Friday, 15 November 2013

For the Love of Dogs

"So you are basically a selfish person then," she said carrying a smirked face.
I wasn't certain if it was the sheer surprise at the barbed comment or the sledgehammer effect it had on me, but I was instantly uncomfortable.
"Selfish?" I asked. "For not wanting a dog, I am now self-centred?"
"Yes," she replied even more confidently.
In that moment, I thought of all the Emotional Intelligence books I had devoured for one of my management modules. Deep down, I knew what the books told me to do in this type of scenario, but it was also so clear I would not be able to deliver on this occasion.
She had succeeded in making me see red in record time, and a level-headed response and temperate retorts would not cut it.
"So you believe owning a dog makes you a selfless person? Where is the selflessness of all the owners of abandoned and neglected dogs across the length and breadth of this country? Did their generosity take flight once they discovered their pooches were going to engage in rapid and wanton defecation?"
Secretly, I knew my argument was weak, but it still felt good to have something to say. Unfortunately for me though, she hit back in a flash.
"You clearly do not understand dog ownership and anything I say would be lost on you!"
Her more aggressive tone confirmed I had succeeded in making her equally irritated. It was infantile of course, but there was something so satisfying in making her taste her brand of vile medicine. Or was it just my hyperbolic brand of assessment at work?
Undeterred, I began to delight in her subsequent screwed facial contortions. And when I say delight, I mean the type felt by a constipation patient, who, after a week of chronic discomfort, finally manages to do Number Two.
I felt it was time to let it all out.
"Dogs are basically like all animals, needy. The only reason you are drawn to them is their unique ability to display that trait better than any other beasts. Besides, they cannot be trusted. One wrong move and your child's leg is Pedigree Chum!"
The delibrate manner in which she unwrapped her long scarf, whilst also switching off her ubiquitous iPhone, told me I did ask for and will get a very long session of abuse.
I took a deep breath for false stamina, as she began to speak.
"First things first, dogs are not beasts. Wild dogs are a product of wild owners. Dogs are lovely animals and have been man's best friend for God knows how many decades...."
I decided to interrupt.
"Do you have a specific number of years for that friendship or are we just plucking information from the Canine Cloud?
She continued as if I had spoken a silent language.
"A beast has no loyalties to you and would kill you the first chance it gets. Dogs are reliable and loyal. They help the blind, the disabled, the Police, the Armed Forces and contribute more to aid the welfare of man, than a billion of you would ever do. So, when you manage to garner up a coherent or even logical opinion about dogs, please let me know. In the meantime, can we move on? This topic is dead."
I had been completely savaged. My tormentor was noticeably rejuvenated and somewhat pleased with herself. Smirk back on, she switiched on her phone and began to wrap her loose scarf.
As I had no props to play with, I decided prematurely to reply. To say my retort was puerile at best, would be to flatter myself. I had lost this contest and my feeble attempt to call dogs dirty and smelly (yes, that was the totality of my reply), fell on well-deserved damp and squiggy ground.
A few inconvenient minutes passed and I could hear her tapping her shoes on the wooden floors. That action coupled with the scarf-wrapping, appeared to be a valedictory ritual.
Luckily for me, her phone rang.
"Hello Mum, she answered quietly. " The date? Well, it just ended. I have just wasted twenty of my limited dating minutes speaking to the devil's spawn."
It took me a few seconds of looking around, for it to dawn on me this heavenly woman had just labelled me as Hell's own.
Call me thin-skinned, but I do believe cues do not come more definitive.
I raised my hand (with credit card flickering in between my fingers) to catch the waiter's attention. My utter discomfort, evident in my unnecessary card flickering, was compounded by the feckless waiter pretending not to see me. This is the same guy who had been eavesdropping on our conversation all evening.
Is this the type of turn I deserved from tipping this guy pre-service?
Noticing my dilemma, my 'date's' parting shot was well aimed and delivered with crushing precision.
"You look upset. How much did you tip him again? I bet a labrador would have treated you with more loyalty."

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Afriyie's Stab in the Dark...

So, some Tories are out to get David Cameron and replace the Prime Minister with, wait for it....Windsor MP, Adam Afriyie.

And? I hear you ask.

Maybe, I should spell the name for clarity; A-F-R-I-Y-I-E. No? Nothing? Oh well, since you are going to be a spoilsport, I better let you in on the secret....he is black.

Try not to choke on your cornflakes, this is 2013 Britain....our heroes come in a variant of shades. The last Olympics ensured this would be the case for a long time to come.

Adam, a guy who is very much his own man, actually describes himself as 'post-racial not black'. Son of a Ghanaian father and a British mother, Adam is probably one of those mixed-race people like Tiger Woods, who detest people referring to them as black. To be fair, I suppose it's only fair that the 50-50 blood is acknowledged. We wouldn't call mixed-race people white, so why call them black, right?

Well, it is a free world and I don't really care what Mr Afriyie calls himself, as long as he does not try to introduce us to another word like 'Caubliasian' (this was Tiger's gift to us during one of his Oprah confessionals!). To the uninitiated, that stands for Caucasian, Black and Asian.

Back to the matter at hand.

It appears the rumblings within the Tory party has refused to go away, especially around the contentious issue of the referendum on Europe. David Cameron in his infinite wisdom has already made this an election issue, by saying if he were to return to Downing Street in a Conservative victory in 2015, we would have the referendum by 2017. This and a relatively successful party conference has obviously not doused the blue fires.

Enter  some Conservative backbenchers (that's another word for bitter people who have no influence within their ruling party), who have got together and decided to truncate Cameron's time at the top. This group apparently, believes Mr Afriyie is the Tory Obama....the very type of character they can utilise to diffuse Labour's possible attempt to spring Chuka Umunna into Number 10.

Or is that just my naive political instincts driving me to the wrong conclusions? Well, I cannot speak for all, but to my mind, surely the future is neither black nor white, rather it is definitely leaning towards a wonderful blend. A blend that brings us to together and one that is bound to bring a tear to Sir Trevor Mcdonald eyes, as his trembling voice announces our 'Obama' moment.

But seriously, the truth remains everybody wants to be cool and every party wants to reverse their currently dwindling political fortunes. Post-racial is the place to be. Talking of fortunes, it turns out Adam is a self-made man with £100 Million dangling in his back pocket! I don't know about you, but I think he will fit in snugly in our 80% millionaire cabinet.

