Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Wanderer is Dead. Long Live the Photo-Wanderer


This is Omo Alagbede.

This might be the last time you will be reading from this blog(ger). After more than a year of meritorious wanderings The Wanderer has decided to annul himself, and re-incarnate - as a photo-blogger. I bought a NIKON D40 camera about 2 weeks ago, and I have decided to spend 2008, God willing, recreating Omo-Alagbede as a paparrazo.

The journey/journal shall proceed on About to begin is a journey whose end I cannot predict. To be a part of this journey, visit

Below is one of my pictures, taken on my first wandering with my new weapon - Alpha Beach, (Lagos) Saturday 22nd December 2007

Yours Wanderingly,

Omo Alagbede

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Omo Alagbede's Letter in Time (2)


Dear [Omo-Alagbede]:

I am happy to tell you that your comments appear in the Inbox of the December 17 issue, available on newsstands now. We are pleased that you took the time to register your thoughts, and we're sure that other readers will be interested to read your comments, too.

Thank you for your engaged interest in TIME, and best wishes.


My Letter to the Editor appears in this week's edition of TIME Magazine (December 17, 2007 issue), available on newsstands now. I wrote the piece in response to the TIME Dec 3, 2007 issue cover story on the demise of French culture.

(Scroll down a bit if you click on the link. It's the letter from the "ABEOKUTA, NIGERIA" fellow)

This is my second appearance in the TIME's Letters pages. 1st appearance was (almost exactly) a year ago - Dec 4, 2006 TIME Europe Issue): MY LETTER IN TIME EUROPE AND OTHER STORIES.

Next time I want to appear further inside the magazine (smiles).
Will let you know once that's done...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Do you know any Nigerian songs that denigrate women?

In resonse to my Bank PHB post, (see below) lamenting the crudeness of Bank PHB's ongoing "Stash and Cash" Promo radio ad Raven commented as follows:

I haven't heard the ad in question but I have to say that (based on the short snippet of transcribed dialogue) it hardly seems to denigrate women in general. Most stereotypes have a basis (even if it is merely a flimsy basis) in fact and this particular one stands, I feel, on pretty solid ground. There is a certain category of Nigerian women (or maybe we should say "girls" in this instance) for whom this sort of behaviour is de rigeur, this routine badgering of boyfriends, uncles and proximate males for substantial sums of money. It may be sad, but it also happens to be true. If a similar advert showed several young men planning internet scams in an attempt to get some cash for their "babes" one would be unlikely to say that this was insulting to "Nigerian men in general" even if one were not entirely pleased at the portrayal. So lets try and cut the Bank PHB people some slack. It might not be a great ad campaign, it might not be particularly tasteful but, let's face it, it's hardly a moral outrage.

Well said Sir. The stereotype's not completely unfounded. But, truth be told, I don't think that this [other] message is what the bank intended to pass.

This is what we might call a case of competing messages: the actual, intended message vs the unintended, but overriding (subliminal?) message. The end result of this conflict of ideas is something like "static" - the mental equivalent of it at least.
The Bank wants to portray females (perhaps the ad is targetted at women, who often seem to have more "disposable" income than their male counterparts - see footnote) who are zealously participating in the Stash and Cash promo, but what they end up doing is masking that message with another, one that enters the (nebulous) realms of morality, and borders on unflattering/denigratory representation.

But again, I agree with Raven's point. There are a lot of Nigerian girls who exist to "GET". I get, therefore I am. Popular (Nigerian) Culture is full of representations.

Our comedians probably get away with these crude jokes because of the elements of reality embedded in them.
A lot of Nollywood storylines are about the "Girl-Grabber" - a girl(s) who maintains a set of pot-bellied funders, unbeknownst to one another - at least one of whom will be a "Senator" - or go by the name "Chief". There's almost no Nollywood movie that doesn't have a scene where a love-struck male is shown buying up a boutique or supermarket to win - or keep - the heart of his beau, to the haunting music of a soundtrack.

How many Nollywood-portrayed women actually work at making their own money? If they're not married to or concubined to a rich man, then they are heirs to their father's empires (in which case you'll find them falling in love with penurious men)

So you see, our problems are deep-seated. Self-reinforcing negativities.

This is where Misan's comment comes in:

Yes, we do have a long way to go, but how for do? a letter to Bank PHB telling them to withdraw the ad? Why do Nigerian men feel this way? i was raised in the "where there's smoke, there's fire" camp so we need to establish our dignity (by addressing the root cause of our materialistic society, whatever that might be (poverty, perhaps)) AS WELL AS fight for our dignity (i don't believe the two to be mutually exclusive).

We need to address both the root cause (materialism) and the flowering (unrestrained denigration by generalisation).

Let's start here. Let's try to compile a list of (popular) Nigerian song lyrics that portray Nigerian women as money-grabbing species. Do you know any? Anytime from the highlife days to the afro-hiphop days? Or even folk songs? Please post them as comments, and include the name of the musician, the song title, and the offending lyrics.

1.Women are undeniably often the managers of the (not meagre) family "shopping income"
2.See the illiterate market women of Agbeni and Balogun who run trading businesses worth millions of naira and yet somehow manage to evade the official SME data-gathering exercises.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bank PHB "Stash and Cash" Promo: Nigerian Women Have Work To Do!

Nigerian women have work to do.

They should stop mourning their loss of the Honorable Speakership, or ranting about Ofunneka's vodkaventure-fuelled ordeal in the hands of that Animal Called Rich; and instead face matters of Current, Pressing Reality (CRP). One of which is the ongoing Bank PHP Stash and Cash Promo advert. I’ve heard it on Radio a couple of times, I can’t say for certain if it’s on television as well.

It has two men talking. Their conversation goes something like: (I’m writing from memory, not transcribing the gist):

Man 1: The world’s coming to an end
Man 2: What is it again?
Man 1: I’ve been getting calls from girls professing their love for me, only for them to demand for the sum of 25,000 naira
Man 2: Hey, me too. My girlfriend’s been badgering me for 25,000 naira as well…

It turns out that what all the "grabbing" girls need the 25 grand for is the Bank PHB Stash and Cash Promo! The Promo asks consumers to deposit 25 grand and automatically stand the chance of winning millions in monthly draws. Of course, the more the deposits (multiples of 25 grand), the more your chances of winning (and of getting angry when you hit nothing!)

This ad is a Mama-of-All-Insults. As I see it, is a celebration of the belief (stereotype) that the Nigerian girl is a money-grabber. Our comedians (the basket mouths and co) have already hit jackpots cracking jokes about the Greed of the Nigerian Chic. (A common one goes like this: The bird-flu epidemic was a messiah to the pressured pockets of the Nigerian Male. It meant that Nigerian Girls no longer ordered expensive Chicken meals at their men's expenses. The comedian would then hope aloud that the flu spread to other female necessities like Recharge Cards, Cinema tickets etc)

She doesn’t earn money; she doesn’t want to earn money, she’s content with depending on their boyfriends and husbands for everything.
Recharge cards, sweet Sensation chicken, Fan Ice-cream, hairdressing bills.

Or are we supposed to be rejoicing with Bank PHB that they’re portraying a new breed of Nigerian girls who, while still milking their men dry, refrain from squandering the money on the bric-a-brac of "feminine maintenance", but rather choose to "invest" the loot/ransom?

Seen from another angle, this is PHB’s message: Nigerian girls are so money-conscious that they will terrorise all terrorisables to obtain money that will allow them reap from a disguised gambling opportunity – save 25 grand and win millions in a draw.

True, Robert Kiyosaki talked about leveraging Other People’s Money (OPM). But this one doesn’t sound like that. This advert, as I see it, is demeaning and insulting to Nigerian Women. It portrays them as "Get All You Can; and Can All You Get" varieties of the Homo Sapiens species.

Naija Women, Stop mourning Etteh and Ofunneka, and start fighting for your dignity.





Friday, November 23, 2007

Omo Alagbede wins 1st Facebook Poetry Competition

Last Friday (16 November 2007) Omo Alagbede was announced as the Winner of the 1st Facebook Poetry Competition (judged by Todd Swift and Daniel Mitchell) - for his poem "Instructions".

Facebook Poetry Competion 1.0
The Winners:
#1 Tolu Ogunlesi (Nigeria)
#2 Janet Vickers (Vancouver, BC)
#3 Dominic O’Rourke (London)

You may read the press release(s) here:

PS. Omo Alagbede will be pocketing a $150 prize for this win. Watch this page for more details on a forthcoming e-party and ink-and-beer-throwing session (facebook style)!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Maggy Delvaux-Mufu: The African Woman Who Set Herself on Fire


Comment from an informed reader:
(thank you frederic):

Check your information before publishing them or relaying them. Because, this information about Maggy Devaux-Mufu Mpia goes back to 2004 and not 2007. This woman burned herself on October 5, 2004 in Luxembourg and she died on Saturday October 9,2004 in Metz in France. Take care

Omo Alagbede's Note: The news below is not recent, as was made to originally appear. The facts though remain correct.

