Square Pegs and Round Holes


Metro and Trivia

Car wash aproko

Zee World is very loud on the TV and the proprietress, aka Madame Lolo, is fully engrossed in the love triangle of Gia, Sheika and his mother. They just found out Gia has only one kidney left while trying for IVF. The matter don tough and Madam Lolo is making gestures and moving her body, making the suffering plastic chair creak under her involuntary movements.

A patron is clearly irritated and tries for a spoil by asking for the channel to be changed to “news”.

Madam Lolo swings sharply in rebuke and then quickly softens into a friendly jab.

“Abeg sidan where you dey oga. Wetin? Na one beer and nkwobi wey you buy since morning naim you wan take change channel? Dem never wash your motor finish sef?”
Then she sees I’m quietly observing. I shift my gaze. Too late.
“Ehen, Oga, abi how you see am? Make we change the channel?”
I take one look at the madam and see her pleading/bullying gaze and then face my front and lift my glass up and say, with a deadpan gaze, “any channel is ok by me”.
Madam Lolo gives the patron a friendly victorious smirk. Matter settled.

Patron stares at me in some kind of rebuke.
Wetin concern me. Who patron epp? When Madam Lolo decides to punish me with extra bony goat meat pepper soup later, where will patron be?
Enjoy your work day folks.

Intellectual Property Stealing and the Creative Arts

I have always wanted to own paintings by an artist whom I will call Dom (for this write-up). Like several contemporary artists who are putting Nigeria on the visual arts world map, his works stand out and capture your attention. His colourful, fractured faces series using geometric shapes, super-imposed on the human form is nothing short of exceptional. But they cost a pretty penny and it comes with the territory. This one day, I was at a small art gallery to frame a new acquisition and I saw work that looked like Dom’s sitting at the corner like it was just brought in. It did not have the fine details in its finishing like I thought it should, coming from Dom. I asked the lady attending to me for the price. The amount she said immediately aroused suspicion. She then told me it was a knock-off. I made it clear to her I was not interested in such.

Just then, a gentleman walked in and the staff of the gallery greeted him with a lot of warmth. Seeing him dressed in polo shirt and jeans on a working day, told me he was a creative who controlled his own time. I said hello and the local curator told me, “Ehen, this is Mr. Dom whose artwork you have been asking us about”. Oh, OK. Pleasantries and compliments follow. I told him about the drama with the knock-off. He took one look at it and said with all equanimity, “Oh, I know about this young man. He goes about copying my work. I hear he is now based in Abuja. Don’t mind him”. I ask him why he does not go after the guy and he just shrugged and said “Our market is different. Those who buy my work will never speak with him or his types. So, let him enjoy…How many of them can I run after?”. I did not ask him what he felt about the gallery carrying the fake work, as I found it abnormal.

Now that is Dom, an accomplished artist with a lot of clout at the upper segment of the Nigerian art market, speaking. What about the up and coming who still get the product of their imagination and grueling effort, stolen by copycats and fakers? I am sure they will not share in his disposition. The music sector and Nollywood are some of the new areas where these fakers have now fully camped. We grew up seeing books from Onwubiko, Achebe, Soyinka and other writers, get faked and mass reprinted without permission in the 80s and 90s. Appropriate legislation did not come into being until much later. Even then, the enforcement leaves much to be desired.

Reading about Segun Adeniyi’s recent predicament at the hands of hackers, who broke the codes of his latest book’s – Against the Run of Play – online version and their accomplices who are indiscriminately sharing the book across different platforms, I am concerned for the future of the creative arts in Nigeria. What people should know is that piracy has the indirect effect of demotivating creativity. We will eventually see a reduction in the output from this sector and all of us will be the most affected. No one wants to be the monkey that works while several unknown baboons eat up their profits.

Do not receive or share what you did not properly purchase. It is stealing. Period!



#112 for Lagos Emergencies

 LASG ambulance
Not too long ago, my buddy Tolu and I were cruising down the Cameroon highway going southwards and noticed a small crowd and some go-slow on the other side of the road. Someone had been knocked down, it seemed. I slowed down a bit to gawk like the others and once we established what it was, I immediately called the emergency services on 112 and a lady answered the very first time.
“Hello, this is the LASG emergency services, how can we help you?”
“Sir, confirm Lekki-Epe expressway by Swiisstrade/Doby’s heaven on the side going to Lekki?”
“Your name and current location sir. OK. Our people are on their way, thank you”.
So we stopped at Tolu’s neighbourhood for an hour or so before I headed further south for home. I made a pit stop at the neigbourhood foamy liquid spot and checked my phone for messages, etc. It turns out that an artisan who was doing some work for me at my home and was supposed to be going to Agungi to get some supplies before returning to finish the work, had tried calling me and then sent a text to tell me he would not be returning due to some traffic he encountered. I called him to ask about the progress of the work. In the course of our discussion he told me the traffic was caused by an ambulance picking up an injured person near Swisstrade. I checked the time of his call and text and it was about 22 mins from the time I placed that call to emergency services. Going by the fact that the call itself took about 2-3 mins and the ambulance would have had to wade through traffic and then U-turn at VGC roundabout, if coming from Lekki side, it was a reasonable response time.
I did not even have to call Tolu to give him this feedback. I have seen the ambulance attending to people from time to time, since Fashola years till date, for this not to be a big deal.
But there is also the memory of a very bad emergency response incident on third mainland bridge a few months ago, which I hope they have learnt from and the logistics nightmare of having a  burgeoning population in a sprawling metropolis full of “sometimes” heavy traffic and barely motor-able inner city roads. But it can only get better.
Have you had the need to call the LASG emergency services? What has been your experience. Also, tell us how they can improve.



You know how Lagosians get introduced to a fad and then end up owning it more than the originators?

Here goes.

Location is Mosun and Tunde’s home at Eti-Osa-Upon-Cameroon. Mosun’s mum needs to return to Ibadan after a short visit, they are entertaining and this would not be a good time to face the trafiic from VGC roundabout heading back towards Cameroon after the Ajah “Ibadan motor park” drop-off.

Mosun: Tunde you need to call mum a Uber. You know we can’t take her to the park at this time.

Tunde: OK. I’m on it. *Reaches for phone

Maami: Ewo tun ni Woober? Se ka sa ti de Ajah ka wo motor Ibadan noni? *looking confused

Mosun: Oko to ma gbeyin de be no laan pe…

Maami: *Images of all kinds of wonders start going through her mind. These Lagos folk and their wahala have come again. Perhaps its one of those flying saucers she’d seen on the children’s cartoons and movies? Hmmm…

20 minutes later

Mosun: Maami, oya eje amalo. Uber yin ti de

Maami: *Slowly lifts her mass off the sofa and steps towards the door with trepidation. Heartbeat increasing….opens door cautiously and gateman is smiling towards her as he opens pedestrian pass.

Maami steps out, takes a swift glance at her surroundings, and finds only a Toyota Camry. No helicopter, spacecraft or anything resembling an oversized donut with a glass face.

She’s disappointed, but relieved.

Driver steps out of car, greets her and takes her bag. She turns and waves weakly at her daughter as she gets into the backseat.

As they drive off, maami mutters silently to herself:

“Awon omo yi o ma ni pa yon o. Se Taizi lason lo ti wa di Woober? Oloun ema gbami…”



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