Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The nature of my job involves a lot of traveling. I'm usually out of Lagos at least once in a month. Most of these journeys are made by air. In the last 6 months, I have been able to visit all the airports in the East - Benin, Owerri, Enugu, PH (NAF Base).

It is said that the airport is the easiest place to meet up with executives that you would not ordinarily have access to. You get to queue up with them, rub shoulders with them, even sit down beside them and strike up conversations with them. These "big men" would regard the fact that you are on their flight as a sign that you have achieved some form of personal success. A list of some of the "popular folks " I've flown with would include - Olisa Agbakoba,Senators Olorunnimbe Mamora and Ganiyu Solomon, Alhaji Arisekola Alao, Tunji Otegbeye, Sunny Nneji, Jumobi (RMD), Wild Child and Ibinabo Fiberesima

Air travel is regarded as the exclusive preserve of the rich in this country. It is supposed to confer an air of superiority on those who can afford it. It sets you apart from the rest of 'them' who only make do with seeing planes while they are in the skies. The ambience of the Airport Arrival and Departure lounges usually sets the stage for the 'Airport Mentality'. The scene begins as you alight from your vehicle, get your luggage from your boot and trolley your load into the departure lounge. Looking around serves as a form of education for the uninitiated. A quick walk into the departure section for the foreign airlines would reveal various innate characteristics of Nigerians. You get to see the community members who have put together money to send their beloved son for further studies abroad. This set of people can easily be identified by the large display of ethnic attires and endless torrent of prayers and advice for the (un)fortunate traveler. Another set you would see is that of young boys and girls who have come to see off their 'homeboy' whom the Gods have blessed with a visiting visa to some foreign country. This homeboy has probably been on the visa application thing for ages. He has tried under various guises - student, refugee, visitor, at last, an act of omission or commission at the foreign embassy leads to him getting a Visa. Another set could be that of the boyfriend who is going on a foreign trip escorted hand in hand by his girlfriend. They look like a scene out of a romantic movie as they push the trolley slowly on the check in queue.
A common denominator in all these groups is the penchant for individuals to respond to phone calls with "I'm at the International Airport/ Mo wa ni Airport bayii" as a replacement for the "Hello" Word.
A comedian once said the place you can see Nigerians put up their best behavior is at a Foreign embassy in Nigeria and on arrival at a Foreign Airport. These are places where you can give the Nigerian a good slap and he would delightfully turn the other cheek.
I have had various interesting flight experiences that I would like to share.

Something I've noticed about Nigerians on local flights is their penchant for sharing their experiences on foreign flights and comparing both of them. I was once on an Arik Air flight to Benin that was as turbulent as it could be. On that particular day, Arik Air was the only airline that operated from the Domestic Airport. Other airlines cancelled their flights. The Lagos - Benin flight usually takes 25mins, however we were onboard this flight for almost an hour. Terrible rain and lightning made us stay onboard the aircraft for about an hour before the plane could take off. During this period, the pilot was busy turning the plane around and "searching for network". At this stage, I was extremely disturbed. We later took off and headed towards Benin. On approaching the Benin Airport, all the elements of the weather came out in their full glory. The plane ride suddenly became as smooth as a bus ride on Ikotun-Ijegun road. The flight pattern changed to that of a sinusoidal wave. In the midst of the turbulence, some Tokunbo Nigerian behind me was running commentaries on how his flights from Texas to wherever were often bumpy. He kept yapping about how his flight from Madrid to wherever was also rough. Meanwhile, I was in front of him confessing all my wrongdoings from my time to the time of my great-grandfathers. The guy kept blabbing. The next thing was that the pilot announced that he had tried to land but couldn't see the runway and he would make another attempt. he also mentioned that in the event that his second attempt at landing was unsuccessful, we would return to Lagos. I was already shouting in my mind - My guy bone this thing, make we go back. I discovered at this point that Mr. Texas/Madrid behind me had gone quiet. I think he realised that heaven did not discriminate in its admission list. Your chances of surviving a plane crash have nothing to do with the extent of your travels. I almost lost hope when the chap beside me started singing hymns. We landed safely.

