THIS OUR ‘FLEE AND FEAR’ ELECTIONS…

Okay, it would only make sense if I say this today. And it’s probably gonna be my last post about the presidential elections.

If you’re hoping for relatively free and fair elections in Nigeria, stick to the cities and major towns. Anywhere else is a sham. I don’t know, the PVC and card reader might help – a bit. I hope so. I also hope a lot of heads won’t be bashed in, in the process.

No I am not going to vote. No it isn’t because I don’t want to. It’s because I can’t.

You see, I did my voter registration 4 years ago in Ukanafun Local Government, Akwa Ibom State, Ward 4, Unit 6 precisely. Transferring proved to be hectic and I’m just gonna chill till INEC gets it right. It’s only common sense that people relocate.

Now this isn’t even the point.

Back then I functioned both as a Registration Officer 1 and Presiding Officer. Fortunately, I had to work in my local government and my village home in Ikot Oku Usung happened to be in the same ward 4. A few people already knew me, I taught their children in school even though I was really supposed to be at the Local Government Secretariat.

Registration was a major headache because people would bring 13-year-olds and you dare not question them. “Corper, nsido, you sabi my pikin age pass me ni?” So you shut the hell up and register the kid. I’m not gonna get my head broken for some town I really had no stake in. No. Once I asked my ward supervisor and he said, “Please do, for your own safety,” I registered em all and ate bush meat while at it.

Then elections came and I was still gonna work in Ward 4 but another polling unit. The man who took us there later called me aside into a Qua Iboe Church nearby and offered me 20 grand, 15 for my assistant and 10 for another official. He said the governor just wanted to ensure we were well taken care of. That wasn’t my problem but hey, if you are gonna bribe me, it shouldn’t be inside a church (I remember seeing that same man two Sundays later at the Winners Chapel I used to attend in the town, seated in the corner exclusively reserved for elders – but that’s a story for another day) I think I told him to hold on and let me finish my job first.

I thought it was just us. I was wrong.

Everyone else had been paid! Even agents from opposition parties who now rallied everyone they were canvassing for, to vote the ruling party. He was their man and it didn’t matter if he was in another party. He’s Annang. They’re Annang. He will get 100 percent votes in Annang regions.

Same thing happened at the presidential elections. He’s South-South, they’re South-South. Their kin must get 100 percent. CPC and AC agents rallied their people to give 100 percent to ‘Their Man’. It was a blatant sellout and i saw tribal politics at its best both for state and national level elections. This was for a governor who only came to campaign and didn’t do shit for those people but 200 Naira per voter was all right to sway them. He’s their man!

So I gave up. Wait up sir, I’m coming for our money!

One dude, came over at some point and snatched the box and ran off, the others pursued him and brought it back “den never put anything officer, everything dey there.” At some point they took the ink pad and ballot papers and created a desk for themselves to thumbprint at will -PDP. It was messy. Well I heard the others did the same at their strongholds. Some dudes were there with cutlasses and hoes, “We dey go farm after voting oga. No worry.” Yes sir, by all means. No, nobody is gonna farm on my head. I don’t live here. I won’t pay taxes here. I don’t have a Chihuahua in this fight. I will siddon look and go home to my family when the time comes.

When we got back to the collation centre, I realised some of my colleagues had been badly beaten for being ‘too stubborn.’ Oh oh, na so dem go kill person for matter wey no be my own? Iyo!

Now what also worried me was that there was basically a 100 grand budget for every polling unit per election. We had about 10 per every ward in that LG – 20 wards, about 200 units. Do the maths, the. Do the same for the remaining 29 local government areas. When salaries wasn’t paid on time that month end, I laughed.

It was more violent in some other areas. Some colleagues lost lives. Over what? Bullshit. Sure it was fine in the more accessible areas where the observers camped out. But in the far flung villages, it was something else. The people didn’t know their right or what to do. And this is why I believe that you don’t wait 5 months to the general elections before sensitising people. What do you have 4 years for?

Despite our reports, nothing was canceled. Not even places where friends were beaten up. They wanted 100 Percent, they got it.

It’s all about numbers and those in the cities don’t really count for shit. Now tell me where the bulk of the voters are and you’ll realise that what we have so far is a sham.

