Kemmiiii's Blog

A local travelogue!

Since I came back from my European tour about 3 weeks ago, I’ve been rescheduling a trip to base, Ibadan, for reasons. I have had to make up for my absence to my patients and with my able assistant and colleague, Omodara being indisposed , it is double trouble! Secondly and more importantly, the first weekend, and indeed any weekend nowadays, of any month on Lagos-Ibadan expressway is a nightmare for nuisances in the name of religion. Redeemers start the crises on Fridays, Fire Fire people continue the furor the following Saturday morning! Nasfat unleash their’s irregularly as if to spring surprises! And God is watching patiently from above!
All of a sudden, the Jonathan Government, haven dealt a deadly blow to Babalakin and his Bi-Courtney, announced the turning of the sod of expansion of the 35 year old death trap. I could imagine the kind of traffic to be encountered with a major road work. Not knowing that I was deceiving myself.

I could have continued to play the postponement game but for the stature Chief (Dr) Benjamin Abimbola Adigun, the Baba Ijo of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Oluponna in the State of Osun, who invited me, a fellow Christ Youth Follower to his 80th Birthday Thanksgiving on Saturday, the 20th July 2013. He is a former ED of Agip and a foremost Actuary Guru taking seats on the boards of many Insurance and Finance companies! He deserves to be celebrated and off I went on Friday as advance party!

The weather was bright and reassuring when I left my “shop” only to find it drizzling on getting to Berger bridge. From there on, the rain was getting heavier with attendant increase in traffic. It was not heavy enough to hinder business at ‘kara’, the cattle market, constituting the first bottleneck at the ‘U’ turn. A dangerous spot that has recorded a good number of accidents!

Nothing has changed so far on the long bridge despite the palliative measures seen to be put up to free the bridge of flood. One wonders how come a bridge gets flooded! Does this in itself not mean danger to the strength and longevity of the bridge? With the rain coming down in torrents, the flood was unavoidable especially at the distal 300metres of the bridge. The slow moving 4-lane traffic had to merge into one! Shege! A ruthless malam driving a tanker, for whatever reason could not afford to queue behind the smaller vehicles, waded through the murky flood, splashing and spraying the screens of the lesser machines with impunity! We could only jeer at, abuse and curse the bastard as he sped past leaving many miserable.

Less than 2kilometers from the flood, this time, passing Prayer city, it was all dry and sunny! God is great! As I drove on I was watching out for Julius Berger’s men and earth-moving equipments. None was in sight! Can these people be serious at all? Are they yet to be mobilized despite the pomp and pageantry that attended the turning of the sod? I kept wondering.

To someone who has been on a highway in other climes where human lives are valued, ours are simply death traps! With unruly and crazy drivers, especially of commercial vehicles, speeding as if possessed by some blood thirsty demons, with no road signs nor speed limits nor caution, we are only surviving by the mercy and Grace of the Almighty God. I have been on Ohio Turnpike in the USA several times. Fantastic road that spans 200 miles! On it you can be viewing a 50 miles stretch and yet you are not allowed so speed beyond 70miles per hour(120k/hour) with all measures in place to enforce it. That is where there’s order!

I got to Sagamu intersection starving. Even if I wanted to resist it, that was too much not to pay homage at Ibukun Olu Canteen where hot pounded yam was waiting to be served from their kitchen, where the rhythmic sound of mortar and pestle left no one in doubt of the real thing.
Served with “egusi” soup and ‘ogunfe'(goat meat),It was a delightful meal for the day. A cold bottle of Heineken was just right to step it down and for the road!

Getting back on the expressway, I was still picking the stubborn ‘ogunfe’ strands from my ageing teeth when I saw the moderately decorated arena used for the turning of the sod, adjacent to the Abeokuta-Sagamu fly over. Nigeria and a culture of waste! Some millions of naira must have gone into preparing for the unnecessary, wasteful ceremony! I can understand Commissioning of a road project after completion! What if they don’t complete the project as many others? We are living witnesses to the colossal waste and embezzlement of public fund by Ogunlewe and Anenih through FERMA under Obasanjo, just a few years back, on this same road and the adjoining Sagamu-Benin expressway! It can happen only in Nigeria!

It is worrisome and sickening to learn that this expansion project will cost 168 billion naira, that is 1 billon per kilometer! Haba! This can only happen in Nigeria! The same country where there are 9 aircrafts in the Presidential Fleet and none as national carrier! Compared to the USA, which has the state of Texas alone almost the size of West Africa, and their most powerful president only has 2 planes serving him! It is only in Nigeria, where a half baked, semi illiterate wife(nothing first about her) of a lily-livered president will arrogate so much power to herself and call a whole state governor his son and also has the effrontery to take up arms against a world renowned academic and Nobel Laureate!
More intriguing is the Nigerian Democracy! All over the world, democracy is a game of numbers. It is only in Nigeria where a group of 16 claims victory and supremacy over a group of 19! As that is not enough, a group of 5 also claims Majority in a house of 18 members and brazenly attempted to impeach the Speaker! And of course, they got a raw deal for their impunity! Only here in Nigeria!

