Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Death Kills...

A friend sent me a text first: 'Did you hear that Sam Famakinwa died mysteriously in the North?'

There was something altogether too melodramatic about the text so I didnt give it much thought - or maybe it was that, as usual, I couldn't come to terms with the capacity of death to just ... kill. Kill faith, kill hope, kill life as we know it..

Although I have written for Thisday for about five years now, I have only been to the offices about three times and therefore do not know a lot of the people who I deal with almost every week. Samuel Famakinwa (he is known as a business journalism guru) I had only met over the phone, but like I joke with my friends, he is (was) one of the few Thisday Editors that don't have what I call the Thisday 'You're On Your Own' syndrome.

For the past two editions of the Thisday Music Festival for instance, he has been the one responsible for us at RedSTRAT getting tickets - and this even when he knows us only be reputation. And so it was just a few weeks ago that my friends met with him, spoke with him, gisted with him at the Le Meridien where the crew of the Festival stayed. And one of us even had a post-event meeting scheduled with him. And now he's ...dead.

And it turns out that text wasn't melodramatic: it's really one hell of a mysterious death.

To get a fuller gist of everything, you might want to read Simon Kolawole's (another one without the 'OYO' syndrome) palpably teary-eyed narration. It is convoluted in Kolawole's usual way, but the passion and his sincerity, as usual, comes through effectively.

What do we say to Death?

Only "Shame on you! You have done your worst! Whether you like it or not, Samuel Famakinwa lived a full life - and he will be missed."


P.S 1: By the way, there's something quite 'iffy' about the response of Samuel's employer to his death as narrated by Simon Kolawole. I dont know ... maybe it's just me. Hear this:

"Immediately, I called my chairman, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, to inform him. He was more than shocked. He was not aware Sam had travelled to Maiduguri. He asked me why I granted him casual leave in the first place." Huh?!

P.S 2: Speaking about death, something just died for me today. Something that should have died long ago actually. You know what they say: sometimes, one thing has to die for another to come to life... I'm sad, but I am more thankful for how free and light I finally feel ...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The David Mark Show!

N.B: The piece was a bit longer when I spent it, and of course my editor had to cut it down for space: but it made me look so much angrier! Ah well, I wrote it didn't I? Enjoy!

The David Mark Show!
By Chude Jideonwo, Airtime, Thisday 07.20.2007

It is understandable that, following the live transmission of the Third Term (they called it constitution review), Ken Nnamani turned out to be a hero: easily the most popular television personality at the time, whether by default or not. Before him, Justice Chukwudi Oputa had been the darling of the airwaves as he lorded it over the lawyers and witnesses at the delightful Oputa Panel, albeit with admirable charm. So, Mark wanted his day in the sun? Not so tall an ambition actually, er except for one little problem. Actually, there are two problems. First, the Senate President doesn’t have that star quality, which both Oputa and Nnamani were blessed with, even without knowing it. That combination of wit and charm is what TV producers call the X Factor. Actually, depth also helps. All of which our dear Senate President appeared to lack.

Indeed, with his village-square style of moderation, he came off looking jaded, obsolete, almost clownish, uninspired and ultimately uninspiring. Apart from that, television as a medium thrives on content. Put simply, there has to be a point to what it is you expect people to watch. With Ken Nnamani, it was very possible to revel in the personality of the Senate President whose candour was inspiring, refreshing and engaging all at the same time, added to the fact that we were being thoroughly educated as to the groundswell of issues surrounding the tenure elongation agenda, apart from being thoroughly informed about the groundswell of disgust at the prospects of a continued Obasanjo presidency. There was a point to it, there was something that viewers wanted to see. That’s the worldview Airtime keeps trying to communicate to producers: it’s not just about wanting to come on television - what do you have to put on? Television is supposed to inform, educate, entertain and since Oprah came on, it now has a fourth function- inspire.

