Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Little Gossip … (And Hopefully, Nuggets of Wisdom!)

(Unfortunately, this too is quite a long piece, but there’s a lot of juicy gist in it and I didn’t want to cut all of that off, eh?!)

There are plenty of laudable reasons I started the Thisday column, Sons & Daughters, but there was also a selfish part. Wide-eyed teenager that I was then, I believed it would make it easier to find a space in the social ladder.

Dumebi Agbakoba (Will be in Sons & Daughters tomororow)

What I wanted to do with that space if and when I eventually got it, I don’t think I knew for sure. But did I get what I sought? Well, there were varying results – and I will drop some names, trust me! Some of them have become real friends, like Morenike (Dr. Rasheed Gbadamosi’s daughter), there’s Solape (Governor Agagu’s daughter) who took me as some kind of ‘aburo’, Gbolahan (Sen. Obanikoro’s son) and I now have a distant mutual-respect friendship, and how could I ever forget how SHOCKED I was when Charly Boy said yes, I could take his teenage daughter, Adaeze, on a date?! But of course not all have ended well; Zemaye for instance, and Bimbo Adenuga (I still don’t understand what happened here, I had all her numbers both here and in the UK and her emails and suddenly I couldn’t reach her on ANY of them!).

When I started, I was much enamoured by wealth and wealthy people. I still am, but my fascination is much healthier, thank God. I do the column with more wisdom now: no more puppy-eyed questions, no sucking up, definitely no more of being patronized by kids who might be smart, yes, but when it gets down to it, really should be listening to me (Note: This is NOT my ego speaking!).

I can’t deny the power and importance of wealth. It is certainly a good thing that rich kids are able to go to the best schools, have capital to start good businesses and something to fall back if they make a mistake. Heck, if I had a father with plenty of money and contacts at the highest levels of the blue chips, can you imagine how much more of a grand success something like “The Future…” Awards would be? But the point is, no more respect for people who have money just for the sake of it.

A friend was having issues with her boss, a popular young publisher that typifies all style and no substance. This is also a guy said to have hit money by sleeping with older woman, coupled with the fact that his English is so bad I wouldn’t let him write the obituaries in my paper. But he had the guts to talk down on my friend’s excellent writing simply because he has enough money to buy a printing press. He had really killed her spirit, and I had to tell her: ‘Don’t let him get to you. Always remember that you are better than him – all he has is more money’. And then what I had just said hit me: it is SO true!

Temi Ogunsanya and Bolanle Austen-Peters (Two of my favourite 'aje-butters' - these two women have such a sharp business sense you would think they grew up with nothing!)

The main gist: there’s a rich-kid friend of mine (no names!) who’s ED of a big company on the Island, and has a father with legendary wealth, apart from being on first-name terms with Governors and Ministers – and no it’s not who you think, thank you very much!

Very deep and intellectual and witty; and anytime I visit her office it would be a roller coaster of fun gossip. Then I took our event for her company to sponsor.

Unfortunately she is also a disorganized person, so in between forgotten appointments, sudden trips, lost proposals and unwritten memos, one week to the event we had nothing. Plus, you know how these people are; she didn’t appreciate just how much we needed the money. I fired an sms telling her how disappointed we were about the seriousness.

My dear friend wasted no time firing an sms back calling the money ‘peanuts’ amongst other things that sought to let me understand she is so way above me on the money ladder that perhaps I should be grateful she’s even my friend.

It was so predictable I could almost laugh: it came to a battle of wills, and she took that easy way out! You can’t blame her; others do and get away with it, because they are usually dealing with people who are already insecure about their relative poverty (whether they confess it or not). It’s like what impotent rich men do; they can’t get the girl the good old woo-her way, so they use the cheque book. It is actually a sign of weakness. Ultimately, a display of powerlessness.

But I didn’t expect it from her. I was so shocked in fact that I sent off what was actually a cowered response (very unlike me, I assure you). Emilia flew into a rage and said I had to send a stronger reply! I should have, but didn’t.

Then a few days ago, I read that text again and realized that truly, the insult couldn’t go without an adequate response, and so I drafted one – I let her know her reply was tasteless. And I was ready for war!

