Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mr. Borrow Borrow

A few months ago, I made an assertion that Nigerians don't read. I was wrong, we do read. We just don't buy, and Chinedu got it right in his piece here...

Meanwhile, today's Punch ran a story about how only four Nigerian banks are strong. As I am writing, all copies of the Punch have been bought up. Someone is trying to kill the story. My colleagues in the media (i.e those at the Punch) are not concerned though. Money in the bank and that is all that matters to them. Am I right in saying that they have it wrong and that the media should not just be about having money in the bank but about being a vehicle for social change? Or am I being a zealot?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Consumer rights

Nigerians need to learn to put their personal comforts aside for the commongood. My thoughts on the matter are presented here, happy reading.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

How to treat area boys

I'm still annoyed at the cheek of it all...

So yesterday myself and the l'il lady are on the way to Victoria Island for the weekend's entertainment. On the way as is habit, I decide to stop
briefly at the office and check up on a few things. I come to a halt in the car lot just outside the office. Note that my office building has a car lot just outside, then there is a proper underground car park. Being that I do not plan to stay for a long time, I choose the car lot. I take my laptop bag and place it on my back while my l'il lady begins to head for the office entrance. Then it happens. Some tout walks up to me and says in a mixture of English and Yoruba that it would cost me N200 to park in the car lot.

I don't comprehend what he says, so I continue walking towards the office entrance. Then tout taps me and says it again, that I have to pay him N200 to make use of MY office car lot. Then I loose it...

To make a foolish story short, I did not give him a kobo, and effectively (based on my reaction) he slunk away. However, that got me thinking about Lagos agbero. I think those guys are just fucking twats. A few days ago you see, a friend of mine was in traffic when some agbero walked up to him and requested that he surrender his phone and wallet or face the consequences such as getting pummelled. Like me, this fellow is a Bini boy. He looked at the agbero, then got out of his car and politely asked the agbero to go ahead with the pummelling. Agbero slunk away. All that is required in this city is to call their bluff.

Just a few weeks back during the fuel crisis, a friend of mine (same fellow who oppressed an agbero in traffic) and I were in a queue in Mushin. After behaving like gentlemen and waiting in the queue for three hours, we got tired of all the noise (washere ni, washere ni) and grandstanding. We forced our way to the head of the queue, and within minutes had bought petrol. How did this happen? We proved to the noise makers there that unlike them we were quite willing to follow up with action. We applied a wheel spanner to some idiot's head, and the queue opened up for us. I would have thought that all the mouthy people would have taken action against us when we displayed that level of violence, but they simply became quiet.

My conclusion: in all the combined years I have been in Lagos, I cannot immediately recall seeing agberos fighting. Definitely I have seen a lot of noise, aggression and intimidation, but I have not seen any acts of physical violence being carried out, even when it is little old me that is the target of the aggression.

Note that in this case I am using the term agbero to define motor park touts and the associated area boys who target people in random acts of intimidation. I have actually seen paid thugs having a go at someone, but then they were in possession of firearms.

There is a lot of intimidation and grandstanding, and to be honest many of them have a physique and the voices that make them look intimidating. But when they are unarmed, and alone, stand your ground. On one occasion I held up a bus driver and his conductor, and despite all the noise they made, they did nothing. Lagos thugs are wimps.

P.S: If you are caught on the wrong end of an agbero argument in Benin, you would be wise to back down and go your way. I won't be held responsible for what happens to you if you are foolish enough to challenge a Bini agbero.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Flying the flag

As written here.

This article was inspired by the slack coverage of a football match involving Nigeria's national team, but ultimately asks the question of why we don't as a people have something, or someone to rally around.