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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Super Week

FI is away. She will be back with you very soon.
A lot of activities took place in Nigeria in the past few days. The biggest of all which I termed the “Nigeria Super Tuesday” in which the Court of Appeal confirmed President Umaru Yar’Adua and his deputy Goodluck Jonathan as the authentic winner of the April 2007 presidential elections. Meanwhile, the oppositions have faulted the verdict and they intend to take the battle to the Supreme Court (the highest court in the land). We are waiting for the Supreme Court’s “Super Final”.

Meanwhile, on the football scene, Nigerians are anxiously waiting for the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) to name “the man” that will fill the shoes of Mr. Vogts’ (the former Technical Adviser) left behind, after our abysmal performance at the Ghana 2008 Nations’ Cup.

Lastly, the updates on the “indecent dressing bill” will be available soon.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Enough of this rubbish

I have those moments when I wonder what sins our ancestors may have committed that warrants the curse from the gods that some of our leaders surely are. Take the example of madam Ekaette, the senate chairman in charge of Women Affairs, Social Welfare and Youth Development. What offence did we as Nigerian women commit to be assaulted with this character? I have been inundated with calls by Nigerians to say or do something about his crazy impending bill on indecent dressing and I can freely admit to you that apart from the Herculean battle that sustenance is in Nigeria, I am exhausted by the many battles I am forced to fight and this particular one is immensely vexatious and energy sapping.

Fortunately I am not alone, many sane Nigerians including Professor Soyinka have spoken out strongly against the bill all to deaf ears. Last week, I got Iheoma Obibi. of Alliances for Africa and Mma Odi of Rural Women Empowerment Network to join myself, PR specialist and pastor Sola Salako and Business eye publisher Ibim Semenitari on New Dawn to discuss this very annoying issue. If during the interview you notice that I keep saying perhaps madam senator means well, it is only to ensure that NTA does not refuse to air it, also what you have here is the uncut version, which the network would never have aired.

I know Jeremy has raised this issue on his blog and slowly opposition is gathering but I feel it is time to spit in the eye of these pseudo moralist bigots who the nation spends a fortune to keep in the luxury they have become accustomed to. Isn't this the woman who is wife to Ufot Ekaette and therefore perhaps unaccustomed to the toil and pain of the average Nigerian woman most of whom are the unspoken breadwinners of their families? These are the ones whose daughters are abused daily in the efforts to supplement family income. Where do these kinds of people get off from and why have the rational senators, male and female not shouted her down? Nobody should tell me to take it easy; given the myriad problems of development in Nigeria especially for women should any sane woman with "God given opportunities" add to our burden? If I had my way, I would march a million women stack naked to the national assembly to demand a removal of immunity for public offenders, the death sentence for corruption and election rigging and long jail terms for nepotism and favouritism which are the true moral cancer of our society, I therefore call on all rational Nigerians wherever we are in the country or outside to speak up and out as well as write to condemn this bill before they unleash a reign of police brutality and terror on the much be leagued Nigerian female and her family.
Monday, February 18, 2008

The man for the job

They call him many names; go slow Umoru and Baba jeje (with Hausa inflection) being my favourites. The agreed position being that most people do not mind Yar’Adua as president although his direction might as yet be unclear. Yes we get and applaud the drive for entrenchment of rule of law and due process, which has occasioned the reversal of many contentious programs, policies and projects of the last administration. What we don’t get is what Yar’Adua will systematically do outside of what must naturally happen in the course of a fairly stable democracy in an oil and gas rich economy like Nigeria.

We don’t dislike Yar’Adua but we have yet a real cause to like him. For me the word like is unimportant as I am quite happy not to like my president but need to be able to respect him as a leader and a human being. Thus far he has given no cause to disrespect him or the office he holds. He has spoken about his determination to effect the 7 point reform agenda which is not a bad thing as those are important areas of development, what is worrisome is the manner in which the talent to execute these agenda and more is sourced.