Free and fair elections? Not until we install sense 2.0 in our heads in this country. As for the candidates we have, its a shame on us that there seems to be only two to pick from. Darn shame. Why didnt APC go with Rochas and seal the East? Why not KOWA? Ah yes, she’s a woman with no ‘experience’.

Oshi.

Vote wisely, your life isn’t worth losing for this. Friends shouldn’t be lost because of political differences. I hope we get it righter. Receive sense! Amen.

image

A LITTLE SOMETHING ON MOTHER-IN-LAWS, CLINGY PARTNERS AND OTHER THINGS IN BETWEEN

image

Yeah, smoother and drool over him/her. Why not also pee like a mutt just so we know you're marking territory?

This started out as a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall but I just thought to post it here as well.

And yes, it’s about overbearing mother-in-laws, clingy partners and that type of shit other things in between.

Somehow I realise now, how it’s even us the children and our mom that scold pops that he’s been away from his mom for too long. His maternal family could be a pain and he knew, so he shielded us all with some distance. I remember when mom tells stories of her early years in marriage and how grams would interfere with her other children at every opportunity, including sneaking some girl in under the guise of being a maid.

If anything, I appreciate how she handled it and how I share some of those traits. Ariwo ko ni music – no insults, no long winding arguments or nagging; just this quiet stubbornness that tells the other person to back off. Those early days earned her my grams respect and till date she’s even the one that visits often – more than her husband.

Some women just smother their kids instead of mothering. For me it’s both ways. I’ll run from a girl who seems to be a mommy’s girl too because you won’t seem to do anything right. Nobody likes someone hover over them just because they’re in a relationship with that person’s child. It’s bullshit. If you’ve trained your child well then you’ll have very little to worry about someone who’s dating or married to them.

Sometimes I’m really scared of the kind of parenting we give these days. Always eager to troubleshoot even before there’s trouble. We eliminate every appearance of error and raise kids in a controlled environment – like culturing a specimen in a lab. We forget that we won’t be here forever and this is where I take the Magic School Bus mantra and apply it to raising kids: take chances, make mistakes, get messy. Let them learn but let them know that you’re with them.

If you know you can’t cope with such nonsense, run. You’ll know from the first few encounters. No man or woman is worth that headache and Jesus didn’t die for that kinda ish. Better to have a US drone or spy satellite over you than a hovering MIL.

That said, there are women or men that are like this around their partners (see picture). Makes the whole darn thing even more difficult doesn’t it?

Seriously, check yourself. It might just be that you might be the one that also wants to own him/her by shutting them off from friends and family, people who were there for him before you came into the picture. You can’t possibly make up his entire world. It just doesn’t work that way. They might represent his past and present but if that’s good, who says the past, present and future can’t mesh in this case?

Also, in reverse, who’s to say that the future can’t coexist with the past? It’s all about perspective. You see a husband or wife. They see a son or daughter. Make it work or walk away early. No point tying the knot if you know you won’t be able to live with it.

As for clingy, hovering parents too; sometimes the whole point of teaching your chicks how to fly is that they can leave the nest on their own…eventually.

TOBORE OVOURIE: JANET COOKE’S TRIBUTE ACT?

Most journalists or those who ever took a course in investigative journalism are familiar with Janet Cooke’s story, which is as the perfect example of investigative journalism gone wrong. Her story is used to teach aspiring journalists the ethical concerns associated with investigative reporting. For the benefit of those who aren’t familiar with her story, here’s a brief summary…

On September 29, 1980, the Washington Post published Cooke’s heartwrenching tale, Jimmy’s World. The story detailed the life of ‘Jimmy’, an 8 year old boy who had become a heroin addict after being introduced to it by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. At that time, the thriving heroin trade was devastating negihbourhoods in WashingtonDC. Cooke described Jimmy as a “third-generation heroin addict, a precocious little boy with sandy hair, velvety brown eyes and needle marks freckling the baby-smooth skin of his thin brown arms.”

As expected, the story generated a lot of controversy as concerned people and organisations demanded that Cooke reveal where the boy lived so he could be helped. City authorities launched an intensive widespread search for the boy. However, hiding behind the ethic of protecting her sources and her life from drug dealers, Cooke refused to provide the location. The outrage grew and suggestions surfaced that ‘Jimmy’ didn’t exist and Cooke had made the story up. The Washington Post stood by her and denied the rumours at first but when she won a Pulitzer on account of her story in 1981, they confronted her and demanded that she provide proof of Jimmy’s existence.

