The Punishment of God

“I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you”
The quotation above is attributed to Genghis Khan (the Mongol) who, followed by his murderous grandson Kubulah Khan conquered most of Asia.
It is said that a nation gets the leaders it deserves.
So every Nigerian leader (past and present) can claim the distinction of being the punishment of God to Nigeria and Nigerians. It goes without saying that we must have committed great sins as a people. We keep building churches and mosques, yet we keep worshiping all the small effigyies we keep in the dark corners of our houses. We treat one another like sh**t.
We compound our great sins by continuing to enthrone our “punishments” year after year in our councils, in the legislature, in the judiciary, and in the executive.
Truly, we get the leaders we deserve. So we can let them off the hook when they continue to pillage our wealth, after all we put them there, and as we have committed great sins, we have to bear our punishments stoically.

Don Camillo and the Devil

As we came in for the landing. I gazed out the window and saw the wide expanse of brown below me cobwebbed with roads and speckled white with cattle. Something clicked at the back of my mind, but for a little while I had trouble recalling it. Then I remembered the Po river valley, but what about it? Then I remembered Don Camillo, folllowed shortly by the full title of the book – “Don Camillo and the Devil”. I remember we had two versions of the book at home when I was growing up – a big tome and a small condensced version that had a black cover with the characters of Don Camillo and the Devil drawn in red.

Don Camillo and the Devil is the story of a small village somewhere in the Po river valley (Italy?) set around the first world war I think. Don Camillo is the local Catholic priest much loved and respected by his people. Peppone (?) was the leader of the local branch of the Communist party (think Russian sickle and hammer). Both burly men were equally matched in several ways. Both were truly interested in the improvement of the conditions of their people though usually having opposing ideas on how every single goal is to be achieved.

I haven’t thought of that book in many years. Let me assure you that the writing is excellent. If you can find it, it’s a must-read – trust me ūüôā

Strange, I seem to think about death a lot. May be it’s the same with others but people just express the smallest number of comments on the issue out of fear or being considered nutty? On the other hand if we believe in the bible and live righteously (two feats becoming more and more impossible every day), burial ceremonies should not be so sad and we shouldn’t be so scared of dying (every one wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die?)
So, sometimes I wonder how easy it would be to just end it all. Then I wonder if that’s how it starts? Next, I will be considering suicide and the like? There are only a few ways to die but many variations. There is indeed nothing new under the sun. There are 2 ways to perdition. One was shied away from by Farouk – which is to consider taking along others with yourself on the journey of no return – sick. The other way of course is simple plain suicide of which quite a lot of people have decided over the years that the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco is the destination of choice for taking the “long” journey (see the documentary film “The Bridge”).
Meanwhile, I drop all thoughts of such thing for the moment, after all I believe in the bible and I hope to make heaven (otherwise, “we are most miserable of all men if …”).
I get my VISA, got stuck buying PTA at the bank, was still in town at check-in time when the airport was probably 100km? away. The taxi driver tried his best, mostly going at 120Km/hr, weaving in and out like a stunts car driver with the car actually shaking when he goes to about 130Km/hr. I rushed into the terminal only to told that the plane was just taxing off the run way. Not bad for a great attempt. Virgin Nigeria had a great policy¬†that you can use a ticket for up to a year from the day of purchase (which I didn’t know about before) – so my flight was changed from¬†15:30 to 18:30 (their next flight from Abuja to Lagos). I had time to kill, so I went upstairs and had¬†lunch – dragging it out while charging my laptop. I then went back downstairs and watched part¬†of a film on the laptop.¬†Some minutes before boarding started, I called out to an old school mate who walked past (Dare Faleye – I don’t think I have seen him since 2000).¬†I learnt he brought a friend who was travelling¬†– to the airport. We were soon joined by another colleague (Kenny from my NYSC service year in Owerri). They had come to the airport together to drop off the friend. Both¬†worked at the same firm. An exchange of phone numbers and I was on my way to Lagos.
I still have to wash (clothes) and pack for my trip the next day. As I was getting ready for that, NEPA struck and oops no electricity. My washing barely dried the next day (using the generator) before I had to head to the airport.

Now where was I on that death thing? Sorry I need to check-in now. 

