Uncategorized

GTCO Food & Drink 2022.

Let me tell you all; the GTCO Food & Drink event is the best brand event in the land. It is the best brand event for two reasons. One, he who brings food brings life. Two, he who brings food brings life. 

Now, I don’t care much about GTCO or any other bank one way or the other. Of course, I wish the bank well and hope it prospers. But my relationship with any brand is transactional. However, since GTCO has gone out of its usurious ways to help me gorge on Amala Skye, nkwobi and pan-fried dumplings in one location and over three days, I am open to giving love a chance. GTCO has laid a table before me in the presence of my enemies. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend. 

In marketing sponsorships, we talk a lot about ‘affinity pillars’. The consumer interests or ‘passion points’ a brand hitches to so the consumer can remember it, consider it and ultimately buy it. Music, sports, movies, and fashion are a few of such popular affinity pillars. Coke and Music. Heineken and the UEFA Champions League. By the way, what a harrowing result last night. Liverpool 3, Villareal 2. Seventh Champions League final! What will it take to stop this infernal Liverpool? 

I digress. I was talking about affinity pillars. 

Judging by the huge turnout at every GTCO Food & Drink event, it is obvious that food is a strong affinity pillar. I was at the event with my kids on Day 1 and Day 2 of the event. You struggled to find a place to sit. Yet you were not mad at the organizers. You still managed to get what you came for: an epicurean delight. 

As a brand person, I can appreciate the hard work that went into putting the event together. The justification to executive management. The fight over the budget. Quarrels over vendor shortlist. Master Class tutors. Branding and set up of the venue. How to gather and what data to gather for post-event evaluation. And the event has to be better and cheaper each year. Right from when the excos greenlight the event and budget, it’s sleepless nights for the bank’s communication unit. Murphy’s Law haunts your sleep. It’s the sort of project that gets people promoted. Or fired. The team acquitted itself well. 

But I have a big bone to pick with the team on an aspect of the event; the high price of food. 

Price Gouging

Remember when GSM mobile telephony came to Nigeria and a Sim card sold for N30,000? That was how I felt buying a bottle of Coke and water for N500 apiece. This is not Disney. It’s an open-air celebration of Naija street food and snacks. There is no justification for a bottle of Coke and water selling for N500. Neither should a small ogufe – goat meat – at Amala Skye go for N1,500. I got a small plate of pork chops and fries for N5,000. I mean, it’s a pig, not a white-horn rhino. 

Of course, I’ve heard of ‘Island price,’ the extortionate price folks who live on Lagos Island pay for things. Well, eat your heart out: I’m a Mainland boy and we buy Coke in traffic for N150. 

Look, I’m not a cheapskate. You can gouge me for bluefin tuna and wagyu beef. But not for street food and everyday staple. 

Especially when the vendors don’t pay a farthing for space at the event. GTCO selects these vendors and gives them a platform to reach a wider customer base. While the vendors should turn in a decent sale, I wasn’t expecting robbery at spoon point. Right in front of my kids. Cotton candy for N1,000? How much is a box of cotton wool and a pack of sugar? 

When I was waiting to buy amala at Amala Skye, two young girls came to the stand. They were cleaners. They looked at the amala with desire but baulked at the price. They left. I was pained. Wished I’d called them back and bought them the food. These were the good folks keeping the venue spic and span. But if they were to buy three spoons of amala and one ogufe, it would set them back some N2,100. Add a bottle of Coke to that and it’s N2,600. Amala should not be that intimidating. 

Many vendors were too greedy. They want to make quarterly profits in three days. To the detriment of the consumer.  

But GTCO can help. If a great customer experience is important, then it needs to ensure prices are reasonable. And it can do this with ease. It can ask the prospective vendors to share a price list of their food and insist on reasonable pricing. What is ‘reasonable pricing’? It will be the average price of the item on the streets, both ‘Island’ and ‘Mainland.’ Then they and the vendor agree on a middle ground. It won’t be an exact science, but it’ll be a good guide. And it won’t require extra hands than they already have. They can enforce price compliance through spot checks and mystery shoppers. If a vendor charges above the agreed prices, he is thrown out or misses out on the next events.

Or maybe there’s no problem with food prices. Maybe it’s only cheapskates like me whining. Well, I’ll encourage GTCO to have feedback boxes at subsequent events. I’ll wager high food prices will rank first, followed by limited sitting areas. 

But I like GTCO Food & Drink. Good food, good vibes, good atmosphere. It reminds me of the power of finding the right affinity pillar and executing it well. 

Standard
Uncategorized

Why are young guys so pathetic at dating and wooing women?

Today’s young men suck at wooing women. So complain the single ladies I work with. They say these guys can’t toast a lady if you gave them a room full of bread and a Deville toaster. They’ll carbonize the opportunity. Horribly. And by being such Dufuses at dating, they’ve left me with angry and frustrated ladies to console. That’s not part of my job. But sharing the same gender with these bungling blokes disempowers me from being apathetic. A man sins. A man atones.

Now, when I say ‘today’s young men’, I mean any unmarried male between the ages of 20 and 34 years. Hardly young, those lot. But if you’re pushing the golden jubilee like I am, everyone younger than 35 years appears young. 

These young Turks. I don’t get them. Youth is the time you took risks. It is the time you say what you feel like saying. The time you wear your passion on your sleeves and tell the girl if she was a Transformer, she’d be Optimus Fine. You never accept ‘no’ for an answer because it may end up being ‘nobody told me you were this sweet’. The wooing was a rite of passage. 

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Romance is overrated.

If I could go back in time and pick an era in which I’d loved to be married, I’d pick the days of the Old Testament. Those were the days! A man’s life was easy. Because I have no recollection of Adam helping Eve zip up her impossibly tight dress for Abel’s christening. Or Ruth belching rage because Boaz forgot their wedding anniversary. Jezebel was the slay queen, but Ahab could still recognize her with her make up. Sarah even arranged a side chick for Abraham! Can you believe that?

“Baby, I’m tired of all these skank, no-fleek chicks throwing shade at me coz I’m old and I ain’t got no kid. I mean, who are they to disrespect me like that? I’m the wife of the father of many nations! I’m all sizzle, no fizzle. I’m bougie. Abe! Are you listening to me? Look at me, Abe. Look at me! I’m talking about us here! About the promise. And you are there milking that goat. That goat is not more important than what I got to say! Anyway, I was saying…what was I saying again? You’ve made me forget my thoughts. If only you were listening to me! I was saying…you know, I’m not even gonna let these li’l girls mess up my self-esteem. So, here’s what I’ma do. I’ma hook you up with my girl Hagar. She got nice, child-bearing hips and all that. You gonna knock on her tent and knock her up. Get your baby-making game on. Do what you gotta do. I don’t care. I just need a child. You feel me, Abe?”

I bet Abraham’s eyes lit up and was like “Word, babe?You is the best!”

Yea, I imagine that’s how the story will go in the New Revised Pervasion Translation.

Yup, Hebrew women of yore were sistas after a brother’s heart. They didn’t need their husbands to help choose a dress from a possible ten. Or remember birthdays. They allowed their men to be men. You know, drink wine, have concubines and not worry about raising the kids. Little wonder homeboys were living till 600 years!

But wives these days? If you try to help your wife zip up her dress and somehow snapped the zipper, boy, you are toast! If you escape the daggery criticism, you won’t escape buying a new dress. Which is an injustice because you were minding your business before being corralled into outfitting service. Men are no tailors; what do we know about zipping dresses? We are only experts at unzipping them. It’s like asking a doctor to also be a plumber. He plumb hearts not drains. You’ve get to let us do what we are good at. Which is being left alone. Why do you guys buy clothes you can’t get into easy anyway? A skinny jeans is called skinny for a reason.

Another evil I have seen under the sun that weighs heavily on man-kind is wives lambasting husbands for being “unromantic.” Utterly meaningless! It is a chasing after the wind.

I’ve been married twelve years and fifteen out of those twelve years, I have been batted over the head for not being “romantic.” “You are as romantic as a door knob,” she says. “You understand any language but love language.”

Duh.

If love has a language, what are its alphabets? A Gucci bag is not a language. It’s a bag.

I blame Hollywood and the West for its thoughtless influence over Nigerian wives.

Open the car door for her.

Pull the seat for her. 

Buy gifts for no reason. 

Pay attention to her rambling even if Liverpool vs United is on TV.

Do this. Do that.

It’s a worrisome state of affairs. While I was immersing myself in profound and intellectual text like Asterix & Obelix, my wife-to-be was being indoctrinated by Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins. It’s a catastrophic failure of our educational system. Who is censoring what these women read? Now, that ridiculous The Bachelor and Bachelorette are on TV seeding all sorts of ludicrous ideas.