Clearly, for him to take that leap, he has decided to be a constant pain in his leader's side. Words like backstabbing, treacherous and perfidious, must be doing the rounds in the corridors of Whitehall. Of course one of the most precarious acts you can undertake in politics, is putting one's head above the parapet. Note to up on your Heseltine history.

Adam Afriyie and the missus

Saying all that Mr Afriyie, I do wish you luck sir with your 'leadership' plot.  I hope you are not the sacrificial lamb to be offered to High Priest Cameron. Politics is a complicated web of intrigues and underhandedness. From what I have seen so far, you are a micro-organism in a pool of sharks. I fear you will be torn apart.

With 140 of your 147 Tory parliamentary colleagues leaving you stranded on your Ego Island, I bet the end is definitely nigh. But why should you care, right? You are still young, rich and black (sorry, post-racial).

So much as I would like to see you become the British Obama, I would rather place my chips on Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham.

Nothing personal, I just want Nigeria to pip Ghana to the Downing Street finishing line...major bragging rights bro...major!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A Man For all Seasons

It will be disingenuous to begin this piece without accepting an indubitable fact - Death is indeed a natural part of life.

Aside from being born, the only other certainty in life is the reality that you will one day...die.

Having said that, it is also a fact human beings will eternally struggle with the concept of that final breath leaving the body. It is an inherent trait of the Homosapien to search frantically for the ability to control everything around us. So our discomfort is palpable when something continuously outwits us.

This ensuing frustration is what leads most of us to attach what we see as cogent reasons to inexplicable (and explicable) expirations. We attach such negativity to death, forgetting that in reality, it is nothing but the continuum of the circle of life. No one escapes it.

As I write this, it has been seven days since the tragic plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria. That crash, of a small chartered plane, turned out to be responsible for a catastrophe of massive proportions. Not only did it claim the majority of the lives on-board, it also managed to wipe out two generations and visit jarring grief on aged parents, siblings, spouses and children alike.

I lost a friend in that flight. He would have been 43 years old yesterday. He was a vibrant, witty and cerebral individual. Whenever I went back home to Nigeria, I always hoped I would run into him….not because I yearned to socialise or hobnob with him, but more for the fact that he was a gifted raconteur. And boy, did he have stories to tell for days.

Deji Falae was the person responsible for my favourite political story of all time. I loved the story so much, I have since regurgitated it close to a hundred times, but somehow never nailing it in that brilliant way Deji always did. I wish I had been closer to him; perhaps I could have done a better job with that story.

Here was a young man who managed to live what I would consider a relatively simple life, when in truth; he could have done the exact opposite. Nigeria is a place where people will brazenly live off the name of their distant influential relatives and do quite well in the process, so when you come across someone who people have to keep asking to confirm if indeed, they were the child of a popular politician, you slowly come to realise you are indeed in the company of a truly humble soul.

Enter the dark-cloaked, scythe-wielding embodiment of death:  the one we all know, but are rarely prepared for. The routine, creepily the same….as it came for one of us, hourglass in hand, waiting for the last particle of sand to drop. The result was swift, brutal and invariably has left us with numbing grief.

The Grim Reaper, unlike the person it has taken from us, is not our friend or ally. Its only duty is to leave us in no doubt of its fatal mission. It lacks compassion and in true form, during the period between that plane crash and today, it has taken more loved ones from people we all know. It leaves us sufficiently weary.

This is what must have led the late English playwright, Robert Bolt, to conclude:

Even at our birth, death does but stand aside a little. And every day he looks towards us and muses somewhat to himself whether that day or the next he will draw nigh.

The Grim Reaper drew uncomfortably nigh that Wednesday morning and the task was clear…it wants us to be caught unawares and stew in sorrow. It wants to stand aside and watch us perpetually shed hot, unplanned tears. Our pain is its joy and our anguish, its ecstasy.  This is the crowning piece in its grand intimidating design.

But on this occasion, we should not let it get its way. Even in these impossibly sad times, we should take a collective deep breath and learn to celebrate Deji’s life. As we offer our deep condolences to his parents, siblings, his wife, Ese and their children, we should remember the good times and sustain them with wonderful memories of his loving ways.

Yes, we could huddle and share our angst as we bitterly wonder why Deji took that flight. We could question the wisdom of flying alongside a coffin or the irony of how someone who wasn't the biggest fan of flying ended up on such an ill-fated flight. We could do all those things, but it would not ease the pain. 

What we should do is celebrate the legacy he left behind in his role as a son, father, husband, brother, friend and exemplary servant of his state and country. We need to gather around those left behind whenever we are chanced and tell joyful stories about Deji and not let death dictate how we remember this gem of a man.

This is how we can ensure he lives in our hearts forever.  For if we keep his memory alive, in essence…..he will never be away from us. We shouldn't fret that a part of us dies when a special loved one passes away, we should celebrate that a part of us lives with our loved ones on the other side.

We must take refuge in the biblical verse given to me when I tragically lost my younger sister five years ago:

John 14:1-4:

”Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Happy Birthday and Rest in Peace Deji.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Parental Advice - Nigerian Style

