Saturday, December 27, 2014


Nigerians love to complain. If it rains, they want it to stop. If the sun comes out, they say it is too hot. You are poor they will insult you. You are rich, they will call you a thief. In fact I blame Nigerians for my spiritual condition. When you chase women they say you are womanizing, when you don’t they wonder if all is well down there or if you are gay. Anyone who tries to please Nigerians is sure to end up free falling in the dark abyss of ingratitude. 
This week I will break the year-long cycle of complaining by sharing ten of the best political moments of 2014 – moments which should make us proud of our country, our president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his darling, stylish wife.
1.    January:
Our president and legislature got their priorities right and signed the anti-gay bill into law as the first piece of legislation of the year. Of course there was the Health bill and the Petroleum Industry bill, but none of them were half as important as criminalizing consensual same sex affection. You know how gay people make our roads bad and make it impossible for us to have good hospitals or electricity. It is pathetic. I had hoped that with the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014, the problems of the economy, corruption, poverty, power and infrastructure would finally be a thing of the past. Normally this would be the case but I am not sure what has happened 12 months after. Nigeria works in mysterious ways.
2.    February:
One of my favorite moments was when the President finally brought stability to the country by suspending the man who had declared that there were billions of dollars missing from the proceeds of oil sales. I mean, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had it coming. You can’t be insulting the president and be buying bow-ties with his money at the same time. Either you keep quiet or give up the bow ties. Plus really, bow-ties?  A bow tie is fine for a bartender or a person at a formal dinner. Every other time it just looks pretentious and awkward. Especially on a person his size. Anyway, that suspension made two things disappear: the rumours of the disappearance of billions of dollars and his bow ties – and especially now as Emir, it is unlikely that he will ever wear a bow tie again. It is also unlikely that we will ever know what happened to those billions of dollars. However let’s at least be happy about those hideous bow-ties.

Also in February, presidential aide Reno Omokri was discovered to have multiple personality disorder. He authored a document under the name “Wendell Simlin”
attempting to link Sanusi with the militant Islamist group Boko Haram and at least one murder in Kano. Gladly, well meaning Nigerians discovered his name in the document properties and started raising awareness about his condition. I don’t know if Reno Omokri has received treatment for this ailment. But as they say, diagnosis is already fifty percent of treatment.
3.    March:
Goodluck Jonathan declared open the National Conference which had newly pardoned ex-convict Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, a man who went through a traumatizing phase of not being sure if he liked men or women’s clothes. Through an uncommon and brave act of forgiveness President Jonathan gave the Governor-General of the Ijaw nation his groove back. The man went on to represent his home state at the conference. I am sure great things were achieved at the conference only I am not sure what. Sometimes the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And god says we should not judge. In fact, if all the conference did was provide Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha with 12 million naira for his post-pardon rehabilitation, that is something worth celebrating. How many countries have such a robust program of rehabilitating convicts?
4.    April:
Goodluck Jonathan dealt a huge blow to Boko Haram by going to Kano and dancing publicly right after a bomb killed over a hundred persons in the Federal Capital Territory. The idea of terror is to make you afraid and unhappy. But Jonathan showed them that it is never a bad time to dance. Plus we all know how Boko Haram hates music and dancing. That must have really hurt them. Kai. But Goodluck knows how to really get those people sha. You can’t learn these things. He was born that way.
5.    May:
Our first lady, Mama Peace, aka Dame Patience Jonathan summoned a meeting of people from Chibok who had attended a meeting of the Bing Back Our Girls Campaign. And she broke down and cried into a white handkerchief. On camera. Before the whole world. I don’t know of any public official who has shown as much emotion about the kidnap of the Chibok school girls. Crying is the ultimate symbol of mourning, but crying, tears or no tears, into a white handkerchief says: I mourn, but as a believer I have hope, I see the light, I see better times ahead. Sometimes we take Mama Peace for granted. Empathy is not about speaking good English. Empathy sometimes means crying in public into a white handkerchief.
6.    June:
The good people of Ekiti State participated in a free and fair election. Even though rice bearing both PDP and APC logos flooded the state prior to the elections, the people did not allow this to confuse them. In the end, after cooking Fayose’s rice and Fayemi’s rice they came to the wise conclusion that only a consumer can come to: that Fayose’s rice was more nutritious. And they voted out their popular incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi.

