Thursday, 25 February 2010

Oh ye of little faith......

Oh you cynical blog readers. Coming here for your daily dose of cynicism and sarcasm in equal measures. Something I like to call cynisarcism as is the wont these days of using as few words as possible by joining two or even three words together. After all how else are we going to save the planet if we cannot even save on the amount of words we use?
Anyway, Yardy drops out of the sky into the arms of the Nigerian army and a specially fitted ambulance and is shipped off to Aso Rock to take his rightful place. In the specially built ICU. Meanwhile, you will recall that at exactly the same time as he was leaving Saudi a delegation of erstwhile Ministers were on their way to check on his progress, say hey to the King and do some shopping. All facilitated by the Nigerian Ambassador. So its obvious that nobody is actually being kept in the loop on this. Even Goodluck was in the dark apparently (well after all Yardy did land at 2.30am and I would expect JG to have been tucked up in bed with his Winnie the Pooh bear and the formidable Mrs JG).

Now this is the master stroke and for you aspiring politicos this is where you need to get your notebook out. Mrs Yard then issues a statement (let's not even fool ourselves that Mr Yard would have had enough breath to dictate that long thing) thanking all and sundry and making special mention especially of all those who had stabbed her/him in the back. For example - the Governors. Now let's imagine how many Governors slept peacefully in their girlfriends bed's overnight after that statement. Not many I would imagine. It was a declaration of war. Pure and simple. This Turai should be sent to the US to help Obama sort out those minor skirmishes in Iraq, Iran,Israel, Afghanistan etc. The woman is something else. I've heard of stand by your man but this is a whole new level. Stand for your man.
So we all wait with bated breath for the next chapter. Does JG cave in at the first opportunity and hand back the baton? Do the Governor's do a quick u -turn and say they were quoted out of context? Does Dora suddenly reveal that the memo was forged and somebody else had signed in her name? Does the AG fly back in from the Carnival in Brazil with a couple of beauties on his arm challenging his demotion? Oh the intrigue of it all!!

Meanwhile, back at the ICU our man lies quietly, oblivious to all the Africa Magic going on around him with a serene smile on his face and a slight dribble from his lips. Every once in a while he is heard to murmur "OBJ walahi". So now that he's back Turai's next move will be to gather all the Alfas together to create a powerful prayer to help bring her man back into a sitting position (at the FEC for example). If the Alfas fail then Chris Okotie, Benny Hinn and other such miracle workers are already setup on speed dial.

Oh ye of little faith. Believe o. This is Nigeria. Anything can happen.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The road to nowhere…….Desert Storm Pt2.

My morning routine is very simple. Wake up. Do abolutions. Pray. Kids off to school. Watch Sky News. Settle down to work. I find this the easiest way to fend off insanity in Nigeria. Luckily I mostly work from home so I do not have to face any of the madness outside the gates…..traffic, noise pollution, aggression, fighting, death etc. No. At home I am sheltered in cosy comfort from the “Real World Lagos” – that never ending reality series – although one must not forget the lunatics called house help who do their best to bring the outside world in.

Typical exchange:
Guard – Oga diesel has finished
Me- finished finished or just finished?
Mallam – finished finish
Me- why didn’t you tell me it was finishing
Mallam- because I was waiting for it to finish and now it has finished finish. Walahi.

The other thing I also manage to avoid by hiding away at home is the newspapers and their various headlines. Unfortunately today I had an appointment which meant going out. Oh the gnashing of teeth, the sweaty palms, choking back of tears (and this was just my driver as I had decided to take the wheel. These incidents never end in a good way but a post on that later). After spending over 30minutes sitting very still on Admiralty Way (the traffic was so bad that people were actually coming out of their cars and sitting on the bonnet – as I understand often happens on the mainland and other deprived areas….. just a joke now. Cool down.)

And so it was that I had the misfortune to be trapped with nothing to do and hence fall easy prey to the newspaper boys. The headline in one read Ambassador : Doctors barring people from seeing Yar Adua. Ministerial team finally departs. Now see what is happening here. Read it again. To translate for you basically what this paper and several others are saying is that another team of Ministers will be spending your hard earned (cough) tax money to travel to Saudi Arabia not to see the ailing Presido - The Yard himself. As in no chance in Turai that they will get within a mile of the man. Not one jot. No way. No how. On this basis some smarter people than me, that can speak Latin and such, would say that this was therefore a travel in futility. Ipso Facto (that’s all the Latin I know) a waste of time and money. A road to nowhere. A journey into the known.

