Frankly, we don’t care much about the political skulduggery that parades up on down the pages of Nigerian newspapers because, fuck politics, that’s why. Most of what you see is the same old news: ass licking, back stabbing and fifty shades of public masturbation. Even more importantly, there are world-shaking current events that requires our immediate attention, if not even outright demonstrations.
But, now and then, some gem of an ironic cock-up comes along, grabs you by the throat and tickles you hard in the ribs till you want to seize your office-issued laptop and throw it across the room in annoyance.(Which would be totally cool if you tried it right now.)
Now, this particular issue isn’t a shiny new story, it’s the same old crap, with a touched up tissue paper. And no, it isn’t the particular scandal you’re thinking: you know, that pile of wank about the Sanusi-Boko Haram conspiracy theory; that story circulated (allegedly, allegedly—this is for the damn lawyers) by a presidential aide who has to be the most interesting man in the Nigerian social media circle right now.
We’ll get back to Sanusi. But, for now, let’s focus on the ringleader of the president’s batshit crazy media circus, our erstwhile tutor and rebel leader, Mr Reuben Abati. See, back in 2009, before the mischievous gods took a hand in his affairs, Abati wrote this thoughtful article where he advised Nigerians to reflect before celebrating independence anniversaries. Not one to be intimidated by a few lines of hyperbole, Abati proclaimed that: “The world is passing us by. At 49, we are a nation of malcontents. When last did anyone tell a happy national story made on Nigerian soil?”
A fair enough observation, especially from a bright and hardworking intellectual who had had to face the hard knocks of working class reality in a country consistently administered by rouges since 1914. Life as an everyday Nigerian isn’t sexy–and damned if Reuben Abati didn’t know that shit. There was nothing to celebrate in 2009, and he looked ahead to proclaim that there was nothing to celebrate in 2010–and by extension, 2014. But Abati, hot and brilliant writer that he was, sucked hard in the prophecy department, for, as we all know, his personal life became a happy national story. The deadbeat jalopy gave way to presidential jets, and our previously angry discontent turned into a contented philosopher.
So, great, Abati discovered financial orgasm and renounced his activism. But the hunger-inspired words he wrote some four years ago still require some serious consideration. Especially after the Sanusi debacle. Especially after the Boko Haram debacle. Especially now that our government has gone bonkers with a centenary celebration which good old Soyinka frankly refers to as a “canonisation of terror“.
Of course, hard as his PR team may try to deny it, we all know that President Jonathan is quite the connoisseur of wine, women and the good life. Which are all fine things for the modern gentleman. But with a terrorist takeover of the North East, allegations of financial misconduct, and several other shenanigans, the dude needs to connect with the current atmosphere of the country—and then, you know, maybe take a break from one or two delicious female members of the cabinet.
We don’t begrudge celebrations. But the current socio-political mood is just as important as a sense of history, and neither of the these two point to the need for a jamboree today. Think of this: Abati wrote years ago that there was nothing worth celebrating; Sanusi, former member of that same government, says things are even worse than they were years ago. But Sanusi is what happens when you have an activist in the government, and Abati is what happens when you have the government in an activist. Somewhere in between these two is some common sense, but common sense doesn’t receive centenary awards. And if you still don’t get the point, then get the fuck outta this blog.
The funny news is this: this Sunday morning in Lagos, President Jonathan genuinely baffled us with the statement that, without the backup activity of prayer warriors, Nigeria’s security status would have been even more screwed up than it currently is. Now, we know that you, our readers, are prayer-addicts and good luck—no pun—with that! But when a democratically elected President makes such a statement on public safety, you have to—as they say in England—shine your eyes well-well. Although, on the bright side: at least you know the President has a security plan in place.
Now, reliance on prayer is not so shabby a security blueprint, (although we consider it totally ass-fucked), considering that it seems to work well enough for the Vatican. The problem is, while the Vatican has Angel Michael on speed dial, someone in the Ministry of Defense forgot to obtain VIP pass for final approval from God—or whatever witchery you have to perform to get your prayers working—for, no sooner had the President finished his statement than Boko Haram flipped him a finger and pulled another dick move—in what has to be the most astonishing case of conflicting reliance on divine instructions.
