Presidential Rats: Really, No Comment


Loud Whispers

with Joseph Edgar (09095325791)

Ever since I started writing this column, I have never run into what they usually call writer’s block. This is when you stare blankly at your computer with the deadline creeping slowly in and with nothing to write. The reason is simple: my readers always throw up suggestions as to what to write about or who to yab. Aregbesola, Fayose, Tony Elumelu and Dino Malaye are the usual targets and me sef no dey waste time. Fayose has suffered for my hand but I thank the democrat in him otherwise, the man for don knock my calabar head. Well, ever since the story of the disrespectful rats hit the media, the responses of my readers have been wild. People have called from as far as Kaduna asking for my own inputs.

They wanted me to comment on the topic in my usual way so that they can laugh. Well, I refuse to allow you people to make me expose myself to Presidential mouse traps. For I have a feeling that our dear President is not finding these issues of rats and other rodents funny. You see, it is usually easy to stay at the back and push someone else to enter trouble. All these people asking me to yab Buhari are not normal people o. They too have computer and email address of my editor or even social media o. They will not go o and they will be pushing me because I have two heads to go and start asking the President or his beautiful wife why they could not buy simple rat poison that they can find in Wuse market and put in the office before they embarked on their 104-day journey. You see, as I near my 49th birthday, the feeling of self-censure and self-preservation is enveloping me and I will be carefully choosing those I will be yabbing. People like Buhari, Magu, Buratai are no-go areas o.

These ones can maim o if you look for their trouble, but people like Charly Boy, Tuface, Lai Mohammed, Dele Momodu, these ones I can handle. In fact, I will just yab Lai Mohammed now sef just for the fun of it. But Buhari and the rats, I have not heard and even if they have forwarded the story to me, I have refused to read and will not comment. The rats are great Nigerian rats that are performing their own patriotic duties of keeping the President’s Office safe while he was away. So my dear lawyer in Asaba who has been sending me texts to yab Buhari and the rats, God will forgive you for forgetting that I have never professed to be a Gani Fawenhimi or even the fainting Charly Boy. Na food to feed my family na im I dey find o. so I will not yab Buhari or his rats. You yab  after all you sef go school and you be lawyer. Write the article, I will beg Shaka to publish and while you are at it send your passport photograph and your address. Rat ke, which rat? There was no rat in the President’s office. It was just, wetin Hilary Clinton call am that other time, a conspiracy of the right wing; to embarrass our President. Just in case sha, I know one Igbo man that sells rat poison near Abiodun bus stop in Shomolu, Femi Adeshina send someone, I will point him out. Only in Nigeria. LoL

Tony Elumelu: I Just Love This Guy

The whole of last week was Tony week. It started with the front-page news of Tony with all the generals in Nigeria in a photo opportunity on the front page of the papers and then he appeared in Sierra Leone to commiserate with the victims of the mudslide and ended the week in Las vegas at the Floyd Mayweather fight. I envy his energy and zest for life.  I have met Tony three times in my life. One on the stairs at his then Standard Trust Bank Limited and we admired each other’s shoes. Yes, o he stared at my shoes and asked where I bought them from and we laughed. Second, was when I was working with my mentor, Albert Okumagba, at BGL. He had come in to talk to us during our strategy session and he really showed us why he is who he is today.

I really admired him, especially his full chest and the all-black outfit he was putting on. That day, I saw at close range the strict discipline with which he operated. He was asked a question during the session and he immediately called one of his people who was at a director that immediately appeared in track suits to answer the question. Remember this was Saturday. The last time I saw him was at the launching of something UBA was supporting, a documentary at the IMAX cinema and he appeared and shook hands with everybody including me. That I admire him and what he has done for himself cannot be discounted as I continue to watch his every move very closely with the hope that I will one day replicate same in my pursuit of excellence. However, I think the media blitz can be toned down just a little bit as it may distract us a little bit from the very profound things Tony is doing. His foundation and Heirs Holdings remain the signpost of a new Nigeria, nay, Africa. His Africapitalism mantra is beginning to catch on and I am mixing with young professionals who swear by him. Let’s keep the flag flying and let us ignore the social media trolls, they are just not worth it.