By the way, it’s a treasonable felony to watch Zee World in my house.

Let me tell you; the idea of a “knight in shining armour” is a silly concept. First, in Africa, we have hunters, not knights. And our hunters aren’t jobless. They don’t go around looking for damsels in distress to save. Or sit around tables discussing dragons or witches. They go out there and kill a wildebeest for the family to eat. How is that for romance? Feeding your family. And what idiot goes around wearing a suit of tin in the African sun anyway? What are you, a tin of baked beans?

But I’m not against romance. On the contrary, I’m full of romance like a fool is full of himself. Cupid comes to me for ideas. Check this idea out: instead of giving your missus a bouquet of flower on Valentine’s Day, turn the flowers into two glases of zobo and both of you drink to love.

Yea, I’m dope like that.

Another evil under the sun is women requiring the guy to make a drama of a marriage proposal.

Here is the heart of the matter: we both know we are going to be Mr and Mrs. The cat knows it. The dog knows. Everybody knows it. So why do women require so much drama with it. I mean, it’s a sombre thought spending the rest of your life with someone. The least you ladies could do lighten the burden of the sentence.

The first time I proposed to my wife, she said no. For apparantly, no one proposes reeking of tobacco, without a ring and to TuPac’s Me and My Girlfriend. I couldn’t understand it. I mean, it was a starry night, we were alone in the car and Amaru was dropping serious bars. “All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend.” What could be more romantic?

Look, I was not a Joe or R Kelly type of guy. Still not. Back then, I swore by rap. 50 Cents, Game, Eminem, Jay-Z and a host of sonorous crooners. Way before then, it was ‘Pac, Biggie Smalls, Snoop Dogg, DMX and other soulful brothers. I don’t know care for these wacked John Legend “All of Me” and Ed Sheeran “Perfect” dirges.

By the way, here’s a joke I heard about 50 Cents. If 50 Cents was hungry and he ate, what do say about him?

58.

Not bad, eh?

Back to the missus. Ire subsided, she made me realise that it was expected of a guy to propose with a ring. And preferablynot reek of tobacco while doing so.

Yes, ma’am. Got it.

So I asked her where to buy the ring. And she flared up again. She got down from the car and told me to ask my mates where they get rings from.

Which was a head-scratcher. Because when I spoke to my homeboys about a ring, they asked if I was Bilbo Baggins.

Well, I did manage to buy a ring and then proposed to her. Again. This time without TuPac. She accepted and here we are, two prodigious bairns after. Who one day may also lampoon their husbands for being unromantic.

I’ll tell you one way you don’t propose with to a Nigerian woman. You don’t propose to her with your dead mother’s wedding ring. You know, like you see in Hollywood. Don’t do it. Nigerian women don’t like used stuff for marriage. Or some cursed family heirloom. For every wife knows her mother-in-law is a witch.

My wedding anniversary is coming up and I’m supposed to plan something. Something romantic. Something unique. Which proves that wives don’t read the Bible. If they did, they’ll remember what Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:

“What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.

There’s nothing new. If I decide to buy her a yellow, 20-tonne, never-before-seen diamond, I bet some bloke out there has bought similar for his wife. So why bother? I’d rather use the money to buy her that new washing machine she wanted.

Standard
Uncategorized

King of Boys 2. Why it is a 6/10 for me.

So, who is this muppet that dares rate our beloved King of Boys 2 a 6/10? 

That would be me, ladies and gentlemen. 

You see, I’m not blessed with much good sense. Full of myself I am. Zag when everybody zigs. It’s an affliction. But I’ll be delivered of the malaise someday. I will. 

However, in the present, I’m insistent on self-immolation. King of Boys – Return of the King is underwhelming. It’s like ordering a prostitute and a nun was delivered. 

OK, that didn’t come out right. I’ll have another go. 

It’s like waiting all your life to drive a Bugatti Chiron and when you finally do, it drives like a Toyota. 

That’s right. Miss Adetiba took me to giddying heights in King of Boys 1 and let out the air in my balloon in King of Boys 2.  

Now, hear me. It is not that KOB2 is unentertaining. It is. I only found it dopamine-deficient for a much-vaunted sequel. A sequel produced by no other than Netflix. Nigeria’s first Netflix Original series as it were. 

I have the highest esteem for Netflix. They have pixie dust for fingers. I expect that the partnership with Nollywood will imbue our movies with cinematic excellence. You know, give us a real shot at Cannes, Sundance and Toronto film festivals. It’s not asking for too much. Our music is rocking the world like never before imagined. So, my expecatations are not unreasonable. So, by teaming up with Kemi Adetiba, I expected a product that will travel.

Yea, I get it. Sequels tend to be pitiful. Cue Wedding Party 2, 10 Days in Sun City and Osuofia in London 2. But from where I stand, Kemi Adetiba + Netflix should equal Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. 

That’s a real word by the way. Ask Mary Poppins. 

But before I get to my review, a word about appraising creative work.  

Creative work is notoriously subjective. Some bloke might look at Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and feel the truth of the universe unravel in his brain. Me, I stood in front of it and seethed. “This is it? I paid €20 for this?” When I also beheld the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, I expected Michelangelo’s painting to fill me with spiritual fervour. That I would look up and be bathed in transcendental ecclesiastical enlightenment. But nothing happened. Rather, I felt like eating pizza. 

Yea, art is not for me. I know that now. 

The Milkmaid

Johannes Vermeer The Milkmaid

So, while I may regard KOB2 as an average flick, the public sentiment is the polar opposite. People are gushing, oohing and aahing about it. I respect that. However, if I aahed or oohed during the series, it’s because I’m in pain.

Now, to the review. Let me start with what I like.

ACTING: 7/10

Acting breaks down into two important elements: character and performance. Identifying with characters and their performance is a common reason we love a movie. Think about your best movies and memories of particular characters jump to mind. ‘Red’, and Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. ‘Baba Wande’ in Ti Oluwa Ni Ile. ‘Busty’ in the 2010 Omo Ghetto. 

I do not have to move in the underworld to believe the characters of Eniola Salami or Odogwu Malay. It also didn’t strain credulity that Waitrose First Ladies may behave like Jumoke Randle.

The characterisation and performances in KOB2 are superb mostly. The corruptible and duplicitous Reverend Ifeanyi (Richard Mofe-Damijo). The Janus-faced Aare (Akin Lewis). The intransigent younger Eniola Salami (Toni Tones) and the insufferable Chief (Taiwo Ajai-Lycett). In hip parlance, they “killed it”. No overacting or underacting. 

Except for Ade Tiger (Titi Kuti) and well, Odudubariba (Charly Boy). 

There is something novel about a comely Maxi Priest henchman. But the performance of Ade Tiger was timid. Insipid. His limp body language, speech and disposition belie the authority he wielded. Ladies may like him. But goons won’t fear him. And in Laburu’s world, fear is the currency. 

In a similar vein, the performance of Odudubariba was also uninspired. For an overlord of the underworld, his voice carried no power, his mien no foreboding. Just a weird-dressing bandit head. It would have been better if he hardly spoke or spoke through a goon. Or carried out more bloodletting for that matter. 

THEME: 7/10

Every good movie must have a heart – the theme. The theme is the movie’s underlying purpose, its premise. For The Godfather franchise, it revolves around “family” and “loyalty”. It’s “revenge” for Wrath of Man. The theme of a movie has to be clear and understandable. 

And I like that about KOB2. I judge the theme to be “overcoming”. Overcoming inner demons. Overcoming oppositions. We can relate to “overcoming” being Nigerians. 

Perhaps this is not the theme Kemi Adetiba intended. No matter. It only means that the theme of KOB2 works on many levels. And that is awesome. 

DIALOGUE: 7/10

Don’t you love how Reverend Ifeanyi (RMD) is delightfully duplicitous? How Jumoke Randle demeans? 

Dialogue gives performance and characterisation life. And the dialogue in KOB2 did just that. ‘Storytelling’ is a word many use now, even if they don’t know what it entails. Well, it entails good dialogues or monologues. 

I thought the dialogue was long-winded and unnecessary in some places though. Felt like they were put there to fill space. But I guess we like to talk. 

CINEMATOGRAPHY: 7/10

Cinematography is the creation of the look and feel, mood and actions in a movie. It is the manifestation of visual storytelling. It is both technological and artistic mastery. Lights, camera angle, camera movement, tone. James Cameron had to develop proprietary camera technology for Avatar. Clint Eastwood put mini cameras in rugby balls to capture unreal action in Invictus. Good cinematography is hard work. But it has huge payoffs. 

