Sunday, February 12, 2017

A VALENTINE LETTER TO MR PRESIDENT


Dear General, 

With adoration in my heart I pick up my pen (well, my laptop) from the basket of love to write you this letter. I have been thinking about you since you have been gone. Daily! I have been talking to people who know people who know you. Almost daily. I have been thinking about the people who have been speaking in your name, clearing their own names in your name. Daily! I have been thinking about the rooms you are in, all of them, the ones we know, the ones we think we know, and the other rooms. Daily! I allowed myself to think about you in a hospital gown, a white man with degrees in medicine probing your inner parts, until the people who speak to the people who speak to you assured us that you are hale and hearty and in good spirits. I am erasing that memory from my mind now, realizing it is not only false, but inappropriate. You are fine and even — I saw the photos online — receiving visitors in Abuja House in London (which, let’s face it, is technically Nigerian soil — and you are president of all that is Nigeria, whether that bit of Nigeria is in Nigeria or abroad). 

It is almost Valentines and there is no word on whether you will be home in time for that or not. I miss hearing your voice. People say a lot of bad things about you and I know this should not affect the way I feel about it you but I have to admit, it is tough. Say something General. Say something, not because I am giving up on you but because you know, this was the deal. That is what love is. It is nothing without communication. I listen to sad love songs and I tell myself, he cares, he still cares. 

I know you know exactly how to make me feel better, even though the enemies think otherwise — they say if you knew, you’d have done something about our economic situation, about the people, grass cutters, who try to come between us. Every family has that one rogue, that alcoholic embarrassment, that pedophile cousin who shows up at family dinners that you warn the kids to stay away from, that thieving uncle whom you allow visit but don't leave anything valuable around, the other uncle who buys gifts but you know defrauded his last office. But we cannot let them come between us. Say something, General. 

Someone sent me a photo of you with someone to say you were in London, to make me jealous maybe. But I know you would never go behind my back to see others. I know that photo was taken in 2015. You would never deliberately do anything to hurt me. 

The guys you are paying to protect all the people you love, they are beating people up and impregnating some of the young girls in our house. You do not approve of this, I know. Making young girls pregnant is not your thing. That is why I am thinking, maybe we need to do something about them so they don't affect our relationship. 

You remember I told you about my ex. I told you clearly that I have trust issues. But you told me I was safe with you. Not to belabor the point but you remember my ex, it was bad enough that we were in a long distance relationship, him always being in Germany and Saudi Arabia and all, but he had this condition and didn’t tell me. Imagine entering a long term relationship and they don't tell you they have a terminal illness. There is something deeply selfish about that. You invest time, emotions and money and boom, the person you thought you would be with for a long time drops dead. They will not be alive to see you mourn. They will not be there when all the people you turned down for them show up at the funeral mocking you with their eyes, telling you: “If only you chose me, you would not be mourning a lover now.” I know you are not like my ex and if you had any thing like that you would tell me. You would not make me mourn a second time. I know that even if it turns out you have something like that and I don't know, it will not be because you hid it from me. It will be because you didn’t know yourself. And I can forgive that. Anyone can fall ill. So, my dear General, say something. You know I cannot do this long distance relationship thing. I told you when we met when you insisted we go out and I told you I was still burnt from the last time. 

Just tell me this London thing is just temporary. That you will be back soon. That you will call me. Or send me a WhatsApp voice note. Or FaceTime me. I do not want to spend this Valentine alone. Not that I will start thinking of someone else. But it will not be good for our relationship. Say something. Or better still, come home. Tell me what is wrong with you. I can handle it. 

Ps. Look darling, even if it is that prostate thing and we can no longer, you know…it is fine. Just tell me. Love is not all about sex. Love is greater than sex. I can find other ways to sort myself out. And no, it will not involve cheating on you.

Pps. In case you come back, shall we talk about the guy who has taken our money to cut grass but hasn't done so? I think we should let him go. And then we can have a nice dinner and talk about our finances. We are running out of food. 

You are in my heart, 
E.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

WHY NIGERIANS SHOULD NOT PROTEST


The president is sick. We know this because of how many times he has had to shut down and go to London. And I blame Nigerians for this. I blame Nigerians for their expectations and suffering. I blame Nigerians for being insensitive and showing their frustrations in public, thereby contributing to the destabilization of the country and economy. We all know that economies around the world are driven by confidence. The more people complain, the more the economy crumbles and of course, because Mr Buhari loves the country so much (that he gave his only begotten retirement period that whosoever believes in him shall be called loyal) it affects his health. The president is sick. Sick and tired of all of this. 

