Honestly, until about 1pm today, I doubted that I’d post this week’s installment. And if I did, I planned to simply post funny pictures. Fuel scarcity, scary humidity, we haven’t had running water for almost 6 full months, no light, getting to and from work today cost 150% (125% more for me because I like to walk) more than it normally did= No energy.
Then I realized, that if I, Ms. Obianuju Ayalogu, who has believed for years that laughter and mischievousness can cure everything is feeling so down, how much more everyone else?
So, this is my offering, I hope it incites a token laugh or a happy belly full of them. Because you’ve got to be happy. You’ve got to be able to say, “Man, times are currently difficult, but God is still working miracles in my life and I’m not going to stop laughing, praising him, confessing those miracles until I can see them, hold them, taste them or count them. 😉”
Here goes everything-
I have a bit of a sapiosexual crush on Nasir El- Rufai. (Nope, I have not nor do I plan to read the Accidental Public Servant. That book is over a thousand pages and it’s not fiction. Rule of thumb- I always prefer reading fiction)
But, I LOVE HIS BRAIN!
I’ve watched his career, the same way I’m watching Babatunde Raji Fashola’s career and just as I was over the moon when he (BRF) was appointed Minister of Power, I was over the moon when I heard he was elected Governor of Kaduna state.
I’m withholding judgment on BRF’s tenure as Minister of Power till the end of 2017 (next year) but right now, I’ve shed so many happy tears that El- Rufai is the Governor of Kaduna.
Let me explain why:
Once upon a time, I used to read newspapers everyday. Read interviews with Nigerian public officials, with governors and Ministers and Commissioners and I used to follow up. And hope. And believe in the dreams they’d spin, the promises they made, smiling sincerely into the camera lens. At a point I could list Yar’Adua’s 7 point agenda by heart. And I rocked myself to sleep believing that we’d have steady power supply by 2012.
And with each disappointment, with each promise that wasn’t kept, when each news story broke that someone who had promised something that I had believed and was hoping on had instead diverted the funds meant to execute that thing into his/her pocket, I’d get extremely angry, then seriously depressed. So many people these days say that the problem of Nigerian people is how we mostly wordlessly adjust, acclimatize and accept every new hurdle the government presents. And while I logically agree with that, as someone who had invested much in the tales that turned out to be fables spun for us by our leaders, I could understand how we no longer care to test our voices.
I hardly ever read newspapers anymore. Hardly ever watch the news. It’s too depressing, too sad, too heartbreaking when you realize that the ground on which you stand is constructed with pretty lies and false promises. “You say it best, when you say nothing at all”
So, I stopped bothering. But for some, I still do.
The only newspaper I can say I consistently read is the Sunday Punch. And even then, I read it on Monday, mostly. Tuesdays or Wednesdays some other times. I look at the interviews and if there’s an interesting headline or an interesting interviewee, I’ll read. So, that’s how I came to read his interview today.
And for the first time in a long time, I’m really happy about a politician. This is why:
1. He is slowly and steadily changing the face of Kaduna’s educational system. People, public officials need to understand this, it is not only about building schools. He says he inherited 4225 primary schools. Should be okay, you’d think, but there were no windows, roofs, toilets, seats. Only about 58 – 62% of all the teachers were qualified as well. He’s renovating the schools and vetting the teachers. He has a program where kids are being fed in school and he’s initiating one where kids might be given allowances. Did you hear that? He also plans to eliminate the almajiri system in Kaduna. Yes!
2. Not only does he pay his workers salaries (I threw one newspaper away when I read of a Southwest governor, who I shall not name, who came, in a car, probably with a convoy, to pray with workers whom he had not paid for 5 months. If I had read any more, I would have started fantasizing about beating him up), he set up a system where his state’s workers can choose whether or not they belong to any union, so that the automatic Union fees deducted from every workers’ monthly salary would become a subjective fee. I was smiling and crying when I read that. He’s also verifying the identity of his workers, so that he can weed out the ghost workers.