The cinematography in KOB2 isn’t too shabby. Pretty good, actually. The camera angle and movement. The lighting and grading. They all did justice to the mood of the movie. Good picture, KOB2. 

SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF: 6/10 

In storytelling, “suspension of disbelief” is setting aside our disbelief and accepting the premise of the story as being real. Put it this way, if what happens in fiction is believable to you, you are engaged in the suspension of disbelief. 

KOB2 is good because it is not too fantastical. We can bring ourselves to believe characters like Eniola Salami, Odogwu Malay and Aare could exist. To believe the plausibility of the political and criminal intrigues in the movie. Unlike Dominic Toretto driving a sports car through three skyscrapers. 

But the suspension of disbelief can’t stretch our imagination too far lest disbelief sets in.

For instance, how can Eniola Salami threaten and speak rashly to the President? The President of Nigeria, by the power vested in the office, constitutionally and unconstitutionally, is one of the most powerful presidents in the world. Even if you made him President, once he assumes power, you best treat him with respect. Or DSS will storm your house at 2 am. Turning into a cat won’t save you. 

Second, how on earth can PAs and security personnel be in the room with the Governor when his wife went off on him? How could the PA and security officers be present when the First Lady tried to bribe Laburu with contracts? It must also be a daft First Lady that goes in person to deliver dirt on a rival to a journalist.

This leads to the plot and areas KOB2 should have done better. 

PLOT: 5.5/10

The plot is the way the scriptwriter/director creates and organises a chain of events in a narrative. In simple terms, it is the storyline. Purists insist it contains arcane elements like exposition, rising conflict, climax, falling action and denouement. 

KOB2 fulfills these requirements. But there are gaps. Big gaps. 

For one, it took too long for the series to get going. As of episode 3, I was losing patience. Perhaps it was not unexpected, stretching a movie into a 7h 19m series. Too much talk, too little action. Give me some blood, will ya! 

Two, did Boxer betray Eniola or not? And how and when did Eniola parley the resurrected Makanaki, offering him the kingship of “the table”? Sure, it was unexpected. But it also didn’t make sense. I denounce the denouement!  

And why is Dapo the journalist so much in our face? The dude should have been nothing more than a side dish. But homeboy is pining for the main course. Insufferable the amount of time he had.  

Yea, KOB2 was trying to do too much, fill spaces. You can, er, lose the plot doing that. 

SOUND & MUSIC SCORE: 5/10 

For a crime drama, I expected to find the sound mixing and design exhilarating. Sound is like the voice of the movie. Through it, we should know if it’s time to be sad, to be happy or frightful. Take our emotions through highs, mids and lows. But the sound design and mixing in KOB2 were humdrum. 

Look, I’m not asking for Hans Zimmer to score the soundtrack for KOB2. Just that if you’re going to be doing a 7-hour, 7-episode series, a signature music score would have been great, that’s all. Sound and music score are just as important as the cinematography. 

Let me interest you in these iconic music scores. Check out ‘Lux Aeterna’ by Clint Mansell for Requiem for a Dream below. My goosebumps is eternal. And also the Auckland Symphony Orchestra score for Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh, the day we will score music like this! 

 

VISUAL & SOUND EFFECTS: 5/10

Fellas, it’s the Year of our LORD 2021. Can we not create a real gun and explosion scene? Do our shooting and explosions have to be comical? Nuff said. 

That’s it, folks. my review of King of Boys – Return of the King. A personal opinion masquerading as objective truth. No matter. If you haven’t seen KOB2, by all means, do. I sense the penny may just have dropped for the big screen in Nigeria. And I’m stoked. 

But we must continue to demand excellence. It’s not hate. It’s an imperative if we want Nollywood to put a dent in the universe. If we want our movies to travel like our music. 

I read somewhere that Nigerian film producers are miffed at the licensing fees Netflix pays them compared to, say Asia. Something between $10,000 and $90,000. Well, I’ll be writing on that in another post. So watch out for that.  

Standard
Uncategorized

“Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.”

“Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.”

Robert Heinlein said that. Far from being a masochistic neanderthal, he actually means well for the pickneys.  

I’ve got two smart and charming daughters. Pre-teens. Perfect peaches. I dote on them like the devil dote on sinners. They mean the world to me. I’ll hire the Mossad to knock you off if you look or smile at them. If you see them on the streets, walk by without making eye contact. In fact, cross to the other side of the road and run. Then I’ll let you live. 

And that’s the problem. I suspect they are developing a brittle spirit being mollycoddled. Ginger prima donnas in a rugby world. That’s my fault. 

The other day, the wife asked the eldest one to tidy her wardrobe. The chagrined missy enquired if she was being punished for some transgression. The way she saw it, if she had to do her wardrobe, she must have sinned. The help had always arranged the wardrobe.   

A couple of days after, the missus also asked the two to scrub a small section of the house. Again the eldest demanded to know why they were being treated – in her exact words – ‘like Cinderella.’ Treated like a slave. Again, the help had always cleaned the house. 

Earlier in the year, one of them told me “Daddy, you have anger issues.” 

Well, I’ll be doggone.  

They were binging on Netflix and ignored a chore. I’d turned off the TV. They weren’t too chuffed and lobbed my shortcomings at me.  

I can’t remember telling my dad his foibles. Not because he didn’t have any but because flogging was a meal in my days. And I was well fed. You develop good sense early.   

The younger daughter is the more intrepid. She told me a few weeks ago they’d prefer to spend this Christmas in Dubai. They’d done Christmas in the UK and the US. But they’d prefer Dubai for this year. They like what they see of Dubai on TV.  

I am sensitive to words. Their choice of words intrigued me. They didn’t say  ‘Dad, we’d like to spend Christmas in Dubai this year.’ They said ‘Dad, we’d prefer to spend Christmas in Dubai this year.’ 

Prefer. 

The certainty of choice. 

Unbeknownst to me, to my kids, a white Christmas was now a right and not a privilege. Trading down from stroking real-life Rudolphs and hobnobbing with white Santas was now anathema. It seems that any year they spend Christmas in Nigeria, I have to get on my knees and apologise for my failure as a father. 

How did I, an Agege and street boy, pulling myself up by my bootstraps, sire such entitled kids? Kids who sulk when forced to settle for Frosties over Froot Loops? Who question why I have a Macbook and an iPad when they have a PC and Samsung tablets? 

Oh, I forgot. “They are only kids and just being kids.”

I know you know that’s a load of tosh.

A few years ago, a neighbour’s daughter told me that in her class, going on vacation was not the issue. The country of vacation was. Two of her classmates had got into a girlie fight over bragging rights. One insulted the other of holidaying in ‘ordinary’ Dubai when she had vacationed in London and Berlin. She’d also traveled in Business Class. 

These were 14-year-olds. 

I suppose I was jealous. I didn’t travel out of Nigeria till I was 30. And I have only traveled in First Class once. By luck. Luck that has not cared to repeat itself.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have flown Business Class. I do coach so much I can train Arsenal. 

Yup, I’m envious of these brats. 

Now, hear me. I am not saying to deprive your kids or to be hard on them without cause. By all means, give them life’s little luxuries if you can afford them. What we must do, however, is draw a hard line between a right and a privilege. Between a need and a want. This line is getting blurred.   

Many moons ago, at an Executive Education class in Chicago, we discussed marketing to millennials. We analysed the peculiarities of the millennial. One bloke, a Vice President at Booz Allen, shared an experience. He’d interviewed a millennial for an internship position. When they got to the money part, the lad told the interviewer his mom would come to discuss compensation.  The lad was 22 years old. 

Well, true, the mom did call to negotiate the offer. She wanted to know why they lowballed her son. 

Another coursemate told us none of the millennials in her team wanted leadership roles. They didn’t want to manage anyone. They want to do their job, get paid and go home. 

Naturally, we would say “these are oyinbo children jare. They are spoilt.” But many of us are raising first-world children in third-world economies. Not a bad state of affairs in itself. But we must accept the benefits and the burden. 

A few weeks ago, our cutesy family dog ate my flip-flops. It was the fourth it was destroying. I threatened to sell the dog to dog eaters. I made for the dog in mock ire. My daughters ran ahead of me and held on tight to the doggo. Their teardrops were as big as cucumbers. They cried so much, the tears would have floated Noah’s ark.

Of course, I wasn’t going to sell our beloved mutt to doggo murderers. But I would have expected them to call my bluff.

An older friend has a 17-year-old son who attends Covenant University in Ota, Ogun State. The friend lives in Lekki. He drives the son to school at the beginning of every semester and drives him back home at the end. I asked him why the boy couldn’t come home or go to school by himself. My friend told me the boy would get lost getting to Lekki from Ota. This lad also doesn’t do his own laundry. 

