Nigeria’s unofficial Ghana 2008 team list

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Note: The official list is now out. Almost made 100% on my prediction save that both Richard Eromoigbe and Ifeanyi Emeghara made the squad while Ayila Yusuf didn't.



I’m a keen follower of the Super Eagles, a statement confirmed by the fact that I hardly ever miss their games. I keep records too, a habit that’ll help me speak fanatically in this post. By the way I did some stuff like this last time around.

To me the best thing about Nigeria’s German born coach Berti Vogts is the frequency with which we now play friendly games, or games at all for that matter. The second best thing about him is his knack for experimentation and his squad selection style which has so far evened the rift between big and small players. Well I guess that should be expected with any new coach. Under Vogts The Eagles have faired thus:

Nigeria vs. Uganda 1-0 (ACN qualifier, 24th March 2007)
Kenya vs. Nigeria 0-1 (B-Grade Friendly, 27th May 2007)
Uganda vs. Nigeria 2-1 (ACN qualifier, 2nd June, 2007)
Niger vs. Nigeria 1-3 (ACN qualifier, 17th June, 2007)
Macedonia vs. Nigeria 0-0 (Friendly, 22nd August 2007)
Nigeria vs. Lesotho 2-0 (ACN qualifier, 8th September 2007)
Mexico vs. Nigeria 2-2 (Friendly, 14th October 2007)
Nigeria vs. Australia 0-1 (Friendly, 17th November 2007)
Switzerland vs. Nigeria 0-1 (Friendly, 20th November 2007)

Vogts is expected to release the official list for next month’s African Cup of Nations (ACN) by the 2nd week of December, but being everyone’s favourite neighbourhood dope man I though I’d let you guys in on the future.

My list is logically drawn from an analysis of the players that have earned caps under Vogts. It’s largely the same squad that Nigeria took to Egypt 2006. There are only 9 new players out of which 2: Yakubu and Olafinjana are not exactly new. Such consistency in squad selection hasn’t been witnessed before in the past 4 African Cup of Nations.

Goal Keepers


Austin Ejide A long time Eagles reserve keeper who hasn’t seen any action apart from the pre World Cup 2002 build up games, under Vogts Ejide’s time has finally arrived. He looks good to be the goal keeping first choice and possibly will be donning the number 1 jersey this time around. He’s a veteran of two ACNs: 2004 and 2006.

Dele Aiyenugba Prior to Vogts Greg Etafia and Rotimi Sunday were often the benefactors of the absence of The Eagles goal keeping regular. But under Vogts Aiyenugba has become the new back up man. He’s been to one ACN before the 2006 edition and will most likely don the number 12 jersey in Ghana.

Vincent Enyeama Erstwhile Eagles first choice goal keeper Enyeama has failed to see any action in a green shirt after letting in 4 goals in the last Eagles game prior to Vogts. A game in which Vogts watched from the stands! But his experience and skill is not in doubt and he’ll definitely make the squad as goal keeping third choice if like England’s David James he can swallow his pride. A veteran of the 2004 and 2006 ACNs Vincent looks good for a two digit jersey number in Ghana: 23, the same Ghana who with a gift of 4 goals earlier in the year are a team he’d surely love to hate.

Defenders


Joseph Yobo The Eagles stand in captain has missed the last 6 games but being a consistent performer he looks likely to grab his starting number 2 shirt in Ghana. He played at the 2002, 2004 and 2006 ACNs.

Taye Taiwo The Eagles dependable left back with a knack for scoring goals is a sure first team starter. He’d be holding on to the number 3 jersey he wore at the 2006 ACN.

Danny Shittu Big and Bulky Shittu’s the new craze in central defence after having won Vogts heart. He’ll be pairing Yobo in Ghana donning his coveted number 6 jersey. He has no previous ACN experience.

Rabiu Afolabi Under Vogts Afolabi has finally made the transition from youth International to Senior Team international. He’s paired Shittu in most of the Eagles’ recent games but looks set to drop to the bench at Ghana where he’ll slug it out with Obinna Nwaneri for central defence vacancies. He also has no previous ACN experience but he should be with the number 5 jersey in Ghana.

Obinna Nwaneri The Rugged man of the team looks set to continue from where he stopped in Egypt as a central or right back defensive sub wearing the number 21 jersey.

Onyekachi Apam is following in the foot steps of his youth colleagues like Taiwo, Mikel, Kaita, and Ogbuke who became regulars or had stints in The Eagles. Sporting the number 16 jersey he won’t likely play a major role in Ghana. He too has no previous ACN experience.

Richard Eromoigbe or Ifeanyi Emeghara The final defensive slot will be taken by either of the two. They both might be ACN greenhorns but they’re capable of playing a variety of defensive roles. Either of the two will be with the number 22 shirt in Ghana.

Midfielders


Seyi Olafinjana Makes a return to the team after missing out on the 2006 ACN. He takes back the number 14 jersey which he wore at the 2004 edition.

Ayila Yusuf Seems to have lost his luck of exciting and scoring goals from his defensive midfield position. He gets back his ACN 2006 number 13 jersey but will have to justify a starting place this time around.

Onyekachi Okonkwo Another favoured son of Vogts but who can be both equally disappointing and excellent. Continuing in the same manner and with his inherited number 10 jersey he’ll probably get some playing time in what should be his first ACN.

Dickson Etuhu A late arrival to the Eagles but who has probably done enough in Vogts’ books to win a place in the squad he should be sporting the number 15 jersey in what should be his first ACN.

John Obi Mikel A darling of the Nigerian fans his place in Ghana was never in doubt. But what use Vogts will put him to and his change of shirt number to 18 is open for debate. He’s previously been at the 2006 ACN.

Attackers


Nwankwo Kanu The experienced hand with 9 lives will be going to his 5th ACN in a row in Ghana but this time as Captain. Still donning the number 4 jersey he’s expected to lead the Eagles beyond the 3rd position this time around.

Obafemi Martins The Eagles own weapon of mass destruction might not be guaranteed a starting number 9 shirt In Ghana but his place as a core member of the team in a 2nd ACN running is not in doubt.

John Utaka Aptly christened Utaka the attacking attacker the number 7 sporting ball juggler is expected to improve on his 2004 and 2006 ACN performances in Ghana.

Osaze Odemwingie Another darling of the Nigerian fans, now sports the number 11 jersey but is still as sharp as ever and has great hopes thrust upon him in Ghana. He was also at the 2004 and 2006 ACNs.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni Has one of the most topsy-turvy Super Eagles career in recent times. But stays relevant due to his club goal scoring luck which has more than a few times rubbed off on him in a green shirt. He gets the number 8 jersey along with a chance to do what he could not do in the 2002 and 2004 ACNs.

Stephen Ayodele Makinwa Unanimously hated by fans but loved by coaches he makes a return to the ACN (with the number 19 jersey) which he first experienced in 2006. With the plethora of strikers in the squad we can’t but wait to see what role he’ll play in Ghana.

Ikechukwu Uche Is the Youngman with the blessings of the fans at the moment. Quick on his toes and exciting in a green shirt he’s the 2007/2008 edition of Julius Aghahowa at his prime. Not surprisingly he’ll be with the number 17 shirt at what will be his first ACN.

Obinna Nsofor Another great ball juggler with youth on his side gets the chance to build on his 2006 ACN baptism but this time donning the number 20 jersey.

