When I hear the counsel “Accept your loss and move on,” it is often delivered with an unkind or compassionate intention. Said with unkindness, it reminds me of the ignorance or outright folly of the counsellor. Losses, I am certain, are measured in terms of the degree of necessities they create for the recipient. Incidences of hunger, sadness, confusion, pain, destitution, estrangement, loneliness, and bereavement are one side of loss I have witnessed many times. People do exaggerate their losses for various reasons. The other side of loss, as I have seen it, is experienced as freedom, unexpected new opportunities, wisdom, better choices, and more personal space. The man who benefitted from his loss may not share it with those he no longer trusts. The overcoming of loss is sometimes more contrary and less visible than observers may expect.
Many Men have squandered their fine capabilities but have remain relentless in their assiduous attempts to discover information on the Pyrates Association. To be invisible, though present, is a remarkable feat. You cannot see or hear it, but it’s always there with you; seeing and hearing everything you do. To the uninitiated, such capabilities may appear magical, but its mere wisdom in action, if wisdom can be mere. Yet, Men have become curious to know secrets about others beyond their reach because they no longer have secrets of their own, nor the ability to keep them. Men have their rigid illusions and mischief to blame for their self-inflicted loss.
A strange event floated into my quiet space like an aimless freak and stunned me harder than a shockwave. The idigo lights had come on indicating a great personality or deity was scheduled to visit Davy Jones Locker for some unpur knownpose or is it unknown purpose. Then the light went out, making my eyes fall to the ground then return to its sockets with a little dust that itched them. Such a one-in-a-billion chance event had to be a cancellation or an error. I was worried.
Hitherto that moment of the lights, I was there alone in the gigantic cavern brainstorming the fate of Davy Jones Locker if Nigeria breaks up. “Against Tribalism,” I said aloud. Will the 4-7 Creed be scraped or revised or undergo its own Tower of Babel? What concerns a map-maker with chromium content of stainless steel? I was shivering a little despite wearing thick woolly socks, a trouser over tracksuit bottoms, two jumpers, a black beret, and a great coat. There were only a few candles burning with still flames and darkness seemed ready to pounce on me. Not a place for the gregarious.Continue reading
Ayo Odebisi, also known as Paramole, would have turned sixty-five Wednesday, 28th of April. He was not a man you could forget. The aura he projected on those around him and his immediate environment contributed to the weight of words and ways. I never met anyone as sincere with himself and about the whole palate called life. He stood as an exemplar of the human spirit. I never get carried away by his thought; he was not superhuman, he was human and humane.Continue reading
Can a universal cure come out of Africa, especially one that originates from mythology? “Nothing good or great comes out of Africa” is a settled statement of the many. Testing the truth of that statement can be either very difficult or very easy, depending on a person’s education and exposure. A reading of James Baldwin’s Stranger in The Village was my first encounter with this oft-heard statement cum conviction. Baldwin argues that the de facto creators of civilisation are Western and only the current civilisation matters. All previous civilisations are mere contributions. Therefore, any non-Western contribution to the present civilisation is necessarily either insignificant or illegitimate. This argument is valid notwithstanding, even when it involves the prevention of millions of deaths.
[Former] Senator Dino Melaye – SDM – (Twitter handle: @dino_melaye) on the 4th of August 2020 tweeted a cynically edited video clip of members of the Pyrates Confraternity singing his name in elated spirits. The comment that accompanied the clip SDM presented was, “SDM loved everywhere… even Pirates [Pyrates].” Call it narcissism, the tweet appeared to be a subtly devised public relation’s [PR] coup by SDM and perhaps it has worked well. Several Pyrates reacted on social media platforms professing that SDM was a fool to think the Pyrates were praising him because they, in reality, were mocking/condemning him for his bizarre resistance of arrest antics widely televised in 2018. The High Command of the Pyrates Confraternity in the person of the NAS Capoon stepped out to make a press release showing that not only were they not praising Dino Melaye, but they had also for ages used songs creatively to address the ills of the politics and politicians in Nigeria. These reactions looked like the were they responses SDM had hoped for from the Confraternity. He might even suffer Pyrate-envy since he is not a Pyrate.