Look, I get it. It’s become a very dangerous country. It wasn’t like in my days when I could board a bus at Oshodi for Ibadan at 10 pm. Now, kidnapping is rife. Around every corner lurks degenerates waiting to take advantage of children. Our morality and values shot to pots. So I get the paranoia about safety. I would do the same. 

But it is not lost on me that we are paranoid over our children because we have bubble-wrapped them. There are 17-year-olds who travel from Lagos to Warri by themselves. There are teenagers who take public transport to schools. Why don’t their parents fear the way we do?  

In giving our kids the childhood we didn’t have, we over-indulge them. We can’t bear to tell them “no”. We’d feel we are derelict in our duty. Their pleas and cries break our hearts. 

No, you are not a bad parent if you deny them stuff! You are the parent. 

When we give in to their whimsical demands, we make them brittle children. Children unable to crack on and adapt. Lambs in the woods of hungry wolves. If the wolf – the world – eats them, it will be your fault.  

Many of you lot have experienced deprivation. Experienced rejection. Been down on your luck. Trod on. But you got back up. You fought. Became wise as serpents. Seized the bull and rode your opportunities till the wheels fell off.

Yet we bubble-wrap our kids. Make life too easy for them. We negotiate with them when we should put our foot down. Not okay, mom and dad. Because not intending to, we end up raising self-absorbed, indulgent and shatterable children.

On a recent trip to the US, I met a white lady married to a Kenyan. She told me she was reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander so she can better prepare her children for life as a black person. 

Attamom! 

Me, I’m trying to remould my daughters with Adamantium.  Train them to reach for unobtanium. If that entails a measure of tough love, then tough love it is. 

Because in this world, they will experience racism. They will experience exclusion and rejection. They will fall down. I would have failed in my job as a parent if they gave up.     

By the way, my wife and I whoop our kids. Yup. Good old-fashioned hiding. Nothing devious or abusive. A cane. A wooden spatula (omorogun). You know, any appropriate device fit for chasing folly from a child’s mind. 

Yea, I know. We are evil parents. We should be in prison. 

Standard
Uncategorized

This Meadow Yet – a poem

I have a country,

but not a nation.

I have brothers,

but not brethren.

 

Cradle me in your arms;

Give me not brothers in arms.

This Sunday I cannot worship

My faith disrobed.

The dark invites,

With promises of light,

The angry drum beats 

Seducing a dance.

 

Hither, thither

Goes the leader.

The bribe of the tribe 

So favour ascribe.

 

The strongman lusts after my chattels,

I have no power to resist.

Where does my help come from?

Shall I knock on the door of the good bandit?

Or shall I lift my eyes to the hills

And Habakkuk-wait? 

 

But though this land slays me,

I will yet love it. 

Though the birds sing a dirge

I will wait a new song.

For I dare nurture,

If by the slenderest thread,

This ailing meadow to yet profuse. 

Standard
Uncategorized

A parliament of owls? A wake of vultures? English, you beauty!

The last time I thought about collective nouns for animals was last year when my daughter was writing exams into secondary school (high school). She was impressed with my knowledge. Well, that’s what fathers do – know things. 

But my esteem was bruised a few days ago when I was writing a blogpost and needed to use the collective nouns for owls. Turns out the collective noun for owls is – wait for it – a parliament of owls. 

A parliament? 

Like owls voted by their peers to deliberate on avian matters? That’s crazy. Birds don’t vote. Then I made the connection. Owls are supposed to be wise! Parliamentarians are supposed to be owlish. And owls do have a solemn and brooding look about them. Best candidates for feathered parliamentarians. 

They probably do a better job than their human counterpart. 

Anyway, below are collective nouns for animals. Some you know. Many will knock your socks off. 

  1. A shrewdness of apes.
  2. A cete of badgers.
  3. A colony/cloud/camp of bats
  4. A sloth/sleuth of bears (like a private detective bear?)
  5. A swarm of bees.
  6. A gang/obstinacy of buffalo (bullies!)
  7. A caravan of camels. 
  8. A clowder/glaring of cats (what?!)
  9. A destruction of wild cats.
  10. A quiver of cobras.
  11. A bask of crocodiles.
  12. A murder of crows (yea, those ones look ominous). 
  13. A drove of donkeys. 
  14. A convocation of eagles (hope they graduate summa cum laude) 
  15. A parade of elephants. 
  16. A gang/herd of elks
  17. A cast of falcons. 
  18. A business of ferrets. 
  19. A school of fish (how come they aren’t smart)
  20. A stand of flamingos
  21. A skulk/leash of foxes
  22. An army of frogs
  23. A gaggle of geese (Listerine or Colgate?)
  24. A tower of giraffes (but of course!)
  25. A band of gorillas (G-Unit!)
  26. A bloat of hippopotami (perfect!)
  27. A cackle of hyenas ( I have a bone to pick with this one!)
  28. A shadow of jaguars.
  29. A smack of jellyfish.
  30. A troop/mob of kangaroos.
  31. A conspiracy of lemurs ( Never take lemurs into confidence then)
  32. A leap of leopards.
  33. A pride of lions.
  34. A labor of moles
  35. A barrel/troop of monkeys. 
  36. A pack of mules.
  37. A family of otters. 
  38. A team/yoke of oxen. 
  39. A parliament of owls.
  40. A claw of panthers (Wakanda forever!)
  41. A pandemonium of parrots (naturally!)
  42. An ostentation of peacocks (show off!)
  43. A drift/drove of pigs.
  44. A prickle of porcupines (of course!)
  45. A herd of rabbits.
  46. A colony of rats.
  47. An unkindness of ravens (What?They were kind to Elijah!)
  48. A crash of rhinoceroses. 
  49. A shiver of sharks. 
  50. A stench of skunks (expectedly)
  51. A nest of snakes. 
  52. A dray/scurry of squirrels
  53. A fever of stingrays (really?)
  54. A bevy/game of swans (if they are in flight: a wedge).
  55. An ambush/streak of tigers.
  56. A knot of toads. 
  57. A gang/rafter of turkeys.
  58. A bale/nest of turtles. 
  59. A colony/gang/pack of weasels (needed a more cretinous name)
  60. A pod/school/gam of whales.
  61. A pack of wolves. 
  62. A wake of vultures (absolutely brilliant!)
  63. A zeal of zebras. 

Then there are a couple of funny ones:

  1. A scandal of politicians.
  2. A fringe of lunatics.
  3. A gossip of mermaids.
  4. A blessing of unicorns. 

Naturally, those gave me ideas and I started coming up with mine: 

  1. A prostitution of whores/politicians.
  2. A sanctimony of priests.
  3. A merry of drunks.
  4. A vanity of celebrities
  5. A bent of criminals
  6. A mammon of bankers
  7. A scrubs of nurses
  8. A faraday of electricians
  9. An acrimony of side-chicks
  10. A fib of marketers
  11. A pity/shame of beggars.

What crazy collective nouns can you come up with? Rather enjoying this!

Standard
Uncategorized

Our ethnic fault line and the keg of gunpowder.

ERIC LAFFORGUE/ART IN ALL OF US

Ingratiating commentaries are profitable. I’m tempted to get on that gravy train. But sadly, it is not for me. By a cruel hand of fate, it turns out I am allergic to bull. I tend to serve my juice without sweeteners. And as everyone with a sweet tooth knows, juices without sugar taste anemic. Truth is vinegary. Bitter, in fact, in many circles. It is why you never see Alomo Bitters or Kasaprenko in State Houses. Only honeyed speeches to soothe itchy ears. 

But let me state, in case there is somebody out there willing to buy me a house on easy street; I do not detest being rich. I do not mind farting Chanel and sneezing Dior. I consider it not vanity to take my medicines with caviar and ease my gastric upset with lychee.  

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Thin line between prostitution and side-chick.

Right. 

I crawled out from under my rock to hear the ruckus about a newfangled men association. Stingy Men Association of Nigeria. Quite unexpectedly, men have come to their senses and will no longer let their phalluses lead them to ruination. 

Phalluses, by their unique biology, pay no mind to bankruptcy and good sense.  Once in the presence of a nubile female, they demand the master login to the mobile app. Money, after all, is only a means to an end.

Women, of course, are not treating this illiberal fraternity lightly. It’s an affront and a denial of a fundamental woman right.

“How dare men! It is a woman’s right to be feted! It is a woman’s right to help herself to a man’s wallet. In the history of mendom, there has not been a single man in distress. It is always a damsel in distress. Why will men seek to redress the order of nature? But two can play. If the wallets won’t open, then the legs won’t open either. They shouldn’t worry. When a god starts acting out of line, we show it the wood it was carved from. Radarada. Jatijati.”

