Saturday, December 30, 2006


Inside of a ring or out, ain't nothing wrong with going down.

It's staying down that's wrong.

-Mohammed Ali.
A Toast For 2007

Those who love us, love us.

And for those who do not love us,
May He turn their hearts that they
might love us.

And for those who will still not love us,

May He turn their ankles;

So we may know them by their limping.

'Stolen' from Keeping the faith
starring Ben Stiller, Edward Norton and Jenna Elfman.


Another year’s gone, and isn’t this the time to resolve on a new, improved pattern for 2007?
So here goes:
  • Stop along the way to smell the roses.
  • In stopping, keep a sharp lookout for which roses would fetch a good price on the market. (Is this multi-tasking?)
  • Love with my heart, not my head.
  • Remind myself that whenever I wake up is my morning.
  • Be conscious there is a difference between motion and direction.
  • Remember that a bee is praised for its industry, a mosquito is swatted.
  • Remind myself it is better to ask dumb questions than make dumb mistakes.
  • Tell the truth and run
  • Be sure not to sweat the small stuff.
  • Remember all stuff is small stuff

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

24 Things we've learnt from Nollywood (was sent this list by a friend)

1. Every problem you have is spiritual.
2. In every romance movie, someone must die.
3. It is possible to hit a person without actually touching them!
4. Anyone who gets hit by a car dies immediately.
5. Poisoned food always tastes better.
6. The best way to make money is by visiting a 'Babalawo' / joining a cult
/ sleeping with rich men.
7. One of a pair of twins (identical or not) is born evil.
8. There is never an end to your suffering, except death!
9. With a pastor ... all things are possible.
10. A movie can be titled anything... such as:
*The boy is mine,
* Face me, I face you,
*Two rats,
11. A movie has not been made if at least one actor/actress has not-
'shelled', twisted his/her lips to speak wrong phonetics'.
12. You are in love... you want to take your girl out, the best place you
take her to is...
*Mr. Biggs/Tantalizers: where you'll most probably see an ex while feeding
each other.
*The beach: where it is imperative that you ride a donkey and carry her
*Or the best: take her to buy some new ugly clothes.
13. An Igbo movie has been made if ...
* You visit a 'Babalawo'
* A fleet of cars is shown off at regular intervals for a total of half of
the movie time.
* Kanayo 'O' Kanayo is in the movie. Pete Edochie is also there too!
* To get rich it is mandatory you join a cult
14. Gun shots and fireworks sound the same!
15. Sometimes the title has absolutely nothing to do with the movie and
other times, once you read the title and see the poster you know it all!!!
(Also the soundtrack gives you a headache because it just narrates the
whole story repeatedly - so much for suspense and intrigue.)
16. A love story has not been produced if it does not have one or two of
the following actresses-
* Stella Damassus
* Stephanie Okereke
* Genevieve Nnaji
* Omotola Jalade
* Rita Dominic
* Kate Henshaw-Nuttall
17. The police are extremely 'efficient' unlike their counterparts in real
18. An actress can wear the same hairdo for more than a year and even in
longer flashbacks.
19. It is permissible to wear very dark shades at night!
20. When you are shot in the chest, it really doesn't matter; your head
will be bandaged. Same for your legs.
21. When advertising a movie, you really should shout because... people are
22. When you are extremely poor, you will still be able to afford- very
good furniture, T.V., but you won't be able to send your kids to school.
23. Most especially in Yoruba movies, your gateman must be inefficient and
comical. He MUST dress like a freak, be rude to all your visitors and never
mind his business.
24. The bad guy always dies or gets caught by the police
Godwin Agbroko, the former Editor of African Guardian, The Week, Newswatch, and lately Chairman ThisDay Editorial Board, was brutally killed on Friday(December 22) night, less than two kilometres to The Guardian's Rutam House office.

Jahman Anikulapo, Editor of The Guardian on Sunday and Life Magazine as well as programme chairperson of CORA wrote on his encounter with his daughter before the incident as well as his daughter's view of the 25, 000 Euro Cora Award. Read more here.

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a point 44
No less, No more

Here lies my wife
Here let her lie
Now she's at rest
and so am I

Played five aces
Now playing the harp

Here lies, Aretino,
Tuscan Poet
Who spoke evil of everyone
but God
Giving the excuse, "I never knew him"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

When beggars die...

