MTN and Arsenal: What Kind of Partnership?

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Loud Whispers

I had heard a rumour of this at first so I muted my excitement. You see, these two are my favourite brands. MTN simply because of the massive impact it is having not only economically but on the social lives of our people. Rarely do I single out a commercial enterprise for adulation, but when you see something positive you must commend it, if for nothing else but to encourage and show appreciation. The impact of this telecommunications giant on our lives cannot be overemphasised. For Arsenal, they became my team when Kanu Nwankwo was plying his trade there. Those days when I could still afford to go to London, I used to take the Emirates tour and made it a point of duty to go see the players’ dressing room and their bathrooms. I even once took a pee in their bathroom when I pretended that I would almost die if they did not allow me use it.

In those days, they would show you each player’s corner, show you where Manager, Arsene Wenger stands to give pep talk and finally allow you sit and take pictures in your favourite player’s box with his jersey right behind you. Those visits used to be the high point of my trip to London, but those are long forgotten days. With the kind of economy today, na my TV set I dey take the tour. So you can imagine my excitement when I got the invite to come for the launch of the partnership. I jumped into my car, looked for my Arsenal jersey and headed straight to the IMAX theatre where the event was happening. There was palpable excitement in the air as Arsenal Fans thronged the place but with also a lot of Chelsea fans who disguised wearing Adire instead of their jerseys. We only realised this – when each time Chelsea scored, the hall erupted in involuntary adulation for Chelsea. Well, that notwithstanding, it was a perfectly organised event, with my legend himself Kanu Nwankwo appearing on stage looking his usual tall self, with braided hair and an oxblood caftan. I also saw Okocha and was that Celestine Babayaro?  Deji Omotoyibo led the group of analysts who had half-time sessions analysing the march which Arsenal unfortunately lost. I hear these two brands combined have the largest followership in the country, with Nigerians leading in social media followership of Arsenal globally.

This partnership would afford MTN subscribers up-to-date stats, player information and a whole lot of footballing experience that should more than compensate for our inability to go watch these matches live. My people, I bought £100 for N70,000 yesterday. With this kind exchange rate, na only drug lords go fit dey watch matches live, I tell you. After the event, I met or should I better say, I saw their Chairman, pascal Dozie and his lovely wife. I also saw Gbenga Oyebode – that man never ceases to amaze me. He is one of the few Nigerians I utterly respect. I swear, I really did ask his assistant who had continually been stopping me from seeing him, but no matter, I finally saw him that day. Anyway, this is a wonderful partnership that should assist in lowering our stress levels as we continue to strive for an existence in this our country.