She set herself on fire.
To protest racism.
Maggy Delvaux-Mufu. 40-something year old mother of three. Belgian citizen (?) of Congolese Origin.

Omo Alagbede's Musings
Mama Africa. The "Mama" who doesn't act like one. The Mama who abandons her children to the cruelties of other mothers
All Belgian citizens are equal, but apparently, white ones are more equal than black ones.

Warning: The pics below are disturbing. So is racism.

Pictures (c)

The 42-year-old Belgian citizen and her husband had been facing financial difficulties. They had recently indebted themselves by buying a Citro├źn garage in Oberwampach, before realising they were missing the documents that would allow them to set up a business. Delvaux-Mufu wrote a letter to Le Jeudi recounting her story of bureaucratic difficulties and economic despair. “I’m against all forms of violence, but day after day, my family and I have to endure moral violence, discrimination, insults and much more from Mr Juncker’s administration”, she said in the letter published last week. Money problems had driven the woman to desperately plead her case at the Prime minister’s office early on the same day of the incident. Her threat to burn herself alive on Place des Martyrs after being turned away by the authorities caused government officials to contact the police. A city-wide search was organised, but nobody could foresee the woman would change her plans."

Read the full story here

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Love or Madness?

A while ago this pic started a heated discussion (plenty of e-saliva spraying and ranting and shaking of e-fists) in an email group I was part of. Photos like this are classic discussion starters, esp in cultures like ours, where "enlightenment" (Western-style feminism etc), mysticism (belief or otherwise in juju/voodoo) and tradition/conservatism are the threesome (stones) holding up the cooking pot of human existence.

CAVEAT: The "Love or Madness" title was not my coinage o. Ah, I must let you know quick quick, before I land on some bomb-strapping f******t's hit-list, lol.

This was Omo Alagbede's contribution to the discussion:

See the dull look in the man's eyes.
Not only that, can't you hear the noise from the parlour. His wife and her girlfriends (all founding members of the "Madam Etteh 4 Life" fans club) are watching "Paloma" and laughing and licking ice-cream. This is a classic case of "Gbewudani" - translation - "take, hold my blouse for me". The man's destiny is in a calabash in one of those kitchen cupboards. This one goeth not out except by hot prayer, and 30-days dry fasting, under the watch of a a man of God not less than the position of General Overseer!
jus' kidding o, abeg. Na true love be dis. I Cor 13 Updated Version:
Love does not take off its tie before washing Madam's dishes

why are we talking about LOVE or MADNESS as though it had to be an "either-or":

he might be
a divorcee
or a widower
or hubby to an invalid wife
or a remorseful hubby doing penance for a "sin"/"sins" ranging from adultery to forgetting his wife's mother's birthday.
And it could also be Love AND Madness. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. The line b/w the two blurs faster than the pin number on a substandard MTN recharge card...
"Love" or "Madness"? What thinkest thou?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Flashing as an "African" Invention

Another "how to write about africa" piece:

Africa invented AIDS. Now, Africa has invented another Condition - a social one this time, not a biological one. It's called "flashing!" While the rest of the non-Western world is consolidating on their hi-tech innovations: (Korea: KIA; China: Chery Motors; Iran: Nuclear Weapons; India: IT Outsourcing, etc), Africa is inventing ingenious ways to manage (without attempting to solve the underlying problem) its POVERTY.

Welcome to Flashing.

Initially the Reuters article (below) was going to get me pissed off. How dare anyone say that such a no-brainer as "flashing/beeping" sprang up only in the poverty-stricken mental ghetto that is the typical african mind.

But when I remember an encounter with BE (British-Nigerian novelist, poet and creative writing teacher) last year at the lobby of Sofitel (Ikoyi), I have no choice than to smile, even if ruefully, and dispose of my irritations.

BE came in to Nigeria for a reading tour organised by the British Council. She was given a mobile phone by the BC to use while in Naija. The phone apparently contained an old sim card, one that must have been in use by someone before it was given to BE.

So, it would happen that every now and then someone (a friend/acquantaince/creditor/lover/stalker/etc of one or more of the previous owner(s) of the SIM) would "flash" the line. BE had apparently been "picking" (more like trying to pick) the call. Poor BE. There she would be, chanting "hello" endlessly like a one-dollar CD on a skipping-scratching binge, perhaps even long after the "flasher" had forgotten about the flashing. Poor BE.

So, finally, one evening, as we sat at the lobby of her hotel, another flasher flashed. BE picked, and helloed. Silence. She gave voice to her exasperation.

I realised that she had been getting herself worked up over mere flashing. I explained (more like tried to explain) to her what flashing meant. It's a way of staying in touch. An e-card that says:

Thinking of you.
I'm around (I'am downstairs; I'am at your gate; I'm nearby)
Where's my money
Hope you haven't forgotten what I told you
I'm bored
Call me now
blah blah blah

BE didn't get "it".
Why would anyone flash instead of simply making a genuine call?
It's called African Culture (and includes other phenomena like African Time/Nigerian Time)
I didn't get why BE wasn't getting it.
Flashing is normal, abi?

Now I know why.

Scientists/sociologists have finally recognised it as an African Disorder. Like sickle cell that afflicts only the black race, Flashing as a habit is imprinted only upon African DNA.

So, we can't get angry at the Yahoo News article, can we?

They're not lying about us...

Read the Article:

Phone credit low? Africans go for "beeping"
KHARTOUM (Reuters) -

If you are in Sudan it is a 'missed call'. In Ethiopia it is a 'miskin' or a 'pitiful' call. In other parts of Africa it is a case of 'flashing', 'beeping' or in French-speaking areas 'bipage'.

Wherever you are, it is one of the fastest-growing phenomena in the continent's booming mobile telephone markets -- and it's a headache for mobile operators who are trying to figure out how to make some money out of it.

You beep someone when you call them up on their mobile phone -- setting its display screen briefly flashing -- then hang up half a second later, before they have had a chance to answer. Your friend -- you hope -- sees your name and number on their list of 'Missed Calls' and calls you back at his or her expense.

It is a tactic born out of ingenuity and necessity, say analysts who have tracked an explosion in miskin calls by cash-strapped cellphone users from Cape Town to Cairo.

"Its roots are as a strategy to save money," said Jonathan Donner, an India-based researcher for Microsoft who is due to publish a paper on "The Rules of Beeping" in the high-brow online Journal of Computer Mediated Communication in October.

Donner first came across beeping in Rwanda, then tracked it across the continent and beyond, to south and southeast Asia. Studies quoted in his paper estimate between 20 to more than 30 percent of the calls made in Africa are just split-second flashes -- empty appeals across the cellular network.

The beeping boom is being driven by a sharp rise in mobile phone use across the continent.

Africa had an estimated 192.5 million mobile phone users in 2006, up from just 25.3 million in 2001, according to figures from the U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union. Customers may have enough money for the one-off purchase of a handset, but very little ready cash to spend on phone cards for the prepaid accounts that dominate the market.

Africa's mobile phone companies say the practice has become so widespread they have had to step in to prevent their circuits being swamped by second-long calls.

"We have about 355 million calls across the whole network every day," said Faisal Ijaz Khan, chief marketing officer for the Sudanese arm of Kuwaiti mobile phone operator Zain (formerly MTC). "And then there are another 130 million missed calls every day. There are a lot of missed calls in Africa."


Zain is responding to the demand by drawing up plans for a "Call-me-back" service in Sudan, letting customers send open requests in the form of a very basic signal to friends for a phone call.

The main advantage for the company is that the requests will be diverted from the main network and pushed through using a much cheaper technology (USSD or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data).

A handful of similar schemes are springing up across Africa, says Informa principal analyst Devine Kofiloto. "It is widespread. It is a concern for operators in African countries, whose networks become congested depending on the time of day with calls they cannot bill for.

"They try to discourage the practice by introducing services where customers can send a limited number of 'call-back' request either free of charge or for a minimum fee."

There are plenty of other reasons why mobile operators are keen to cut down on the practice. One is it annoys customers, pestered by repeated missed calls.

A second is that 'flashes' eat into one of mobile phone companies' favorite performance indicators -- ARPU or average revenue per user. Miscalls earn very little in themselves - and don't always persuade the target to ring back.