Maybe it's the Nigerian in me, but when it comes to my parents, any insult, intentional or otherwise, will always be met with forceful brimstone and years of grudge-holding. And yes, my father has been dead for 13 years. Nigerians are just like that.
We may share many things with Black Americans, but it doesn't extend to the 'yo mama' thing. In fact, I know many people who still nurse injuries visited upon them decades ago for forgetting that fact.
With that introduction out of the way, you can just imagine how the Daily Mail/ Ed Miliband war of words is playing out in Nigerian homes across the UK. If you don't have a friend of Nigerian background, get one quick and enjoy our unique views on unreserved parental reverence. You can thank me later.
So, what exactly did the UK's 2nd best-selling newspaper say and why is the leader of the UK's most popular party (if you believe the pools) so irate?
In the spirit of brevity, here's the condensed version:
The Daily Mail, in the wake of Ed Miliband's speech at the Labour Party conference, published an article entitled 'The Man Who Hated Britain,' in which the paper honed in on the Marxist beliefs of Ralph Miliband, Ed's father. In that piece, they contended Miliband Snr nursed anti-British sentiments which could have influenced his son and as such ".....should disturb everyone who loves this country".
As if that wasn't enough, just for added vitriolic relish, they included a picture of Miliband Snr's grave with the caption, 'Grave Socialist'.
Clearly, the Milibands were not going to have this depiction of their late father stick. Ed managed to get a 'right to reply' which in turn was cynically neutralised by the paper's re-assertion of their story in the same edition! It became clear there was no concession from the paper and the war of words ignited into a free-for-all.
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's erstwhile enforcer and sworn enemy of the paper got into the ring with impressive gusto, as he took the paper's position apart and savaged the paper's deputy editor, Jon Steafel, on Newsnight. In case you live under a rock, here's the evidence.
Unsettling as that verbal execution was, one could almost say it was well deserved. Although, you couldn't help but wonder if Mr Campbell was morally positioned to do the hatchet job. His bully-boy vocals whilst accusing the paper of bully-boy tactics, wasn't exactly a golden moment.
Personally, an execution delivered by Mehdi Hassan is more my style. Low-key, incessant, witty and ultimately destructive. His BBC Question Time savaging of the Daily Mail was a class act.
But getting back to the paper's accusations. Ralph Miliband was a 17 year old who said things which underlined his conflicts at the time. He went on to serve the country and laid his life on the line. Yes, he was a confessed Marxist and yes he hoped the Britain lost the Falklands War, but I am not aware of these sentiments being crimes.
Anyone who thinks our armed forces is full of people who love everything the UK does, needs medication. Furthermore, anyone who reads the article and genuinely comes to the conclusion that Miliband Snr did indeed hate Britain....well, they need the whole medicine cabinet.
Yes, ironically, Ed Miliband would want a 17 year old to get the vote, so I guess there will be those like myself asking why we should then disregard the views of someone that age. But at the same time, I am prepared to wager there are civilians and members of the armed forces (of all ages) who have said worse things. And I am doubly sure they still continue to root and fight for this country.
Civilians and Soldiers alike are not robots, consequently, they sometimes feel frustrated, but it doesn't diminish their patriotism.
Interestingly, as the row went into overdrive, The Telegraph newspaper, in a subtle rebuke to their 'noisy cousin' reprinted their 1994 obituary of Professor Ralph Miliband, in which they described him as a balanced socialist, leading many on social media to praise the right-wing paper, whilst continuing to pummel the Daily Mail.
The Telegraph's move was delivered with so much class, it reminded me of how the Tories deliver the same messages UKIP struggle to impart into the national psyche and in the process, manage to steal some borderline supporters.
In any case, in the preparation for this post, I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to eat some Nigerian food. Perhaps my writing about Nigeria had made me nostalgic and only a meal of pounded yam and egusi stew could douse the flames. I contemplated on the best venue.
Whilst deliberating, I received a call from my Sarah, my English friend who loved all things politics and even more so, foreign food. She had pestered me earlier in the year about wanting to try Nigerian cuisine. I decided to invite her to the 805 restaurant in London. It was going to be the blogger's holy grail: food, chat and booze.
Once at the venue, I quickly brought her up to speed on my project and how I came to the restaurant for inspiration. As we chin-wagged and waited for our food, a long-lost older friend walked towards (without invitation) our table.
I quickly warned my friend this could be my opportunity to get that unique aforementioned Nigerian view. She swore herself to complete silence. Secretly, I was elated the older friend clearly wasn't capable of same.
He had gleamed my folded newspaper and went into full throttle.
"Can you imagine the disrespect? The man is dead and not here to defend himself."
"Margaret Thatcher is not here, but she got torn to shreds by some Labour people and Ed Miliband did not exactly slam them," I replied feebly.
"Is Thatcher the mother of the Daily Mail?"
"In a way, yes you can say that. She was someone they will claim they hold as dear as the Milibands' hold their father."
"What? Do you think you are white? Sometimes I think you have lived in this country too long! How can you say something that silly?"
I reassuringly nudged my friend under the table and prayed there would no further mention of race. Still, I had to continue with the conversation.
"This is what some Tories are saying. I'm just repeating...."
"Would the Tories have been happy if a newspaper came after Cameron's father? Please don't say anymore. I need to get a bottle of Guinness to erase the memory of your last statement."
I sighed heavily as I ordered his drink. It was my weak attempt at placation. Although, as he gulped down the contents of his glass, it became obvious it hadn't worked.
"What were the parents of the newspaper people doing when Ralph Miliband went to war for this country?"
"They were probably at war too, although I heard the editor's father, Peter Dacre, may have not gone as he was a journalist in London."
"A journalist? Jesus Christ of Nazareth! So he is questioning what someone else's father did, but his father avoided fighting for the country. You see where we are going wrong in this country?"
"But the editor is not contesting for the country's most powerful job?"
"Really? But he already has a very powerful job. Mark my words, I have lived in this country for a long time and it is my prediction the Daily Mail will apologise. Imagine this was back home, the editor will be in serious pain by now."
At that point, just to ensure my friend wasn't confused and had heard him correctly, I decided to drill further.
"You mean if I wrote same article about your father, you will come and hurt me?"
His answer came in form of a glaring stare. His erstwhile joviality was now a distant thing.
I could feel the sweat trickling down in my hidden places. Worse still, I could see my friend's increasing discomfort. I couldn't say for sure if it was the spice in the egusi stew or the intimidating stare. Either way, she had gone completely red in the face.
Either way, it was a relief when he lowered his stare and finished the contents of his drink.
"Thanks for the Guinness," he said menacingly as he left the table.
(This article is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Deji Falae, who lost his life in the October 3 Lagos air crash. May his gentle, witty soul rest in peace.)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Open Letter to David Cameron (Part 2).

Dear Dave,

I wonder if you got the chance to read my last letter, although it now seems clear it would have made no difference. Now that you have lost the vote in parliament, I thought it might be prudent for me to advance further words of advice on how to move forward.

First things first, even though he is a Tory darling (mainly due to that speech a few generations ago), it is the right time to move William Hague on. Yes, he is one of your closest allies and yes, you will alienate a few right-wingers in your party (bloody rebels, all of them!), but the truth is Mr Hague will be better suited to the Home Office portfolio. A Foreign Secretary is really a PM in waiting and they are the individual who travels around the world to represent the government, consequently, gravitas is a requisite trait. Don't think I need say more on that one.