I was lost in thought and just driving until I got to Ogere trailer park! Another seat of absurdity! I have been driving on the American Highways in the last 16 years, I have not seen a single trailer park or rest area where there’s disorderliness! I ‘ve also been to other parts of the world and had a good feel of their highways too! It is only in Nigeria where parks are provided and trailer drivers arrogantly and flagrantly refuse to make use of the packs and the law enforcers are helpless!

The staggering cost of this project, I believe, must have been tagged to the exigency of the expansion this all important route that provides the link between Lagos and the hinterland and not the actual or a justifiable deal. I hope the cost includes putting in place measures to control the nuisances constituted by religious bodies and lawless trailer parks especially in Ogun state axis. This is the only way the road live up to being called an expressway which it was way back in the eighties.

These and other thoughts got me sick and tired as I drove on. I stopped to buy corn, a delicacy I cherish on such trips but could hardly eat as I ruminated over the type of country we’re in, the type of people we are and the level of injustice pervading the horizon unchallenged!
Are we going to continue like this? Wole Soyinka has lashed out again that the man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice!

At the Ibadan end of the highway, nothing spoke of the presence of RCC, the second contractor handling the Sagamu-Ibadan half of the highway, a firm known for ineptitude as demonstrated by the shoddy job it has been doing for ages on the second half of the dualisation of Ife-Ibadan road! ‘Ooni of the source’ is watching and I wonder whether the Olubuse has an atom of conscience seeing a company in which he has substantial interest endanger the lives of Nigerians including his own subjects, family and self!

All is not lost! I entered Ibadan to find a cleaner, more orderly city but still retaining its rusty roofs! Who ever thought Iwo road round about can wear its present look! Just as I congratulated Fashola when he cleaned, Oshodi, I will have to get across to my senior and brother, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi(SIAA) for a job well done!

Oluyole, here I come!

Ibadan, the home gallant and proud warriors! History has that of all Yoruba clans, Ibadan was the only one that survived and remained never vanquished during the Yoruba wars and hence the popular expression ‘Ogun o ko wa ri, omo Ibadan ki ‘se eru eni ko kan’.
Of importance to the world is the kind of leadership pattern that evolved from Ibadan. The Olubadan recognizes the achievement and contribution of individuals from various families and make them Mogajis to head their own family and rise through the ranks to the exalted position of the paramount ruler, the Olubadan of Ibadan land. This unique succession plan which can only be found in Rotary also reinforces the accomodating nature of the forefathers of Ibadan. Hardly can any son of Ibadan trace their origin four generations back without discovering that they actually hail from another town or village to settle in Ibadan for commerce or as warriors! For instance, the various families in Lalupon came from Ede, Iwo, Ejigbo and environs in the State of Osun as warriors during the Yoruba wars to fight on the side of Ibadan. They were settled in Lalupon by the then Basorun Ogunmola. This pattern can also be traced to the USA where you have Jews, Germans, Britons, French, Latinos and Africans!

I set out for Oluponna as early as 9.30 from my hotel room somewhere around Old Ife road. It was my first time in Oluponna and was shocked to find that there’s no boundary between it and Iwo. This rapid development can be associated with the transformation of the later into a University town. Bowen University, a product of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, serves a major landmark in finding your way to Oluponna. Directly opposite, you find all the major Bank branches.

Oluponna was agog to celebrate an illustrious son, perhaps first from the clan, who has done so much for the town bringing its name onto the world map. The reception for the event took place at the community centre built by the celebrant! The event, especially the church service attracted the high and mighty from the oil industry, acturies, finance world , politicians and Anglcan clergy. A high point of the event was recognition of dignitaries for thanksgiving. Another ugly side of Nigeria shot forth its head. Senator Omisore who came with a retinue of hangers on and security details and in an FGN registered vehicle almost caused a commotion as he strolled towards the altar and his supporters rose with those praise songs! Only in Nigeria can it happen! I recollected this guy won an election into the Senate while still being incarcerated for an alleged high profile murder case!

I left the party at 3 pm, even before the commencement of the reception program for fear of the much dreaded Lagos-Ibadan expressway on a day like Saturday! And guess what, I got to Lagos at 7.30 pm for a journey that shouldn’t have taken more than 2 hours! Fair enough you’ll say! And I will agree with you if it is only in Nigeria!

Windy
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit http://www.etisalat.com.ng for details.

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*Peeps*

*Dodges rotten tomatoes and stuffs*

*Peeps again whilst donning million dollar smile* ­čśÇ

Hey Guys!

Shoot! Cobwebs! Darn it!

I know! I know! I went AWOL.