My friend, however, floored me. She might have taken the easy road at first, but then there are those who have money and no substance and there are those who have both, and she is one of the latter. She sent me an sms, this time, with apologies and a coherent explanation (in fact going too far in the apology by exaggerating and calling me a “great writer!”). I was gob smacked, but I was also greatly relieved; it means I wasn’t wrong about her after all.

That’s it really: by all means, use your money – but use it only where it matters: if you want a loan, by all means let them that you have collateral; but not when it comes to stuff like inter-personal relationships … you can never be better than the other person by reason of the fact that you have more clothes, more shoes or a better perfume bottle. Oprah says it best, no matter how rich she is, she is still the same person – only in better shoes.

The Wisest Woman on Earth!!!

People cover up their inadequacies with money. In fact, certain people make money just to cover up their inadequacies! An illiterate will make more money in order to be able to employ literate people so as to be able to ride roughshod over them; but you see, he might be able to do that, yes, but he will still always feel inferior to them - always.

I had course to ask myself recently: why was there that obsession at the beginning of my career to belong in ‘the crowd’? The answer is simple: a complex; a complex that told me every waking day that because I cannot afford to be in Business Class, because I’m not in the Presidential Suite, because mine isn’t a four-wheel, I am less.

I know plenty of otherwise accomplished people who are prodded on by this intense complex. That’s why many of these Lagos Big Girls are broke I tell you! They grew up in Mushin and Ijesha and wherever else, got some good job or slept with some man and moved up to buying a house in Lekki, and instead of building something solid and investing, they want to sit in First Class with Okoya’s daughter, they want to be in Bambuddha with the Priddys, they want to ride the same cars with the Ibrus, to use the same Louis Vuitton, wear the same Tiffany Amber … for these ones, unfortunately, no matter how many contracts they win, how many awards they get, how many magazine covers they make, they will never feel good enough. And it is so, so sad.

The LOOMING Evil that is Louis Vuitton(Lol)

But you can’t really blame them. It is also the pressure of our society: a society that still talks about such crap as ‘old money’, nay a society that demands of you to live above your means to get respect! Isn’t it ironical for instance that City People columnists will yab movie stars for not driving good cars when they have none themselves?!

Before I bought my car for instance, certain people would treat me one-kain, mostly because I won’t dress up, added of course to my hatred for shoes. Yes, there was the ‘bohemian’ part of me, but there also the part of me that was earning less than the national minimum wage, yet was expected to ‘keep up with the joneses’ who were certainly earning at least 10 times what I was?

All that changed when I changed jobs, started earning some real money, and then I bought the car – the ultimate Lagos symbol that separates the poor from the climbing. Now this truly mirrors the shallowness of our society … I was still wearing my slippers and my adire, but as far as I could wave my car keys at the right angle, people who wouldn’t give a glance before began to discover some respect! It was the same me! The same stylish-less, shy, under-stated me. Only I now had a car key!

Sadly, soon you too begin to buy into the hype. It was one day, while discussing with Bola and Emilia, that I realized my self-confidence was beginning to depend on those perks – a 'big' phone, a laptop, the car etc - so that anytime I wasn’t with any of those things, I began to feel less! It would be comical if it weren’t so tragic. But of course the biggest tragedy of all is that this is the story of thousands of other people.

Something had to be done! Which is one of the reasons I accepted my Abuja posting without a fight. I also wanted to see how my self-confidence would fare, especially in a law school where you would find the hyper-wealthy daughters of some Northern millionaires in cars shiny enough to blind your eyes!

I sold off the car before leaving Lagos, and embraced the idea of a place where True Love doesn’t circulate, where the people wouldn’t have seen me on STV, and where I could only be judged on how I comported myself (which really is the beauty of school, as a leveler), what I had upstairs and how I related to other people.

There is of course still recognition here and there (and it helped that a girl I had a short crush on saw my name in the magazine!), but all I really have now is me and my self worth.

And when I win the respect of my colleagues, based only on the things that I say and do now, and when someone picks an interest, not because I swung my car key, or I just walked out of Cubes, or the person I am talking with is some major Marketing Manager, I know I made the right decision to come here and be reminded of what’s most important.

Wait! It would be an equal tragedy if anyone runs away with this saying crap like ‘money is not important’. See, there is no pride in not being able to take care of your family or yourself. That is not the point here.