When beggars die, there are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes- (Julius Caeser) William Shakespeare.

I was at the CORA Arts Stampede yesterday when I overheard that Joe Layode was dead. For those who might not recall, Joe Layode was Garuba of Nigeria's first major and still unparalleled tv drama series, 'The Village Headmaster'.

Along with characters like Bassey Okon (Jab Adu) and his famous 'Chei Chei Chei' exclamation, Ife Araba, The Headmaster who had 'Knock 3 times and wait for answer' on his door (Femi Robinson), The Oloja (Dejumo Lewis), Chief Eleyinmi (Funso Adeolu), Councillor Balogun (Wole Amele), Amebo (Ibidun Allison), Okoro (Jimmy Johnson), Boniface, Sisi Clara (Elsie Olusola), Lakunle Ojo (Layi Ashadele) and many, many others, Garuba helped shape many young lives (including mine) who watched the series that was the Nigerian Oracle at that time. It was beautiful tv, it was a beautiful world and that programme was one of my early influences in drama.

He died a beggar.

Joe Layode who learnt his acting trade in England more than 4 decades ago was reduced to bit parts as he got older and TV in Nigeria revolutionised (becoming much worse). He finally became blind and was reduced to begging for his food around the Unity Estate in Iba, Lagos, where he lived. We'd planned to do a documentary about him, reach out to aid him, we never got round to it.

I never met him in person.

I was informed that the artist, Mufu Onifade, ran from end to end, seeking that he might be buried with honour. He didn't succeed. They had to bury him at the Atan Cemetery in a temporary grave, not fully 6 feet under because there was another body 6 feet down.

A temporary grave, you ask? Yes, that's what I heard, and only in Nigeria.

So what becomes of him permanently? I do not know yet. The actor, Funso Alabi, went unsung too.

When old heroes die...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An African Christmas
Why sing we songs of mistletoe?
Why exalt we the pure white snow?
What meaning, tell, Rudolph's nose?
What romance bears fireside repose?
In an African Christmas.
Why not dream of harmattan air?
Why not laud bluest atmosphere?
Extol the smell of burning grass.
Sing you of dust not frost on glass
In an African Christmas.
It's not the seasons of the year
That tinge the wondrous Christmas air.
But Mary's infant meek and mild,
Praise then, all men, the Holy Child
In an African Christmas.
©2003 Oladejo Adebola Fabolude

I saw a movie yesterday with Gwyneth Paltrow in it, ‘A View From The Top’. I’ve been a sucker for her ever since I saw her in ‘Sliding doors’, a another movie shot on location in England which had 2 different endings. Can’t go into that now.

So in “A view…’, she aspires to get off the domestic air route she’s a drudge on and to become an International Air Hostess. Her close and street-wise (but not very education-minded) friend switches exam papers and Gwyneth fails but her back-stabbing friend gets the New York-Paris Route. For a long while, Gwyneth suffers, but good conquers in the end and she gets her just deserts as does her back-stabbing friend. The movie also had Mike Myers (Austin Powers-International man of Mystery) and Mark Rufallo or so.

As the credits rolled, I wondered to myself how many people are trapped where they are today because someone ‘stole their destiny’ and then I remembered something that happened to me many years ago.

I was about 17, and was studying for my A-levels when the Nigerian Defence Academy (Our equivalent of Sandhurst) Exams came up. (I’d collected and submitted the forms earlier). So off I went to the exam venue and whom did I meet there but my first cousin? We’d always been great friends, shared the same surname, and he was just a year older than I, but was a couple of classes behind me then.
I’d entered Literature, Government and Economics as my test subjects in the forms I submitted. He’d entered Geography, Government and Economics.

We had soldiers as invigilators but the seating arrangement was free and so my cousin sat behind me. As the exams started , my cousin whispered to me, ‘I don’t know any Geography question’ (There were 50 objective questions on each subject). He continued (speaking Yoruba), ‘I’m going to take Literature, I won’t do Geography’. I whispered back fiercely, ‘but you have Geography on your forms, there’ll be a problem’. My cousin ignored this piece of common sense and promptly changed his subjects to match mine and copied me answer for answer. All 150 questions. I don’t recall objecting to him copying my answers.