The ministerial screening had the potential to incorporate all these elements to achieve good TV. But it turned out a failure. A bad TV show. Information? Education? Absent. Since the Senators had reasons as puerile as hunger (hunger!) for their failure to ask intelligent questions of the nominees. A female nominee, someone who might end up heading a sensitive Ministry was told to “bow and go”, simply because the senators were hungry! Add that to Senators standing up to vouch for nominees with such helpful detail as “she is a calm person” “he is the secretary of our great party, the largest party in Africa” if not the whole world, or “I have worked under her for many years” and “if she has raised four children, then she can hold a ministry”.

And as far as PR value goes, these guys would have been better off assigning the brief to the Buhari Campaign Organisation, believe me. The David Mark Show was horrible TV. It came off like we had assembled a cast for BBC Hard Talk, and instead we were confronted with Saturday Night Live. If I was Executive Producer of this show, and the national assembly was my cast I would fire the lot.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Okay, I owe myself the duty of updating you on the Segun Adeniyi, et al debate – whether you want it or not! Especially since Dele Sobowale chickened out and didn’t complete the series in his column yesterday and didn't even think it fit to apologise – see the man talking about personal integrity! For those who know how these things work, since Sobowale published Adio's rejoinder in his column, it is most probable with the threat of a law suit hanging over, the gladiators have reached a settlement … again, talk about double standards! Nothing more nauseating than people who start things they can't finish ...

Just before you lose faith, Waziri Adio’s rejoinder was published in three different papers, and it’s bottomline is refreshing: "He did not 'turn coat". It's a compelling piece. Which is just as well because those who know Mr. Adio call him one of the most decent men around.

Even though I had already made up my mind to break up my three-week laziness and go to church this Sunday, since I was sleeping over out-of-school anyway, I like to think that it was Linda Ikeji’s blog that made the decision for me. The power of writing. Of blogging.

At the time before the modelling celebrity’s blog became popular, when she was still requesting serially for readers, I had argued intensely with a fellow blogger about the seeming simple-mindedness of her blog and how she ‘says too much’ and I remember insisting that the pureness of heart displayed in that space would eventually make her popular in blogsville. Not only was I proved right, my friend is now one of her consistent readers.

Like someone else said recently, Linda’s honesty is intoxicating. For someone like myself who boasts of his openness and wakes up every morning telling myself ‘I am a good person with a good heart’, Linda’s blog gives me a new high to strive towards. She can load the blog with tiring fluff sometimes (!), but I unreservedly recommend Linda’s blog if you haven’t discovered it yet…It might just renew your hope in the human spirit.


Going to church - the Family Worship Center - on sunday was the best thing that could have happened to me. It's so long since I actually went to church and didnt hear something I could be cynical about. It was so refreshing and unexpected, that its impact still has me enveloped. It was a message on love -and it was so beautiful. SOmething that both Christians and non-Christians will learn from. I will buy the CD next and share some quotes.

It is exciting to know that you can go to church and actually learn something. Church can be so cliched and on auto-pilot these days. I always tell people how I ended up at Daystar. My mum had just 'released' me to leave MFM and go to any church of my choice, since I was so unhappy in the former, and I decided to go on a round of churches, that saw me going from This Present House through Redeemed and Fountain of Life, Christ Chapel etc to Daystar finally - where I actually began to look forward to church. With all the others, it was too cliched, and even where I am now, there are some days when I truly wonder...

The joke now is that before anyone can begin to insult my intelligence anyhow, the one hour service at Daystar will be over. It is cynical, but for me, going to church must mean something. It should. I cannot have faith in God in a vacuum: church must fuel that passion, fill a need - if all it does is turn me to a machine, then there's no point.

Ah well, sometimes, 'thinking too much' can be a curse. But being under Pastor Sarah's ministration on sunday renewed my faith in no small way, and I am most grateful to her.


Was just kidding with my gf over the weekend about how she almost hates make up, and then it hit me that actually none of my ex-es used make-up, except for one maybe. And then the thought enlarged as I realized that most of the females in my generation, at least those I know (my generation defined as 18-32), don’t actually wear make-up. I know it is very possible I am either ‘behind time’ or completely off, since I am the last person to talk about issues of style!

