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Happy Independence Day

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My fellow Nigerians,
As much as I would have liked to give a fuller post that might have to wait for later. Its been a busy day. Came over the long weekend to see the prospective future Lady Farouk and of course the family. My last day in the ‘Buj involved fixing my watch, buying some kilishi and making sure the soups mama made for me to take were properly frozen. Yes I live the charmed life.

Anyway, I want to wish all Nigerians and lovers of Nigeria a Happy Independence day! Love y’all.


What Is The Nigerian Dream?

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If you came here looking for some sappy platitude about how Nigeria can become a great nation or a variation of MLK Jr’s “I have a dream” speech with a Nigerian tilt then I am sorry you have hopped on the wrong blog post. Somewhere between my disappointment at the Zimmerman verdict and this interview given by Chimamanda Adichie while reading Max Siollun’s book on Nigerian politics during the Buhari and Babangida regimes, I thought up this post.

A nation is often a product of its dreams. The American dream despite being difficult to attain for a lot of people still provides something to aspire to and based on my little knowledge the American dream is a dream that every American can become what they aspire to become and that if anyone works hard enough he can achieve these dreams through sheer will, perseverance and a level of creativity. This is a recurring theme in Hollywood movies with an inspirational tilt or even action movies where the little guy triumphs over the big guy despite the odds due to the sheer power of determination. What is the Nigerian dream? What does the average Nigerian aspire to? If a nation is as good as its dreams then perhaps the Nigerian dream might be a tad bit dysfunctional. What follows is my characterization of what I feel is the Nigerian dream and some responses I got on twitter.

The Nigerian dream is a dream borne out of the sheer exasperation of the Fela sung “suffering and smiling” syndrome. It is seeking to have basic amenities that people in developed countries take for granted, it is taking a poop and not having to hope that there is water to flush the toilet. It is a 50 cent album title made manifest. It is the spirit of get rich or die trying. The Nigerian dream consists of trying to make wealth whether by hook or by crook. The pursuit of “hammering” you see is the beginning of wisdom. You see everybody wants wealth but the Nigerian dream consists of wanting to have wealth not only for oneself but for one’s children up to the 4th generation as well as have money for your extended family, village and ethnic group. That’s quite a lot to aspire too and is the common trigger for corruption. The Nigerian dream means that you can sponsor your extended family members to go to school so they too can be in a position where one day you can apply the science of nepotism to put them in your workplace.

The Nigerian dream is to become a big man or woman, that sort of mini deity that exists in the Nigerian populace. The big man and woman in addition to having wealth has the influence and power that goes with the wealth, he/she might not be the president, a governor or senator but has the ability to get in touch with those in such positions and is able to get concessions and obtain juicy contracts, job positions and other forms of patronage obtainable in Nigeria. The mega Nigerian dream is to own an Oil bloc and sit around while that sweet revenue flows in. Shoutout to the TY Danjuma’s of this country and Alakija or the Dangotes and Adenugas.

The Nigerian dream is to be able to say “Do you know who I am?!!!” or “Don’t worry let me call my boys!!!” or “I will deal with you!!!” and watch people instantly squirm and acquiesce to your every demand while others observing look upon you with awe and envy. Ooh what an important person you must be. This dream is a dream of being able to talk down to those you perceive to not be of your class. It is the dream to speak in foreign accents and constantly remind people that you have been abroad. It is the dream of constantly finding fault with everything that goes on in Nigeria and analyzing it using big big words while proffering no solution.

The Nigerian dream is having an overbloated sense of national pride despite the fact that our nation has really achieved nothing when compared to its wealth. It is the loudness, it is the boldness, it is the sanctimonious and hypocritical behaviours, it is the opinionated and prejudiced views, it is the diversity of ideas, dreams and vanities that makes us who we are as a nation.

I guess the Nigerian dream is to go from being a plantain boy to become a big boy. lol. What is the Nigerian dream to you?