Let me give you an example. If you are a young Nigerian woman hoping to get married and your suitor’s family comes to see you to check your suitability, that is not the time to complain about your migraines or start talking about the fact that you sometimes sleep walk or that sometimes you itch between your legs. You put your best foot forward. If you have a migraine, you put on the best smile and look indestructible. It is not pretense. You do not want them thinking that you will be a health liability. I know of people who never saw their wives without make up until after the wedding. This is not deception. It is strategic positioning. If your wife or husband had told you of all their flaws on the first day you met, would you have met them a second time? Nigerians should not worsen Buhari’s medical condition, whatever it is. (I suspect it is nothing at all, perhaps just all our nagging).

This brings me to the planned protest by Innocent Tuface Idibia. It is insensitive. If you want to discipline your child for breaking your new set of wine glasses or for stealing your car, going to a late night party and then crashing it then suddenly that day the child gets a bad fever, will you still punish the child? Every loving parent will suspend any such punishment and take care of the child, nursing them back to health. Because in the end, you love your child more than you love your car or wine glasses. Perhaps after your child is out of hospital and has gotten better you can raise the issue and tell them not to do it again. It is the same with Nigeria. Mr Buhari has barely changed out of his hospital gown. We should allow him to get his energy back before demanding things like good governance, rule of law, jobs, justice for victims of army and police brutality, fulfillment of campaign promises, or even electricity. What if he breaks down again? What if we drive him back to London with our constant nagging and make him yet again have to expose his nakedness to that doctor? What if the doctor is a pervert? Did we ever think of that? Of the implications of leaving our president naked with a doctor who might be a pervert? God forbid bad things. 

I will give you another example. Assume a woman who loves her husband receives news that her husband is drunk and misbehaving at a bar somewhere. She gets very upset. She is going to give him a piece of her mind when he gets back. She will tell him that if he repeats this or makes it a pattern, she will stop sleeping with him or maybe even leave him. But then as she is waiting for him to come home, gritting her teeth and fuming, someone phones her to say, he has been in a terrible accident. What will she do first? Love will kick in. She will still be angry but she will be more scared. She will go to the hospital and announce herself as the wife of so-and-so. She will take charge. She will pay the bills. She will kneel and pray to God that nothing happens to the father of her children. She will help him go to the bathroom and remind him to swallow his pills. If he is immobile, she will clean him up. She will bring him a bowl to clean his teeth. She will stay in the room all night, when he snores and when he farts and when he groans from the pain. Because this is what she has signed up for. This is what marriage means. This is what love means. After he recovers she might then say to him: if you had not been out drinking all of this would not have happened. Because she is a good woman. Because she doesn't want it to happen again. 


I think we should be like that woman. Yes we are angry. With the darkness. With the army killing Shiites, impregnating teenagers in the north east, and shooting protesters. With the scarcity of foreign exchange. With the scarcity of foreign exchange and seedless grapes. With the silence of Buhari. With the corruption of our grass cutting Secretary to the Government of the Federation. With our inability to know who really is running this ship. With the fact that while Buhari suffers, the first lady is probably suffering too, the other room being empty. But we should not, will not, say anything. We will turn up for our husband who may have been drunk at the time of the accident. We will nurse him to health. We will help him with his bowel movements. We will pray for Buhari. Because we are good people. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

WHY BUHARI DESERVES HIS MEDICAL LEAVE

I was in a hospital yesterday to see a doctor for a referral to a sleep clinic. I think I may have sleep apnea. Also my gastric ulcer is acting up again. The only responsibilities I currently have are writing two books and taking care of my one partner. I don’t have a side chic  to worry about or children to feed. I am young. Yet I need to go to the hospital. Imagine if I was in my 70’s and had 180 million people to take care of (including 469 with special needs). I would probably be doing it out of a hospital ward. So I understand why President Buhari has to take yet another medical leave. I also understand why it has to be in London. Apart from the obvious reasons, allow me to explain why I think he needs and deserves the rest in London. 

First let us clear the issue of London. Some say, why London? I say why not London? The British invaded our country and imposed themselves, their religion and their language on us in a form of violence otherwise known as colonialism. They plundered the land and then they left. The least we can do is outsource our healthcare to them. Let them treat (or manage) our president. I know we are paying for it, but they are providing the service and that is what matters. There is nothing wrong with outsourcing when you alone cannot handle a service. We are providing the world with crude oil, mineral resources, human resources (and some militancy), the least they can offer us in return is healthcare. 

