Do You Ever Wonder…

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Does anyone know how to get to Lagos, Calabar or Port Harcourt by ship from New York or Houston? On my next trip home, I’d love to travel by sea. How long and how much would such a trip cost, roundtrip? How many ports are there between here and there? What are the upside and downside? Is this a popular means of travel? If you have such and any other information, please let me have it.

More than 300 years ago, wigs and gowns were worn by the learned and other elites in European society. Today, only lawyers and judges wear them. In Nigeria, as in most Commonwealth countries, the tradition is still alive. But why? Why continue with relics from ancient times? Nigerian lawyers and judges look so funny and ridiculous in their wigs. How uncomfortable it must be wearing it, along with the heavy gown, in a 70-100 degree heat. Doesn’t it suffocate and burn and itch their hair and skin?

Every so often high-ranking members of the British and American Foreign Services comment on Nigeria’s domestic affairs i.e. the state of democracy and their expectation for 2007. Now, what is their business? Why must they interfere in our internal matters? I really don’t mind the United Nation’s role and comments; but these individual countries? Heck no! We must not tolerate or encourage imperial powers with colonizing armies with expansionist and opportunistic mentality to interfere in our domestic matters. OBJ is poisonous, still, he is ours. It is up to us to deal with his arrogance and excesses.

After so many years of living in the United States and other western societies, many Nigerians — the Nigerians I have communicated with — are still in the dark when it comes to the issue of law and order. The same people who speak about justice and fairness will not accord the same to Abubakar Atiku and others. “Do you need a court to tell you he and others are guilty?” is a common catchphrase. When I reminded one of the most vocal about the rule of law, he said: “rule of law na for Oyinbo land.”

Some readers are pissed at the eclecticism of my essays. Others are perturbed at my analysis and conclusion. A few others think I have taken to the quicksand. For me, most things are neither black nor white. I see grey most of the times. I wonder how many readers and respondents know that (1) the social science is very subjective; (2) that objectivity is not an easily obtainable goal; (3) that each commentator see “truth” differently — according to his or understanding of events; (4) how one interprets events may depend on his or her Weltanschauung; and (5) that it is only objectionable if the writers is ulterior in his willfulness, deceitful and malicious in his writings.

The Nigerian Police Force recently retrenched/fired hundreds and hundreds of policemen and women. Considering the poverty and unemployment level in that country, my fear is that 10-15% of these men and will go into the armed-robbery trade, another 1-5% will find employment as hired-assassins, and 15-30% may end up in the 419 trade. I hope the government and the private sector absorbs most of these people, otherwise, the crime rates will simply balloon in the next couple of years. Come to think of it: why hire them — knowing they are unfit — only to summarily dismiss them.

What does it matter, and why do Nigerians get angry at me when I tell them I am an atheist/agnostic? Some simply assume that if I don’t believe in God, and if I am not serving God, then I must “be serving something.” What that “something” is beats me. Some people look at me with pity (since they believe I would end up in hell); others become enraged, and then obsessed, wanting to convert me to Christianity. I really don’t understand why these people think I need religion or need some sort of deity in my life. I am fine without one. No one is truly sure about God; all we can do is guess and hope and believe. Or not believe, like me.

Why aren’t many people paying attention to the conflict, tension and hate within the Black community? For instance, within the African-American community there is the light/dark skin debate; within the African community, there is the Nigerian versus the rest of the continent debate. You’d be surprised at how much some Africans loathe Nigerians “because of their arrogance and aggressive nature.” In addition, there is the tension between Africans and African-Americans; and also the tension between Blacks from the Caribbean and Blacks from Africa. The tension between Caribbean Blacks and African-Americans is less pronounced. Why hasn’t it occurred to Black folks that the energy from these tensions and conflicts could be harnessed to better the lives of Blacks the world over?

My friend Williams is pompous and loud; a serial-lover who does not know how to commit. He doesn’t buy flowers, cards, wine or even dine women. The rougher he gets, the more women flock to him like bees over you know what. He pollinates here and there and everywhere. The last time I checked, one of the few nationalities he has not been with is a Togolese and North Korean. Stephenson on the other hand is benevolent, attentive, romantic, tender and all that. Whatever women wants, they get from him. And whatever they get from him they give to men like Williams. At 38 Stephenson has lad no more than seven women….Haba, what’s the problem with women? I wonder.

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Michael March 19, 2007 - 2:27 pm

A wise lecturer at Unilag once said: "the day Africans will be liberated is the day Africans turn back to their culture, religion, dressing etc." As for the Judges and Lawyers let them roast!!! They are no good anyways!!!

For going to Lagos by sea.. .Please avoid the Somali Pirates,and, the Apapa Wharf armed robbers…

Lady G. March 8, 2007 - 1:04 am

Yes you are really rambling today. I hope you are ok. Every now and then it is good to sit and ponder the worlds' problems.. and even the problems closer to your home/heart. I think it keeps us humble.

I also have an issue that I have wondered about. Seriously, why are blacks/africans so hated and maligned around the world? Look at Cuba / India / Australia / Mexico / Brazil / Mauritana … the list goes on and on. Wherever there is a black population (or darker skin population) .. those peoples ususally suffer. Why?

For going to Lagos by sea.. .hmmm… sounds like a good project/business opportunity for you. Maybe you could start the first cruise liner to Lagos. I think it would be fun. It sure beats sitting in your seat for 10 hours.

Lady G.

Anonymous March 7, 2007 - 12:57 pm

Sabella that's life! in Kenya a few years ago the judges/lawyers voted to keep their wigs too! can you imagine that! it was surprising to me too.


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