Things Are Still Falling Apart – RIP Achebe

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Uncle Chinua

I m not one to jump on the bandwagon but I believe today is an exception. I am a fan of Chinua Achebe. He was in my opinion the Grandfather of the Nigerian Literary Renaissance. I say renaissance which connotes a rebirth because I firmly believe he was first and foremost a storyteller of the ilk of men and women of Nigerian and African past who told stories around the fire. You see we had always told stories in Africa despite what the colonialists might have thought. We passed down our stories in a rich oral tradition, it was a tradition I believe Chinua was a child of. He wrote in a style that once could almost imagine that he was hearing his voice tell a story much like the tales by moonlight of our childhoods.

He inspired generations of writers after him. Heck, between you and I the only reason I ever picked up Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda was because I had heard she was the Achebe of our generation or something of the sort. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed. He explored themes of colonialism, the clash of cultures, political instability, oppression, corruption and moral decay of society. His characters were full of life and multidimensional. It was sometimes difficult to pinpoint a “good guy” and “bad guy”.

He would be most remembered for things fall apart, his blockbuster hit if there is any such accolade to accord a literary work. It was a poignant work that does highlight in my opinion the constant clash between our traditions, cultures and values and what can be described as western traditions, cultures and values. It is highlights what perhaps was the beginning of the Jesus-ification and Mohammed-ization of our people and the alacrity and vigor with which our people accepted these religions. Everytime I have read it, I think of how anything “traditional” has come to be viewed with disdain in contemporary Nigerian and perhaps African culture. The “white man” brought a culture of self-hate all in the name of a resurrected God while preaching love. The contradictions of the beliefs of the contemporary African man and woman make for a fascinating study and his book alludes to this clash of cultures.

No longer at ease, Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, Arrow of God and of course There was a Country are his other books that I have read. The man was simply brilliant. I read there was a country with an open mind and frankly I believe he wrote it as he saw it, nothing controversial and history seems to back most of the story. Many of the things he talked about in his books, be they corruption be they the replacement of white colonial masters with black ones who steal and lot and deceive their people all in the name of power and wealth are still happening today.

Chinua Achebe was more than just a story teller, he was a true Nigerian, he was a prophet. His books could have easily been written today as they were written decades ago. Nigeria is still suffering, people are hungry, dying while the elite (perhaps I included), feast and make merry. In a country of “as long as doesnt affect someone I know” mentality, Achebe was a true patriot who recognized the realities and differences we have as a people. A true intellectual, a father, a grandfather and a literary giant.

In all the nine village Okonkwo was widely known, In all corners of the world you made us proud. Adieu Chinua. You live on through your works. If there is an afterlife, may we meet under the great palm tree in the sky and sip on the palm wine of the gods while you continue to tell me stories.

It’s MY Turn on The3Six5NG *Cue Parade*

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So today is my turn on the3six5ng blog, if you havent heard about the project check out what I wrote the other day about it here. You can skip all of that and just go to the website and read, comment, volunteer here.

I kinda have no idea what I m gonna write and I gotta get it out somewhere between 7 and 9pm naija time. At about 630pm, I ll attempt a 30 minute blitz and see what comes out. Wish me luck folks. 🙂

I live you with book of rhymes by Nas. That’s what I m currently what I m doing. (writing drafts on my computer and throwing it in the bin…) after going one round in the ring.

The3six5NG Project

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Hi folks, Its me. Yes of course it is me, who else would it be? For those concerned, I am still alive and have a plethora of blog drafts waiting to become actual blog posts. My official excuse for That being said, I was recently co-opted to contribute to the 3six5NG project which will kick off later today.

What is the 3six5NG project and why should you care? Well it is a project billed to capture 365 perspectives over 365 days from different Nigerians. It is a writing project, kind of an IPO (Initial Public Offer) but instead of selling shares it is selling perspectives, Nigerian perspectives. With 365 perspectives, I bet there will be a lot of interesting outlooks out there.