Those who didn’t make it


Right back Chidi Ordiah and midfielder Christian Obodo are the players that will be most missed in the squad no thanks to the lengthy span of their injuries this year. While midfielder Paul Obiefule will be the player most hurt about not making the squad. He’s been very consistent “on the bench” in the past 10 or so Eagle’s games but getting the chance to play only once or twice during the period.

Album review: “straight outta africa” by Fishé

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I’ve known Fishé online for ages and since he sent me this album via courier I’ve had it on constant replays on my playlist. Fishé (Pronounced FEE-SHAY) whose real name is Andrew Mosheshe was born over 25 years ago in the small German county of Fulda; raised in Warri a town in his home country of Nigeria and now living in the United States since 2004. Fishé, the son of a doctor and a teacher, who read English and Literary Studies from Delta State University Abraka, can thus be rightfully said to transcend continental boundaries. Armed with a unique and instantly identifiable Nigerian accent, and not phased by his botched one year deal with L.A based indie label Random Records Inc. on which he released his 2005 six track “Moment of Truth” E.P, Fishé is out with his follow up: "Straight Outta Africa"!

Album Details

Original Release Date: May 2007

Number of Discs: 1

Format: Explicit Lyrics

Label: Fishé Music

Production: Don Perinion, Knoxz, RoTone, Hendog, Peter Lindahl, Alexis Isbell, the Apprentice and Tone.E.See.

Guest appearances: Paige Rasmussen, Miss Keke, Sinister XL, Double Negative, Write Words, Kess, Knoxz, Mad Sabre, Younger Angel, Oboi and Nat Kendall.

Track list:
1. Intro (alphabetical slaughter)
2. Git sum (featuring Paige Rasmussen)
3. How come (featuring Knoxz, Mad Sabre, Younger Angel and Oboi)
4. Africa (featuring Paige Rasmussen)
5. Party (featuring Paige Rasmussen)
6. Away from home (featuring Write Words)
7. Ladies (featuring Miss Keke)
8. Move it (featuring Paige Rasmussen)
9. Skit (voicemail)
10. Cali (featuring Sinister XL and Double Negative)
11. Hip-hop 101
12. In da building (featuring Paige Rasmussen)
13. Fight the power
14. Naija (featuring kess)
15. What’cha gonna do
16. Outro (featuring Nat Kendall)

Favourite tracks: my favourite track on the album is unarguably “”africa”. I also feel “what cha gonna do” and “move it” big time. On the title track “africa”, we’re led on a musical journey to the acknowledgement of the beauty that is the continent of Africa to dispelling the false notion of Africa only being a backward entity to reiterating the wrongs that were the days of early western colonization and the slave markets that came with it. At the end of the song we get to hear the name drop of great African/black leaders and heroes that’ll undoubtedly instill pride in any listening African ear and unbridled admiration from non-Africans. “what cha gonna do” is basically an expression of Fishé bragging right as one of the best Nigerian rappers in diaspora. Starting with a typical Nigerian chant and drum beat the songs is lovely all through and can’t fail to get one dancing lightly. “move it” has the melodic Paige Rasmussen on the hook a partnership which also worked well on “africa”. It’s a typical bounceable song, with lyrics to boost the artiste’s ego and beats to get people moving it on the dance floor.

Criticism: The much I can say is that the album becomes really nice after frequent listens but it could be better so as to make it an instant attraction. If it had more Nigerian flavour it’ll be sure to do better in the Nigerian market. Fishé’s flow is very tight, and his straight Nigerian accent is actually a very good and unique thing considering that we’re in a world of fakers. All in all I’m moved to agree with him that he’s one of the best on display and every line he spits makes me wanna press on replay.

I also guess I agree with the album’s official release statement: “"straight outta africa" comprises the original essence of Hip-Hop’s foundation, from the super-lyrical, to using it as an ample tool for the spread of knowledge and awareness, to just something to have fun with and vibe to in the clubs or in the comfort of your home or ride.” The diversity of this work is set on display with UK Grime track “how come” to the G-Funk sound of the track “cali”. You can also get that Southern Crunk flavor from the track “ladies”, a dose of Afro Hip Hop on the song “naija” as well as the regular east coast feel and an occasional flash of dancehall raga. This variety with a spice of everything else and laced with a couple of conscious joints stems from the use of producers from all across the regions of the United States to the shores of the U.K to Nigeria itself.

Rating: My rating for the LP on a scale of 5 is 3.5

Sample: Listen to “africa (featuring Paige Rasmussen)

Links: More info on the album available at www.fishe.us and http://myspace.com/fishemusic

Contact info: email: afroshady@hotmail.com, fishadys_bck@yahoo.com or afroshady@yahoo.co.uk

Note: This post is used for the purpose of cultivating interest in the featured musician. It is more of a promotional tool rather than an illegal file sharing means. However, if you are an artist or a label represented here and you would like your music removed let me know and it will come down immediately.

Hustles are many, stories aplenty!

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My brain’s a mansion, expanding like pews/
I feed it with good stuff, try not to abuse/
From people’s reaction, I’m filing its views/
So give me the action and I’ll give you its news/

Ok I’m done rhyming. I’ve been up to a lot lately…J-O-B scheming. And it has occurred to me that oil money has spoilt Nigeria and Nigerians silly. Entrepreneurial wise we’re not making much progress and are instead content to wait it out for the monthly oil revenue. Our civil service is lazy as depicted in their creed: “government work no dey finish”, leaving one puzzled as to how they would fare if government establishment were responsible for a larger part of their own funding. In the end a lot of people climb up the social ladder courtesy of the “oil money” and a lot of others are happy or have no option but to be their faithful dependants.

Still keeping to the article’s theme I’ve done more than is usual traveling in the past 7 weeks. I was in Lagos last month for a job aptitude test. And first of all I’ll like to say the company’s crazy for calling us up for the test a bare 36 hours to the event. The stress I had to go through to get there and the disorientation of the test venue speaks volume of the sufferings of Nigerian graduate job seekers. My impressions away from the test is that Lagos is one rugged city and it’s traffic and congestion problems are two reasons that makes me wish myself away from it as a place of abode. The trip was actually my first visit to Lagos in 8 years! And courtesy of many a blogger’s rant I was scared and equally cautious. All in all Lagos was worth it as I enjoyed the journey through the South West; a welcomed difference indeed after being saturated with the South East and North Central for far too long.

After Lagos I made a return to Gboko in Benue State as a member of a four man crew called Art IMPACT Productions whose hustle included video recording, editing and production; conducting interviews, handling customer relations and marketing for the 3 week duration of the 2007 Batch A Orientation camp program. Had an overdose of nostalgia there being that a year earlier I was having some of the best times of my NYSC life there. At Gboko I got the much sought after job experience; ate humility, diligence and dedication for breakfast, lunch and dinner and learnt many a business truths. My Gboko sojourn was invaluable…priceless, but for everything else there’s MasterCard.

November 1st 2007, with a camcorder doing what I had to do as part of my biz hustle in Gboko

The traveling ended with a trip to Jos over the weekend. Also a first time journey and this time around for the purpose of writing one of them Bank job aptitude test which are very popular with fresh Nigerian graduates. Jos is a town with an unNigerian kind of weather but it’s ok. I had a nice time there and I came back with one truth: “practice makes perfect”!

Elders speak: “our children are running!”

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It was the Great Nigerian novelist Chukwuemeka Ike who over 15 years ago wrote the book “our children are coming!” about the generation gap war between the young and their middle class parents. Borrowing a leaf from him I’d like to say in this commentary that in contemporary times children/youths of my age are not just coming, they are running! They’re in one too many instances in too much of a hurry to fill up their parents’/the elders’ shoes.