By all means, strive to make money, and even I continue in my striving to make more money to buy a better car, to fly First Class, to buy even more expensive perfume, and very importantly to be able to finance my ideas and create more value, so yes please let us all make money … but, let’s say, God forbid you don’t make that money, does it mean you will live the rest of your life thinking yourself less than the moguls and the tycoons?

The thing is, money certainly means you will live a better life (even though that, of course, is debatable), but don’t think it will make you a better person. You will just end up a small man in a big car.

Sad Anna (When she made such a fool of herself at the AMA Awards; it's hard not to feel sorry for her)

Everywhere you turn, wealthy bosses are still intimidated by their brilliant staff (Re: Obasanjo and Okonjo-Iweala), insecure husbands still can’t stand high-flying wives, Anna Nicole Smith just committed suicide, Judith Regan finally got fired, J-Lo still can’t find Love, 50-year old Republican congressman Mark Foley was caught molesting 16-year old boys, George Bush is back to drinking, Mel Gibson is in rehab, Governor Ayo Fayose is still on the run … and so on and so forth. And all of these people have money. Lots of it in fact. That’s something for us all to think about.


Justme said...

My dear Chude!!! Finally u started your own blog. Keep on writing............i love to read

EMILIA said...

You truly have a BIG mouth!

Great work documenting your memorable [and not so memorable] experiences.

Omodudu said...

Your gist dey make me miss Niaja.

Anonymous said...

I love your post. You were so on point on so many things. keep oing your thing,bro.

Bebé's History said...

Good words, strong sense. Glad to hear from someone who is acutely aware of the culture to belong at all costs, literally.
I'm also a blogging newbie. Visit my site sometime

Anonymous said...

Do you have a contact e-mail for the 'public'? e.g. your blogger/gmail account. I have a question related to an NGO that I'd rather not post publicly.

Omohemi Benson said...

Intresting post.
Willre-read again and come and comment again 2morow.

Bella Naija said...

Oh wow!
This is a hot button topic isnt it?
This is Lagos exemplified...all the points you touched fact I actually have nothing to add cause u said it all.
I really appreciate your honesty on how the whole thing (almost..?) influenced u.
On teh same topic, dont know if u have read it but check out:

I'm lovin your blog ooo!
I read Dumebi's Sons & Daughters interview, I am so proud of her!
Temi and Bolanle look gorgeous!

t said...

"Yes, there was the ‘bohemian’ part of me, but there also the part of me that was earning less than the national minimum wage..." that was a good, funny, line.
Fight the good fight!

UnNaked Soul said...

big ups bro!!!

blog on!

mystoriesmytestimonies said...

excellent write up!!!!!
money is not everything... will never be......
it is good to have it and use for charity ...look at oprah...

i like ur blog..

Dammie said...

This was very thought provoking I loved also all boils down to how humble you can be and how much substance you think are worth and want to be worth!!

I loved this!!

Anonymous said...

Good Post!
so sad to see the direction Nigerians are hading to, we are so much chasing the American style of living.
As they say class can never be bought by how much money you have. Being true to yourself is the embodiment of RESPECT no matter how you are looked @.

Soul said...

I'm a little bit confused as to what this is really about.
Maybe it's because I'm completely out of the 'sphere'. I dunno. All it leaves me with is are questions?.

So what are you doing with the space, now?

I mean, it seems that you are trying to say that your direction has changed from wanting to use the space to get/climb up the social ladder to doing something else. But what?.

You also say: that an illiterate will make more money in order to employ literate people so as to ride roughshod over them
And I have to respectfully disagree.
Are you saying that that the only motivation for illiterate people is to humiliate literate people?.

Do you think illiterate people do not want the good things in life too?.
And when you say 'illeterate people'. Do you mean people who have not gone to college or university? but are street literate?

What makes you think the motivating factor fr 'illiterate people' isn't money.. just like most other folk out there?.
Some of the bigger and more established companies worldwide were created by 'illiterate people' who had a keen business sense and street smarts to look at an idea, develop it and make something of it. Many of these 'illiterate people' aslo had the common sense and good business smarts to hire people who had 'book knowledge' or soo called 'literate people' in order to bring a different direction and take their businesses to a different level or even to represent them on a different level.
This whole 'illiterate vs literate' thing just reeks of snobbery and classism.

I'm also quite curious about a few things you said to conclude this post, such as..
Anna Nicole smith committed suicide Really? - Are you sure? Why not wait till the full autopsy report comes out.

