Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How to get Baba to read your newspaper

by Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo:

What is the use wasting newsprints and gallons of ink printing newspapers that the Chairman of the board of directors of the PDP (the greatest political party in Africa ) Chief Olusegun Okikiola Aremu Mathew Obasanjo, will not read? Think of it. What is the use, really? Why don’t you pack up and help save some forest?

If you must publish, you must make sure that the chairman reads it and not just use it in place of toilet roll. That is, if he is amongst the elite who are too civilized to use water. It is very important that the chairman reads your paper because for the PDP, winning election is a do or die affair while governing Nigeria is a family affair. And if the head of the family, his Excellency, Chief General Farmer Obasanjo, the Baba of all babas, does not read your newspaper, all the wonderful suggestions you are making on how to salvage Nigeria are like notes left for the wind.

Come to think of it, we now know why things did not go very well during the last eight years of Baba’s administration. Despite all the wonderful ideas in your newspapers, nothing was implemented. We use to think that Baba was just too stubborn. But no, he just was not reading. All you newspaper people were just like children praying to God in a language He does not understand.

So to avoid making the same mistakes again, here are the ways to get Baba, the messiah himself, to read your newspaper:

Rename Your Newspaper: We know that Baba reads newspapers. He just doesn’t read the Nigerian newspapers. So while printing your newspaper, print special editions and send them straight to Ota Farm. Turn your Apapa Sun newspaper into New York Sun. Turn the Ikeja Punch into London Punch. Turn the Oshodi Guardian into Tokyo Guardian. It is as simple as that. Once the name of a major city of the world is attached to your newspaper’s name, Baba will devour it as if it is eba and ewdu soup.

Reorganize your masthead: Name industrialist extraordinary, Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of your board of directors. Have Ojo Maduekwe as a contributing editor. Give Andrew Young a column in your newspaper. Let him write whatever he wants as long as he does not talk about the business of Goodwill International in Africa . If you really want to add jara to it, screw sport news, give Femi Fani-Kayode a back page column. Name it, the Final Word. Whatever you do, do not have hungry writers like Prof. Okey Ndibe writing for your newspaper. Instead, hire the well fed Chidi Amuta, the author of Babangida’s biography, The Prince of the Niger. Have him begin work quick quick on Baba’s definitive biography, The God on the Niger.

Move the page three girl to the front page. Be very selective on your choice of girls. Baba likes them young, spotless, with firm breast, skin as light as Kema’s, taller than Ngozi and just as skinny as Genevieve. Let them wear see-through gowns. No shimmy, please.

When you go to interview Baba, make sure you are wearing a khaki pants and monkey jacket, the type foreign correspondents of western media wear when they come to Africa . Also make sure your driver is a white man, your photographer a Chinese and your assistant, a pretty young girl from the same state where Stella came from, preferably in her early twenties.

Run a special feature titled the Animal Called Man. In it you can interview the likes of Andy Uba, Bode George, Ahmadu Ali, Lamidi Adedibu and other animals called men. Always begin your editorial with a Yoruba proverb. Write it in Yoruba and then translate. In your African news section, highlight how Baba tried several times, in several trips, over several years, to solve each and every problem of every African country. End each sad news piece with, “Baba told them so.”

When talking about the Obasanjo years, use word like reform, down stream deregulation, microeconomics, and nascent democracy. Make sure you show that Baba has intellect, class and political acumen. In fact, ignore the immodesty – declare him a genius. Note boldly that there are two kinds of African leaders – Obasanjo and the rest of them. Advertise his legacy in marbles, greatest quotes and crosswords. Remind ungrateful Nigerians that Baba was the one who brought them Soludo.

Whatever he does, whether he is picking up dollars from the wreck of another plane crash, do not publish a picture of an ugly local farmer wearing dull traditional attire in your paper. Such pictures are like mirrors to Baba. They remind him of something he wants to forget. And please ban these three words from the pages of your newspaper – Biafra , Biafran, and Biafraland.

If you must talk about Nigeria , start by pouring accolades on the father of modern Nigeria . No superlative is too much. The more you repeat it, the better it sounds. Never mention over 10,000 people killed from 1999 – 2007. Talk about $40 billion foreign debts paid without talking about the over $350 billion oil and gas windfall accrued at that time or the $550 million missing from NNPC account while Baba was acting as the oil minister with wonder boy, Andy.

You must dedicate a page of your paper to abusing the Lagos-Ibadan press and all their follies. Talk about how they do not respect elders. Mention how incongruent they are with the pulse of history. Make sure you remind your readers, as frequent as possible, that Lagos- Ibadan media axis is the real axis of evil. End that page by saying that history will vindicate the father of modern Nigeria .

Run a cartoon about a superhero named Okikiola who consults God daily and have saved Nigeria from untimely death thrice in the last three decades. Highlight his superpowers. Show him caning a policeman, chasing a reporter out of Ota Farm with a machete, and frightening armed robber with his black power juju bag. Draw him chasing Ojukwu all the way to Ivory Coast . Show him storming Radio Nigeria to grab Col. Dimka. Portray him holding Sani Abacha by the neck and dragging him out of Aso Rocks.

