Thursday 25 March 2010

The Northern Prince Part 4

I know you guys are shaking your head in disapproval, but be open minded when you read before you crucify them, lol! You know I love my characters!

Jamal Mujahid was having an affair. His marriage was on the rocks and had been for a long time. He was ashamed to admit it but he took the easy way out and found solace in the arms of another woman, his sister in law.
Nabila, his wife was more like an annoying roommate than a life partner now. Their arguments got more aggressive, the insults more hurtful. The days he would return from work exhausted at having chased around deals that never saw fruition or having his butt handed to him for trying to diversify his portfolio or investing in a contract that proved to be worthless. Those were the days he needed his wife. He needed her to soothe him, reassure him, make him laugh, let him cry. Allow him to be the vulnerable half of the couple. Instead he found Nabila sitting at home, grumbling about how bored she was, expecting him to transform into Casanova right away and make her moan. She folded her arms as if to say his role of husband began right away and that role meant it was her time and her time only.
She never showed interest in his work but expected him to be all ears when she opened her mouth to complain about Mama, servants, lack of rain, too much rain, or wives of friends they knew...
Jamal knew friends who were stuck in bad marriages and always it boiled down to the fact that the wife changed. Stopped taking care of her appearance or making an effort to look sexy, completely let her weight go or suddenly had more time for the kids than the husband. To Nabila’s credit she never pretended to be anyone other than herself. Jamal knew when he married her that she was selfish, a little cold, undomesticated and very insecure. She didn’t like her height or her weight or her nose. She wore her wealth like a shield and made that her identity so she would not have to address her lack of social grace. He knew all this and yet he married her; swore before Allah to always protect and provide, defend and desire. For very simple reasons: he understood Nabila.
How he does Jamal is yet to discover but he met her and he could comprehend why she acted the way she did. He was not put off by her nonchalant attitude. She was very righteous and upright. He remains the only man Nabila ever slept with. Also, Nabila loved him very much. Jamal was certain he would never find someone so wholeheartedly his. With this, he informed his mother of his intention and while they graduated, marriage preparations back home were underway. There is only so long he could support Nabila before his shoulder began to fall. For once, he wanted her to walk with the confidence she admired in her sister. Just this one time let her initiate sex if she wanted it so bad. In this singular moment his wife should make him a cup of coffee in the morning instead of ringing a bell for the servant to do it. It would be nice if she was awake to kiss him goodbye before he left for work; make him look forward to coming home. He never thought carrying the burden and responsibilities of marriage alone would get too heavy. Jamal’s marriage was at fault because he changed; not his wife. She remained who she had always been.

Presently, Jamal Mujahid had a problem and the only person that could help him out was his wife’s best friend Amaka Nwafor. That is the reason why he was currently sat in her office, hat in his hand, trying not to fidget under her stare. Jamal was not frightened of her; Amaka was the farthest thing from scary. Her ready smile alone was an application for sainthood but the mere fact that he could still smell Rabi on him and quite frankly was having a very hard time keeping the smug satisfied look off his face made it very difficult for Jamal to focus on enticing Amaka away from her strict regulations
“It’s standard operating procedure” Amaka said
“I know. I know” Jamal tried to sound solemn
“You know I would help if it was within my reach”
“But that’s just it Maka. You are in complete control of admissions”
“I am not going to abuse my position Jay”
“All you have to do is move the Beckenbauer’s to the top of the list so that by next semester their daughter would be considered for a position at your primary school”
“I might as well hand over a school uniform at that point then” Amaka reasoned
“That would be helpful...” he smiled. Amaka did not respond in kind. Jamal tried a different tactic
“Are those the twins” he exclaimed lifting up a silver frame displaying Chibuzo and Chiamaka beside their bicycles. “They grow up so fast don’t they?” he sighed wistfully
“Now you’re just grasping at straws” Amaka lifted an eyebrow
“Okay I’m going to level with you.” Jamal took a deep breath “Kristof Beckenbauer is a leading ceramics and tile manufacturer in Munich. I mean he basically owns the stone and tile industry. He wants to expand in untouched markets. The Ministry of Works wants the contract.”
“Why not? We have the much needed man power required to run it, available natural resources plus ports in Lagos for easy shipments of imported raw materials. Anyway, we tried to liaise with his second in command but the dan iska has his eyes on Marrakech so we focused our attention on the Architect as he made the tour of shortlisted countries to inspect possible building sites. Attempted to win his nomination by flying him back here first class for a ‘second look’ and treating him to the finest things Abuja had to offer. Yes, including hookers. However it is possible he might be swayed elsewhere”
“I don’t understand where I come in” Amaka asked confused
“There is another way in” Jamal put the picture frame down and looked up sheepishly “Lenora”
“She is Beckenbauer’s 7 year old daughter”
“Oh no Jamal...”
“If we can paint a life here for him. Show that he will settle nicely, help smooth his transition” Amaka was shaking her head even as Jamal spoke
“Everything else is sorted. Housing, personal staff even very highly exclusive committees his wife Kamilla can be involved in. All but this loose end Maka, this is the most prestigious school in Abuja. The most prestigious school in Nigeria. Getting Lenora in here will clinch the deal”
“You don’t even know if he will move here” Amaka said incredulously
“All aspects of his life in Abuja spell out power and influence. No other school will do. Parents broker billion naira deals just outside school gates while waiting for the final bell to ring. Everyone knows Inter house sports and drama recitals are just another term for merger and acquisition meetings or political pledges”
“We try to squeeze in education as well”
“I know that Maka; it’s a wonderful school and that’s why Senators and Ministers place their children on the list from kindergarten” Jamal blinked his big brown eyes. Amaka shifted in her seat “You are the Head Administrator. If you could just put the name on the list and make it seem like they were in with a shot.”
Amaka started to think there would be no harm to it. Beckenbauer would obviously ace the financial screening and Lenora would raise their profile as an international school. They could add a German to the Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Lebanese, American and British families already enrolled.
“Let’s say it all goes according to plan. What then?” she asked
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it” Jamal said with a determined look
“This your life of high risk; high reward. I don’t know how Nabila puts up with it”
“She has wonderful friends like you” Jamal replied sweetly
“Biko go I’ve heard. You’re lucky your wife knows people in high places” Amaka smiled
“Love to the twins” Jamal said as he was heading out
Amaka waved him away smiling as she returned to the paperwork Jamal had interrupted. Shaking her head; understanding how her level-headed friend fell for this charmer.
Jamal raced to his car and dialled his office. His blood pumped harder when there was a deal in the making. This is what he lived for. Manipulation, bribery and on occasion blackmail were all part of his job. In the end it was all about the bottom line; the Federal Ministry had to gross a profit. It could be non-immediate but expenses certainly had to pay for themselves by the second quarter; or it was his neck on the chopping board. He was always interested in politics but not the type played out on TV for the entire world to witness and scrutinise. Jamal meant the real politics in the powerhouses, whispered allegiances and signed cheques within actual corridors of power. Not sweating under hot sun, shaking hands or kissing babies. Screaming speeches at a crowd and assuring market women that with their votes; their interest will be protected. With these criteria, there was ever really only one place for him. Ascension in the Federal Ministries was rapid; so many contracts overlapped it was easy to earn your stripes within three years if you were cunning about it. Jamal was. He never offended, scolded or betrayed. He was a smart, a charmer, and had a face that was difficult to forget, always quick to grease someone’s palm. Jamal knew from experience that people were more loyal if you gave them sugar than if you cracked the whip. So he was Mr. Friendly; always eager to dash a few thousand here or tip a couple hundred there. There was no one: colleague, client or cleaning staff that wouldn’t take a bullet for Jamal Mujahid. He knew that the longer the dough was left to rise, the better the pastry. With the rate of his success at procuring deals for the Government, vast amount of contacts in every continent, friends in various levels of influence and track record of loyalty, he would be summoned to a seat of power. By age 40 he intended to be the Minister of the FCT.
Jamal pulled into his reserved parking space at his office in Mabushi. Currently, he was Deputy Director of Engineering Services for the Ministry of Works and Housing. He ran up the stairs replying every greeting with a smile and enquiry of family wellbeing. At his desk he informed the Minister of Power and Steel on the progress of the Beckenbauer deal “Yes he has taken care of it. His contact at Elite Nursery and Primary School assured him it would not be a problem. No, no need to thank him just as long as he received what he was promised. It was imperative his friend was the line manger at the factory. Hahaha; I hear you. You too.” Just as Jamal hung up, his personal assistant Zainab walked in with coffee. “What would I do without you?” he said as she placed the tray on the table. She smiled in reply and made to speak “Zainab don’t worry about it. I promised you ko? As soon as we get
the go-ahead it is guaranteed that your brother will be the line manager. Tell Abu not to worry” “Allah blesses you” Zainab sighed gratefully before seeing herself out.
Jamal knew what he was doing. Zainab had been with him from the start and her brother was well over-qualified to run an industrial operation. He just hadn’t been able to get a break. By giving Abu this recommendation Jamal ensured he had an ally in what would soon become the most profitable venture in West Africa. His sipped from his mug and laid back on his executive armchair. Across from him was a picture of Nabila; Jamal didn’t remember the last time he stared at it; as though his mind had created a blind spot. He lifted the polished wood frame and tried to remember the emotions he felt on that day in Obudu Ranch when he told Nabila to pose for him. She started off shy at first then as he flattered and heaped praises, his wife’s stance became relaxed then flirty. And this was the end result; Nabila in shorter- than- short white denim cut offs and a green tank top. She had her hands on her hips and leaned forward into the lens exposing her cleavage and pouting. Her hair free from its usual bondage flew wild about her face. She looked deliriously happy and incredibly sexy. It was their second year wedding anniversary getaway. Examination completed, Jamal opened his drawer and placed the photo face down in it. He did not care anymore.