Also, despite being probed, Stella “armoured cars” Oduah was in Ogbaru in Anambra to receive the title of Ada Eze Chukwu conferred by the traditional rulers from Anambra North. It is not easy to go from being probed to being crowned.
7.    July:
Goodluck Jonathan launched his first international article in the Washington Post. It was mostly about silence. He wrote: “My silence as we work to accomplish the task at hand is being misused by partisan critics to suggest inaction or even weakness. My silence has been necessary to avoid compromising the details of our investigation.” Silence is a great subject. You remember how we used to say “silence is the best answer for a fool” in primary school? It is not a lie.
Goodluck Jonathan also hung out with Malala in Abuja. When the 17 year old rights activist got on a plane I heard he ironed those his overalls with spray starch and practiced his speech. (See how Goodluck touches people: Malala became one of the lucky recipients of the 2014 the Nobel Peace Prize. Sometimes all you need in life is good luck.)
8.    August:
At the height of the Ebola scare, Jonathan fired the 16,000 resident doctors who were on strike trying to push for better wages and work conditions. Sometimes when you are fighting an external battle it might be best to get rid of internal enemies first. That is why during every war an army kills or jails people for treason or mutiny. You cannot fight well when your home is in disarray. The doctors should be happy that they were just sacked. Because if they were soldiers in an army they would have been shot for downing their tools. In the end, thanks to Jonathan, we were able to fight Ebola. Even Buhari can’t deny Jonathan the glory for ending Ebola.
9.    September:
Dozens of South Africans who were in Nigeria to seek miracle healing and breakthroughs at the synagogue of world famous Nigerian Pastor T. B. Joshua in Lagos became, “martyrs of the kingdom of [T.B. Joshua’s] god.” I am not sure of the full implications of this, but if T. B. Joshua is right, it means his god has arranged their spots in heaven. (I don't mean to mess with the suspense of this story, but as at December, the coroner and government seem to agree with T. B. Joshua that some UFO came from nowhere and made his church collapse. They even stopped calling him to the inquiries of his own church building collapse. I swear his god works in mysterious ways.)
10. October:
In his Independence Day speech, Goodluck Jonathan asked “all those waging war against our country” to “lay down their arms and embrace peace”. So nice our president. Sometimes when a person is blowing your citizens to smithereens every week and kidnaping dozens of women, girls and boys at will, you need to ask them nicely to please stop. Sometimes all they need is that soft voice of reason that says: Haba bros, it’s not good what you are doing. Kai! We have such a cool president.
(Unrelated, but interesting: Not to be outdone by other politicians, singer-turned-politician, Abolore Adegbola Akande, popularly known as 9ice, who was seeking election into the Oyo State House of Representatives representing Ogbomoso North/South/Orire Constituency allegedly handed out bottles of palm-oil & palm-wine to his supporters. Ingenious combination if you ask me.)
11. November:
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola ignored calls for him to convert to Christianity and become a part of the most formidable political team ever with General Buhari. This is not really a best moment thing, I just wanted to include it. It was an almost best moment. I mean think if Fashola had done it – joined like Pastor Chris’s church (without perming his hair please!). We might have been talking of an APC landslide in Nigeria. Just that brief dream fills me with joy.
12. December:
By the grace of god, President Jonathan discovered Teleprompters and unwittingly started a teleprompter revolution. Now he can give speeches and use both of his long hands to gesticulate.
Jonathan also was declared by Doyin Okupe to be like Jesus Christ. Doyin did not even say like Saint Paul or Peter. He skipped to Jesus direct.