Almost every day I hear talk by youths of the likes of: “our leaders have messed things up for us, we have to set things right”. Not bad per se, but coming from the young and the restless, people who are hardly good managers in small quantities, talk less of If they are entrusted with major figures it becomes saddening and one can’t help it but weep for the future of the nation. It’s almost like another case of the prodigal son being in too much of a hurry to get his entitlements/inheritance from his father. What follows are four points to ponder on the topic.

1) Why the rush? You get in early; become a leader at 37, 8 years later you're done, what next?

2) The elders might have messed up here and there but believe you me they didn't spend their 50 plus years on earth moping about like sitting ducks doing nothing. Wisdom in different quantities and spheres has surely being accumulated all the while and as such they’re more than capable reference points for the youths. As the saying goes “there are certain things that an elder can see sitting down that a young man can't see even if standing up.

3) Older people tend to be better leaders because they are experienced. They’ve been there and done that; have got that understanding and therefore tend to be more rational in their thoughts, words and actions. Having been in all types of shoes before they’re better equipped to walk the legs, carry others along and best satisfy each person. Needless time that would have been wasted on familiarization is thus saved. look at it this way: at the time of your first crush/relationship at say 16 you probably felt you've found your soul mate and that you were ready for the world, but now that you're in your mid-twenties you can't help but confess that you didn't know shit back then and then thank your lucky star that you didn't become a teenage father.

4) We should be patient and wait for our turn. Youth agitation is sort of like the entry level worker scheming for his boss' job thinking that with his 1st class degree he could surely do better than his boss who has a 2nd class lower degree and 10 years of work experience under his belt.

Don’t get me wrong though I’m all for youth empowerment, it’s just that I want it done with the right mind set.

Ignorant hot blooded Biafran youths ready for war. Our children are indeed running.

Wetin Dey?’s “Da Mix” show as seen by TRAE

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I must confess that I’ve always wanted to do this (a blow by blow account of a music show) ever since I read thisday music festival october 7th & 8th, 2006 and RHYTHM UNPLUGGED Lagos: THE REVIEW...a must read. I hope this rocks and if it doesn’t you’d be entitled to a refund of the 10 minutes of your life you’re about to spend reading this.

The show which held on the 8th of September (2007) at the Ladi Kwali hall of the Sheraton Hotel Abuja was put together by the Wetin Dey? organizers. Wetin Dey? a 30 minutes television drama with HIV awareness and prevention as its main theme is itself sponsored by the BBC World Service Trust.

I took the original notes for this post with my Nokia…1100! It’s crazy the shit we learn to manage so well with. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the event to share. I didn’t have a device to make that possible and the digital camera of the chick I sat with wasn’t recharged enough.

On the lucky side I got a seat at the front row, which definitely is the best seat at shows from a “fan”atic perspective. With it comes the privilege of seeing the artists up, close and personal with all the energy or lack of it they bring to their act. You also get to touch them if they ever deal out handshakes. Although I didn’t bother about that second bit because I was feeling kind of reserved at the night.

The show which was a mixture of music, fashion, talk and drama started at about 6.25pm as against the original commencement time of 4pm, which meant arriving late because I completed watching the 3pm Super Eagles game counted for nothing. If music is my beloved son, football is its twin.

The MC for the show was one of the Wetin Dey? actresses. If you follow the drama you’d recognize her as the wife of the policeman. She did a nice job; humour and class combined in one. The co-sponsors of the show did theirs too by providing free HIV counseling and testing in front of the event venue; though I doubt that a lot of people took advantage of that. Talking about people the attendance was over 100% and incident free. Kind of expected though considering the fact that the audience was a representation of the crème de la crème of the posh/ajebotas Abuja youths.

The performance roaster for the event was almost endless with the artists scheduled to come on stage in the order of their level of success/establishment in the industry. You might disagree with the listing but I think they got it pretty right. And being that the acts were much and time wasn’t the deal was that it was to be more or less a song per act. Despite that they were expected (and they did) to throw a line or two about protection against HIV during their piece.

After several upcoming acts had come and gone it was Noree the non rhyming but sweet “baby no dey lie” ABJ crooner’s turn. I thought he’d perform his “baby no dey lie” song and wow the crowd but the brother had a new song premiere plan instead. The highlight of his performance was this amusing incident which I suspect was rehearsed. Midway into his act a guy ran on stage to embrace him kneeling down (I guess that’s a forgivable lapse on the part of the bouncers as they generally did a good job of protecting the artists on stage) and Nore gave the guy his copy of the show’s invitation card, after which the guy did the sign of the cross as if he’d just been blessed by a reverend father and then left the stage.

Seun the sweet voiced gospel artist and FUTH Minna graduate was next. I don’t really know the name of his song he did but what the heck, I love all his songs! For me he killed it but judging by the relative indifference of the hall he’s got to work on his publicity.

Of all the upcoming (and hitherto unknown to me) artists on parade I felt this swagger heavy guy the most. I didn’t get his name but the rap song had the “she go say I be lady” part of Fela’s “lady” continuously looped as the chorus. Ingenious! His hypeman was what made his act thick though. The dude was fat as fuck but displayed dance moves from several genres much to the delight of the crowd.

When they were gone the DJ spinned Olu Maintain’s “yahoozee” and it got the hall crazy with everyone doing the yahoozee dance. I must say the DJ was great on the night, some others would say he’s much better than the over hyped Jimmy Jatt

The yahoozee frenzy didn’t last for long as Uche a gospel rock artist (rock artists in Nigeria are endangered species) was due to do her thing. Her song rocked! Pun intended; reminds me of Evanescence’s “bring me to life”. And the chorus is in…wait for it, Igbo! She’s also a dancer and a medical practitioner. Not bad but what was with all the dancing on stage, that’s not what rock is about. I could have sworn she attended UNN or UNEC; someone like her was a regular feature at school shows…that’s without the rock part though.

When she was done Bemsar the guitar man came on to do his “something good” gospel song. It left me feeling Godly. There was a drama sketch afterwards that featured a few of the Wetin Dey? cast. It was written by an HIV positive guy, evidence of the fact that testing positive doesn’t mean one’s career goal is done for. There were other breaks where speakers came to talk on HIV related issues, particularly of note was one cute dreads wearing chick. Damn the virus.

Age Beeka came through after the talk. He did some new songs from his forth coming album and as usual brought the whole gyrating on stage thing to his act.

And things could only get better as MI came on after him. The phrase “short but mighty” aptly fits the Chocolate City rapper! He was the first act of the night to have the crowd literarily eating out of the palm of his hands. He talked to the crowd about himself, his music and the circumstances that led to the writing of the two songs he performed: a narrative love song and his conscious intelligent “crowd mentality” hit.

The first part of the fashion parade was then rolled out featuring male and female models. The second part and wrap up came later on in the course of the show. It was my first catwalk live viewing. Nice moves I must say and excellent work with the wrappers, or is it ankara that it’s called? Ladies help me out; the designer was a cutie too.

Terry Tha Rapman subsequently came on with AT as his hypeman (AT had earlier on did his own solo, an R&B cover of an American rap song, thumbs down bro). Sadly Terry’s performance on the night was as poor as his dressing. His on stage carriage was weak and he made “na beans” and “only for Naija” look like dumb songs.