Umar Retard AbdulMuttaloonie

Everybody has an opinion why the boy/man/retard did what he did and also an opinion on the sentence meted out to him. So why not me, for goodness sake, if one has nothing to say, say it!
I was sitting next to a lady with a very well-known surname (who I was tempted to ask if she was related to a certain well known politician. But the fact that I learnt her name from looking at her open international passport which she left on the seat between us prevented me. I also learnt she was born the December before my year. But from looking at her, she could easily pass for my “auntie” – that may be due to the fact that she has had some children. Don’t get me wrong, she still looks good.)
Anyways, while arranging her application package, she basically started grumbling about the s***t we now have to put up to because some useless un-cultured not-home-trained boy decided to turn all 140+ million of us into terrorists. It was loud enough that I got the hint that she was trying to make conversation. I agreed with several nods and “hmms”
We got along well, and drifted to other things such as which embassy were more lenient with the Schengen VISAs. I learnt Netherlands was probably easier than some, while a couple of others were probably the easiest to get the VISAs from. I was updated on social studies when I learnt that Turkey never successfully joined the EU.
I learnt that even if you don’t list other Schengen countries you intend to visit in your application, once you got the VISA you are free to roam as you please. You may not even enter or go to the country you got the visa from (but that will cost you in the future!)
Anyways I am drifting rapidly off course.
The thing I try not to talk about – I will now be forced to do so!
I will try to be as detribalized as possible, but unfortunately due to certain happenings in the past 10 years or so, anybody that says this was not bound to happen sooner or later has either been hiding under a stone or just in denial. Yes, there are terrorists of all color, tribe, culture and religion, but most of the others are fighting for something a little more concrete – like killing only the people oppressing them.
Talking loosely, we will divide the country into two halves north and south of the Benue river.
Generally, people south of the Benue live by a modified marriage creed – in love and war, sickness and health, for richer and poorer, in all troughs and crests of life, till death gets fed up and shouts “oga, enough is enough, make space for the next generation. Abi you wan be the next Methuselah! Thank God there was only one of him, I almost died from waiting around for the man. Oya, it is time, make you pack una bag, make we dey go.”
In short, these people don’t want to die! Not for country, not for religion (as it is said in the bible, let Baal defend itself), nor for any of the myriad reasons people kill themselves and others.
We should not lump everything up as collateral damage. It’s C.D. when it’s unavoidable, when it’s for some concrete goal – not when you just set out with the sole purpose of murdering close to 300 people!
The sentence given to Umar-d is causing problems among Nigerians.
Take the Arik airline desk for example, a “Madam P” (a lovely lady by the way, I asked for a reservation and it was kept for me until I got back with no fuss and nobody asking for their palm to be baby-oiled) and one of her younger male colleague were at it over whether the sentence fitted the crime or not. The man was of the opinion that Abdul should have been summarily executed. According to him, given a couple of years, he will be pardoned and then will return to kill more people in another suicide attack. Madam P on the other hand was of the opinion that the colleague doesn’t understand how strong the parent-child bond is which is why he is leaning towards execution. That the boy had been shouting out for help – SOS as she put it. The colleague buttressed his point by given his family as an example. He said at some point, his mum wanted to kill herself over the baby of their house who was nothing but trouble. They had to move the boy between as many as 3 universities because with each one, he managed to “find trouble” and mess things up. He told his mum point blank, that she should consider that she has 6 strong strapping boys, so how can she justify killing herself over just one who refuses to shape up?
Well, it appeared I was out of time and in the wrong wing of the airport (I should have gone to the international wing instead of the local – which is where I landed on the inward trip from Lagos. The guy told me to run as fast as my legs can carry me as my flight will start boarding soon. I was soon convinced by the taxi drivers outside that I was unlikely to make it in time if I walk and so I parted with N500 for the short trip by taxi.
Well, I got to international and at 1:57pm, there still had not been a boarding call for a flight that was supposed to take off at 2:00pm!
Up Arik! Up NEPA! Up water! Up whoever maintains the road! Up all the corrupt politicians in Abuja and every state milking the nation dry! Up you and I as lawless and undisciplined as we are!