From all l have been told by “insiders’ about Mr. President, he is a great listener, a stickler for order and propriety and a simple family man. Thus it is only natural that he follows the procedure for which ministers, advisers, ambassadors and heads of major parastatals are chosen. As it stands, the ruling party (PDP in this case) is asked to nominate candidates in each state for such appointive positions and these are security screened, then ratified by the national assembly before appointment into office. Nothing wrong with that technically other than the fact that it has over the years become a platform for rewarding political jobbers, bag boys, gofers and hangers on. Whilst there is nothing wrong with rewarding loyalty/sycophancy surely there must be some Siberia like appointments to hand out for such whilst very important offices are left to the best men and women regardless of party affiliation.

The constitution does require that anyone taking such position be elect able into the house of reps; a slight inconvenience which can be corrected in 24hours with kiakia party registration.

I hear that Mr. President has set up a committee to evaluate the performance of the current ministers and others. My gut feeling is that Yar’Adua is a man committed to transparency but could be bugged down with the letter of the process, which many who benefit from such have learnt to skillfully manipulate. None is better than some civil servants who have occupied certain offices since I was in my diapers and who think technorati is some sort of new dance step by restive youths. It is therefore my hare brained suggestion that he looks into the possibility of actually putting out a paid advertorial with specific job requirements for some of these ministries, advisory positions and parastatals. The overseeing can be handed over to a competent multinational recruitment firm and the ratification by both the security agency and the national assembly. Sounds stupid but I know for sure that often times leaders mean well but naturally do not always have information and access to the best brains and talents for each job and are therefore forced to rely on subjective recommendations which promote mediocrity and nepotism. Whilst at it, can Mr. president also look at reforming the very statute that establishes certain agencies and ministries in line with present day possibilities and the desire to position Nigeria as the economic heart beat of Africa by 2020 (said with a perfectly straight face;-))
Friday, February 15, 2008

The valentine scrooge

Okay, enough already, can’t you take a joke! My description of Song is my idea of the sort of man I like, if I had met Song (you can bet your last kobo that I still will) I would have got an interview, a picture and at best run a naughty hand through his dreads chikena! I don't necessarily want Song himself just someone with similarities. It would be great to find a man who has his body beauty, his determined spirit and commitment to a national, community or human cause. I means surely that is not too much to ask for. I know I have told the gals about my wise friend's half bread is better than puff puff philosophy so I speak for most women when I say we don't necessarily seek perfection. Just a man who is wise enough to know that Valentine's Day is no day to be a bloody-minded communist scrooge! What is that rubbish about not buying into the commercialism, not needing a special day and the rest of the wet blanket bullocks that some yeye men come up with? We all know the good lord wasn't born on the 25th of December but we sensibly and happily celebrate our very commercialized Christmas holiday with glee. Then there are the ones who say oh, it should be an all encompassing agape love so maybe you should be exchanging gifts with your children, siblings and the under privileged. Excuse me, what are mother's/ fathers days for? Also any person who needs a special day to give to the poor is a philistine. More importantly who are those miserly knuckleheads who are saying it should go both ways. Read my lips, slowly, Valentine is a one way traffic, you give, she takes, that's romance, chivalry, sexy etc etc and any woman telling you otherwise is delusional, naïve or has not come to her full female power.

So yesterday, the traffic was awful but the city was gay as it should be, sensible men went and purchased flowers and a thoughtful gift for the wife, love interest and other interested parties. The unimaginative of course just bought mass produced chocolates, perfumes and regular (even worse plastic urg!) flowers. I don't care if you don't have money, why not just be the one to cook for her that day or something. Off course there are the city Lotharios who had ordered ten or more copies of the same things for different women. Peace to the world, all I can say is if he wasn't with you last night, he isn't with you period!

Myself, I sat and waited to see who to put on my yes, maybe and bugger off lists. I can tell you I have no yes, a couple of maybes and a lot of bugger offs. I went out for drinks with my gal pals at the new Lagos hot spot, jay jay okocha's restaurant/bar/lounge. That was when it dawned on me that the city does have a problem as there were only a few "monogamists" staring dreamily into each others eyes, all others were groups of gals, a few errant men out alone (too scared to be seen with just one of their many paramours on valentine) and a weird looking group of oyinbo men.