The next evening he drove his Benz to Maitama, pulling into the parking lot of The Hilton. Exhausted from work he laid his head on the steering wheel and knew the sight of a double bed with goose feather pillows would overcome him. He looked forward to napping in the air conditioned room and ordering room service. Jamal bypassed the front desk with a nod at the concierge; Adamu had grown accustomed to his presence over the past four weeks and merely bowed in greeting before resuming discussions with the customer he was attending to. Stepping out of the elevator on the 14th floor he walked towards the same room number as previous visits before. The door had been left slightly ajar and he leaned into it. Jamal surveyed the art deco style room and the windows that opened out into a beautiful view of the city. Rabi was standing in front of the original artwork on the wall; her brow knitted together as she deciphered the abstract blocks of paint on canvas. She wore dark blue straight jeans and a crisp white shirt. Her hair held back with an Alice band. Her feet were bare. The sound alerted her and she turned to smile at him. Rabi always smiled. She ran to him and threw her arms around his neck keeping them there not uttering a single word. Jamal was grateful, this allowed him time to decompress and get his bearings. Instead her palms rubbed his shoulders in circular motions for minutes. Finally she pulled away and cupped his face in her palms “Hi” she smiled. “Hey” Jamal responded. She cast her dark eyed stare directly at him
“Beckenbauer?” she asked knowingly
“Uhum” Jamal responded
“It will all work itself out because you are brilliant at what you do” she kissed his brow bone. Jamal sighed
“Screw the Architect” Rabi continued “I hope the prostitute gave him gonorrhoea”
“Prostitutes” Jamal corrected “there were five”
Rabi’s eyes widened “Maybe he isn’t so bad after all” Jamal tickled her and she giggled so infectiously, soon they both fell on the bed and not long after, their laughter gave way to lust.
When Jamal awoke, Rabi sat cross-legged on the bed with a huge edition of Gray’s Anatomy open in her lap. Her Mac computer was to her left along with jottings on scrap paper and research on the effects of estrogens contained in yam on twin births in Yoruba land. In her right hand was a light green marker which she used to highlight paragraphs and in her left was a cigarette. The whole thing was made even more absurd by Rabi’s stark nakedness. Jamal shuffled to her and laid his head on her lap using the textbook as a pillow. She looked down on him and a smile spread across her face. Jamal realised he was completely happy.
“That is not even lit” he pointed to her cigarette
“I just like to hold it” shaking her head at her own addiction. “It’s helping me to concentrate.” Jamal read the first line of her journal “Igbo-Ora, a sleepy farming community in southwest Nigeria, The town's high incidence of twins have baffled fertility experts -- underscoring a more regional twin trend...” he was bored already. Jamal yawned widely and Rabi shook her head laughing, she stopped when she noticed Jamal was looking up at her intently.
“I remember the first time I met you” Jamal explained. Rabi knew it was the lunch at Bella Italia where her sister introduced her new boyfriend but she listened anyway. Jamal reached up to play with her hair before he continued “You were wearing a red sweater and a jeans skirt with black boots. Your hair was in untamed curls and you laughed the entire meal. You blushed when you spoke about your white boyfriend. James?”
“Marc” Rabi corrected. Knowing that if Jamal could remember what she was wearing he definitely knew the right name
“Yes him.” Jamal shrugged his shoulders “Did you love him?”
“At the time. Yes” Rabi stroked his sideburns.
“And now? Do you still think about him?”
“Marc is a delicious part of my past” Jamal sulked “but my past is where he belongs”
“Good” Jamal mumbled as he raised his head to her breasts, nuzzling her bosom, his lips closed on her nipple.

Later that night Jamal returned home to find Nabila asleep on the blue couch in the living room. He didn’t even mind the argument she was ready to start. Nabila could throw anything his way and he would take it; he just wanted to go to sleep while he could still taste Rabi on his tongue. Sex had snaked its way through Jamal’s sinewy muscles like an opiate. He proceeded upstairs as Nabila awoke and greeted him. As always Jamal was struck by her courtesy until he remembered the ‘good wife’ path she had been treading for a while now. Not going up to bed till he returned no matter how late the hour, not starting fights. It was too late he wanted to tell her, but it seemed easier to handle her this way than return to the anarchy of before. Jamal replied and Nabila followed him to their bedroom turning the lights off behind her. To her surprise Jamal did not jump in the shower but lay on the bed dozing off. Wearing only his white pyjama bottoms his chest rose and fell steadily. He looked peaceful and relaxed; this was her chance
“Mu yi magana”
“Can’t this wait” Jamal said with his eyes closed; images of Rabi riding him
“It has already waited for too long” Nabila’s voice sounded close so Jamal opened his eyes. She was sitting by his side in a see through nightgown. She could barely meet his gaze; he did not like where this was headed
“We should have a baby” she said shyly
Jamal’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. All indulgent images of Rabi fled from his conscious and he stared at his wife as if she was mentally disturbed
“A baby?”
“Yes” she repeated excited. Her hand reached to stroke his chest. Jamal stopped her palm. Nabila looked like she did not understand
“Because we are married and it is long overdue”
“Oh! Is that why you have been the doting wife these past few days” Jamal sat up
“No!” she shook her head
“So none of that was leading up to this” he pointed at her night gown
“We have been married for almost five years. I want a baby”
“Did you ask if I wanted one?”
“You are my husband. Don’t you want to start a family?”
“We are barely a family now Nabila. Do you really want to bring a baby into this mess?”
“What do you want from me Jamal? Allow me to be a mother if you won’t let me be a wife.”
“Let you? You need my permission to function in your role”
“When you do not speak to me. At all! And run out of the house the minute you return from work.” She took a deep breath. “It is difficult...knowing that you would rather be anywhere else than with me.” Nabila’s voice shook. “Do not think that because I do not cry in front of you; it does not hurt. If you will not love me, give me somebody to love. You owe me that much”
“I owe you nothing” Jamal looked down on her
“I WANT A CHILD” she grabbed on to his elastic waist band
“I am not a sperm donor” Jamal warned
“You don’t act like a husband either” Nabila spat
“You have the bed all to yourself” Jamal grabbed a blanket and stormed off to the guest room.