As we approach the uncertain aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, many developed and developing societies remain shaken, disrupted and precarious. Jobs and austerity are the main tacit or stated socioeconomic fear of most people. The political economy of despair we are witnessing never enters the perception or the historical heritage of a nation, place or people with positive reception. We accept COVID-19 as a global pandemic is a tragedy. Most will survive it, but the death toll remains staggering and the caused disruption colossal in many countries. Our daily transactions, interactions and relations society and the economy rely on had to cease indefinitely, but for how long?
The problem for most citizens around the world is the survival of their regular economic and social expectations. Individuals have had to deal with many trenchant uncertainties at once, unawares. Jobs, businesses, opportunities, property, status, privileges, leisure and rights, many aspire to or worked so hard to attain are now looking like the glimmers of a past era. Yet, in our free-market-oriented world, orthodox economic theory demands everyone without exception must be rational in their actions. Rational cannot prevent winter or make disasters disappear instantly. To ask robust rationality of citizens under conditions of despair or even prosperity is quite a stoic demand. The political economy of despair under the current paradigm is never complete without the contradictions it produces.
The leading University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGF) have had a long run of durability in their existence. Like many glorified dictatorships, autocracies and predatory cults, their enduring survival is a function of the longevity of the founder or historical leader. There is no retirement- some are late and some are present.
The “cult of personality” of the historical leader prevents the development of consistent and well-enforced institutions, laws or rules within the UCGF. His changing moods, whims and preferences rule the UCGF as he pleases. The challenges to his inconsistencies are few and attract punitive sanctions. The outcome is that the UCGF is always in a state of permanent uncertainty; every member has to wait for the latest deceptions, half-truths, excuses, threats, punishments, exclusions or instructions of the leader to know what will happen next. Keeping members guessing is one of the most ancient tricks of cult leaders. The problem resulting is that the cult leader never lives forever. He will eventually become too ill or senile to lead, or he will pass away someday. That is when the succession battles and disintegration begin; he never thought any successor a good enough replacement. The scramble for power on his departure can be desperate and violent – many will eat and drink poison.
It is the simplest thing in the world to assume Sub-Saharan Africans were illiterate and uncivilised before the coming of the White man. Such is well-embraced by the African – if you are well educated. Empire Day celebrated throughout the Commonwealth colonies reminded Nigerians that the King or Queen of England liberated them from bondage. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, one of the best-loved works of Western literature describes the African as a savage and languageless, communicating with grunts like apes. The Father of Modern Social Anthropology, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, swore that Africans had no institutions until the White man arrived – Africans had no marriages, kingdoms, trade, hierarchies, architecture, alphabet, medicines etc. of their own. All these facts are false but very rarely challenged by African scholars. Literacy and education did exist in South-Eastern Nigeria, for a millennium before colonisation. Let us talk about Nsibidi.
Igbe is neither my personal nor family religion, but I lived in Urhoboland, where it originated and is still practised, long enough to observe the faith with considerable detachment. I have also seen its practice in the United Kingdom. It is an Urhobo religion but may not be exclusively so. In this brief article, I intend to look at the more gnostic and historical perspective of Igbe than its practices.
Igbe in the Urhobo language means “Dance” or “Joy.” Igbe worship is also an act of gratitude to God for life itself and consists of celebratory devotion. The “Gnosis of the Igbe” is a vocation in which the revelation of the knowledge of the divine occurs to male and female practitioners of the religion provided they have a pure heart and mind. The white attire and headwear of the Igbe followers in worship symbolise stainless purity which is reflected inwardly. The spark of the divine often awakens in the fervent celebration of God; this is why dance and song accompanied by drumming are indispensable. Music has the facility to stir the innermost emotions in people.
Yesterday, as I was making octopus pepper soup, I decided to have a sip of seaweed kinkana, a mild alcoholic spirit. Paramole had given me the recipe to make the still when he returned from the Great Gangway. The Davy Jones Locker rendezvous was quiet, cold and sterile as usual but also inspirational and unencumbering. I must emphasise I love the place; it is my kind of place; it is my home now. I only use my submarine to come onshore these days, which is not often.