We have a big city problem, there are a disproportionate amount of women to each man so there you have it, perhaps that's why the men are not quite as creative as they should be, demand obviously outweighs supply.
As we sipped our cocktails we began to consider the options and a few came up
A, erase scarcity by sharing in a sisterly bond, I fear this may be going against our nature.

B. Adopt aunty Angie's (story for another day)'s 4 quarter loaves make a whole loaf philosophy. Seem like that will be energy sapping and self-defeating.
So as we exchanged hugs and bade one another good night I suspect each woman has silently resolved to return home to her half bread and give him hell for being a valentine scrooge just before she falls into his arms.

Have a great weekend people.
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy valentine's day

This is my love philosophy, happy valentine's day!
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The music at the end of the song

Common people! I had hardly landed Muritala Mohammed airport yesterday
when people began asking me if I did “see” Rigobert Song with a wink
and lascivious grin. By this morning some where claiming I had either
run away with him or that I was silent because I blame him for the loss
to Egypt. First I will not run off with any man….not for less than
about £25 million (no dollars please) and not unless the geezer
involved is old enough to cause no investigation when he suddenly
expires in his sleep. Okay, all that is a joke don’t be asking me
questions when you see me with old, rich, white relentless, I’d rather
clobber myself with a jagged cudgel first. Second, I am a fiercely
loyal woman and I continue to support Song unflinchingly. Of course I
was at the stadium and saw that error (my mind registered that painful
goal 30 seconds before it appeared and in slow motion), he had a strange
off moment and the fact that it happened underscores my point because
the keeper (who had been excellent in the match) and the other
defender (can’t remember his name) also hesitated a nano second in
trust of Rigobert’s ability to hold the back until they realized too
late that the man had miscalculated. The rest is history but I ask you
why must the entire game rest on Rigobert’s strengths and weaknesses,
why didn’t any one else score before or after that, what happened to
Eto’o who admittedly didn’t get a lot of balls but didn’t aggressively
hunt the odd opportunities too, meanwhile, where did they find all the
fire and hunger with which they played the last minutes after the
goal, as my people say, no be medicine after death? Abeg give Song a
break, the man has had a brilliant career and the men who don’t agree
are just jealous of a superior figure of manhood.

Of course Egypt had a great team and on the basis of merit deserved to
win, as the giant who was with me at the stadium said, perhaps this
need to continue happening so that we as Africans can finally admit
that passion, will and individual skill can only get you so far,
lasting success belongs to those who assiduously plan, practice and
play as a team, maintaining focus on the ball always, whether it is in
football or development.

Now because Cameroon lost, the party was too far away in North Africa
for Sunday night in Accra to have been magical. I can only imagine
what it would have been like if the football mad Ghanaians had won. As
it is, Saturday night in Kumasi I hear was electric and in Accra I and
the giant can testify that the party never ended.
Ghana 2008 was the best AFCON finals in my adult experience, the
organization was almost seamless, the city and the match venues are
colorful and safe, the city is quaint, the people are civilized, the
traffic light and the hotels decent and efficient, even the night life
is hip in a laid back, free, guileless manner. In fact watching
Ghana’s strides to development is heart warming although I retain the
fear of the so-called African leadership curse and the consequences of
this but I can only tell you that right now Ghana rocks.

As per my Song quest, the giant and I erroneously decided to wait to
the end of the match to try and see him but of course you know how
that went, I’ll just have to settle for interviewing him in the near
future. In focusing on Song, I missed Mourinho (my heart bleeds), and
just missed the entire Ghanaian 3rd place squad at Monte Carlo (wink,
wink, wink, just go there and find out why I’m winking) we left before
they arrived. As we sat over wine and brilliant steak at El gaucho it
suddenly occurred to us to go after yet another hot male. So, for
those who were wondering why we delayed the flight from Accra a
little, it is because we were waiting for a certain delicious homemade
quality cheese burger from Melting Point and chasing after a certain
Jerry Rawlings.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Heat rising (tongue firmly in my cheek)