But I suspect, especially after talking note of Thisday Style’s new column for young people yesterday, and seeing the marked difference between my generation and the rest, that I am right. And it makes me wonder: it does seem that our generation is minimalist … Moving from the big wigs and ball gowns of those before us, we on the other hand seem to insist that less is more. Like, generally, we don’t see any need to prove a point. Good or bad thing?

Got back to school today and a small rumour had started about my whereabouts, that I am exploiting - and enjoying - to the fullest. I can't share it here, but I can't help but share my amusement in public! Oh, humans can be so shallow! I mean, me and them! Haha...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

...And Dele Momodu!

Today, Ovation's Publisher, Dele Momodu, reminded me of the reasons many people were - and probably, still are! - disappointed when he left 'serious journalism' for photo-journalism (dont laugh!). Well, it appears Bob Dee is back! With his Pendulum column in Thisday.

I have taken excerpts for those of us who just want the gist in a nutshell...

"Yes, Obasanjo helped him into power. Yes, he wants to remain grateful and loyal. No problem. His mother and extended families have gone to see the Ora farmer to express their total gratitude. That should be enough. Obasanjo himself should realize as a Yorubaman that when we offer goats as sacrifice to Masquerades, we must drop the ropes. For as long as you hold the rope, the ram has not been given to the gods. Obasanjo’s inability to release the rope of power to Yar ‘Adua is heating up our polity again. All men and women of conscience must beg, or force, him to go home and rest in perpetual peace.

"Those of us who don’t appreciate his style are probably in the minority. And history may still be fair to him. He should, therefore, worry less about local politics, or village matters. He should allow his own people to enjoy their palm wine and their wives. He does not need to control the party to be relevant. In fact, it is very demeaning for an international superstar to become a local champion.

"In eight years, we did not get electricity, pipe borne water, good roads, good hospitals, good schools, adequate security, affordable foods, good transport, regular supply of fuel, or kerosene and many other necessities of life…

"We agree that he has a wealth of experience to share with us, but he can do that privately, and at the Council of State meetings. It is too dangerous to put him in the executive chair. Obasanjo is too combustive to sit still at public functions with the President. He will always make Yar ‘Adua feel like his houseboy and may not even allow him to express his personal or official views. The gentleman will always feel intimidated by Obasanjo’s larger than life image.

"President Yar ‘Adua seems a nice and honest man but that alone cannot take him to the promised land."

But of course, you can read the full piece HERE

The piece is titled: Why Yar'adua Must Confront Obasanjo

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You Need To Read These!!

Wow. The danger with rejoinders is that, rather than listen to your voice, people will always go find out what originally happened. I had last week or so raised issues with how soon former Thisday Editor, Segun Adeniyi had 'turned coat' when he reached government, and till now it rankles me, I have to confess.

Then yesterday, he made the mistake of actually reacting to that very issue, and for those who know the issues involved and have access to facts to which he made mention, his piece only rang hollow. I therefore decided to go read the original piece that prompted his passionate denial.

And wow! It was explosive! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Read Dele Sobowale's original piece HERE,

and the sad rejoinder HERE

This much I will say, any journalist who whilst his perspectives were untainted spoke a certain way and then turns around when he's in government to scream 'Oh I have now seen the light' is a disgrace, and I use that word with all responsibility. What it means, and the fact they keep missing, is that for the past years that they were journalists: they were misinformed, ignorant, and misguided. Ultimately discredited.

Thankfully, there are one or two such journalists-now-in-government who have been able to maintain their integrity and good sense.

The fact is: if you want to 'turn coat', we understand the job of journalism doesn't pay yes and you need to 'move up in life', so turn coat and keep quiet about it. No one is a fool. It makes me so ashamed sometimes to be part of the media.

The weeks ahead will be explosive, and you NEED to buy Vanguard next week, because Dele Sobowale is going to face the President's spokesman FRONTALLY. I love it!

P.S: Based on the first comment I just received now, it makes sense to state that the word 'turn coat' is used loosely, in the reasonable assumption that folks would actually read the two pieces (or at least one!) and then understand the context in which it is being used. It would make any comments on this post informed at the very least.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tagged! Seven Things ...

I was tagged by Jeremy, and would say I thank him for it: I had fun.

Seven Things ...