Next, now that she will no longer have a job, you can move Theresa May to Health....let's be frank, if Jeremy Hunt can do the job, then so can Madame May. The worst that can happen is the odd scandal and mismanagement here and there.....Theresa is the queen of missteps, so she should fit right in. Besides, she is going to betray you anyway, as the Tory leadership tussle hots up. Better you push her down the ladder now, than have to ask Et Tu Theresa down the line. Don't let the leopard-print shoes fool you.

Now, let's get to the nitty gritty....Syria. Granted you were so stubborn in your determination in getting the issue to the Commons, but surely, even a Bullingdon boy like you must understand how to win votes. It is not done by being nice and asking MPs politely to report to the chamber, rather it is conducted in the most vicious and spine-chilling manner. You require Whips from the Walter Harrison and Bernard "Jack" Weatherill school, who are prepared to scare their fellow colleagues with career-threatening phone calls and still invite them to breakfast the next morning, once the vote is won.

Instead, all you have now is what is slowly becoming a lame-duck scenario. Ed Miliband, a man who is clearly inferior to you in terms of communication, has somehow managed to steal your thunder and gavalnise his troops. Whats more, people on the street now look at your job and see him as an adequate replacement. Yes, he is a back-stabbing, ruthless bugger, but as far as most of us watching from the sidelines are concerned, this is an apt description for all of you who work in the building with the world's most famous clock. The earlier you realise this and hit Ed where it hurts...the better.

Whilst attempting to decapitate Mr Miliband, do not be distracted by all this nonsense about France taking our place in the special relationship with America. Apart from the Statue of Liberty thing, the Americans are never going to gel with the French. The true essence of a special relationship is the similarity of thought and just because we think alike, doesn't mean we are not going to disagree sometimes....after all what purpose does a special bond serve, if we can't have the odd divergence?

In truth, I wish you had waited for Obama to play his hand before you showed your cards. If you consider the fact he is by far the superior politician and communicator, it would have been shrewder to see how he handled the matter. Now, on the back of your defeat, he has used you to move his case forward, knotting Congress' legs and waiting to see a fallout that would not only support his policy, but also improve his imploding ratings. Pay attention Dave....see how players play!

As a Political science graduate, I was going to delve into giving you loads of guidance and recommend reading the "Art of War" and "Vom Kriege," but you can imagine my shock when I found out you bagged a 1st in PPE from Oxford no Well, it may be time to dust off your Uni books and get back to basics, otherwise, it may surprise you that your BC and Oxford senior, Boris, could utilise his Classics degree to the full extent of political treachery.

In conclusion, I heard a wicked rumour about the UK government (under your stewardship). Some 'recalcitrant' red-top has been saying we sold chemical weapon ingredients to Syria in 2010! Personally, I refuse to believe such evil chit-chat, as I do not accept we could have sold Assad such chemicals and now want to stand in judgement over him today. But then I saw some more damning details.

Come on Dave, say it ain't so....


Kanmi Iyanda

P.S - You have to do something about your 'New World Order' advisers. They make you look arrogant, distant and not living in reality. It's up to you Dave, tick...tock...tick...tock.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Open Letter to David Cameron

Dear David,

I am writing to you in the wake of the ongoing dilemma called Syria and hoping you will heed to some of the advice you will find in the following paragraphs.

Let me start by laying my cards on the table. I have never run anything in my life, talk less of running a government or being one of the most powerful individuals in the world. I am just a keen observer of world affairs and a keener follower of the history of the Middle East, who sits on the sidelines and watches our leaders fumble through crisis after crisis.

Clearly, you have an endless list of advisers who are far more qualified than myself and as such, would hopefully guide you with wisdom this issue demands, but if the totality of their advice is for the UK to get involved in Syria militarily, then I have to say they are wrong.

Syria, like most countries in the Middle East and North Africa, is a country most Westerners do not understand and consequently, when we interfere in their business, we often come out worse off than when we went in. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are three examples of political open sores we are yet to effectively heal, but somehow it appears the lesson is never learnt.

The issue isn't whether we are obliged to go into these countries, the issue is we have shown time after time, we do not possess the guile to draw up an exit strategy when the time to leave arrives. Like a bumbling 'good' Samaritan who wants to stand up to the schoolyard bully, we rush in and end up with more than egg on our faces and yet we attempt to conjure up a story for the electorate, of how we are mandated to keep the peace in cultures we clearly do not understand.

Let's take Libya as an example.

For all the hue and cry rained down on us by you and other world leaders, Libya today is as bad as Syria. There are lawless individuals still toting around with enough arms to destabilise a small country and the peace we have brought to that land is a tenuous as the relationship we had with Qaddafi. If Libya's payback for kicking out the much reviled statesman, was to murder the US ambassador, then it is only a matter of time before the powder keg they precariously sit on, takes the whole place apart. Once the media leaves Damascus behind, I will not be surprised if the next stop is Benghazi.

I am not predicting this woe because I am a naysayer, rather, I am just recounting the pattern we see continuously before us. As a leader in the so-called free world, I am sure you see these things too, but it seems there are other behind-the-scene factors which are dictating the path your government intends to go down.

The current atrocities in Syria are heinous and barbaric, but how can we tell the reality on ground? Who do we know has used what weapons in such an opaque war? How do we know it was the Syrian government who ordered the shooting at UN Inspectors? How do we know categorically the rebels haven't used chemical weapons? How is it our Foreign Secretary is already calling out the Assad government on these crimes, when the inspectors haven't concluded their investigations? How can we expect the Syrian government to see us as neutral? Could there be other reasons why we are so keen to get involved? Are the exertions of Shell in the Syrian landscape a pointer to facts minnows like myself are not privy to? Where is the proof that previous interventions in this volatile region has ever ended well and worthy of getting involved in?

I am aware there will be dissenting voices (albeit in the minority) like mine amongst your advisers and I am 100% sure the hawks are doing all they can to get you committing the UK troops to this war, but at least unlike your predecessor (once removed), you cannot say no one told you otherwise. This letter is in the public arena now and will stand as a stick to beat you with, post your misadventure in Assad's playground.

