Cole Insults from Victoria Island

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

If your family name is not Cole, and your address is not Victoria Island, it is very unconstitutional to marry from the upper crust!

Yes, it runs counter to the Nigerian constitution to come from the wilds of the eastern bushes to take as your wife a babe named Cole from Victoria Island.

This happens to be an unforgivable insult especially as the 15 Trillion Dollar Coastal Road that connects Lagos to the rustic creeks of the Niger Delta is yet to be built.

What a grave insult to the members of the idle rich class of Lagos that some no-hoper from a hinterland hamlet that is not in any map has just succeeded in plucking an upper-class babe from Victoria Island in diabolical matrimony!

The insult is so much that only insults are now doing rock-and-roll plus jazz and afro-beats inside the fat skull inside my fat head.

Back in time, a poetic friend of mine went to propose to a proposed bride-to-be with poetic lines set in iambic pentameter only for the proposed father-in-law to chase him away with a machete!

Poets suffer – as per another poet friend who was pressing quite hard to win the love of a barmaid near Toyin Street in Ikeja only to get this reply from the barmaid: “I no fit love you dis man wey come Lagos for on top of lorry wey carry onions from Ebonyi State!”

Intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic slurs are all in the mix of the biting insults, from the lowliest to the mightiest.  

Let me raise the tempo of the business of abuse by recalling that during his 70th birthday celebration, General Ibrahim Babangida claimed that he managed to achieve much success with little funds while a certain regime achieved failure with so much petro-dollars.

General Olusegun Obasanjo of course knew that Babangida’s darts were directed at him, and he promptly replied: “A fool at seventy can only go into his grave with his foolishness.”

Babangida retorted by dubbing Obasanjo a “witless comedian”.

Now both generals are back to being jolly good friends who I pray will live long enough to ply the multi-trillion coastal highway under construction-after-demolitions.

Back in the days of yore, eminent Nigerian politicians such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SL Akintola and KO Mbadiwe knew how to adeptly knock out their political opponents with astutely delivered insults.

In the Second Republic, Awo said that he could only hold a debate on the issue of education with Zik and not with Shehu Shagari because the man from Sokoto knew next-to-nothing on the subject!

The art of insults is of course a universal phenomenon, not at all limited to Victoria Island or Lagos or Nigeria or Africa.

If my memory serves me right now that there are no naira notes in my pocket, I do recall that Nancy McPhee once edited a book titled The Book of Insults.

British people may have a stiff upper lip, as they say, but their politicians have from time been masters in the art of insults.

Former British Prime Ministers, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone, were always at each other’s throats.

Gladstone once said to Disraeli: “I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease.”

Disraeli instantly replied thusly: “That all depends, Sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”

Disraeli explained the difference between a misfortune and a calamity this way: “If Gladstone fell into the River Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, that would be a calamity.”

Winston Churchill was another gifted British insulter who took no prisoners at every opportunity in his lionized lifetime.

A fine lady, Nancy Astor, said to Churchill in annoyance: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.”

Churchill replied her in kind: “If I were your husband I would take it.”

The Labour politician, Clement Atlee, who defeated Churchill at the polls was described by Churchill as “A sheep in sheep’s clothing” and also as “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.”

The unfortunate lady, Bessie Braddock, once told Churchill that he was drunk, only for Churchill to tell the lady that she was ugly and would remain ugly forever when he must have become sober after the drunkenness!

Churchill even took the matter as far as God, saying: “I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

The Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, who was reputedly very ugly was approached by a beautiful young actress who cooed in his ear: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we got married and had a child with my beauty and your brains?”

Shaw replied dramatically thus: “My dear, that would be wonderful indeed, but what if our child had my beauty and your brains?” 

Samuel Johnson said to an aspiring author: “Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.”

A wannabe author presented his handwritten manuscript to VS Naipaul for assessment and only got this reply: “You do have a fine handwriting!” 

The American actor and comedian, Groucho Marx, was given the book, Dawn Ginsbergh’s Revenge by SJ Perelman, and Groucho Marx said: “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.”

Now, let’s not forget from where we started and take this good advice: “If you are not a Cole from Victoria Island, don’t go there to marry for you will be mortally insulted”

—- Image: Microsoft Co-Pilot AI

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