Sorry! Back to our fellow country-man Abdul-mad Mutta-nuts!
So they say he was lacking in attention, he was depressed, he was calling out for help. If a crocodile is drowning, do you get in the pool with it? If you do, do you grab it by the tail or snout?
So he was calling out for help, so joined the nut-crackers (apologies to Beethoven or whoever wrote the nutcracker) and do a attention-grabbing, world-shaking, innocent-killing smack-down? Huh? And he wanted to do it with whatever it was he had close to his you-know-what in that small quantity. For crying out loud, my people (who don’t normally eat toady) have a saying that goes “if you are going to eat a toad, at least eat one with eggs!”
If you can’t do the crime, don’t flip the dime (TM ūüôā
But let’s look at those people he has become alienated to, shall we?
The father I think is who most people mention. This is the same father that bought (allegations) a 4m pound (not worthless Naira – even that figure in Naira is not within the reach of most of the public breeding like “eku eda”) house for the same man.
Yes, we know he was the chairman of First Bank at some point, but if he can afford to buy a 4m pound house for his nutty offspring on his chairman’s pay, I will eat my hat – thankfully I don’t have any! I think we need to let our mind drift away from that figure for a moment, otherwise in the midst of all the “Ohs and Ahas”, we will miss the bigger picture. How much do you think a man that can afford that kind of house for just one son has sipponed away into secret Swiss tanks – sorry banks? And possibly not so secret real estate scattered all over the world? Say 500 million pounds? A Billion pounds? I bet he must have pulled an “Erastus” sometime in the past.
And shame on our former masters for giving him asylum. Of course greater minds than mine have concluded that it’s the attraction of what that amount of money can do to their ailing economy that caused them to offer him asylum. After all, where best to spend pounds than in the U.K.?
Like someone said, if he had gone to the U.S. with that money, Obama would have asked for a private audience with the man! Way to go Erastus, man of the people! Don’t worry, we will continue to distribute your tracts and your elder-ship is safe. You are still young enough to come back in future when one of your president pals would have pardoned you unconditionally. Then you can plow some of that money into politics in order to better the conditions of the masses by becoming president and siphoning more oil money out while the people complain of lack of basic amenities. After all, you would have “settled” those bunch of leaches that gather together in the capital pretending to be making laws while “making love”, quaffing beer and consuming huge quantities of Suya! Please find another name for “Ghana-must-go!”, because soon, the Ghanaians will also have “Niger-must-go” fiesta at the rate things are going. Continue to watch as all the other-than-oil industries migrate across the border into Ghana. We don’t need to worry. We have plenty of oil – like we had money in the past and we didn’t know what to do with it (eh Gowon?).
Let’s flare the gas – there is no need to compel the oil companies to convert it into a new revenue stream as long as they continue to oil the machinery of state. Who says there is cooking gas shortage? Let them use electricity instead! No power, let them install 200KW generators in their houses? No fuel? Oh, they probably forgot to sink a fuel tank in their compound and request one of their oil-magnate friends to organize for a full tanker-load delivery every month. Please don’t forget that Queen Antoinette said much the same thing when she was lounging in her milk-bath and informed that the masses of France had no bread to eat – “well, let them eat cake!”
Even though her head was in-edible, the masses still made off with it!
Enough rambling, now where were we on the peculiar case of Farouk Abdul-retard.
Some people are of the opinion that we behaved like the bush-meat that people wanted to roast, that went to rub oil all over it’s body and proceeded to lie down by the roaring fire for warmth. That all along, certain powers had been itching to put us on the “list of shame” and we just gave them the single needle that broke the load-less camel’s back.
Here comes the strip searches, the really-deep cavity searches, pull on the gloves with a head-turning “smack” followed by the shout “spread ’em wide!”
My colleagues in the I.T. field would probably call it DPI – deep packet inspection!

“Attention please, this is to inform anybody on the boarding desk that any moment from now, we will change the source of power supply”
What does that mean? Probably quickly shutdown those computers you are using to respond to those useless queries by those hapless customers. They may miss their flight though. Which flight? From whence going where? No worries, Hanuka Matata – they need not worry, the flight is already 40 minutes behind schedule and between me and you (loud enough for a few of those same customers to hear and spread the news – after all, we the worked-for-nine-month-yet-unpaid staff are with the customers against the airline and it’s profit guzzling but incompetent management), so between me and you, we just radioed Kano 700km away and the aircraft they are waiting to board is still on the runway!