Orange Senegal, Kofiloto said, lets customers send a 'Rappelle moi' ('Call me back') when their phone credit drops below $0.10. With Safaricom Kenya, it is a "Flashback 130" (limited to five a day -- and with the admonishment 'Stop Flashing! Ask Nicely'). Vodacom DR Congo's 'Rappelez moi SVP' service costs $0.01 a message.

Read the rest of the article here

Sunday, September 23, 2007

senryu by omoalagbede

multitasking. poem,
Memo, novella, Report.
all in a day's work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guess Who?




She is a woman
She is Nigerian
She is very famous
She has a son who is about as famous (in a sense) as her.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Call for Submission of Bids: Upgrade/Renovation of FIFA U-17 World Cup Trophy

Our Client is the parastatal in charge of the round-leather game in Nigeria, under the supervising influence of the National Sports Commission. Arising from the recent win of the Under-17 World Cup by Nigeria for a historic 3rd time, our client observed with dismay the disgraceful and dilapidated state of the trophy, and the fact that it does not currently befit the status of Nigeria as a giant of Africa , and 3-time winner of the Trophy. Our client is therefore desirous of renovating/upgrading the esteemed Cup, in line with the rule of law(making).


Major Work:
· Re-electroplating of entire trophy with 64-carat gold.
· Replacement of Map of Africa on the trophy with updated version to reflect the emerging United States of Africa.
· Enlargement of the map of Nigeria within the map of Africa, to reflect historic, groundbreaking, 3-time win.
· Installation of Nigerian coat of arms on the base of the trophy.
· Procurement of bullet-proof vest for the Trophy.
· Production of U-17 soccer world Cup history manual in all the two-hundred-and-fifty languages of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to accompany the Trophy.
· Provision of supporting stand for Trophy to allow for easy movement on National occasions.
· Provision of satellite tracking device to be embedded in Trophy to discourage kidnap by militants.

Supporting Work:
· Drafting and express delivery of complaint letter to FIFA on the poor maintenance of the Trophy by Mexico , the 2005 winners.
· Construction of befitting, airconditioned, bullet-proof glass display case for the Trophy.
· Construction of state-of-the-art display hall for the display case. (The Hall shall be known as the Patricia Etteh Under-17 International Trophy Display Hall.
· Provision of CCTV cameras, and satellite security equipment for the Hall.
· Provision of bullion vans, and power-bikes to form a secure convoy for the conveyance of the Trophy on nationwide tours.

In responding, qualifying firms should send the following documents and details:

· Company profile, including names and contact details of directors. (At least one Senator, Minister or Member of House of Reps of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must be on the company board)
· Company UNAUDITED financial report for the past two weeks.
· A 100-word (max) proposal in any Nigerian language.
· Certificates of Tax-Evasion for the past twelve years.
· Evidence of previously attempted renovation and/or upgrade projects. (Such projects preferably carried out on brand new buildings, cars and infrastructure).


All proposals should be addressed to:

U-17 FIFA World Cup Trophy Renovation/Upgrade Coordinator,
White Elephant Consulting,
628, Patricia Etteh Crescent ,
Asokoro, Abuja ,


on or before the 31st of October, 2007.

The sum of 500,000 naira only, enclosed in a suitably labelled ghana-must-go, should accompany the submission as bid fee. Proposals unaccompanied by a bid fee will be forwarded to the Undue Process Unit for blacklisting from future government patronage.

(c)Omo Alagbede, September 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Changing the World in 30 minutes: A Baby Sniper's Guide

I tried my hand at this mini-essay ("pseudo-rantelligent piece" - my coinage) in response to TBWA/Concept's (Nigeria) call for applications from potential "baby-snipers".(Advertisers have all these crazy, fun-sounding nominal tags they unleash on their "people", targeted specifically at presenting them in the strongest of "creative"/"anarchistic"/"revolutionary" lights).

They asked us to tell them how we intend to change the world in 30 minutes. You can't? Well, I can.


Every sniper aims to inflict MAXIMUM IMPACT (creative damage?) with MINIMUM ammo, and in MINIMUM time.

1)Imagine if the Sniper that killed John F. Kennedy had missed at first. Losing even a few micro-seconds would have given the Secret Service more than enough time to SAVE the President.
2)Snipers do not use machine-guns. No Sniper plans on using a whole belt-load of bullets to accomplish his or her task. The goal of a sniper is to finish his or her work with that FIRST projectile.

Snipers have changed the world in the past. The sniper who killed Kennedy changed the course of the destiny of countless people, in far less than 30 minutes. A whole Nation (the most powerful on earth) was thrown into mourning. A whole generation was disillusioned by the senseless murder of one they had come to look up to. Lyndon Johnson became President. The “Age of Camelot” came to an end. Jackie Kennedy became a Widow. Eventually she would remarry, and become the wife of one of the richest men in the world. The Kennedy Obsession started, evident for example in the conspiracy theories that have flourished, and the bestsellers that have flooded the bookstores.

The Sniper who killed Kennedy went for his head. His brain. The seat of reason, of consciousness.

To change the world in 30 minutes, I will not kill anyone. No. I will not hold a gun. No. I will not be destructively destructive. If I destroy anything in the few minutes left after I have become a Mature Sniper, it will be a Creative Destruction. A pulling down of ONE faulty paradigm in the minds of men.

But, come to think of it, instead of destroying, I’d rather build. Build a VISION within myself. And then launch forth into the world, armed with that VISION. The VISION may seem to need a lifetime to change the WORLD (see Mandela, Mother Theresa, etc), but in truth, it is the TIME IT TAKES TO EXPLODE INTO REALITY in a mind/consciousness that really matters the most.

We think it takes decades for OAK trees to mature. Wrong. It takes only the length of time needed for the OAK tree seed to realise that it IS an OAK tree. The twinkling of an eye. If it is the seed of an OAK tree, then it will surely become an OAK tree.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dispatches from Lagos - the new Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System



Wasiu (Ayinde Marshal), King of fuji music is crooning, as passengers file in. It will soon roar into life, and begin its journey to Berger. The fuji music is a bit on the loud side. I don't care for fuji (with its reputation as the music of motor-park touts and marijuanaed, thug-like entities), and would instead prefer the Yinka Ayefele, or Fela, that I have grown used to on those buses.

I am not alone. Someone asks the bus boy to switch the fuji off. Change it to something else. Another concurs. I do too, silently. And then someone protests. Angrily.

How dare you ask him to change the fuji.

These "corporate" people sef, another person says. (It is a tie-and-suit man/men who doesn't/don't want the music).

What is wrong with fuji music?

It is either they leave the fuji playing, or the music goes off!

The bus boy has already removed the fuji CD. The driver, who is outside the bus at this time, rushes in, and, protests. He puts the fuji music back in.


- Do Not Talk To Driver
- Seated 46
- Standees 36
- No Smoking.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More on Oyo State, Bayo Alao and Adedibu...

“Oyo State is being bogged down by government of illiterates by the illiterates for the enlightened.”
- Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) - Daily Punch, Tuesday, 4th September, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

New African Magazines

Mimi Magazine

Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings

MAZWI Literary Journal

African Writing

England in Ibadan and other Amala Tales

"Mapo Hall has been renovated. If you go there now, you would think you are in England"
Bayo Alao (aka Adebayo Alao-Akala), Governor of Oyo State, South West Nigeria, on (one of) his achievements since becoming Governor on May 29.

Governor Akala is currently at the centre of a "dismissal" scandal, details here

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dispatches From Lagos: Caveat Emptor

Spotted from somewhere around the Oworo end of 3rd Mainland Bridge this morning:





(The "land" in question is beneath the bridge, in a sprawling slum that something tells me will one day be demolished, Maroko-style, by the Government)


Once upon a time, it used to simply read:

Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware.

Now, it has lengthened.

And something tells me it will continue to get longer. More and more English (and perhaps Latin or Greek) will need to be added as fraudsters get more sophisticated in their acts...


One day we shall see a warning, thusly:


Monday, August 20, 2007


I read Mr. Uche Nworah’s blog posting on Binyavanga Wainaina - Binyavanga Wainaina Owes Nigerians An Apology - and all I could say was “Oh dear!”

I was – and still am – very painfully embarrassed that Nigeria’s “award-winning Internet columnist” could so shamelessly display his ignorance. And ironically, he has chosen to do so through the same medium by which he has made a name for himself.

Let us take his points one after the other:

Before that, this is the cause of the vexation that vexed Mr. Nworah’s righteous soul:

"I couldn’t also believe that Binyavanga had actually written these words in his article – “The Ancient Wise Man always comes from a noble tribe (not the money-grubbing tribes like the Gikuyu, the Igbo or the Shona)”. "

Now, let us listen to the internet commentator himself:

NWORAH: Such unfounded allegations and stereotypes will not do the African people any good, but rather supports the subservient 'Master's mentality' - the act of sacrificing the interests of the African people to please the Guv'nors in the west.