But you smarty pants are not as smart as these Ministers because it turns out that their tax payer funded shopping trip is not actually for the purpose of seeing Yardy at all. No, it is to go and say thank you to the King of Saudi for looking after him so well (I am therefore assuming the Saudis will be writing off the multi million dollar tab for his long stay hence the need for gratitude?) since his unfortunate illness. So there. Oh you people and your negative thinking. Get over yourselves. As if we did not know that we couldn't see Yardy. Of course we know that. We are going to see the King. Soon and very soon. Far be it for me to mention that we could have probably built a world class modern hospital with the amount of money spent shuttling back and forth to see a ghost.

How long this farce will continue God only knows. I mean this is not the first or second set of appointed delegates to make the journey out into the Saudi desert and come back with nothing but gold trinkets, lace and other banned goods. I suspect though that this is just the beginning. I envisage a day when all Nigerian citizens will be required to go out to Saudi Arabia to see for themselves (after all the Ministers and other despots obviously) the way things are going. We might even have to break into the hospital, force our way in past security, protocol and the most sophisticated defense mechanism we have ever seen –Turai the Tiger. It will be a case of Desert Storm 2. After all if Yardy won’t come to AIT then…….

Friday, 19 February 2010

HiTech. Low value. SOS

So I live in Lekki. And to some the very word conjures up pictures of massive villas with swimming pools and tennis courts. These people have obviously never been there. Yes there might be a few such carbuncles but mostly it is full of middle class people trying to earn a daily crust. I can't say an "honest" daily crust of course because this is Nigeria and some people might be offended to be addressed in such a manner. But we are all trying to earn our daily crust.

Unfortunately in Nigeria no matter how much you try to earn your daily crust with as much dignity and honour as possible invariably some fools will step in and ruin it for you - be it PHCN, Tax collectors, Water company, Resident's association etc. When all you want is to wake up in the morning, go to work, do a good day's job (ok, ok - just go to work) and then come home and rest your weary head on your beloved's bosom (assuming your wife is not around) (it's just a joke..Please!!!) invariably you will be frustrated (no pun intended) in this simple routine of daily life.

For the past two and a half years the thorn in our well padded side has been a company called HiTech. It is funny how these companies always pick names that are a total opposite of what they really are. So anyway HiTech has been charged to build a road from law school in VI to somewhere way out into places that have no interest for me - that is beyond VGC. In corporate lingo they have won the bid for the concession to build the Lekki-Epe expressway. Whatever.

What interests me however is the bit of road between Lekki Phase 1 and ExxonMobil. (Yes I am Nigerian and yes I am selfish and parochial. And so?) A stretch of say one mile. Pardon me if I am wrong but geography was never my strong suit. All that stuff about north,south, east and west when really all you need to know is - is it close to Tantaliser? Which side is Zenith bank? Is there one yellow woman like this selling recharge cards on the corner? Based on these non scientific identifiers I have managed to survive to a rope old age but I digress.

Now having moved back to Nigeria two years ago I had thought that by now this small stretch of roadworks would be complete by now bearing in mind that they had started even before I moved back, but no, the torture continues. So daily life for us lucky ones in Lekki Phase 1 is like this. Wake up really early, sit in traffic for about one hour just to join the traffic on the main Lekki Expressway. Sit in Lekki Expressway traffic for another hour by this time irritable, irrational and prone to occasional bouts of fisticuffs and gesticulations to all and sundry. Arrive at destination emotionally ragged and raining curses on all those involved in building this god forsaken road. The trip I describe above is just the one my girls go through every morning to get to school. A fifteen minute drive turns into a two hour ordeal. They have a friend who lives in somewhere called Ajah who has to leave home at 530am to get to school. Then repeat the whole thing in the evening. This has been going on for TWO YEARS. Haba wetin?

So can someone explain to me the objective of this badly managed fiasco? Where is the Project plan? Who is the Project Manager? Every time the road is covered in tarmac and we take a deep breath we are invariably met a month later by tractors digging up the very same stretch again. Almost like someone wakes up one morning and says - guys, you know I think we forgot to put in the drains? Or guys remember all those black cables we dug up last month apparently they are for telecoms services and no one in Lekki has been able to make a call since. We better dig up the road and bury it back pronto. Or L arry did you ever find that Timex watch you lost? I have a funny feeling it is buried under the road. Let's have a looksie shall we?

