Bribery is the easier way out #LovelyPeculiaritiesofNigeria

So before all you nation builders descend on me, can we take a moment to truly examine the Nigerian situation. It’s terrible to admit but that’s just the fact. And before some people go on a holy rant about the sin of bribery and corruption(we pray against it in my church daily towards the end of mass), i think that what we need to address foremost is not the act itself but causes leading up to the act.

A friend of mine packed into a flat only to get an electricity of N10,000 the next month. Mind you, he never had light between 6pm – 11pm throughout said month; not that there was steady light at other times but i just wanted to emphasize the ‘never’ for those hours households use electricity the most. He asked his neighbours and he was informed that was the latest development from PHCN and the best part was that the bill was an estimate (because obviously they were unmetred). He asked his landlord why there was no metre and he was informed that all attempts to get PHCN to procure and install had been to no avail.

He stormed to PHCN office where he was referred to his marketer who wasn’t on seat but he called her up and immediately he mentioned his house address, the lady confirmed that the landlord had been to their office severally in hopes of getting metres installed. He then asked the lady how the bill came to be as there were no records of power used and he was informed they had a standard estimate for everyone based on their location, after all the BQ in the compound was charged the same amount (I guess that was supposed to be consoling). Meanwhile another unmetred flat on the same street was billed N4,500.

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Go Figure....

He was advised to find something for the boys.

Now from an economic point of view, is it not better to give the woman N3000 once and have your monthly bill slashed to N4,500 or even N3,500 depending on their mood? That’s just common sense

Don’t get me started on immigration people, would you rather wait in line for a week than pay double the official rate and get your passport that same day or the next if you can afford that?

Or is it the FRSC and their laughable excuse at a driving test. I remember someone being asked to go from Onitsha to Awka to do a driving test. Then come back to the FRSC Onitsha with the results for the drivers license. Seriously!!!!! And you expect me not to roger someone?

It’s quite unfortunate but it is the truth. Bribery actually gets things done here and fast that sometimes i find it difficult envisioning a Nigeria free of corruption.

But we cannot give up hope. I remember when we used to line up (pushing and shoving) to pay electricity bills before the advent of Pre-paid metre. Then one even had to bribe someone if you were in a hurry. So there are some changes albeit minute

Image Credit: google

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Police is your Friend??? #LovelyPeculiaritiesofNigeria

I think this post should have been rightly titled ‘Nigerian Law Enforcement Agents and their abuse of power’. But i’m going to start with the police force. I believe everyone in Nigeria already knows that our Police Force is worse than a joke. The saying goes: ‘Police is your friend’ but in Nigeria i think the right saying should be: Police is your enemy. From delaying travellers for about an hour or more because the “greedy” driver packed enough luggage and refused to Roger; then they decide to conduct a search to be sure there are no contraband items.

The other day, i was in Owerri and we just passed the traffic light after government house and were stopped at a junction when we noticed a traffic policeman  dragging the steering wheel with the driver behind us. It was a minute scuffle that resulted in the car hitting us from behind. So the question was: Who was going to pay for the damage to our car?  The driver or the policeman who was alleging that the driver ran a red light? When the light was at 10 when we passed?  So how do we prove that the policeman was lying?

A friend of mine told me a story of the Nigerian Road Safety guys who were trying to stop a trailer driver who refused and in retaliation, they used a long metal pipe to knock off his side mirror.

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Image gotten from the web

I was amazed. For Christ’s sake, they the FRSC should know the importance of a side mirror especially in a long petrol tanker and they are the ones sending the truck into the highway without a mirror. Are they now putting the lives of road users at risk?

This petrol scarcity has been soo bad that it even brought out the barbaric nature of our beloved Nigerian Army. A friend of mine was at the NNPC filling station to buy fuel. He left his house at 3:30am to join the queue; then at about 11:30 am when he was about 15 cars from the gate, some Army men arrived to buy fuel. They moved straight to the front of the queue and that was when the wahala began. The driver just before the gate refused to give up his space even after threats were issued, then one of them went ahead to break the man’s arm…..

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Photo Credit: google

You read it right….His arm was broken

Sometimes i wonder what it would take to make our Law Enforcement agents law abiding citizens…. I don’t know if i’m the only who dreams of the day i can confidently go to the Police to report a crime i witnessed without the fear that the Police would lock me up and turn me into the criminal.

But if that happens, do you think this country would still feel like Nigeria?? you know the Naija sufferhead ways because me thinks it would remove the Naija making it ajeborized to Nigeria. ‘Winks’

Glossary (For the non Nigerians)

1. Roger: The verb to bribe
2. Wahala: The noun meaning big trouble
3. Ajeborize: The verb to be spoilt and rich. Gotten from the noun ‘ajebutter’ which means someone from the spoilt upperclass.

Abegi, share your law enforcement stories

Five Basic Driving Rules:Lovely Peculiarities of Nigeria

For you to drive effectively in Nigeria, there are 5 basic essential rules to note. Please be warned that they cannot be found in our highway code.

