for done add ‘Master’ to their names! Afterall, people wey get doctorate degrees dey add ‘Doctor’ to their own.

True true, we get very serious matter dem wey dey worry us for this country, and titles no be one of dem. If the country dey work well and titles plenty, I no mind at all. So titles no dey vex me. Dem just dey pinch me small for body…. And when things do me like that, I dey like to turn dem to play play things. So, if you sef done tire for these yeye title dem, then join me play with dem. Drop a comment and ‘create’ some interesting titles wey go fit some Nigerians. I dey see one already - Hon. Otunba Activist….

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter