A beautiful story

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Giving the toast

So I had my first ever best man gig yesterday. Would have been the second but for my car accident last year (Long story short: broke my leg in July, missed out on the wedding in November). Twas my immediate elder brother's (Ebele) wedding; twas fun and I think I pretty much performed my duties satisfactorily. Here's the skeletal of my toast speech presented below to add to the body of work already available on the subject matter; hehehe. Smoothly scripting it over the weeks to deadline, but despite that still immensely grateful to my big sis Cle for chipping in a bunch of suggestions that polished off the work.

-Good day every one; you could be anywhere in the world today but you’re here with us; thank you for making this happen.

-My name is Tochukwu, a lot of you know me as Trae; I’m the younger brother to Ebele.

-There’s a popular saying about chess; that it takes a day to learn, but a lifetime to master! Trust me on that! I learnt to play chess over 10 years ago but my play today is still very much like a beginner. This can be compared to relationships and marriage. Like chess you could meet someone new today and fall in love in a couple of hours, butterflies in your stomach and all what not. But for you to decide that you want to spend the rest of your life with the person requires months of getting to know and understand each other just like with chess. So I’m glad ladies and gentlemen that this is what we’re seeing today with Andrea and Ebele after about three years. Theirs like their program brochure is themed has been “a beautiful story”.

-One great thing about Ebele is that he has always been a dependable fellow and someone you can always count on. There are numerous times while growing up that he has been there for me in many ways than one. I remembered being flat broke and knocked out in Jos some years back and he coming to my rescue to pay my rent. Ebele is simply reliable! Likewise Andrea is a very good hearted and likeable person, and I’ve always felt that way right from the first day I knew her. Together they’re two of the best people I’ve ever known.

-On that note I'll like us to raise our glasses to the bride and groom. Andrea and Ebele these are my wishes for you, and I’m sure in doing so I speak the mind of everyone here. Wishing you prosperity, a lifetime of happiness, lot of babies and may this your beautiful story be ever alive. To the bride and the groom!!!


With the little bride

Moment of clarity

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The closing words here of Techcabal’s Bankole Oluwafemi inspired this:

“PS: I don’t care about how many people I’m following, and hardly unfollow people because I stopped reading my timeline a long time ago. Created an ultra curated list for my sanity ages ago.”

1. If we love ourselves we must kill our inner narcissism. Following so many people so they can follow you back and you can grow your followers list… #TeamFollowBack things is so not cool. Really what does it profit you to follow so many people on Twitter yet at the end being scared of reading your own timeline?

2. I don’t want to have to go secondary and use lists just to enjoy Twitter. It's like downloading an app to get the best out of your mobile phone battery instead of going all out to get a phone with great battery life from start. Like the alpha male would say "what’s the point of marrying a wife when there’s no food on the table at the close of work and you still have to subject yourself to eating out on the regular"? Go for the best from the start so you don’t have to force yourself to adapt to mediocrity.

3. On social media I don’t do the follow back shit. I let it be my prerogative alone to choose my friends. Fake things (not being real to oneself) to me are having like over 1,000 Facebook friends, over 500 connections on LinkedIn, following over 500 on Twitter etc. I don’t make friends for making sake…or to grow my digits. If I dig you on social media (want to call you my friend) I want to be able to get a steady stream of your thoughts on a regular basis and be happy while doing so. Truth is, time is money and in this internet age we really need to embrace those habits which will help us guard our sanity and prevent information overload.

4. Real recognize real and the sooner we start to understand that the better for us. Like they say bull shit might get you to the top but it won’t keep you there. Real staying power or popularity on social media is not dubious; it’s saying or doing stuff that makes sense to others.

5. If your excuse is that you’re popular you still don’t have to let your fans overwhelm you. On Facebook for one you could activate the subscriber feature, accepting only people you consider your friends and letting all others be subscribers. Plus for private stuff you could limit the view of such posts to only friends and all other stuff to the public or friends of friends as the case may be.

Eventually, nothing surprises you

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So I spent some time in the police station last week and at the end of the episode I just shook my head and wept dry tears for my Country Nigeria. The whole place stunk of corruption; and the sad part was that it was seemingly impossible to distance one’s self once you stayed affiliated. It was a total disgrace and reminded me of all the reasons I hated my country.

As Tim Newman the British expatriate who recently completed a job stint over here said in his article -The End Of An Assignment In Nigeria- “The corruption, theft, and graft can take many forms...the list is literally endless. There is no beginning or end to corruption in Nigeria, it is a permanent fixture...You name the scam, it is being done in Nigeria. Eventually, nothing surprises you.”

Nothing truly surprises anymore.

-From the Yar’adua Part 2 drama series playing out in Taraba staring Danbaba Suntai.
-To friends and associates celebrating in absentia in Delta State UK-jailed convicted criminal James Ibori’s birthday.
-To the ignorant Rivers State lawmaker Evans Bipi calling his unlearned colleague Mrs. Patience Jonathan his “Jesus Christ on earth".
-To the hypocritical Governor of Plateau State Jonah Jang claiming electoral victory despite polling 16 votes as against his opponent’s 19.

All these phenomena, fanatical Christian youths are want to term “end time things”.

In the midst of the madness what has always kept me sane is clinging to any sense of intelligence and reason. A development that might have adversely affected my social and work life as I don’t go beyond acquaintances in many cases and keep my circle of friends compact in the virtual Facebook world and in reality. Little wonder I stuck to my guns and went all out becoming the only voter that casted a ballot for Ibrahim Shekarau at my polling unit during the last presidential elections in 2011.

I constantly get lost in the world wide web and on occasions when I stream clips of past leaders like Odumegwu Ojukwu, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. etc. feeling the raw intellect hit me and comparing with our present day Ogas-at-the-top like the NSCDC’s Shem Obafaiye I get enraged at the now prevailing mediocrity. The difference is akin to comparing night to day. That’s why I fantasize that if I should ever orchestrate a coup these are the following policy decisions I will immediately implement:

1) Free and compulsory education up until SSS3 for all children. Education is the stepping stone we need to get kicking in the third world and any Guardian whose ward(s) are found to be going against this decree will be immediately jailed.

2) Making queuing/lining up sacrosanct. Possibly it’s poverty fucking with our minds but our people (…when in Nigeria) have lost all sense of decorum and transfer same to our kids. From sharing food at weddings up until buying kerosene at the filling stations. When I’m Head of State everyone must compulsorily form queues and line up. Everything must be done on a first-come-first-served basis. Going against that earns you jail time and community service instantly.

3) Entrenching a culture of merit. All employments must be deserved and man-know-man influences immediately eradicated. Application fees for employment into government jobs; State of Origin and Federal Character policy immediately cancelled. Federal Character will be considered only for deployment (of resources) and not for (work) engagement. Also on the road of return to civilian rule consensus candidature and godfatherism will be eliminated as public debates for aspiring politicians will become compulsory under a system of one-man-one-vote.

4) Starting a Two Child population control policy akin to China’s. This is self-explanatory. We need to make much better use of our human resources.

5) Immediate ban on State sponsoring of religious pilgrimages. Government expenses must be of immediate benefit. If self-actualization for you is only found overseas then you should put your money where your mouth is and sponsor the trip to Mecca, Jerusalem, India or Syria yourself.

6) Strict execution of our secular state ideals. Reason and rationale will be the only grounds for formulating laws. So cases akin to permitting child marriages on religious grounds will never arise. Opening and closing prayers at government functions will also be frowned upon. It’s like we have substituted our brains as a people in exchange for a book of Bible stories or its’ equivalent. Our conscience must be nurtured by reason…always!

7) Cost cutting in government expenses. This will be of very high priority as salaries of legislators and office holders will be drastically cut while salaries of men of the armed forces will be increased to raise work morale. Consequently banning of check points and reorienting their minds away from bribe collection will also be done. Perpetuators of revenue leakages (kickbacks etc.) will also be decisively dealt with as a secret shopper system will be set up and any offender will immediately forfeit such ill-gotten wealth to the State. Finally all agencies with duplication of functions will be merged into one. Example: The Police, FRSC and Civil Defence will become one entity. Many special advisor roles will become deprecated as well as many groups, societies, associations, and unions by executive fiat etc.

8) Entrenchment of tenancy laws. Possibly because we are our own government providing many basic needs/amenities ourselves the rent is too damn high! And so we’re living a dog–eat-dog world (especially in places like Abuja), moving about in a vicious cycle. But in my reign a policy akin to the Lagos State Tenancy Law will be drafted, assented to and vigorously implemented. Offenders forfeiting their property to the State for a period of 5 years!

Ada Chinedu

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Ada Chinedu once upon a time ... Circa 1990

Lost my eldest sister… “Ada Chinedu” as Dad liked to call her on July 30th

Had a seizure and passed away, though she hadn’t been too strong these past few years.

Always was a quiet one, even prior to ill health, not asking for much but giving out a lot when she could.

True she had been occasionally erratic during the same period but one can only function so well at half strength.

Unlike my mum, I feel so bad our last interactions weren’t the most pleasant of memories. Couldn’t give her a ride on July 6th when I briefly visited ABJ. I was raised and self-taught to be extremely great at lending a helping hand (…what more to one of the same blood); and that has never departed me. My hands were tied then…forgive me.

I’m immensely grateful to her for her enormous contribution to my minding amongst a million other stuff. Wouldn’t be me today if she didn’t play her bit.

Thanks for everything; see you on the other side. Adios!

With Chinedu at the Vom Christian Hospital in Jos where she was for a while in 2010.