Three weeks later the final decision regarding the Beckenbauer deal was made. The company would build in Morocco. Jamal and his colleagues swallowed their loss and licked their wounds. Each sat in their office mourning missed opportunities. As Zainab placed some files on his desk Jamal remembered his promise long enough to put aside his ego and call in a favour. “I owe you big time” the HR manager agreed “The job is his Jamal if his CV is up to scratch”
“It is” Jamal reassured him “You know I don’t waste my time with unserious people”
“Just tell your boy to show up for an informal interview then. We have to appear to be going through proper channels you know”
“We are not savages after all” Jamal added with humour. With that he called Abu to inform him of his new role as a Civil Engineer in the Engineering and Technology Directorate of the NNPC.
On Saturday Jamal called Amaka to invite her to lunch “for being a good sport.” Just because the deal fell through did not mean Jamal had forgotten what Amaka was willing to do for him
“Oh perfect timing!” she chirped “because Nabsy just offered to babysit the twins for me”. Jamal figured that was probably where all this baby drama was coming from; spend enough time with someone else’s and soon you want some of your own.
They arranged to meet at the Lebanese restaurant after her hair appointment and Jamal made a mental note to complement the style even if he did not understand it. Amaka was late but within reason and they sat down to their meal. She told stories of her children and consoled
“Do you hear from Femi?”
“Femi.” Amaka smiled ruefully “You are the only one that acts like he even existed. I was beginning to think the father of my children was imaginary”
“Well that would be something” Jamal said. He was sorry that he let himself get carried away with nostalgia forgetting how painful reminiscing was to Amaka.
“Our time together is just ghosts of old memories” she whispered
“You have two beautiful children to show for it”
“Femi’s parents live 10minutes away from us and act like the kids and I don’t exist. He is not here to protect my dignity so they blank their grandkids”
Amaka sighed. She had gotten used to her life and was able to relay such things straight faced.
“C’est la vie right” she smiled at Jamal. Reaching across the table he patted her hand and deftly steered the conversation to University days. Reminiscing of late night library, student accommodation, fashion faux pas. Together they laughed at old habits and threatened ruin each other’s polished reputation by putting pictures on Facebook.
“You look happy” she said to him as he escorted her back to her car “I am glad you and Nabsy are working things out” Jamal raised an eyebrow “I was rooting for you two” she said hugging him and getting in the driver seat. She shut the door, and drove off waving.

Thinking to herself that sometimes couples needed to honeymoon to get back to the basics of affection and novelty of each other.

Amaka was glad then that she did not make it known to Jamal that she had seen him at The Hilton.

By S.B

Sunday 21 March 2010


Hi y'all,
Its been a while I actually wrote an article, so I am back with a topic that angers me alot. I was reading the blog Black man V Black woman and he was talking about Gabby Sidibe and the whole concept of women and beauty. It was in reference to the video by some retard called Howard Stern below:

"Her body of course, has been the subject of much controversy. And many are still mad about what Howard Stern said about her a week ago. Many in response to his criticism to her said that Gabourey was beautiful, hell even sexy. As I read about this I wanted to laugh, but then I realized the power behind the message. These women were telling us, who we are attracted to, who we find sexy. As a man I felt this was wrong. However, when I spoke to women about it and I said "She's not good looking." Many responded by saying "What if someone said that about your sister or your mother?" Women like to keep everything equal. They know that if men can ostracize one ugly woman, they can ostracize several, so they lift one up, and fight against men who will put her down, for their sake, since they know that their looks will not last, and they might one day be in the same shoes as a Precious.

We as men are incapable of doing the same, we know who is ugly. Notorious B.I.G. made a career of calling himself fat and ugly. No woman could do the same for an elongated period of time. As I said earlier, women do not want to be referred to in a negative light. When it comes to beauty, a woman's most valued commodity, it is essential that she have it. Even though she might be intelligent, wealthy, charming, peaceful etc, if she has no beauty in the perception of society, she will be useless. However, when she lacks beauty, a new beauty must be put in place, we call that beauty inner-beauty. Inner-beauty in fact is purer than the typical beauty, or at least that is what we are made to believe. In reality, a woman's inner beauty is needed when she lacks external beauty, it is used as a separate power to make women feel useful. And women in general will not let men take that away, since it is indeed necessary that women feel useful to embrace their existence."

This is a very well written piece about an issue that we all tend to differ on. Unfortunately, for a woman, beauty is considered more important than any other quality that she may have. From young girls playing with dolls, watching disney princesses and getting dressed up, we are taught that as a girl, your looks are vital, and kepping it is an essential part of your life. If you are good looking, things in life will be easier for you, you can be a bitch, mean, uncaring and dumb but as long as you are hot, then its all good. But if you are ok looking, or dare I say it "ugly" then it is a law that you have to be "nice" to get half of what beauty will get you. Most of us have heard that "fat people are always nicer".

I have heard so many guys say "I cannot be seen with an ugly babe" or "I cannot stand fat girls oh, God forbid". Anyone who knows me, will know that this kinda talk boils my blood and will start an argument. Of course physical attraction is important, it is only human nature to like pretty things. I am not going to form like I don't like hot guys, Trey Songz, Usher and David Beckham are all constant features of my dreams!!!
But what I cannot stand is the double standards in the importance of beauty between men and women. If we are placing such a huge importance on beauty, then why don't we stress the importance of a guy being "hot". Its ALWAYS the girl shaaaaa, that has to be stunning to make it. Fuck that men.

Look at Biggy, Rick Ross, Jazzy Phizzile, Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg, Big Pun, Movado, Heavy D, and even Jay Z, they are all MEGA stars and they are all completely physically unattractive or "ugly". And it has never affected their success. Poor Gabby gets the break of her life, a fairytale that anyone would dream of, and all we can focus on is her weight and beauty or lack thereof. This kinda of double standards brings out the feminist in me. She did an amazing job in Precious, considering she this was her first ever acting role, and to be nominated next to Meryl Streep for an Oscar, is phenomenal. These are the kind of stories that we should be celebrating, stories that hardwork and hope pay off.

I have always been the kind of person that cannot tell you weather my friend is beautiful or not, because when I love someone, their physical flaws start to disappear. Same goes for when I do not like someone, even if they are stunning, I cannot see it because their characters are so ugly. I know it might sound like something out of a movie, but I do believe that everyone can be beautiful if they reflect it in their characters, and same goes for being ugly.

The fact that a "woman's inner beauty is needed when she lacks external beauty, it is used as a separate power to make women feel useful" is a truth that is very painful to acknowledge. I am not here to preach to anyone on why we should focus on inner beauty or whatever, that lecture will be left for my children and all those that are unfortunate enough to be my friends!

"One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see."
Gabourey Sidibe

Miss B

The Danger of a Single Story......

"This is the story of my life. I am a black man and those that share my skin color know what a burden than can be.

It is the shame of centuries of slavery for which even a decent apology is too much to expect and the pain of knowing that of all the races, you are arguably the most undeveloped (or the closest to the natural state of man). When you read statistics like ‘one in ten black men in America are in prison’, or that while ‘blacks constitutes 13% of America, half of Americans prison inmates are black’ you shudder.

