Saturday, May 31, 2014


Sometimes despite your best efforts at providing the best and transparent governance, electricity, good roads, affordable and qualitative healthcare, and education, there will be persons whose aim will be to bring down your government, sometimes in concert with the opposition party. Enemies of your hustle.
It does not matter what these groups call themselves, or whether they have religious or political ideology. It does not matter if the group uses a cool hashtag or is adept at sneaking YouTube videos to international journalists. What is important is that you quickly, as a temporary but effective measure, blame someone. Never, ever admit that you could have done something to stop it or apologise for not responding to news of an attack timeously. This is a sign of weakness. Jesus did not die for you to be weak.
When there is an attack by insurgents (we must thank the Americans for giving us this very useful all-encompassing word) the first step of a responsive government is to issue a statement condemning the action. It is important that someone Googling the terrorist action finds many headlines reading: President condemns bombing/massacre/kidnapping.
People underestimate the power of condemnation. No one likes to be condemned, not even murderous insurgents. I have no facts to back this but I can bet my three shoes and Tecno phone that secretly, the people who plant bombs get ulcers and gnash their teeth when our president condemns their action.
In addition to condemnation, get aides in the presidency to take crucial steps like blame the insurgency on the opposition. Even if your army had earlier kidnapped the wives and children of fighters and engaged in extrajudicial mass killings during security operations, the real reason any insurgents will attack during your presidency is if they are sponsored by the opposition. Sometimes justice means that you kill unarmed civilians who are suspected of being insurgents.
The opposition is always mean and after insurgents might have kidnapped say, school girls, they sponsor ex-government officials who have withdrawal symptoms from being in power to organise protests demanding that you bring back the abducted girls, as if you sat with the insurgents over nkwobi and moringa juice to plan the abductions. God will judge under-employed ex government officials.
Naysayers may suggest otherwise, but there is really no need to equip the army with high tech equipment. This is a sign of fear and once insurgents know that you are taking real steps to empower the army, they will be emboldened. So even if you give allocations to your army chiefs, make sure it never reaches the soldiers in the field. Also the soldiers in the field must not get too comfortable so you must do things like reduce their rations or cut their allowances in half. This will teach them discipline. That is what they signed up for and if they want full allowances and proper food they should have joined the Ministry of Petroleum. Or applied to Dangote for a job.
It is important however to deny as much as you can until there is full evidence of an attack. If girls are alleged to have been kidnapped, let people from your government deny that this happened. Let them issue statements denying that your army did not respond quickly. Let them deny that your soldiers are not motivated. The key words here: Deny, Deny, Deny.
This is what denial does: it makes it less real in the minds of the citizens. And when it is less real in the minds of the citizens it reduces the work you have to do. And did a holy book not say “death and life are in the power of the tongue”?
Sometimes after a great tragedy you must show that nothing can stop you from being happy. Because that is what terrorists want, to make you afraid, unhappy and destabilized. So if you had planned a campaign rally the morning after a bomb goes off killing hundreds of people, you must react by first(as mentioned above) issuing a statement condemning the attack in the strongest terms while on your way to the campaign ground. Then you must campaign your heart out, dancing to whatever song the invited artist is singing. After all you will already have booked and paid for the music and you do not want to waste government resources by not dancing to the campaign music you have paid millions for. 
There are times when you just do nothing. Wait a few weeks until everyone really gets fed up with your silence. This is why: sometimes the only way to galvanise citizens against terrorist is by allowing them to get upset. Because if you take steps immediately a bombing or kidnapping happens, citizens will be spoilt and take government for granted. It is important that they contribute their anger to national development and the fighting of insurgency.
In the end, after all the denials and condemnations and blaming of the opposition, you may have to dialogue with these insurgents. This is probably the best step in the long run: offering them money for dropping their weapons. An amnesty works wonders and saves you from the stress of dealing with what led to the insurgency in the first place. And really what is the use of opening old wounds and spending time looking for remote causes when you can just grant amnesty? Why are we blessed with oil wealth if not for times like these when as usual we can throw money at a problem and watch it being solved?
For the politician who is understandably too busy to read this article find below a summary of how to deal with an insurgency in brief bullet points:
·         Condemn in the strongest terms.
·         Blame someone, especially the opposition. They are haters.
·         Do nothing. Sometimes silence is the best answer...
·         Only weaklings apologise for failure. Never apologise for messing things up. 
·         Sometimes after a bomb, dance. It improves blood circulation. 
·         When citizens are angry enough, offer amnesty. Money answereth all things.
·         Enjoy the rest of your presidency in peace. Because like Tuface said: "Who God have bless, no man (or ex something) can curse."