In conclusion, I wish you good luck in all you do. The responsibilities of being at the helm of affairs of such a powerful country must be overwhelming. I am aware people like me only know 20% of the story and as such, I will accede to your superior position, but I pray you do not get so blinded-sided that you start to believe this is your moment to crystallise your legacy. For this is not your moment. And always the end, all leaders fail, but history is kinder on the leaders who possess clarity and do not attempt to hoodwink their people.


Kanmi Iyanda

P.S - I hear Tony Blair has asked for you to intervene asap...well, if that doesn't dissuade you from what is clearly political harakiri, nothing will.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Flying Foreign Colours - A Nigerian Casestudy.

An English friend once told me of his ‘out of body’ experience drinking Nigerian Guinness and watching a live Premiership game in his Lagos hotel. 

He appeared perpetually bemused as he recounted his experiences whilst we ironically shared some bottles of the black stuff (made in Oba Akran, of course!!) at a Nigerian restaurant in London whilst we watched…’ve guessed it……another live Premiership game. 

He had been to Nigeria three times in one year and quite naturally, it had altered his world view and coloured his thought process. 

“I just couldn’t believe how fervent the support for the English clubs was,” he screeched. 

“That is Nigerians for you, we don’t do things by half,” I replied with a shrug and a knowing smile.

“You can say that again. Even the support for sports at the younger levels is phenomenal. Under 17 and 21 football is hardly viewed in the UK, but in Lagos, it was as if I was watching the World cup. Simply unbelievable! Why do you think this is the case?”

I sipped my fresh pint, giving myself a cream moustache in the process. In truth I was buying time before replying to a question, for which I genuinely had no profound answer. Saying we are a passionate and sports-loving people, will obviously make sense, but in this politically correct age, it could also be deemed a subtle insult to my English host. 

I rested my pint on the table and cleaned off my now disintegrating moustache – this took another precious fifteen to twenty seconds. My host was at his English best, quietly restrained and patiently waiting for my answer. It was time to say something. 

“I think it is linked to our ability to find something we like; immerse ourselves in it and hold on without restraint,” I answered feebly, as I took another gulp of my drink.

My friend picked up his glass as I lowered mine, all the time wearing an unfulfilled face. He clearly had other ideas.

“Maybe you are right, afterall you are Nigerian and I am not, evidently. But I truly believe it extends further than the reasons you just articulated. I think it’s a spiritual thing and I am convinced people who have a high degree of belief in God, have a corresponding fervency in their chosen sports. Do you remember the worldwide Religious Belief poll conducted a few years ago? I am not sure now if it was the BBC or TIME magazine, but in any case; I think it was Nigeria and Poland that led the way. Have you ever seen a football game in Poland?  It’s an experience let me tell you.”

I was about to reply, when I noticed the closest table to us had a group of Arsenal fans, all donning their red and whites. They had somehow run out of things to say and had come to the decision that our conversation was worth joining. The chubby one with a goalkeeper’s frame was the first to speak.

“Igwe, e be like say your oyibo boy get point. Nobody fit worship reach Naija. Even some of my oyibo colleagues at work no dey believe the passion we bring to the table.”

An equally huge, but fitter member of the group was not so willing to jump on the bandwagon.
“What has God got to do with football? I think the answer is much simpler; Nigerians like to outdo each other. So once we like something, it is our moral duty to prove we are better at doing that thing than the next man. Shikena! It is not complicated at all.”

My friend moved to reply, but I was quick enough to nudge him into silence. He resorted to raising his hand to generously order drinks for both tables. The discussion was now gathering momentum and we had consensually joined both tables, physically and otherwise. I had a quick glance around and realised we were now the focal point of the room. 

I looked across at my friend and all I saw was a confidently relaxed person, who displayed none of those ruffles foreigners manifest, when discussions amongst Nigerians go from Heated to Ogbona Feli Feli! He was clearly in his element; he had started a discussion which contained all the juicy bits of life…..God, religion, sports, colonialism (apparently, the EPL is another instrument of English cultural domination), colonial mentality (someone from another table accused us of loving English things more than our own).

One of the Arsenal fans actually thought it had more to do with the fact Nigerians more than any other people; appreciated hard work, talent and the resulting beautiful expression when both things come together. 

Nigerian Billboard announcing the imminent arrival of the Arsenal team.
An hour later and nearly everyone including the restaurant owner had joined in (to the annoyance of her boyfriend who sat stone-faced in the corner), but it seemed we were still far away from agreement. Seconds turned into minutes and then into another hour before we decided to courteously announce our departure. 

Somehow, the initial stirring had now turned into a full sandstorm, which had degenerated into pockets of verbal combatants who had now decided the consensus of table arrangement was a thing of the past. The majority of those pockets were now arguing about who were the most passionate Premiership fans in London and judging by the animated state of the restaurant owner, this was not going end any time soon.

“Once my friends leave, can you roll down those shutters,” she shouted to one of her staff.

My friend and I exchanged the customary farewell handshakes. He succeeded in amusing everyone with his ability to click fingers with ease. The young guy, the one charged with closing the shutters, followed us out and waved goodbye with a few words.  

“That’s how it is here every weekend! Drogba this, Osaze that. The players don’t even care about these people and they will never receive cheques for their support. Na wa o!”

A few minutes on the roadside and our taxi pulled up. The driver, a seemingly meek man (who just so happened to be Nigerian) had only been driving for a minute when he suddenly exploded.

“I am sorry sirs, but my blood is still boiling. Can you believe this Arsene Wenger man? We are talking about winning trophies, he is talking about development! How can you develop when you never win any cups? How can you progress when we don't buy players? Premiership, zero! FA Cup, zero! European cup, nothing! Carling Cup sef e no fit win. Abeggi, please return to France and let Klopp come and do the job!”

My friend and I exchanged glances, both nodding at the driver. 

We had to…...we didn’t need an agitated person at the wheel. Besides, he had turned his neck almost 360 degrees to start the conversation with us. 

Swift agreement was the fastest way to avoid a death ride.

Friday, 9 August 2013

A Beautiful Thing....

Every detail had been arranged to perfection. The restaurant, the seats, the suit I had on and the Mariachi band waiting in the wings. I delivered my sure-fire compliment designed to hit the proverbial spot, as I pulled back her seat.

“Thank you, but can I start by saying I cannot be the most beautiful woman you have ever seen,” she said looking quite unimpressed as she sat down.

