Beautiful Nonsense

by Churchill Okonkwo

A housewife once believed she could tell if her husband was seeing another woman during the day by noticing the difference in the length of his tie on leaving in the morning and on returning in the evening. So one day, her husband returns and she notes the tie is a very different length from what it was when he left in the morning. She was very upset and accused her husband of having a mistress. He explained that he has been playing snooker! He succeeded. Once the perception of the woman changed, her emotions changed. In Nigeria today, we have been working on the logic that by making loud noises in the front of TV camera men, during public functions or setting up panel of enquiries, dismissing one out of thirty corrupt ministers or the IG is going to change a lot of bad things that are endemic in the Nigerian system. We believe we can succeed. Beautiful nonsense.

As you read this, the “Apo Six” have just been exhumed at Abuja just as a navy Officer pulled out a pistol and shot dead an okada man at Ikeja for hitting the bumper of his car. Soon, a panel will be set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting, another beautiful nonsense. In south-eastern Nigeria , between Onitsha-Enugu and Onitsha-Aba road, we have more than 15 illegal police “checking” point on each route. These police men openly extort money from bus drivers at each spot. On February 10th, 2005, I witnessed a drama at the DMGS round about Onitsha. A bus I was traveling with refused to give out the dirty twenty Naira note to the police men and we were stopped. As we waited for the bus driver to “sort” himself out, a police man was shouting on top of his voice. “You must give me the money”, “Do you think I love what I am doing” he continued. “If you like go to Awka (Anambra state capital) and talk to the commissioner of police, he is aware that we are here, he sent us”. “So even if you stay here till tomorrow, you must give me the money”. He sadly but firmly concluded. Beautiful nonsense

We watched a drunk Ige attempted a coup in Awka with the supervision of disgraced IG and OBJ only to be retired and “murdered”. We watched Chris Uba set ablaze everything we managed to build in the last 14 years in Anambra State as the police men supervised. We have watched the Political Reform Conference with “extra-budgetary” funding end in disarray, with a report that will decorate one of the dusty shelves in Aso Rock begging for attention just like the Oputa Panel Report. We have watched some generals shed their Kaki and jump into the quasi-democratic wagon that is bumping along our corroded structures and policies. We are watching the evil genius repositioning himself for the great comeback that is bound to shake the nation. We are watching the green coast of the Niger Delta change to become a “weeping” dry leaf that will quickly ignite with fire leaving behind ruins. We are watching as those that rigged election (OBJ., Ngige, Jerry Ugokwe…) stay in the office almost three years after while the winner of the election gnash their teeth as they move from court to court begging for justice that has been thrown into erosion sites that is gradually taking over our streets and roads. Meanwhile the Bar Beach is threatening to swallow Victoria Island at least to register a protest that will surely be ignored. And believe you me nobody seems to be looking its way. Isn’t that beautiful?

I have been in Lagos for the past five months, every morning as I wait for bus along mile 2 Badagry expressway, I watch as goods are smuggled in from the boarders by “Area Boys” with Juju tied round their neck, some sitting on the bonnet of cars, others on the roof (as in Nigerian Home movies). They will come, the police men will bark, sometimes, they will stop and “settle” with money, some other times, they will shout back as they mention the “code name” they have used to settle the big Ogas at the office and speed pass. I go back home and listen to our government officials talk about economic reform, ban on some imported goods, the fight against corruption, cleansing of the Nigerian police and custom as the DPO accused of masterminding the “Apo six” killings escaped from “detention”. In essence, we have continued to watch television with candle light. Beautiful Nonsense.

Logic does not change emotions I have heard, but if perception changes, then emotions change. The logic of setting up panel of enquiry to investigate the “remote and immediate” causes of the Apo six killings and make recommendations will not change the perception and orientation of the men of the Nigerian police force. The logic of “officially” banning the importation of certain goods into the country only to open up our porous boarders will not change the perception of our custom men and corrupt police officials who capitalize on such ban to hike the amount they extort from the smugglers. It will not help the economic reform agenda; it will not help the fight against corruption.

“Look at the ceiling”. “Look upwards”. The effect may be the same, but the two instructions are very different. In the first case, you are asking someone to look at something specific. In the second case you are asking someone to look at a direction. We have been looking at a direction we hoped will lead us to a stronger, democratic, economic and liberal society. We have not seen anything specific in the present democratic dispensation nor the beautiful nonsense of debt relief only for the administration to accumulate another huge debt while mismanaging the money accruing from the sale of our crude oil.

Like the woman who tried to nail her husband, the tie test is now meaningless and the husband may still be having a girl friend. The present administration has failed as almost all government officials are still corrupt, all banned goods are still being “escorted” into the country by men of the Nigerian custom and police, our refineries are still not producing at up to 30% capacity, the price of petroleum products will go up by another 25% before the end of the month, the economic reform agenda is somersaulting. In the face of all these inconsistencies, disregard to the rule of law and the arrogance with which the iniquities are perpetuated, I wonder where my tomorrow will be. When I was leaving Onitsha for Lagos my mother warned me to b

e weary of all the “beautiful nonsense” that move around Lagos. Five months after, I am still looking out for them without success, if only they can make me stop burning my head over all the ugly beautiful nonsense one sees in every action and inaction of the present madness called government. Maybe I should go back and talk to my mother again or should I constantly be changing the length of my tie?