My unfailing experience was, an hour before a Forgone Terrors arrives at the Davy Jones Locker rendezvous, the Entrance would turn deep indigo or even purple. It is a signal for me to get ready to Mascot a Forgone Terror to the Great Gangway in any manner I choose. Now, for the first time in my experience, the Entrance turned blood red. It was a signal that an unauthorised person was arriving. I had never seen this happen and wondered who would appear at the Entrance. Was it the Devil himself, Sir Francis Drake, Vasco Da Gama, Black Beard, William Kidd, Calico Jack or the god, Poseidon? I knew it had to be a man by the laws of natures. The pepper soup was ready and scenting fine, and what a meal! No more sips.
There was a time in the ’60s and ’70s when several jazz musicians of repute had to visit Brazil for a new spark of inspiration. It was almost a “rite of passage” for many jazz musicians. Classics like ‘Song for My Father’ by Horace Silver; ‘Brazilian Love Affair’ by George Duke; ‘Jive Samba’ by Cannonball Adderley Sextet; ‘Sidewinder’ by Lee Morgan; ‘Big Band Bossa Nova’ by Quincy Jones were born of rips and sounds of trips to and sounds of Brazil. These are a few of the Jazz Giants that had made their most successful albums through the Brazilian inspiration. Grover Washington Jr, George Benson, Earl Klugh, Bob James, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, Kenny Dorham and many others also had big lifts in their music by way of the Brazilian inspiration. The most Yoruba-influenced jazz group is apparently the Art Ensemble of Chicago (see picture above).
Ideology can be such a blinding and narrow-minded state of mind, individually or collectively. Accurate history informs us that plagues and pandemics have devastated the world several times and for millennia, long before socialism and capitalism came into existence and the human race is still here. But not because of the excessive passions that drive ideology. My conservative friends of Nigerian origin seem to think otherwise. Continue reading
The magic of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has come from his citizens, but nothing of significance he has done as leader of the nation. Blamocracy (blaming past administrations for the impossibility of addressing present troubles) and claimocracy (claiming credit for the achievements of former governments) now have the regard of significant achievements in themselves. Many citizens claim that while the federal government is clean, competent and thriving, the states and local governments make up the rotten parts of Nigerian for governance. Leadership has become excused of responsibility by so-called voters. We take on the challenge to examine this sticky fallacy.
One of the most interesting but intractable things about development in Nigeria is the pervasive perception of both what it is and should be. What is development? Why are Nigerians always left behind? These are questions best answered indirectly. Continue reading
Windfall: Yankiokwa! Yankiokwa!!! Anytime you are this quiet we know you are up to something. How is you, Boss?
Yankius: Windokwa! The Windfall maker himself! Your potbelly has dwindled seriously. Is everything okay?
Windfall: Leave my stomach alone. I am curious. That bakery where the National Cake is being baked does still exist?
Yankius: The National Cake is crude oil. It still exists only nobody really wants it anymore. At least not for now.
Windfall: How can crude oil be the National Cake? Crude oil is a fossil fuel. Why do you have to be figurative about everything? Can you not just call cake what it is?
Yankius: In that case I will not talk any further about the National Cake. Continue reading
Deadly Cuts: O Pally, I am so scared for Nigeria at the moment. It is more than tragic what is happening.
Yankius: Corona virus is…
Deadly Cuts: Who is talking about Covid-19? It was bound to devastate Africa especially Nigeria one day. I was talking about the potential economic and political collapse of Nigeria now that oyel no longer has any value on the global markets. Hungry go wire Nigerians O!
Yankius: Oyel! Ha ha ha! All the trillions of dollars Nigeria made from oyel openly and solid minerals secretly was never treated as anything other the personal “kpoke”.
Deadly Cuts: What is kpoke?