OMO ALAGBEDE: Where was Mr. Nworah when Binyavanga turned down, publicly, the World Economic Forum Nomination as a Young Global Leader 2007. Is that a symptom of “Master’s Mentality” as well. You turn down a to-die-for global award, and instead prefer to spend your time calling your people names?

NWORAH: I would also have used the opportunity to remind him that Richard Ihejiahi, the man who facilitated his trip to Nigeria is of the Igbo tribe, and that the bank itself (Fidelity Bank, formerly Fidelity Union Merchant Bank) was co-founded by another Igbo man in the person of Chief Onwuka Kalu of Onwuka Hi-Tek fame (Okpuzu of Igbo land)

OMO ALAGBEDE:I think that I should use this opportunity to inform Mr. Nworah that Binyavanga is from the Gikuyu tribe of Kenya (which Mr. Nworah might better understand as “Kenyan Igbo”) – Gikuyu is included in that “money-grubbing” class in the Granta Article.

NWORAH: Would they have still paid his flight ticket, put him up in a five star hotel and feted him like a celebrity if they knew what he thinks about them?

OMO ALAGBEDE: Mr. Nworah apparently assumes that Binyavanga came to Nigeria in order to be “feted like a celebrity.” And in order to escape from “Nairobbery” to enjoy 5-star hotel treatment in Victoria Island, Nigeria. Yeah, Binyavanga turned down a Young Global Leader Nomination, and a chance to travel to China to hobnob with Princes and Prime Ministers and jawjaw on the 2030 World Vision, in order that he might more thoroughly appreciate and enjoy 5-star hotel treatment and a flight ticket to Nigeria months down the line. How sweet of him!

NWORAH: Perhaps this would serve as a lesson not only to Fidelity Bank but also to other Nigerian businesses that are increasingly importing ‘foreign experts’ to facilitate seminars and workshops in Nigeria.

OMO ALAGBEDE: Any Nigerian company that will be inviting a “foreign expert” to facilitate a seminar should be made to, apart from a visa application, submit evidence of his lack of prejudice against all two hundred and fifty tribes of Nigeria:

The Uche Nworah Declaration:
I, “Foreign Expert” do solemnly swear and affirm that I do not currently hold, nor have I ever held, espoused, blogged, published or thought anything unkind or uncharitable against the [Name all the ethnic groups in Nigeria] of Nigeria.

However, indigenous or local experts like Uche Nworah should be allowed to take a bow and go ahead to give their seminar, irrespective of what they believe.

NWORAH: Again I wonder if Binyavanga is aware that her new chum, Chimamanda Adichie is also Igbo

OMO ALAGBEDE: This is where my embarrassment begins to become a malignancy. Binyavanga as Chimamanda’s new “chum”. Laugh out loud. Now!
Now listen to this next piece of bull:

NWORAH: And speaking about Chimamanda, I would like to believe that she is not aware of what Binyavanga said about her people; else one would have expected her to demand a clarification or even an outright apology. Perhaps it is for this reason that she should mind the company she keeps. As an 'Igbocentric', I’m sure that she knows that even the elders would counsel her likewise.

OMO ALAGBEDE: Here our award-winning columnist is warning Chimamanda to beware of the company she keeps. Yes. It is true. Now that Chimamanda is a global celebrity at such a young age, she needs proverb-laden elders like Mazi Nworah to dish out unsolicited guidance and counsel, so that dreadlocked, Igbo-hating Kenyan fundamentalists like Binyavanga do not mislead her and destroy her shining star.

NWORAH: It would help the African literary course if Binyavanga sets out to educate himself a little more about the Igbos seeing that he is now benefiting from them.

OMO ALAGBEDE: I think it’d also help if Mr. Nworah sets out to educate himself a little more about Satire, take a course on “How to Read ‘How to write about Africa’”, and learn a bit more about Binyavanga (the internet will help here).
Apparently (I’m repeating myself here): Binyavanga came from wherever he was (Nairobbery?) to come and be “benefitting” from the “Igbos”.

Last but certainly not least in BC (Bullshit Coefficient) is this:

NWORAH: Perhaps an apology from Binyavanga Wainaina and a clarification from both Fidelity Bank and Chimamanda Adichie may be necessary at this stage to prevent the Nze na Ozors in Igbo land from calling on their Chi and on Amadioha to get on Binyavanga’s case. We don’t want that, do we?

OMO ALAGBEDE: Nworah has finished his part. Now he is handing over to Amadioha to “get on Binyavanga’s case.” At this point, he can no longer trust Chimamanda and Fidelity Bank to “deal” with the Kenyan racist. Amadioha must step in.

But of course I trust Amadioha to know that this battle is not his battle. No. It is not a matter for the gods at all. It is not even Fidelity Bank’s battle, or Chimamanda’s.

The battle is Nworah vs. Nworah, and the boxing ring exists solely in the satire-phobic mind of Nigeria’s award-winning Internet Columnist.

Bell! Bell! Bell! ROUND 1. BEGIN!

1. Binyavanga won the Caine Prize, Mr. Nworah, not the Commonwealth. Update that on your blog now.
2. All through the article Mr. Nworah is complaining bitterly about how the Ndigbo have been slighted. Then it’s time to title his article and he packs Nigerians under an Umbrella and asks them to demand apology.
You might need to change that title sir – to Binyavanga Wainaina Owes Uche Nworah An Apology.

Dispatches from Lagos: Two Policemen


Saturday, Aug 18, 2007.
Early Afternoon.
Unilag Gate Junction, Akoka.
A mobile policeman (aka MOPOL or Kill-n-go!), gun aloft (cocked most likely). He marches menacingly to the junction where there the cause of the gridlock is, to clear the traffic for his “convoy” to pass. He looks mean, barking out orders aimed at making bloody civilians piss in their pants and clear their bloody cars out of the F***ing way.
But it is his gun that catches my attention. It is pure poetry. A rust-scarred, trigger-happy, stray-bullet-loving, battle-weary, armed-robber-fearing AK-47, it has a sticker on it.

The kind of sticker you see on cars.

The sticker simply read: JESUS.


Saturday, Aug 18, 2007
Late Evening (close to 11p.m.)
The Road connecting Mobolaji Bank Anthony in Ikeja, and Toyin Street.
I sight a band of blue lights (from torchlights), dancing excitedly in the darkness. I slow down, brace myself for whatever might come my way.
I halt, then swing off the road, and park.
Open your boot!
At this point I’m wondering what I have in the boot that might earn me regret.
I greet the policeman who is “handling my case” (others are busy flagging down new prey). I greet him very nicely. Then I step out of my car. Greet him again. I head for the booth. I open it.
As it springs open he immediately asks me to close the booth. Without even inspecting the contents.
And what does he say next?
He tells me that he has decided not to search me anymore because of the way I greeted him. And because I smiled. (I didn’t even know I smiled).
My name is “A*** I****, he says. What is your name?
He holds out his hand for a handshake.
I tell him.
I must open the door for you, he insists. He does, dashes ahead of me to open my car door for me.
I am looking like mumu, calculating how much this unmerited, unsolicited kindness will cost me. He tells me that he knows that I will make his weekend fine. I sigh, in my most regretful tone of voice I tell him that I am on my way home, and I am empty. Nothing. But that I pass that way often. And I will look out for him when I pass.
He doesn’t protest. Doesn’t plead. Simply tells me that he, A*** I**** is usually at that checkpoint. He smiles and asks me to proceed.
I wonder why we do not have more of him in the Nigeria Police (Extortion by) Force.

Friday, August 17, 2007


MADE MAGAZINE II is out with a bang!

Be sure to grab your copy (and subscribe!).

Omo Alagbede appears with a restaurant/bar review in the Issue (sneak preview here). My piece on "Getting Rid of Unwanted Houseguests" appeared in Issue 1.


Following the hugely successful launch of MADE Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 in June 2007, Issue 2 will be available as of Monday 20th August throughout Nigeria , Ghana and the UK. MADE is Africa ’s No. 1 publication.

Issue 2 is NOW available for digital download from MAG TANK. This tool has been developed due to growing demand from readers as far as Australia, Israel and Hong Kong.

We are delighted to launch Issue 2 to market. MADE presents a significantly improved publication; with Issue 1 we were happy to finally be out there because dreams have a way of being just that until they actually come to fruition. However, with Issue 2 we can truly say now that we have begun the great ascension in terms of design quality, editorial, content development and overall packaging.

MADE launched in June this year with 5000 copies and sold 1000 copies in its first week, with the remainder selling out soon after. MADE is available in the business class section of every Virgin Nigeria flight in and out of the country.

