Scenario 1: The president of the most populous black nation in the world jets off to the United Kingdom to receive treatment for an unknown ailment. His second absent spell. It’s been 100 days now, and his people have no clue when their president will return. To add insult to injury, his party and cabinet members have been jetting off on tax payers’ funds to see him one after the other, yet no one has deemed it fit to address the people on what exactly is the nature of the first citizen’s illness. Protesters were tear-gassed for daring to demand answers. Shameless is the new cool.
The average single woman in her late twenties and above is tagged “Strong and Independent,” while the man whose wife is doing well in her career or as an entrepreneur is always “Loving and Supportive.” “High Flying,” “Strong Black Women” “Big, Bold and Beautiful.” These are all labels that have become permanent features in our daily narratives. They are clichés I often find myself rolling my eyes at whenever I come across them in essays, interviews, discussions or commentaries of any kind. And most times it’s not even a question of whether these assertions are true or false; they have become tiresome simply because they have been regurgitated again and again by society to the extent that semantic satiation has set in.
Just in case you have been oblivious of the development before now, you can now view your street and even your exact place of residence on the internet, thanks to Google Instant Street View, a feature introduced by Google. While it has been in existence in some other parts of the world as far back as 2007, it’s new here and has generated plenty of interest upon its availability in Nigeria. I got to know about the feature through my colleague and instantly tried to find out if it was as accurate as touted by typing in my address in the space bar. It was. The panoramic view of my area appeared before me in few seconds, and the song we used to sing as kids, “Come and see American wonder” immediately started playing in my mind.
They are the Mac daddy of modern day Nigeria, the ones who call the shots in every sphere of society. The richest, the “baddest,” and as we like to say over here, the ones who run things. You cannot go wrong if you aspire to become a politician in this space. The good news is that unlike many other parts of the world where you have to have some sort of pedigree or accomplishment in order to be taken seriously in politics, you do not necessarily have go through the stressful process of building some pointless pedigree over here. It’s why it’s important for you to know what it takes to be regarded as a politician through and through, and not just a charlatan.
“My motto is: I’m alive, so that means I can do anything” – Venus Williams
It was a fairy tale that failed to happen. With millions rooting for her in her bid to become the oldest woman in the Open era to win a Grand Slam at the age of 37, Venus Williams came up short. It was painful for many. Understandably. If she had won, it would have been the perfect come-back story, a spectacular statement and the perfect way to fill in for Serena’s absence at Wimbledon.
You finally secure a job after years of job hunting. Prior to that time, you had to spend a gruelling year doing the compulsory NYSC (a mandatory year of service imposed on all Nigerian fresh graduates). You were posted to a remote village with almost non existent supply of water and electricity. And just before then, you spent six years studying a four-year course. It wasn’t because you weren’t brilliant enough and kept having to retake courses, far from it. You had simply been a victim of perennial lecturers strike – something you had no control over. At the end of the day, you got through all of that. The strikes, the energy-sapping service year and the seemingly endless years of job search. You survived it all.
Don’t sabotage yourself. Don’t be the clog in the wheel of your own progress. In this age of social media, it’s the easiest thing to do. Seeing that the world is now a global village, and it has become increasingly easier to make friends with people many miles away, and stay in touch with loved ones we have not seen in a long time, everyone feels close to everyone. These days, you just might tweet at Donald Trump and get a personal response from him. It’s why it is easy to be deluded into thinking the next person on Twitter or Facebook is family or a pal whom we can throw jibes at without the nursing the fear of consequences.
Something interesting happened while I was catching up on the second episode of the Voice Nigeria Season 2 on Monday. I had missed the first showing the previous night, no thanks to PHCN and a generator that wouldn’t budge when it was called upon. So, I was lucky to stumble on the repeat show not long after the repair man fixed the faulty machine. I settled down to watch the show and as usual there were music hopefuls who had their dreams fulfilled when one or more of the four judges turned their chair(s) – an indication that they would like to work with the contestant, while others who were unable to arouse the same gesture from them had their hopes dashed momentarily. The show had been going on well without any incident until something interesting happened. Something I knew I absolutely had to share with you.
Salutations steeped in reverence, unhindered access to exclusive places, extra attention, and all round preferential treatment. That must have been the summary of what it was to be Evans (Chukwudubem Onwuamadike) prior to the tenth of June when the long arms of the law finally caught up with him. I also imagine that had he not been apprehended, his wife and kids would have celebrated him as the perfect husband and father to commemorate Fathers’ day last Sunday.
As a writer, I am condemned to a life of observing. As I move around…walk, drive, interact with my environment and people, I take all I can in. I am inspired by the things I see every day – the waste collector who sits on the pile of garbage from different homes without covering or turning up his nose. The gala and pure water sellers who can give Usain Bolt a run for his money when they chase after cars in a bid to make a sale. The traffic warden who stands under the scorching sun for hours to ensure free flow of traffic for a paltry salary at the end of the month, and the conductor who shouts himself hoarse as he “hustles” passengers for his bus.