You should check it out when it goes live later today (I m thinking maybe by 10pm GMT?). Over the course of march, a lot of different bloggers will contribute including yours truly (I m on march 21st). Here is the for march. Apart from I and I there will be some of my friends on the blogosphere like: TheRustGeek, SingleNigerian and Kiah for stories that touch the heart, lol.

Ok so what was the point of this drive by post? Hmm, well I know that some of you folk who read this my tiny blog here are writers too so it would be grand if you volunteered to join the project too, you know so we can roll deep like one of those street gangs (No blood though).

Here is the link: About the3six5NG

Oh yeah and welcome to march, Expect a new post from me soon-ish.

Here’s an interesting perspective for ya: Cover your legs! lol

2012 on Musings of a Crazy Nigerian in review

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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 21,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

A Fool’s Guide to Natural Disasters

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Noah's ark and the flood

So Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy came and went and somewhat fortunately I guess for me that I am in Nigeria. Up until May this year, I lived in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) and where I live was heavily flooded by Sandy. Pardon my language but she was such a wet bish. Given that my apartment was a basement apartment, It would have definitely been damaged by Sandy. Alas fate, destiny, God made it that I am in Africa. *Cue Testimony music and raise hands to heaven speaking in tongues*, I’m sure there is a testimony in the church mode of thinking somewhere in there. That being said, my heart goes out to all the people who lost their lives and were affected by Sandy.

So I was merrily browsing le internet last week and I came across a synopsis (right word?) of reactions from other parts of the world to Sandy on Global voices: It was titled: “Arab World: Sandy unleashes wrath of God on infidel America”

Trust me, I made a comment and it went thus:

“It is absolutely ridiculous to believe that a natural disaster is God’s punishment on a nation. Evil people exist everywhere whether it is in America or the Middle East. It is sheer ignorance to latch on one’s hatred for a country and use that to justify a callous and dismissive approach to the vicitims of the disaster.
As for the lack of coverage of the massacre in Syria, it is a case of who pays the piper dictates the tune. American and Western media outlets are predominant the world over so it is natural that they cover the events that affect them directly. Human nature is selfish. If the Arab world needs more coverage perhaps we need more stations like Al-Jazeera whose constituency is the Arab world and its citizens.” – HRH Prince Farouk I

Like the comment says, I find it preposterous that there are people who think any natural disaster is God’s way of punishing people. News flash, Natural disasters happen. There is no selective process involved. There are scientific and logical explanations for every natural disaster that occurs. There isn’t a big man in the sky that throws thunder bolts at nations or people that piss him off based on his whims or evil.

Bringing this back home, I have heard a few people describe the flooding that has occurred in various parts of Nigeria as God’s punishment for our increasing decadence as a society. Apparently our fornication, terrorism, adultery, corruption, ashawo tendencies have increased and as a result God decided to reward us with floods. Um, No. The floods are a results of undredged waters, climate change resulting in higher rainfall and the fact that Cameroon let open one of their dams doesn’t help the matter as well.

Like I said in my comment, If God rewards evil with natural disasters upon nations then wouldn’t that be sort of unfair? Arent there evil and sinful men and women all over the world? I believe whatever religion you believe, Natural disasters should not be seen as a punishment from God but an opportunity to reflect on the transient nature of life and how we need to make sure we are right with our maker (or lack thereof for the atheists), make peace with ourselves and recognize that death is no respecter of persons. We should also condole with those who have lost people in disasters, not sit around and castigate them for what they clearly had no control over. Lets leave the story of Noah and the flood in Genesis where it belongs.

Also there are people that believe AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality, poverty means that you have done something to offend God, babies born with disabilities are God’s punishment for abortion, etc. The list goes on…smh.

So what do you think? Are Natural Disasters messages from God? Should be afraid that I might be struck by lightening while I fornicate? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do intelligent people leave their brains at the door when it comes to religion? Speak your piece ladies and gentlemen…