Sixfootplus the Abuja based hip hop veteran was next. Though I personally feel he has passed his prime he had a great performance and the crowd loved him. AT made his 3rd appearance on stage as Six’s hypeman. If OD was there too for his “don’t hate” hit I would have puked as AT would have made it a record 4th time on stage. Six had the some Tiv dancers on for “swange” from his 1999 album and then wrapped things up with the more current “e don do me”. The sing along chorus value of both songs really enhanced his performance.

After him was 2shotz (With MI of all people as his hypeman! I’m guessing that was an impromptu arrangement) and true to pun rules his performance was too short. He worked the whole hall into a frenzy and then left almost as soon as he came in. Sort of like getting mami wet with the foreplay thing only to slip out before the big O under the pretext of meeting up with wifey for dinner.

Sasha was next. By this time with each act the audience crowded around the stage cheering on, some others taking pictures with their phones and digital cameras and hustling for space with the professional photographers and video camera men. I might not really be into her but I admit she was good, the crowd showed her love particularly 3 boys who were drooling at her through out her time on stage.

Shit was progressively getting bigger, it was Modenine’s turn. Sage came on first to do a spoken word intro. I couldn’t appreciate his poetry, probably because the noise levels were by now high in anticipation of Modo. Poetry done with it was time for rap; Modo stepped out with Kraft tagging along. He was thoroughly mobbed as almost all the young core hip hop lovers rushed towards the stage. It was the first time that more than half of the audience was up on their feet, I had to stand up too else I see nothing. He did “cry”, “Nigerian girls”, “Lagos state of mind” and his verse on “stylee” (Modo displaying his new found Lagos love in front of his original ABJ people was…queer) with the crowd rapping along with him word for word. I admit this made me really happy; it’s what hip hop is about from a fan’s perspective and it’s good to see this happening in Nigeria and to our own artists. But what was with Modo’s cap, he was switching its position like every single minute. He should have just thrown the damn thing to the audience like top acts do. More than a handful of the crowd were half expecting him to do so.

One hit wonder Weird MC (she solely got rich off “ijoya” and the feature on P-Square “bizzy body remix”. I must slap myself for still harbouring hustler ambitions) wrapped up the show. She came in with the P-Square intro, you could have thought P-Square were in the house. I must give it to her though as she bettered Modenine by getting the whole hall standing. She did her “bizzy body” lines, some other nothing-extraordinary songs of hers and then the big hit: “ijoya”. She might be a small woman but she packs more than her fair share of energy as she covered all corners of the stage and even the crowd stands. The show ended well after 10pm.

Life after Youth Service

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It’s almost been a month since I ditched my khaki and stepped into the free world, and if you asked me “nwokem ke kwanu?” I’d tell you “nna/nne…I just dey”.

Listening to RayPower Abuja 100.5 FM’s “Political Platform” at 9.15am on weekdays is one of the ways that have helped me keep my sanity. It’s a program which aims to wrap up the political news of the day in just 15 minute. And the presenters: Ehiedu Aniagwu, Mustafa Mohammed, Amaechi Anakwe and Okhiria Agbonsuremi are surely doing a good job at that. Quite similar to what their colleague Gbenga Arulegba does on AIT Abuja’s “Focus Nigeria” from 9-10am on weekdays. One thing though is that in the heat of the analysis the presenters at times take things too personal and display unprofessionalism. But who can blame them, since on the other hand NTA chose to be unobjective during the famous third term craze and to some extent in this year’s general elections. Another thing I’ve realized about the show is that the same magnitude with which they hate Obasanjo is the same magnitude with which they respect Yar’dua (well that’s quite common on a lot of fronts). Anyway the popularity of the show is evidence of the fact that the respect of people’s right to free speech is to a large extent well alive in Nigeria.

If RayPower helps me with my sanity the FRSC makes me loose it. I just got my (renewed) driving license after over two months of stress. And that’s because I chose not to cut corners but follow due process. Damn I hate guys in uniform; inefficiency is their middle name in Nigeria! Fuck that though as I should be on to better things this evening. I just got my invitation card to the BBC world Service Trust sponsored “Wetin Dey?” Da Mix show at the Sheraton Hotel. It should be some great entertainment as Modenine, Terry Tha Rapman, Weird MC, MI (of the crowd mentality fame) amongst others are on the bill. Shamefully I haven’t attended too many shows in the FCT so I’m really looking forward to this.

Quick observation; is it not hypocritical that we celebrate when Nigerians are making waves abroad with their businesses but suddenly feel threatened or that there’s cause for alarm when foreigners come here and rake in huge profits with their own businesses. Anyway this seems to be true for all nations; it’s a greedy world isn’t it?



This was the scene after one of our goals in our first match against France in the soon to end FIFA Under-17 WorldCup. They seem to be doing some traditional dance steps. See as the assistant referee come dey bad eye dem. Abeg just bring home the cup jare, no do like dem Femi Opabunmi of the 2001 Under-17 and dem Mikel Obi of the 2005 under-20 who went all the way only to loose at the finals.

Fellow Nigerians

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Fellow Nigerians as is expected everybody and their blog alter ego has a take on current situations in the nation. Well not to be outdone here’s my own, only that it’s in a “no long thing” format. Cheers.

Naira Redenomination policy
My verdict: not a bad policy. A lot of the people against it just haven’t fully understood or read up on the implications. But Soludo does deserve some heavy knocks for not thinking of it earlier and allowing millions to be wasted on the now needless new coins and notes, plus millions more that are yet to be wasted on further reprinting and mass-enlightenment. The only part I hate is the coins reintroduction; I don’t think we’ll ever get used to that again.

South South security situation
Like some other people thinking about this just makes me go “oh dear”. The Niger Delta might be getting the raw deal off their oil but violence is never the way to go about solving problems. All the cultist and militants are frauds; they’re all in it for the money. The police and military should for once wake up to their core duty of protecting life and property and deal with situation effectively.

Profligacy and embezzlement of national wealth by leaders
The House of Reps case being the latest example of this phenomenon. Blame this on our “chop-and-quench-tomorrow-fit-no-dey” psyche. It’s a shame we’ve gone so selfish misusing vast amounts of wealth not knowing that these same amounts can do wonders for local infrastructural community development or as grants to the less privileged. 8,500 Naira might be chicken change to a few people but for a lot of others particularly youth corpers it’s often been a life saver.

Lagos indecent dressing and Covenant University brouhaha
I know that in liberalized societies like the US and UK there is the tendency for the family system to be fucked up. But even worse things happen in the so called socialist, value-respecting societies. The fact is that democracy and its inherent freedom is the best way ever for society to live by. We’re all mortals and equals; no man has the right to forcefully impose his will or standards on others. We should chill with all the religious and moral hypocrisy and allow people to indulge as they like. It’s a free world, it’s their life and the consequences are theirs to bear alone.

Reduced English Premier League broadcast
I couldn’t care less about this. We’re already too obsessed with that league for our own good. Hopefully this will afford people the chance to now get a life. And instead when we keep it football it’ll now be by watching the Under-17 and Under-21 male teams, they seem to be doing well these days. And there’s even added joy with the Super Eagles; Berti Vogts has been getting us the friendlies on a regular basis! Although our joy would be complete if the games were transmitted live.

Uche Nworah-Binyavanga irony mix-up
We all have what we’re extremely passionate about and will defend till death, in Uche’s case it’s his beloved Ndigbo. It’s just that he took it overboard. No one’s perfect we all err; so everyone who's been on his case is better off giving him a break. They should note that an advice given harshly often defeats its aim as it ends up upsetting its' target instead of correcting it.