I recently started reading African American history (Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston are my top picks) and subsequently engaged my American friends on this topic. I am just beginning to understand the damage to the psyche of the African American male. My ignorance of the peculiar state of the ‘non immigrant black’ in America became glaring after my first hand encounter with some of these people.

Then again, I am African. Black, proud and straight back [Martin Luther King (MLK) Jnr., my back is straight- nobody is riding this back]. The poorest continent on earth with 3.5% of global trade in 2008, a place where a quarter of the countries are involved in war or experiencing post war conflict, where millions are murdered each decade for daring to speak a different language or practice a different religion and millions more die yearly from preventable diseases. In my continent, the leaders live a life of luxury in palatial homes, travel in private jets, receive medical care in the best hospitals in the world while the rest (80 %?) live on less than a dollar a day. I come from Africa, humbled and shamed.

In Africa, we have bright spots, economies that have shown signs of sustainable growth, societies that seem capable of governing themselves.. We have South Africa, Seychelles , Mauritius , Botswana and Namibia but I am none of these. I am sub Saharan African where share of global trade declined from 6% in 1980 to 2.6% in 2007, where some of the most gruesome mass murders, rapes and heartless mutilation occur daily, from Liberia to Sierra Leone, Uganda to Zimbabwe. Yes, I am a black sub Saharan African and I get very sympathetic looks when I travel, from the Arab cab driver in Sharjah to the discerning Australian doorman in Melbourne- it is the same look of pity.

And then I am Nigerian. I am the kingpin of fraud, a carrier of hard drugs, a murderer of gifted writers and environmental activist, a thief! I am single handedly the world’s most corrupt nation; I am Africa’s largest producer of a most valuable resource and her greatest waste of human talent. I am a quarter of the black race and half her problems. I am a Nobel and a Pulitzer Prize winner and yet half of me cannot read. I am a thousand doctors in exile and a million perishing patients at home. I am Nigeria, the giant of Africa and a shame to behold.

And yet again, I am a northerner! A ‘hausa-fulani’, a ‘northern apologist’ and a ‘mallam’. I am a dozen failed presidents and a thousand crooked ministers. I am a murderer of Igbo traders, a street urchin and a beggar. I carry the burden of the ruling elite, the military junta, the feudal lords and the religious cults. Yes, they call me a northerner and they say I am the problem of the nation. I am the one who built Abuja with stolen wealth, I refuse my people immunization and silently decreed illiteracy so that people will not read and understand.

I am the man that counts my cattle and adds it to the population of my people, the same man that collects the ’soft earned’ oil money from the Delta to buy luxury homes in Dubai . It is I that is renovating petroleum institute with more than $100 million dollars so that the ninety percent of my people who till the land can get better produce. I am the northerner, the unschooled, the corrupted, the lazy and the most ’stupid’ and yet I am the ruler of a quarter of black humanity.

A Negro and an African, a Nigerian and a Northerner and, yes most definitely a Muslim. I carry the burden of the world on my shoulder yet I stand straight. I stand with my head held high because I am truly all that I have been called but I am far more than that. I am a man. I have my principles and a clear objective. I seek to live an ethical life, a life of impact. I am hard-working, I read, I listen and I talk. I think. I think Ngozi is good (brilliant) and Ndidi is bad (disastrous), I hold Bode Agusto as exemplary and Bode George a shame, I know Sanusi to be straight and Shamsudeen a sham. You see, I am beyond the north, I am more than the nation, I am better than the continent and black is merely the color of my skin.

Next time you talk about the northerner, I want you to know that you are talking about me and that I am more than the sum of failed leaders with ethnic agendas (How an agenda can be considered ethnic when it subjugates 99% of the same tribe beats me). Next time you call on the north to step aside, remember you are asking 99% of my people who are nowhere near Aso Rock to step aside- from their desert encroached farmland and their dry muddy wells, from the tree shades where their children are taught the alphabets and the irrigation canal that has found a home in a luxury estate in south Africa. You are asking for my silence in the face of tyranny, a tyranny that killed my children before it gave your offspring dysentery but I shall not be silenced. What you are asking is that Nigerians should be made to shut up because Nigerians are fraudulent- we will not be silenced even if a million Nigerians are fraudsters and drug barons. Even as my sister from Edo is walking the ’street’ of Rome , so shall my brother from Benin be crowned an Archbishop at the Vatican . As you seek to crucify UMYA (Umaru Musa Yar’dua), so you shall seek to enthrone Ribadu (these are difficult times so we must lower our standards).

The north produced Buhari & Babangida; we are also responsible for Major Abubakar Umar and Major Al-Mustapha. This system produced Ken Nnamani and Andy Uba. Africa is responsible for Mandela and Mugabe; and both Mobutu and MLK Jnr. are black.

You see, I am a northerner but not “that northerner”, no! I am not the northerner who engages in ‘nocturnal meetings’ to take complete control of my country. I am not the northerner on whose behalf these meetings are held and in whose interest these crimes are committed. I am that other northerner, the one whose uncle cannot afford fertilizer; whose niece has no school to go to. I am the northerner that Nigeria needs because I am half the nation and none of its problems. I am more than seventy million men and women waiting to be unleashed, raising my voice and voting for change."

----Author Unknown

Thursday 18 March 2010

The Northern Prince Part 3

Yes Yes Yes, your patience is about to pay off. This took longer than usual because I was being very anal about to the details. Part 2 can be found HERE!

In the two minutes Rabi Bello stared at the text message, her brain comprehended a lot of information. Her heart dreamt up a couple of wishes and her memory dragged up a few mentionable events. In the end, her hatred for two seemingly innocent materials became absolute: Rain and John Mayer. As long as Rabi lived, she would never again merge the two together. It did not matter how well your intentions or how high your priorities, morals could even be the most uptight. The mixture of those two dreadful components was the catalyst to her current predicament. She just wished with all her heart someone told her...

She was minding her own business that Thursday six months ago. It was rainy season and she let her window down so she could get splashed by the light drizzle that had turned late evening in Abuja into night. The darkness was fast approaching jet black and yet the street lights were yet to switch on. Rabi realised she was a couple of minutes away from her sister’s house and decided to pop in and say hello. She parked her car outside to avoid interrupting the mai-guard from his prayers letting herself in through the individual gate, and confidently strolled in the front door shouting her greetings. The tension in the living room suffocated her like a chokehold around her neck. It was her brother-in-law and he was at his wits end. Nabila had hidden his car keys and insisted that if it was a ‘meeting’ he was really heading out to she should be allowed to accompany him. They spoke at one another without raising their voices yet the undercurrent of anger and frustration was unmistakable. Rabi did not want to get in the middle of this and she stood really still while Jamal stormed past her out the door. Nabila did not remain downstairs for long either and ran upstairs embarrassed because regardless of how often she complained, she never wanted anyone to witness their arguments. Rabi walked out the door slowly and half-jogged back to her car shaking her head, she was heading out and drove past Jamal. Rabi was unsure of what her response was to be. Did he expect her to greet him?
“Should she offer him a lift?” she wondered. Rabi looked in her rear view mirror just as lightning streaked the sky

