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Visions of the Alfa Talakawa, from the Proletariat...Nigeria, as I see it

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?

Yeah, I am quoting Maximus in the Gladiator movie… Matter of fact, I don’t even really know who I am actually quoting anymore because I hear the exact lines form the Nigerian situation and considering our population, and the fact that we are sooo confused presently about who runs the system, I just don’t know who to apply to for copyright permission on the opening liner.

The immediate past President of Nigeria pioneered the entertainment trend, and it has been on since then. Whereas we groaned under the Abacha dictatorship and maintained an uneasy calm during Abdulsalaami’s, Obasanjo ensured we never lacked entertainment. As a matter of fact, comedy became big business during his tenure.

You don’t get the picture do you? Sadly, if you had High Definition Mega-pixel cameras on, you are not likely to, and that is no fault of yours.

I am not talking per se of the Bill Cosby, Martin Lawrence or The Wayans’ kind of comedy, I am talking of the some-mothers-do-have-’em-Frank Spencer-make-you-wanna-bust-a-blood-vessel type!

We had the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa Human Rights Violation Panel, patterned after the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Truth and Reconciliation model in South Africa (never mind, we have always been good at importing even what we have) and I recall staying up all night to witness the comedy of errors throwing light on what went down during the Abacha regime.

As with all shows, we had both the Trailers and the Spoilers, we heard how the late journalist Bagauda Kaltho (did I say how? It’s so fuzzy nowadays) was killed. Sorry, that’s not what we heard or saw, we only got to know that Nigerian Technology has finally produced a bomb that strips a man nude and kill him without smoking out any other part of his body! Can you beat that?

Fast forward to 2007, this time, the then President himself decided to star in the movie, as the Proantagonist (I did not misspell this, it is my invented word. If you can have Motel from Motor-Hotel, then you should get this) and the Vice President was the Victivillain (Victim + Villain, do the math). From slanders and counter-slanders to ‘I’m neither denying nor admitting corruption, I am only saying you surpass me on every side’

They ensured we never lacked for entertainment; the bloodcurdling-I-am-yelling-and-yanking-my-head-off-my-heart-palpitates-as-I-taste-bile type. Then they hired a director called Maurice Iwu, Chairman of the electoral commission and they birthed another comic era.

Seeing Obasanjo’s frail successor, with his piercing eyes and sober look, I was ready to pack the puppets and say ‘Hey, our play is played out, no more entertainment’. But I was wrong, more wrong than my prophecy that I would wake up today with my right hand appearing on my left.

We now have R-rated 18 VNL (Violence, Nudity and Language) version of entertainment, complete with advanced CGI.

Violence, Yeah, from the election re-run in Ekiti State to the Niger Delta vs JTF (refer to previous blog) prototype. Nudity, is that too hard to figure? From the 628 Million Naira-turn-my-apartment-to-Spa/Salon scandal of Patricia Etteh, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives to the Ndudi Elumelu Head-of-investigations-turned-prime-suspect probe into the power sector. What could be worse than that?

I know the global financial meltdown has so far revealed how universal corruption is, from the Parliamentary expenses scandal (both the MP’s LP and Tory’s story) in the UK to the I-can-sell-Obama’s-former-seat-Rod-Blagojevich in the United states to the different versions you get to hear from Asia, but I find it hard to figure why our own entertainment fails to provoke any reaction from the populace, other than few and far between rantings of the Talakawa that have nothing else to do with their time than complain.

With 2/24 hour power supply, and a Generator that plays music my neighbours don’t want to hear once it’s past midnight, and the entertaining story that the person that claimed my former President and some other Cabal squandered what was meant to increase generated Power, has been arrested and indicted. That was shortly after the findings of the panel he headed on the same subject matter was thrown out! I, typical of a Prole, am compelled to love the job I sooo hate, simply for the fact that there is constant Power Supply at work, and I could be less bothered by how much it costs the Company to service the standby Generator..afterall, the Talakawa never get more than Pixels…how are they expected to get the picture?

To compound it all, the Senate seeks to pass a Bill to a Law making it compulsory for every State to produce at least an Agricultural Product…that almost made me puke some bile! Is it Lagos State that is left of no arable land courtesy of emigration from other States to the extent that the Lagoon is being morphed by some stock-piling into Land that will produce? Or the Niger Delta, whose land has been raped and desecrated in the name of Oil Exploration? Perhaps the Core North that is being encroached by deserts as a result of overgrazing by Cattle will be just okay. Please, The Gramophone is worn, can someone switch the song?

Remember rantings are not expected to be coordinated, so you just have to put up with this cacophony.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Wherever you are, if you are a Nigerian, get your bags, and run!!! What on earth am I thinking? You don’t need your bags; forget about your shoes, just run!!!