Now, of course, Boko Haram isn’t a new issue in the country. In fact, every well bred Nigerian—unlike us—knows that a situation stops being a “pressing issue” after three days of non-resolution by the government. And, after two weeks it stops being an issue altogether. And accordingly, the most successful public policy of Nigerian governments has been: “Hang on guys, let’s allow this one to blow off by itself.” And if the particular public official ranks high on the asshole scale—they may even pass it off as an unsolvable spiritual problem.
Common sense says Boko Haram isn’t going to blow off by itself, and an offering-load of prayers will not resurrect one dead victim. But this is Nigeria, and we love to screw around with vital situations, and that’s why the government is committed to investing prayer into public issues—and that’s why religious leaders have tried to re-brand the president as some Old Testament king.
And as long as the Nigerian government continue to muddle personal spiritual issues with public policy issues they will continue to screw the job they are given. But, naturally, the government has always responded to social criticism by mistaking unhappiness with discontent: but Nigerians are not merely discontent with the half-assed attitude a government that relies on magic—miracles, if you wish—they are truly unhappy about it.
But GEJ is a sly dog. Instead of facing his critics on the continued Boko Haram insurgency, it is plain easier for him to file the problem away as a “God vs Satan” affair, and leave Oritsejafor and his book club members to sort it out. Afterall, no “sane” Nigerian really expects Goodluck Jonathan, Mortal, to do all the work when it comes to waging war against the damn Devil.
And when the majority of Nigerians are wired to think this way, then the government wins the lottery. And here’s the lesson for today: the Nigerian government counts on your approval to a spiritual argument. Even more, it counts on your inability to detect when your brain is being messed with. You see, GEJ isn’t just appreciative of your prayers, he’s also appreciative of your tendency to forget the underlying issues by the time you are done reading this line.
Here’s the good news, folks: our blog rolled a year over the weekend! And as irrelevant as it may seem,we’ve spent a full year tormenting you with unsolicited tips on life, religion, citizenship, sex and visions of a fourth term by President Goodluck Jonathan. And speaking of that, for those of you who have been with us all the way, you know that our favourite villain has been, second only to the Arsenal football team, Goodluck Jonathan himself. And we expect to continue to toss out more cheap shots as we anticipate 2015.
Now, if you’re anything like us, you probably enjoy our little lessons and morals—and forget these as soon as you close the web page. But if you’re one of those few people who actually manage to learn some stuff from this blog, possibly making insightful comments on our posts, and even referencing us in conversations with the uncool folks who’ve never read this blog—then, wow! We absolutely love you! But also, get a life—and remember to send us a tithe of your livestock when you become rich and famous.
And that’s why today, we won’t dabble into any homegrown aphorisms, but instead, we’ll tell you our own version of the classic stories of the good little boy and the bad little boy—by Mark Twain. And while you can read the original stories here and here, we assure you that own version is more suitable for today’s fast paced money chasing environment as well as for your understandably, literary-challenged state of mind.
Now, let’s start with the story of the good little blog. See, there was this little blog that was eager to grow up into something kickass. It was out to educate the world, enlighten the minds of folks and make the earth a better place for drinking coffee. This noble blog had plenty visions and then some more: all of which were of the highest, faultless quality. It had no plans to make profit or benefit itself , it just wanted to improve the world. And so it started out with a stream of nice articles: incisive, well written, excellent lexis, and no bad words like “fuck” or “shit” and all the other words that make people drop their public jaws in terror. It was a very nice blog, giving credit whenever it borrowed material, never stole an article and never insulted any of the other blogs.
When our good little blog got kicking, it attracted a few readers—like everything new. But because it had no scandal or gossip to offer, the few readers who came over were not impressed, and eventually they stopped visiting the blog and soon forgot about it totally. The only comments on the posts were from trolls and spambots and the good little blog had to close the comments page just to avoid the headache of deleting these undesirables. But a hacker got into the blog and put up a nasty picture on the blog’s homepage—just for the “lulz”. The blog was shut down by the hosting site, and (just for the “lulz”) the hosts sued the good little blog for a million dollars and won—because the good little blog tried to be all logical and stuff when it appeared in court. Unable to use logic to pay the hard cash, the good little blog was sold off and it died in ignominy, forever unremarkable.