Tuface : A Rebel with no Cause
Well, me I don talk am, don’t start what you cannot finish. Last week, I had admonished this my guy to be careful and go concentrate on what he knows best to do instead of trying to distract us with this his attempt at social activism. I was proved right when he posted a very scary video last Sunday cancelling his participation in the planned protest. As I watched the video, I could not help but notice the fear in his eyes. One baba sent me a lengthy text after reading my piece, admonishing me, well I am looking for him now to konk him. You see, social activism comes with its own challenges, you cannot wake up and rustle the leaves and now pull out because you have suddenly seen a threat to safety or that kind thing. The question is that when you were planning the thing, didn’t you know that before, instead of wasting people’s time and energies and decimating  a wonderful platform that the masses could have used to send a powerful message to the powers that be? Tubaba or wetin you dey call yourself, you no try at all. Next time, do not play this kind of game with people’s lives, the issues that face us in the country today are more serious than these childish games you are playing o. As I write, I never see power for my Shomolu penthouse in one month. I am now reduced to walking into the Skye Bank on my street to charge my phone and Ipad. Skye Bank, I thank you for the CSR (corporate social responsibility) but help me tell your security men not to bother me, I will soon open an account.
Access Bank Marathon: Run Edgar Run!!!!!!!!!
I hereby fully announce my decision to pull out of the upcoming Lagos Marathon to all my teeming fans. To the people who have been waiting to see me embarrass myself or even to those ones with morbid thoughts of my demise from exhaustion with the aim to move towards my Queen, I deny you this opportunity. Unlike Tuface, I had secretly commenced training for this event without announcing to anybody my intention. Only my maiguard was aware for he was the time keeper. I would wake up every morning and run from my house to the Shomolu police station where I would sit down with the policemen to drink shepe for 30 minutes. Then on Saturdays, I would jog to the Lekki bridge with my camera to see the wonderful tourist attractions that juggle and jiggle on that bridge. The place is fast becoming a major tourist attraction, remember the Facebook baba came to jog on the bridge for the same reasons. This upcoming Access Bank Lagos marathon has made the bridge even more appealing with the way damsels flock the place to jog. I must confess that was what triggered my interest in the marathon in the first place. After my morning run, I would now take Agege bread with akara to boost my stamina and now sleep for like four hours to rest the muscles. I was the man to beat with this kind of training regimen. Everyday, I would look at my partner, Segun with his Mohawk training like his life depended on it. This one does not understand true training. Me, I train like Usain bolt, I go to Quilox on Fridays, go to MFM – Mountain of Fire and Miracles to pray and offer a portion of my expected winning prize as tithe for spiritual support, so as not to leave any stone unturned, I even went to the shrine called igbogunu in Bariga to drop my running shoes for spiritual power, all angles must be covered, that prize money is more than my four years’ salary –  all in my bid to win this marathon and finally end the domination of the Kenyans in these kinds of race. Yes, I was going to bring back the glory to Shomolu and Akwa Ibom. Yes, I am multi-racial, the type that Donald Trump has banned from America. I will address that in future broadcasts. All these powerful preparations came to naught when my last child, Zara came crying to me one day, that she just had a bad dream about me falling into the gutter as I was running on Ikorodu Road. Kai, na the kind dream Tuface dream wey make am shoot that video with blood-red eyes, pulling out of his own protest. So my people, I asked her to bring my phone and record me: ‘My dear fans and especially the organisers of the marathon who would be losing my regal presence, I hereby pull out of the marathon simply because intelligence report reaching me shows that six women will run faster than me and as a titled chief, I cannot allow such to happen. So, it is with a heavy heart that I withdraw my participation in your international race even as I thank you for bringing joy and a fulfilled Saturday to Lagosians especially at this trying time. But can I ask  if there will be something for people like me who had the intention but could not make it due to these very strategic reasons? You can send your reply through Segun Akande who is my friend and who will be participating in the marathon. He is short and black and will be breasting the tape Sunday evening – a clear 24 hours after the race will have been officially declared closed. Please send me my compensatory gift through him. Well done guys, a powerful message you are sending with this marathon.’
Muhammadu Buhari’s Health: Much Ado about Nothing
Everywhere I go, I see people discussing the health of our President. I really do not understand why there is so much concern about his health when there is a perfect system of continuity if, God forbids, anything happens to him. I guess the paranoia is as a result of what we went through during the Yar’dua wahala. For me o, there is nothing wrong with Buhari. I have had long conversations with him and have always come out of these conversations with a strong feeling that this Baba is not going anywhere. Government is a continuum and we have a graying although not too tall Acting President who is holding the ship of state in place until Baba comes back. So guys, let’s all concentrate on dealing with those customs officers who cleared 661 rifles from the Apapa ports. This is of more consequence to us than the health of our president who is drinking tea with the Queen. You forgot they went to the same primary school? Can you imagine what would have happened to us as a nation if those rifles had fallen into the hands of the wrongest people? So because of a morsel of porridge, these corrupt customs officials would have just wasted millions of lives? Now I understand the meaning of the poster I saw as I was driving past the EFCC office in Ikoyi. Note I said ‘drive past’ not ‘went’. The poster emblazoned on its face: ‘CORRUPTION KILLS’. The customs boss must be presented this poster in his office and in front of TV cameras and the media. Be like say, he and his officers do not know this. Abeg, Nigerians leave Buhari’s health alone, nothing do am.
Erelu Dosunmu and Isale Eko
As the executive producer of Isale Eko, I walked into the presence of her regal beauty in her Victoria Island home with confidence. As I was ushered into her roof-top garden, I was immediately gobsmacked with her eternal beauty. The Erelu is still a very beautiful woman o. Her aristocracy sitting on her like well-starched uniform. My knees buckled and I lost composure. She was ravishingly beautiful even at that age. As I introduced myself, she smiled and I saw a Yoruba Mona Lisa that moment o. As we talked, her rich understanding of the history of Isale Eko came to the fore. She educated me and really gave me a massive insight into the rich cultural history of her people. She reminded me that she was the Erelu Kuti of the land and also her role in that wise. She has invited the cast and crew for lunch to further discuss the play and her role. She graciously answered all my questions even as she continued to give me more insights, ensuring that we will have a very brilliant outing come April. I look forward to meeting her again as we begin the countdown to Isale Eko. Have you bought your ticket?
Mrs. Clara Macaulay : A Shout Out
My dear ‘Aunty Clara’ as Alvin would call you, I would, despite the activities of the forces of youthful exuberance which denied me the opportunity to wine and dine with you at your last birthday, still wish you a happy birthday and God’s continuous blessings. Your birthday party was shrouded in secrecy so that I would not come and toast to your eternal beauty and long life. Well, the forces did not try because you remain one of the most respected people in my life and as such I should have been invited whether or not I would come and finish the food like I heard. Well, I hear you were not totally happy at my absence but do not worry, the most important thing is that you had fun. Not to worry, next year it will be my turn to honour you and it will be party with shorts. We will all wear shorts to honour you madam. Well done and once again, I wish you a long fruitful life.