Civil War 2 is on (ducks as some shrapnel gives way somewhere close by), my bad, one of the countless genocide episodes that threatens to pale out whatever went down in Biafra back then, has been triggered.

Zaki Biam, Odi, Jesse, Bauchi, Jos have all had their fair share of ethno-religio-civilio-genocide (okay, go add that to Webster’s) and now, it is the Niger Delta’s turn, courtesy of the JTF (Joint Task Force, made up of sections of the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air-Force, with the purpose of combating armed 'rebel' groups in the Niger Delta).

Okay, I understand we have population issues, but is this the way to go about it? Reduce the minorities till only few of them are left in ‘game reserves’? We were quick to condemn Israel, America for civilian causalities yet we gloss over the children killed in these blood-letting sprees….

Aerial bombardment and firing from Ships in Nigeria? This is where we take the credit. While Hollywood displays war skills that even the mighty armies of the United States doubt they possess, it is the other way round this side; our Movies may never be able to beat the realities presented. Life down this side is the actual reality show with a script. Unlike our movies that seem to lack the very script we talk of.

Operation Restore Hope indeed! I see no hope, all I see is Soldiers’ Shrapnel, Guns and Grenades, bombs and billows of smoke…it indeed is a very gloomy picture.

What became of the refugees that fled to the Ogbe-Ijoh General Hospital? They had to flee further simply because the Gestapo came calling again.

Let me pause at this point to emphatically state that I do not endorse violence, but if we are to stay true to the maxim ‘He that seeks Equity must come to Equity with pure hands’, there is an entirely discomfiting skew in the position. I ask, has the Capital punishment reduced the spate of Armed Robbery in any part of the world?

When Cocoa and groundnut were the major source of export for Nigeria, the derivation formula was adopted, but a shameful volte-face came up when Oil was discovered in the South-South, so is it rocket science to figure why there is persistent unrest in that region?

Why are the militants abducting expatriates? Again, it’s not hard to figure, what would you do if you are an American and I stand in front of your embassy to burn the Uncle Sam flag? It’s only a piece of cloth! No, it is not. If I must get your notebook from you, I do not need a gun, but if I need your money, I just might need one, but money is just some paper! The Multinational Companies secured a track record of waste, pollution and gross corruption and when the Environmental Rights Crusader, Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged in 1995, at least seven to eight digits from every discerning finger pointed the way of corporate-sponsored-government-induced execution and so, it is almost automatic for anyone from that region to see the average expatriate as the ‘Flag’ of the Country that symbolizes the cruel injustice he’s had to put up with, again, is that too hard to figure?

The spokesperson for the JTF has told us all that ‘civilian casualties’ are inevitable in a War, in other words, he has told us what it is, It is a War, JTF (Federal) versus Niger Delta. Period!

Addendum: Just thought good to distribute this free once more, I told the Nigerian Story over The Game's My Life beat off the L.A.X is the link:

Monday, May 18, 2009


Okay, let me bust your are a Talakawa, period!

If you are reading this piece courtesy of your office internet, or through some not-so-broadband provided by those leeches otherwise called the telecoms company, fall in line.

Yeah, you ride a fancy car...if you had to service some loan to purchase it and u ever had to groan when a motorbike or some dude scratched your belong here.

If you earn a salary, even if you are an employer and you have to fret as the Months roll to an end, if you built a house you can't pull down and raise in Three Days, just wave your hand and sit down.

Do you know what is called Power Outage? If you do, do have a seat please..I see the hall is getting crowded, but we can have some space for more.

You fly Business Class, what happens when the Flight is delayed? See why you belong here too? as long as you don't own the plane...

Need I add that the word has Arabic roots, and that the Yoruba (Western Nigeria Language) word Talaka, meaning The Poor was derived from this root? The Hausas in Nigeria would define the Talakawa, in contrast with the Al-majiri( Destitute) and the Masu Sarauta (Aristocrats) simply as the Common Man, and it is the fundamental philosophy that change in the society rests on both the neck and shoulders of this people...who else should we expect it from?

Who are those that read the dailies? the ones that are too poor to afford an education and cannot scribble the letter 'O' with the base of a bottle? or the ones that decide what happens in the society and do not need to read someone else's view about the script they wrote?

The middle position, I daresay, is not enviable in the least sense, like being a civilian in a village under intense fire by both government and loyal troops, being Latino in a predominantly black vs white hood, or being Ogoni, during the Nigerian Civil War.....

The Global Meltdown has become a mantra, but who heard it first? I assure you the term came from the mouth of a talakawa!

Having said all these to prepare your mind....I assure you that I will give you from time to time, something to cry for...Welcome aboard, Rantings of The Talakawa!!!!

You may please be seated....on the mat, the floor, who says it has to be a chair?