It’s all chucklesome.  

But let me get this out of the way. Unmarried people shouldn’t be bonking. It is a sin. Abba Father says not to do it. Yoruba people, ever the dramatists, have a frightful name for fornication – panságà. It sounds dastardly. If we can’t scare you with the consequence of the word, we’ll scare you with the sound of it. Pasángà sounds like you killed a hundred infants with a panga machete. 

Besides, sex is more than physical coitus. There is the intertwining of emotions, and dare I say, spirits.  I’d hate to see you bond with Zelda. 

You do remember Zelda, don’t you? From Terrahawks? 

I forgot; you lot are Generation Zilch.  

This is Zelda. 

Now, to you, my married friends engaged in cuckoldry. “Stolen water is sweet”, right? “Food eaten in secret is delicious”, ba? Well, here’s what the Good Book says to you: 

“Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

I didn’t make that up. Crack open Prov 6:27-29 and see for yourself. At any rate, I’m sure you don’t mind someone else bonking your wife or husband. Or do you?

Back to the Stingy Men Association of Nigeria. 

The farcical association is topical because of the prevailing poverty in the land. It has become normative that a boo bears the cost of living of a bae. It’s ridiculous. Dubious justifications are advanced. 

“A girl needs to look good for her guy.” 

“When a girl is happy, she is able to make her man happy too.”

“Providing for your girlfriend is a sign of responsibility.” 

It’s a heavy dollop of codswallop. 

Spare me the porky pie that you sweethearts buy expensive hair to impress the menfolk. No, you don’t. Because we the menfolk can’t tell the difference between a N300K and a N700K hair. You buy the hair to show off to yourselves.

Several years ago, the missus badgered me into buying her Brazilian hair. I didn’t understand the need. She is from Osun State, the ‘State of Virtue.’  Why does she want to naturalize to Brazilian? Is a Brazilian passport visa-free to the US?

Eventually, I bought the hair. It was a small fortune.

The day she made the hair, I didn’t notice. She tossed her head about like a teen so I’ll notice. But I didn’t. I knew she looked pretty but couldn’t place what was different about her.

She got angry and asked me what I thought of her new hair.

Oh, that was it! The hair!

I said ‘nice.’

She only forgave me five years ago.

So, if the girlfriend needs to wear the hair of fifty horses, by all means, do so darling. We only request you buy it with your own money. If you want to ‘glow’ and buy Beyonce-level cream, grow a large posterior, or slay more than David and Gideon, be our guest. All we ask of you is not to insist the expenses are for our spreadsheet. And why on earth would a bloke buy his girlfriend an iPhone 12 when he uses an Infinix? You think it was only Eve that loved Apple? 

Look, I’m not a Scrooge. I believe in gifting. Gifting stokes affection. It’s good for the boo to splurge on the bae now and then. But a dude is a finite being. He can’t be the source of infinite beneficence. The boo should give because he wants to, not because he must. 

Well, except the relationship is between a married dude and a side chick.

In such relationships, the side chick has my blessing to ransack, pillage and plunder the married boyfriend. Fleecing and gouging should come with the territory. After all, it is a waste of sin dating a broke married man. 

I saw that on a t-shirt.    

Any erotic relationship premised on ceaseless material and financial provision is faux love. You are paying for the ‘love’. The way you pay a prostitute for her favours. It’s only in movies that prostitutes develop genuine affection for their patrons. 

Most married-men-and-side-chick affairs are no more than prostitution by a more benign name. Or why is a single girl dating a married bloke? Because there are no wonderful single guys around? Because of true love’s kiss? Greed and lust, ladies and gentlemen, are at the heart of it. Those are not traits that will make Pete open the Pearly Gates to you.

Anyway, here’s a good joke for you: if you’re over 30 and still dating another woman’s man, you are a side hen, not a side chick!   

   

Standard
Uncategorized

Ladies, cats are not witches. Witches like blood not milk!

Nisian Hughes/Getty Images

Man, I like cats. 

Not petrifying felines like Mufasa or Shere Khan. But felines like Garfield and Puss In Boots. Cats have my heart. Sneaky, disloyal and manipulative beauties. I’m particularly drawn to black furry cats. I like the outcast and the maligned.  

Why do I like cats? Oh, cats live life on their own terms. They know they don’t have nine lives and so don’t waste their time trying to please you. You are the one who wanted a pet, not them. 

Also, cats do not care about titles. Dogs can continue to be ‘man’s best friend’. Cats don’t give a hoot. They are very perceptive. They understand that titles come with responsibilities. You can’t be man’s best friend and sleep and eat all day. You are expected to weigh in with some chores. Like growl or look menacing at strangers. Or go for a walk with the human. That’s an abuse of pethood. A pet doesn’t have to earn its keep. Cats look at huskies pulling sleds in Alaska and hiss ‘suckers.’  And it all begins with a title. Man’s Best Friend. The Cutest Dog Ever. Yea, because dolphins are ‘cute’ and ‘intelligent’, they have to entertain humans and jump through hoops. When they’d rather be fin-deep in a school of fish. Cats don’t care for all that.  Responsibilities are for humans and bozos like dogs.

So, yes, you are not going to trick cats into responsibilities with some title. They might chase down a mouse. But understand that it is because they want to do it and not because you expect them to. Back in the day, in the village, my grandma had three cats who never chase a mouse a day of their lives. These beauties just love to eat fufu and efo-riro and chill. Can’t blame them. Egbado people make the best fufu in the galaxy. And my grandma’s efo-riro could make Netanyahu kiss Hassan Rouhani.     

But sadly, I don’t have a cat. That is because I love to have a wife more than I love to be divorced.

My wife hates cats. She argues that you can’t trust cats. Cats are gossips. They listen to your deepest secrets and spill them to the neighbours. And they are agents of evil, exposing your home to fiendish influences. 

It’s all baloney, of course. Cats are not capable of witchery any more than cockroaches are capable of holiness. But making that point to people who abhor cats is like arguing sobriety with a tippler. 

We have a small white wolf in our home. Spin doctors call it a dog. It’s an American Eskimo. But it is a wolf. Only it is smaller and cutesy. Wanders from room to room. It is pampered like William and takes a piss like Harry. My wife and daughters dote on this canine. They feed it before they feed me. Cuddle it more than they cuddle me. He enjoys the attention and then sneers at me.  

The mutt!

I’m the one who pays for your welfare and comfort, you ungrateful cur!

This wolf has destroyed three of my flip-flops and pisses anywhere it wants. Which includes on my $1,200 soundbar. On the third occasion of the annhilation of a flip-flop, I told my daughter I was going to sell the damned dog. I made for it in mock ire. My daughters ran past me and held on tightly to this doggo. They cried and pleaded. Their teardrops were as big as cucumbers and plenteous enough to float Noah’s Ark. This sly canine has manipulated itself into my wife’s and daughters’ hearts. They will not allow me mete just deserts. Yet people accuse cats of being the crafty ones. A cat will never do that to me. You don’t even see a cat take a piss.

Do you old geezers remember that old flick, Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell? That German Shepherd bred by satanists? The dog grew up to colossal devilry. Killed the maid in a fire. Possessed the minds of its owner. In the last scene, the frightful demon in the dog came out to perish the soul of the dad. The symbol of a crucifix seared onto the dad’s palm saved him. Dog bursts into flame and is imprisoned in hell for 1,000 years. That movie spooked me as a child.

The title of the movie is instructive. It was Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell.

It was not Devil Cat: The Feline of Hell

Yet folks say cats are the evil ones.

Anyway, I outgrew my fear of dogs. I realise that devil-dog movie was all phoney-baloney. Now, I like dogs. I am going to get me a big doggo soon. Probably a Great Dane or Irish Wolfhound. If only to scare the bejesus out of the frisky wolf in my house. 

See how easy it is for people to change? I went from dog-indifferent to dog-liker. So, why can’t people outgrow their abhorrence of cats? What does a cat have to do to get love from Nigerian women? Buy them hair? Help them lose belly fat?  

The sad part is the missus has infected my daughters with cat-hate. My daughters started out loving cats. I’d take them to a friend’s house and we’d go with tinned sardines and milk to feed the cats. My girls loved feeding the pusses. They gave them names and were eager to visit. 

Once the missus discovered what we do at said friend’s house, she set about cooking our goose. Well, it didn’t help that we purloined her sardines and milk for the visits. But as a good Christian wife, she ought to remember that love keeps no records of wrong. But cats make Nigerian women forget Scriptures. 