I was doing a marathonshoot for my new spin off show when it was happening so I didn’t see that Cameroon had beaten her fourth host nation to make it to yet another final of the nations cup. I really should follow my heart as I had believed that Cameroon would be in the finals but allowed “ experts” like the giant to dissuade me. Yes I know they are not in the best shape but that has never been the point with the indomitable Lions, they play with their hearts and their might, improving with every game and until recently, they do it all wearing the tightest jerseys. I love them! That the hot favourites Cote De Voire is out is a shame but you have to give it to the Eyptians, they are sizzling. As I pack my bags to go and support Cameroon at the finals in Ghana, I am anticipating an incredible final between the mythical, mesmerizing pyramid building cradle of civilization and the gloriously indefatigable, powerful and unbending people of the sun. Forget about football technicalities, the final match on Sunday will belong to the team with the deepest will to win and my heart is with Cameroon.

It just so happens that my loins are also with them because I have the hots for Rigobert Song. As it happens the girls and myself have been having heated debates about which of the players are the most shaggilicious. The hottest favourites are Zidan (and half of the Egytian team) Agogo of Ghana and by my veto vote Rigobert Song. Forget the Eyptians as far as l am concerned, I like black men, I also like my black men to be dark coloured, no yellow pawpaw for me thank you. Now the girls are shouting me down over the doe eyed, tattooed man mountain Agogo and l agree that he is fine looking, a good player and a veritable national hero especially after that goal against Nigeria but I don’t like pin up boys. No matter how tight Beckam’s butt is or how golden his wife says his balls are, I have never had a shortening of breath about him. Agogo is on the go but he not only seem aware of that, he seem also aware of his pull. I can just see him in the gym pumping iron whilst showing off that beautiful artwork on his arm, besides he looks like a rugby player, those boys don’t do it for me. I like footballers, swimmers and short distant runners

Now Rigobert Song is a yellow man but I know when to adjust my irrational standards. You can tell he is no preening himbo, he looks like he spends 5 mins flat in the showers and keeps his dreads to avoid the barbers. Every inch of his sinewy body is cut as though by glass and at 31 (don’t know about that o) he is catlike in his reflexes, eyes fiery with focus and determination. He doest look pretty, he looks fierce, he doesn’t look like the boy your mama will instantly like but I bet he is more likely to be a committed partner and a bloody good lover. How do l know? I watch him play.

Song has played every minute of every one of the 32 Nations’ cup matches he has played for his country since 1996 with unflinching commitment and passion. He is an indefatigable leader of his team, always putting in 110% and never quitting until the final whistle. That is a good man, team player with attention to detail, focus, passion, commitment and staying power;-). He has a body to purr for, a spirit to kill for and the focus to hope on. I bet he is gentle when it maters. I do like a man to have a good head on his shoulders, a strong, fit body to hold the head up and the sort of spirit and heart that invents, improves and discovers. As a retirement gift, I hope Song leads his team into the caves of the pharaohs and come out lifting that cup one last time (yes I agree he needs to retire). If that happens, I will consider shagging him, a citizen duty.

Hot To Trot

Whilst I am at it, this is my shortlist of hottest Nigerian celebrity men; I will expand as we go along.

The boundless, mad energy, the sense of fun and adventure and the vulnerability it all seeks to hide.

Chukwuma Soludo
The audacity of the reform, the aloofness, the focus and the reawakening that the insistence on being called Chukwuma reveals.

Dele Olojede
The eloquence, the talent, the Pulitzer and whatever he had that got Ama Ogan to marry him and stay by his side all these years.

Fine boy, fine, committed, hardworking player. What’s not to like?

Wole Soyinka
Been a groupie for so long, don’t know when to quit but then this is Soyinka we are talking about.

Kelechi Amadi Obi
Lawyer, artist, photographer, gentleman, genius.

The body, the voice, the sound, the scars, I even forgive him his oyinbo wife just because he looks like he truly loves her which is always a plus and because Heidi Klum is a fun drop dead beauty.

