Missing the Sound of Silence

As I sit in this uncomfortable office chair at 6.47pm typing my 162nd blog post and hoping to kill enough time to avoid a gridlock on Third Mainland Bridge for the next 3 hours, I think about last night when I experienced something so eerie and yet so magical that I wished it elapsed for more than just 2 minutes – I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it…

It rained cats and dogs Friday night (and these were really noisy cats and dogs, complete with ‘strobe’ lightning and thunder ‘bolts’). Power supply was out in my neighbourhood (as usual) so I was in complete darkness after switching off my Tiger generator at 12.08am (and I know this because I finished beating my Wii Boxing record at that time…yes, I have issues). I was lying down on my bed and praying that all that boxing was sufficient to induce immediate Narcolepsy (minus the hallucinations) but one of my neighbours was still disturbing the peace with HIS own generator. Let me share how annoying this sound can be.

Just imagine this for a moment: Take a he-goat which we all know makes that heavy bleating sound. Picture yourself tickling the goat under its armpit (oh, I guess that’ll be a ‘limbpit’) and it starts blaffing (bleating + laughing…don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with all this…I think). Now, record that ‘blaffing’ sound and play it on a loop…on high volume – THAT’S what a generator noise sounds like…not all generators, just his.

To my surprise, my neighbour decided to put the ‘he-goat’ to sleep right before I decided to go outside in my PJs and put my foot up his ass (or better yet, any gruesome scene from Silence of the Lambs). And then…I heard it…it was (in the words of Simon and Garfunkel) “the sound of silence”. No crickets, no owls, no raindrops, and no leaking taps. Only the same sound you get from an audience after the below-par performance of an amateur stand-up comedian. But in my neighbourhood, some people can’t afford to endure a night without electric fans and so about 2 minutes later you can guess what happened next – the he-goats were back in full swing!  BEH-EH-EH-EH-EH-EH-EH!!!

Nigerian Trends in 2010

January 2010:

  • More people are looking to invest in property and real estate
  • Toyota and Honda are still the most common cars in the country
  • Sales of domestic generators are still on the up
  • Marriages between age groups of 24-28yrs are increasingly popular
  • Pure water (50cl water sold in a transparent bag) has in excess of 20 brands
  • Wedding planning is also big business
  • The MTNFastlink is one of the most used Internet connections (I’m using it now :D)
  • More Nigerians go to Dubai for holiday/shopping than they do to London
  • Growing numbers visit Ghana for short breaks (40mins away by plane)
  • Slim neckties are in fashion and are here to stay
  • Women’s handbags seem to have stopped getting bigger…just more flashy
  • Blackberrys are in demand and the lingo ‘What’s your BB pin?’ is catching on fast
  • There has been a surge in registrations with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM)
  • The Banking industry is no longer as attractive as it used to be for job seekers
  • The staggering Chelsea, ManU and Arsenal fanbase here is an untapped market
  • Ralph Lauren Polo shirts (with number on sleeve and horse) are also very popular
  • People have been receiving text messages stating that the NSE (our stock market) is picking up.

Entry #9 – ‘Knock his lights out!’

The electricity supply in the country has been abysmal. Some areas have had only 4 -12hrs of power supply per day while some have even less or none at all. Lagos has become a noisy commercial zone with all the domestic and industrial generators blaring away. There are reports of some companies even moving their operations to neighbouring countries in order to enjoy constant power supply and save on their diesel costs – It has come to that. I can’t afford to run a generator all night while I sleep so I toss and turn most nights and many times I’ve considered sleeping in my air-conditioned car. Boy, am I pissed with the spate of things…


It’s therefore no surprise that I put a sheepish grin across my face when I read today’s news headline in The Punch – ‘Yar’Adua (my president) sacks PHCN MD over poor power supply’. IT’S ABOUT F@?#ING TIME!!!!

Letter to the Nigerian President

Dear Mr. President,

I know you are bogged down with a lot of political and socio-economic issues at the moment, the least of which you are yet to find solutions for or even attempt to show any interest in solving (e.g. Lack of constant power supply, daily traffic congestion, armed robbery, etc). However, I have some questions that need answering and though they may seem trivial to you they mean a lot to me…

What happened to Green Sands shandy? And what happened to Fanta Chapman? Could you bring back Tandi Guarana and Dr Pepper? Could you also tell the brewers of ’33’ export lager beer to change the freaking name to something other than a number? It would make ordering at the bar a whole lot easier when I’m pissed (half drunk). In fact, could you also put an embargo on any further name changes made by ‘Zain’ telecommunications? They’ve gone from Econet-VMobile-Celtel-Zain in less than 5 years and its getting confusing.

Is Ajinomoto really not good for my cooking? Could you intervene in the Mob wars between the rival Noodle gangs on my car radio? Indomie, Mimi and O-noodles have 1 ad every other 10 minutes 24/7 and it’s driving me insane! Is Agege bread really that soft and if so would you endorse it? I ‘form’ (pose, act-up) a lot so when I eat Agege bread sometimes at work I need assurance that I’m not going below a certain standard of class.

Could you ban unsolicited motorcyclists aka OKADA riders? They have swarmed our roads and have become a public nuisance with their complete disregard for the highway code. And while you’re at it, could you please abolish Saturday banking? I cherish my weekends and I strongly believe that 7.30am to 5.30pm from Mon-Fri is sufficient punishment in this present economy.

I know this is a long shot but would you consider giving tax-rebates and/or relief like they do in the UK? I see a lot of taking going on but giving back something to me for my blood and sweat would be nice. This is not ‘awoof’, just look at it more like a discount on my taxes.

While I’m on the subject of giving back to the community, could you allow the national budget to include training art schools for our terribly amateur actors? The Nigerian movie industry, unlike our developing economy, is under-developed. We are yet to see home-grown movies worthy to be called blockbusters e.g. movies like Lord of The Rings, Titanic, T2 and even The Dark Knight could one day be done over here if you invest accordingly – After all, like the saying goes ‘3rd mainland bridge wasn’t built in a day’.

I hope you will find time to answer these pressing issues. I do not mind if you let the VP handle some of these questions as I strongly believe he is equally capable. I look forward to hearing from you fairly soon.
Yours sincerely,