Or remember it. 

The missus proceeded to indoctrinate my kids on the vileness of cats. And once a mother abuses a mind, it is tough disabusing it. 

Several years ago at a local bar, I came across some despicable fellows who loved to eat cats. 

Eat cats!

Murderers!

If you can eat a cat, you can eat a human!

One of these repugnant fellows went ahead to describe how scrumptious a cat was in egusi soup. He particularly relished eating the paw. With a twinkle in his eyes, he described how a cat’s paws clutch the egusi. You then pry the paws open and lick the egusi balls trapped within. He said it was quite a heavenly experience. 

I stopped going to the bar

By the way, do you know how cats are killed before being cooked? They put the cat in a sack and smash the sack repeatedly against a wall till the cat dies. At other times, they tie off the sack and proceed to batter the poor thing to death. They argue it’s the only safe way to kill a cat. 

How about you take on a cat your size? How about you put a tiger in a sack?

So, what myths and fears are holding you back? What are the long-held beliefs you are going to disabuse from your mind in 2022? 

While you ponder on it, check out the two beauties below. A black Maine Coon and a Siamese. Aren’t they gorgeous!

Maine Coon

 

Siamese

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Paternity fraud. What makes a child yours?

 

Your Wife and I. 

Nigerians have the cruelest humour. We banter and satirize like no other. Pity such creativity seldom shows in our advertising. 

In the last couple of days, Twitterverse has been awash with the alleged indiscretion of a bank MD. As expected of senior management, this good sir had spotted promise in a married employee. Since where a man works is also where he ‘chops’, an amorous relationship soon ensued. If we believe the blogosphere, this good sir had even sired two strapping kids from said adulterous relationship. Kids the husband of the unfaithful wife thought were his. Sadly, the good husband has deprived us of his side of the story, having succumbed to a heart attack. 

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked,” said my homeboy Jeremy.

That is Jeremiah to you.

But how Nigeriana seethed! You’d have thought we were a pious lot. Men wielded pitchforks. Women got on their brooms. The MD has blood on his hands. He has coveted Bathsheba and killed her husband. We want his head on a pike. 

I am angry myself. The story rings home. A close friend was in a similar spot several years ago. 

But I have a solemn question: what makes a child yours? 

We’ll get to that in a bit. First the story about my friend.

We were in our second year at the university and the philandering of my homeboy had come home to roost. He’d knock up a girlfriend. We’ll call her Two-Time. 

Naturally, my homeboy, whom we shall call Marvin, denied responsibility. One, he learned he was going to be a pappy six months into the pregnancy. Two, the maths didn’t tally. He knew when last he was with Two-Time. Third, he didn’t have two pennies to rub together. He was so po, he couldn’t afford the other two letters. 

So, yea, no way we were going to be a daddy. 

But Two-Time swore with her life that the child was Marvin’s. She hadn’t been with any other.

She had allies in Marvin’s mum and aunts.  

“What do you mean ‘it is not your child’? You two have been fornicating wantonly before Gomorrah. She is always cooped up in your room like a hen hiding from a hawk. I don’t think you two were studying Efficient Markets Hypothesis in there! And what do you mean the math doesn’t figure? What are you now, an obstetrician? You now know how God works? These things happen, son. Don’t deny your child. Don’t let your child suffer. We have your back. We will all raise the child together.”

Mothers and aunts. They talk a better game than snake oil salesmen. 

But to assuage any doubts, Marvin’s mother went to enquire of some prophet. The verdict: the baby was Marvin’s.

Armed with such incontrovertible evidence, the family pressurised Marvin into accepting paternity.

In the end, he did. But he would not see the child until three months after her birth. The child was born in Jos and Marvin lived in Lagos. 

Oh, she was a cute she-Marvin. His spitting image. Same ears, same face, same complexion. An angel. We’ll call her Munchkin. 

Munchkin lived with Marvin and his mother at their face-me-I-face-you apartment in Lagos. All the fellas hung out in that house. So we contributed to raising Munchkin. The money we should have used to buy second-hand Timbolo (Timberland boots) and fake Ralph Lauren shirts. But she was our child. Marvin took on odd jobs to raise extra cash. 

And Munchkin was coming along mighty fine. She was precocious. She called the boys by our nicknames. I was Jydo Weere(Jide The Mad One). Another friend was Junkie. Marvin was Elemu (Drunkard). 

In the year 2000, when Munchkin was 7 years old, Two-Time came to pick her for the holidays. Nothing unusual about that. She did that often during the holidays. Only on this occasion, she did not return Munchkin even when the school had resumed. There was no GSM in those days so Two-Time could not be reached by phone. 

Marvin stomped to her house. 

She had moved.

Along with her mother with whom she lived.  

The neighbours didn’t know where they’d moved to. 

Houston, we have a problem.

Most of the boys had started working by now. Marvin worked in a bank. So Saturdays and Sundays were the only days available to search for Two-Time.

After a few weeks, Marvin got hold of the address of a Two-Time aunt. He constituted himself into a proper irritation to this woman. He’d show up at her house every Saturday morning at 6 am. He claims he only went there to ask the whereabouts of Two Time but I suspect he crouched beneath the woman’s window and sang Saheed Osupa and Dauda Epo Kinkin. Drove the woman mad. The aunt eventually spilled the beans and told Marvin where Two-Time was. 

Marvin stormed the address and found Two-Time. But Munchkin was not with her. 

She was with her real father. 

Say what now? 

Two-Time told Marvin Munchkin was not his child. 

You two-timing, lecherous and treacherous wench! 

And she wasn’t going to tell Marvin where Munchkin was. 

Over the course of several days, Marvin became suppliant. He apologised for his sins and the sins of his ancestors. He promised to marry her and be the love of her life. He’ll change. They even shagged. 

So, Two-Time fessed up. She told him Munchkin was with her real father in Jos. She had got pregnant for the bloke but he’d rejected paternity. She told her mother who then asked her to explore the possibility of foisting the paternity on Marvin. So, she’d turned to Marvin.

We had all been suckers.

All you lot whose mothers go to enquire of some prophet which of your suitors to marry, best tell them to stop. Those prophets don’t see squat!

It all felt like some B-rate Nollywood movie.

Only it wasn’t.

This drama was playing out before our eyes and we were part of the cast.

Now, at the same time Marvin was schmoozing Two-Time to know Munchkin’s exact location, Marvin’s mother had swung into action. 

You see, Marvin’s mother, whom we shall call G-Mama, was gangsta. On her own, she had tracked down where Munchkin was. How she did that is still a mystery. She discovered that Munchkin was not in Jos but was in fact in Lagos with an aunt of Two-Time. 

Hell hath no fury like a grandma pissed. She barrelled to that address. 

She saw Munchkin. 

She.Gave.Them.Hell. 

She invoked Sango, Ogun, federal law, state law, Thor, Fadeyi Oloro, MC Oluomo, Voldemort, Osama Bin Laden, the Host of Heaven, Roy Keane, and just about any other peril that came to her mind.

The aunt simply handed Munchkin over without an argument.

There. We have our Munchkin back.

Marvin took Munchkin for a DNA test. The test confirmed what we’d all feared. Munchkin was not Marvin’s child. 

G-Mama didn’t want to give her up though. “How could she not be ours? She looks like Marvin! The test must be wrong. Something must be wrong. We’ll fight for her! Lai-lai, I no gree!”

But the emotional toll on Marvin was too great. His life was spiraling out of control. He wanted the drama over with. After a few weeks of struggle, he drove Munchkin to Two-Time and handed her over.

This is the part where you cry.

Then Munchkin’s real father showed up. 

Same ear, same nose, same forehead, same complexion. 

Munchkin looked more like him than she looked like Marvin!

What witchery is this!

Folks, don’t ever believe that because a child looks like you, s/he is your child! Biology can be cruel!

Munchkin’s father came with his family to apologise to Marvin and to offer compensation. The guy was a good dude, only caught in the web of some jiggery-pokery. Marvin turned down the offer of compensation and told them he was OK releasing Munchkin to them. Only they’d better come good in her life.

Man, I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall when Two-Time went back to charm Munchkin’s father. 

“Hey darling, guess what? Remember that your spermatozoa that hit home run? It is now a beautiful 7-year-old daughter in Lagos. I was going to tell you but on my way a meteor hit me and I lost my memory. We are dying to come to you and be one happy family.”

Oh, I forgot. Flies don’t have ears. And even if they do and I heard everything she said, nobody will listen to me. Nobody listens to a fly.

Bugger.

But one thing is for certain; she must have spun a good yarn. I mean, it’s not every day you wake up and realise you have a 7-year-old kid in Kathmandu. 