God bless your hustle as you fight insurgencies and those trying hard to truncate your hustle. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


I did not realize Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer for the Nigerian Police, would call me out. I did not know setting out this week that I would so perfectly fit the non-specific profile for people who engage in suicide bombing. Until I read his blog. The italicized sentences are lifted directly from his blog titled "How To Identify a Suicide Bomber".
 He behaves in a way similar to someone with no future.
Sometimes I behave similar to one with no future because I do not see any future with myself and Nigeria in it. Not with the things I see and hear. Not with the brazenness with which my country’s leaders make things disappear. So yes, in complete disregard for my future I have refused to get a job. Because I love to write at night and sleep all morning. I love ice-cream even though I have recently discovered I am lactose intolerant- which is a thing I thought was a white disease until I fell sick after taking a tin of milk. I am addicted to Vodka and Red Bull, both of which are dangerous for me because of my weak heart. I shouldn’t even be drinking at all. I only recently stopped smoking, not because of my health, but because my teeth have begun to crack and in this life three things petrify me the most: having children, going blind, and losing my teeth.
His mental state could present clues – his eyes are secretive, he makes obvious attempt to avoid eye contact with the people he perceived to be his enemies and always looking at every possible exit.
Staring. I have struggled with this over the years. It has landed me in much trouble because I used to love looking into people’s eyes. But after three women (and one man) claimed that I had initiated flirting, I stopped. Even my friends agree that I have a flirtatious gaze. So these days I just avoid eye contact altogether.
Also, I am claustrophobic. So the first thing my eyes scan for upon entering a room is the exit. I am all about exits. There is something about being able to quickly leave a room which comforts me. I like to leave when I feel breathless, when someone says something annoying and there is no way for me to say my mind, when the room is too cold, when the room is too hot, or when I still smoked, to have a smoke.
Mumbling prayers – may be fervently praying to himself, showing the impression of whispering to someone else.
I was religious once in my life. Now, I am so detached from religion people assume I am an atheist. But this is incorrect. I cannot bring myself to believe in evolution and other big-bangy things. Again, if you fly in Nigerian airspace or drive on Nigerian roads, you have to be at least temporarily religious. So yes, once I am airborne, I mumble fervently, praying that the engineers did their job and that no one was bribed to let a faulty plane fly.
Sometimes also I just talk to myself. I find this helps me relax and helps me remember when I am in a place with nothing to write down an idea that has just come to me. However, we have cases of mental illness in my family. I have a close aunt who has lived with mental illness for a long time- she mumbles to herself. I often wonder if I just like doing it or if this mumbling is a symptom of something more sinister.
He shows no response to any authoritative voice, command or instruction.
I resent commands or authoritative instructions. It is the reason that I cannot stand the army. It is also the reason I do not see myself doing a 9-5. I quit my first job in a cool law firm I was emotionally invested in because my then boss, shouted at me. Upon entering my office I cleared out my desk, signed a check for one month’s salary and emailed her my resignation letter.
He wears slack or puffy clothes. This gives the impression that his body is excessively larger than his head or feet.
So, I am ashamed to say this but the last time I weighed myself I was 106.5kg. My thighs look like elephant legs and rub against each other. The body fitting clothes I used to wear are no longer appropriate. So I wear size 40 trousers instead of 38 which is my actual waist size. Comfort over fashion.
He appears to be focused and more vigilant on his target.
