Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The River Runs Through It

A good week to all once again. I don’t know about other parts of the world but it’s really baking here. The humidity alone is brain throbbing. Join that with the typically horrendous Lagos traffic and you’ll have a fair idea of how we’re faring over here. The real meaning to the phrase ‘suffering and smiling’ is right here. Nigerians? We are a formidable people; whoever thinks otherwise should go and fetch water with a basket and give us to drink. Oh no, no, no, I’m not done griping yet; the overworked transformer on my street blew sometime last week and we’ve been admiring the stars at night while swiping at those ubiquitous free loading blood sucking tenants. My generator’s been working overtime sometimes forcing me to choose between power and the deafening noise from the… Oh my, they just brought the power back! The transformer must have been fixed! There is a God in heaven; and a conscience among those in charge. Ah! The air conditioner is on and I’m typing merrily away now. Bliss – while it lasts!

Where was I? Yes, griping. Griping about the awful conditions we’re we are being forced to live under. Without wanting to become too political I can’t help but want to add a voice – and maybe influence a collective one to change our lot for the better. A friend of mine once asked me a question while we were holidaying in Poznan in Poland sometime ago. We were drinking polish beer in Murowana Gosclina, the old picturesque town square and admiring the pretty young ladies milling about in their various pursuits. Mukul is a doctor turned actor turned director and is one of the few people I love discussing philosophy with. Before going out at night to storm the night clubs (East Europe has the best) we would sit at cafes in the square arguing for hours on end over different schools of thought – he with his Muslim cum agnostic views and I with my Christian and Nigerian ones.
“Kaloo,” he asked in that exotic eastern accent of his.
“Yes?” I replied, waiting for another topic to chew on.
“How many people are there in China?”
The answer seemed quite obvious but I answered anyway.
“About one point six billion?”
He bowed his head in thought for a moment then looked up at me.
“Can you imagine what would happen if all billion plus people were to come out en masse and piss into a ravine at the same time?”
I just sat there staring at him and the dam burst. The image of a furious hot yellow flash flood emanating from a billion and a half people obliterating everything in its path was too much for me. I roared and roared with laughter and it was all I could to keep from rolling on the ground and making a nuisance of myself. Those are the kinds of idiots I have for friends! I love this life… and yes, I am still on course.

I have often thought of the situation here in my beloved Nigeria and thought of the best way to make our voices effectively heard in the most non violent way possible. Not long ago the wonderful women in Kenya decided to checkmate the political impasse in their country by imposing a sex strike on their men. Apparently even prostitutes were paid not to have sex with customers. I’m not sure how effective it was or if it’s over yet but it definitely set me thinking of Nigeria, a nation with a population of about a hundred and forty million. Now if two million of us were to struggle uphill of the national assembly with laden bladders; women discreetly arranged on one side and men standing proudly on the other, and let loose, what a mighty rush that would be! What a river? What streams? What brooks? What impetuous rivulets coursing through corridors of power, suffusing expanses of plush carpets and rugs in their wake. Our little babies would brush aside any security checks, sending security agents scampering for safety, politicians hopping onto their seats; one hand holding up their robes and the other their noses. I can imagine them wading through the uric flood to get to get to their SUVs and of them thinking of getting to work in the days to come. The stench of our displeasure of their handling of affairs of state would reverberate in their nostrils for days on end; not to mention the lingering state of affairs in the halls. The cleaning bill would be substantial I’d expect, but it certainly would be one well spent. Then those people at the helm of affairs would sit up and enact policies that actually benefit the masses in the knowledge that another demonstration of our collective will is just a pure water sachet away. Just a thought!

In summary, I believe we as a people grossly underestimate the power we weld as individuals and as a collective unit regarding changing our destiny for the better. While a few people may strut about at the helm of affairs falsely believing they and their favoured ones are born to rule to the detriment of the governed, it is important to remind them from whence the power given them emanates – the people. The beauty of it is that it can be done in the most peaceful way like Mahatma Gandhi did with his passive resistance to break the crippling hold Britain had on India. We as Nigerians can stand up and voice our disapproval of the inept way our economy is being handled by people who have no business being there in the first place. We should actively love our country and strive for the best for her and our children We can make our voice heard, so let’s do it. I’m done philosophizing so have a great week everyone.