Anyway, the bloke didn’t marry Two-Time. Bummer. He accepted Munchkin but married someone else. Munchkin lived with the bloke’s aunt and grandma. On Munchkin’s account, her stepmom didn’t take to her. She had a torrid time living with family.

Marvin also didn’t marry Two Time. Double bummer. He married someone else and has his own kid now. ‘Own’ kid because he did a DNA test. He passed.

Munchkin is now in her mid-twenties and in Canada. She relocated with her father over a decade ago. Marvin had also moved to the US in the early 2000s. She and Marvin keep in touch.

But she’s pretty messed up. She has a host of psychological problems and is on some serious medication. She’s dropped out of four colleges and amassed huge debt. She now lives in a shelter. 

Our Munchkin.

I was with Marvin at his home in the US recently. He showed me a recent convo between himself and Munchkin. A line brought tears to my eyes. She told him: “you’re also still my dad….” 

Which answers the question I posed earlier: what makes a child yours?

It is not your blood coursing through the child’s vein or you share DNA. Neither is it likeness in looks or mannerism.

It is belief. 

The belief that the child is from your loins. For s/he may well not be. After all, you didn’t do any paternity test, did you? 

It is all mind over matter. Your child is your child only because you believe s/he is your child. Blood and DNA are secondary. 

So, should you do a DNA test? Only if you don’t trust your wife or you’ve been sowing your wild oats in dubious farmlands.

But what if you do the test and it confirms the child(ren) to be yours? How will your wife feel? Trust is shattered. And when trust is gone in a marriage, everything else is gone. 

I guess the question then is: what is trust worth to you? 

“For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” – Ecclesiastes 1:18

 

Standard
Uncategorized

#EndSARS. We are all guilty of profiling

What is it about a hairstyle, torn jeans and youth that makes a dude delinquent, a crook or a con?

 I’ll tell you what it is. It is because we distrust people who are different from us. People who don’t dress as we do, talk like we do or incline their ears to our wisdom.

It is not a problem only the Nigerian Police has. It is a problem of the Nigerian society. Sometimes it is subtle. Sometimes it spits in your face and insults your father. I’ll share three personal stories.

Continue reading

Standard
Faith, Religion, The Future, Uncategorized

Psst…aliens are here. Attracted by 5G

nypost

“Psst…have you heard? 5G tech caused Covid-19! It’s a ploy by the New World Order to get us chipped. Remember 666? The mark of the beast? That’s the end game!”

 “Psst…the 2004 tsunami was caused by a secret underwater nuclear test by India.  US and Israel scientists were involved.  

“Psst…Diana was killed by the MI6 on instruction of Her Majesty so Diana won’t have an Arab child for Dodi Fayed. Imagine Williams and Harry having an Arab sibling!

“Psst…Malaysia flight MH370 was shot down over the Indian Ocean to prevent top secret information exchanging hands. There was a spy onboard carrying sensitive information.”

How I enjoy a good conspiracy theory!

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Sweethearts, if you keep your pants on, no one is going to be nicking them.

On my way home yesterday, I was listening to Classic FM. I heard, a rather preposterous report: an epidemic of female underpants theft in Nigeria. Grand theft of what we call pata or p-a-i-n-t in Yoruba.
 
Yup. Female pants are being purloined, shanghaied, abducted and misappropriated all over the land. This making away with underpants are sometimes surreptitious. At other times it is brazen and at gunpoint: “your pant or your life!”

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Signs you may be difficult to work with.

Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and Moana (Auli’i Cravalho), the title character in Disney’s “Moana.” Credit: Disney

A while back, a friend who lived outside the country told me he had met someone who knew me and worked with me in some capacity. He told me this chap had remarked about me: “Jide was a brilliant guy. A good person. But he was sometimes difficult to work with.” 

Remember the movie Ghosts of Girlfriends Past? Where the sins of your past douchebaggery come to haunt you? Well, I was nothing like the philandering and Class-A insensate that Mathew McConaughey was in the movie, but still, I knew there were times when my colleagues must have felt like feeding me to a T-Rex.

Maybe to three T-Rexes.

The irony of it was that I wasn’t aware that I was being difficult. I thought I was doing my job. Doing what the job required.

Which is why I’m doing this post. To help someone out there check if they are on their way to the Jerk Hall of Fame or already awarded. Hopefully, it will help you avoid being that guy or babe.

So here are a few pointers. You may be difficult to work with if:

1. You are combustible too often. Anger is an undeniable human emotion. It may even be helpful. But if you explode at your colleagues or anyone too often, whatever the reason, you may be a difficult person to work with.

The dangerous thing about being quick to anger is that it loosens the tongue (or the pen) to say things you shouldn’t have said or act in ways you might regret later. Anger is good. But wrath isn’t.

2. Impatient with colleagues. People assimilate information or ‘get it’ at different rates. It doesn’t mean they are a doofus. If you think you’re smart or brilliant, I assure you that there is someone smarter and more brilliant than you are in your field or company. I have a hard time understanding Quantum Physics and Astronomy, which I’m interested in. Some guy at NASA may think I’m a dolt but I’d like to sit and hear a presentation from them about making people buy what they really don’t need.

Be patient with people.

3. You think you are indispensable. The feeling of being ‘untouchable’ could lead you into giving subordinates and colleagues a hard time. Please get this into your head: NO ONE is indispensable. Steve Jobs died and Apple became a trillion-dollar company.

Try not to believe you are indispensable. It’ll make you more human and humane to colleagues.

4. People don’t want to come to you. If colleagues don’t want to come to you for help because you are often technically and practically unable to help, that’s understandable. But be wary if they don’t come to you because they think you are a jerk. It is the same if a guy was assigned to you and he weeps and calls his wife to tell her he loves her.

No matter what you may have heard, you need more friends than enemies in your life. Folks whom people tend to gravitate towards tend to be better managers and hence, assume leadership positions quicker and stay there longer.

I’m not saying you should try to please everyone. You can’t. But if you could be a little more pleasant, a little more helpful, a little less arrogant or a little more accessible, please do it.

5. You believe work should be impersonal. One of the Kool-Aid we have drunk and are still drinking is the belief that the workplace should be formal and impersonal.

Bunkum.

Until such a time when Betty the AI or George the Algo are your only workmates, you will have to deal with Chi-Chi the mother of three and Bassey the Pious.

When we believe work should be impersonal, we lose empathy and sensitivity. When people come to work, we don’t know what they may be facing in their personal lives.

There was once a colleague, mother of four, who often came late to work. She was often distracted. It affected her work. The people she worked with were unhappy with her performance. She was put on Performance Improvement Programme, a prelude to being fired if there was no noticeable change in a short period of time.

HR called her in for a chat. She burst into tears and spilt all that was happening in her life. Her husband beats her often. The fella was out of job but needed to show who was still the head of the house. There was little sunshine in her life. When we heard her story, many were remorseful, mea culpa, for the hard time we gave her.

People go through stuff in their lives. Sometimes, really hard stuff. Don’t add to it in the workplace. Before you are tempted to scream at them, be dismissive of them, write them a query or fire them, take a step back to consider maybe there’s something else going on behind the crisp shirt or slim skirt. Be a human. Screw the rule book.

As for me, I have long reformed. I realised that if I wanted to get to the very top, I could not be someone people found difficult to work with.

That and the fear of T-Rex.

Standard
Uncategorized

Pepsi’s ‘Naija All The Way’ spot. How I love a good marketing ambush!

The Pepsi Naija All The Way spot is the shiznit! Check it out below:

Neat, isn’t it? It’s trendy, bouncy and pumps you up. Makes you want to believe in Nigeria again. The spot reminded us of one of the reasons we are Nigerians: bagful of self-belief and swag.

Well, yea, the Naija spirit also sometimes turn into snakes and make away with money, and may even ask bribe from an archangel. But this spot is not about all that. The spot rather reps us in a positive way.  

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

If there are no free lunches, how come we expect data privacy?

In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal, I have thought about how much of my personal data is out there. Data waiting to be harvested by some sick psychologist or ethnographer and deployed to warping my mind. I like to think that I have an iron-clad mind. But at the rate I give in to pepperoni pizza, maybe having an ‘open mind’ is not such a bad thing after all.  

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

These ‘shithole’ outrage. Please, give me a break!

Aside from his use of an obscene term, I really do not understand the rage on the continent when President Trump referred to our beloved patch as ‘shithole countries.’

Emmanuel Macron yesterday said he shares the outrage of Africans on the disparagement by President Trump.

Oh please!

If by ‘shithole countries’ the man meant countries groaning under the weight of corruption, nepotism, abuse of power and disregard for rule of law, the social contract and the human condition, then he clearly wasn’t talking about the African continent. 