Saturday, December 20, 2014


President King Nebuchadnezzar also known as Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, received a new anointing this week when no less than his spokesman, Mr Doyin Okupe, declared on national television that the president was “just like Jesus Christ”. Even though quite a few people I know were outraged, I respect this. Let me explain.
You see, when all the prophets were on earth, people doubted them. Their followers tried to convince people but most thought they were liars and refused to follow them. I have read the history of most of the prophets. I will not be caught in the same mistake. Because of this knowledge of history, I never question claims to divinity or prophethood. That is how many Jews missed out on heaven because they refused to believe that Jesus was sent by God. There is no way I am missing out on heaven – I have nothing to lose from taking Doyin Okupe seriously.
Let me examine Doyin Okupe’s assertion and the few ways that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is like Jesus Christ.
1.     Jonathan is persecuted. Everyone hates him. I am not sure why. The same way I am not sure why the Jews in the time of Jesus hated him so much. Look at the life of Jonathan. Since he emerged as president, it has been one insult after another. From clueless to bigot to corrupt to divisive. There is no reason for this. It is not like he has not shown remarkable leadership. It is not like he has not led by example: he refused to give into the pressure of his detractors to declare his assets or to fire corrupt ministers in his government. This surely makes him a strong president. It is not like he has been wicked: he has shown mercy to many repentant criminals by granting them pardon. This takes me to point two.
2.     Jonathan is forgiving. Do you remember when they came to arrest Jesus and one of his disciples cut off the ear of one of the soldiers? What did Jesus do? He healed the ear of the man who came to take him away and said that he who kills by the sword will die by the sword. Mention one top criminal that Jonathan has successfully prosecuted and imprisoned? He has no time for such wickedness. And remember when Jesus said about the harlot, „he who is without sin let him cast the first stone“? Yes. That is what Jonathan was trying to say when he said that stealing is not corruption.
3.     Jonathan came from humble beginnings. You remember how Jonathan didn’t have shoes growing up? You remember also how his father was a fisherman? Ok. Jesus’ father was not a fisherman, but a carpenter is not that different from a fisherman. In fact without a carpenter, who would make boats for the fisherman?
4.     Jesus went from being born in a manger, to riding into Jerusalem in nice robes on a donkey. Goodluck Jonathan has gone from being shoeless and riding in a canoe to being Nigeria’s number one public officer riding in bullet proof cars. Let’s just say that donkeys were the bullet proof cars of the days of Jesus. And I strongly suspect that if you do the research, you will find that the place in that fishing village where Goodluck was born was just as lowly as Jesus’ manger.
5.     Jesus changed water into wine. There is no evidence that Jesus drank the wine that he produced. Just as there is no evidence that Goodluck is given to a lot of wine. Wicked people will spread rumours about the president liking his drink but who can provide proof? Red eyes alone mean nothing. Lack of sleep can cause red eyes.
6.     Jesus was a teacher from the time he was twelve years old in the temple until he started giving sermons on mountains. Goodluck Jonathan was a teacher in Rivers State College of Education. Yes a college of education is no temple or mountain but the key word is teaching. The venue is immaterial.
7.     Jesus had an overzealous apostle who on one occasion even chopped off the ear of someone who tried to arrest them. Jonathan has Doyin Okupe.
8.     Jesus had patience. Goodluck Jonathan has Patience.

There are many more reasons I can give to make people stop getting angry at Mr Okupe for comparing Jonathan to Jesus. Buhari can attack this Nigerian prophet at his own risk. But as an old man, Buhari should know better. If the people campaigning for him are insulting this man who is just like Jesus, he should be like Pilate who came out publicly when the Jews wanted Jesus dead, to wash his hands clean of the blood of Jesus. Buhari should address a press conference with a bowl of water and do this. What you don’t want is bad luck at a time of elections. A word is enough for the wise.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I have never been as excited about any political opponent as I am about General Buhari, who has just won the APC Presidential primaries. I want to congratulate him from the bottom of my heart. Of course as with all my other opponents for 2015, I would love to engage him on the way forward for our country. Since his victory I have been trying Buhari’s number to arrange for a presidential debate between him, Goodluck Jonathan and my humble self. I have since given up on Goodluck because he has never even once responded to my calls, texts or WhatsApp messages. But Buhari, I didn’t expect him not to pick. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was tired from the marathon national convention in Lagos.
In lieu of a phone conversation however, I will be reaching out to Buhari here. I will be raising salient issues which I think should form the core of any attempt to move Nigeria forward as aggregated from my research and my discussions with Nigerians from all walks of life – from newspaper vendors to technocrats.
I know Buhari has one wife, but there was at least one contestant at the level of the APC primaries who is known to have more than one wife. At the level of gubernatorial primaries across the country also, there are many candidates who have multiple wives. We have also seen at least one case in our country’s history where in a certain state there was a quarrel over which of the governor’s wives would be first lady. It is unfair for Nigerians to have to experience this. It is important for those who are running for executive positions to decide which of their partners would follow them on their political journey. In fact, in this limited instance I will propose a two-pronged solution. First, I think that where there is more than one wife, citizens should be able to choose which of the wives should occupy the position of first lady. This can be done at an event called the First Spouses primaries. Second, after every candidate has just one spouse involved, I think that all candidates for the gubernatorial and presidential elections should have their spouses on the ballot in addition to themselves or risk having the office of the first lady scraped if they win. This will foster transparency and accountability. And I say this because we have known First Ladies in the past who virtually took over governance. If this happens, it is only fair that we know that we voted for her.
2.      GALA.
Nigerians should not laugh. This may look like a joke, but unless you have been in traffic or in public transport at the close of work, you will not understand how crucial this is to national life. Sometimes, Gala sold in hold-ups is the only thing stopping some people from fighting on the bus out of the irritation and frustration that extreme hunger causes. Not every worker has the endurance to wait until they reach home before they eat. Now, I do not eat Gala but I am reliably informed that first, the price has kept going up from its original 50 naira. This creates two problems. First, if Gala is 70 or 80 naira, there will always be the problem of change and it is not like people have all the time in the world to look for change when they are in a hold-up. Next, this makes it inaccessible to persons who have only 50 naira. Apart from this, I am also reliably informed that the sausage within is not what it used to be. So my question to Buhari at this crucial time: if elected, what will you do about Gala?
3.      SARDINES
Growing up, I used to know that four of us children shared one tin of sardines. Because each tin contained four fish. Over the years, manufacturers have betrayed the trust of Nigerians who have been going to the shops to buy opaque tins in the hope that when the tins are finally opened there will be four fish. Again, I am reliably informed that contrary to this hope, there are now in most tins, two pieces of fish. Sometimes young masses have nothing else to add to their small pieces of bread but these tinned sardines. To reduce the number without a negotiation with the Nigerian populace is very wrong. No leader should allow this. If elected, what will Buhari do about sardines?