Something else I usually notice at the airports is the way rich/elite mothers and their kids relate. It is becoming commonplace to see Middle aged women, hippily dressed with low-neckline blouses revealing cleavages (better still remains of cleavages) strutting their stuff across the airport lounges. Not so far behind are their foreign looking kids who speak some gibberish that resembles the English language. The kids often come with exotic names like Isabella, Donatella, MichaelAngelo, Tarzan and Damendra. Imagine this conversation b/w the mother of such kids and her close family friend who she meets at the airport

Mother: Ah, Aunty Yetunde, E ka san , O to jo meta, Oju yin ree
Family Friend: Ijo kan pelu bawo ni
Mother: Hey, Kids , come and meet Aunty Yetty
Kids: Hi Aunty Yetty
Family Friend: Bawo ni o , Se dada lewa, Ah E ranti Aunty yi to n gbe ni Agege
kids: Mummy, Mummy, Where is Agaygay? Is Agaygay in Nigeria?
Mother: You know these kids, They really don't understand Yoruba, they only come

for vacation. Getting a Yoruba Teacher for them is so hard. All they know is
Cartoon Network
Family Friend: So what are your names?
Kids: My name is Tarzan, My name is Damendra
Family Friend: Iro Oruko Anjonu wo niyen, Jide and Dayo la ma pe awon omoyi keto ko won losi


...to be continued

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Little is known about the family history of the Embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives. She is largely known as Patricia Olubunmi Etteh - A hairdresser from Ikire who rose from humble beginnings to the enviable height of Nigeria's No. 4 citizen. Many people (especially Yorubas) wonder where she got the name 'Etteh" from. After all, the name does not exactly sound "Yorubaish". After doing some sleuthing, I discovered that her name Etteh is probably from the Etteh family of Etteh Aro and partners. Etteh Aro and partners is a reputable Construction Engineering Practise located in Bodija, Ibadan. The practise was set up by Engineer (Rev) Etteh and (Late) Engnr Arokodare. These names ring bells in the minds of those who grew up in Bodija and its environs. The Speaker's official history shows that she worked in this company in the early 70's. An unofficial account says she was married to Engnr. Etteh. This account also happens to be the most widely circulated.However, some extra research has thrown this assertion into doubt. You can read further by clicking on this link http://www.thisdayonline.com/archive/2003/01/11/20030111plu05.html

At the bottom of the above article, it is stated that "He (Engnr Etteh) is married to Elizabeth Ibia Etteh, they have a son, Akpanoluo and a daughter Nkaepe". Could Elizabeth Ibia Etteh and Patricia Olubunmi Etteh be the same person or are they different people? One of these 3 possibilities is true -

-She could have been married to Engnr Etteh before he met Elizabeth
-She could have been married to Engnr Etteh's relation
-She could actually be Engnr Etteh's present wife
This is quite an interesting scenario.

Could Patricia Olubunmi Etteh actually be a Pastor's Wife?

Monday, October 22, 2007


If love is a crime , I'm willing to be haunted ..... 2face Idibia (2006)

My mind goes back to the unfortunate incident that happened to our "world-famous artiste " - Innocent Idibia (2face) a couple of weeks ago. So many people have questioned the motive behind these attacks. Some have said it was some ex-cult members from his alma mater - IMT Makurdi, others have suggested it could be some of his rival singers. All the above reasons could be plausible, but as I sat to think deeply over the incident, I came to the conclusion that 2Baba was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How I arrived at this was quite simple. 2Baba was allegedly attacked at the Popular Cele Busstop along Apapa- oshodi Expressway. Apapa- Oshodi expressway is one of the major routes in the Lagos Metropolis and could be second in importance only to the Ikorodu road. There are quite a number of busstops along the road going from Oshodi through Charity, Toyota, 5Star, Iyana Isolo, Hassan,Iyana Itire, Berliet, Cele, Agunlejika, Ijesha , Mile 2 e.t.c All the aforementioned are names anyone who lives along the Apapa- Oshodi route would know. For the purpose of this discourse we would focus on Cele bstop and the few b/stops preceding it.

I spent the earlier part of my stay in Lagos at Isolo, Okota which is generally accessible from Cele b/stop. I must have passed through the b/stop over 400 times. Cele busstop is a place I can make my way through blindfolded. The name "Cele" comes from a Celestial Church which is located across the road from the busstop. However, contrary to the meaning of the word Celestial, there is nothing divine or heavenly about this b/stop. It is a cesspit of dirt, crime and all-round the clock danger. The day usually starts in Cele bstop at about 5.am. with cops rounding off the overnight patrol, Island workers leaving home early in order to join a CMS bus, area boys arriving for their morning shot of Paraga(local gin) and conductors loitering around with chewing sticks in their mouths. At about 7 am, the petty traders resume for the day and start putting out their wares. The council officials resume on the Aguda side of the road to catch those who decide to cross the express road on foot instead of using the Pedestrian Bridge. Plain clothes policemen start stop and search duties looking for individuals with files and folders containing incriminating documents. Such incriminating documents could range from contract papers to Immigration documents. Any arrested individual is usually taken across to the Police station on the Aguda side of Cele Busstop. LASTMA officials resume their duty posts to start directing traffic coming from over 4 different directions at the same time