A few months later, the results came out. He’d been picked for an interview but my name wasn’t on the list. My father and the rest of the family were baffled and disappointed, and not just because I’d failed an exam but more because my cousin was picked over me. I’d always been the one they’d told him to emulate (which showed how bad his case was).

I deduce several things happened (or didn‘t happen).

1) The Army Authorities did not realise he didn’t take all the subjects he’d filled in his forms.

2) We’d had the same score in each subject, done the same subjects, shared the same surname, came from the same local government and State etc (these things matter in the Nigerian Army)

3) They’d picked the first of the two names (his was first alphabetically)

When my cousin finally met with me, He just asked: “Wole, kilo sele?. Ko ye mi o” (What happened? I don‘t understand) and continued on his way.

I bore my pain for a long while but one day whispered what had occurred at the exam venue to my older brother, Jinta, who told everyone else and somehow or the other, what had happened got to my father.

In the meantime my cousin went for the interview in Kaduna, 906 kilometres from Lagos where we resided. He failed the interview. And had to hitchhike back to Lagos or something. Was I glad he didn’t make it? Yes.

I never sat next to known people in exam halls after that, and even then, would sit in the front row, breathing down the necks of the invigilators. Only the paranoid survive.

I idolized the army at that time. What if he’d become a student of the Defence Academy, and had then made his way to become an officer of the Nigerian Army? I’d look and think- “that was meant to be me”.

I learnt a heavy lesson that year about how easy it is for others to take what’s rightfully yours if you permit it and as I watched Ms. Paltrow yesterday, I thought to myself, “No one’s ever gonna steal my thunder again”.

Monday, December 18, 2006

In the picture, Araceli Aipoh, Author of the novel, 'No Sense of Limits'. Araceli was born in the Philipines, is married to a Nigerian Medical Doctor and has lived in this country for upwards of 2 decades. She has a day-job as a Personal Assistant to an Ambassador in Abuja and her 'sleeper' best-seller novel was inspired by her 'love-hate relationship' with Lagos. Posted by Picasa

Fame! Fame at last! The A-Z of Nigeria was culled from this blog and published by The Guardian on Sunday, December 17. (The publication stopped at the letter ‘J’ and it said ‘to be continued next week'). Now if I ‘disappear’, you’ll know it’s any one of the many people/organizations I referred to, that had me done away with.

10 things to do before I die.

Was passing in front of my TV a few days ago when this programme came on telling the 50 favourite things people wanted to do before they died. “This should be interesting”, I thought, and found a comfortable position to watch from.

Among the top 50 were desires to see the Great Wall of China, visit the extremes of Canada to watch Polar Bears, take a train ride on the Orient Express (I thought that was an Agatha Christie book) and take a trip to the Rockies. The topmost desire was to…wait for it….swim with dolphins.

‘Whose top 50?’, I wondered. What we have here is a problem of perspectives and now I see the reason some say I.Q. tests for people from different levels of national development should vary. Make no mistake, all men are born equal, (apart from Nigerians who are smarter than most).

But swim with dolphins? What for? They can tell if a person is pregnant? So?

It tells a lot about developed nations and systems that work, when people can have the luxury of 2nd mortgages on their homes so as to see the World Cup. (Supporters of the Republic of Ireland did this).

There are things my fellow countrymen would like to have before they die and seeing Polar Bears is not one of them. When we have the basics, maybe we can think of such things, then.

Here are 10 of the more pressing, in no particular order-
1) Have constant electricity. Not having to beg some drug-addled marauders dressed as Electricity Officials who climb up and down tangled electrified cables on poles, connecting and disconnecting power supply at will.
2) Own a car no matter how old. While waiting for the car wish to come true, have a transportation system that works, not molues driven by drivers high on shepen, paraga and so’ku d’aye* (*raise the dead: it’s an alcoholic beverage too)
3) Have a city where the policeman will not rob you at night or the LASTMA official by day. (i.e law enforcement agencies that work)
4) Have roads that are tarred and repaired properly.
5) Have heavy traffic intersections controlled by traffic lights, and not psychotic vagrants (lunatics), drug addicts, cripples, dwarves with bloodshot eyes and ex-area boys. (I’ve seen examples of all these)
6) Have a judiciary respected by the government.
7) Have a health care system that works.
8) Own one’s own home.
9) Be respected by those elected/selected to serve in government.
10) Eat 3 meals a day Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