Due to the success of Issue 1 and the considerable volume of traffic to we will also be distributing MADE Issue 2 outside of Nigeria and providing a great digital download publication for our truly global audience.

We implore readers to subscribe as this is the surest way of getting a copy of the magazine. For our readers based in Nigeria, a cheque for N6000.00 (6 issues, including postage and packaging) should be made out to Nebula Media Ltd accompanied with a small letter (business card will suffice) stating name and address at which you would like to receive your magazine.

Yours sincerely,
Gbenga Ashiru

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NYSC - In Memoriam

Today, the 2006/2007 Batch B NYSC comes to an end. I can imagine the relief that most of those thousands of poor things must be experiencing (lol)... it is not for nothing that NYSC is called Now Your Suffering Continues...

A year ago, August 19, 2006, my NYSC (Batch B 2005/2006) came to an end. I served in Asaba, Delta State, at the Okwe General Hospital, along the Benin-Asaba Expressway, five kilometers from the Niger Bridge...

While we were in orientation camp at Issele-Uku(August 7 - 28, 2005), I kept a diary. Recently I stumbled on the entry I made on the last day of camp.

WED 28TH SEPT 2005
06:06 a.m.

Everyone woke early today, in order to submit their mattresses. There was a queue as usual. I submitted mine at 3 a.m.

The hall looks like a rotting body, hacked at angrily by a band of vultures – more and more of the flesh is disappearing, leaving the skeleton beneath. The beds have all been shorn of mattresses, the bunks stand like iron skeletons. All that is left is folks and their luggages.

Most are giving out their buckets, pillows etc, both to lighten their load and be philanthropic in one act.

In a few hours, I can imagine what this place will look like. The ghosts we chased out will file in one by one, singing “It is good to be back Home.”


In the last few weeks the papers have been awash with the NYSC quota controversy... apparently the NYSC intend(ed) slashing down the number of persons to be mobilised this year, claiming funding problems... so they sent quotas to Universities. The University of Ibadan for example was given a quota of about 600 out of its eligible student population of 1,500...
Considering that NYSC is a prerequisite for MOST jobs in Nigeria (unless your father or godfather is a VERY BIG man), the implication was that the destinies of thousands of Nigerian youth would have been placed on suspension for at least the next one year.

If that had happened, I can imagine a swelling of ranks of the armed robbers in Lagos, and the kidnappers and militants in Lagos, and the "Amala" thugs in Ibadan...

Read about the NYSC controversy here

The Federal Govt has however since stepped in and ordered the NYSC to "behave"... read about it here

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dispatches from Lagos

Yesterday (Sunday) Night I was walking along Idejo Street, Victoria Island, at around 8.30 when I saw this drama:

A taxi takes off a few metres ahead of me. Then this mobile policeman (apparently one of those attached to IBTC-Chartered bank) emerges from the darkness and tries to stop the taxi. He hits his gun on the bonnet and barks at the driver to stop. The driver picks up speed and leaves the cop behind. The enraged cop lifts his gun, cocks it and points at the speeding taxi, all the while running after it and barking angrily. I stand transfixed, a cauldron of terror and excitement. The taxi driver eventually slows down metres ahead, and parks. The mobile policeman throws himself upon the taxi, gun cocked and aimed, and orders the occupants to come out. From where I am standing I see the driver and his sole occupant come out, hands raised in surrender. The cop ignores the driver (most taxi drivers in Lagos are harmless, tribal-marked, elderly men from Ibadan – slight exaggeration) and seizes the passenger. The prisoner-of-war, hands in the air, is kicked to the security post by the cop, who then proceeds to assault him. The POW is very terrified, and is pleading. Of course by now a crowd has gathered.
I wonder what exactly he must have done? Did he attempt to rob the bank?
The taxi had an Oyo State Number – XA 997 SHK.

Yesterday Night, in an Ogba-bound danfo (yes, I take those contraptions) a woman sitting in the row in front of me had her NOKIA phone bound up in a knot in the hem of her wrapper, in the manner of Yoruba market women who tie up their money in knots which they expertly untie every time they need to add more money or give a customer change.

She removed it to take a call from someone whose “caller ID” read SERIKI’S MUM.
The woman with the phone in a knot must have sensed that I was intrigued. She turned back to smile and tell me why she knotted-up her phone. It was a way of safeguarding it, especially as she was carrying too many things. I quite understand. Phones are the easiest things to misplace.

The guy next to me also took a call. From someone with caller ID: Bro Gbenga.

Sometimes I like to imagine and create lives for these strangers at the other ends of telephone conversations in buses. At the motor park in Ogba a woman came to a business centre to call someone called SUNKANMI. She spoke for less than 10 seconds. She only wanted to ask a question: had Sunkanmi helped deliver a message? Yes. Thanks. Bye-bye. She paid 20 naira.

Sometimes I like to imagine and create lives for these strangers at the other ends of telephone conversations in buses. These Seriki’s Mums and Bro Gbengas and Sunkanmis. Their hopes, their fears, their secrets, their sex lives or the lack of it, their eating habits...

Coining Words – over the weekend, a couple of friends and I, over fish barbecue and Smirnoff Ices at Kuramo Beach, coined a new terminology for "masturbation" (pronounced MAH - STORE - BAY - SHEUN):


Synonyms: Self-Mutilation, Self-help, Self-study

PS> NaijaBlog has a post HERE on the dangers of the unspeakable act.

How Nigeria works. Nigeria is a deadly virus. It infects victims and attacks the cells in the human soul that produce a sense of wonder and a capacity to be surprised and astounded. That is what Nigeria does. A few days/weeks/months/years (doesn’t matter, all those times are the same; a thousand weeks is as one hour is as one million months) after infection, victims progressively lose the following:

which is why just a few years after Abacha, we were clamoring for another Eternal President. Him only the cap fitteth; him only the key that unlocketh our national destiny.

Nothing shocks us anymore:

- dead bodies on our streets, bloated and torn to pieces by speeding cars

- armed robbers who invade a neighbourhood and for FOUR hours go from house to house, raping, killing, maiming, emptying...

- Police who go around arresting every arrestable thing:
“improperly”-dressed men and women,

which are all eventually "bailed" without receipts.

- Universities that refuse to give certificates to graduates who have successfully completed their course of study but have contracted HIV/AIDS or failed pregnancy tests.

- Police Inspector Generals whose capacity and talent for stealing would make armed robbers envious...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Been doings and To dos

I've been a bit busy in the last few weeks:

- The Chimamanda Workshop

- A Young Adult Novella commissioned by a UK publisher seeking to enter the African educational market (I'm new to YA fiction. Huge learning experience)

- An episode of an ongoing Nigerian drama series (I'm new to screenplay writing - my only experience before now was as a member of the writing team for Episode 9 of the BBC Worls Service Trust Radio-drama STORY STORY in 2006 - steep learning curve it was, very challenging but also exciting. It's not the easiest thing in the world switching gear from "poetry" to "screenplay". It's manual transmission, not auto.
But after doing it, one will never see the world in the same way again)

- Regular submissions (poetry mostly - anthologies, journals)

- My articles for MADE Magazine. (restaurant reviews, an interview)

- A 6,000 word piece on Mental Health in Nigeria (should be due out in -------- magazine before the end of the year.


I want to enter for the Acbebe Adaptation (Theatre) Competition organised by the Association of Nigerian Authors to mark 50 years of the publication of Things Fall Apart

I want to enter for the BBC African Playwriting Competition 2007

I want to do a few short stories - short stories are a weak point for me. I always get caught up in the temptation to be over-literary, playing with language at the expense of telling a good story, Chimamanda style. (I read Helon Habila's story THE IMMIGRANTS this afternoon. Men, I wanna write stories like that. Subtle, understated, filled with emotional truth, stories that linger with you long after you have left those pages...)

I learnt a lot of stuff in the writing workshop, that I'd like to put into practice. And of course it goes without saying that, as I write any story, I will be glancing over shoulders regularly, hearing a voice behind me saying:


Friday, August 10, 2007

Tom Clinton Baba vs. Alhaji Jerry Gore Atiks




Friday, July 27, 2007

Chimamanda's Workshop...

Dear Reader,

Omo Alagbede asked me to inform you that he will be back soon... he is currently immersed in many things... one of which is the Chimamanda Adichie/Binyavanga Wainaina Writing Workshop in Lagos, where he is having the time of his life...

More details later...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Friday the 13th....

October 13 last year was a Friday the 13th...

Now it has come again...

Here's from Omo Alagbede's Archives - the post I put up that Friday 13th last October:

Welcome, listeners, to this special FRIDAY THE 13TH edition of your favorite blog-dio programme, TALKING BULL! Before we go on, let's hear a message from our sponsors, TONGUECORP, makers of false teeth, toothbrushes, ventriloquimeters and truth detectors.