I wake up every morning and tell myself – I am good person, and I am given to depth. Every morning. It's actually a challenge to self.

I swear by Vanity Fair, Oprah, and Desperate Housewives; and my all time favourite TV shows – Forever Eden, Paradise Hotel, The Practice, Jenny Jones, Tightrope (Nigerian) – are sadly off the air.

I think four of the things that the enlightened world is most hypocritical about are pornography, female orgasms, sexual monogamy and masturbation.

I am a good listener and I look forward to criticism – in turn I am irritated by people who don’t listen. I have many of them as friends. I call it a testimony to my incredible spirit of accommodation that they still are!

I believe that under the right conditions, the human being is capable of anything. Of defacating in an open place after a hurricane (New Orleans), of diverting mosquito nets meant for babies to protect cattle in the midst of a famine (Uganda) and to scoop oil at the risk of being burnt alive to stave off poverty (Lagos, Nigeria). That having been said, I don’t think I could ever deliberately take the life of another person – no matter what.

The only thing I hate more than the hypocritical are the self-righteous.

I’ve only been in love once in my life – and I’m scared it might not happen again.

And I am tagging:

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What Desmond Tutu Said …

The older I get, the more I learn not to judge a book by its cover. Like many, I rever Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but consider him a boring interview subject, and when you tell me that his interviewer comes in the irritating robes of Brad Pitt, you turn me completely off. But then this is Vanity Fair, and with VF, I read every article. And I am glad for that. Here I take two responses from the interview (in this month’s spectacular – no matter what the critics, who haven't even read it(!), say – Africa Issue) that almost knocked me off with their profundity: they are not novel insights by any means, but what struck me is the force and beauty of the restatements:

Brad Pitt: So certainly, discrimination has no place in Christianity. There’s a big argument going on in America now, on gay rights and equality.
Desmond Tutu: For me, I couldn’t ever keep quiet. I come from a situation where for a very long time people were discriminated against, made to suffer for something about which they could do nothing - their ethnicity. We were made to suffer because we were not white. Then, for a very long time in our church, we didn’t ordain women, and we were pernalizing a huge section of humanity for something about which they could do nothing – their gender. And I’m glad that now the church has changed all that. I’m glad that apartheid has ended. I could not for the part of me be able to keep quiet, because people were being penalized, ostracized, treated as if they were less than human, because of something they could do nothing to change – their sexual orientation. For me, I can’t imagine the Lord that I worship, this Jesus Christ, actually concurring with the persecution of a minority that is already being persecuted… Our church, the Anglican Church, is experiencing a very, very serious crisis. It is all to do with human sexuality,. I think God is weeping. He is weeping that we should be spending so much energy, time, resources on this subject at a time when the world is aching.

Brad Pitt:… You said about apartheid, that is was operated on the principles of exclusion. I can’t help but think that the same thing is going on with our trade rules.
Desmond Tutu: We have the capacity to feed everybody on our planet. We have the capacity to ensure that everybody has clean water. We have the capacity to ensure that everybody has affordable health care. We can prevent many of the diseases to which our children in the poorer parts of the world succumb. For goodness’ sake, why don’t we wake up to the fact that you can’t have an apartheid security? You can’t have apartheid prosperity. If you are going to have security, it’s going to be security for all. If you are going to have prosperity, it is going to be prosperity for all. If you want to be free, you can’t have a quarantine freedom. It’s going to be freedom for all. And if you want to be human, we are not going to be able to be human in isolation; it will be that we are human together. (Emphasis mine)

(c) Vanity Fair

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bell is One!!

I can NOT believe that Bella Naija's blog is only just a year old.

It's amazing - but you need to check her blog out now (if you havent already!) and get all the details from her. "You'd have to admit that Nigerian blogging took a new, fun, edgy, classy, entertaining, lovely {I can go on} direction when Bella started blogging."

Bella made me start blogging; she made me even AWARE of blogs - and she does FANTASTIC work. She also has such an amazingly good heart.

Many people are proud of her - and I am happy to join the roll call!


P.S: Oh i see Jeremy has tagged me on Naijablog... gimme a minute!