She could feel her conscience tugging and pecking at her to give in. Rabi reversed to the end of the street and poked her head out her window.
“Sanu” she half-heartedly acknowledged him. “Can I offer you a ride?” Jamal looked at her with stern eyes
“No. The company driver will be here any moment to take me where I want to go.” Rabi wanted to sigh “I was only trying to help.” The street was empty, except for the falling of light rain on the asphalt, there was no car bearing the Federal Ministry of Works on its fender and certainly no company driver running towards them with a large umbrella shouting “Sir! I don come” Jamal Mujahid tall and proud with his nose in the air, wallahi, men and their overinflated egos. He’d rather drag a poor employee from the home he probably just returned to after a long day of driving “big men” around than accept a kind gesture. Jamal stood waiting for her to drive off.
He didn’t have an umbrella either Rabi realised. Thunder boomed loudly, the situation was dire.
“I insist” Rabi said. “I’m going your way already” She didn’t know if she was but it helped to say that. Jamal made a show of sighing and giving in before he walked in front of the car and slid in the passenger seat.
“Nagode Rabi” he said gratefully
Rabi put the car in drive and began the awkward journey to Jacaranda Casino. She had never been and squinted at road signs for direction. The rain had frenzied into a torrential downpour and her windshield wipers zig zagged back and forth energetically. She inwardly heaved a sigh of relief when Ladi Kwali Street came into view. It had so far been a tense 20minutes with neither party speaking.
“I would have called for a taxi but at this hour and in this weather...”
“It’s not a problem” Rabi lied
“I couldn’t call my friends to come pick me up” Jamal explained. “It would have been awkward” he said quietly
Rabi forced an understanding nod. What perfect timing for traffic to slow down. Just when she could spot the finish line! Whilst Rabi took refuge in the sound of the rain against her window it disturbed Jamal and he had hoped she would be the first to turn on the radio. If he reached for the knob it would be obvious that he felt vulnerable and exposed. It wasn’t his fault. Sitting in the passenger side of his wife’s old sister’s car would do that to any man. Why doesn’t she say something? She is usually such a talkative.
“Things are getting difficult, at home, a gida na with your sister”
“I don’t think I am the person you should be speaking to about this” Rabi said harshly.
Jamal didn’t understand how Nabila generated such fierce loyalty even with her ability to be completely selfish. It was the same with Amaka as well; it sometimes felt like he was yet to meet this Nabila they all adored.
“Ba ke gane Rabi”
“I shouldn’t have to understand. It’s none of my business”
Rabi proceeded to spend the rest of the journey ignoring him. Finally Jamal gave in and turned the radio to 96.9 cool FM. He made sure to mention loudly that this was his favourite song they were playing...
That night as Rabi settled down in bed Jamal sent her a text thanking once more for the journey and offering to reimburse her for fuel. Rabi refused and bid goodnight, reminding him to greet her sister. He replied he would if she were speaking to him. Rabi suggested buying flowers the next day. Jamal mused Nabila would merely point out the flaws in the petals stating how differently she would have planted the seeds or whatever. Rabi’s response of ‘lol’ was the first of three more she would send before she drifted off to sleep.
Two weeks later her car would break down and scared at being stranded without a mechanic in sight she would call Jamal for assistance and he would loan her his Benz. Assuring her he would wait with her silver Honda till his personal mechanic arrived. Rabi returned his car with a full tank later that night and collected her keys thanking him non-stop for saving her neck. They were even now Jamal laughed. Over the next two months they spoke more freely with one another. Dropping the stuffy salutations of previous encounters, they spoke mostly in English and traded jokes and music via email. He teased her on not owning a blackberry and she teased him on being attached to his.
Rabi considered herself lucky to get along with her brother-in-law unlike others she knew who couldn’t stand theirs. They were friends; so it soon stopped being too uncomfortable when Jamal unconsciously forgot himself and complained about Nabila, it also ceased to be inappropriate when they became loved up again and Jamal audibly blushed when he spoke of his wife. Nabila herself was excited with their new camaraderie and excitedly moaned and gushed about her husband as the moment allowed. Rabi did not notice that the complaints grew as the months progressed. She did not notice that it got harder to take her sister’s side. She did not notice that the hours she spent speaking with him got longer and longer. She did not notice they had numerous private jokes and he ruffled her hair and pulled on her nose at will. She did not notice their love of cigarettes and shisha rivalled most passions she knew, it was afterall just one more thing they had in common. She did not notice she was more knowledgeable of his deadlines, or that he had bought a medical dictionary so he could understand the terminology she used. She told herself it was sweet he sometimes met her outside her hospital at the end of her shift. She told herself he was a late sleeper. Their relationship had become emotionally dependent, it was unconventional but borderline appropriate. It was a Monday when everything changed...when rainfall met that stupid song.

Rabi was working through lunch when Jamal arrived to taunt her. He was bored and came down from his office needing to pass time. He always got like this when he closed a contract deal; then the Ministry of Works ceased to be exciting abode. As she transcribed patients notes into her computer Jamal tried out nicknames on her till he found the one that most annoyed Rabi. “Bee Bee it is then” he declared. “Don’t you dare or I’ll call you La La” she threatened. Both names stuck and when Bee Bee tired of watching La La chuckle and point at models of the female reproductive system she decided to humour him and accept his offer of peppered chicken and Fanta. She hit him over the head with a Women’s Sexual Health textbook when he suggested that it was physically impossible for her to turn down free food. As he nursed his head wound she informed him he now had cooties, relinquished him of the car keys and relished driving his car to the suya joint. As they ate, Jamal’s favourite song came on and Rabi asked him why he liked John Mayer.
“Who?” Jamal chewed
“Isn’t this your favourite song?”
“No. When did I say that?”
“A few months ago when I dropped you off at Jacaranda”
“Oh!” he looked embarrassed “I only said that because you made me uncomfortable and I needed an excuse to turn on the radio”
“Nooo” Rabi laughed. “How did I make you uncomfortable?” she pointed with her straw
“I don’t know you were too quiet. It was weird”
Rabi laughed for a long time, giggling as she lit her cigarette. Jamal disproved of her smoking generally because he used to be a heavy smoker himself and the sight of Rabi blowing out perfect O’s gave him the itch. Smoke ringlets curled upwards and Jamal reached across the table to confiscate her pack of Marlboro; due to his enforced regulations she was officially down to 6 sticks a day now. Jamal supplemented Rabi’s obedience to this rule by bribing her with suya. His secret weapon! Rabi smiled when she thought of her hidden stash of Benson & Hedges in her hospital locker. She was not picky and would smoke anything that could be lit; it was the nicotine she craved.

Jamal tired of her teasing made a mad proclamation to always dance whenever he heard John Mayer. Rabi laughed at him even harder afterwards. As Jamal pulled into the Hospital parking lot, to drop her off “Waiting on the World to Change” played on the radio. Rabi dared him with her silence and Jamal began to wriggle in his seat, lunging in time with the beat. Rabi got out into the rain; noisy and warm, laughing uncontrollably trying to make a run to the entrance doors before she got too wet. Jamal ran to her side pinning her against the car blocking her exit to shelter. “You must dance too or I’ll let you get soaked” he warned. Rabi ducked and dodged with no success, Jamal was not letting go and the rain was getting heavier soaking through her white wrap skirt. He ignored her pleas and was unaffected by her threats of lacing his tea with fast-metabolising, untraceable poison. She had no other choice, Rabi sang the words and Jamal made a mess of the lyrics but it was then with the warm rain, fiery peppers on her tongue and the scent of Fanta on Jamal’s breathe that Rabi forgot her place. She did not pull away when their playful laughter died down and their huffs sounded like Wind instruments to the song, the raindrops drummed in accompaniment to the strumming of Mayer’s guitar. Jamal stared at her with heavy lidded eyes, his hair a tangle of brown curls, he laid his forehead against hers and their noses touched, Mayer crooned, he leaned in.... and Rabi ran.
She ran toward the hospital doors like they were her salvation she was pleading sanctuary. That night as soon as her shift ended Jamal called her. His baritone voice drifted over the telephone to her ears as she lay in bed trying the push the matter out of her mind, telling herself it probably was not as dramatic as she made it out to be; she prayed they would ignore the moment, even hoped he would tease her about bolting but instead he spoke the words. Jamal destroyed that refuge with his profession “I married the wrong sister. How could I not have seen you? Rabi it’s you. I just know it.” Rabi hung up but the illusion had been shattered. They were not friends, not anymore.