Yankius: Pocket money. Money for luxury housing, luxury cars, private jets, designer clothing, luxury tourism, maintaining girlfriends and concubines, hosting grand parties, spraying obscene amounts of foreign currency. It was all pocket money, kpoke. It was never invested; all investments were funded by loans. Now Nigeria cannot service the over$100 billion it owes. Continue reading
Saturday the 25th of April 2020 was cold and blank in the Davy Jones Locker. A few sailors had passed through the rendezvous to the other side after becoming victims to Covid-19 and other causes but this Saturday there were no forgone sailors arriving. For the first time in my experience there, a particular case of forgone reversal occurred. The Great Door had open and solemn song could be heard accompanied by restrained okombo [drum] beats. I became very concerned and might have tricked myself I was not scared. The Great Door only opened when a sailor was about to cross the Great Gangway. Why had it opened without a forgone arrival? I began to hear footsteps, they got closer, and a man emerged, Paramole himself. About 7 feet away from me, he stopped. His face was listless. I was frozen all over with amazement, and he did not seem happy to see me where I was.
Corruption is here in the world to stay, and it entrenches itself in our society deeper daily. Such is our most significant contemporary reality in times of peace and not in an emergency. It is even now legal. Corruption has paved the way for unnecessary and preventable wars, unrest, pestilence, systemic failures and emergencies. Many commentators brand such occurrences as unexpected contingencies. “Things happen”, is the persuasion we must believe, as if they occur with little or no calculated intention and help. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed more corruption than is normally available to the average citizen. Backing ideologies, facilitators, and the consequences of corruption have become more visible to all. The media, criminal justice mechanisms, legislation and civil services could never offer the people such an accessible view of corruption in normal circumstances.
Cameroonian musician Manu Dibango invented disco music out of the blue with his release of the phenomenal hit single record, Soul Makossa. The year was 1972, and it was a staggering feat from an unknown personality. The listening public could hear the instant break beats and jazz funk influences in the song. And the western musical instruments; the saxophone, drums, percussions, guitars (bass, acoustic and lead), and the piano. Soul Makossa took disc jockeys, clubbers, and everyday radio listeners in large numbers. It soon became a big favourite within the New York music scene and later the globe. The song’s core sensibility, as developed and perfected, came from somewhere; Africa. Around this time, other African musicians, Fela Kuti, Osibisa, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, working within the same jazz funk paradigm, found instant fame and recognition as innovators on the world’s music scene. And Fela fashioned “Afrobeat” which soon became a distinct international music genre in its own right. Continue reading
I had a dream last night that I had died while dreaming. Then nothingness, Okuku [total blankness]. It was all over, no points of return available or imaginable. However, when I woke up this morning and found that I was still alive, fresh and sexy [Gbogborogbo!], I almost fell unconscious with the shock of surprise. The unconsciousness that one recovers from I have experienced endlessly, and it can be pleasant but not the one who felt permanent as in my dream. Sleep, inebriation, general anaesthesia and over-high fevers, I have all woken up from, but it seemed impossible for me to do so in this dream. I have never been knocked out in all my many fights, though I am no longer a youth.
Imagine a baby just a few days or old. He or she has been crying for food endlessly, but nothing is on offer. There is no money for baby food, so the mother has to feed the child with her breast’s milk. How ever, the delay that kept the baby hungry was because she is taking time to inject, swallow or smoke drugs. The baby’s nourishment from the mother’s breast may be laced with varying concentrations of drugs. That is the baby’s meal and survival. We are not even talking about how well-fed the mother is, the child’s immunity, health and treatment if it falls ill, the environment the mother and child lives, hopes of a better life and so forth. One may further ask if the child is the only one, or the second or third or if another one is on the way? Look at the photo above, and you can see a mother simultaneously smoking marijuana and feeding her baby. It is happening in Sapele, Delta State like in many other towns and cities in Nigeria, particularly the slum areas, but the usual denial by many Nigeria is that the photo was taken in South Africa, Gabon or Chad. Drugs are not just destroying a generation of youths; it is already destroying their babies. Continue reading
The 2019 elections have come and gone and have produced its victors and losers no matter how illegitimate the ballot was. Many issues that plague Nigeria severely were not even discussed in the campaign season. Dividends of democracy? What was discussed was patrimonial-manias in the shape of the obtuse mantras of “only X can save Nigeria”; good luck to the promoters. The unresolved issue of interest here is the raging drug problem that is ruining an entire generation of Nigerian youths and severely embarrassed the Buhari government through a BBC expose titled “Sweet Sweet Codeine.” As the drug problem has been largely unresolved, the government is going to be embarrassed again shortly. One may ask, where is the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in all of this? One should perhaps, more importantly, ask what roles the presidency and national legislators playing in drug enforcement? Continue reading
Dead Speechless: Yankpuzi! How you is? I thought the British were the most civilised people in the world but see how nefariously they treated Julian Assange. Denial of medical treatment, drag-along arrest in the street and a vindictive jail sentence. It was more than barbarous.