Meanwhile in another part of the country, there was the bad little blog–and when we say “bad”, we mean—fucking horrible—its only goal was to make money, and there was no story that was too low for it to publish. It stole articles from other blogs with dismissive elan. It never educated anybody and never wrote about ideas. Instead it was the ultimate jerk: willing to take bribes to suppress true stories, while setting up untrue stories (about celebrities) and nasty stories (about ordinary folks). In fact, this bad little blog was quite adept at stirring up controversies and shit. Naturally, everyone complained about the bad little blog, but this bad blog was a splendid hypocrite, carefully using “s*x” for “sex” whenever the need arose—and somehow its page-views kept rising along with its readership, commentary and advertisers. Especially, the advertisers.
The bad little blog eventually became a giant website and ranked first in the whole country. Because of its popularity, it easily won respectable awards, consistently receiving the title of Most Distinguished Blog of the Year, Best Political Blog of the Year, Awesomely Distracting Blog of the Year and such other fancy titles. It even got into the inspirational racket—making money off folks while pretending to give revelations about stuff that was freely available on the internet—if only the audience would get off their collective asses and do a Google search. Well, you know the rest of the story—our bad little blog earned big, entered politics as the official government spokesblog and when it retired, it was widely praised as an innovator in the blogging industry, although no one could quite say for certain what this bad little blog innovated that was useful to the society.
And of course, you know the moral for today. You already know the point we’re trying to make all along: that is, Idlemindset is a good little blog which is gradually dying because folks are more interested in entertainment than in enlightenment; and that you need to change your ways so that this blog can help you become a better person. Right?
You see, we are a bad little blog, and we’ve been quite good at being naughty. What’s more, we’re quite chuffed that you’ve stayed with us all the rascally way. And here’s our lesson for today: You, our Idlemindset folks, are the coolest. You rock, dudes, you rock!
Remember to follow @idlemindset on Twitter as we plan to send the first Nigerian politician to the moon—without space gear.
Hello again, folks! Its a new month, April Fool’s day, a holiday and yes, despite all evidence to the contrary—at least in this part of the world where we are consistently spiritually fastidious—it’s a Monday!
And while there are better ways to celebrate such a rare day—the best of which we think is to lie in bed all day—we have decided to take some time off our lazy schedule and cook you up your regular Monday dish. Consider this our Easter Message to you—but more on that later. First of all, let’s take a quick look at the idea of conspiracy theories—aka “I’m totally nuts” mentality. You know, that idea that someone somewhere is actually running the show for you.
We all have that friend—except if that person is you—whose neck we want to wring whenever a debate starts. The one friend that doesn’t take issues at face value but believes that there’s always a secret agenda, by a secret group of people, to control the ups and downs of social interaction. Try to explain to this friend that, for example, the value of the Naira is falling because of unstable Central Bank monetary policies, and he or she will argue that actually, it is the Intergalactic Confederation of Biafra that is trying to destroy the Nigerian economy.
Of course, there are some kick-ass situations that have once been regarded as outlandish conspiracy theories, but before you reach the conclusion that fiction is actually fact, a little scientific principle called Occam’s Razor should have been set in place. Occam’s Razor, to explain it as simply as possible, advises that in solving a problem, the simplest explanation is usually the right one, and that, you should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.
And that’s how you do it in everyday problem solving and activity—starting with the most simple explanation: from basic problems such as deciding whether to ignore the sound of a door opening in the middle of the night or bringing out your shotgun and firing wildly to solving complex socio-political problems—such as the vexatious Boko Haram issue—and this brings us to Goodluck Jonathan’s and the Easter message.
If you were sensible enough not to bother about the goodwill message, permit us to intrude upon your blissful ignorance through this link. And for those of you who still can’t be bothered, the gist of the message is that we should love one another and not allow terrorists to destroy our unity—-very basic stuff, really. But in the midst of these yawn inspiring exhortations, an insightful inkling into the mindset of the president slips out. He tells us whom he thinks is responsible for the crisis in the North.