Think of Mr Buhari’s tenure so far. There is a lot that could have made him exhausted and in need of frequent medical treatment. Let us start with the courts. It takes a lot of guts and energy to ignore the courts when they ask you to release a person they claim you have been holding illegally. I do not have children but I have friends who have really troublesome toddlers. The type that wont stop crying until they get what they want. I see how those friends are often exhausted in the morning from having to listen to the constant wailing. Buhari has to listen to wailing from Amnesty International, Amnesty Nigeria, Human Rights Watch, the Islamic movement of Nigeria, the supporters and friends of the journalists that keep getting arrested these days, those complaining about killing of Biafra protesters. That is a lot of noise.  Personally, I don’t know why people think that just because a court has said Zakzaky should be released Mr Buhari should respect the court order. It is just a court and the judge is just a human being. And a mere human being should not make our president do anything. It is a miracle he has not broken down. He is a strong man and I think also the fact that he doesn’t drink or smoke helps. So if he says he wants to go to London and get treatment, I support it and so should every patriotic Nigerian. 

I think China must have been listening to Mr Buhari’s speech when he said he belonged to Nobody because they recently walked into Nigeria with a business card that read People’s Republic of China aka Nobody. Then they asked him to send Taiwan away. And just like a repentant man that has been caught with another woman he asked the mistress, Taiwan to leave his matrimonial home. China was happy with it and I think we will get our 20 billion dollar loan. Any man who has gone through a cheating scandal and survived knows just how draining and stressful it all can be even after your wife forgives you. As a child of God I have not gone through it, but I know people who have. This is enough to wear the president down. 

Sometimes you have a child that is a thief or a criminal. But then it is your child and your can’t throw them away. Sometimes you must ignore them and let them come to their senses. You must let them learn from their mistakes and find their way back to your loving arms. This period of waiting is stressful. You will endure the gossiping of neighbors and the taunts of rivals who never fail to remind you that your child is or was a thief. Recently we saw documents that showed that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation put his hands in the north east pie by using his companies to secure contracts from a committee he was a member of. Imagine the energy it takes for the president to ignore that. Or to ignore the many disloyal Nigerians who tell him about a certain Minister of his who is more corrupt than anyone being chased by EFCC at the moment. Of course these are baseless rumors but imagine hearing that everyday. You too will end up in hospital with high blood pressure. 

I remember once when I shattered the screen of my father’s new smartphone. He loved that smartphone. It was a mistake, not a careless one, but a mistake nonetheless. I was taking a charger from a top shelf and it landed on the phone charging on the floor. My father was upset. The whole incident made me tired and upset. I went to my room afterward to sleep. Mr Buhari’s airforce just killed over 200 people in an IDP camp in Rann. It was a mistake. Imagine how exhausted I was after shattering one smart phone screen. Then imagine the exhaustion that follows killing not 10 or 50 or 100. Over 200 and counting. Please let him go and rest. 


I really think that our president has endured enough. And if we want him to continue his service in 2019 we must allow him to rest as often as he can in London. If Great Britain had any shame in fact, they would be offering to pay for his treatment as part payment for the evil of colonialism. That is the least they can do. We wish the President quick recovery and hope that the First Lady does not miss him too much in his other room. But thank God (and white people) for things like Skype and FaceTime. At least they can see each other.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FLOATING



It is here on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital city that the perfect metaphor for how you feel presents itself to you. It is dancing delicately on the edges of this almost-still body of water called Usuma dam: empty plastic bottles and cans of soft drinks, polythene bags, disposable cups and plates, the condom wrap torn in a way that you think suggests urgency, a lone leg of worn out slippers… 

You say it to yourself: flotsam. But then you think, flotsam is debris and wreckage from a ship so technically the detritus from people picnicking at the dam isn’t flotsam. You like the word, so you use it anyway. Flotsam, you say out loud. That is how you feel these days, how the city makes you feel. Floating, aimlessly in a place with no soul, no flow, no character to its movement. Flotsam, because you feel like you have fallen off the grid and can’t say what you have been doing here for six years. Flotsam, because much of the wealth this city boasts of, feels like the debris from a country wrecked by open theft and corruption- the cars, the vulgar mansions, the money. 

You have always wanted to climb the hills around the dam but they always looked too steep from the ground, not something that any of the shoes you had could execute. You have always skirted about the hills, enough to contemplate its magnificence but not enough to experience its beauty, the view, the thin freshness that you imagine the air up there must have. This is perhaps another metaphor for how you have lived, for too long. Skirting, never really going the whole way. 

Skirting. Like when a lovely journalist you barely knew asked you to be spontaneous and come with her on a road trip and you said you’d think about it. You packed a bag but thought, what if I have an accident, there are always accidents on Nigerian roads, what if there are people killing people on the roads, these things happen. Skirting. Enough thought about being spontaneous to contemplate what nice things could happen, enough to pack a bag and feel the rush of blood to your head, but not enough to leave the house. 