Yankius: Lets not talk about Julian Assange. I do not feel like hiding in an embassy at the moment.
Dead Speechless: You are not Julain Assange and you do not run Wikileaks.
Yankius: All the better not to talk about him. Goon! Continue reading
What has happened, Africa? This is the question a bright youth leader on a private forum asked when he learnt the Chinese have set up the 13th Chinese Police Station in South Africa. The answer is Nothing. Whether we base the question on fact, fiction or exaggeration is immaterial. Chinamen are coming and coming big to Africa. Continental tragedy was visible in African people who should have known better in advance, notably the intellectual/educated class, who were unwitting. “Bright lights” keenly supported the decadent misgovernance many of the post-colonial leaders foisted upon their citizens on the continent up to this day. Africans are now living with the harsher realities of such thoughtlessness and misfortune. The Chinese are now exploiting Africa’s naivete. Who will not?
What is Col Sambo Dasuki doing locked up in detention indefinitely without trial at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari? What happened to court trials in Nigeria which are sending other politicians guilty of corruption to jail? Supporters of President Buhari [regardless of party affiliation] would naively (the vast majority) or insincerely (very few) have people believe that Col Dasuki’s detention is evidence of a strong anti-corruption ethos under the present government. The truth is that it is one of the most histrionic acts of corruption of the Buhari Presidency courtesy nepotism. Dasuki is in detention for his very own safety at the fawning kindness of the President. If anyone can accurately evaluate the most likely politician that would be assassinated in Nigeria on any given day of the year, it will be Dasuki by a very wide margin and it is unlikely he would survive unprotected. But why? An informant in military intelligence tells us. Continue reading
“Guilt by community association” (GBCA) is back in Nigeria in fresh form in 2018 not by the actions of a foreign colonialist but those of the local Nigerian auto-colonialists courtesy Fulani herdsmen affairs. In the colonial state of Nigeria under British rule, the main means by which the Nigerian staffed police force secured conformity and order from Nigerians was community arrest and faux crime taxation. If a person dropped dead in Ilesha, Oron, Keffi or Ughelli (or some village), the police would arrest all the heads of family in the area (or village) requiring each to bail themselves at a prohibitive cost; GBCA was born. The people quickly learned that a police matter was a money matter. This was the very first habit the Nigerian police force acquired that ensured that they would become hopelessly corrupt in future. Corrupt initial conditions bred both corrupt post-Independence foundations and institutions, a legacy of empire. Today, Nigerian auto-colonialists carry the blame for GBCA.
“Federalism” and “restructuring” and related terms are all political jargon. It means they are not so easy to understand by non-specialists and are widely appreciated by assumption, not fact. Nigeria is a federal republic that practices federalism on paper but is a unitary state in reality because it lacks the provision of autonomy for subnational or federating units. All advanced nations have undergone several phases of restructuring for political, economic or social reasons at different stages in their existence. Many Nigerians are oblivious to the fact that the creation of Lower Niger protectorate by the British, the amalgamation of North and South Nigeria, the institution of the four colonial constitutions for Nigeria and ultimately Independence in 1960, where all cases of restructuring. Oil appears to be the only reason restructuring, or federalism looks strange to some in Nigeria. I shall now answer the questions raised in response to restructuring (non-technically): Derivation or Ownership?