I gulped my red wine nervously and realised quite quickly I was being thrown a curved ball much earlier than I had expected. All the mock trials had not prepared me for this segue. My insecurities began to line up, impatiently determined not to wait for their starting orders and if the truth were to be told, I could already see the finish line in sight.

As trickles of sweat ran down from my armpits, she calmly continued.

“I hope I haven’t burst your bubble, it’s just I have had a few of these blind dates and guys do come out with ridiculous things off the bat. No woman wants all the pressure of being the most beautiful female you have ever seen, because most women know they are not that beautiful. Maybe sexy, maybe alluring, maybe even, attractive, but never beautiful….it is what we aspire to be, and the wise women out there are aware, it is somewhat of an elusive standard.”

I blew out my cheeks and nodded timidly as she continued.

“Besides, I find it difficult to comprehend how one could call another person beautiful, without actually knowing them personally. Beauty like ugliness is an inside-out quality. It cannot be assessed solely on aesthetics. You understand?”

It took me a few seconds to realise it was my turn to speak.  Clearly, I was far more comfortable if she had kept on educating me. You know what it’s like when someone says profound things you hadn't even began to imagine. They sound so refreshing and clever, making you feel so dated and stupid.

I had been warned of this new generation of women, unafraid to lay out their insightful thoughts, but I had naively yearned for an easy ride. Oh deftly you come before a fall.

So, on top of all the discomfort I was already feeling, I was now under the self-manufactured fear of uttering something completely unwise. And you know what they say about fear of failure, how it makes you do or say very silly things. Well….

“In truth, maybe I should not have used the word beautiful, but I couldn’t use the word ugly either. I mean, you are not that ugly, so it would have inappropriate to use any other word, but beautiful.”

Why I said it, I would never know, but it was clear at that juncture, the only inappropriate thing at the table was me! Let’s be frank, I could have said something about requiring the gents or asked about her likes and dislikes, but nerves have a weird way of numbing your confidence and grey cells in one swift swoop.

The slow shake of her head and incessant drumming with her French-manicured nails on the pristinely laid table, signalled the end of the shortest date in history, so I did my best to pick up what was left of my prostrate dignity.

As I beckoned the waitress over, I knew some sort of damage control was also appropriate to save face, so I gave her the biggest tip of my dating career.

She smiled brightly at both of us and whispered;

“Thank you. You make such a beautiful couple.”

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Yerima for President!

Yes, I said it and I have no intention to retract. After all, we are referring to a country called Nigeria.

So, now that you have succeeded in not choking on your breakfast, lunch or dinner, we can continue the necessary discourse on the plight of our dear giant of Africa. A country (or shall I say an enterprise) that has surely lost its way in a self-created maze of gluttony, lunacy and egocentricity.

To be frank, I have found the ensuing fallout of the Senate’s grisly decision to effectively legalise child marriage, very interesting. I have come to realise how little many of us know of our constitution. I have also come to acknowledge that many people do not even have a clear comprehension of Section 29. The reality is nothing has really changed. The Senate wanted to delete a subsection which has now been retained in the face of the Yerima-backed campaign. In other words, like always, Yerima fought his corner and won!

The offending subsection states:

‘…any woman who is married shall be deemed to be of full age’

In any case, as per expectation, Nigerians from all corners of the world have blustered and ranted their protestations via various social media outlets. Seldom have we had a burning issue that has had the powers that be, shifting uneasily in a country where the elite’s disdain for the man on the street is palpable to say the least.

We have had David Mark, the Senate president, appealing to us and stating it was a case of political blackmail (???!)….we have had the odd senator crying out and telling us they more or less harangued into casting a blind-sided vote. The excuses, like those of an errant child have been rapid, but invariably impotent. The truth is these guys don’t know what they are doing and a forensic examination of their limp individual qualification for the seat they occupy, would ultimately tell you why this is not a surprise. We are in effect, a rudderless nation.

Of course, in these volatile type of situations, the political commentators from all manners of penmanship are always a source of common-sense and measure. In the midst of the loud silence from your Buharis, Ribadus, Obasanjos,  Rufais, Mr President and their other cohorts, it has fallen to a spattering of people to voice the indignation felt to the very core of our people’s psyche.

The brilliant Gimba Kakanda and the stoic Maryam Uwais have been the stand-out contributors in my humble opinion.

Gimba’s witty observations and vitriolic rejection of the indefensible has been incessant, honest and without prejudice.  In his withering piece ‘Rumble in the North,’ he delivered this gem:

“In our rash of debates, we failed to highlight that Yarima, who married an underage Egyptian, couldn’t do so in the bride’s country because the law there has outlawed child marriage. And Egypt is over 80 % Muslim!”

And therein lies the poison in this current discourse. Whilst the likes of Saudi Arabia are working frantically to increase the legal age of young brides, Yerima and his colleagues are attempting to introduce a new brand of Islam to us in total contravention of where every other nation with an Islamic slant are heading.

But then can you really blame him?

Here is man who successfully implemented Sharia Law in Zamfara State in 2000, even though we are telling the world we are a secular country! Here is a man who in 2003 married a thirteen-year old, without so much as a whimper from the observing masses. He successfully defended himself against a possible legal reprimand of marrying an underage girl, arguing that under Article 61 Second Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution, the Nigerian Government has no power to legislate on “marriages under Islamic law and Customary law including matrimonial causes relating thereto”, meaning that he had no legal case to answer. He insisted he had not dishonoured sharia:

"History tells us that Prophet Muhammad did marry a young girl as well. Therefore I have not contravened any law." 

Here is a man who subsequently (four years later) put his name forward to be the ANPP candidate for the 2007 presidential election and won backing from the Christian Alliance! In case you are missing my logical direction here, in brief, here is a man who doesn’t give two figs what any of you thinks.

But then why should he?

He has already explained his thinking to us in a rebuttal of all the flak he has been catching in the wake of the Senate vote.  In brief, he believes worse things are happening in the lives of underage girls on a daily basis in Nigeria.

In the cold light of day, you cannot really blame this type of individual. He, like his many colleagues who make up our elite, is well aware that Nigerians are a reactive people and as such always build their gates after the horse has bolted. The elite know we are not a strong people. The elite know our barks are far worse than our bites and as such will continue to visit all manner of crap on us, until we tell them ‘enough is enough’ and even when we do begin to say this, they will still defecate on us for good measure. It’s not called bad leadership for nothing.