The dam is lovely on a weekday because there is no noise or activity, no lovers looking for a quiet place to fondle, nothing to upset the balance of things. Only glossy colorful wild lizards that you think might be five-lined skinks with bright blue tails and olive to brown striped bodies everywhere. You hope for a snake or a monkey. You walk gently trying not to scare all the things creeping and crawling because you realize you are in their space. Sometimes the city does this to you- makes you forget whose space you are in. Or maybe it is Nigeria, where personal space means nothing, where a person can start screaming in the name of Jesus in a crowded bus, or your neighbor who is fasting can play Quranic recitations loud enough to give you a headache. You walk trying not to upset the balance of things.

You stare at an empty bottle of wine, Don Morris, between two large rocks up on the side of one of the large hills. You imagine two people, or three, sharing a bottle, passing it around, laughing, maybe smoking- you look around for cigarette butts. Maybe the rain has washed it away. You are careful not to leave any stories behind in the form of a bottle or disposable cup. You think these bits of trash upset the balance of things.

Finally you decide, after torturing yourself with thoughts of all the things that could happen- you sliding down a slippery part of the rock and scraping all the skin off your body, you tripping and plunging down to the rocks below or just losing breath and collapsing after the reaching the top- finally you decide that you are tired of skirting; tired of being afraid to die, tired of feeling like flotsam, tired of being afraid to upset the balance of things in your life.

You start climbing. Slowly at first, crouching, walking sideways, gauging the steepness and then increasingly, more confidently, taking bigger strides, straightening. Halfway up and panting, you realize that most of the steepness was imagined. 

At the peak, you find it all undisturbed. No debris. Even more five-lined skinks. And air, the quality of which you cannot remember breathing. Before this city hardened you, you might have cried. This is beautiful you say to yourself but suddenly ‘beautiful’ seems like such a bland word to describe this. You stop trying to describe. And just take it all in. 

You have not just discovered the meaning of life and yes, your problems will still be there when you go back down. But in this moment you feel many things shatter inside you- walls and fears. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of death - for now. In your head you go, if ever I want to kill myself, I know just where to come. You mean it in a nice, this-place-is-a-good-place-to-die way. 


And as you climb down you think, smiling, of all the things you need to do which will upset the balance of things, but which will stop you from just floating, aimlessly: write more about your dead brother, trust someone, love without fear.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

HOW TO ENJOY NIGERIA IN 2017 - A recession manual


Nigeria has gone through a rough patch in 2016. We officially entered a recession and experienced one of the worst shortages of foreign exchange. The Naira took many hits and plunged far below the dollar. A lot of expectations have not been met and many that I know have experienced difficult moral situations trying to respond to actions of the current government. It would be a shame to go through the same in 2017 so I have come up with a little manual on how to enjoy the new year with no stress or moral dilemma. 

This recession manual is about saving. The recession means that our government no longer has the spending power it used to have. It also means that there will be less money that will trickle down from the biggest spender in Nigeria. Saving and cutting down on expenses can save you a lot of stress. Here are ideas on what you can cut out of your life for peace of mind in 2017:

