The Big Brother Reality TV show has been a subject of debate since it began broadcasting in January. And as the days have progressed the arguments for and against its relevance have become more heated on social media. It’s not a new development. Since the first Big Brother Africa show made its debut in 2003, and the Nigerian version was first aired in 2006, it has courted controversy; plenty of controversy. Apart the “strange” idea of having a group of strangers live together in a confined space without the trappings of gadgets and activities that accompany daily life, there was always going to be concern about what the housemates who are full-fledged adults would get up to within a period of three months where they would have nothing much to occupy them save for interacting with one another.
When I was a fresher at the University of Ibadan, I stayed in the hostel. The prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall to be precise. There was this girl who was also a fresh undergraduate. We didn’t stay in the same room, nor had friends in common, but I got to know her because she became quite…
I don’t like writing about Nigeria. I try to shy away from writing about Nigeria and her problems. The reason is not far-fetched really. Even a visually-impaired person knows that the country’s woes are self-inflicted. With a leadership that constantly seeks ways to outdo itself when it comes to incompetence and a set of followers who lament everyday, but in the same breath defend the political class who subject them to untold hardship, it’s difficult to believe we aren’t suffering from a collective Stockholm Syndrome. The more our government and political class subject us to different forms of abuse, the more we are wont to vote their ilk when election day arrives.
First it was Melania Trump, wife of USA president-elect, Donald Trump plagiarizing the outgoing First lady, Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. Then, just as Nigerians joined a host of other nationals to poke fun at the Slovenia born ex-model, it was revealed that our own president was guilty of the same offence. His “Change Begins With Me” campaign speech was discovered to have some too-coincidental-to-be-ignored similarities with that given by President Barack Obama during his 2008 victory speech. And just when one would have thought any other presidential team, speechwriter or public figure for that matter would be extra careful not to fall into the same pit of embarrassment, the newly elected Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo took his a notch higher by plagiarizing not just one, but two presidential inauguration speeches; passages from speeches delivered by Bill Clinton and George Bush were lifted in President Akufo-Addo’s inaugural address.
I know the title of this essay is a paradox. I know… it’s borne out of a discovery I made only last week. I wasn’t going to comment on Toke Makinwa and her marital woes; at least not in the way many news sites and blogs have jumped on the story, but I made a discovery which struck me profoundly, and it would be selfish of me not to share, especially with the female folk. Before now I didn’t know, nor would I have ever have imagined that a woman could be legally married to a man, yet wear the toga of the mistress or what we colloquially call the side chick. I was totally unaware of this until I read the much talked about memoir by the Media Personality, On Becoming. Yes, you can be the wife and the side chick all at once.
Call it a gaffe, an embarrassing social blunder, a joke in bad taste, or a slip of tongue, one thing is sure it’s a faux pas of gigantic proportions. As far as slip-ups go, the statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari when asked about his wife’s criticism of recent developments in his administration will always rank high in the annals of history when compared with sundry errors made by his predecessors. In a joint press statement with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, President Buhari had said his wife belongs to his kitchen, his living room, and the “other room” (whatever that means), even though virtually everyone has assumed the other room the president referred to is the bedroom. A conclusion that is hard to argue with given his slightly mischievous countenance.
You can’t miss them if you live in a country as hugely populated and as diverse as Nigeria, more so if you live in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos. They remain a part and parcel of the metropolis. Even though beggars are not unique to these parts, the method and manner of soliciting for cash on the streets is certainly unique here. I first really began to pay attention to the growing aggression of beggars when I was observing the compulsory National Youth Service programme in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State years ago. One time, I was in a colleague’s car in traffic when this man walked up to us to beg for alms. Apparently feeling ignored, he began to rap on the side glass in an attempt to get our attention, and probably force us to part with some cash, if not out of mercy, then as a way of escaping the nuisance he was constituting. It didn’t work.
Two lawmakers butt heads and engage in a war of words on the floor of the upper legislative chamber. One is the controversial Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district, while the other is the lawmaker representing Lagos Central and wife of the equally controversial former governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu. The feuding senators belong to the same party, but have been able to get their colleagues, fellow party members, other politicians and the general public divided on whom to queue behind.
First, it was the controversial N8.64 billion wardrobe allowance for the then newly sworn in legislators. Then the most incredulous and shocking one so far…in what was described by the Senate President, as “a watershed moment in our vision to take lawmaking back to the people,” the Senate President’s Suggestion box was launched. Just in case you haven’t been in tune with happenings in Nigeria’s political space; Yes, you read right. Suggestion boxes were launched in the chambers of the nation’s highest law making body. In the 21st century. In this digital/technological age. Ribbons were used for decoration and a tape was cut (you get the drift…all the works were in place) to launch suggestion boxes by our senators. Then, the latest may just be the final straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back- the proposed clampdown on social media critics who “falsely” criticize public officials or institutions.
Last Friday was “Black Friday.” It was hard to miss, what with the hype from retail stores about the massive discounts and promo sales that would be enjoyed on various household items, cloths and electronics which had been on for a while. I wondered what all the euphoria was all about until I googled it and discovered that it was yet another “American imported idea.” Black Friday is the day after thanksgiving, which is marked on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. The Friday following that highly significant day is seen as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season, hence, the day is sort of set aside to mark the beginning of the shopping season towards Christmas. And so, I wondered – since we don’t celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday over here, why were we identifying with Black Friday? I couldn’t really think of any answer, save for our usual penchant for copying the Western world in almost everything regardless of its practicality over here or not.