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.


Bitchy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Leave the guy alone! I dont think you should have bothered to respond with an article. Most of the comments on his blog and on Jeremy's are negative and I am sure that by now, Uche is licking his wounds !

Omo Alagbede said...

E be like say u no get blog. Lol. Uche Nworah has his mouth, I have my own. He must talk, and so must Omo Alagbede. It's a free world. LAWL.

Penkelemes said...

"so that dreadlocked, Igbo-hating Kenyan fundamentalists like Binyavanga do not mislead her and destroy her shining star"

Omo-A, you don crase finish! Hilarious stuff. "Kenyan fundamentalists"...I must wipe this crazy grin off my face lest I get arrested.

Shylle said...

Ha ha ha
A hilarious response to a ridiculous demand for apology.

The good thing is this might finally make some people stop running their mouths.

But Omo A, sofly sofly with d guy. I think he has suffered enough. Make we just pity am. Nworah has had his five minutes of fame; now let him enjoy his eternity of shame...

chikwe ihekweazu said...

....excellent response. Literature no easy oh :)...but we thank God for this evolving dialogue. I have this strange feeling that the best is yet to come:)

uknaija said...

Well written and very funny

Talatu-Carmen said...

LOL, Fabulous... although, I admit like anon and Shylle, I am starting to feel sorry for the guy...

Binyavanga said...

must confess this is all hugely entertaining. And, must confess, I and a lovely time in Naija - and look forward to coming back.

Tayo said...

LOL ... dreadlocked, igbo hating, Kenyan fundamentalists ? LOL. But come to think of it, who hasn't referred to Igbo people as having an affinity for money? Most Nigerians have done so including the Igbos... so if that's all Nworah has against Binyavanga, he should take out his battle on such Nigerians first.
This sure is hilarious. lol

penkelemes said...

Oga-sir, na true say dem dey call you "the Binj"?

True or false, sir, multiple choice question.

Omo Alagbede said...

Thanks, everyone who has stopped by. No mind that Uche Nworah-Chinyere-Kalu tag-team.

Binyavanga, we look forward to seeing you again in naija soon. Trust you're enjoying all this...

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