Allow advertisers to buy full pages of your newspaper to announce the death of Baba’s enemies like Orji Uzo Kalu (for Kalu death should come natural just as death comes to all his enemies whether at home – once you know where the bodies are buried and you are willing to rat Kalu out, you become a body, too), big mouth Balarabe Musa and defacto presidento, Babagana Kingibe.

Give each subscriber of your newspaper a sachet of Viagra. On your center-spread publish expo for Baba’s end of semester undergraduate examination. Never give Umaru Yar’Adua’s picture equal space with Baba’s.

Put on your front page that picture of the poor Igbo farm help shut and killed by Baba in the 80s for stealing eggs from his farm. Publish interviews of witnesses in Nigeria and abroad. Illustrate the story with a picture of Baba on horse back with a hand rifle hanging on his shoulder. Use Google map to point to the spot in the farm where the poor man was buried.

Now, that will get Baba’s attention.

Forget all these suggestions for they will not help you change Baba’s mind if you were amongst those tabloids who published the story that Baba’s father was an Igbo man, unless of course ori re ko dara!


raven chukwu 12:15 pm  

Brilliant. Laughed especially at the thought of "Baba" rushing to the centre spread to sneak a peak at the expo to his exams.
Unfortunate though that everyone had to wait till he was out of power before all the ribbing began. (I mean the guy was a one man comedy show even without external commentary).

Had to seek out other articles by the author online and found that he is geographically removed and full of charming self deprecation.

Anonymous,  2:19 pm  

Geez. Hatred for Baba and hatred for Yorubas in general. Not just the writer of the article, but raven chukwu as well.

Eba and ewedu do not go together. In the writer's haste to bash a dish popular with South Westerners, he lets his hatred get in the way of common sense. Yorubas do not normally eat Eba and Ewedu (or ewdu as he spells it).

Dear Lord, when will this orgy of self-pity end? The writer mentions Biafra, as if that is on Baba's mind today. Baba had nothing to do with the implosion of Biafra. And no amount of screaming from the rooftops about Baba's part in fighting the Biafran army will bring back the 1*10^6 who died during the war. Move on, like, yesterday!!!

Anonymous,  4:10 pm  

Oh puhleez, first Anon, Eba and Ewedu go very well together and the article had none of the vituperative bashing you're ascribing to it. It is funny and mostly true!
Did he really kill someone over eggs???

raven chukwu 5:00 pm  


I have absolutely nothing against yorubas in general (unfortunately I have to resort to the traditional defense of the bigot: "virtually all my friends are Yoruba") - and I see no evidence for your conclusion that the author of the article harbours any hatred for Yorubas.

To describe the sentiments expressed as showing "hatred" for Baba is taking things to a ridiculous extreme. OBJ is obviously not on Mr. Okonkwo's List of Favourite People but the fact that he criticises him and makes fun of him hardly means that he bears him any ill-will.

I like to consider myself a detribalized person (or maybe "untribalized" since feelings of ethnic pride or loathing were never really inculcated in me in the first place). I generally only draw attention to these differences in the interests of conversation when trying (usually unsuccessfully) to be funny.

Anonymous,  5:51 pm  

@ravenchukwu, the article is packed with references to OBJ's Yoruba-ness. From the "start every article with a Yoruba proverb", to "ori re ko dara". If that isn't blatant proof of this man's mischief, I'm the King of Spain!

@ anon 4:10p.m., if you know any region of Yorubaland where eba & ewedu is the norm, please let me know. It is hilarious that this man writes about eba & ewedu, when it is a well-established fact that Baba prefers abula.

And the writer can whine until he is blue in the face, Baba sits atop his Otta Kingdom, enjoying the fruits of his labor, while this writer boils in his own Yoruba-hatred, dreaming to one day own even half as much as (the very Yoruba) Baba does.

Anonymous,  8:21 pm  

i didnt think this was particularly funny or clever and i thought it tried to style itself on the Wainaina article we all enjoyed so much- found it abit plaigiaristic in that regard. Surprised you posted it J.

Anonymous,  10:22 pm  


W.T.F is this about ...
"And the writer can whine until he is blue in the face, Baba sits atop his Otta Kingdom, enjoying the fruits of his labor, while this writer boils in his own Yoruba-hatred, dreaming to one day own even half as much as (the very Yoruba) Baba does"

Please stop being silly.

Anonymous,  10:22 pm  

haha! funny.
"interview the likes of Andy Uba, Bode George, Ahmadu Ali, Lamidi Adedibu and other animals called men." haba, if only it were that easy.
...a sachet of viagra with every newspaper? now thats an idea.

Kemi Ogunleye,  5:54 pm  

@ anonymous: i 'm assuming that you're yoruba, so from one yoruba to another - pray tell, what do you eat your eba with??

יש (Yosh) 6:13 pm  

@anon1: I love my eba and ewedu, like that. Maybe an akpu sometimes, but eba and ewedu (ewdu) is not overrated!

Nice piece

Kevin 10:12 am  

@anon 5:51pm "And the writer can whine until he is blue in the face, Baba sits atop his Otta Kingdom, enjoying the fruits of his labor"

Shouldn't that be "enjoying the spoils of corruption"?

Or "the fruits of other people's labour"?

angry warri boy,  11:37 am  

Hi, Jay?
I thought you said you didn't like Binyavanga's article?
It seems it got under your skin, cuz this one reads a awful lot like it.
And you see how poorly we get satire?

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