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Robert Mugabe and Donald Trump. My two favourite personal brands.

Not so many folks like President Mugabe and President Trump. Not me. I’m their biggest fan. I’d give anything to be in the presence of their awesomeness. 

I like the two for different reasons though. For President Trump, I like that the office of POTUS hasn’t sobered him up.  After all, he was Donald John Trump first before he became President Trump. Man is determined to be Donald John Trump with or without Air Force One.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Shooting Nigerian commercials out of Nigeria. What is true? What is bunkum?

A few months ago, the Minister for Information & Culture announced the government was going to ban the production of Nigerian movies, music videos and reality TV programmes outside the country. Such ban was to help grow the creative industry in Nigeria and to create jobs.

Said the minister:

‘It is Nigerians that pay for the consumption of these products and therefore they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production.’

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

“The best time to go for broke is when you’re already there.”

Bob Nye/NASA/Donaldson Collection/Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

“Look

If you had one shot

Or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted

In one moment

Would you capture it

Or just let it slip?

Eminem – “Lose Yourself .“ (Soundtrack for “8 Mile.” )

If you haven’t seen Hidden Figures, you should. It is a biopic about African-American female mathematicians working at NASA during the Cold War and its very public expression in the Space Race.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Managing the Etisalat rebrand thoughtfully.

That Etisalat Nigeria must rebrand is obvious. The UAE’s Etisalat Group has pulled out of the company and written down its value in it to nil. It says Etisalat Nigeria only has a few weeks to use its brand name. Presumably, if Etisalat Nigeria wants to keep using the brand name, it must pay franchising fees. That must be at least a couple of million dollars yearly. We are not aware that this option is on the table though. And if it is, taking it up will be unwise for a business that owes creditors over $680m, the source of its current troubles.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

The thing about loyalty.

“Look out for the people who look out for you. Loyalty is everything.” – Found Online

I came across a YouTube video in which documentary maker Louis Theroux set out hoping to meet ‘MC Olu Omo.’ MC Olu Omo is the Treasurer of NURTW in Lagos and also the Chairman of the Oshodi chapter. According to popular opinion, he is also the Capofamiglia of ‘Oshland’ (Oshodi). The He-Whom-All-Fears. Goon Potentate-Over-Oshodi.

Brave soul, that Louis. There are some deaths that can’t kill a black man. Like those arising from bravery. Per the late Chinua Achebe: “It is from the compound of a coward that we point to where a brave man used to live.”

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

GTBank Food & Drink. You can’t go wrong with food, can you?

So, on May 1, my household downed tools. The missus would have me know that being a wife and a mother was work. Hard work, as a matter of fact. So in observance of Workers’ Day, she was taking the day off from most wifely duties. She pointed me in the direction of GTBank Food & Drink for the day’s feeding.

Outwardly, I made a fuss about the denial of my spousal culinary benefit. But the truth is, I am an epicure. A foodie. I’m the sort of guy you’ll find following MasterChef Australia and Anthony Bourdain: Paths Unknown. I consider cooking an art, a creative expression. Much like painting. But the good thing about cooking, quite unlike a Rembrandt, is that you can actually eat it.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Why approval by consensus never leads to great ideas

I have been involved in a few projects where approvals depended on a motley bunch of people, most of whom had little knowledge of the project, what it entails or what success would look like. It was decision-making by committee. A consensus-oriented process that seldom leads to great work, at least as far as great advertising or marketing goes. One of such projects stood out.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Nigerian Banks and Product (Un)Truth.

GT Bank is my favourite bank. I use it the most. Not that if Segun Agbaje needed a kidney, I’d give him one of mine. But it’s a bank with a cause. With a value proposition. I’ll tell you two stories.

A couple of years ago, I was in New Zealand, a country with a 12-hour time difference to Nigeria. I went out one afternoon to use my dollar-denominated GT Bank card at an ATM. It didn’t work. Tried it a second time. Zilch. A third time. Nada. Not good. Needed cash badly. And well, it was also embarrassing. I was the only black man within a 50-kilometre radius. A Nigerian. Spending an inordinate amount of time at an ATM.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

Sleep in the dark. You’ll get used to the monsters.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jack Canfield. 

There’s something decidedly hare-brained about jumping out of a perfectly good plane. A plane, if it isn’t obvious, is not a boat or a car. A plane flies. In the skies. With birds. There’s a reason we’re not birds. But man has never really been blessed with much discernment, have we?

Sky-diving was something I had always wanted to do. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot. You know, fly around the world and blow bad guys up. How I traded such altruistic aspiration for a life in brand management has got to be as mysterious as Po being the Dragon Warrior. Anyway, now that I have settled for a somewhat sedentary career, I thought jumping out of a plane might be the closest thing to feeling the thrill of being a fighter pilot.

But I had to battle a lot of monsters before my jump:

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

New Airtel advertising. Must be the water in Banana Island.

There must be something in the waters at Banana Island. It was just a few weeks ago that I wrote about Airtel Nigeria’s Lost TV spot and how different and refreshing the spot was from previous Airtel commercials, and indeed from category spots. Lost was a marker set down by Airtel against competition, and unwittingly, against itself. The next spot from the company was always going to draw keen attention. Will it match or beat Lost, or will it crash and burn under the weight of high expectation?

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

All I want for Christmas is a warm ad

I’m a Christmas guy. I love Christmas. It’s my best time of the year. The harmattan. The lights. The carols. “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen…”“Odun lo so pin O, Baba Rere…” The nice hampers. The dodgy hampers. The teeming malls. Bliss. Joy to the world.

If only brands and companies will give us some really warm Christmas ad. We really could do with some cheer in this country right now.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

LAIF Awards 2016. Not a lot to laugh about.

“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn

So, I attended the 2017 LAIF Awards, my old stomping ground. I hadn’t been to one in some time and I thought it’d be great to see what the advertising industry was up to these days. When I was at TBWA, advertising awards were a big part of the network and my life. A strong agency showing at an award helped the agency get on clients’ radars and in consideration for businesses. It also helped us attract great talents, both creative and non-creative. The Omnicom Group, the holding company of BBDO, DDB and TBWA amongst others, had always been big on ‘doing great work.’ That ethos is reflected in the consistent and strong showings of the BBDO, DDB and TBWA networks at Cannes, One Show and D&AD.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

“Life Without Data.” Easily the most arresting Airtel Nigeria advertising in years.

I have always felt that Airtel Nigeria TV spots were the least engaging amongst all Telco advertising in Nigeria. For a brand that has consistently been in the Top 6 of marketing spenders in that last five years, I’d say this was rather unflattering.

Well, not any more. It’s new TV advertising, ‘Life Without Data,’ seems to be grabbing all the attention, in contrast to the marooned protagonist in the spot.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

How long does it take to make eba again?

The other day a colleague and I went for lunch at one of the ‘posh’ restaurants in Lagos that catered largely to local palates. I have been to this particular restaurant a couple of times. The food is good, the ambience is nice and the service is OK. But I confess that I’m one who believes that for Nkwobi stay with Mama Ogedi, and for soul-lifting Amala, salvation is only to be found at a buka. I’m a relic, yea, but we were never intended to eat cow leg with a fork and knife. That’s why God gave us fingers. Ten of them.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

4G LTE is great. Sustainable differentiation is better.

So, I was reading the papers the other day, and walla, Glo has launched a 4G LTE service (wait, didn’t they launch that stuff in 2011?). I thought that was really great because mobile internet speed in Nigeria waver between ‘damn-it!’ and ‘you-gotta-be-kidding-me!’ So, clearly there is a consumer need there. Any network that meets this need can dip its hands into my pocket.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

You get the talent you deserve.

A couple of days ago, I got a call from a recruiter. There was a supposed ‘senior’ role in her company they wanted to fill and my name came up.

Well, it was pleasing that my name came up in respect to something other than bills, allowances and pocket money. I’d always believed that the only people who thought about me were my wife and creditors. These days I can’t tell the difference between the two.

Continue reading

Standard
Uncategorized

The story of Mr Thimble. Beauty and pitfall of brand and line extensions. 

In all of the land of Vuka, there was no better bespoke tailor than Mr Thimble. He catered only to men and his apparels flattered the appearance of all, tall or stout, portly or willowy. The rich and greying, the nouveau riche and debonair, all journey from as far as the Far Kingdom to Vuka to be measured and fitted in Mr Thimble’s exceptional tailoring.  At the annual Vuka Governor’s Ball, it was not uncommon to find the majority of the guests accoutred in the fine raiments of Mr Thimble.

Continue reading

Standard