Welcome back, it's me, your popular and regular host, B. Shit. Today is Friday the 13th! Really, I shouldn't have agreed to host your favorite show today, due to the numinous implications of this day, but the truth is that an empty pocket is far worse bad luck than any numinous numeral! (In case you didn't know, I am paid per show!) Sorry for the digression. Back to our big story! Let's hear what our inhouse expert, and author of the Online Times bestselling compendium, Everything Under The Sun, Prof. Wikipedia*, has to say. Over to you, Prof!

Thank you, B... Good day viewers and fans of this absolutely fantabulous Friday show on Blogistan's No 1 Radio Station, WWBS. I'm glad to be here, I tell you! Did you know that a Friday occurring on the 13th day of any month is considered to be a day of bad luck in English and Portuguese-speaking cultures around the globe. Similar superstitions exist in some other traditions. In Greece and Spain, for example, Tuesday the 13th takes the same role. The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia, a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a phobia (fear) of the number thirteen.


Paraskavedekatriaphobia - the scientific term for The Fear of Friday the 13th! It's a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, which is a phobia (fear) of the number thirteen.

Oh dear, what a mouthful! Why the hell don't they just leave it at "The Fear of Friday the 13th?

Beats me too, B... [chuckles again]...wait for this, do you know what the scientific term for the fear of long words is?

Longrammarphobia? [chuckles proudly]

[laughter] No.... Hippopotomonstrosesquippedalio... damn short word, in my opinion

[Both laugh for five minutes]

[Prof continues] ... Back to what we were saying...In the Spanish-speaking world, it is Tuesday the 13th (as well as Tuesdays in general) that brings bad luck; a proverb runs En martes, ni te cases ni te embarques, simply meaning: On Tuesday, neither get married nor start a journey.

Different strokes for different folks, I'd say...

Precisely... a reflection of the fetishistic inclinations of Homo Sapienic species... Did you know that in Formula 1, there is no car with the number 13. The number has been removed, after 2 drivers were killed in crashes — both driving cars numbered 13.

Don't cars without the number 13 regularly crash as well...?

Good question! They do! ... And did you know, B, that infamous serial killers Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Bundy all have 13 letters in their names...

Jeez! Thank Goodness "B. Shit" is only... hol'on a sec... yeah... only five letters [deafening sigh of relief]... if it had been thirteen letters I'd have ripped you apart with my bare hands right here in the studio right now... ha ha ha... well... thank you loads Prof... once again, we have benefited from your immense wealth of wisdom. We hope you'll join us again next week to impart to us out of your bottomless well of bull...

Sure, B, my pleasure to be on Talking Bull anytime

Uh, Prof, before you go, any last words for our listeners?

Yeah, just remembered this... it'd interest them to hear that Fidel Castro and Wole Soyinka were both born on "Friday the 13th", Fidel on Friday, Aug 13, 1926, and Soyinka on July 13, 1934... and wait for this, Tupac Shakur died on Friday the 13th - September 13, 1996...

[Sudden Power Failure in the studio, the sound of static fills the airwaves...]

*All facts courtesy of Wikipedia

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

RE: Exciting Job Opportunities in the Niger Delta (Application by Celestina Afakiriya)

Application received Wednesday June 27 2007 (posted in my COMMENTS page):

In response to vacancy, here

The Employer
Niger Delta Militant Group
South South Nigeria
West Africa,
Milky Way,

Dear Sir,

Expression of Interest for the post of Area Head, Kidnapping

I wish to be considered for the above post because I believe I have the requisite training, experience and innate ability required for the job.

For the past 15 years, I have been an active member in various organisations whose main thrust is militant agitation. These organisations include �Struggle for the liberation southern kaduna sons�; where I was assistant head of the guard room, Movement for the electrification of the Ishan Community; where I was the coordinator of the militant mothers wing, and Zango Kataf Community Progressive Force where I was in charge of recruitment for young soldiers just to mention a few.

I am presently on active duty as the assistant commandant at the kafanchan School of Basic Combat Training in Militancy and other Related Endeavours. My duties include drafting willing and unwilling members to the academy between the ages of 4 and 90, physical training and strategic military intelligence to wrest power from the hands of the councillor of felele ward Mr Gabe Ohimoja and hand over to our commander Major Izaiah Godlove.

I am fluent in Hausa and Ijaw. And also fluent in Italian; after all, I know words like pasta in Italian and Berger in German.

I have successfully been able to distinguish between Oyinbo and albino and as a result was able to save the BCPF some funds when our assistant area office kidnapper wanted to kidnap Mr Oyibo Uwaezuoke, thinking he was a British National. Due to my impressive credentials in this area I have also been able to comprehend that Mr Ben Bruce is a juxtaposition of Scottish blood and albinism and that Mr Eddie Iroh of FRCN fame is an albino who had the foresight to make money early in order to purchase some packaged melanin to improve his lot.

Swimming is one of my greatest strengths and I hold the potiskum record for underwater water diving for holding my breath in the shower for over 30 seconds.

I am able to recognise fake naira notes as I have undergone the Fake Naira Detection Course at the Afghanistan School of Weaponry and Military Strategy.

I have a strong ability never to forget a face which enabled me to recognise one Mr Elijah Efepariola when he tried to infiltrate our training camp when I was at the Abraka School of Bomb Manufacture and Explosive Fabrication; recognising the senators and ministers will be a work in a military park for me.

All the above combined with my innate skill in weapon acquisition, bomb detection and detonation, otumokpo recognition and neutralisation and hostage taking in extreme weather conditions, make me the best person for the job.

Please find attached, photos of my exploits in Hostage taking and kidnapping.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Celestina Afakiriya


My Heart is Buried Somewhere In this City

Abeokuta, by Omo Alagbede, 2005 (c)

Update: Picture taken from Olumo Rock. In the distance - if you look hard enough) you can see the River Ogun...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't you miss OBJ?

Nigeria has shut itself down again. The battle that used to be between OBJ and OSH (Oshiomole) has now become a Umar vs Omar rumble(thanks to Tayo Odukoya for this appellation). Past two days I have been under house arrest, like many other citizens of this country. The negotiation meetings keep stretching into midnight in Abuja, just as the fuel queues and the frustrations stretch into the dark recesses of our individual and collective patience.

Meanwhile, Babasanjo is back in Ota, feeding his chickens and probably chuckling at his capacity to engineer mischief for a hundred and forty million "animals called men" - or is it "animals called masses". He poured sand into the VAT garri and attached a kite to the price of petrol; and like a naughty schoolboy ran off the playground to watch from a hideout the confusion he had invented.

How I wish Fela were alive to sing about these latest happenings...

Of course, if OBJ were still in power, you think there'd be all these midnight meetings between Govt and Labour... I trust my OBJ. He'd simply have conjured up another G-something meeting in Turkmenistan, hopped onto his JET and disappeared. When labour don strike tire, na dem go use dem mouth call the ting off! By then, of course, Baba would have departed Turkmenistan, and entered Kathmandu, in search of chicken farmers to invite for "foreign investment" in Ota, sorry, Nigeria... enroute the North Pole to visit the Association of Nigerian-born eskimos and the entire Nigerian community there...

Now, poor Yar'Adua is left fighting another man's battle...

I have heard people say that OBJ decided to punish the country for refusing him a third term... it might be true, those who know the man say he is an 80-year-old, oops... sorry, 70-year-old bundle of vindictiveness...

And I have heard too that the Supreme court verdict concerning Anambra state was payback time by the Judges for the 8-year rascality of Baba... it was their way of hitting him by hitting his adopted son, Andy Uba(sanjo), the man who reportedly

1) doesn't have the doctorate he is claiming
2) used the Nigerian AirForce 1 to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars,
3) "appointed" Maurice Iwuruwuru as INEC Chairman.

Check these sites out:

Uba 1

Uba 2

Now Uba is gone, plus all the money he spent to get elected. I wonder if this scenario would have played out had Baba still been in power... methinks OBJ would simply have declared a state of emergency in Anambra state and appointed Andy Uba as sole admin-is-traitor, or better still, declared a state of emergency in the Supreme Court and declared Justice Lamidi Adedibu as the Sole Administrator of the Supreme Court of Nigeria...

But in the meantime, I hear that the next "the-owner" of the largest "Umbrella" in Africa, may be Chief, uhm, uhm, abeg read the full story here HERE... no be for my mouth you go hear am...