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Joy July 23, 2009 - 6:23 am

Do not vote for Jerry Ugokwe.

He is a thief

He pregnanted a 14 year old girl and gave her money for

an abortion.

Jerry Ugokwe is an idiot

Joy Okonkwo

Anonymous August 18, 2005 - 1:05 am

True true true my brother.

Anonymous August 17, 2005 - 10:56 am

You have said it all. But where do we go from here

Anonymous August 17, 2005 - 3:04 am

This is a good one!!!

Anonymous August 16, 2005 - 8:55 pm

I am impressed that at least people still have the guts to say something about how my country is. Wake-up OBJ! If you are not interested in the campaign for 3rd term please publicly callthose sponsoring this to order.

Anonymous August 16, 2005 - 11:45 am

I like it because its true. I liked it because you succecfully tied the two together.

Anonymous August 15, 2005 - 2:49 am

the article is nice

Anonymous August 13, 2005 - 11:09 am

We all know this to be true but when will all this beautiful nonsense stop and who will stop it or should we continue to enjot this beautiful nonsense til it does not make sense any more

Anonymous August 13, 2005 - 7:30 am

The author is trying to let us all into his thougths about the country which in my own opinion is correct.

Anonymous August 13, 2005 - 7:01 am

I do agree with you it has always been beautiful nonsense. The more you look the less you see. Nevertheless we can blame our leaders all we want to however we as the citizens of Nigeria have a big part to play in the progress of our dear country. I was in Dublin Ireland on vacation a few months back and came across a prominent lawyer from Nigeria also on vacation. I was at a friend's house when Mr. X came in and was very furious he was asked what happen to him. "Mennn! I am just coming from the post office and could you believe that this people kept me I line for over one hour before attending to me". Coming from American and knowing that Ireland is predominantly white population I asked him "Is it because you are black or what to my greatest surprise he said "No there were too many people in line a whole me if only they know who I" I was so disoriented by his remarks and asked him WHO DA HELL ARE YOU Are you better than the folks who have been there before you My point is that it is not just our government that should take the blame but also we ourselves too. The rich in Nigeria do not want to change the "status quo" they like the way things are as long as their immediate family is ok they don't give a f@k about any body it is a pity that we are the way we are.


Anonymous August 13, 2005 - 12:28 am

This writer created a visual picture that needs to be painted for the world to take notice and to take action on the corruption of nigeria's present-day governmental structure. Being born in the united states i traveled to naija in 2002 only to be left with a vague sense of security regarding the "protection" and power that the police officials seemingly hold. In pondering on my next trip back to naija sometimes i wonder if i should worry about the 419ers or the police force that are supposedly posted to protect the people. But from what i seethey have only taken away from the society in which they are meant to build up. Thanx for the article it is definetly needed.


Tosin August 12, 2005 - 5:14 am

I think he said it all. Keep up the good work do not relent in telling the truth.

Anonymous August 12, 2005 - 5:02 am

Wow! he (churchill okonkwo) really nailed down the truth about Nigeria. I couldn't believe someone is out there having the same opinion with mine. The corruption is getting worse there are little or no hope 4 this generation other generations 2 come if the so – called leaders corrupting misleading our country are still in power. I'm a little fortunate because presently i'm not in nigeria. You can imagine a degree holder not getting a job after about 4 – 6 years of university hard work. How do the "leaders" expect he/she to exist cater for him/herself. I am really disappointed wish all these should come to an end because the nation is for all of us not just for the leaders. They should be thoughtful of others.

By Tosin Dairo.

Amina K. Mustapha August 11, 2005 - 11:39 pm

The woes befalling Nigeria were so succinctly put.Coming from a Nigerian i appreciate the enlightenment as opposed to the Jeff Koinange versions.

Anonymous August 9, 2005 - 11:47 am

Well he said it all. We know it and there is no remedy. For long I have stoped listen and reading news coming out from that country no change in sight. I rate him for his time to write something.

Anonymous August 7, 2005 - 4:09 pm

straight to the point.

Anonymous August 7, 2005 - 12:53 pm

Interesting article!

Anonymous August 7, 2005 - 2:38 am

good job; but come to think of it which govt in d world is not corrupt which police in d world is not a gang did i hear you say pourous border go to Us/mexican border and you'll think the coast guard is a hoax the only difference is that the kind of goods they import into the country are basically drugs and illegal immigrants. so God help Nigeria i feel that obj is doing his best because the effect of reformation is a long term harvest. beautiful truth indeed.

Reply August 6, 2005 - 10:49 am

Churchill u have done a beautiful job here (which is definitely not nonsense). I love the analogy of the tie cause indeed that is what we are doing in Nigeria. It's a pity that our country seems to be going from bad to worse by the minute. I sometimes wish I could sit OBJ down and give him a piece of my mind but that is not just an unrealistic wish but also an impossible one. I'll probably have a better chance at world peace. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous August 5, 2005 - 7:58 pm

it points on the issues thet affects the nigerian people.

Reply August 5, 2005 - 2:49 pm

Thank you sir.At least those who still believe our woes are residing in colonialism and slavery should have rethink with this your beautiful truth.More power to you elbow.

Anonymous August 5, 2005 - 2:19 pm

He said it the way most quiet Nigerian would love to shout it to OBJ's ears if ever they get the oppotunity.

The country is all Beautiful Nonsence


Anonymous August 5, 2005 - 7:41 am

beautiful nonsense indeed


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