Rabi was home now although she had no memory of driving out of the hotel or through the black gates of her home. So she followed her routine: locked herself in Baba’s study skimming through his old medical journals, gorged on Oda’s fried rice, listened to Mama complain about the shade of green she had to wear to a campaign party. “Na shiga uku. When Baba was appointed Minister of Health I did not punish my friends with this rag.” She held the material; with two fingers like it was stained. “Mai ke damun Hajia Hafsat?” she asked Rabi waiting for an answer. Mama looked so horrified it was comical. “Ban sani ba Mama.” Rabi replied smiling. Her father took alot from her, but then again few could live with a man who said less than 200 words a day. Dr. Danjuma Bello was brilliant but he was boring. Kai! Her parents were a classic case of opposites attracting and Rabi truly believed her parents loved one another. Farida Balarabe walked away from the insurmountable wealth and dynasty of her maiden name when she was 19. Refusing the old Hausa family money and all the trappings it accorded to make her own way with a struggling medic newly returned to the country from Cambridge and fresh off a break up from his white girlfriend, Natasha Matthews. Her family said she was stupid, assured her he would return to “bature” “those with red ears” but she persevered and now she had earned herself every nag and complaint her heart desired. Mama was good because she pushed her husband to be more than a regular doctor. Got him into politics and kept him there for a good 12years and now although officially retired; he consulted with WHO and UN on behalf of the Federal Government. Baba was essential because he put a break on Mama’s wild ideas and kept her grounded. It was hard for Rabi to believe that even with all the money they had, the Bello family grossed one-fifth of her maternal grandparents’ Balarabe estate. Knowing her mother, leaving that sort of comfort at such a young age must have required a great deal of conviction and faith in a man...
Mama was lucky she had good taste in men. The one she chose to sacrifice everything for repaid her with a long and happy marriage. Rabi Bello re-read Jamal’s text and came to the conclusion that she would always be that sort of person. The one who always wanted what she shouldn’t have. The problem with Lust is hormones remember every encounter and should the opportunity with the faintest of desires materialise; you are drawn to it. Hormones silence your conscience and muddle your reasoning. Rabi had gone against her family over a man once before.

Two years ago while she was studying medicine in Warwick; his name was Marc. He was tall and handsome, half-British and half-Italian. Baba found it amusing that his child had a white boyfriend around the same age he met Natasha. Mama failing to see the humour nearly had a cardiac arrest. Marc stood outside the library smoking and would undress Rabi with his eyes every time she walked by. He wore a distressed leather jacket even on the harshest winter days and always kept his dark hair a little too long. His slate green eyed stare was so intense that even after they began dating he could reduce her to stuttering, his touch set her skin on fire and his kiss gave her shortness of breath. He opened Rabi’s eyes to a whole new world of vice. He lit her first cigarette, and her first spliff, bought her edible underwear, watched for speed cameras while she drove his car like a maniac. He taught her to roll the perfect joint, to exhale through her nose, to suck, to grind, to down a shot or three in one sitting. All the drinking songs she knew were in Italian. They both understood it was not going anywhere; but their carnal need was so out of control that the night he took her virginity; Rabi did not leave his dorm room afterwards for three days. It was a life of no repercussions they lived. Rabi has no idea how either of them graduated. He was in Paris now; probably giving some other girl rapid heart murmurs. Rabi smiled as she remembered him making pasta in his boxers, and then later eating grapes off her belly button. How they would snuggle up naked in his duvet on cold misty mornings and lean out the window to share a cigarette. That’s why Rabi accepted the marriage to Alhaji Tukur; she’s had her fun and enough sex to last her a life time.

This issue with Jamal was different. It was a combination of fatal doses of rain and music. She would never in her right senses let that happen again and she merely had to ignore Jamal long enough for him to get the message. Eventually he would stop his foolishness and return to his wife, they would never speak of this again. Rabi was not that person. Jamal was not that man. Nabila would never abide to be a jilted wife. The actors did not fit their roles and so there would be no show, no cliché to re-enact. She deleted the text and went to bed.
A whole month goes by and Jamal relents in his pursuit of Rabi. The frequency of the phone calls, texts and emails slowed to a trickle and eventually halted. Rabi suddenly had too much free time on her hands, getting her to realise how much of it she previously spent talking with or writing to Jamal. Her lunch hour seemed longer and she hated the surveillance she had to undertake just to buy suya. Their interests had become so merged, that she had to remind herself who found the grilled fish restaurant, who owned the CD in the car radio, and she cursed loudly when her phone reminder beeped with Jamal’s deadline; with a suggestion to send a Good Luck text. “Rabi ba ke da hankali. How did you ever let it get this far?” she scolded herself. She pulled into the stone driveway at Nordica Fertility Centre. This was no doubt her best part of the week; volunteering here made her feel like she was making a difference although her impact she was sure was but a tiny, miniscule ripple on the surface of the whole issue of conception. Omon hailed her from her station “yarinya”. Rabi laughed, “I do speak English you know”.
“Ya ki ke?” Omon greeted “Your sister told me to give you a one hour reminder about your appointment”
“Oh thank you” Rabi couldn’t believe it had been a week already. The first fortnight it was hard to sit next to her sister and hear her complain about Jamal. Rabi didn’t know if it was because she felt guilty for what almost happened or because she knew firsthand how kind and generous and silly Jamal was. When her sister sighed and spoke about his hair, Rabi had to place her hands on her head to stop herself from nodding in agreement. That angered Yemi who had to repaint her middle finger with a new coat of cranberry nail varnish. Rabi didn’t apologise. It was wonderful hair. It will be different this week; Jamal no longer called so her conscience was clear as day, she could finally relax and enjoy herself. She swung her door open and saw Jamal sat in the waiting room looking dejected. Rabi’s heart gave a lurch and she coached herself before ignoring him and walking into her office. He came in after her.
“You’ve lost your manners” Jamal asked his voice hoarse
“Sanu Jamal” Rabi spoke in the reserved tone she used to
“As you no longer answer your phone. I decided to come see you in person”
“I am very busy and have a mountain of wor...”
“Do I look like an idiot, Rabi?” Jamal leaned against the wall like he might soon collapse
“What answer will get you to leave?” Jamal said nothing but continued to stare at her
Rabi could feel herself getting angry “What are you doing here?” Jamal looked like he didn’t know the answer to that either. “You need to leave Jamal”
“We’re getting too close” Rabi made a last attempt at reason
“We’re not doing anything wrong”
“You talk to me more than you speak to your wife”
“Who’s fault is that?”
Is that what he came for? To throw questions at her? At least she was trying to remedy the situation and help them past it. Rabi’s anger spilled over. “La ilaha illallah! What do you expect from me? To take your side over my sister’s side?”
“After everythin...” Jamal started
“Wanne everything? Me sa haka maza suke yi? Nothing has happened Jamal. NOTHING!”
“Bee Bee...”
“If you need somewhere to release your sexual tension, it’s not here. Kaji? ”
“Find someone else. Somewhere else”
“You think I came fo...”
“STOP! Just stop this foolishness. Go away and let me breathe. Dan Allah leave me be” Rabi pointed to the door, her body shaking from the exertion