To be frank, are we really surprised by the ‘crap in, crap out’ legislation that we have in Nigeria?

When our brightest and most distinguished have veered into the domestic private sector and the rest, deserted the country and cocooned themselves away in Western Suburbia, what is it we are expecting from this group of brigands and intellectually-bereft individuals? You cannot produce precious metals from spurious material and until we begin to realise any change in our laws affect affects us all, irrespective of foreign domiciles (now that immigration services in the West are doing spot checks!) or domestic sectors, we will not witness any significant fortunes in our poor state of affairs.

Say what you will about our founding fathers, do you see anyone in our current political class who can be described in the same vein as say; Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe or Obafemi Awolowo?

And for those who may feel my comparative analysis is flawed, shall I go down to the next level and ask if we can find anyone today who we can compare to the likes of Aminu Kano, Louis Mbanefo, Samuel Akintola and many more of that hue?

Nigerians keep forgetting that irrespective of whether the likes of Obama visit us or not, we are still the forerunners of the black race… is not a case of whether we want to embrace the leadership position, it is actually incumbent on us to do so. Those accustomed to my musings, can confirm my rantings on the fact that Nigerians represent 1 in every 5 black people on earth. That ratio could even increase if we began to check results of extensive global DNA tests, which have confirmed the likes of Oprah and Forrest Whitaker are of Nigerian extraction!

 We have the talent, the guile and the numbers. But crucially, we lack the most important ingredient of all…..courage.

We have become a shadow of ourselves and a foot-mat for anyone interested in trampling all over us. Our fight is gone and our collective pride ground into dust. We are like that failed patriarch, unaware of their pariah status, still rambling of our golden days whilst the reality of today’s emptiness evades our deluded mind. We love to sleepwalk our way into crisis, whilst we profess alertness. Boko Haram's stranglehold was a situation that many Nigerians told me would never happen.....sometimes, I still have the post-traumatic stress disorder of being derided publicly when I dared to inform some of my resident Naija friends of my fears. We seem to be completely comatose!

Why else would the likes of Rotimi Amaechi doubt our passion?

So yes, in line with the title of this piece, I believe very soon we will start to see Yerima’s posters accentuating his presidential ambitions. It shouldn’t really surprise you; we all know he has those ambitions anyway. In truth, if the likes of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha can have the chutzpah to distribute posters informing us of their senatorial ambitions, what can really stop Yerima? The 'good and great' will definitely pitch their tent with him and he could actually win. And pleaaasseeee don't do that Nigerian thing and tell me it can never happen!

Say what you will about the man, at least he has not been convicted of any form of corruption.

So yes, Long live Nigeria…..the valium-laden giant who welcomes all forms of deviants. Long live Nigeria….the country where talented youth is shunned in favour of the same old political class. Long live Nigeria….the paradise for those who refuse to learn from history.

Long live Nigeria……and long live President Yerima!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The League of 3000 Slaps

“It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

- Abraham Maslow I have never been a fan of Theresa May. I think it’s only fair this piece begins with that sentiment out in the open.

From my modest position, she has always struck me as being more style (well…) over substance. An individual so talentless and flawed, that it is only possible for such a person to rise to high office, when the pool of choice is filled with equally weak compadres.

Let’s be frank, can you imagine someone of Theresa’s limited capabilities in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet?

Remember her shambolic speech at the Tory conference in 2011, when in her haste to mock the Human Rights Act and impress her fellow Blues in one fell swoop, she failed to check her facts and basically informed the conference that an illegal immigrant had not being deported because of his pet cat! As it turned out, this fable had been doing the rounds for months and had been debunked several times over.

But our Home Secretary and her band of merry civil servants had not bothered to check the facts with the Home Office. The instant gratification she longed for was clearly more important than the truth.

Moving on in her litany of errors, Theresa left us sufficiently puzzled with her next trick. You remember the one…..where she, without the knowledge of Parliament, decided to relax UK borders and in doing so had completely run headlong into the Border Agency’s hierarchy.

Miraculously, she came out of the ensuing massacre, position intact, although the likes of Brodie Clark weren’t so lucky. But then as we all know, Theresa’s Prime Minister adjudged she was still doing a good job and kept her on. One wouldn’t want to offend the right-wing of the party, would one?

Saying that, I am convinced David Cameron paid for that folly, with copious amounts of wincing when his Home Secretary predictably struggled before the Home Affairs Committee. In an hour-long duel, Theresa fluffed her lines, looked completely rattled and unprepared. It was clear she shouldn’t be in charge of anyone; talk less of one of the most important governmental departments.

In a particularly embarrassing session, our dear Home Secretary under intense scrutiny had no choice but to admit her ignorance as to which airports had implemented her newly relaxed regime. To spare her blushes, one of her embarrassed aides had to pass her a piece of paper with the correct information. You could almost hear the collective gasp of her fellow MPs.

Then there was her completely impotent reaction to the London riots. In absence of the Prime Minister, the next person to look up to in those types of domestic scenarios is the Home Secretary and boy, did she look limp and ineffective! And to think this is an individual who has desires on Number 10. I suppose if one’s skin has been undeservedly saved many times, one ultimately begins to develop delusions of grandeur.

I could go on, but what purpose will it serve to inform you that we currently have an inept Home Secretary, when it is undeniably clear to most? In these times of global and domestic insecurity, when the country appears to have home-grown enemies even keener than our external foes, it is a thing of amazement and quite frankly, sadness, that this person holds such a position.

Clearly the gods are ready to kill off this coalition….why else will they first make them mad?
Why else would the May lady decide her latest venture would be to come up with a £3,000 visa bond scheme that singles out Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka?

Apparently, this latest proposal of hers is to deter visiting overstayers and tourists who illegally recourse to public services, like the NHS. As one would expect, this hasn’t gone down well with everyone, although there are supporters of the scheme who are urging her to even raise the value of the bond.

Oh well, as someone of Nigerian descent myself, there are many things I could write in this article at this point, but I must rise above the utter stupidity of this latest debacle. It appears our madam still sees the UK with severely tainted spectacles. In the relentless pursuit of some UKIP votes, she has forgotten the people who do the donkey-work for everyone else.