Cele b/stop is quite unique in its location. It serves as an opening to Okota, Isolo area on one side while it also opens up to Ijesha/lawanson Surulere. Just before getting to the Okota side of Celebustop, lies a Coca-Cola Mini-depot in the form of Container largely used for importation at the Dockyard. Behind this Coca-Cola container is a Large canal overlooked by a pentecostal church. This canal is usually the meeting/hiding place of criminal elements around Cele b/stop. Across the road on the Aguda side is a refuse dump and a minimarket bordering the expressway and Lawanson area. Hoodlums from Surulere and environs usually ,after a hard day's work saunter across the refuse dump to Cele busstop in search of prey. If you escape the Aguda boys on one side, you might come into touch with the Isolo/ ilasa boys on the other side. It could be noted at this point that any bstop in Lagos that has a pedestrian bridge is usually a black spot at night. Cele is no exception to this rule. Commercial busses coming from Oshodi and Airport road usually stop over at Cele bstop to drop/pick passengers. Incessant stopping of these buses coupled with vehicles coming in the opposite direction (popularly called One-way) leads to a traffic snarl for vehicles on the Isolo side of the road. Thus vehicles going from oshodi/ Airport road to Mile 2 could be caught up at Cele bustop for up to 30 mins.

At this point in the discourse, I would go back to the main actor in this film- 2face, Fresh from Yankee/Jand/ wherever he was said to have gone, he was picked up at the airport by his cousins / friends in a vehicle. Some of his associates spilled over into another vehicle. We can safely assume that this convoy made its way from MMIA through 7/8 Busstop, DHL,5Star, Ilasa, Itire and then had to stop in the Cele traffic. If we flash our minds back to the report of the encounter, it was said that a laptop on 2Baba's laps saved his loins from the effect of the bullets. He was said to have been listening to a demo CD on the laptop. Here was 2face and his gang , gisting and joking, talking about girls, music , weed and listening to a CD on his laptop. As they approached Cele, they got stuck in the usual traffic jam. The Aguda/ Isolo/Ilasa boys were perusing the traffic seeking whom to devour. They spotted a car with a couple of guys in which one of them had his laptop screen on. They conclude that these must be a couple of JJCs/ butties who would be easily scared at the sight of a pistol. On approaching 2Baba's car, they shockingly discover that these boys are not butties. Confronted with the sight of hardened Festac boys, they suddenly feel threatened and then let loose. The gun explodes, 2Baba and his crew try to escape while the bad boys disappear into the night. A pure water truck comes around later and helps convey the wounded to a hospital. The Medical Director of Cedar hospital, Festac is summoned to hear that 2Baba is around again. He exclaims "Na only 2face dey this country".

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think of this incident and I realise that it could have been worse. Sometime ago around this same Cele b/stop, a newly wedded couple were stopped on the way from their wedding reception . The bride and groom were made to lie down on the tarred road, while thieves made away with their SUV (jeep). Every other month, an armoured tank is placed at this same b/stop inorder to quell fights between rival factions of the NURTW (otherwise known as Agbero). During one of these fights, I counted nothing less than 80 Area boys armed with various weapons- Ake, UTC, Pana, Lebe e.t.c
Some hundreds of metres away at Iyana Isolo Bstop, The Thisday Columnist - Godwin Agbroko was shot dead in his vehicle.

Oshodi- Apapa expressway is a 20km road network that extends from Iyana Oworo to Apapa without a single street light on. It is indeed a long stretch of darkness. Do not be surprised that 2face was attacked. He is just a name in a long list of victims along that route. As for 2baba, since he has refused to relocate from Nigeria, he could consider moving to another part of Lagos such as Omole Estate. He would be in the good company of his musical peers such as Daddy Showkey, Passuma Wonder, Psquare and Femi Kuti. He could comfortably afford such a move. All the "keeping it real in the Festac hood" might not pay off at the end of the day.
For the rest of us (lesser mortals), the struggle continues

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


To all who have gone before us, we pay our maximum respect.
To all who are behind us, we greet
To all who walk with us, we salute