Jamal walked out banging the door. Rabi sat and tried to calm down by taking deep breathes but she couldn’t. She had been unforgivably rude and for all she knew he came here to agree that they move past it and reduce contact with one another but she barely let him speak. She was so rotten; she all but permitted him to solicit prostitutes.
Ya Allah! Did she really say ‘release sexual tension?’Haba she had to go and apologise. Rabi got up and walked to the door as Jamal walked back in.
Their bodies slapped against one another, forehead to forehead, chest to chest, mouth to mouth. Rabi could step back; all she had to do was tell her feet to move. Raise her hands to his chest and push herself away that is all she had to do. Slowly her hands found his top button and her fingers spread on his chest, but they closed around his tie instead and Jamal bent his head just enough that Rabi wondered what he was looking at. She raised her head and her top lip met his bottom mouth. He exhaled, Rabi inhaled. His hands closed up on her shoulders and trailed down her arm, resting on her wrist which was still locked around his tie. Rabi realised she had not stepped back, as she moved so did Jamal. His mouth closed on hers as he held her waist. He sucked her top lip lightly, rhythmically and moved his nose on her cheeks.
Rabi smelled his perfume, she sighed and with that Jamal’s tongue dived in her mouth, it moved counter-clockwise as the grip on her hips tightened then moved upward. Rabi was too stunned to move, her breathing had stopped all together and unconsciously her fingers tugged on his tie, when she noticed that she moved them away but her skin slid up to his neck and soon she was forcing his face on hers and kissing him with as much ardency as he showed her. The inflammation of her senses translated itself in how she held him to her. Jamal’s thumbs rested beneath her breast bone now and already her bra seemed to tight for her erect nipples, her chest earnestly pressed on his and her fair breasts jiggled nearly bursting out of his tight embrace. They were begging to be fondled and kissed as her mouth was. Vehemently Rabi gathered a fistful of his brown curls and felt their silkiness slip through her fingers eluding capture. Oh she longed for that to brush against her skin. The pain oh Jamal’s teeth on her lips was quickly soothed by a slow massage of his pink tongue. His lips tasted like sugar candy and he smelt like the ocean. Rabi still could not breathe and felt lightheaded so she knew she would soon pass out, her heart was pounding her ribcage so loudly. She wondered how it could be, how all this emotions could come from a kiss: pleasure, pain, suffocation, disorientation. As one side of her brain tried to make reason, the other half relished the conflicting impact it had. Then his thumb brushed her nipple and Rabi was sent into such realm of ecstasy that her breast willingly pushed into Jamal; pleading to be caressed. Her panties were wet and her thighs were sticky... Jamal broke away from her gasping for dear life. His erection pulsating through his trousers, his breathing was apace and laboured. He looked at her like she had bewitched him. They locked eyes for a brief moment then Jamal slowly backed up; never taking his gaze off hers, and shut the door sliding the bolt into place. This was such delicious temptation Rabi decided that since she was going to hell; she might as well enjoy the ride. Her lips readily parted when Jamal strode back to her.

By S.B

Saturday 13 March 2010

Fantasy Vs Reality

For most women, our picture perfect future family life was born long before we wore our first sports bra or walked in our first proper pair of heels or decided to take an obsessive liking to strawberry flavoured lip balm(not gloss). It started from Barbie and Ken.

We as women were sold the fantasy of the ever prim and gorgeous woman sitting next to her equally dashing man in their red convertible(not a space bus). Then the romantic comedies (Jlo in wedding planner) only came to re-enforce our fantasy.....

But now reality has set in, and a choice has to be made between the man who is real or the man who feeds you your fantasy.
If you are still wondering what I am on about, I'll try to explain. There are two types of men you meet on the dating trail. The suave cultured man, who is well educated,well travelled, dresses the part, says all the right things, takes u on amazing dates,makes all the right moves and never has any concerns in the world. With him its always good times,this fella is often called the "Fantasy man" or F.M!

Then you find the second man,who either out of naivety or non cha lance shows you his bad eating habits, is uncultured, poorly groomed, not as knowledgeable about continental dishes talk less of romantic dates, and more often than not complains about one issue or the other. This could range from office politics to financial troubles.This fella we will call "Mr Keeping it Real".

As always I took my enquiry to town, and as expected the responses could be put into groups. We had the pro fantasy group which consisted of women under 25, who argued that just cause the man can handle his business doesn't make him any less real than the trouble criers, and that if probed deeper you would find that these men were often better man-friends cause they are people that like to take charge of situations,and that women who tolerated Mr Keep it real were merely settling. However they also agreed that those men also never wanted to listen to their own problems either.

Then we had the pro keep it real group, who attest to the fact that his honesty about his flaws is a true show of how much he holds you in regard, and wants you to know the real man, and that its preferable to date this man who is at least honest about his inadequacies from the beginning than to go in and receive a massive character shocker from Mr Fantasy. This group mostly comprised of women above 27, although you could find a mixture of both in age brackets.

This obvious age characterisation, got me thinking that our choices as women differed based on our age, that as we get older,the more responsible even our dating choices got. When we were younger,we focused more on the physicality of a man,his looks,his physique and his popularity amongst our friends. Then as we get older our priorities change and we focus more on his character formation and our tolerance to his inadequacies.

With this taught process in mind, could it be said that Mr Fantasy is only a figment of our immaturity or does he really exist?
And would you say settling..oops...accepting Mr Keep it Real is a sign of a woman's maturity in choices.
These and many more of its like, are the questions that keep me up at night.

By Miss L.C

Thursday 11 March 2010

Tuesday 9 March 2010


Heyy blogsville,
I am sure you are all impressed by how accurate my oscar nominations were, I was really happy! I guess I have impeccable/critically acclaimed view of movies! I am feeling myself right now!

Anyway onto grimmer topics, I am sure you have all heard about the unfortunate events that have been taking place in Jos. About 500 villagers were massacred by Muslim herdsmen, revenging the killing of about 200 Christians that happened earlier in January. I was at work yesterday when it came on CNN, and as soon as I saw Nigeria on the news, a feeling of dread swept over me, What have my people done again ohh!
I was saddened by the news, but I was more angry. These days, most news about Nigeria tends to anger me.

My friends no better than to mention the word "Yaradua" in front of me, because I will get so upset. A country without a visible leader, who has supposedly been in the country for weeks now, but whom NO ONE, not even the V.P has set eyes on or even spoken to, shit like this only happens in a country like ours, where the people have no say in the affairs of their government.........arrrghhhhh, am already getting worked up....

I read this article called Jos:A Crisis triggered by inequality, which I think explains the orgins of the crisis really well. Jos is apparently an acronym for “Jesus our Saviour" representing the origins of the Plateau capital as a Christian state.
"the origins of the Jos — a former enclave for colonial missionaries, and its geographic location — aptly described by some as a de facto fault line separating Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north from its mainly Christian south, is partly responsible for the mishaps"

Firstly, I think the governor should be suspended, because he has clearly shown his inapptitude and inability to perform deal with this crisis. It has not even been 8 weeks since the last conflict. Curfew, military and all that crap are obviously not working, so unless he can come up with more constructive short term solutions, he should resign.

But this is just a short term remedy. The conflicts will never stop unless the whole issue of original indigens vs settlers can be solved. I have been to Jos before and have a number of friends from there, and it seems the Hausas are the elite there, and hold most of the power, while the original Jos christians have no say in the running of the government.
Or at least this is how it is percieved. This inequality or its perception, have to be solved for there be to be any hope of peace. This will take years of socio-economic adjustments and more importantly promotion of a sense of unity amongst both ethnic/religious groups. Making them realise that its been too long for any of them to try and claim a separate sense of identity. This will all come with education and poverty alleviation, but that is something that we cannot obviously wait for at the pace we are going.

This solution can be applied to the whole of Nigeria. The way so much is based on your "state of origin" will continue to divide us. We are divided into so many niche groups based on states, religion, language and the million and one sub-cultures. Until we all realise that we are all Nigerians first, and then everything else later we will never move forward as a country.

Or fuck it, maybe like my dad has been saying, its time for us to all divide, cut our losses, know that we have tried this whole one Nigeria thing and it has failed miserably.

You guys decide.

But I wonder how many more people have to be massacred before we get our act together.