I’ve never watched as much movies as I’ve done in the past one month, (no) thanks to pirated DVDs from China that are now flooding the Nigerian market. Anyways it’s great stuff: very cheap top quality films to watch at will with little hassles!

TRAE at Uche Nworah’s “The Long Harmattan Season” book presentation

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So I finally attended what should be my first book presentation (bookworms Oj-Uknaija and co. shift, make a little room for me to the left :)). It was Uche Nworah’s “The Long Harmattan Season” Abuja book launch held on the 26th of July at Chelsea hotel. It’s basically a collection of the articles he’s written over the past few years as an internet columnist. Having narrowly missed his wedding two years back I couldn’t afford to miss this one as well; the brother has been one of my blogging inspirations!

Being a true son of the soil I kept to Nigerian time attendance wise, thus I missed the review by Reuben Abati. But it was still enough for me to come to the conclusion that the presentation was great as a whole. I liked the caliber of guest and the event’s organization, although the attendance could have been much better. The MC for the day a bosom friend of Uche was cracking us up non stop and all others who spoke (bought a copy/copies of the book and supported the course) had nice things to say about the author. I Impressed myself by giving a nice commendation speech (I wonder if that’s enough to get me on TV) after which the good times rolled as I grabbed a copy of the book which Uche duly autographed and then graciously posed with him for the paparazzi :). It was nice finally getting to meet the brother and physically giving him my regards and having him acknowledge such.

By the way I was at the event with fellow blogger Josh from “What It Is”, who was a really good friend on the day as he saved me from some potentially embarrassing situations. The sad side to the whole thing though was that Uche was attacked and robbed some days earlier. Materially he lost a lot but luckily and more importantly he came out alive and with just a cut on the head. That explains the plaster he had on at the event.

I guess that’s it for now so I can get back to reading the book (my my, the packaging is top notch unlike a lot of Nigerian novels, anyway it was printed abroad so I guess that’s to be expected )…although I have already read quite a number of the articles online. That reminds me since it’s a “blook” a lot of the colourful online responses (comments) to the articles will be missing…how sad. You know we who are familiar with the guy know that he’s great with the pen but does at times allow his emotions to come too much into play thus considerably reducing the substance of his writings.

The event flyer; I’m waiting for Uche to upload the pictures and give his take on the event so that I can give this post some proper footing.

10 Things I won’t forget about my service year

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As a Batch B corps member service year for me started in September 2006 to end sometime in mid August 2007. And these are the top ten things (listed chronologically not by importance) I won’t forget about my NYSC induced stay in Benue State. This write up is actually Kind of premature in timing considering the fact that I’m not yet done serving, but I still think the list would be the same even if I waited until after POP (Passing Out Parade: the official ceremony to mark the end of a service year) before writting it.

1 The 3 weeks Orientation Camp
What more can I say about this, I’ve already said it all here: “A September to remember”. In addendum sha the orientation camp in Gboko is definitely the most interesting place I’ve ever visited.

2 My Mum’s passing away
This happened 3 months into my service year and was the saddest part of it all. I still vividly remember the last (phone) conversation I had with her at the Zaki-Biam market right after I made my first trip to neighbouring Wukari in Taraba State; it’s a moment I won’t forget.

3 Getting my Laptop
My Dad got that for me 4 months into the service year. It’s the best quantifiable gift I’ve ever received…and it changed my life in many more ways.

4 Bendra
I’m a softie at heart often falling In and out of “crush”. I got to know Bendra on the 1st of February. She, my phone pal now turned fellow corper kept me company many boring NYSC nights, particularly in February and March.

5 Becoming more Independent
NYSC being the cushioner before submerging into full blown adulthood it helped me become more independent as a person. Amongst other things I became cooking and job hunting certified and on another level Mum being gone and Dad being far away I learnt how to purposefully run my life.

6 The friends I made
Service year offered me the opportunity to make so many new acquaintances (a lot of them being people of my age) and have new perspectives on the behaviour of different people. Being that no man is an island onto himself that certainly was a big plus.

7 The Corpers lifestyle
Damn, it sure was good while it lasted. You know: the goodwill and respect showed to me because of my status, managing the allawee pocket change, my secondary school short teaching experience, the fallout with my employer, the partially ghosting months, my Ebonyi State corper to corper trip, my financial secretary portfolio, the community development service, our corpers’ week activities, my batch’s roundabout project runs etc. I’ll miss it all.

8 My increased Nigerianess (Tivness)
Service year made me a more complete Nigerian by my ten fold increased acquaintance with the Tiv ways. It’s during the time that I found out that I could be completely detribalized, and that’s after freeing my mind from the entire stereotype and bullshit our parents and elders instilled in us. I could be in a bus for hours and be the only one not able to speak Tiv and my mind would still be at rest…not feeling any uneasiness at all. On a lighter mode I can now distinctly recognize the Tiv accent. So if I’m out of the state and I hear a Benue man speaking I’ll most likely be like: “hey Dude you’re Tiv, how far now!”

9 Getting my mojo back on with the NIM exams
I’m talking about the NIM-NYSC Proficiency Certificate in Management exams. I studied, wrote and I’m sure will pass them well. It left me feeling personally fulfilled…you know erasing my procrastinating academic past and setting up myself for a glorious intellectual future. Of course my new found love for the library also helped in this revival.

10 Getting my Articles published in the NYSC 2006 Batch B souvenir brochure
Yep, two old blog articles of mine: “And time stood still” and “A day in the life of a Corper (Corps Member)” (this is still subject to confirmation though as the magazine is not yet out, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be good). I’m excited about this as it’ll be the first ever time an article of mine would be in print, although I’ve been countlessly republished online.

Smiling happy children and mud huts, a constant feature during my NYSC days

As an add-on if there’s one thing I have to say about the NYSC scheme it’s that for most participants it won’t likely be career and financially rewarding but engaging in the teaching (there’s a 9 in 10 chance of doing that for your primary assignment) and community development work under it is a life changing experience for the better.

Around Nigeria in eight days

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This Okada (motor cycle) rider will probably make it from the school to the house (or vice versa) in eight minutes.

Around the world in eighty/80 days…I love the phrase, the cartoon and the movie. But for this blog post it’s more like around Nigeria in eight days. As you can guess I’ve been on the move a lot in the past few days, crisscrossing different places in North Central and South eastern Nigeria (six states in all in addition to the F.C.T.) that I’m almost beginning to liken myself to the PDP presidential campaign team in last month’s general elections.

These are the places I’ve touched: Abuja, Nassarawa (passed through Keffi, Akwanga and Lafia), Benue (Markurdi, Katsina-Ala, Zaki-Biam, Gboko), Enugu (Enugu, Obollo Afor, Nsukka), Anambra (Awka, Aguata L.G.A.), Ebonyi (Abakaliki) and Kogi (passed through Ayangba, Ajaokuta and Lokoja).

So what was the reason for my travels? Uhm…to attend to important matters of personal interest. Anyways here’s stuff I’ll rather talk about: contemplations from the travels.

From the much I’ve taken-in in the last eight days I think writing a book on the living, farming and public transport habits of people in North Central and South Eastern Nigeria is in line. Right now I’m a mobile uber store of knowledge that it’ll be a shame if I don’t bequeath some of my knowledge to humanity…I’m just kidding…partially.