My air conditioner purrs away
Drying my sweat away
By my ear the mosquitoes sing
While I brace for the inevitable sting!


  1. Hey, I just stumbled on your blog. Will surely bookmark! A great read! I'm in Scotland lol.. those generators,such a stark reminder of moments unique to Africa... and when you are far, moments worth cherishing! :)

  2. Generators......
    have said it before; and will again
    just a few people, selfish people holding everyone to ransom. Holy spirit fire BURNN them!!!
    Religion/spirituality aside, we should just treat people the way we want to be treated; show a little kindness.

  3. Goodness Kalu, c'est tres drole!
    and so true, i could actually see this working! Your friend is genius Lol!

  4. finally i find someone thinking the same line with me. peaceful protests dont work in nigeria like it does in the west here, that's why all the protests past, led by gani fawehinmi and wole soyinka have led us nowhere but in tear gas. i ve been thinking about leading a guerilla warfare(lol) but while im looking for courage in my closet, methinks nigeria needs a J.K. Rawlings.

    forget about the cliche, you cant use a wrong to right a wrong, even God used the sinful and uncircumsised nations of babylon, amalekites , etc to punish Israel, ghana is where it is today because J.K. Rawlings saw the need to kill, maim and imprison the handful of politicians who held ghana by its throat. because of that decision,Ghana has overtaken nigeria in all ramifications. is it good roads?, electricity, security? i could go on and on... even democracy!

    but in my beloved nigeria, the so called giant of africa(that is yet to even start crawling), nothing ever works!

    the militants would have been the best to do this assingment, all they needed to do was face aso rock, blow up only aso rock!, and politicians would have realised they meant business. then their so called fight against marginalisation would have been genuine.... but i know their fight aint genuine, its lost its credibility before my eyes.

    so while im trying to gather courage, can someone please join me in praying for nigeria's J.K. Rawlings.

  5. i think that we as Nigerians should just keep praying for our country Nigeria.The bible says that the heart of a king is in God's hand, meaning that, God can decide to change our leaders at anytime!

    Esther Ujebe.

  6. Nigerians enjoy the misery,please. E never do dem, oooo the suffering no reach dem limit yet because if it was enough, they would rise up and do something but why, when its much easier to sit back and grouse? If things change, what would they all have to talk about? Everytime I go home and ask everybody "how are things?" NOBODY ever says "we are fine, and you? here is something to eat." NO, the first and automatic, robotic response is "my deahhh, we are managing o, we are here o wetin you go do no be government hm!!!! so what did you bring from America!" Get the heck outta here with that mess, are you kidding me? Money doesn't grow on trees in America, I work hard for every dollar I make, 12 hours a day!

    No offense, handsome Kalu but I don't want to hear it. Your horrific traffic in Lagos will not be a generational nightmare if the
    1. citizens will follow traffic laws, 2. if the person who is governor would appoint someone to see about creating different routes and said person will not contract his non expert brother in law to do the job who will then pocket 50% of the money. You transformer will work if people paid if officials thought that many these old systems left by the British needed to be replaced as much as they replace their peugot with a mercedes benz once they get into office!

    Are Nigerians even paying taxes because in the countries we admire so so much, their fancy roads, 24/7 lights, hot/cold water in the faucets, emergency services etc ARE PROVIDED VIA TAX MONIES THAT THE OFFICIAL RESERVED FOR THE PROVISION AND MAINTENANCE OF THOSE THINGS.

    When South Africans had had it with their white oppressors, they fought for their rights to the deaths and imprisonment of many many people. When the Indians were sick of the British, they mobilized behind Gandhi, the French beheaded their nuisance of a Queen and King but Nigerians, NA MOUTH WE GET and hording whatever material wealth we can to show off. Nigerians are NOT UNITED...never have been, never will be! The British brought this blight on us by trying to unite tribal groups who are so vastly different without considering the difference hence we cannot seem to think of the GENERAL GOOD OF THE PEOPLE but ONLY of the individual benefit. Nigeria has not produced ONE leader whose sole interest is in the good of ALL Nigerians, every single leader we have had is more concerned with his tribe as well as his individual advancement. We seem to be an inherently corrupt people and probably only a nation wide lobotomy would help us! I know I am harsh but this wahala we have of always "trying", always "managing" feels like a perpetual choke hold on my neck. Everyday the talent pool depletes and what is the official reaction for our illiterate goverment? To try and restrict the departure of people of a certain age, isn't that what Obasanjo did? Instead of providing incentive to stay?