J-lo still can't find love? Really?. Has she divorced her husband or are you privvy to some insider details that we do not know of?

Mark foley was caught molesting boys This is simply not true. He wasn't caught molesting them, he was caught 'grooming them' and sending sexually explicit emails. (which is abhorent, I'm by no means endorsing Mark Foley)
Of course all of this was completely inappropriate, but what does this have to do with wealthy bosses being intimidated by their brilliant staff?.

And the more important question, what does it have to do with the direction you are taking?

ABENI said...

I really enjoyed this. You expressed some of my thoughts on the Nigerian society, and the obsession with all things material-People deriving their self esteem from their possessions, and who they can oppress. Just sad. However, I'm not certain Anna Nicole committed suicide, and J-Lo is married to Mark(c)? Anthony, I won't comment on George Bush and his "supposed" drinking. Loving your blog anyway. I'm a huge fan of people who KEEP IT REAL!

Chude! said...

At last, a criticism! Thank you!
What am I doing with the space now? I dont think that was my point. Perhaps I do not even know myself ... in fact, maybe now that you have mentioned it I will explore that! But in the mean time, abeg try and respect my right to say what I want to say when I want to say it...

To the more importants things (and Abeni raised these too); I'm glad you asked the questions: Anna Nicole's autopsy isnt out - but if you listened to her mother on CNN immediately after the death, she suggested suicide. As did several highly placed members of the American press. However, even if all of us turn out to be wrong, the context of Anna's suicide is quite beyond the particular thing that killed her. In law, there is the concept of the proximate cause and the 'preceding' cause, where a chain of events actually lead to the singular action in reference. In this case, even if Anna didnt deliberate kill herslef with an overdose or pull a gun; we all knew where all of that dangerous living would end.

She was killing herself, and even now, everyone who is informed on that matter (and I am a celebrity-junkie!) says so. In any case, even if she didnt commit suicide, the point about self-worth still stands - we all know Anna's story, and wer all have felt sorry for her at some point.

On J-Lo - the sweetheart is still with Marc yes, but the trend in this relationship is so very similar to that with especially P.Diddy and Ben Affleck, and you would remember that when she was with those two, she also said she was in love. I follow J-Lo closely (you can do the same too - try google!), and I have drawn my conclusions. That my dear is what we refer to as a judgement call.

Now on Mark Foley; when a man harrasses young boys with such explicit email (the emails are on the ABC website and some sexual predator other blogs, you can google them) it is molestation. Unless you are all about the strict legal definition oif the word, which I'm sure can't be the case here, then molestation is not just the act of harming a child physically. You should also be informed that the scope of both harrassment and consequently molestation are expanding in many jurisdictions, especially in certain states of the US.

In any case, admitting that he was 'inappropriate' and then questioning the word 'molest' is really just splitting hairs, Soul. It's like the famous distinction between 'Genocide' and 'Acts of genocide'.

Oh, and what it has to do with all of this? Well if you read Gail Sheehy and Judy Bachrach's well and deeply researched piece in Vanity Fair's January edition this year, iyou would find out that Mark Foley's self woirth is really at the root of this matter, including being 'molested' by a priest when he was much younger.

As to the Illiterate v. Literate accusation and linking the thing about insecure bosses to Mark Foley, haba Soul you really just want to split hairs because the point, I know, is clear. I wont beat that dead horse./

For your confusion as to what thsi was really about, dearest Soul, that's why it's a blog. Those who got it, got. This blog doesnt have life's answers. Just my questions. Oh, and my confusions too.

Take care!

Chude! said...

Oh Bebe, checked your blog (have come back again and again actually!)

I loved that wicked sense of humour!(Lol). My fav post yet ... the Erectile Dysfunction ad!!! (Naturally, eh?)

Take care!

Chude! said...


My email address is no secret in any case:


belle said...

Way to go Chude! Loved your post, and what a fabulous response to "Soul." Well done!

Soul said...