Oh. After waiting to board for about 50minutes, the esteemed management of Arik finally decided to inform all of us lay-abouts with nothing better to do than faf around waiting for a delayed flight that the flight is “on schedule” to take off at 4:00pm. All inconveniences regretted. Which schedule are they running the airline on? GMT-1?

Well, I shook Oshiomole’s hand. I tried to ask him if I could take a picture with him but he wasn’t really listening, I guess all celebrities must have ways of pretending to connect with their subjects while actually filtering out the chaff and allowing only the important few to reach them on their mental pedestals. Anyways. Immediately the big “old” man who fancies himself the governors shield heard what I said, he shook his head and imposed himself smoothly in front of me – I guess practice makes perfect.
The man that should be doing something really productive with his time while allowing younger ones to guard the governor supposes he has found the easy way to living life like royalty – not!
I don’t have issues with him, but the governor owes me a picture.

Back to our subject. The retard thought we shouldn’t let a trifling thing such as incompetency stop us. We will conquer from the Sahara to the sea. Then we will get on a boat, cross the ocean and take the fight to the enemy. Which enemy? Those that have let you make a mockery of democracy all over the world with the caricature of a society we run? He was definitely confused. Why not start with the enemies at home. Those that oppress the masses and make it nearly impossible to make a decent and honest living? Why not bomb those ones?
What? You say I am treading on highly treasonable grounds? Don’t worry treason is what “we” say it is.
No, no! Don’t get me wrong. When I say “we”, I dont mean the masses. “We” when it comes to treasonable offences has always been narrowly and strictly defined to encompass the least possible few that will make it workable. “We” are the ones in power; the ones for who the police eaves-drop on the citizenry around every corner, “we” are the ones for who the military will open fire on defenceless men and women if it serves the “smaller” good.

They say Abacha’s reign of terror is a watershed of evil and pure corruption in our “nascent” democracy. Erastus-gate will be a watershed of bold-face corruption in our financial democracy. It will be the yard-stick against which other similar crimes will be measured. Forget Abacha who went straight for the nation’s honey pot. Erastus-gate has shown us how it should be done with a few in charge of the finances of the many.
Make no little moves, instead strike boldly and make away with whatever your hands can grab hold of. All you need to do is escape the shores of this country and take a scissors to the green-backed passport. Now you have been set free and are a true citizen of the world!

While this issue of Farouk is a very serious matter, and the issue of whether or not we are on the terror-watch list is an important one, what about all those other issues that makes the state of the country as a whole laughable: bad roads, no power, no fuel, bad leaders and now no president. Like the I.T. equipment which no one knows where it’s physically located; and which when found after years quoted with dust; no one is willing to risk shutting it down or cleaning it as it might never work again.

There is no easy way to conclude this piece and I think it has gone on long enough. To round this up, see my previous posting titled “AbdulMutta-loonie‚Äôs Marbles”

Location: Abuja International Airport
Date: 3:00pm 08-January-2010

Expiry

Is it not strange that I bought a McVities Hob-Nobs buiscuit at a stand in the airport in Abuja and on looking at it’s end to ensure that it hadn’t already expired discovered it will expire on my birthday this year which is about 4 months away?

AbdulMutta-loonie’s Marbles

Once there was a man
who thought he was drowing in money
He screamed and yelled
But no one came to his bell
Too busy to heed his call
Because everyday they had the gall
to work so they can have a little taste of milk and honey

So he took this and he took that
and¬†made a “wee”¬†bomb
thankfully it bombed
otherwise 200 and 80 would have been gone

And then things came to a head
for Abdul-loonie who laid nearly dead

there he was lying on a gurney
the attendant thought it was funny
the surgeon put on his gown
the nurse prodded and probed to see what could be found
says she “maybe we can save one”
but the doctor thought not – why give the devil the chance to spawn
so with a snip here and there
where there was one
now there is none
that is how Abdul-loonie lost his marbles
one big one
and two little ones!

(Lagos, 8:04pm, 08-Jan-2010)

The cycle of life

I look at my niece – so full of life.

I look at my father – one of those in the depature lounge*

I look at myself – right in the middle – with my worries, wants, aches and pains.

Such is the cycle of life and there is little we can do about it.

Were it that well-being was like an apple, then I could divvy up mine and hand a quarter to my dad.

* from the book “Up-country girl” by Phebean Ajibola Ogundipe