The provision of good (tarred) roads…and social amenities in general to the citizenry by the government makes a big difference to the psyche of the people. It determines how happy, patriotic and cooperative they’ll be, how well they’ll get along with each other and how crude or morally upright they’ll become. It’s no wonder then that a lot of Nigerians don’t wear their national team’s jerseys or bathe themselves in national colours during Super Eagles games. They instead prefer to drool over European soccer because that’s a more mutually benefiting investment (top quality football in return for getting high off the passion and fun of the most beautiful sport on earth).

Abakaliki the capital of Ebonyi State surely is one of the neatest towns in the South East! Yes where I visited was around the Government/State House environs (situated in the heart of town) but intuition leads me to believe that places far off wouldn’t probably be different. Having grown up in Abuja and being used to impeccable surroundings I’ll choose to set up shop from scratch in Abakaliki any day over taking a free house in Enugu, Awka, Nsukka or Onitsha (those places are crowded and dirty!).

Forget the fact that we’ve got new, crisp and clean Naira notes; they’ll all eventually get soiled because of the inherent "dirt" in our monetary exchange system. From the drivers, conductors, bus stop and motor park hustlers living from hand to mouth, to the youth corper working for peanuts and still having to fight before giving his rightly due peanuts and the benefits attached therein, and on to the project manager having to deal with the issue of productivity on one hand and the major expense of paying staff salaries on the other hand. Despite all of that there’s still a feel good feeling attached to being hailed and respected as a big boy because you’ve got money to spend on others.

Last point, a cardinal rule to follow when setting up a cyber café is to make sure your business quarters is spacious. Surfing is like working, it’s best done in a conducive environment, and if you want to stand the test of time such an environment must not only be good enough for the average chat-freak teenager but also for a top business executive. Avoid too many system restrictions and do carry out maintenance work on your systems on a regular basis. And off course customer service must be top notch and very professional.

Job hunting state of mind

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One’s state of mind = one’s mental or emotional attitude or mood. In his song "I dey feel like" because he’s found love 2face Idibia feels like Obasanjo (feels as powerful as a Head of State because his girl loves him), George Akume, Jolly Nyame, Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela (because his girl fights for him), Jay-Z (because his girl’s as fine as Beyonce), Bola Tinubu, Bob Marley (because his girl makes him high), Abubakar Atiku and Donald Duke all in one. For me, I’m in a job hunting state of mind and this is how I’ve been feeling.

Bank PHB's The Intern Reality TV Show is closely related with my Job hunting state of mind

I’ve just paid yet again another exorbitant taxi “drop” fare. And in my mind I curse Nasir El-Rufai for banning the use of motorcycles “okadas” as public transport in Abuja. It’s meant that non car owners like me whose (everyday) movement involves going to places with no bus routes have to pay through their nose to transport themselves around the FCT’s municipal area.

After the grueling job aptitude tests and the days of waiting the boss man breaks my heart at the interview. Hear him: “Youngman you’re my number one candidate and all but we needing batch A corpers serving in Abuja and you being a batch B corper serving in Benue it won’t just work. Don’t worry I’ll let you know when we have other openings”. At that moment I felt like a girl who’s just been treated to a wonderful night out by her boyfriend only for him to announce he’s dumping her and then give her a good night kiss.

An hour has passed since bumping into Ifeanyi an old acquaintance of mine when I was in the university. Looking exhausted he told me: “Nna Tochi, e no easy oh, na after service life really start”. In my mind I’m like “tufiakwa! God forbid! No be so my own portion go be”. I don’t really think he had taken this advice to heart: “as a job seeker you’re a product with steady competition and so to sell you’ve got to make yourself marketable by continuous self improvement”.

I just saw my friend Chi Babe off and on my way back I’m thinking to myself that it’s a shame how the pressures of life make people stoop low to kiss major ass. I can’t believe she’s the same chick I had a major crush on when we were in the uni. The job and marriage search thing has all of a sudden made her embarrassingly churchous!

I’ve realized that the same way marriage often dissolves friendship between very good girlfriends is the same way finances can put guys out of the league with their long time buddies. That’s really shitty…pitiful.

Yet another change: my I-don’t-give-a-fuck mode is now major. I’ve cut out a lot of stuff that’s not important to me in achieving my immediate and future life goals and in their places I’ve added those which are. I no more identify with (I don’t give a fuck about) a lot of the IQ decreasing content on TV, gossip and low substance blog reads and people who’re not adding anything of positive value to my life. That’s to name a few, on the addition side I’ve taken up a new humble lifestyle.

Lastly my conscience has been telling me to wake up and cut out on the surfing of the internet for interesting things and instead start getting with my GMAT books, NIM-NYSC studies and other nerdy ish and career bound moves.

Yes that’s my state of mind…how I’ve been feeling in brief. But what ever your state of mind, never forget that no matter how the struggles of life might be eating your heart away through the week, you’ll always have the Nigerian Sunday afternoon rice to look forward to. Peace!

Losing honourably and accepting defeat in Nigerian political elections

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Firstly for the records I didn’t vote in any of the 2007 general elections because I was stuck in Abuja and couldn’t get my self to Benue State where I was registered as a voter. But if I had voted it would have been along this line: the ADC’s Pat Utomi for President, The AC’s Adams Oshiomole and Babatunde Fashola for Governor (if I was registered in Edo or Lagos State respectively) and the PDP’s candidates for Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Chairman and Vice Chair. The elections were relatively peaceful, free and fair in my area and I monitored events on foot, by word of mouth, on phone and in the print, radio, television and online media.

And from my research I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of Nigerians don’t just know how to loose honourably and accept election defeat. So polls started late in some areas and there were misconducts in “a few” centers, and so what? The invasion of the pitch and the stretching off of a defender of a team who are already six nil down with five minutes to go doesn’t mean a match should be replayed. You would still have lost in any case.

And unfortunately Obasanjo’s fuck ups and the INEC’s Leadership blunders contribute in giving losers something to shout about. And because bad news is always the juiciest the media pounce on that, generalise and blow the whole thing out of proportions (for every original “my voting experience” well written and descriptive blog post there are ten one-paragraph unoriginal “electoral misconduct” blog post in the Nigerian blogosphere). Political losers now build on that, forget about being magnanimous in defeat and the next thing you know they’re holding press conferences accusing their opponents of rigging the elections.

It’s not strange that it’s only the defeated that complain. Even the PDP who have been the most accused turned around to whine in Lagos and Abia States where they lost the gubernatorials. It should tell you something, that rigging (where it truly manifests) is not a PDP only affair and that most people are just bad losers. To them there is no life outside politics and so it’s a deadly fight to the finish.

Let me let you in on something. With a large percentage of people with poor living standards Nigeria is still a place where people will vote for you in appreciation of the gifts you give them and with tribal sentiments. Research show that it’s the poor and ill informed that constitute a majority of the voting populace and since money plays a part in politics the rich political parties reach them, “campaign” and are able to win their votes.

The intellectuals, the media and those who should know better are in the minority. They support the better candidates but are often too occupied with work or pleasures, or feel too big to come out to vote. Their candidates forgetting that money is power and that politics is like advertising (if you don’t advertise you don’t sell) score miserably low in voter education and thus perform miserably at polls.

Adams Oshiomole, Pat Utomi and Jimi Agbaje

I’m sorry Mr Oshiomole; it’s possibly that more people truly voted for Osunbor. You’re a smart chap and I’m sure you’ll keep your self busy and strategise ahead of 2011. The same goes for Jimi Agbaje and possibly Pat Utomi. These unfortunately were the right candidates but with the wrong political machinery.