  1. Side lovers: See, I am not here to judge anybody. It is your life and only you can decide how you want to live it. But facts are facts. Side lovers are a major source of expenses and many people, men especially, do not realize how much more they spend with each additional lover they have. You can negotiate with your main partner or wife. You can say no to them especially when you have been together for long. But once that new side lover opens their mouth to ask for something, you are falling over yourself (like investors falling over themselves to come into Buhari’s Nigeria) to please them. It is not your fault. It is nature of forbidden love (or sex). Consider sticking to your wife, girlfriend or partner in 2017 and see how much you will save on movie tickets, popcorn, data for Skype or FaceTime, nails, weaves, clothes, gifts, and even fuel. As one who has recently become monogamous, I can swear by this and how much savings is involved in it. I do not know how you are going to break off from them — as a child of God that is not my area of specialty. Some people I know have pretended that they found Jesus and told their lovers that they didn’t want to keep living in sin. Others I know have told their side lovers (especially ones they were financing) that they have become bankrupt and those side lovers who were there mostly for the money disappeared. The danger of this is that if you have a side lover that has caught deep feelings, then this excuse cannot work. In that case, I sympathize with you.
  2. Pretentious fruits: This is a thing in the big cities — Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt. Seedless grapes, kiwi and the like which are imported into Nigeria, cost a fortune. These pretentious fruits are hardly even ever fresh because of the distance they have had to travel. Pretentious fruits are often involved in (a) above because one often needs this with side lovers. If you cut out side lovers it is easier to convince your main partner or wife that these overpriced fruits are not really necessary and that it is far better to buy whatever fruit is in season in Nigeria. Fruits in season are fresher and often come from around, so you will be buying healthy fruits but also patronizing Nigerian farmers which will in turn grow our economy. #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira
  3. Weddings: If you have done or helped organize [or even just attended] a wedding in Nigeria, you will agree with me that if you are on a budget, no matter what you do, people will still find something to complain about. Unless you give out iPads and Smartphones at your wedding, people will complain about the color of your jollof rice [and say you were stingy with the tomatoes even now that the price of tomatoes has dropped] or the fact that the meat was too tough or too tender [hence overcooked or already going bad when it was boiled], or that the DJ was probably a jealous ex of the bride [and thus played the worst music to ruin her wedding], or that the takeaway packs were too small. Something. So don't stress yourself. Also, if you have been invited to a wedding, do not feel pressured to buy the too-expensive ashoebi. Buy the couple a gift and if they are really your friends, they will forgive you for not being able to indulge in their extortion. 
  4. Walking and car pooling: I know how the people most ashamed and tormented by signs of poverty, are poor people. Poor people are afraid to be seen trekking. Poor people are afraid to ask for things, before somebody will abuse them and call them long throat. Rich people are not afraid to take a walk. I remember once I was taking a walk some people saw me and said poverty was worrying me and I was trekking up and down in Abuja. So I stopped taking walks pending when I would become rich. That has not yet happened but I am trusting in my prayers this holiday season. My point is, don't be like me. Sometimes, walk. It is healthy. And you get to see your city in a way most people never see the city. If you have a car, sometimes see if someone is going your way so they don't have to use their car so that they will also feel free to offer you a ride another time. That way you cut costs. 
  5. Beans: Look, I know the stigma that beans has. I know that if you have visitors in Nigeria and you offer them beans, that will be the beginning of foul rumors about how you have fallen from grace and you are so poor that you offer visitors beans. But see, beans is nutritious. It is tasty. It stays in the stomach for a long time. It is cheap. There is no plastic beans. Don’t allow the devil use rumor mongers to stop you from saving money. God will judge rumor mongers. Beans also helps with weigh loss if you eat more of it and cut out the heavy carbohydrates and starch. Just make sure to balance with vegetables that are in season. 

I pray that as you make those phone calls cutting off those side lovers, God will meet you at the point of your needs in 2017 and cushion the effect of the recession. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

HOW TO SHOW YOU LOVE THE PRESIDENT (AND BY EXTENSION, NIGERIA)


There is no greater subject to write about than to write about love. Because really, there is no greater thing that one can do but be in love and show this love through deeds and words. In one of the holy books it is written: “The one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love the God whom he has not seen.” I know the President is much more than just our brother but this applies perfectly. 

Love does not keep account of injury. However before we talk of injury I must state that with our president we live in a post-injury world. His extreme integrity makes this so. The president is beyond reproach and anyone who tries to cast aspersions on his good name must be deemed our enemy or at the very least an agent of our enemies. The constitution may call him the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and make the buck stop at his table. However, if it is a bad buck, we must intercept it and stop it from reaching his good and clean table. Because he does not deserve to be associated with those who spoil his name even if those people are his friends or employees. 

To show you love the president carefully analyze every bad policy, gaffe, embarrassment and impropriety of government to make sure that you find the exact person responsible. It does not matter that political appointees work for the president and that for as long as they continue to work for him after their impropriety, this might seem like a vote of confidence. Sometimes, someone you are confident in can be involved in wrongdoing that has nothing to do with you. I had confidence in a certain priest who was popular growing up, until it turned out he was sleeping with our neighbor’s wife. It didn’t turn me into a bad person. Just a disappointed person. 

To show you love the president do not distract him with pressure to investigate a certain minister who is said to have financed a large part of the campaigns. These are mere rumors. Dangerous rumors even. He might have been a very good and frugal politician who knew how to save. Also his wife might have been running a huge poultry farm like that of our former president and this may have made them very rich — rich enough to contribute billions to the presidential campaign. And really this is none of your business. Love does not keep account of wrong. In fact even if this rumored minister is corrupt, it is not the president who is corrupt and he has no responsibility in this. Think of Buhari like that my neighbor whose wife was sleeping with the priest. If anything, we should feel sorry for him and his good name. 

