Segun Adeniyi: Let us Ignore that Book


Don’t mind me o, this headline is aimed at catching your attention. You see, the idea is to get you to send me a signed copy of this very seminal book or otherwise how would I get you to do that if I do not get your attention with this catchy but utterly misleading headline? You see, Mr, Adeniyi, you and one man they used to call Chidi Emutchay and Ndaeyo Uko who used to write for The Guardian those days are the people who inspired me into wanting to be a columnist and today I have overtaken you guys with the level of influence I wield in this our chosen field. Just go and ask them in Shomolu. Seriously, I have always admired your writings especially the sweet-flowing style in which you deliver your usually well-thought out contexts.

Sir, I used to know Mßadam, when she was working in an insurance firm in Lagos. She is light in complexion, tall and beautiful. I have even met you before, yes na at the Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja. You were wearing one tight, blue jeans like that and a white T-shirt with glasses on your face. We talked about everything and you hugged me telling me that I was a great writer and that you saw a Nobel in my future. Well, I think after me, you are the greatest living columnist and essayist of your generation, you remain the singular most influential thinker that has come out of your village and I am sure you will continue to wield so much influence and power for a long time to come. Or how do you explain the way people who are usually very hard to get sitting down and telling you all these things that are in your book? The level of access you have shown in this book can only come from juju. See the people you spoke to, Kai, Tinubu, Jonathan, all these heavy weights and juggernauts falling all over themselves to speak to you. You remain my hero and although I am a better writer, you have won my respect and complete adulation. It is in this regard, that I am now officially requesting for a signed copy of your book or why do you think I have been hailing you like this? Please if you do not mind, let me know how to come and collect the book, my brother in-law is on standby to meet you anywhere in this world to collect the book. Sir, if you do not mind, before releasing the Book, kindly ask him to take a picture of you with the book for my archives. Well sir, while awaiting your speedy response, let me say congratulations and well done.

Oba Rilwan Akiolu: In His Majesty’s Defence
As I am writing this piece, the news of the fire outbreak at the Oba’s palace is being reported. You see, the Oba who I hold in the highest esteem caused a mini-firestorm when it was reported that he snubbed my friend, His Royal Majesty, the Ooni of Ife. People who do not understand these things went up in arms calling for the Oba’s head. But the person who was alleged to have been snubbed has come out to restate his highest respect for the Oba of Lagos and his throne. You see, we like wahala too much in this country or why would such an incident which could have gone unnoticed cause so much rancour and debate amongst the citizenry as if the snub would solve the problems in the country? Busybodies became emergency historians, coming out with all sorts of ratings and rankings showing the Ooni’s position in the hierarchy of kings with the Oba of Lagos not even appearing on most lists.

One list even went ahead to publish their salaries and in all of these lists, my annoyance was the absence of the seat of the Dukedom of Shomolu. If I start my own now, they will say I am a terrorist. But today, it’s not about me, but about the need for us as a people to learn how not to dwell on trivialities and focus on the more pressing issues of nation building.  While on this matter, let me restate my admiration for the Ooni and the way he handled the snub. In Shomolu, we call people like His Majesty, ‘ogbologbo’. I tell you, if you watch the video, you will see the speed with which he backed off from the Oba of Lagos. Go back and watch in slow motion, you will see how as he moved towards the Oba and the Oba raising his hand, the Ooni with full speed, quickly turned and headed for his seat. If not that we are all amebos and olofofo, we could have all missed it, because the Ooni was very swift and calculating. Another thing again that impressed me was the smile that was etched on his face as he made his detour without breaking a sweat.

What I thought would be of more interest to people was the Baba who used his white-gleaming Agbada to clean the chair the Ooni was to seat on before he embarked on his now futile attempt at greeting the ‘Owner of Lagos’ and all the lagoons that come with it. For me, this was a storm in a tea cup and we should not have wasted our time as a nation on this matter. The Oba’s people and his admirers have given so many reasons for this action and I think the most accepted one was the one that talked about glaucoma. Yes, that is the one I have chosen to believe, the Oba did not see who was coming towards him. Next time the very beautiful Olori, the one who is cousin to my friend Jennifer should go in first for the greetings. With that, I believe we would not have issues like this that has even caused the naira to crash further. Yeye.