3 Kings at a Nigerian Christmas.- Femi Kuti, Ali Baba & DJ Jimmy Jatt. Venue-XQZ MOI (Lekki, Victoria Island). Date- Christmas Day. Its been labelled the King of all Concerts. Also featuring the Princes of Comedy. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 14, 2006

'The Swamp Dwellers' , a Stage Play written by Wole Soyinka and directed by Wole Oguntokun as part of Jasonvision's Legend Series, will be presented at the Agip Recital Hall of the Muson Centre on Tuesday, December 26 at 3pm and 6pm. The drama focuses on a tribe which for a long while has paid tribute to the 'serpent of the swamps' through its servant, the Kadiye, until one person dares to speak up, causing unexpected results. Professor Soyinka's play is a take on the exploited minorities of Nigeria, written long before it became a fashionable issue.
Tickets-N2000 Adults and N1000 for Students with I.D. Cards.
A special Pre-Show Bonus is the All Female Musical Ensemble, Nefretiti, featuring the song-smith, Adunni. For tickets and enquiries, please call 0802 301 3778,01- 897 1691 or 01- 813 6229. Posted by Picasa
The Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, (of which laspapi is a member), was the recipient of the 25, 000 (Euros) annual Prince Claus Award. The award named after the deceased husband of the present Queen of the Netherlands, is given by a government-backed foundation in the Netherlands to deserving groups or individuals worldwide, on the basis of art advocacy.
In the picture just before the event which held on the grounds of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Eleke Crescent, Victoria Island, are (from left) His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria; Jahman Anikulapo, Chairman of CORA and Editor of the Guardian on Sunday; and Mark Rutgers, Second Secretary (Political Affairs) of the Netherlands Mission. Posted by Picasa
Bolanle Austyn-Peters, MD of Terra Kulture, was one of the many guests at the CORA event. Bolanle, who was startled by my camera, has become a force in the realm of the Nigerian Arts. Posted by Picasa
Ruka Sanusi, a senior advisor at Price Water House Coopers (Ghana) Ltd and Ebun Olatoye of True Love magazine (right) were at the CORA award night. See more pictures Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

  • Kultural Christmas @ Terra Kulture. Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd December 2006. 4pm -9pm 2006.

    Plot 1376 Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island, Lagos.

    Dress Code: African Attire.

    African Buffet (Dinner: Adults-N3000, Children-N1500)

    Agidigbo Music
    Cultural Performance (Footprints of Africa)
    Terra Kids

    RSVP 01-2700588, 0802 341 8254

 Posted by Picasa
Araceli made me give her tips on the art of name-dropping (as if she'd ever use it) and then posted the tips I gave, on her blog, to help those unlearned in such matters. So I'll post the tips here as well.

- by laspapi

  • 1)It's all about the timing. Too soon and you're thought to be a wuzz, too late and the impact is lost. By the way, timing is also the difference between bravery and stupidity. It's also what saves you from 'Staircase Wit' which is when halfway down the stairs, the retort you should have given in the crowded room you just left, suddenly comes to your mind.

  • 2) Drop the 'right name'. No one really cares if you know the LASTMA Area Controller. This kind of name is detrimental to your public relations. Your dropped name must be a celebrity of sorts- rich, radical, powerful...that kind of thing. "I know the deputy librarian of the Lagos State University" might not cut it.

  • 3) Say just enough to whet the appetite."Hmm, I remember what Araceli told me as we drove down this very road last week". This implies that a) I know Araceli well enough to board a vehicle with her b) She knows me well enough to carry on a conversation with me. -Leave it hanging...too many details and all is lost.4) Stick to the truth- Don't 'engineer' names or situations that never happened. "Ha! Obj! I told him, 'Uncle Sege, this PDP primaries must never hold.' "If found out, you are made to look ridiculous and untrustworthy. Better to wait until you know the right people. In that case, your silence might hopefully be taken as that you have so much inside dirt on people, you're unwilling to talk about them.