1. Beware of Pedestrian Bridges:
They are for flying insects  because you will definitely see people running across the road while for the most part, the bridge remains empty.
I have also noted that more than 90% of pedestrian bridges in Nigeria do not have ramps for the physically challenged. So expect to see someone in a wheelchair crossing the road (Oops,,,, I forgot, we don’t have poor physically challenged people here, they all have their own private cars with chauffeurs)

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Photo Credit: http://www.mynewswatchtimesng.com

2. Use your Hazard lights at a junction:
When you are at a 4-way junction(especially one without a roundabout), you trafficate left while going left; right while turning right and then you put on your hazard lights if you’re going sraight. I must confess that at a point I thought it was part of the Highway Code.

3. Beware of traffic on your Right and Left:
I know the book says: give way to traffic on your left…. But you should have it in your consciousness that the person on your Right isn’t going to give way, especially at roundabouts. Just drive as if you are all struggling for who has Right of Way because its the first struggler whose bonnet enters the road that has right of way, shikena.

4. In traffic, always kiss the vehicle in front:
You know all those things in the Highway Code about leaving some space between you and the car infront incase it rolls back; its not feasible. You must always leave no space between you and the car infront unless you want to be (chased) out of the line. I promise you that buses and rickety taxis who weren’t in line will not only enter infront of you but you will be manoeuvred out of the line in no time and soon you will find yourself begging to be allowed back in the cue or worse still, those traffic officials will come to tax you for causing disorder.

5. All big trucks do not have functional BRAKES:

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This is the last but most important rule; you must assume that the brakes in those big trucks (911s, container carrying trucks) do not work unless you want to become part of the unwritten statistics.
So for your own and your passengers wellbeing: make a conscious effort to never stay infront of or behind a big truck especially the fuel carrying tankers. Give them enough room.

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Feel free to add your own rules abegi……

Lovely Peculiarities of Nigeria: Our sense of entitlement

So the other day, a friend of mine told me a hilarious but annoying story. It was about an incident with her neighbour. The neighbour had a small generator: I pass my neighbour (Nigerians understand this) which he usually uses when the electricity goes off. Apart from the horrible noise, the fumes from the generator were soo bad they could pollute almost the whole compound. My friend complained to her neighbour that the fumes were polluting the air in her house and asked that the generator be moved farther away from her house to which the man replied: I just serviced this generator today and I don’t have any money again (although he had money to buy petrol) unless you will bring money for the lengths of wire needed to move the generator towards the gate.

Sometimes I don’t understand Nigerians. You will see a grown up accusing the brother or relatives of being wicked simply because the relative in question had refused to pay school fees for the grown ups children. The accuser probably has 6 children,  receives monthly salary but expects financial support from the relative as he is wealthy after all the Igbos say:”Nwa bu nwa ora” (a child is a child of everyone literally).

Sometimes I wonder if people understand how others struggled to get to where they are because you see those who believe that as children of Abraham,  heaven is their birthright.  Nigerians don’t want to suffer but we sure want to reap the fruits of someone else’s labour. How comical!!!!

I remember my student days, when one of my friends told me how she’d been pestering her uncle for money and the man stopped picking her calls, she had to take it up as a special prayer point to her pastor who recommended some prayers with fasting. I was amazed. She had paid her school fees and house rent, received monthly allowances so the money from the uncle was just an added bonus  but she believed it was her right after all the man was a relative and wealthy so she should get a share of the national family cake.

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Its shocking when one sits down and thinks it through but it has become our daily manner so much so we take some things for granted. I am not saying that relatives shouldn’t help out other relatives or that philanthropy  should be forgotten we should understand that the help is a privilege not a right/entitlement and that the helper has a choice: he can definitely say NO

Lovely Peculiarities of Nigeria: Our Noise Culture

So the other day, I was going to visit a friend.  I boarded a keke (that’s a tricycle) and was in my own world: enjoying the scenario,  breathing the freshly released carbon pollutants from barely maintained vehicles.  I was jarred out of my lala land by this constant horning by the driver. I started wondering if the person, animal or vehicle blocking the road was deaf.

Only I then noticed that he was horning at regular intervals. If someone/something was blocking the road,  he would have horned incessantly.  I also realised that we were moving, the road was free and the driver was just driving and blowing his horn. In retrospect,  I don’t think he was really aware of his actions (how wierd that would seem to a foreigner): ‘pressing the horn every 15seconds inappropriately like he was making music’. As horn by definition is an instrument used to send a warning or signal but who cares, this is Naija our fatherland.

And this is one of the things I love about this country. We are so used to noise, in some cities you find bus drivers have exchanged the normal horns for the blaring horns  used by lorries.  And this is fun for them. The cd seller mounts his speakers on the road infront of instead of inside his shop. There are more speakers outside churches than inside as the sermon is for the neighbourhood whether interested or not; everyone must become born again.

And this is one of the amazing peculiarities of Nigeria.

Welcome to 2015………….
Make some noise somebody! !!!!!!