The news of the death of the “Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation,” Diepreye Alamieyeseigha came out of the blue considering the fact that there was no fore knowledge or prior information of his illness from the media. The 62-year old former governor of Bayelsa State reportedly died after a protracted battle with kidney disease, diabetes and high blood pressure at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital after slipping into a coma two days before. Like almost every other subject in Nigeria, the news of his death has resulted in controversy as Nigerians have continued to elicit varying reactions to it. The revelation that the British Government had requested to have the ex-governor extradited to the UK in a bid to resurrect the inconclusive case of money laundering against him certainly added fuel to the ongoing debate.
It is no longer news that the self-proclaimed “Special One” has been having some not-so-special moments as the coach of the defending champions, Chelsea since the beginning of the 2015/16 English Premier League season. The blues have won two, drawn two, and lost four of the eight games they have played so far this season. A shock to many and their worst start to a premier league season in 37 years! Jose Mourinho’s seven-minute rambling to one question was reminiscent of a man clutching at straws out of desperation. He cut the figure of one afraid of getting the boot after his second coming to a club he clearly loves so much. It looked almost likely that the Chelsea boss would be on his way out of Stamford bridge, and effectively become the third manager to bite the dust after the sacking of Dick Advocaat of Sunderland and Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool.
Ladies and gentlemen, I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to write about this subject matter, because somewhere in my subconscious I hoped and prayed that the scourge of rape would have greatly reduced by now. I have also been reluctant to tackle this issue, because there’s no way to write about rape without feeling a good measure of anger and sadness – emotions I was shying away from. The rape epidemic in Nigeria has been increasing at an alarming rate daily. The virtue of the women folk in particular has become endangered in our society. It is virtually impossible to open the crime section of any newspaper nowadays without reading about one reported case of rape or the other. It is baffling, as it is very worrisome because many non-governmental organisations, groups and individuals have been quite active in the fight against this plague. Yet incidents of rape keep rising.
By now the story of Ahmed Mohamed, the teenage ninth grader who was arrested and interrogated on suspicion of bringing a “hoax bomb” to school is stale gist that has blown over as many of us would say. However, Ahmed’s ordeal in the hands of his teachers and police officers in Irving, Texas USA has once again brought the bigger problem of stereotypes and its effect on individuals, groups of people, and the society in general to the fore. Many times, people are stereotyped because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sex, skin colour, nationality or anything else the human mind can conjure up. The reality is that virtually all of us are guilty of prejudice against another person or group of people because we have a preconceived notion about who we think they are or how we feel they should be.
Recently, the government at the federal level and many states of the federation marked 100 days in office. A tradition that is largely supposed to give a clear blue print they intend to fully implement in the course of the next (almost) four years in office. While the average Nigerian can be said to be upbeat about definite strides at the federal level especially in areas such as power generation, the oil sector which has recorded a remarkable turnaround in the hitherto comatose refineries, and the fight against corruption, the same cannot be said of developments in Lagos State under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
When I did a piece on “How To Be A Nigerian” here I omitted the fact that Nigerians love noise. It is almost unforgivable and I apologise for that. Our undisputable love for noise should perhaps have come first on the list of the factors to look out for in identifying a typical Nigerian. The average Nigerian thrives in a noisy environment, whether on the streets, in our homes, cars, offices, churches and mosques who perpetually hold vigils and early morning services (are arguably the worst culprits when it comes to propagating noise) or at events. It’s almost as though we are not existing when we don’t make noise.
Stage invasions, confounding statements, outlandish comments and unabashed braggadocio are only a few phrases that can be used to describe the persona of Kanye Omari West, the American rap star and recording producer. Just when the world thought the self-professed god could do nothing to surprise them anymore, the highly controversial maverick pulled yet another stunner by announcing that he will be running for president in the 2020 American presidential elections during his acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award at the 2015 Video Music Awards on Sunday. Kanye did what he knows how to do best. Get the world talking.
It was during one of those spells of fuel scarcity that has become a staple of Nigeria. The few fuel stations that were selling the product had their shenanigans in full swing. Either they were selling above the stipulated pump price of premium motor spirit or collecting a fee before they would even commence dispensing fuel into one’s car or keg. The supposed government owned NNPC fuel station in my area decided to get into the game in a different way. Since they could not increase their prices outright or be seen to be demanding a fee before selling petrol like most of the other privately owned gas stations, they devised their own method which was to compel vehicle owners to buy engine oil before they could sell fuel to them.
I don’t consume any of the carbonated malt drinks. I discovered very early on that I didn’t like them. Not for any health or prejudiced reasons, I just didn’t (and still don’t) like the bitter aftertaste. I tried to like them. I felt I was weird because everyone (or at least everyone I knew) loved malt drinks. It is the preference at parties and many other functions as many believe it is a better option to other lower priced carbonated soft drinks. I have been at get-togethers where it was the only drink served and I had to pass on it, but not without escaping the curious stares of fellow attendees some of whom would ask why I wasn’t having it, wondering if it had to do with some weight loss program. My reply has always been the same – ‘No, it has nothing to do with a diet plan. I just don’t like the taste.’ I have come to accept it and have long since stopped trying to force myself to drink it.
I would gush about how “my boys” had a fantastic game and complain repeatedly whenever they had a bad game or fell short of expectations, and my friend who couldn’t care less about all the fuss about football in general and the premier league specifically would subtly ask me how they were my boys or if they were even aware of my existence, but I would brush her comments off as the ignorant views of the uninitiated – that is the effect football has on me and millions of other Nigerians and indeed football enthusiasts all around the world! It is so refreshing to be able to get away from all the controversies and uncertainties that have trailed events since the run up to the elections and after then, the endless debates and arguments among rival political parties and their voltrons, the recurring headache induced by relentless Boko Haram, the National Assembly brouhaha, the endless drama on social media and several other issues that spring up every day in this troubled world of ours. Football, the avenue for escapism is here!