Miss B

Sunday 7 March 2010

Oscar Nominations....

Heyy blogsville,
I promised you guys in my earlier post that I would watch all the oscar nominated movies and tell you who I thought deserved the oscars!
I was unable to watch a couple, and I slept through some of them I won't even lie. But I have long learnt that oscar winners are not usually the most publicly successful. Only few, like the amazing Slumdog Millionaire, are able to have both commercial and critical success. For example this year's one to watch, is Hurt Locker, which did very poorly commercially, but has done really well critically. I personally found it so dull! Like I really really tried to like it, because of all the hype, it won 6 BAFTAs and is nominated for 9(yes I said 9) oscars. The first two nights I fell asleep watching it! But I get why its acclaimed, because its a unique perspective on the war, and the leading guys is really good, but kai it was dull! Maybe its a guy thing, I dunno.....

So here's my winners for this year.....

Best actor
Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
George Clooney (Up In The Air)
Colin Firth (A Single Man)
Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)

For me this HAS to go to Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart! This guy can ACT! Like damn! And he has this ability to transform so dramatically between roles, I liked Crazy Heart as a movie, it was very cute.
Second would be Colin Firth in A Single Man. The movie was very artistic, and his performance was very theatrical. Very nice.
Then it would be Jeremy Reener, because he does a very passionate and convincing role as the bomb detinator, the cockiness, arrogance and swag was on P!
I am normally a big Morgan Freeman fan, and I did like him in Invictus. However I feel he didnt step out of his usual role in this movie. It will never be easy to play Nelson Mandela, but I dont see anyone else that could have done it better than him. Dya guys get my drift?
And I do not even feel George Clooney deserves a nomination for this role. He just played a character that was very similar to his real life persona so kini big deal?

Best supporting actor
Matt Damon (Invictus)
Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)

This oscar HAS TO GO TO Christoph Waltz. There is absolutely NO competition. To be fair, I have not seen the Messanger, but there is nothing anyone can act that will convince me otherwise. To me he was the STAR of this movie. He spoke 3 languages perfectly, he was mean, funny and articulate. I googled him as soon as I finished the movie to find out where he has been all my life!
Matt Damon also did a good job, his accent, his rugby and the change in his physique were really impressive.
I have actually not seen The Lovely Bones and The Last Station either! LOL! its hard guys, u know how movies dont come out in Jand forever. But I still stick by my choice!

Best actress
Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)

This to me is the hardest category. I love love all the nominees and think they all did excellently in their roles.
The winner here should be Sandra Bullock for her amazing role in The Blind Side. She portrays a strong minded woman and gives a very convincing energy to her character. But its hard for her to compete with the older actresses whose roles are way more complex.

The runner would be Gabourey Sidibie because I thought she did an excellent job in Precious. I loved that movie, even though it was ridiculously heartbreaking, but its a great story. It takes a great actress to portray such a disturbed girl, and act so dumb. It is an honour for a young girl in her first ever role to even be nominated amongst such prominenet names.
Realistically though, as much as I want her to, I know she will not win .
Even though I have not seen The Last Station, I feel Helen Mirren might win, just cause she is who she is. Even in the preview, I could already sense the power in her performace, and you cant doubt that it comes from over 20years experience in the industry.
Meryl Streep is probably bored of the oscars now cause she is nominated every year, but I think she has done better roles that are more deserving of her oscar nominations. I do like her performance in this role, where she plays a some-what crazy, funny, french food obsessed American. However, because of the standards she has set for herself from Sophie's choice and having been nominated 16 times since her first nomination in 1979 for The Deer Hunter (13 for Best Actress and 3 for Best Supporting Actress, )plus she has 25 Golden Globe nominations as of 2009. She won the G.G this year for her role in Julie and Julia though, so theres a great chance that she could win this too.

Carey Mulligan is definately not going to win for her porttrayal of a coming of age British teen, but her perfomance is not bad.

Best supporting actress
Penelope Cruz (Nine)
Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)
Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air)
Mo'Nique (Precious)

Mo'nique should win this NO doubt. Her final scene in precious, where she cries infront of her social worker played by Mariah Carey was absolutely incredible. It was even more so for her, because she hardly plays powerful roles/powerful women, always stuck in black comedy roles, but I started respecting her as an actress as soon as I saw this. She made me hate her character so much, and it takes talent to play such a monster.
Penelope Cruz comes second here, for her usual sensual role, all singing, dancing and showgirl. She was on point throughout.
Vera Fariga and Anna Kendrick are just there jo. This Up in the Air movie is just hyped up for no reason. Yea they both played thier roles well, but nothing oscar worthy to me.
Maggie Gyllenhaal deserves a nomination, but nothing more.

Best adapted screenplay
District 9 - Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
An Education - Nick Hornby
In The Loop - Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious - Geoffrey Fletcher
Up In The Air - Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

This is a toughie. They are ALL great screenplays. But again, I really liked Precious. I also really liked District 9, it was a very uniqe storyline with a powerful message behind it.
In the Loop was British satire at its best, the actors did a great job, and I don't know why they are not nominated individually.
Up in the Air is also a good story line, that deals with people with a unique lifestyle, it has some great speeches and one-liners. An education does not deserve a nomination to me.
I would pick Precious followed closely by District 9.

Best original screenplay
The Hurt Locker - Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger - Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
A Serious Man - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Up - Bob Peterson, Pete Docter (story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy)

Again, I have not seen The Messanger so I can't judge that. But I would pick Up. It is a great story that deals with a complex issue under the guise of animation. Powerful Stuff.
Inglorious Bastards will follow that, it puts a creative twist on history and is quite funny.
The Hurt Locker is also a good story, and I think this might win because its quite critically acclaimed

Best film
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up In The Air

This is the most important category of the year. To me it goes to Avatar hands down. I absolutely LOVE it, and think it is one of the best movies I have seen a long time. Since Slumdog actually. Its a 10/10
It is followed by Precious(am sure you guys are noticing a pattern, LoL). Then The Blind side, which an inspiring movie. They are all great movies to be honest, although I don't know why an Education keeps popping up. Its good, but not all that. I think Crazy Heart should have been nomonated instead.

Best director
Avatar - James Cameron
The Hurt Locker - Kathryn Bigelow
Inglourious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino
Precious- Sapphire Lee Daniels
Up In The Air - Jason Reitman

This is an easy one. James Cameron took 15years to make Avatar. Enough said.
Then Precious was also well directed, and having watched an interview with this guy, I think he is deserving of an oscar for telling a story so gruesome without fear or compromise.
I would also be happy if Kathryn Bigelow won, firstly because she is a woman(yes I am sexist), and it would be great to see a woman pick up an oscar for direction. But also because if there is one thing I can give this movie, it is very well directed. The cinematography is also great, and so is the scenery and soundtrack. It is also a very low budget movie, and for it to do so well with limited funds shows ingenuity.

Animated feature film
Fantastic Mr Fox
The Princess And The Frog
The Secret Of Kells

Up. No competition.

Art Direction
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Avatar. Did you guys see this in 3d?? No contest.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

I have not seen The White Ribbon, but the preview looks like it would have great cinematography. I don't know why A Single Man was nit nominated for this, because to me, it had a great picture.
Am sure you know I would pick Avatar for this.
The Hurt Locker comes close as well, especially all those desert scenes. Although the budget of Avatar is a thousand times more than any of the others, its not really fair competition.
Inglorious Bastards also looks great. The final bombing scene was beautiful.
Harry Potter was good as well, but will defo not win.

So that's it folks. My big winners are Avatar, Precious and the Hurt Locker. I hope my selections win oh! I will not be able to watch the show cause it is 12.30pm here and I am about to go to sleep. But I will list the winners for you tomorrow, and we'll see how accurate Miss B's movie selection is!

Miss B