Monday, June 18, 2007


From my "iYahoo" Msngr

Before the marriage:

He: Yes. At last! It was so hard to wait.
She: Do you want me to leave?
He: NO! Don't even think about it.
She: Do you love me?
He: Of course!
She: Have you ever cheated on me?
He: NO! Why are you even asking?
She: Will you kiss me?
He: Yes!
She: Will you hit me?
He: No way! I'm not such kind of person!
She: Can I trust you?
He: Yes.
She: Dear!!

Now, after the marriage - you can read it from the bottom upwards!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Writing Contests and Prizes

A. B. C. Words in Action
Authors for the Betterment of Children


10 (ten) first prizes will be granted. The prize will consist in the
publishing of a book, of which each awarded work will constitute
a chapter. The book will be published under the title The
Unending Book with the subtitle In Search of the End, and will
be presented at the 2008 Miami International Book Fair, under
the auspice of Words in Action. The laureates will be invited to
participate in the presentation of the book where they will sign
autographs and will receive 10 (ten) books plus an honor



FIRST. – The contest is open to all authors, of all nationalities, in English or Spanish language, without restrictions regarding the amount of stories entered. The stories should be unpublished and not pending for resolution in any other literary contest.
SECOND. - The extension of the works will not surpass 30 pages in model DIN A 4, Font: Times New Roman, Size: Double-spaced 12, Format: PDF
Read on here

The ElectroBooks Competition

To help us find these new voices, we are running this competition with prizes up to US$500 and opportunities to be published in serial form. So if you have a fast-paced novel, a short story or even the first few chapters then we want to hear from you.


1st Prize US$500
2nd Prize US$200
3rd Prize US$100

TO ENTER Just email your entry to the following address making sure to include your name and contact details:
CLOSING DATE - The last day for entries is the 7th of July 2007. Winners will be notified by email on the 20th of July 2007. Payment is in the currency of your choice.
QUESTIONS - If you have problems sending us your entry or if you have any questions about the competition, please contact us at
LEGAL - All entries submitted to this competition are copyrighted by the individual authors and cannot be reproduced without their permission.

Guidelines for the 2007 Franklin-Christoph Poetry Contest

We will award $2450 in total prizes, including the $1000 cash grand prize.

Submission Period
Entries accepted May 1-Dec 31 (postmark dates), 2007.

What to Submit
Original, unpublished poem of any theme. Limit of 3 entries per contestant. Entries should not exceed 100 lines each.

First Prize, $1,000 cash and publication on
Five Merit Award Winners, each to receive a $290 1901 Fountain Pen, or alternate FC product of their choice of equal or less value, and publication on

Entry is Free
There will be no fee or other obligation for entering this contest.

December 31, 2007. Your entry must be postmarked or submitted online by this date.

Preparing Your Entry
Submit one copy of your poems online or by mail. Provide your contact information within your email, or on a separate cover sheet if submitting by mail. If your poem contains complex formatting, such as centered text or italic type, we recommend submitting by mail. Please make your entry easy to read — no illustrations, fancy fonts or decorative borders.

How To Submit
Email to by either pasting within message or attachment.

or mail to:

Franklin-Christoph Poetry Contest
7511 Mourning Dove Rd. Ste. 104
Raleigh, NC 27615

Please include a cover letter (or email) with your name and contact number. The poem itself should not contain your name or any contact information. We will hold original copies at our headquarters, and submit anonymous copies to our panel of judges.

Announcement of Winners
The winners will be announced in our Client List Email and on on January 15, 2008.

Entries Must Be Original and Unpublished
Your entries must be original, written by you, unpublished (either in print or in an online journal), and not have received a monetary award from any other contest. Self-published work is not eligible. Exceptions: Poems posted to the web outside of online journals, such as to a bulletin board, email list, personal web page, critique site or public forums are eligible for entry. Please email us if you're unsure of eligibility. Our staff will research all submissions for prior publication.

Simultaneous Submission Allowed
You may submit your poems simultaneously to this contest and to other contests and publishers. Please notify us if one of your entries wins an award in another contest or is published elsewhere.

English Language
Poems should be in English. Poems translated from other languages are not eligible.

We respect your privacy. Franklin-Christoph does not sell or rent customer or contestant information to third parties.

You retain the copyright to your submission. If you place as finalist or better, Franklin-Christoph only requests permission to publish your work on, in our email publications and in our press releases. Any other potential use will be negotiated with you.

Franklin-Christoph will utilize a panel of independent judges from a staff at a local college. Members of the FC Staff, or other economically affiliated persons are not eligible to enter.

We are open to poetry in all forms, on all subjects, short or tall, large or small.

Thank you for you participation, and we look forward to receiving you entry.

We will not solicit entrants in any way other than to confirm entry and announce winners. If you would like to join our Client List for writing contest updates, enter below.


At Seattle Pacific University, we’re learning to engage the culture, with the ultimate goal of bringing about positive change in the world through the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the pages of Response, we offer glimpses of the many and varied ways in which that mission is being fulfilled. But we know that there is much more to discover, many stories that have yet to be told. You may have observed some of them. You may have lived some of them.

Response invites you to submit an essay (750–1,000 words) that conveys in some way — whether through a personal story, investigative reporting, or some other form of creative nonfiction — the theme of “engaging the culture, changing the world.”

The winning entry will be featured in the Winter 2008 magazine, and the writer will receive a $250 prize.

Deadline: August 1, 2007

Send your essay to, or mail it to Response, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West Suite 116, Seattle, Washington 98119.

Please include your name, address, email, and daytime phone number when you send your entry.

Competition Rules

Each entrant may submit one essay to the competition. Essays must be original, unpublished works.

Your entry must be accompanied by your name, address, email, and daytime phone number in your email.

The competition is open to anyone, except Seattle Pacific University employees and their immediate families (spouses or children).

Entrants will receive an email acknowledgement that their entry has been received. The winner will be notified by December 1, 2007.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chimamanda Adichie = Orange + Purple + Yellow

Congratulations to Chimamanda on her winning the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction( , which she narrowly missed (after making the shortlist) in 2005...

...A fitting prize-name for the author of a purple hibiscus and a yellow half-sun...

This "half of a yellow sun" is in reality one full, brilliant, blinding sun of a book!

Way to go, Sister!

Goings-Ons (June Update)

A quick one on what Omo Alagbede has been up to lately....

My short story, Husbands-Abroad Anonymous appears in what has turned out to be the greatest of all the great Farafina Magazine ( issues that have appeared thus far... Toni Kan's WOMEN issue (Issue 10). An all-women issue, save for 3 male "lesbians" (as TK termed us in his editorial): TK, Omo Alagbede, and my big bros Vic Ehi with his hilarious "owambe" photography...

Funmi Iyanda (Nigeria's Oprah, she is called) is there with a humorous, subversive "feminist" piece (memoir), My Sis Chika Unigwe is there with a short story; Ijeoma Iromantu is there with her poems (her first appearance in print, and the first of what I know will be many more), Marie Fatayi-Williams is there with an excerpt from her book FOR LOVE OF ANTHONY in memory of her son Anthony, who was killed in the July 7, 2005 London bomb blasts, Onyinye Egenti (I remember her from secondary school, The International School, Ibadan - she was my senior; and her bro Afam was my classmate); Kaine Agary, editor of TAKAII and author of the wave-making Niger-delta novel, Yellow-Yellow; amongst a handful of others.

Molara Wood (Wordsbody) has a review of the issue here:

3 of my pieces appear in the newest glossy magazine in town, MADE magazine ( It's True Love + Genevieve + GQ for AFRICAN MEN. The launch was on Sunday June 3 at the News Caffe, The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki Lagos. Cool affair: the Storm crew (Sasha, Ikechukwu et al) led by the boss himself, Obi Asika; Olisa Adibua (compere), Uzoma Dozie, Tunde Folawiyo, and a host of other celebrities whom the celebrity-ignorant Omo Alagbede had no one to point out and identify to him.

Left the place feeling slightly floaty, yet I had only 2 glasses of wine (one white, one red) and a chapman... must have been the exhilaration of seeing my work in such a finely-wrought magazine that catalysed the fastforwarded fermentation of the wines...


a few weeks back I was on Metro FM Lagos (interview)... (thanks FT for the opportunity!)

One or two poems have appeared here and there... Sentinel poetry June 2007, The Guardian Lagos, and a number forthcoming in the coming weeks...

Last but not the least, this poor neck is breaking under the weight of writing assignments and deadlines... don't forget that I work at an 8 - 5, so I'm not your sit-at-a-mahogany-desk-in-a-heavenly-resort-and-dreamily-fill-reams-of-computer-screen-with-award-winning-critic-wowing-work kinda writer...

To Think is to Differ

Sent this piece in as part of my application for a consulting job with a Nigerian consulting firm in April 2005 (hadn't even started my NYSC then...) We were asked to send in our CVs, along with a one-page essay on "to think is to differ".