I wasn't critiqing you. I was really asking what your story was about.

re: Anna Nicole Smith.
You do know Anna ran away from her mother when she was 15 years old. All these people did not have any involvement in her life whilst she was living are now claiming closeness now that she is dead.
The point really is this...
You do not know the cause of her death.
All you have is supposition and guess work. So hermother suggested suicide... so what?. Her mother wasn't there and hasn't been there for years.
And 'highly placed members of the American press' means what exactly?.
Have you ever wondered why they do not let the press convict people?., perhaps because they do get it wrong a heck of a lot of the time.
Who are these highly placed members of the press that you hold in high opinion?
Again you say the context of 'anna's suicide'...
It has not been proven that she committed suicide.. why are you so insistent that she did?.
How do you know she was living dangerously?, you have heard of media spin haven't you?.

How do you know she was killing herself?. You say everyone who is informed on the matter... exactly who are you talking about?. the gossip tabloids?. So what if you are a celebrity junkie?. Does that mean that you are actually getting factual information... or do the facts just get into the way of a 'juicy story'.

Again, you reference that J-lo said she was in love with both Ben Affleck and P Diddy... and your point is what?
Do you think that it's impossible to be in love with more than one person? Would you rather that she was just fucking them and didn't feel any emotional attachment?
I really don't get this.
I was in love with my ex, but we broke up .. because even though we were in love, there were other aspects of our relationship which didn't work.. I am in love with the person I am with now.. so why is it a problem that J-lo was in love with her previous ex's?.
You can chose to follow anybody via google..but to rely on said information as if it is gospel is a little bit naive. and please drop the 'my dear' bit. there's no need to be patronising....

re: mark foley. It was not molestation. it was harrassment and the two are extremely different. What you are doing is weakening the meaning of molestation.
Let me categorically state right now. I believe Mark foley is a predator and if he could have gotten away with it, would probably go further than he did..
But the fact remains he was guilty of harrassment and not molestation, otherwise he would be in jail right now.
I am about applying the right word to the right action.. over exaggeration simply cheapens an offense.
The scope of harrassment and molestation might be increasing in some states in the US, but it is EXTREMELY clear in this case that Mark Foley harrassed these boys. he did not molest them or he would not be a free man today.

I don't see it as splitting airs.. he was inappropriate, he did harrass these boys, he did NOT molest them.
How do you think the boys we are talking about would feel, knowing that you are implying that Mark Foley pretty much raped them.
These guys were brave enough to come out and let people know about the inappropriate conversations and the grooming sessions. I doubt that they would be pleased to know that someone is implying any sexual exchange between them and Mark foley.
Chude you are playing foot loose and fancy free with information which is readily available out there.

re: the illiterate thing..
actually I'm not splitting airs.. I'm really asking the question.
What you said was not really clear. If you don't have an answer, it's fine.. but stop hiding behind this 'splitting hairs statement'
If I didn't want to know your answer, I wouldn't ask the question.
It's perfectly okay for you to say... 'you know what I don't want to answer that question'.
But instead you jump to the conclusion that I'm trying to goad you. I'm not.
I am simply asking for clarification on what you wrote.

If you actually re-read what I wrote you will see this...
I'm a little bit confused as to what this is really about.
Maybe it's because I'm completely out of the 'sphere'. I dunno. All it leaves me with is are questions?.

Chude, I simply asked those questions which your piece inspired.
I know what a blog is.. I've been blogging since 2002, thanks very much. I didn't expect your log to have life's answers at all...

there was and still is no malice in anything I've written here..
I just found the post intriguing and I wanted to clarify where you were coming from.
That's all.
You took it as criticism when it actually wasn't. I just asked questions.

You have every right to blog how you feel.. I'm not questioning that. i just thought some of the conclusions on your post were 'a little way out there' and I wanted to enquire as to why...

No offense intended.. and if any was taken my apologies.
I realised a long time ago that it is incredibly difficult to create a dialogue in blogsville without being sycophantic

Chude! said...


You ARE splitting hairs. All this talk of why I shouldn’t believe the press because ‘they are usually wrong’ for instance, I’m sorry but since I cannot actually go into people’s rooms to find out the truth, I will believe in certain sections of the press that have earned my trust.

All the other talk of J-Lo, Mark Foley and Anna, you are SO still splitting hairs! Unfortunately, at this particular time, I don’t have the energy to go through the tasking work of listening to you insist that you are right, so I will leave it at that. When anyone reads your two posts and my response, it will be abundantly obvious you are not ready for a dialogue.

