Loud Whispers  with JOSEPH EDGAR

Loud Whispers  with JOSEPH EDGAR

Nigeria and the Epidemic of Suicide

During the week, the grim video of a young Nigerian trying to hang himself from a bridge in Lekki greeted Nigerians. This is just the latest in a rash of suicides in Nigeria. Some have succeeded in taking their lives, while others have failed, with people rallying round and rescuing them.

One disturbing thing about these things is the reactions of Nigerians to these sad occurrences. It is like we have all lost our humanity. It is like the desolation and frustrations of being Nigerians at this time, have made us all thick and very insensitive to the others. The other day, a very old man was attempting to jump off the bridge and into the Lagos Lagoon and people were watching and taking pictures, others goaded him, a few were crying, and the Baba finally jumped. Thankfully, a passing boat rescued him.

My sadness is the way we mock these poor people who seem not to have the mental strength to fight this thing. The Lekki attempt was met with deriding comments such as “why would he come out in “broad daylight”, why Lekki, why not some bush path in Iwo, why was the rope so long and all sort of wicked and insensitive talk which was just so sad.

The government and other relevant bodies have not shown any resolve to tackle this malaise even in preventive or post attempts. We all just look on and then move on, waiting for the next attempt.

The other day, I thought about asking government to set up a suicide watch team that would ply the Third Mainland Bridge and other hot suicide spots and also open up centers that would offer free therapy that would work with potential victims in a bid to work them out of their issues. Private bodies can also unilaterally do the same.

Suicide is not a joke. Let’s take it very seriously, please.    

Bola Tinubu: Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak No Evil

I got two frantic calls last Sunday from two highly respected individuals. The first a traditional ruler: “Edgar ohhh my God, you hit it. The fit and proper narrative, you hit it. You even pulled in Edun and that was a master stroke. But let me advise you to stop using your normal lines, be using only signals and WhatsApp. They will be listening to your phones now.” I laughed. “Kabiyesi I am shameless, if they listen, na porn dem go hear. I no get shame, nothing you fit do me.”

The second one was from a very sweet and very influential investment banker.

“Edgar, I have never called you before on all of these things you write. Nobody sent me and I don’t really know these things, but do not position yourself as an enemy. This country is tough o”.

People, even me, when I finished writing that piece, I shake my head. The thing hit. Nobody is looking at “fit and proper” in this struggle. We have seen people resign in other climes for coming to work late for a second. We have seen people step down because their staff had done something wrong. Conscience and morality being the guiding principles of democracy. The rush for the good for all being the main thrust of public service.

This one na lie. We go rough am, we will bully our way through, not minding the effects of these on democratic institutions being the safeguards in a democracy. All these dramas – Chicago, GCI, Iragbiji, Isale Eko –  are enough for one with a strong passion for the country to sit back and say, you know something, let me do a Jonah. Toss me out for peace. Na lie o, this one, we go rough am to the end even if it means stressing the bounds that hold us together as a people to its seams. Whether we like it or not, we must accept this presidency by force, by fire. Saviour has come and it has taken him over 30 years to come so we have no choice no matter the moral baggage, we must accept.

My people, I don keep quiet. Na siddon look I dey now- see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. If we like, let us go and bring certificate from University of Sodom and Gomorrah or we show primary school certificate from Pompei, na here we dey.

Beautiful thing is that history and time will always remain strict. Nothing will shake those two, absolutely nothing. So, God will keep us all alive and even if we are all gone before all of these unravels, history will still do its job. I just tire. Kai.

Last, last, I will do stage play on the whole thing. 

Folashade Tinubu-Ojo: Iyaloja General of Where?

While we are still struggling in Chicago, Folashade is doing a national broadcast. I did not bother to listen in and as such cannot say for sure if the National Anthem was played before her broadcast. But from the pictures that I have seen, I saw two flags by her- the national flag and one other one.

If not that we are in pain in this country, one would have laughed out at this barely literate performance. The whole thing is now looking like a pantomime: is this a constitutional role? Mbok, why am I even asking sef when the answer is very obvious to the blind.

It’s as if we now have a pseudo monarchy. First, they say, “ohh we have been preparing for 30 years to save you. It is our turn to save you,” and now they say “ohhh we are not magicians,” and then instead of calming down and reflecting on this huge baggage of Nigeria that they have loaded upon themselves, this one is going around behaving like a queen.