Under intense pressure, Cooke crumbled and confessed that she had never met Jimmy and much of the story was fictitious. Disgraced, she resigned and returned her Pulitzer prize. She later revealed that she invented Jimmy due to the high-pressure environment of the Washington Post, which was still riding high from the Journalistic achievement of exposing the Watergate Scandal in the ‘70s.

Sound familiar?

On January 23, 2014, Nigeria and the world at large were shocked beyond imagination by a report published by Premium Times about a human trafficking cartel and the many atrocities committed therein. The report titled: INVESTIGATION: Inside Nigeria’s Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia. Was written by Tobore Ovuorie, who was said to have gone undercover in order to infiltrate the cartel and only escaped in BeninRepublic by the skin of her teeth. All manner of evil were exposed: prostitution, ritual killings for human body parts (two people were beheaded right in front of Ovuorie), organized theft under the watchful eyes of security agencies. As expected, most of the people who read the horrific story were enraged and a rally began for the unearthed issue to be thoroughly investigated by the authorities.

Now, it wasn’t as if we didn’t know human trafficking existed, we just never imagined it at the level described in the report. Horror is an understatement going by the details in the report. The report hinted at some people in power being involved and also implicated the Nigeria Police Force and the military. A group of pickpockets were described as being protected by a police officer and military officer. When crossing the border, the trafficking ring even exchanged pleasantries with custom officers and they were waved through without any checks. After the widespread praise for the reporter and Premium Times for undertaking such a risky venture to expose this magnitude of evil, it was only natural for Nigerians to want the issue followed through to the end by the appropriate authorities.

As expected, the story wasn’t swallowed in its entirety by most intellectuals home and abroad. While some tackled the shoddy style in which the report was written, others went straight for the jugular of the content. One Hassan Gimba was downright skeptical and made his points known on, poet Emman Shehu’s Facebook wall. Respected ‘noisy reader who writes’, Ikhide Ikheloa, after initially hailing the story and expressing genuine concern, took another look and was swift in pointing out the holes in the story which clearly showed some logical disconnect.

So far, the following fundamental questions still remain largely unanswered:

1: For such a sophisticated syndicate, she got in too easy. There would have been background checks. Just entering her name online would have even given her out. Why not?

2: Why is the Nigeria Police silent on the story? Why hasn’t an investigation been ordered already? Ovuorie mentioned one Babatunde Ajala as one of the officers present during the pickpocket exercise. Who is he, does he exist?

3: How can the girls keep their phones in such a situation as Ovuorie mentioned? If she took pictures without being detected, where are they?

4: Since her phone was later seized and she had no access to phone numbers as she rightly admitted, how was she able to get Reece’s number? If she had memorised it already, why did she say she was at a loss as to how to contact Reece when the phone was seized in the first place?

5: If an investigative report is meant to ‘expose’, why don’t we have names already? A governor from the Abacha era was mentioned, who is he? So many ‘notable’ people seem to be involved but who are they?

6: Why is there such relative silence in the mainstream media, considering the magnitude of the report?

I’ll stop at the above six questions. There have been attempts by people from Premium Times to answer most of these but it still doesn’t add up. Even the Editor-in-Chief, Dapo Olorunyomi’s reply to Ikhide didn’t help to dispel the doubts most people now have. A few days ago, texts on the operation surfaced from Premium Times but even those seem lame and their silence for so long has eroded most of the trust anyone has in them.  For an investigative report, why are there very few details that have a certain level of exactitude?

If they’re telling the truth, it’s sketchy. Truth is never sketchy.

In a way, Cooke’s story conveyed a certain (and reasonable) amount of truth on the reality prevalent in America’s inner cities back then. Ovuorie’s story has done the same and while we cannot conclude that it is utter fiction, the onus lies on her and Premium Times to tell us the truth about what really happened. Is it a case of colluding with international bodies abroad just to justify foreign grants at the expense of painting us so black? Is it an elaborate con? Yes, we know we need help – a lot – but if this is the sort of help on offer, then no thanks. We have enough problems as it is and it wouldn’t bode well for an already battered image of Nigerian journalism if these questions go unanswered. Curiously, I haven’t heard anything from the Nigerian Press Council on this matter, despite the level of noise already being made. Is it their way of washing their hands off this story? Either way, it’s not good for them.