3. He understands the destructive power of mindless religion. I wanted to shake someone in happiness when I read that.
Just read this. Lekwanu this awesomeness:
This is the point where I affirm that I am indeed a Christian, a Jesus lover who speaks to him everyday. But He knows, that I can reel out so many instances where myself, my family and my friends have fallen victim to religious quacks. Home and abroad.
And this paragraph right here, sent my face into a fit of confusion. I was crying so hard and laughing so much at the same time:
Could you take a minute to say this prayer with me:
“Father, please let Nasir El- Rufai complete his tenure in good health and with total clear- headedness. Let him implement every plan he has promised to implement. Let him see it through to the end.
And if he has gotten Uju’s hopes up for nothing, please let him disgrace himself, let the recording of him disgracing himself get on YouTube and become a highly publicized meme. In Jesus’ mighty name I’ve prayed. Amen!”
And this one too, “Father Lord, please let Fashola as minister of power regain the faculties that made him such a great governor in Lagos State, and use them to sort out these constant scarcities of power. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
And finally, this one, “Lord, please let the Water Corporation stop giving Uju’s family the runaround. Let them give her family steady running water for at least a month. In Jesus’ Mighty Name we’ve prayed. Amen”
STORY TWO – We thank God for Telemundo
Sometime last year, I detested Telemundo and Zeeworld. With a passion. Zeeworld especially. In so many of their shows, particularly the one a visitor introduced Nonso to (Eternal Love), the heroine is quite annoying, the heroes are even more annoying and the supporting characters make you want to tear your hair out and scream into a pillow. But none of these, as far as I was concerned, compares with the insipidity of the script. Lemme give you a spoiler. Just one: In Eternal Love, the heroine is told by someone, that she will face 5 or 6 deadly experiences, one of which is fire. So, one of our “heroes”, her legally married husband, took her out of the house made with stone and bricks, into the open air where they are to fall asleep on a raised embankment, constructed solely of wood. They fall asleep. The fire comes. The fire almost kills them. At a point, I will confess, I wish it had.
When Nonso finally shifted focus to Telemundo, I was quite relieved. That show had many more insipid moments.
Telemundo on the other hand, is a whole different animal. Or, group of animals, I should say.
But a Telemundo show has certain storyline staples, no matter what genre it falls into.
1. There is always more than one story. There are some shows I’ve watched with as many as 6 major characters, each with their own background and agendas.
2. One of the major characters is always, repeat after me, ALWAYS cheating.
3. The good woman is very easily identifiable, she’s praying to the Virgin. Doesn’t stop her from doing questionable things. The minute a character, who is female, prays to the Virgin or kisses her crucifix, understand that she is that show’s designated “good woman”. However, if she does this in a hospital or in a church, the jury is still out.
4. There is always a murder. Or a suspected murder. Always.
At a point, I got tired of keeping up with the convoluted story lines but then I heard the Spanish version of Bailando. It was the theme song of Queen of Hearts. And I’d attempt belly dancing. Or, I would be eating when the channel was set to Telemundo. Soon, I began to watch it, even, to have a peripheral interest in the characters. Given my love for stories, the shows began to appeal, just a little bit more to me. Don’t be fooled, on a normal day, I only truly care about one show on Telemundo- Fearless Heart. The rest I regularly don’t even bother watching. And I’m currently hooked on Fearless Heart for 4 reasons-
1. The songs. Every couple has a song that specially captures their love story. I really like Mi Primer Amor right now (My first love). I’m rediscovering my love for Spanish and Latin inspired music.
2. Brigitte Bozzo and to a lesser extent, Nicole Arci. Child actresses. It was because of Brigitte that I even began listening to and watching the show. The things she said, I laughed so hard.
3. The villains. I have a soft spot for villains, sometimes even in real life. Doesn’t mean I like them or anything of the sort, just means I love a good back story and my interest in psychology permits me to see why they became the way they are.
4. The women kick ass. Female bodyguards. I automatically love strong women who are nice. Even if they’re only characters in a story. Plus, they’re both in a predicament right now and I want to watch them get out of it.
But, we thank God for Telemundo because the stories make you forget your problems, even for a little while.
STORY THREE – MIKEY’S BAD HABITS
You had to know I’d talk about the dog.
In truth, he’s the funniest of the stories. To me, at least.