To show you love the president, distance him from his appointees who have actually been discovered stealing money. Even if those appointees work closely with him. Sometimes in your office you will have a secretary who committing crime on the weekend to augment his or her income. Would it be fair to blame you for the crimes of this secretary? If your secretary chooses to come to Abuja on the weekend to be a sex worker or grass cutter is that your fault? Then it should be no different for the president’s secretary. I am not saying the president’s secretary is a sex worker or a grass cutter or anything like that. I don't even know if he can still have sex. I am just saying that we must love the president enough to have confidence in those in whom he has confidence. In fact, let us assume (without conceding) that the president has a secretary who is a thief on the weekends, our love for the president would make us shield the president from any blame. The worst case scenario for those who love the president is that they should be upset at the president’s secretary for making the president look bad. Because you can have thieves led by a man of integrity. (But like I said, none of this is the case.) 

To show you love the president you must not blame him for the violence that occurs when the army kills unarmed civilians whether they are Shiites or Biafra protesters. We know he is nominally the commander-in-chief bla bla bla, however he is not the commander-in-chief of the guns that individual soldiers hold. If they go out and kill people while the president is talking to his wife about his daughter’s not-so-royal wedding, how is this the president’s fault? And shouldn't we ask those dead people what they did to provoke soldiers in the first place? We all know you should not provoke soldiers. Even those Amnesty International people who write about human rights and all know this. Love for the president will make us protect him from any allegation. 

Love for the president is love for Nigeria. And if the economy is doing bad in spite of all of his integrity we must trace the root of the problem: the last president. If there is inflation, we must direct the blame at the last president whose poor handling of our commonwealth led to this crisis. And if children are starving to death in the dozens every day, we must wrap that blame in foil paper and yellow-and-black polythene bag and drop it in the lap of the former president who caused the war in the first place. Some times in spite of your best efforts, you cannot fix a broken mirror. But you can still appreciate a broken mirror. 

Love for our president will make us not remind him of his campaign promises because we know that his party was responsible for those promises not him. He is not God that can take all our problems away. He is only godly. He is our president, who can do no wrong, who sometimes may have corrupt people lurking around his office, who may have relatives that whisper in his ear, but who will not let any of these things affect his integrity. And like the man who has a priest sleeping with his wife, we must say only comforting things to him. 

We do all these because if we have not loved the president whom we can see, how can we claim to love God whom we cannot see?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

REMOVING BATS ONCE AND FOR ALL


The ugly, diminutive crocodile that governed the crocodile quarters, Sir Na, had had enough. He was dealing with a fellow crocodile wanting to remove him as crocodile leader and with bats whose main home was in the trees above the crocodile quarters. Even though Sir Na had climbed up the trees when he was seeking the support of bats to become crocodile leader and rolled over on his belly to beg the leader of the bats for his support, he made a public declaration that in fact, all this while, the bats had a plan to take over the farm by blocking the sun in large numbers and destroying everything. Sir Na joined White’s genocidal farm hand Dick-Tai in killing bats, swearing to finish them off and have none of them above his quarters in the trees. 

“They defecate into the crocodile swamps below,” Sir Na said through his burnt lips, “and they want to tie us all and turn us into their slaves and turn all birds into bats but we will not let them.”

Sir Na declared the bats non-animals and said that the farm was a place only for animals whose species could be verified. “They are neither bird nor mammal and they must be destroyed.”

As he did this he kept his ear to the ground just in case the pain in White’s side would become more serious and prevent him from wanting to continue as farm manager. 

Meanwhile there were games being held between farms and the animals on White’s farm were taking part. The farm hand in charge of games, Longman, a cock with a red crown that was always foaming at the mouth, always had his feet entangled by strands of hair or ropes. His walk was awkward and unstable and he was always getting drunk from eating fermented grain. He had no idea how to handle animal games and even forgot to pay the animals representing White’s farm. When they returned, having won the games, Longman told the sports animals that he didn't realize they would come back safe and so did not have any grain or food to pay them. 

“We did not know the journey would be a success. We were sure you would be in an accident and never come back home. We are sorry.”

And animals blamed Longman for being such a horrible farm hand and not White for choosing such a horrible farm hand. 

In the South of the farm another farm hand was screaming over elections to choose the leader of the marshlands and other local animal officials. Being from the marshlands himself, the farm hand, Rot In Me, was very concerned about animals not loyal to White winning local elections. “If they attack you,” Rot In Me told Whitist worshippers, “attack them back, gouge out their eyes and break their bones.” He could not afford to have his own marshlands being controlled by animals who were disloyal and not believers in the religion of Whitism. 