We want to believe this story, wee really do. We are enthusiastic about exposing evil in all areas and doing something about it. But if this is the level we have to sink to in order to expose this ‘larger’ evil, is there any hope?

This is not to discredit Ovuorie and Premium Times. They deserve all the applause for this story if it is true but truth is provable and its facts don’t rest on shaky ground. However, what we currently have rests on a seismic carpet as it is. We simply want the truth. It will bode well for them to furnish us with conclusive proof.

Nigeria is waiting. The world is watching…

A NIGERIAN CATHOLIC AND HIS LATIN

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, 

Creatorem caeli et terrae, et in Iesum Christum,

Filium Eius unicum,

Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine…

Sigh…

I’ve struggled, really. For years, it’s been a battle oscillating between Latin and English during Mass and this time around, I give up – finally. Any last thoughts I had about persevering were crushed when I looked at the old woman beside me and realised she was having a harder time keeping up. I think she’s Ibo, guessing by the double wrapper she’s got tied around her waist and the blouse she’s wearing. She had a copy of the hymn book open with the Latin version of The Apostles Creed right before her eyes but she was having the same struggles as I was. Why can’t she just do it in English, or Ibo? I wondered. I didn’t have a hymn book; afterall, I should be smart enough to memorise and mouth off my profession of faith in Latin. Unfortunately, I’m not smart enough.

You see, the first Sunday of every month is an important one in most Nigerian churches. There are a lot of activities; thanksgiving, testimonies, tithe offering, etc. The Catholic church where I worship is no exception. It’s also a special Sunday when the most important aspects of the service are said in Latin, just like the excerpt from the Apostles Creed above which is be translated to mean:

I believe in God,

the Father almighty,

Creator of heaven and earth,

and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary…

Just one wee problem: I suck at Latin. It’s a beautiful language and I love the rhythm of Latin songs and prayers the priest says. Still, I sucketh, like a tornado.

I understand the need to profess my faith in God in church, what I don’t understand is why, on any given day, and at any point in time, I have to do it in Latin. I’m Nigerian, I speak Yoruba, Pidgin English and English – the latter borne out of a colonial past and the need to be understood across dialectical boundaries in this country. So if I’m already laden with a language burden, albeit one I’m grateful for, why do I have to bother with another one just for the sake of religion? Is it because our prayers would be more effective? I don’t know. Anyway, on such occasions, I choose to simply say my prayers in English or Yoruba on such occasions; God isn’t deaf. And I do not need to speak some Latin in church to remember that I’m Roman Catholic.

I’m not complaining, I’m just thinking out loud, wondering if anyone else has had this thought cross their minds. And it’s not just for Catholics, I also wonder if it’s a crime for any Muslim to worship in any other tongue, since all prayers are said in Arabic. I’ve never really heard a Muslim say a ‘serious’ prayer except in Arabic. I do not know why, and since I do not boast an extensive knowledge in Islam, I’ll let it rest here in the hope that a Muslim (preferably a scholar) would be so gracious to educate me about this – soon (and just so that I wouldn’t be lynched for blasphemy, in case a member of the mosque a street away from home reads this).

Now to another small matter -yes I can be petty at times, and this is really petty. But if my pettiness will spin a wheel of thought in some heads, I’ll be a happy man-boy. Why do we bear ‘Christian’ names? I know a lot of people who bear Mary, Grace, Peter, John, etc. For Catholics, we get baptismal names from a list of biblical names and those of the saints. For other Christians, they get their Christian names during their christening (I guess).  That’s totally cool.The thing is these names, to the best of my knowledge, aren’t really ‘Christian’ names. Mary was a Jew before the birth of Jesus Christ. Her name didn’t change. Okay, Saul became Paul but Peter = Cephas = Rock. Now what’s possibly Christian about being named rock? A name is a name, primarily as a means of identification and in our culture, I understand a name is also symbolic. So if it is for symbolic reasons, okay. But if not, why?