To make things even worse the company then takes out an ad in the paper a couple of days ago putting the blame for the fiasco on everyone else but themselves. They blame Lagos State, the Police, LASTMA and everyone else for failing to hold up their end of the bargain. I may not be good at Geography but I do recall a saying I learned back at school that says only a crap tradesman blames his tools. O.r others. For a crap job

The heartache caused by this fiasco on a daily basis is almost too much to bear. Forget about making plans. For where? Fixed time appointments. No way. "Rushing out" to get something. Dream on. The worst part is that the fear of getting stuck in the traffic is so high now that we just prefer to stay at home. Which leaves us at the mercy of PHCN, the Water company, the tax collector and every other crackpot and shaman peddling their wares.

So welcome to the HiLife. HiTech? Indeed.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Above are two pictures. One is of a cartoon character with wild eyes, a crazed look, penchant for lecturing and a fervent zeal to educate the masses. The other is of course Dora the Explorer – a popular TV show for children.

I have been amazed over the past few weeks about the number of articles (planted??) in newspapers and magazines praising our erstwhile Minister for (Dis) (Un) (No) (Wrong) – take your pick – Information with regards the memo she wrote asking for support to oust Yardy and get Goodluck enshrined.

Apparently after a whole two months and more she woke up one morning with her conscience pricking her to make a stand. Hence her “inspired” memo. She has been called a voice a reason, a true citizen, an ambassador for truth and other such rubbish that we Nigerians are prone to throw at any elected person who actually does anything remotely connected to their job.

Well here is my view. I reckon that Aunty D. got inside info that Yardy would not be returning in exactly the same format in which he had left the country. He left the country in VHS format and will be returning in Beta. i.e. old, outdated, gone. Being Minister of Info I suspect she was actually given this info or tipped off in one way or another. This I feel was the fuel that ignited her conscience and fired her up to her act of unrivalled bravery.

For me the day she delivered the memo was the day I knew that Yardy was a goner from this mortal coil because you see there is no way Aunty D. would have dared step out of line if there was a chance in Sokoto that Yardy would return. Remember she has been on every single leaked list of Ministers for the chop whilst he was still of full cranial functions. So getting the news that he had ceased to be so Presidential in demeanour she quickly hatched her plan to get into Uncle Goodluck’s good books. She is obviously more than a pretty face our Aunty D.

My mole tells me that not long too long after the memo Aunty paid one of those courtesy visits, so beloved of the favour seeking, to Uncle G to commiserate with him on his time in limbo and to assure him that all would be well and the of course she would be standing shoulder to shoulder with him through thick and thin (and his first cabinet reshuffle) once he got himself in the driver’s seat. She also offered to make him a special stew from her part of the country. I understand he politely declined both offers. He has already won me over.

To top it all off she then had to deal with a jolt from the king of darkness himself - our former Attorney General who seemed to imply that all had not been tickidy boo at NAFDAC whist she was in charge. Ouch that must have hurt. To have someone with whom snakes and other belly crawling reptiles are loathe to be compared to cast aspersions on your name and character?
Well how low can you go? This game of politics is definitely not for toddlers. Is it Aunty?

Friday, 12 February 2010

Happy New Year.

Yes you read right. Happy new year. What's the problem? So it is February. And so? What's your own? Are the Chinese not doing new year next week? So it's only Yardy that can "be away" for 80 days? Ah beg Happy New Year jo. From today. It's official. Go and check it. Not just in any almanac. Go and check the procrastinator's handbook for successful living. First Edition. (Second Edition has been delayed for some time). It is right there. Happy new year can be any day you want. Just not today. Tomorrow. Seriously. Go and check it. Obviously not straight away. Tomorrow or possibly the day after. What's the rush? Don't stress yourself.

So five months just passed like that and I was sitting there thinking " I really must update my blog". This country is leaderless. They need someone to guide this great ship away from the rocks of Akinyuli. Toks you must rise to the occassion. Anyday now. Aaaany minute. You really must. No. You must get to it straight away. Now, now. Immediately. Definitely. With urgency. Ok tomorrow then. Latest. Walahi.

So you see? And here I am. I did it. Happy New Year.