Fatherhood (gone wrong/with Ibe)

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The title of this entry seems familiar? Well In “fatherhood with Ibe” was (or is, I’m not sure) the name of one of the several columns in Hints; a Nigerian romance magazine which was at its’ peak in the later half of the 1990s. With Exschoolnerd affectionately calling me Papa Ikenna and Yosh shopping for names for his yet unborn daughters I was finally sufficiently inspired to throw out these “notes from the hyena’s belly” (thoughts which have been on my mind for some time. Props to the Naija blogger with a same named blog) on fatherhood gone wrong.

Here’s the first example of fatherhood gone wrong. An old timer who doesn’t carry his kids…sons along in his business moves and is stingy and withdrawn from his own family. He doesn’t womanise or drink neither is he the overly religious type. It’s hard to figure him out except that he’s seriously mistrustful as a result of going through a tough childhood and rise to the top. It’s really a shame that the first time I was able to step foot in his house was upon his death on a consolation visit to the family. Now the grown sons are facing the uphill task of trying to get familiar with their hitherto unknown relatives so as to give pops man a befitting burial as well as trying to put a hand on and coordinate his numerous businesses so as to ensure family survival. That’s the picture from the angle I got to know about him.

The second case of fatherhood gone wrong is the Baba who runs his home like a dictator. He stresses out his kids and embarrasses them in the presence of their friends. The gospel according to Baba is that he can do no wrong. When there’s trouble you’re to blame he can’t possibly ever be at fault. With a bad temper to match Baba shouts down Mama, Mama in defence shouts down the kids and the kids learn fast by shouting down their own unfortunate victims. Baba unsurprisingly can’t deal with difficult situations calmly, he must always resort to abuse, scolding and raised voices. As a result Mama and the kids are now conditioned to think that’s the rightful first step to take in contentious circumstances. The end result is a blood hound family blind to the fact that life can be lived according to the cardinal principals of peace, love and respect despite the challenges along the way.

My closing piece: “Fathers effing up should start to do the right thing”. Whatever man...vote Pat Utomi for president and send me a birthday cheque on April 17th. Peace!

Bill Cosby and fam, fatherhood gone...right!

Fuck the police, I’m a hustler!

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Fuck the police!
Once in a while I do the night crawling thing or even sef the normal broad day light minding my own business ish only to be harassed by the Nigerian Police. Such encounters only succeed in leaving a bitter taste in my mind about our law enforcement agents and getting me blabbing out verbal obscenities like “fuck the police!” (When I’m not in earshot distance sha) A phrase made popular by many an American rapper. Webbo can clearly relate with me on that. A lot of police officers have so angered me that I doubt if I can ever bring myself to lend a helping hand to an enforcer of the law again. It’s a shame really…on both sides.

Somebody once suggested that extortion and not protection of life and property is the main business the Nigerian Police are into and I strongly agree with him. The situation is so bad that it’s virtually only in Nigeria that one hears the word police and begins to be afraid. An ideal situation is if called upon for questioning by the police you swiftly do so and then go about your normal business.

There’s no dignity in the Nigerian Police profession, people loathe them. In developed countries the police are really your friend. They’re respected by all and sundry starting from the common man on the street all the way to the big time celebrity and business mogul. I still fondly remember when I was a kid of about 6 years old in London, how we would have regular visits in school by Policemen who would come to speak to us about how to cross the road and not talking to strangers. They’d play with us…educate and entertain us and in the end we couldn’t help but look upon them with admiration. Such happening in Naija? Highly unlikely.

The way forward? A major course of the misconduct of the police is their poor salaries. As such their mind has been corruption conditioned as a way to break even. A mega pay rise taking into consideration the risk factor involved in their profession would help to set their minds straight. Also years of negative accustomization to the theory that being a member of the force is a license to be a mild terrorist/above the law should be dealt with by reorientating them to their service duty of keeping watch over society like a loving big brother. Also the low educational qualification levels of many Policemen is responsible for their brutish ways, a new policy of recruiting officers with a minimum qualification of an OND certificate would go a long way to seeing that the force becomes a respectable outfit.



I’m a hustler!
You know how ingenious our 19 boys can be (energy channelled in the wrong direction…yeah I know). Well out of idleness and brokenness I created what could be a potential 19 runs marketing ad (pictured above). I like the professional way I went about relaying my message (although I used one too many slangs). You tell me, could anyone fall for that?

Personality reviews and election disillusionment

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Personality reviews

I suggest you read Lolita's Litanies’ Influences... blog post on Laide, It’s an article by one blogger objectively analysing another. Laide herself (to an extent) took it in good faith. Being a two year deep fan of Laide myself I could relate with a lot of Lolita’s opinions. I must say it was nice of her to do the review.

I’m quite an amateur psychologist, I’ve helped a lot of people out with analysis and dozen other such analyses I’ve kept to myself. I wonder what I would read if one of my loyal blog readers (not to sound egoistic but I’ve being blogging for almost three years now, do the maths) took time out to analyse me bringing out my strengths, my weaknesses and the areas for improvement. I’m not saying such analysis would be the gospel truth about myself because reading a couple of my posts online doesn’t mean you know me in-depth, but it would to a large extent help me redefine myself as out of the abundance of the heart the mind speaks (I blog).

Election disillusionment

A while back I was really excited about the 2007 Nigerian elections and was looking forward to the leadership change. But it’s really sad that as at today I don’t give a fuck about the elections…particularly the presidential one.

With the wisdom gained with age I’ve made a few changes to my past presidential choices. It’s truly sad but a whole lot of the candidates are unworthy to rule or hold leadership positions in a democratic Nigeria. They’ve messed up big time one way or the other that if I start calling names and offences I won’t end. Obasanjo, Atiku, Maurice Iwu, Nuhu Ribadu, Andy Uba, Adedibu, Alao-Akala, Ahmadu Ali, Yar'Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Orji Uzor Kalu, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, Buhari, Ngige, IBB etc. Don’t get me started, in an ideal political setting when you don messed up you resign, apologise to the nation or go to press to clear your name because the collective good of the nation is always above self. But in a country like ours they’re quiet like sitting ducks because as far as you’ve got money and the right connections you can do no wrong.

I wince when I see campaigns on TV or in the flesh like the Benue State political rallies and road processions full of youths wearing white t-shirts with political imprints and making a hell of noise. The same people frustrated by their leaders don’t rebel but instead sell their soul for a few thousand Nairas. I guess it’s like prostitution, have one night of mutually beneficial fun and the next day it’s over to the next guy.

But if I eventually vote (I’m not sure anything will take me back to the remote place where I got registered in Benue State) I might as well pitch my tent with Pat Utomi or Chris Okotie…they’re far more blameless. I have to agree that “peer pressure” pushed me to like Utomi but he’s truly not such a bad guy and by far has greater substance than his competitors. As for Okotie let’s say I’ll have more peace of mind as a Nigerian with him in power than with a lot of the others vying for the same job.

The range of articulate and ideological candidates for the Lagos State gubernatorials is by far better than what we’ve got at the presidential level. The campaigns are great, they seem serious with a supposedly real passion to serve and as I heard they’re even going to hold a live political debate. Anyway Lagos has always being miles ahead of the competition in all spheres so I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised.

least I forget one of my online writing mentors: Uche Nworah (the other being ex-blogger Obifromsouthlondon) came correct with his first book: “The Long Harmattan Season”; a collection of his writings over the years as an internet columnist. Grab your copy today! Yeah I’m living in a glass house, but trust me I’ll get my own copy when I can.