We now have the Tinubu Royal Family, complete with their own Buckingham Palace and all cadre of royals running around the place and expecting subservience.

I will be in Uyo over the weekend and I will go to Udua Mkpafi – the market in my father’s village to see if our Iyaoloja sovereignty reach there o. Does she even know the price of Afang or periwinkles in that market? Circus.

Diezani Alison-Madueke: Chickens Have Come Home

When you get mercurial in public office, this is how it ends. You are appointed to serve the people and you immediately turn yourself into a monarch, it always ends like this.

Meanwhile, have you guys noticed that it is in this Tinubu’s regime that we are beginning to see a real and credible fight against corruption unlike Buhari who only mouthed it with lily-livered moves and then started shouting that corruption is fighting back?

Anyways, the good thing is that madam will be exposed to a very transparent trial with all of her rights protected, thereby giving her a fair fighting chance. Let us not forget that an arraignment is not “guilty” by any stretch of the imagination.

For me, the lesson that I have learnt from this case and other such cases like this is the fact that public office is something you hold in custody on behalf of the people and as such a very high level of responsibility is needed in discharging your duties. This is not to say that there will not be some small kurukere moves on the side but this kind thing that we are hearing today? Na wa.

We have truly come a long way from the days of Prof Tam David-West who drank tea and collected wristwatch. Today, we have gone madddd. Na wa.

Julius Rone as the Gas Czar

The other day, I had the opportunity to have a session with Mr. Rone. He is pushing the most ambitious gas project in Africa. He is promoting the uniquely designed Floating Gas initiative. This project, according to him, will employ over 7,000 Nigerians and begin to overtake crude oil as the largest revenue generating platform for the country.

This project is very pivotal for our economic resurgence that not only did our president receive him in his office, he also took him with 20 other powerful businessmen to India and asked him to join him at the NASDAQ as he rang the bell.

If you understand the role of gas in green energy, climate change and in opening new markets for Nigeria, you will understand why Julius is the new kid on the block. Securing partnerships from much sort after global players, pushing powerhouses like Qatar in securing strategic berthing and positioning the structure for multiple listing on multi-tiered exchanges globally including our NGX, then you will not be surprised at the strong possibility of the NGX asking him to come ring the closing Bell on the floor. Honour usually reserved for the very distinguished.

Well Done Okey Bakassi

Okey celebrated 30 years in the industry October 1st and pulled down Lagos. Everybody that was everybody was there o and he filled up the massive Eko Hotel hall. It was a wonderful testimony to a man of words.

Okey has been a very strong pillar in our industry. Sometimes a singer, TV host, actor, comedian, public servant and generally a man of trouble. If you listen to his radio programme Talk Lagos or something like that, you will understand why I am calling him talk trouble.

He sits with his band of comedians and lampoons the government in the harshest terms and I will be cringing in traffic. The other day, I sat with him at the Lagos Airport on our way to a Mudi shop opening in Abuja and asked him very simply, “ohh boy, you no dey fear?”

And he went on and on about his bravery and his readiness… so my people let us place a challenge. I hereby call on the DSS to please pick up Okey Bakassi for just one day and let’s see if he no go cry. If he no cry, I will donate N1m to one widow in his village but if he cries, he will donate N1m to a widow in my village.

Oya, abeg who get address of DG of DSS. Send quick, before Okey run go Canada. Happy anniversary bro.

Naira Marley, Sam Larry, MohBad: A Test of Wills

I have just heard that Naira Marley has been picked up. This is after the reported arrest of his friend and collaborator, Sam Larry all in a bid to unravel the events that led to the death of the unfortunate music star, MohBad.

My fear in things like this is for the authorities not to get carried away by public outrage and begin to fail in their duties of upholding standards as we seek answers.

The stories around this young boy and events leading to his passing is enough to cause deep anger and disgust and rightly so, Nigerians have been in a collective rage. From bullying, to actual being beaten up, to the seizing of his royalties, disruption of his concerts all leading to him battling medical challenges and from there to his death.

Na wa. But in all these, the rights of the detained persons must continually be protected. What we should be looking for are the direct causes of his passing and the people involved in that and not in the circumstantial talks that litter public discussion of “Naira abused him yesterday and he died today so therefore Naira is guilty.”

I am happy at the autopsy that has been carried out and I certainly do believe that authorities will do everything within their powers to ensure fair play and justice and professional representation for the arrested.

We owe the late music star this. Thanks.

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