Covenant University: A Joke Gone Bad
You see, me I have never believed in this school or what it stands for. I have visited the school, interacted with its students and even dated a few. The stories of wanton limitations to the statutes of liberty and other freedoms etched in our constitution continue to intrigue me. If you meet these students you will pity them. That place is a glorified secondary school run with archaic laws that would make inmates at the famed Kiri Kiri prisons shudder with fear. The reported case of the suspension of students for not attending a church programme once again brings to light this issue of how the school is being run. Granted, it is an institution built on very strong Christian ethos and the students are pre-warned before getting their admissions, but this should not in any way mean that basic freedoms of movement, association and in some cases speech be limited for whatever reasons.

To the best of my knowledge, a university campus should be a centre for the fluid inter-flow of ideas and thoughts from all perspectives in a bid to build, mould and expose its students. One school of thought should not be forced down their throats simply because they have chosen this particular school to attend. So why would an Easter programme be compulsory and why should abstaining lead to such draconian punishment as reported. The school and its regulatory bodies must guarantee the basic freedoms of every citizen no matter his persuasion or affiliation. The students must be free to worship and associate without any compulsion whatsoever. For me, a university with time for lights out especially at the female hostel is not a university. The government should seize this opportunity to look critically at these issues especially as it concerns the freedoms in and around the female hostel of this school urgently. A panel should be set up to look at the matter and I promise, I will be the first to make a submission; we must liberate not only the students of Covenant University from the shackles of pseudo-judaistic limitations, we must pay specific attention to the immediate and urgent lifting of all restrictions that surround the female hostel and its occupants. Na that one concern me.
President Buhari : Your Health Comes First
Let me first start by sending you my very best wishes. I was the happiest person when I saw news reports just as I was about to write this that you are back on the beat and you had even held some meetings. My Lord, please do not listen to these people talking all over the place o. Your health matters and should come first. You are not a superman o, you remain as human as the rest of us and as such any small headache must be treated o. Do not listen to people o, if you want to work from your toilet as long as it will augur well for your health, please you can gladly work from there. All these noise makers, in their private businesses when they fall ill, they take days off, do not appear in the office and yes, take files home. So why should your own be different? Baba, please do not joke with your health o. Take your doctors’ advice anytime they give it, take your medication, rest and spend more time in the other room as long as you want. You cannot solve all the problems of Nigeria in four years, Abeg take am slowly, corruption will not finish today, na our culture. Meanwhile, have you tried ‘agbo’?  It works wonders o. The next time you feel under the weather just try it mixed with the strongest kaikai and you will see the wonderful effect. Sir, you will live long for us. Did I just sound sycophantic?

Lai Mohammed, Richard Quest and the Case of the Stolen Jollof Rice
The question was who makes the best jollof rice and the answer caused a major national upheaval. Well, this Richard Quest and his funny ways sef. Why would he ask that kind question in the first place? Is that what he came here to do? If that is it, he should not come again o. But seriously, the answer to that question was wrong in so many ways. First, Senegal does not even come into the ranking when the question of jollof rice comes up. I swear, the answer is Ghana. Simple. You guys can shout and jump up and tear your clothes as much as you want to, the answer is simply Ghana. There is nothing patriotic about this at all, the truth must be said.

As one who has eaten in a lot of bukas across the west coast of Africa and suffered for it with regular bouts of cholera and dysentery, I want to state equivocally that the Ghanaian version gives me less dysentery than the other ones. The Nigerian version while still tasteful depending on who is cooking comes second with fewer times in the toilet and the Senegalese version comes a distant fourth after the Liberian version which in my mind’s eye contains more condiments than the rest with nothing to show in the taste. The next time, Richard or anybody wants to know anything about local food or buka restaurant, he should ask the real experts and not uncle Lai. Where is Olisa Adibua in all of this?