A day in the life of a Corper (Corps Member)

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I wake up in the morning and then I stretch up my feet, say I thank you pray and then I brush up my teeth…oophs, that’s from 2baba’s “nfang ibaga”.

I woke up in the morning, had a terrible headache, went to fix me a milkshake. Last night I got me some crazy head, from the girl living next door…wrong again! That’s from Modenine’s “head”. Ok this is me:

I wake up in the morning. Time check 8: am. I smile in acknowledge of Jah’s gift of yet another glorious traeday. Kev, my “roomlord” has gone to school so it’s a characteristic peaceful start for me. I do the clean up bit, test my newly acquired culinary skills and then I’m off to meet my CDS (Community Development Service) group members. Today’s our secondary school visitation; I’m due to give a talk on the dangers of drug abuse. Blimey! I’ve always been clean and I ain’t exactly Gbenga Sesan so why choose me? Anyway Dean has put me through on the talk thing and confidence levels are high. I make good use of imagery and examples with captivating packaging so I give myself a pass mark. But judging by my near embarrassment when asked “why drugs are still being produced if they’re bad for us?” I reckon I have to work on balancing eloquence with real talk substance at all times.

1: am sees me at the Local Government Secretariat for our delayed monthly Corps members signing and meeting. Our NYSC Local Inspector is unavoidable absent so the coordinating rights falls on my co-exco members and I. Over two hours later our work is done. Stormy issues are trashed out, personalities clash but the gentlemen corps members we are decorum is maintained and progress made.

I’m fagged out and so to Bebeto’s spot I go. I spend the evening hanging out and sipping easy with a quartet of my happening colleagues while nearby the NCCF (Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship) group are engaged in pious activities. Oteks the rugged lawyer is mouthing off and making everyone laugh as usual, Abayo the free spender is being typically generous, Chimex comes in here and there with his girl related observations while Owen brings life to the discussion with his South-South lingo. Of course Chizzy is being her characteristic nuisance with her endless spasmodic flashes and i-love-you-i-hate-you text messages. My alter ego trae_z begs me to switch off my handset and I swiftly comply with him.

To keep myself entertained I spend the night swange and kerewa dancing with the boys. The Teaching-Practice students in town are holding their send forth party and we’ve been invited to “grace” the occasion. Randy young men are all over the place and the Benue girls are living up to their hype. Trust the larger than life corper image in small towns, I’m generously allowed to feel on some booty. But like Cinderella I’m out before the clock strikes twelve. I’ve got free Globacom and MTN calls to make.

I call up my boys to get the latest on the “bolekaja presidency” and other necessary info. Of course there’s always something new to learn about. I reconnect with my orientation camp girl, Doctor Chick is reading and snubs my calls, Little Sexy Mama loves the bed and is fast asleep but Baby Face makes my night as usual with our marathon conversations. With her there’s always something interesting to talk about. My cell phone battery beeps and I hit the sheets around 4: am, joining the sleep realm where rich and poor are temporarily united in egalitarian brotherhood.

A big welcome to our new recruits: the March 2007 Batch A Corps Members. What type of corper will you be...brains, rugged or flirty?

"No be small thing oh!"

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Two weeks in the villa "no be small thing oh!" I’m just glad that in the end I can say I was wiser for it; I paid my last respects and I gave my mum the befitting burial that she rightly deserved. Props to all who have had my back (via the internet, sms, calls, gifts, words, presence and deeds) over the past few weeks, I can't thank you enough, you made a brother feel loved.

And talking about love, it's now official! After years of languishing in singledom and waiting on love I’ve got me a girl. It feels good to finally find someone who I can afford (to keep). My new boo is a laptop, the Toshiba satellite A110-195! I’m still trying to get to know it better, do a little tweaking here and there and install one or two stuffs. I wish us many fruitful years together (I’m monogamist oriented, hope I don't have to get a second wife or upgrade too soon), and now just like Globacom I can truly rule my world! "No be small thing oh!"

My mum's passing away got me feeling all religious or more correctly coming into contact with a lot of religious...paraphernalia. In my usual religious musings way (don’t mistake my brief writing for simplistic analysis, I’m not one to expound too much in blog posts) I now strongly subscribe to the thought that atheist are getting it wrong big time by living in ignorance. I’m saying the Bible…Koran is too much of a highly structured literary work for one to still doubt that Jesus existed (or that there’s no God/Creator/Supreme Being) and still think that all that are in those books are mere fiction. I mean we’re talking about decades of logical history here, clearly the Bible is no super James Hadley Chase (bookworms fix your favourite author here) novel. Another point is the Mastermind argument (which I’ve always loved) which counters the Atheists’ claim that life just evolved on its own and as such there’s no Supreme Being. The argument goes thus: on sighting a television set common sense tells you that with all its complexity it must have been created by someone/something, it didn’t just evolve on its own. Thus common sense should also tell us that the world/life we live in was orchestrated by some Supreme Being. Yet another point is the barber story. An atheist who was a barber kept blabbing that with all the suffering in the world that surely there’s no God but someone shut him up by asking him with all the mad scruffy haired people on he streets will it be fair to say that there are no barbers? On the other hand…like some atheists I do have good reason to (partially) doubt the Bible and question God as to why he no longer reveals himself as explicitly as he did in the past; but with my Liberal Christian ideology I’m happy to say that I can sleep in peace at night. My brother/sister “no be small thing oh!”

P/S: No be small thing oh! (Nigerian Pidgin English) = It’s not a small matter. The phrase is increasingly popular these days due to 2face Innocent Idibia’s extensive use of it in his new album (titled Grass 2 Grace).

With all humility: The Toshiba satellite A110-195 “no be small thing oh!”

Lamentations 6, verses 4-17

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I’m sure that like me you’re tired of my lamentations, but hey what can I do, it’s what it is right now. After several laziness and career thinking bouts I just finished up my eulogy. Couldn’t find the words to rhyme plus my rhyme style wouldn’t even be appropriate (ask the 8 Mile Eminem and Retired blogger Delot, it’s hard work) so I settled with this prose. Amusingly it’s kind of like a combination of my last two posts, hope it doesn’t get y’all down. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you, you and you. I see us doing big things this year…always look at the bright side of life. Oya chop knuckle now...one!

Seriously Missing You; Eulogy to my Darling Mother

It came as a wicked shock to me on December 16th 2006, that mum, you who had been all to me, had a day before passed away. I arrived from Benue that day in high spirits, happy to be free from NYSC issues and really looking forward to the holidays and to showing you the man that I’ve become. Only to be greeted by the sight of throngs of sympathizers and your condolence register. Mum it was utterly surreal grasping the reality that I had been 24 hours too late.

My thoughts wandered all over the place. It was agonizing realising that our phone call three days before would be the last I would hear from you. And that our parting seven weeks earlier (an occasion on which you had given me some sober motherly advice) was to be the last I was to see of you.

When I remember all you suffered for me, the love and care shown to me since birth and all our mother-son conversations I seriously regret every single moment I spent arguing and quarrelling with you and just wish I could turn back the hands of time to take care of you as you did to me.

It’s so unfortunate that one as gentle as you would pass away in a car crash. I really miss you mum, I’ve cried out all the tears in me to the point I’m now crying inside. But being mere pawns in the hand of the creator I’m resigned to the fact that God knows best.

Mum you raised me well, and having my siblings and father to weather the storm with I’m sure that as you live through me I’ll always do you proud. I love you mum.

Your son, Tochukwu (TRAE)