As far as the president is concerned, the Boko Haram issue is not a local problem—it’s a global problem, far bigger than the domestic concerns of Nigeria. In fact, there is little or nothing Nigerians can do about this problem except suck-up to God in fervent prayer, while hoping that the “global terrorists” will have the decency to leave us in peace and go bully someone their own size.
And that’s the lure of conspiracy theories—it allows you to be lazy and indulge in wishful thinking. Even worse, it encourages you to think that whatever failures you have are not your fault—but the fault of some other factors; ignoring the fact that some other person was successful despite the presence of those same factors.
There are no global terrorists plaguing our country: Boko Haram is a mash-up of bad policies, religious illiteracy and political ambitions, and someone has to explain that to GEJ. Meanwhile, here’s the proper Easter message for today: troubles cannot be wished away by referencing some external controlling agent. If you cannot tackle the issues that you face with proper diligence, then you will continue to suffer. Stand up and go kick that “cabal” in the ass—or die trying. Just sitting around, moping about your circumstances will achieve absolutely jack shit.
In the last one week, there’s been plenty of evils afoot. It seems that everything went haywire just because we took a one-week break from blogging. Take a look at the list: pardons were granted irresponsibly to criminals, a pope was elected faster than we could watch the smoke, comedic memes were exploding across the naijanet, and Jim Iyke wore shorts to some sort of movie award.
We’re so sorry about all of that. We’ll try hard not to let things go bananas again. But, meanwhile, today we will examine the pardon issue—by kicking you in the shinbone, and waking you up to the realities of Nigerian life. If you’re a Nigerian and you don’t know what we mean by “the pardon issue”, then get off the internet and go weep in a corner. If you’re not a Nigerian, then just read this Wikipedia article to get you started.
Of course some things have not changed. The current president of Nigeria is still pulling stunts of the most incomprehensible kind, the first lady is still doling out cash to law school students, and the defenders of the president are still defending the president.
But despite all these, it has actually become harder to criticize the president—not because there’s been a reworking of government thinking—but because things are so screwed up you won’t even know where to begin the untangling anymore. So, instead, we tend to treat the president like that negligent boyfriend of yours: you don’t mind if he continues to screw up as long as he pays lip service to the relationship. And we rest content in the knowledge that sometime, very soon, we will kick him out.
But despite all of these allowances, the government isn’t content with your indifference. Instead, the government is intent on raping you as painfully as possible. And so the aforementioned Goodluck Jonathan, in another logically incomprehensible action, pardons Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (of late, an ex-convict and a felon) in a way that is essentially GEJ grabbing you by the shoulder, spinning you around forcefully and shoving his big black butt in your face in a grand “kiss my ass” gesture.
And that’s very very painful, because you got served, citizen sucker!
Whether as a society or as individuals, folks enjoy the feeling of importance. And therefore, a primary reason for ranting against GEJ’s pardon is because he thumbed his nose at the general opinion of the public-–and he made no pretense about it. Of course, strictly speaking, few Africans expect the government to toe the line of the people, but there is an ingrained comfortable illusion that the government bothers all the same. We like to think that, as citizens, we matter to our government. And as a general rule, most governments also try to pretend that their citizens matter to them.
And so GEJ pushed aside that illusion and put us in our place. He made it clear that he doesn’t owe the Nigerian public any apology. He’s right to an extent: you cannot fault the legality of the pardon; the average citizen is not directly affected by the criminal record of the beneficiary of the pardon; and according to news, the people of Bayelsa are jubilant over the pardon. But still, you say, GEJ is “our” president. He ought to listen to us and consult us—especially in this fight against corruption.
And that’s your lesson for today: as a Nigerian living under a Nigerian government, your opinion is irrelevant. Get used to this idea and stop being a crybaby. While there is no guarantee that another government will perform better, there is the singular fact that this government really doesn’t care. As much as it gives some emotional release, ranting will not change the mediocrity of government. It will highlight and showcase it, maybe. But it won’t change it. The government is only stirred by the action of the people, not by their opinion. The best you can do, in the absence of any action, is to laugh—hard and long at the comedy of our own existence. And speaking of laughter:
No, we didn’t forget our comedy event of the year. You see, when the gods declare that you are destined to become a meme, nothing in this world can stop it.