  • As Araceli concluded on her blog, "What can I say? Here's to all name-droppers. Make dem arrest us... "
Conan. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tony Allen, once one of Fela Anikulapo Kuti's most trusted aides and drummer,returned from Paris where he has lived for many years, for a tour of Nigeria organized by Kayode 'K Samuel' Samuel, titled 'Lagos-No Shaking'. He brought along other foreign artistes (Mostly from France and Germany) to experiment with a fusion of African Beats and European rythms. Adunni (Ayo Orobiyi) of the singing group, Nefretiti who collaborated with the foreign ensemble is a recurring decimal in the pictures because I manage her and Nefretiti. It was an interesting event to be a part of and I danced away my cares (I do have some) at the new location of the French Cultural Centre, 4c Ruxton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. A considerable number of the members of the expatriate community was there as well. Below are pictures. Posted by Picasa
The Son of the King- Seun, scion of the Afro Beat Maestro, Fela, jammed at the Tony Allen event too. Posted by Picasa
Adunni with Tony Allen's foreign fusion. From left, Nicolas Gireud (Trumpet), Rody Cereyon (Bassist), Anerilles Alexis (Key-boardist), Claude Dibongue a.k.a. 'Sangolana' (Guitarist) and Olatunde (Talking Drums). Olatunde's mother is from Abeokuta here in Nigeria which would explain how his genes could have allowed him learn the talking drum, one of the most traditional musical instruments, in far-away France. Posted by Picasa
Ade Bantu and Adunni at Lagos-No Shaking Posted by Picasa
Ayo 'Adunni' Orobiyi with Nicolas Gireud. The young French man plays the trumpet and a small guitar of the sort fancied in South America. 'Nico' has a new CD out, titled ZUM ZUM (Urban Capoeira) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"I like work. It fascinates me. I could sit down and watch it all day". Can't recall who quoted this originally but I sat and watched in the tv show host's (Funmi Iyanda, right of picture) study as she discussed work issues with her Personal Assistant, Funmi Akinsola.- Wednesday the 6th of December, 06. Location-Lagos. Posted by Picasa
Saw this glossy poster outside an eating place in Surulere, Lagos several days ago. ATMOST FEAR is what they call they the event and it looks like Nigeria's own Fear Factor. The prize for the last man trembling is $50, 000. According to the poster, 'Join us if you have the liver'Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The average beggar on a busy Lagos road earns N2,500 daily and that is tax free. For those contemplating changing professions, it might be a viable option.

They stand at intersections and harass motorists, waving arm and leg stumps, tumours, hernias and distended testicles at all and sundry.

A newspaper headline a few days ago read, "Fake Breast Cancer Beggar Arrested". I'd seen this woman negotaiting traffic at the Marina, one exposed breast coated with some kind of dried mixture of powder and lotion done up in concentric rings, a few days before. I knew she was faking. Its our way here.

Begging in Nigeria is organized crime with the beggars paying dues to those that permit them to sit by the roadside. If you doubt this, give it a try sometime and see if you get home in one piece.

Bought shares worth six figures (Naira) from a Nigerian bank in 2004. The bank known for its Prudent nature called it a private placement meaning existing account holders had first option to buy before the shares went public. Then it went public. The bank now the major player in the new Mega? Bank known as Skye Bank, finally this year, began to issue certificates, claiming the shares had doubled in value.

So I went to pick up my certificate and was glibly told that because the bank had gotten a new name, they were recalling their shares certificates with the old prudent name and issuing certificates as Slye, sorry Skye bank.

Up until this moment, more than 2 years on, no certificates, and certainly no money, so you cant trade with the shares or just take your money and run.

Nice one, Slime Bank.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

(From left) Kayode Peters- producer and director of the sit-com, Flat-Mates, Funke, laspapi and Kola Krakue after a game of five-a-side football at the Astro-Turf Complex, Ikoyi, Friday Night. The Turf situated somewhere between Osbourne and 2nd Avenues in Ikoyi is artificial and gives carpet burns if you fall on it the wrong way.

Felt aches in muscles I didn't even know existed after the match but I intend to make this a weekly thing. Sedentary living kills.

And for those who might wonder, yeah, laspapi's got game. Posted by Picasa