There are a lot of other issues of national importance but I do not want to inundate the General. A few at a time, so that we can discuss them exhaustively. I hope he replies. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The gods of Nigerian politics

It has been interesting watching the primaries of all my political opponents. Sometimes when your opponents put on a good show, it is ok to just lean back and enjoy. The easiest way to understand the way political parties in Nigeria operate is to compare them to religious systems.
I will start with the PDP. The ruling party of Nigeria is not like a monotheistic religion, like Christianity or Islam. There is no single all-powerful god. In fact, those who made the mistake of believing that there is, have paid very dearly with their political lives. The PDP is like Greek mythology. So many gods. Some hate each other, some love each other. Some of the gods die and new ones emerge. But there is always a clash of gods. That is why the gods in the Obasanjo years gave way to the gods in the Yaradua years. And people like El-Rufai were chased out because they didn’t understand how to play with the new gods. As a PDP loyalist you have to be loyal to many gods at once, because gods die as easily as they are born. Some people understand this and they are able to serve, or at least be friends with, every government in power. Look at people like Professor Jerry Gana or Ojo Madueke. Have you ever heard them condemn a government? They understand political polytheism and thus are able to eat at the table of every god that rises to prominence. They will live long.
The APC on the other hand, especially in the South West is very monotheistic. The APC god, based somewhere in Lagos, is a very jealous god. It will not share its glory, not even with good governors. There were some top APC officials who foolishly thought that it was enough to excel at their job or reform governance. Every member of a monotheistic religion knows that it is just not enough to be a good person. You also have to profess faith in that god and perform rituals prescribed by that god. There is nothing strange about this. A monotheist cannot make heaven by good works alone. Same with the APC. You cannot retain your seat or appoint your own successor by good works alone. Those who understand this have been rewarded with party tickets. And those who don’t have lost elections.
Personally, I think having to worship many gods is stressful. You end up spreading yourself too thin and having no certainty to go with that. You do not want to be like our Vice President, who in spite of all his loyalty cannot be absolutely certain that he will spend the next four years in Aso Rock. That is a very stressful kind of loyalty. Political monotheism makes it easier to determine if one will be successful or not. For example, hours before the end of the Lagos State APC gubernatorial primaries, many online news and gossip sites already had headlines that read ‘Ambode wins Lagos APC primaries’. At the time, many people online protested that the primaries were not yet over and thus no winner could be declared yet. But everyone who knew what the god of the APC wanted had no doubt about the outcome. I like the APC god. He is not only predictable and reliable; you can be sure that once you have obeyed his commandments you will make political heaven. A reliable god is a faithful god.
Political monotheism is a bit like watching reruns of your favourite football game that you have missed. Your blood pressure will not be unduly high and you can watch the game in peace, enjoying all the highlights. That is how watching the Lagos APC primaries was. It was clear that Ambode would win. But it was nice to watch anyway.
I do not envy the people who will take part in the Lagos State PDP gubernatorial primaries. There will be no superior god in charge. And no one knows if it will end in chaos or the child of which god will emerge victorious. Whatever the case, I wish them all the best.

On 10 December, the APC will be holding its presidential primaries. Only god knows who will emerge.