Still, what is wrong in choosing ‘Oluwasegun’ as a Christian name, especially when it means ‘Our God has won the battle’? I’ll leave you to answer this. I know I’ve touched on a sensitive issue, or one that can be made sensitive. All I aim to do is to create a discussion.

Fire away…

SPLINTER MOVERS

The log in my eye is a trifling matter,
The splinter in yours offers more to conquer.

You’re angry, shocked and disappointed at the same time. Despite all your motherly efforts, Charity, your unmarried 27 year-old daughter, still wound up pregnant. You’re ashamed. It shouldn’t really be your problem but it is. How can you now hold your head high amongst your peers? What will your fellow members of the women’s body in church say? Your husband isn’t helping matters. His opinion: if she’s 27 and old enough to drive a car, vote and go to jail, then she’s old enough to get pregnant.

You’re castigated in church. Some women deliberately shun you. The Catholic Women Organisation’s leader has moved a motion for your immediate suspension and demanded your resignation as the secretary of the society. She’s disappointed that you’re not a shining example of motherhood in the church. What a disgrace! You feel let down by your daughter and even contemplate leaving the church. Unknown to you, your accuser’s daughter, Chioma, has committed three abortions. Each time, she was accompanied to the hospital by her mother.

Beats me too…

That’s the summary of what the parishioner said about Charity’s mother’s travails once her daughter became a conveyor belt on a 9-month standby for an heavenly package.

I overheard Charity’s case when I was ironing my uniform for school that Sunday evening. Mother didn’t even know the gist was as hot as that. So hot that I almost burned my shorts too; this would have been a bad thing because it was my last good pair. The remaining two were already decorated with a shiny iron mark – like a badge, one smack on the right butt cheek. The parishioner who paid us a visit gave mum the update – the CWO leader’s dirty linen. I know Charity, she taught me catechism when I was nine and she was kind to all of us. I wondered if it was a bad thing to get pregnant. Mom was pregnant a few years ago and it wasn’t a big deal then . Anyway, what did I know?

The next day at school, agony was what greeted me. I was flogged by Mrs. Lucas. Students – including myself were of the opinion that she’s a witch. My uniform was clean and ironed but I had no socks on. Then I was made to crawl 50 metres on gravel on my knees with the others. And that was just the beginning because she was put on gate duty much more often from then on. We hated her – so much that we called her Cyclops behind her back because the frames of her spectacles looked like the one Scott – Cyclops – wore in X-Men.

I was happy when they transferred her, a joy shared by my classmates and many others. She was like a hawk in the examination room. You couldn’t even look to your left or right without being hit on the forehead with a metric ruler. We believed the glasses she wore gave her special abilities. Cyclops was transferred because she tried to slip her son who was in science class, a cheat sheet during exams. Some students saw her and given the beef, were more than happy to rat her out. That was the first time I gloated over another person’s misfortune. I didn’t care; my knees and butt would rest and this was solace enough.

That left me with one less woman to worry about but Mrs. Okome was still a thorn. Okay, I didn’t bow properly – with the back of my head paying homage to her chin – when I greeted her on Sunday in church. Okay, I also had a penchant for hiding out of Sunday school. She was so particular about how children should behave and kept reporting me to my mother. Mum would smile and apologise to her while pulling my ears at the same time. I still admire mom’s multitasking skills. As a result, I stopped greeting Mrs. Okome altogether, choosing to ignore avoid her instead.

Two years later, I saw Chuks, Mrs. Okome’s second son in a fine ‘94 model Honda Accord. He’s transformed into a big boy. He even renovated their house and bought a Corolla ‘First Lady’ for his mother. Three months after I saw him, I was told he’s skipped town because the police were looking for him. I wondered why. I later learnt that Chuks was into internet fraud, one of the yahoo boys.

I expected him to be in the university because he aced his WASCCE and JAMB examinations. He was in the same school his mother taught but he didn’t write his final exams there because his mum wanted him to pass so she enrolled him at a ‘special centre’. I wasn’t so lucky – I had an E in maths.

Today I still meet people like Cyclops, Mrs. Okome and the CWO leader; male, female, adults and teens alike. Like a neighbour of mine who back then threatened to shoot me if I came near any of his daughters again. I’d known those girls since I was pre-wet dream 13 but it has suddenly dawned on him that I’d grown. I understand, a boy is no threat to the purity or innocence of girls, but a man is. Just ask Senator Yerima. We’re cool now, there’s mutual respect between us. Sometimes we cross paths at the barber shop or at the hotel behind my house where I choose to watch the English Premier League matches. On those latter occasions I raise my glass of Heineken and pay homage to him – and his side chic.