I never heard from them, he he he...

Whad'ya think about it? Tries to sound over-learned?

(c) Omo Alagbede, 2005

What progress individuals could make, and what progress the world would make, if thinking were given proper consideration!
- Thomas Edison

To think is to differ.

The above equates Thinking and Thought with Difference, with Change, with a shift of Paradigm. Probably the biggest distinguishing factor between man and animal is the ability to think, to ponder, to take a thing/concept/idea and roll it around on the floor of a mental Gymnasium and come up with new perspectives and alternatives. That is probably why Thinking doesn’t show up in the List of Functions of All Living Things – MR. NIGER – Movement, Respiration, Nutrition, Growth, Excretion etc.

Thinking is the sole preserve of the Homo Sapiens.

To think is to toss around, to examine, to question, to challenge, to view from a succession of differing viewpoints all in the quest to see a fuller picture. To think is to refuse to accept at face value, to be skeptical of the status quo. Thomas Edison, the American inventor, links progress to thinking. In his words “By developing [our] thinking powers [we] expand the capacity of [our] brain and attain new abilities.” He considered Thinking to be the true labor and not Sweating. He had the following quotation by Sir Joshua Reynolds hung in every room of his laboratory:

There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.

What more proof of the indispensability of Thinking to Progress can we find than in the immense successes of Edison in the area of Creative Prowess?

To think is to differ. When we think, and allow our brains to function uninhibited, we are far more likely than a majority of the population to discover what has not been discovered; what is different. It has been said that the true definition of insanity is “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” Thinking helps us to avoid doing the “same thing”. We are more likely to find proof of why we should move in a different direction than the majority of the population – who are satisfied with living according to “cut-and-dried” traditions and norms and would prefer to exist and function through life in “auto-pilot, don’t-raise-dust” mood.

Virtually every great person and entity has, throughout history, had to plough on in a direction different from the norm, and endure mockery and opposition, in order to achieve what they achieved. The only way to discover this “different direction” has been – and still remains – to Think, to throw every possible option open to questioning and challenge, and consider even the seemingly “crazy” idea.

To think is to differ. To think is to Think. There’s no alternative.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

For May 29 (This Version Not Final)

The Night God Hung Our New President

The night God hung up
Our new President, poisoned umbrellas
And long knives were the new stars.

The werewolves showed up pot-
Bellied with long dead promises;
And shrouds swaddled our age-

Less questions, now eight years older.
Beneath tents of green & white smog
Bats in agbada played Jazz on saxo-

Phones that bled petro-naira
From knife-wounds in the neck.
The scorpion and the tortoise took their place

In the eagle square ball,
So that from that moment,
Another retromingent night began to drip

Black dew through its fallen zipper.
Dear God, for my sake, smile. Please.

(c) Buki Omo-Alagbede, May 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Exciting Job Opportunities in the Niger Delta

Our client, a Niger Delta Militant Group with branches in strategic locations throughout all the six South-South states of Nigeria is seeking to expand its operations to Abuja, the Federal Capital territory. This expansion has brought about vacancies for qualified and experienced young officers. The positions are:

Area Head, Kidnapping:

The successful applicant who will report to the Executive Council, and the Executive Director, Abuja, is expected to possess the following competencies:

1) Minimum of 10 years experience in militant agitation. (Membership of Al-qaeda, Hamas or other similar organisation will be an added advantage)

2) Fluent knowledge of Hausa, Ijaw, English, Italian and German

3) Expert ability to distinguish between Oyinbos and Albinos

4) Ability to swim in deep waters

5) Ability to recognise fake/marked naira notes by sight

6) Ability to easily recognise all Senators and Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Evidence of previous successful kidnap of BIG MEN must be provided (pictures preferable)


1) Minimum of 5 years experience taking photos in war zones. (Domestic fights do not qualify as war zones for these purposes)

2) Proficiency in the use of explosives as camera lighting.

3) Knowledge of the different skin tones of expatriates, as an aid to taking high-quality pictures, is a must.

4) Proficiency in the use of Adobe Photoshop, and Internet photo uploading software is a must.

Please include a portfolio of previous photo-samples (must contain kidnapped persons OR be taken in war-zones OR be nightshots in blackspots like Oshodi, 3rd Mainland bridge, Apongbon, etc)

Militant Trainee:

1) Candidates must be between the ages of 13 and 50, be at least 4m tall, and may be male or female.

2) Minimum of Nursery School/Kindergarten certificate.

3) Jobless university graduates, and serving policemen will be given special consideration.

4) Possession of jungle boots and face mask is a must.

5) Preference will be given to persons with knowledge of foreign European languages, and persons with the ability to swim.


Very attractive, competitive, and comparable with industry standards (payments in foreign currencies).

Official guns, boats and grenades will be provided.

Excellent training, involving offshore secondment (Iraq, Afghanistan etc) from time to time

Regular appearance on CNN, Alaaroye, Time Magazine, The Economist and other International magazines.

Excellent networking opportunities with Nigerian politicians, oil magnates, and foreign businessmen.

Interested applicants should forward their applications and detailed curriculum militae within two weeks to:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

From the Archives: Interviews with Ordinary Nigerians

This piece is about two years old, forgive the rambling and the ranting, Omo-Alagbede Live went onto the streets to talk to "ordinary" Nigerians... sorry, you'll have to insert the stones of Full-Stop yourself into these raging streams of consciousness...



Taxi Driver
The worst thing about being a taxi driver is when some idiot drives nonsense for you and makes you drive like as if you are a bloody LEARNER and you speed to catch up with him and point your angry mouth at him and pull the trigger and the bullets just PISHAO! PISHAO! on the side of his winded up glass because of the AC he’s enjoying and he cannot hear one word and there’s no single blood on his face and he doesn’t even look at you intentionally and you’re all mad inside with no one to shoot again except an okadaman and it doesn’t worth it because God created them in the first place to be cursed …

Petty Trader
The worst thing about being a petty trader is when a band of school children invade your stall at 2:30 and HOW MUCH BE DIS ONE AUNTY and your eyes are tired of running after their sprinting fingers AUNTY DON’T YOU HAVE OKIN BISCUIT and those fingers are clearing your medals across the finishing lines of their school bags and pockets and MUMMY GIVE ME MY FIVE NAIRA CHANGE and their two o’clock smell invades you like the smell of fried sweat plus eight-hour armpits plus two year old tokunboh sneakers plus and you think what shit you daily endure and you think of moving to the Federal Secretariat to sell your wares to jobless NA MONTH END WE GO SETTLE YOU MADAM civil servants who at least are more orderly IYA BADE, E SE SUURU O, KO SOWO O, WON N SE SCREENING GHOST WORKERS LOWO NI O but as per the smelliness and pilfering you’re not so sure…

Bloody Soldier
The worst thing about being a bloody soldier is when some demented General begins a transition to Ci-evil-ian Rule and decides it is time to step aside and give those bloody Alagbadas a chance to have their own go at ruining Nigeria, and they laugh and say thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you How To Ru(i)n A Country in One Term or Two At Best (since one good term deserves another) and we have to watch them from the shadows because power has changed hands and leaked out of the Barracks like an idiot’s balloon…

The worst thing about being a butcher is when all day you chop meat and cut meat and slice meat and the whole world stops to price your meat and buy your meat and even mosquitoes included and you get home and your soup is all empty and all water with no islands and your wife says its nobody’s fault its government’s fault its SAP’s fault and IMF and you are annoyed at nobody in particular and its not her fault after all they didn’t complain in her family when you were dragging two cows to their compound as her bride price when your father was dying of protein deficiency at home and you storm out to eat in a buka and they say no beef only snail and bushmeat and you shake your head and say no give me four fufu no meat because snail meat is one whole day’s profit and…

Civil Servant
The worst thing about being a civil servant apart from the servant part of it is when they call you a clerk and you are not a clerk and you must emphasize it again and again that you are a clerical officer and not a clerk and there’s a big difference you didn’t know well now you know that I’m a clerical officer on level six and a half and just one more screening and I’ll be on level seven and I’ll be a senior clerical officer and then one more interview and I’m a principal C.O and by then no more carrying dusty files from office to office no I’ll be in charge of my own files and I will open them every day first thing in the morning and blow all the dust out and straighten their edges and I will have my own desk and of course that is not
the terminal point there’s still assistant chief C.O and then the Big Boss the C.C.O oh my God if I haven’t retired by then oh God massive thanksgiving service at the Cathedral and I will get chance for potbelly and you will check me in the office with a ceiling fan not wall or standing and they will tell you Oga is not on seat come back later do you have an appointment with him and…