Because I get distracted easily I tend to need more energy to focus. It makes me look funny.
He will usually have his hands placed in the pocket, around the button of the detonator and ready to set off the bomb at the slightest opportunity.
When I am nervous I put my hands in my pocket. I am not sure it helps but it hides my trembling hands.
He may most likely have a clean shave or low hair-cut especially when he is ready to carry out the task. This may be done to disguise his real appearance.
Everyone who knows me knows that I am always clean shaven. In fact I shave all of my pubic hair. I cut the hair on my head on the average every 4 days. If I go more than 4 days I get a massive headache and become very irritable.
His breathings are heavy and rapid.
Due to my lack of exercise, I am just a lazy sack of potatoes most times. After a short distance I am panting. When I used to smoke it was worse.
He walks awkwardly or clumsily in an unusual and odd manner.
I have been clumsy for as long as I can remember. I kick things and break things. Growing up I didn’t take it seriously until I realized that as an adult I was as clumsy as I was as a child. A friend of mine gave me a book about dyspraxia a few years ago and if this book is anything to go by, I most certainly have the condition. One of the major symptoms of dyspraxia in adults is poor motor coordination skills, characterized by clumsy gait and movement, difficulty changing direction, stopping and starting actions, and poor balance. But then this is Nigeria. Who do you tell, I have dyspraxia? People just call you clumsy or lazy or forgetful. One day if I spend enough time abroad, I will see a doctor.
He looks aggressive, restless, irritable and nervous.
Another set of symptoms of dyspraxia, which I have had for as long as I can remember is easily getting stressed, depressed, anxious, impulsive and/or erratic. I cannot sit still for long and have to rock my legs continuously. My mother used to wonder why I could never sit still. She used to say, in the living room that my movements were making her eye ‘turn’. I have learnt to deal with my irritation and restlessness by avoiding people in those moments. I am also teaching my lover to deal with it by explaining beforehand that I am irritated and do not want to be touched. It is difficult, but slowly, my lover is getting it.
Often times, he may not know the route to his target destination very well, hence he may occasionally ask for directions.
I am horrible with directions. When someone tries to describe a place to me I tell them not to bother because really, there is no point. I just ask them to email or text me the directions with landmarks and all. When I get to the area, I ask for directions. I find that often I have to ask many people because some are just too proud to say I don’t know and give you rubbish directions.
He will usually have an unusual herbal smell. This is as a result of incense used in the final rituals performed on him as he takes off for the suicide mission.
I hated incense as a child because we had neighbors I was afraid of who used incense, and so I associated it with witchcraft. These days I love it. Especially the combined smell of incense and tobacco. It makes me feel like I am in some Arabian palace getting a full body massage. Whoever thought of incense should get a Nobel Prize for peace methinks. 
Ps. I just think that Frank should have done the honorable thing. He should have invited me to Force Headquarters to ask me if I was going to blow up anything, instead of exposing me to mob violence in this roundabout way of speaking. This is not what Jesus died for.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Any country that must succeed has to have internal harmony. Will Durant said “a great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” As one who will be president in 2015, I take this very seriously. Consequently, I have begun mentally drafting laws which will preserve this internal harmony and save us from implosion. Some of the laws, I apologize, I cannot share with you now because I realize that my political rivals also read my columns. In fact I met Dino Melaye the other day and he said in passing: “I saw your tweets (about me)”. I am sure Ebele secretly reads my blog on his Smartphone. But I will share a few which aren’t of a sensitive nature. 