Speaking of beer, I remember a friend of mine back in my undergraduate days. Then, he was the closest I’ve come to politics because he’s a politician’s son. He once got upset when his laptop was stolen. For the first time, I heard him rail about insecurity and greed and thieves. I was there so I told him his father was one, pointing to a community newspaper accusing his father of misappropriation as evidence. He laughed about it really hard, clutching his belly with one hand and pointing at me with the other, adding a f**K you in between for good measure. We ended up sharing a few beers amid talk on random stuff. He’s not as bad as his dad. He didn’t have mad moneyyet, or a political appointment.

I’ve got a splinter in my eye and I’m sure you do too. In that regard, we’re not so different; our flaws are what we have in common. But there are those who try to be ‘helpful’ – only they’re not. They have splinters too but they deny it, choosing to focus on every other splinter they see out there. That’s where the Pinocchio Syndrome kicks in because you cannot not have a splinter in your eye – not if you’re human. That would be a lie. To deny the splinter would mean denying your humanity and our error prone nature. In this case, the Pinocchio Syndrome doesn’t make the nose grow uncomfortably long; the splinter does instead till it becomes a log.

I need help with my flaws. I acknowledge them and do what I can to become less flawed and better with each passing day. We all need help. But if you’re going to judge or condemn someone all in the name of ‘helping’ them, you’ll be better served shoving that help up your nether region.

Cast the first stone or love like Jesus? The choice is yours.

WHAT UNCLE FANI AND I HAVE IN COMMON

First published on 21 August, 2013. My little known response to Femi Fani-Kayode’s incendiary remarks after the much derided Lagos relocation (deportation) episode.

I have a confession to make: I’m really beginning to like Uncle Fani Kayode. Since it’s possible we’re going to be on a nick name basis really soon, I’d just refer to him from now on as FFK. He must like this acronym, after all there’s a JFK, an AVB at Spurs, my dear RVP and Uncle Raji (BRF) of Lagos. Oh my, I almost forgot our dear GEJ! Sorry President Jona, you’re not really trending now; maybe that’s a good thing. Acronyms are endearing, so if you get your name coined in the press as an acronym take it as a show of love.

Fani Kayode

I also like his look, his sleepy eyes will fool anyone into believing he’s harmless. But he’s a lion like he once said. Our dear ‘attack lion’, Doyin Okupe is only trying to imitate him. Besides, he looks like a black, better looking version of Steve Buscemi. I like Steve, he makes me laugh. Since FFK looks like Steve, I think I like him too.

See what I mean 😉 ?

I know you must wonder where I’m going with this; please be patient. Some angry person recently said FFK is a drug addict and a Yoruba bastard due to his recent comments on the relocation (deportation) of destitute Igbos from Lagos State. I find those comments interesting.

The drug part caught me. I couldn’t place a finger on it before but it’s clear now. You have to be high on something really special to be saying what FFK has been saying lately. I only hope it’s not cocaine or heroine because I want none of that. But if it’s kush, I just might change my mind. I had the misadventure of eating beans laced with kush once and I don’t want a repeat experience. But FFK’s weed has to be really special so I’d like some of it.

I do not know how that person arrived at the conclusion that FFK is a Yoruba bastard. I do not care. But I had the opportunity to speak my mind on a website that published FFK’s article – the one in which he denied being a person with tribal prejudice towards Igbos. I like the way he cited his credentials of being a detribalised Nigerian by saying he’s had intimate relationships with some admirable Igbo women. Like I said, you’d have to be high on some really special stuff to tell the world the way he did.

I however disagreed with his points on who owned Lagos and all that. You see, I’m from Ondo State but I’ve lived in Lagos most of my life. My parents work in Lagos, the same way I do now. Tax is deducted from our salaries to embark on projects in Lagos and fatten the treasury temporarily in Uncle BRF’s custody. In a way, our money is used to run Lagos. Therefore my family owns a small part of Lagos, at least the half-plot of land we have our house on. An Igbo man can also argue like this and he’ll win. That is where FFK went wrong. He’s almost always wrong though – cue his ran’t on Obama being the Anti-Christ and other misguided vitriolic essays.