Go around any major city and tell me who are the cleaners, the public transport workers, the people who run and man the corner shops. Those jobs are the real backbone of this economy and anyone who tells you different is deluded. My naive expectation was the relevant communities would be treated with a smidgen of respect.

I realise Theresa wants to be Tory leader one day and as such has to lay down her ambitious marker, so we do get the message loud and clear. People like me are obviously the problem in this country and once these issues have been resolved with the £3000 bond, the country will be alright on the night! That of course is the curse of the one-dimensional political character that populates our government today….they have the same answer to all problems…’s always the darkie’s fault!

Just for the sake of clarity, can we just agree that overstayers and exploiters of this country’s welfare structure, come from all over the world and furthermore, they come in all shades and colours. We have Aussies, South Africans (during and after apartheid), Russians, Eastern Europeans and many more.

I thought we should point that out because it appears the only immigration offenders that our leaders are concerned about; seem to be the ones who don’t look like them. My guess is they just thought why offend everyone when we can just pick on the soft-touch nations?  It is not only highly offensive, insensitive and infuriating, it is downright revolting!

What is required is stronger immigration controls, a more effectively run Border Agency and tougher checks to ensure visitors do not take recourse to public funds. What we have been given is a proposal stewed from the laziest form of ministerial work and it all stinks of electoral desperation.

But then, why should anyone be surprised….after all it has Theresa May’s paws all over it.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Releasing Mandela....

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."

- Mark Twain

Thirty years, when I was still knee-high to a grasshopper, my paternal grandmother came from the village to stay with us in the city. Well, she had no choice really...she was very ill and my parents believed the only option open to them, was to give her the type of care which was in truth, impossible whilst she lived a hundred miles away.

A strident and ground-breaking female in her heyday, my grandmother had an attendant, inspiring spirit that radiated a strong sense of independence.   So strong was her spirit, that we often joked no one could have brought her down to the city, had it not been for her descent into deteriorating health. As it happens, she steadily improved once she stayed with us and therein began a short period of bonding that stays with me to this very day.

I was on my summer holidays from boarding school and like every holiday before this one, my senses had gone into overdrive. Everything was more intense. My mother's food smelled and tasted better, my demonstration of love for my siblings was hyperbolic and my playful interactions with my neighbourhood friends always outstretched my curfew and my parents' patience.  It never occured to me at the time, but the one person whose patience for me could neither be stretched nor fraught was, grandma. Consequently, I spent most of that summer listening to her stories and life lessons, as she expertly marinated me for the big world out there.

Suffice to say, as her health relapsed and the grim reaper moved ever closer to our residence, I fell into a deep period of mourning for an inevitable exit. In fact, so extreme was my bereavement I had completely blunted any possibility of immersing any meaningful teachings from the great woman. I ate less, cried more and became a proverbial pain in the rear for everyone around me. I didn't know at the time, but I was basically refusing to release her.

Had I known that a slow death of an elderly loved one, actually armed you with the strength to cope more easily when they were gone, I would have managed the process a bit better. Rather than grieve about a certain end, I could have spent those valuable hours celebrating her life and probably may have even extracted more poignant lessons, for they say the old are more giving when they sense the finish line.

Why am I sharing this private account with you all? Well, it is only those resident underneath rocks who are not aware of Nelson Mandela's current slow walk to the pearly gates. Of course,  it is slightly morbid for one to predict another's demise, but sometimes, the forces of nature combine to alert us all to that period when we ought to reflect on a life (whilst that person is still with us), rather more mourn and dread their downward spiral.

Only a nincompoop will not realise why most people are in trepidation about Mandela's eventual passing. In truth, most of us are apprehensive for what will happen to the fragile peace that has bound South Africa for the last few decades. Some are apprehensive on the monumental vacuum which will be left behind and as such, are making plans to ease their cynical souls. Some cannot see how things will not fall apart, when the Falconer goes to the great beyond and leaves a somewhat nervous, edgy and jumpy cast of falcons behind. Our trouble is we only trusted one person.

Consequently, what nature is trying to teach us is to reach out to each other and leave the great one alone......he has to go, because he has played his part. Maybe everyone in the Cape have put all our eggs in one basket for too long and now have to learn to interact with each other. Like the spoilt child who has basked in their parents' shadows for too long, it is time for fly the coop. It is time to grow up and take over the lifting of the load burdened on one set of shoulders for so long.

My advice......collectively suck it up and get on with it. It is called life for a very good one gets out alive! As such, ala Shakespeare, we should not fear death or let it surprise us, for, it is a necessary end.

Viva Madiba!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Beginning of the End...

"Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions." 

- Blaise Pascal

And so whilst most of us in Britain waited anxiously in our annual homage for the appearance of the sun, it seems a burning of another kind was being hatched in the minds of some restless London youths.

With millions of adults sat at their desks at work and equal numbers of children doing same in schools across the country, a dastardly and unprecedented act of barbarity was being perpetrated right in the front of anyone who had the stomach to watch.

A young man, hacked and chopped until he gave up the ghost, all because he wore a t-shirt that denoted he was a soldier in the British Army. An attack so unreal and frenzied, several witnesses have confirmed that they thought they were witnessing a film, rather than a morbid decapitation.

Incredibly, one of the assailants who is clearly carrying brass testicles, went on to pose for various photographs at the scene, promising 'hell on earth' for anyone who supports the army's activities in Muslim countries. With bloodied hands and still bearing his instruments of death, he brazenly attempts to justify the broad daylight butchery of an innocent man.

So far gone is the homegrown terrorism in the Britain today that a person can slaughter another human being, throw the dead body in the middle of a busy road and then have the effrontery to wait for the police. As if this was not bad enough, they then attempt to charge the police officers on arrival, which as we all know now led to their being shot and incapacitated. Some say the officers should have shot to wouldn't find me mourning for them if that had happened!

On a personal note, I hear one of the assailants may actually be Nigerian...I cannot begin to tell you how much revulsion boils in the pits of my stomach when I hear this. My request is that the police tell us his current location, so we can go and 'visit' him. He definitely wouldn't be in any pain by the time a few Nigerians pop in. Waste of space!!!

It seems quite clear to me that there are watershed moments in history where people cross the line of decency and redefine who we all are...I think it has just happened. Terror has come home. SMH.

May the poor man's soul rest in peace and may his family have the strength to bear such a horrible loss.