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Did you see him own that tranny role? Fierce! A command of the stage, the silver and the small screens, such talent, manners and gorgeousness.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

As the clouds lift

Yes I did lose my head a little yesterday didn't I. Don't know if l should apologize because I had told myself that I must stop swearing, for the simple reason that it can be petulant and childish and dish a rather weak punch, also my late and beloved mother never liked it. My argument for swearing and other forms of stridency is that ti le ba njo, a ole ma sufe, ariwo la ma pa (if the house is burning one does not whistle or whisper, one must scream). My pain at the match is only skin deep and a weak camouflage for the deeper frustration born of recognition of the fact that football is only a little aspect of a deep dysfunction albeit played out on a big stage. The issues whether football, power, Niger Delta, education or gender concern systemic and value failures that are endemic. Even deeper is the knowledge that we have not really begun to do anything about these (let no nation branding spin doctor try to shut me up, look at the underbelly of spun statistic based success in Kenya, the health of a nation is measurable only in the standard of living of the lowest paid hard working adult person). I am not pointing fingers as I feel as responsible as the next rational person, which is why I think Tunji Bello's back page piece today should be read.

Super Question on Super Tuesday

Talking about stridency, and okay maybe a little PMS to boot, I admit that I was a little hard on Obama, as the many Voltrons have pointed out. I even sheepishly and completely take back the stepford wife comment; I like what I read about Michelle Obama. I guess my surface irritation is really {a} reaction to some of his patronizing comments in Kenya on a 2006 visit to his father's home place and {b}, an annoyance at the flawed view that a black man in the white house will help Africa's cause. The fact is only Africans can solve Africa's problems. This is not necessarily because others (including African Americans and Americans with African parents) don't care about us or feel some connection to us as humans but really because they have their own unique challenges, interests and goals which as must happen in nature often conflicts with our own interests and well being. It is our jobs to define who we are and our terms of engagement with others. I will never forget the rock solid assurance with which my very learned top civil service executive aunt declared in 1994 that America will never allow a military dictatorship maintain the over turned 1993 election. The rest of course is history. Even then my young mind had asked rather sarcastically, wetin concern dem with our wahala, sebi dem go still dey lift oil abi?

So if I put aside my aversion to the suggestion of Africa's messiah in the white house and those comments in Kenya, my heart does want a black person in the white house just as it wants a woman there so on SUPER TUESDAY I ask a stupidly naïve question but one which fascinates me endlessly. Why not a Hillary AND Barrack white house? I am totally taken by the idea of the kind of dynamic leadership America and by virtue of her unique influence; the world can have with a Clinton/Obama white coalition. Just imagine the possibilities of both of them in power. The argument is that {a} who will be whose vice and {b} what role will Bill be playing. Both seem to me to be smaller ego based concerns against a background of the sort of incredible leadership that both can bring to bear if they choose to work together at a time that America is so direly in need of the much vaunted leadership based on the greater good. Why choose between two good?
Monday, February 04, 2008

No comment

Yes l know, the match. Can we please not talk about it, why yes lets talk about it actually and l have only one sentence to say SACK THE FUCKING COACH ALREADY! Okay maybe two sentences, SACK THE FUCKING NFA!! In fact why stop there, isn't the bloody football just a mirror into a larger problem, the elephant in the room? Too pissed off about too much to be coherent so I am hunkered down on my desk furiously working, sometimes l ask my self, to what frigging end? So l can drive a jeep whose windows l dare not wind down then go home to sleep eyes wide shut in a fortified monstrosity only to wake up to hours of productivity sapping traffic, in an unliveable city where everyday, anywhere, anytime, you stand a 15% chance of being shot? Everyday l listen to ASA'S fire on the mountain and l wonder if everyone else feels the same urgency. As l said, maybe this is not the mood to be writing.

Meanwhile, best moment from the match yesterday was when a usually calm, collected and polite friend saw Nsofor being brought in; he jumped up from his seat swearing NSO FUCKING FOR! WHAT CAN HE FUCKING DO!! We all laughed but silently I thought, what indeed can one man do?