I wouldn’t even go into what the constitution says. Femi Falana has written extensively on that. I like the way Daddy Falana talks, always smiling when he’s arguing on legal matters on TV. I think he loves his job, I like that. Contrary to what FFK says about Lagos being the patrimony of the Yorubas, the fact that I’m from Ondo and a Yoruba doesn’t give me any right to Lagos. If you’re not an indigene of Lagos, you’re not from Lagos. It’s that simple. So when people say Lagos is ‘No man’s land’ let’s not take it out of context, it’s more on the cosmopolitan outlook of the city than anything else. To have a stake in Lagos, FFK says he’s half Lagosian; I don’t know what that means. FFK is a genius though, taking the concept of sucking up to a new level; small people suck up to big people, big people like FFK suck up to states. Maybe I’ll try it on a smaller scale with a local government should the need arise.

I’m Yoruba. However, I’m more Nigerian than Yoruba and I do not agree with Femi Fani-Kayode. Yes, Lagos is in Western Nigeria and is a Yoruba state but it is part and parcel of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When the Ibos say Lagos is no man’s land, I agree because as far as you’re Nigerian, you have as much right to Lagos as an Awori does.

Today, we pronounce Oyingbo with a Yoruba accent but Igbos have settled there as far back as the 1500’s. I know Yoruba’s who have been in the North for so long that some of them have chieftaincy titles. FFK and BRF make me wonder if the Mayor of New York can deport an American citizen who is from Chicago. You don’t deport a citizen of your country. I wonder how BRF managed to do what he did while attempting to even justify his position under grounds of resettlement. Maybe all this politics has made him rusty in the law. If this is the case, I think he needs to borrow Daddy Falana’s notes.

No problem, I’ll dust them up for you Tunde 😀


Due to my position against FFK’s opinion, some folks on social media said I’m ‘omo ale Yoruba’ – a bastard Yoruba. That’s where I think the similarity with FFK lies: someone called him a Yoruba bastard; some people have called me a bastard Yoruba. They’re two different things but we share a strange kinship in our social media conferred ‘bastardhood’. I’ll take that.

I’m not a bastard Yoruba. But I’d rather be a bastard Yoruba than a tribally prejudiced Nigerian whose actions will be inimical to the progress of this country. I do not have to say Onitsha is no man’s land; I can live there for as long as I want and thrive there too. My mother was raised in Jos. My great-grandparents lived most of their entire lives there and they didn’t have any problems. We all have to wake up, we won’t be here a century from now if Jesus tarries and don’t be shocked in your grave if your great-grandchild has Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo and even Idoma blood mixed in his/her veins.

I refuse to be a contribution to the problems in this country and if I have to be a bastard Yoruba to improve the lot of this nation, so be it. We do not carry Yoruba passports, but Nigerian ones. When a white man calls a Nigerian a monkey, he vexes and froths in the mouth but what we’re doing now is no better.

I’d rather be a disgrace to race than be a disgrace to humanity. So what if the Igbos did it? Do you reciprocate inhumanity for inhumanity or choose to be a beacon of truth, justice and kindness? We’re deporting each other here and northerner’s are killing your brothers over there. Because of what: land and the rights to it? Does it make sense? I proudly wave my Ondo identity in anyone’s face. Being Yoruba doesn’t give you a right to Lagos; being a Nigerian does. Who’s fooling who?

The truth is, at the rate which BRF is going, it won’t matter if you’re from Lagos or not, or if you’re Yoruba or not. It will only matter if you’re rich or poor. Every student at LASU now pays the same exorbitant tuition fee – indigenes and non-indigenes.FFK is rich and can say whatever he likes but we shouldn’t allow those people to set us against each other while they keep looting and scheming. They spark the flames; we grab the bellows and fan the flames of disunity.

Till this country breaks up (if it ever does), I remain a Nigerian and nothing more. That’s all.PS: I’ll give my kids a lesson should they be rebuffed when making advances towards Non-Yoruba ladies for marriage. They should simply say, “You can run from us now, but sooner or latter we’re gonna hump you. So if we’re gonna eventually mix why not start now?!”