One of the laws I will propose is the “Smell and Share (Plantain) Act”. A lot of damage has been caused in this country by people who, knowing how the smell of fried plantain carries, far away from its source, still insist on frying plantains with their windows open AND NOT SHARING! This law is based on good neighborliness and decency. I am not a religious person but I know a certain narrated tradition in Islam by Tabarani which says the following:
The rights of the neighbor is that when he is sick you visit him, when he dies you go to his funeral, when he is poor you lend him (money), when he is in need you protect him, when he is in happiness you congratulate him, when he is struck with calamity you condole him, don’t raise your building above his to cut the wind from him, don’t harm him with the smell of your food unless you let him have a part of it.
The key words there are: don’t harm him with the smell of your food unless you let him have a part of it. This is particularly important when the said food is fried plantain. It is malicious not to share fried plantain with those who have smelt it. I have done the research and I will quote just two out of the many who have expressed their feelings about this matter. Nigerian-American poet Bassey Ikpi wrote the following on Twitter this week: “Someone is blatantly and rudely frying delicious smelling plantain while I contemplate Milo for breakfast. People are so cruel.” What if Bassey, moved by this cruelty commits grievous bodily harm on the offending neighbor? Would it not be self-defence? I certainly think so. Again, another poet, Ibiene, wrote to me on Friday via Twitter: “I woke up to the smell of fried plantain this morning. It hurt knowing I could not have any.” I cannot sit and watch our country go down this path. 

Thus because I care and I am not Some Guy Called Goodluck Jonathan, I will treat this with the urgency and seriousness which it deserves. I propose the following as text of the Act to be amended or expanded by a committee I shall set up when I become president, headed possibly by Bassey Ikpi:

An Act to prohibit any form of stinginess by persons shamelessly invading the houses of their neighbours with the smell of delicious fried plantain to the detriment of good neighborliness and peace in Nigeria.
1.       A person who fries plantain shall be mandated to share the said plantain with all those who by olfaction have come in contact with the delicious smell of the said fried plantain.
2.       A person commits the offence of Malicious Frying of Plantain (hereinafter referred to as MFP) if –
(a)    S/He blatantly and rudely undertakes the frying of delicious smelling plantain in a kitchen or in an open space and finishes such frying without sharing the fried plantain with neighbors who have been visited with hardship by enduring the smell of the said fried plantain
(b)   S/He employs a cook, or otherwise commissions a third party to do the acts described in 2 (a) above.
3.       A person commits the offence of Aggravated MFP if
(a)    S/He blatantly and rudely undertakes the frying of delicious smelling of plantain with no intention to share the said plantain with a person who witnesses such frying or is in the same house at the time the frying is being done.
(b)   S/He employs a cook or otherwise commissions a third party to do the acts described in 3 (a) above
4.       It shall not be a defence to MFP or Aggravated MFP that the victim is a family member or a spouse.
5.       A person commits the offence of conspiracy to commit MFP if they witness the acts described in section 2 of this Act without promptly performing a citizen’s arrest or reporting same to the authorities.
6.       A person commits the offence of conspiracy to commit Aggravated MFP if they witness the acts described in section 3 of this Act without promptly performing a citizen’s arrest or reporting same to the authorities.
7.       Where a person is charged with an offence under this Act, they shall undergo psychiatric evaluation as well as therapy to discover the root cause of such wickedness.
8.       A person who commits an offence under this Act shall be liable upon conviction to 14 years imprisonment where they shall learn the virtues of good neighborliness and plantain sharing.
9.       A person who is a victim of an offence under this Act shall be entitled to therapy to heal them from the hurt that results from MFP and Aggravated MFP, during which period they will be served generous portions of delicious fried plantain. The cost of this therapy will be borne by the person convicted of the offence under this Act.

Ps. So I hear John McCain denigrated the office and person of some guy called Goodluck Jonathan saying that if he was president he would just fly in, grab Shekau by the beard and drone out all the Boko Haram men. Two things. One, I think it is in order to thank the Nigerian god that this baba who was born before microwave ovens, digital computers, color television, the Jeep, the Transistor or the ball point pen were invented didn’t become president in 2008. There should be a law banning people who were alive before the ball point pen was invented from holding public office anywhere in the world. There are jobs for such people. Library attendants, tour guides for ancient monuments. Not leader of the free world. Two, I just think it is important to have a leader who can still have sex without a medical emergency happening.