And then to say you were not criticizing? Haba. Pls check up the meaning of the word. What I wonder at is why you are denying that? There is NOTHING wrong in criticizing! And if I decide to blog, I MUSt be ready to hear you out, which I have done! Feel free pls, those who know me know I crave criticism. But when you decide to be sarcastic (which you very obviously are), do be ready to get as good as you give.

That having been said, even though I am intellectual;ly lazy these days, because you have specifically charged me with it, I will respond to the illiterate thing.. Now, this is why I say you like to beat dead horses. Anyone who reads that piece would see clearly that I wasn’t generalizing. When I said husbands are still intimidated by highflying wives, of course it is obvious I am not speaking about ALL husbands, the same way it would have been obvious if you had cared to apply rigour to your passion that I wasn’t talking about all illiterates! As with all the instances in the piece, I was giving instance of those illiterates (and I know one or two) who employ people and keep on badgering them with “And you say you went to school!”: it doesn’t mean they are not street smart, but being a successful businessman doesn’t get rid of any feeling of inferiority that you have. That is the point: illiterate, literate, rich, poor – it’s about self worth!

I was giving an instance, Soul, an instance! And then you ride on that your ‘I’m only asking questions’ and attribute to me things that I clearly did not say? Oh and then you say stuff like this “Chude you are playing foot loose and fancy free with information... “ and of course you meant it in good faith?

You see, sometimes if we pause, and pay more attention, and give people the same latitude we give ourselves, we will have more answers and less questions.

Do keep reading though.

Chude! said...

Thanks Belle!

And it would be nice to know those of who who dont have blog profiles o!


Soul said...

ohh puhlease!..
I am NOT splitting airs.
I am NOT insisting that I am right, I asked you some questions and provided reasons why I felt a certain way, I was interested in why you said things the way you said them.
that is all.

I do not think I am any more right than you and I am NOT trying to prove you wrong. It's not a competition damnit!.

If you read what I wrote without presuming I was trying to challenge you, you might actually find that out I really was just asking you questions as to why you came to your conclusions.

and thanks but no thanks..
What's the point in reading qhat you write, if I can't ask a question when I have one? because you might deem it unworthy to answer and say I'm 'splitting airs' instead of being honest and saying I don't want to answer the question?.
no point.
Absilutely none.
So keep doing you, more grease to your elbow, I wish you plenty success in your future and of course...
Be Well

Chude! said...

Hey see me see trouble o!

Na fight?!??!

Take care sha!

Kiibaati said...

I stopped reading your column when you interviewed the former NB Plc MD's daughter and you were metaphorically kissing her feet...

Money may be something sometimes but respect is everything. Self Respect.

Glad I found your blog 'cause I guess am getting to read the wisdom of experience.

Chude! said...

Exactly the point, you see! Thank God for wisdom.

Although I would assure you that my kissing Chioma's feet was less about what her father has than about how preeeeetttty the girl was! Take it from me, eh? Lol

Amina said...

Nice post. It was actually very brave of you to admit to the fact that you suffered from a complex. This was very obvious in the way your interviews went on son & daughters. I was very reluctant to read ur blog at first and this was because i saw you on new dawn, you did Funmi's researches and i respected you because you had so much intellectual depth and that was soooooo something. Anyway after that you started sucking up to those sons & daughters and it just killed everything for me, but then you kept coming up and i stumbled on your blog and was like lets even see what's in his blog (with great reluctance ofcourse) and believe me am back to the days when i thought you had it, that confession did it for me.

I'm glad i read your blog its tight i mean i read the whole thing at once.I couldnt resist commenting on this though. But who knows perhaps if you didnt make the money you have made now you would never have gotten over your complex, so it is for so many others while others can never have enough like our so-called big babes who are heavily into debts.

Keep it up and and keep updating cos i sure aint gonna miss reading.

Chude! said...

Thanks Amina,

Haba na wa o. So I even worse pass as i been think? Lol

It is well. But no I dont agree. I dont have money yet. What I have been able to build is the self worth, I think.

Maybe the mopre I am aware of my talents and capabilities, the more confidence I've gotten.

But the confidence didnt come from making more money than I was. Because all over there will always be people who have much, much, much, more. In any case, like I said, I am stuill far away from real money at any rate.

Anyone who thinks making money will dispel the insecurities is missing the point.

Thanks for coming, and thanks for saying you'll come again!