Senator Ita-Giwa: Mummy Will You Dance?

For those of you who do not know, I am a world-acclaimed theatre producer. My last two shows had the legendary Ali Baba, Patrick Doyle, Yemi Shodimu, Yinka Davies, all ply their trades on my stage in an explosion of theatrical extravaganza which left the audience spellbound. To date, people who watched the show are still walking around Lagos with their mouths wide open, amazed at the wonder that unfolded on the stage at the Muson.

To beat this, I have approached the only mummy we all know to play a cameo role in my next production, Bakassi, coming February at the Muson. This play as usual is scripted and directed by the versatile William Benson and will be produced by myself and Olisa Adibua. Senator Giwa is expected to grab the stage and for the first time, show what she can do. I have had meaningful discussions with the ever beautiful senator and she asked me in one of those meetings why I wanted her in the production. I told her that it was simply because I felt that no story on Bakassi will be complete without her involvement as the true champion of the Bakassi people. But the truth of the matter is that, as I see school fees, I screamed and fainted. When I woke up, I realised that the only way I can pay these fees is to do what we used to call America wonder’ that will have people come out of their houses to watch, in the process give me money to pay the fees. So Ma Bakassi will you dance? Na beg o.

Niyi Saliu: Congratulations, My Boy!

Niyi has recently been elected as the Chairman of Eredo LCDA in Epe. Niyi was my boy while at BGL and I have always seen the leadership potential in the guy. I used to encourage him o and tell him that Niyi, one day you would be a great man. Even when he did not meet his targets and was up for sanctions, I would protect him and say Niyi, you are a great guy. Today, Niyi has made me proud and has emerged as a Chairman. This is a shout-out and a call to action. Let’s show your people what true leadership is. God bless.

Jamb: 30 Years Late

I am filled with righteous anger as I write this morning. As I read the papers I saw that these JAMB people have announced new cut-off marks. What I have read is that to gain admission into any of our universities, all you need is just 120 marks and for polytechnics, it is 100 marks and one other one, I cannot remember what they call those schools, they said it is 110marks. You see these people, you see why I really get angry with this our country. They are reducing these marks 30 years after I had wasted three years trying to gain admission.  You see, I tried to pass JAMB but kept missing the cut-off mark. At some point I resorted to trying prophets and drinking Holy Water before the exams. My first score was 120 and I had chosen University of Lagos and I applied for Law. Coming from Akwa Ibom, I did not bother to go check if my name came out. The second attempt, I hit 139, this time I had respected myself and reduced my ambition from Law to Political Science Education in the same University of Lagos in Akoka. I did not want to go too far from my beloved Shomolu. Finally, I decided to change strategy and approached the University of Ibadan with the same Political Science on my mind and this time I hit the jackpot with 142 and what was Unilag’s loss became the UI’s gain since they had as one of their students, the future Duke of Shomolu and now a distinguished Alumnus. But my anger today is directed at these JAMB people who never reduced the marks and allowed me to  waste three years of my life writing UME in far-flung places like Makoko, Ajegunle and lastly Iyana Ipaja, waking up very early in the morning, going into my father’s room for a bout of heavy prayers which used to come with a heavy dose of olive oil anointed on my forehead expecting it to seep into my brain and open the dumb thing and then jumping into molue with my biro, HP pencil, eraser and JAMB slip to the centre. Today, these juggernauts have reduced the mark to a point which further confirms the joke that is our education system, officially propagating mediocrity and adding to the confusion that is tertiary education in Nigeria. So my people, let the games continue. I think very seriously that they should further reduce the thing to 50 for universities and 25 for Polytechnics and to help educationally disadvantaged places like the northeastern part of the country and Shomolu, even make it five. Hmmmmm and ASUU is on strike looking for salary under these kinds of circumstances. The government should just take a big broom and sweep the whole structures and its dead beat people into the lagoon.  The Minister of education and the leadership of the parastatals should all be swept away in a massive purge, clearing the way for better positioned champions to take over and try to make sense out of the jungle we have found ourselves. Total ineptitude.