In the north east of the farm, the wild dogs, energized from the recent ransom that White and his farm hands had paid to release some sheep and lambs, were attacking and setting animal quarters ablaze. White had declared that he had defeated the wild dogs but every week, the wild dogs attacked. And the animals in the north east suffered from famine because they were unable to cultivate crops or even buy and sell. The farm hands had closed the markets and no one dared till the ground. There were now more animals in danger of starving to death than there were in danger of being attacked by the wild dogs. And animals came from outside White’s farm due to the stench of rotting bodies and the wailing of emaciated animals. 

“There is a crisis on your farm White,” they said, “allow us help you get food to feed your starving subjects.”

And White got incensed at the suggestion that his animals were dying of starvation. He denied that animals were dying of starvation and that millions of animals were in need of urgent food supplies. 

“No one is starving on my farm,” White grumbled, “they are fine. They are just slimming for fashion. We have a fashion show coming up soon and they are all not eating so they can win this competition that has a huge grain prize. How dare you say my animals are dying of starvation?”

And the animals continued to die of starvation.

And Sir Na continued to kill bats. 

And wild dogs continued to attack sheep and lambs. 

And the cost of grain continued to increase on the farm. 

And all the worshippers of White blamed everyone but White for the deteriorating state of affairs on the farm. 


And all the While, White walked around, hiding the pain in his side, watching people argue about which farm hand should be fired, silent. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

AN ANIMAL FARM CONVERSATION


Aide 1: Good morning sir. I hope you slept well sir. 
Mr President: I did. Just the pain in my side. But I will be fine. If Nigeria doesn't kill me, nothing will kill me. 
Aide 2: You are fine daddy. You are perfect. You are holy. 
Mr President: Thank you. Give me the run down for today.
Aide 1: Well sir, the old man has decided to come home…
Aide 2: He finally did it sir.
Mr President: Look I know I can do no wrong and all, but I am not a magician. I cannot read your minds. Who do yo mean by old man. 
Aide 1: Oh sorry daddy. I mean Sole Woyinka sir. With the plenty white hair. 
Mr. President: Ah Sole! The white hair is not even that plenty. The man has aged. The hair is thinning out. But that is good. Is he visiting us?
Aide 2: Sir, we meant he is coming back to live here permanently. 
Mr President: What? Like forever? Whatever happened to Amer…
Aide 1: Sir he swore to destroy his green card if the orange man won the elections there. 
Aide 2: And the people online made fun of him daring him to do it sir. 
Mr President: Like on a school playground?
Aide 1: Yes sir, just like the people who, bored of two people staring at each other and not fighting, slap both people and say: whoever feels the pain most should retaliate. 
Mr President: Wonderful. So they made him tear the green card?
Aide 2: Yes sir. And he is relocating. 
Mr President: You are sure he is not going to England? It will be terrible to have him here. You know how he doesn't mind his business. 
Aide 1: Unfortunately sir, he is coming here.
Mr President: This is why I said we should increase the data tariffs. It is because these people can afford to spend all day on Facingbook and Tweeter.
Aide 2: Facebook and Twitter sir. 
Mr President: Whatever. 
Aide 2: Sorry sir. 
Mr President: So why did we not increase it again?
Aide 1: NCC backed down after people protested online sir.
Mr President: So, we can’t increase the cost of data to stop people from protesting because they will protest. 
Aide 2: Something like that sir. 
Mr President: Where are we with the rice harvest? Still expecting a bumper harvest like Audu said ko?
Aide 1: Errrm, not really sir.
Mr President: What is not really?
Aide 2: Sir they have predicted a famine.
Mr President: How did we go from bumper harvest to famine? What will we tell Nigerians?
Aide 1: It is ok sir, we will just blame the previous government. 
Aide 2: And worst case scenario, they will blame the Minister, not you. You did not make the promise. 
Mr President. You have a point. And where are we with the dollar. How much today?
Aide 1: Depends on which rate sir.
Mr President: How many rates are there?
Aide 2: A few sir. Interbank. CBN. Special rates. Your rates.
Aide 1: But the Naira is still not doing good.
Mr President: What is the CBN governor doing? What do I tell Nigerians?
Aide 1: Nothing sir. They already blame the governor. They don't like him. 
Aide 2: They are even calling for his sack. So you are fine sir. No one is blaming you.
Mr President: That’s good. What of 2019? Any more rascals making noise?
Aide 1: Your short friend with the burnt lips appears to have backed down for now. No public moves. He is facing being Governor. 
Mr President: Is he still fighting with that man fighting baldness?
Aide 1: Yes sir. They even attacked his office.
Mr President: Who did?
Aide 1: Well we suspect him but we will find out. He has some insane people working for him. Like that Ub...
Mr President: Who else? And don't tell me about that Senate President. I still have plans for him.
Aide 2: Except the former VP sir. But we are trying to get his file sir. 
Mr President: Ok. I will deal with that tomorrow. I will call Mugu. Where are we traveling to next? 
Aide 1: I’ll check the schedule sir. 
Aide 2. It is time for our first appointment sir. 
Mr President: Ok. Brief me on the way. (Winces in pain)
Aide 2: Are you ok sir?
Aide 1: Is it your condition acting up again sir?
Mr President: Which condition? It is you that has condition not me.
Aide 1: I am sorry sir.
Mr President: Sorry for yourself. 
Aide 2: You are fine daddy. You are perfect. You are holy...