Two weeks ago, we stopped bringing the dog inside to sleep. And we were right to stop. He has stopped looking for a way to escape and now actively likes us. So, there’s no fear there. But in that testimony, a problem arises. The dog is very smart. And the dog has noticed how my mom yells and screams when he opens the door (he can and has butted the door open and gotten inside before) and comes inside. So, he uses it as a bargaining chip. For instance, whenever I go outside to open the gate for my mom or to put off the generator, he runs circles around my leg and in between them. A couple of times, I’d close my legs tight together and he’d scratch at them until I yelp and open them. A couple of times, he has tripped me and given me innocent doggy faces when I get angry with him.
Then again, if he does not feel like I’ve spent enough time with him, anticipating that I plan to go back into the house, he’ll wait for me on the top stair. If I open the door, easy access. If I pull him out of the way, do you know how fast he runs back there? I’ve had to stay outside until 2AM playing with him. I got a reprieve when he shimmied down off my leg and went to investigate the generator.
Then, there’s the pee. I’ve said before that Mikey obviously sees me as his fire hydrant. He peed on me as soon as I stepped into the house today. How long was he holding it, I wonder? And the paw prints. I got this white lace maxi skirt that I’ve wanted to wear for a month but Mikey has paws that are usually a tad muddy. Mikey has teeth and he loves to use them to shred everything. So, nahh.
Then there’s the biting. Mikey has bitten me before. I had to scream “bad dog” many times before he got the message that you do not bite your owners. He still forgets sometimes though.
Tugging on my clothes, whether I’m wearing them or hanging them up to dry.
I know he’s just bored. But I don’t know how to make life interesting for dogs. Can anyone recommend a good storybook or PG novel for him to read?
STORY FOUR – THE AWESOME CALMNESS
Berger straight! Ojodu Berger!
I always choose the first option unless I have something to do in Ojodu.
But the problem I’ve found, is that a lot of the people who go by Berger straight most usually drop on the Expressway and run across it to the other side. Honestly, I firmly believe it would be better if they had gotten on a bus going through Ojodu Berger (this one passes through Agidingbi) instead. At least, that way they can walk down instead of running across the Expressway and risking their lives. And the most annoying thing? Is that in most places where they have both buses being called, they are exactly the same price. I keep wondering, what the heck is the motivation for someone to needlessly risk their lives that way?
The state government must have reasoned the same way because they’re currently building an overhead bridge so people will stop playing solitaire with their lives. I’m happy about the overhead bridge but it engenders a lot of problems for me. Because:
1. The construction of the overhead bridge means that the staircases leading from the bus stop on the Express to the bottom from where I can walk home have been taken out, leaving only a piece of rock that I have developed nightmares about.
2. Most of the buses know that on the average, most people who take their buses prefer to run across the expressway so instead of stopping at my preferred bus stop, New Garage which according to the government should be their last bus stop, they stop at 2nd Oando and then pick up passengers going to Ogun state. About 90% of the time, I can reason with the driver to drop me at the Junction instead but sometimes I can’t. Especially if the driver and the conductors are serious agberos. Well, today was one such day. He stopped on the Express and said that was the last bus stop. Then barely 30 seconds later, without even giving me time to get off the bus, he started driving again. I have a nice bruise next to my hipbone for his impatience. Anyway, he collected passengers on the Expressway and I told him I wanted to stop at the junction. He might have heard me. He might not. To cut a long story short, I think he wanted to teach me a lesson, he drove all the way into Ogun state before he stopped for me to get down.
I could see it as a dreadful inconvenience, sure. But instead I choose to see it as him losing the 100 naira fare he might have gotten for my seat.
I walked home. I got home later but at least I got home safe. And calm.
FIVE – PICTURES
So, on Twitter there’s this hashtag- #Iwasinmyhouseandtrailercametojamme. It is bloody, mostly. Sometimes it’s unexpected. Someone could be expressing their opinion and someone else would take offense and insult them which I totally don’t agree with but others, like this one I’m about to show you now, I wholeheartedly support.
Smashwords – God is an Entrepreneur – a book by Gwarzala Dan-mutum. Available for download here.