    We had a woman who was fighting to keep expired, fake medication OFF the markets so people's lives would be preserved, what happened? They tried to KILL HER!!! She's trying to safe people from taking ground chalk when they think it's phensic or panadol and they tried to blow up the woman in her car. And you want to tell me this are a people who will ever get empowered enough to fight?

    Handsome Kalu, as gross as the image was...and I know you are being metaphorical; however, piss all you want both proudly and discreetly but I would be careful with that if I were you because you will only end up floating a way on your ocean of piss because no life jacket or life boat will rescue you since the government ain't got none!

  7. Kalosky !
    I was so hysterical laughing , i couldn't help myself but to speak out. Mukul ! is this the same guy that taught you about those far eastern receipes whose strange savours turned my sweet dreams into nightmares.I could readily see where these ideas are flowing from. A golden sea of yellow flowing through the powerful corridors of our Homeland .Legions of hysterical demons shreiking in protest and abdicating their thrones in droves. The acrid stench of urea charging the atmosphere cleansing! cleansing !cleansing ! Metaphor or not Mukul is a genuis parce-que cette idee est tres Grandiose! But Kalosky, that was just over home brewed Polish KaiKai after a long 23 hour long bus ride across Europe. Mais Maintainant ! Que est que ce passe . Ca Va !! Mon Frere

  8. Another nice read! Keep 'em coming "K"!

  9. Kalu

    Nice article here, you really thought out of the box, a thought in a good direction..... but Ebs have said it. Our leaders and majority of us are the architect of our problems/misfortunes. Leaders with seared conscience, selfishness, greeds, and when you have such people like these in power, what do you get? the likes of what ebs have mentioned.Even with our taxes, money generated are never been channeled to the right direction,rather ends up in the pocket of the oles.

    How many of us are ready and willing to stand up in unionsim?? to declare that enough is enough.... Kalu you and I know that its' a far cry. May be until the generations of our present leaders are wiped out or the day Nigerians learn to do election not by selection.... only then may be, we can be sure to actualise a greater Nigeria.

  10. crazy piece "K", really really crazy! av got a feeling Mukul knows how over imaginative ur mind works before coming up with such an idea.

    i have thought of ways we could shake our leaders into paying attention to our needs... b-b-but a Pepsie and a Piss in the Sun??? definately crazy and GROSS!

    i'll stop here and just keep laughing...

  11. interesting piece. your friend is very funny, please can i borrow him?

    i feel you on this heat matter. i cannot take it anymore. im currently looking for cooler states to move to.

  12. boy! that was a good read Kalu...i know how frustrating nepa..or is it power holding can be...i miss home soo much in spite of it all...as for suffering and smiling..i agree with u..we are just so used to settling for whatever, rather than sticking up to the govt for whats right.
    really interesting kalu..lv u loads!!

  13. First time on here Kalu..I was just watching Lost maiden and then I fell in love, so I googled you..and here I am..terrific writing btw...going to update my facebook status, it'll read "In love with Kalu Ikeagwu"

  14. you good man,keep up your simplicity,you very down to earth...and for that god shall bless you..at 1st when i watched your movies i thot you harsh,brush and arrogant but when i stumbled across your blog,i started liking you...neva change,stay humble!!!but 1st tell me something why is it that most famous people when you greet or talk to them they think that u want them,or wona hev a piece of their wealth or fame???come on cant one just hev a friendly hello or a simple chat???then they think u want them,,sad,very sad,,but anyway u have a great day,,and a happy fathersday in advance..oh flip,,sori,,u not a dad yet???well u mite hev nieces and nephews rite??if yes then u r a dady on the sly..lol,just kidding,,take care,chauuu!!!