Sunday, November 27, 2016

THE RACE TO REPLACE WHITE


Rumblings were heard all over the farm from the quarters of animals who were hinting at their intention to replace White as farm leader. Dissatisfaction was spreading quickly and the worshippers of White were finding it difficult to defend White for every catastrophe that happened. They however adopted a stance of blaming everything around White without ever blaming White. Sometimes they would blame a farm hand for making White look bad. Like the farm hand who was in charge of storing all the grain in a central location, a baboon called Amen Pele. Amen Pele was a disaster and tried to impose rules that would make criminalize the ownership of foreign grains by animals. He made it hard to get grains from outside the farm and many animals needed this in order to have a balanced diet and in order to produce different types of meals. Amen Pele often walked into Whitist worship services to lead prayers himself. When White had a pain in his anus he would bring balm to soothe it and would follow him around driving flies away from his body. Amen Pele managed the central granary so bad that the whole farm was facing a crisis. But of course, worshippers of White were glad that they had someone who could take the heat for the crumbling central granary. Some Whitist priests even called for the sack of Amen Pele while affirming the perfection of White. 

Also, no one blamed White for the massacres around the farm carried out by White’s genocidal farm hand Dick Tai. Even though Dick Tai ultimately answered to White, whenever he went out on his killing sprees, either hunting down and killing bats or slaughtering protesting animals in the east of the farm, no one made the connection to White. 

Meanwhile another of White’s farm hands, a blind mouse called Dan Daudu had declared that although he had promised a bumper harvest of grain, there was in fact evidence to show that in the coming year, animals were going to starve. Everyone was angry at this farm hand and made fun of his half shut eye but no one made the connection to White. Instead animals who could began making preparations for an eventual period of starvation. 

All of this made it possible for White to still retain some popularity in spite of the farm crumbling. He was still the messiah who saved the farm from Goodhead and his reckless friends who were about to set the farm ablaze. White was still god and Master, Lord and Savior. 

The leader of the crocodile swamp, the temperamental crocodile with short legs called Sir Na, had observed the mood of the farm and the fact that animals, crocodiles inclusive, were still fond of White and it would be foolish to try to kick him out of power. He thus began to scale back his plans to take over from White so that when White had finished his term he could comfortably slip in and try to become farm manager. 

One animal, a snake called Teku was trying to take advantage of the fact that the farm was in disarray. He was moving from one animal quarters to the other reminding them that he was in the running for farm manager. Some claimed he was a thief, especially Sir Na who disliked him deeply. Even though Sir Na had rolled on the floor and kissed Teku’s tail when he was deputy farm manager many years ago. Then, Sir Na would go on his knees to say hello to Teku. But he was always in the camp of animals who never wanted Teku to become farm manager. He said that Teku was a thief. That Teku was a wanted animal in many farms. That Teku was hungry for power. Teku on the hand retaliated, saying Sir Na too wanted to run the farm and he he was just being a hypocrite. None of them could see how much they looked like each other. How much their crawling resembled each other. How in the end they both — snake and crocodile — moved on their stomachs. They both tried to recruit animals to shout on each side. 

And food became more and more scarce.

And darkness continued to spread throughout the farm.

And the farm hands of White continued to be killed by wild dogs even though White swore he had defeated them. 

And the animals continued to ignore the bodies of the dead bats massacred by the genocidal Dick Tai.

And Teku began to recruit people to fulfill his ambition to take over as farm manager. 

And White was mostly silent, preferring to speak to animals outside his farm. 

And White continued to manage the pain in his side while trying to prevent the whole farm from crumbling. 

And all the while the worshippers of White, now fewer in number, continued to shout their prayers loudly:

In the name of the White father
And of the farm hands
And of the holy Whitists…

Bless us White for we have sinned
Bless our thoughts
Bless our desires
Bless our intentions

Blessed be thy name
Thy will be done in every quarter among every animal species
Teach us to love your will
Teach us to be teachable
Teach us to trust your will even when your will may not be clear
Teach us to defend your will before it becomes your will
For thine are the decisions, the thoughts and the glory
For as long as you choose to be farm leader


Amen