I won’t blame writers block this time around because I’m putting the blame on Medilag Student Affairs, Airtel, My sheer laziness and the new boo! Yes you! (Btw, stop reading my blog and you too Bolaji! Stop telling mummy everything you read on my blog. :*)

So how do they all come in?
Well, to blog I need Internet. So I blame Medilag student affairs for putting me in a room cubicle where the network/fresh air that manages to seep in is next to nothing. I Also Blame Airtel Ng for their crappy ass service. I just can’t port to MTN because Airtel is cheaper. I mean, I pay =N=1,500 for 2GB. My sheer laziness for making me lazy and the new boo for taking up my time (don’t stop!).

Well, while I was away, I wasn’t up to no good, I’ve been up to quite a lot (even though not award-worthy!); I picked up cooking. Now, I’m like a cooking monster. I google recipes and try them out and invested in kitchenware even though I don’t have a kitchen of my own. I just can’t wait till I have my own kitchen with all the top quality cookware and crockery. I now eat three times a day and I’ve since gained 5kg. Yay me!

My Obs&Gynae posting was over with and it was one hellluva posting! At a point, seeing pregnant women made me get sick to my stomach. Seeing fibroids and vaginas (excuse my French) made me feel even worse. There were just too many of them. I also got tired of seeing women in labor getting their vaginas torn with vicious looking scissors in the name of episiotomies. This made me consider elective caesarean section to birth all my 8 children.

‘Obs&Gynae was fun while it lasted.

I finished my (Internal) Medicine rotation on Friday and it was hellish yet fun! There was this “Medusa” of a consultant that eat time she sets her eyes on me, go limp like a boneless chicken instead of turning into stone. When she asks a question even if I have the faintest idea, I just look like groundnut and shake my head. I have since made some doctor friends and I’m extremely happy to be leaving medicine. I’ve had enough of ‘Medusa’. I’ll miss my medicine doctors though, most of them are a lot of fun. I learnt so much in medicine that I think I may start locum already.

Some other things also happened;

-I watched 9 complete seasons of Grey’s anatomy. I wonder why i wasn’t watching it earlier.

-Also watched 7 complete seasons of That 70s Show. Really Hilarious show. Gotta love Mila Kunis!

-Watched a documentary titled ‘The Real Story Of Nigeria‘ almost 10 times. If you haven’t seen it, you have to. Find out how great Nigeria was just so that you can be angry about where we are right now. #SadStuff

-Watched Damages and Political Animals too.

-I read Dan Brown’s Inferno & Stephen Chbosky’s ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ Both books were awesome.

-I also picked up knitting. I’m currently knitting swaddling clothes for my unborn child. I’ll probably be able to knit more when I get my maternity leave.

-My Pops gave me a car back in April because I aced my exams and I’ve been learning to drive every weekend since then. I have since mastered parallel parking and reversing. I can drive from Lagos to Abuja in reverse. My only fear is driving on the freeway.

About my natural hair, It’s 8 months old already and it’s not growing as fast as I expected; but I’m patient. You know what they say about the patient dog that gets fat.
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Also, Bolu turned one on August the 27th and we hosted one helluva birthday party for her yesterday. She wore 16 dresses and cried all through.

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So you guys see, I’ve been up to quite a lot, Not just lazing around.

How have y’all been

The last leg of my European tour and of course, the last few days of my working vacation took me to the Eastern side. I’ve had the most eventful vacation of my life so far lived. I started out with a self development training, moved on to Rotary affair and now professional development all in a relaxed mood. I have maximised the value of my miserly Schengen visa!

With a combination of sign language and wisdom of brandishing the print out of my hotel reservation and conference venue, I was able to pass the necessary information to the cab driver who took me through what appeared like an endless journey to Hotel Askania close to the city centre of Prague. On our tortuous way, I managed to fight off the devilish sleep consequent upon early rise for which I had to request for wake up call. I could not read any word close to english in all the sign posts and road sings and directions written in Russian language. And with that I thought I was in for a difficult time.

WONCA (World Organization of family doctors) Conferences are held 3 yearly and since I joined in 2004, the same year that I joined Rotary, the meetings are, somehow, coming on the heels of each other and coincidentally the last 2 were held in the same environment. This was responsible for my missing the 2010 edition held in Mexico, four weeks ahead Montreal Convention. Despite missing 2 days this time, I still had the urge to make it. My enthusiasm though damped by the poor attendance recorded was compensated for by the quality of papers presented and speakers on hand. I thank God, I made it!

I had no problem navigating the city of Prague with basic understanding of the transport system that is characteristic of most big cities of Europe. You have the bus, train and metro (underground) transport systems serving the common man and their expensive taxi cabs for the elites and unsuspecting tourists or those who are just not bothered about cost. With minimal information, from the hard faced Czechs, I wangled my way through their clean city with rusty looking medieval buildings to the conference Centre, Prague Congress Centre and back.

To have the best feel of the historic city and to save me the headache of language, I had to go for a guided tour that is not part of me! I like going around my own way and at my own time! I learned a lot!

The fantastic journey started from Wencelas Square, one of the very many squares of Prague. It is located in the heart of New Town from which we proceeded to the historic Old Town under which lies another historic town in which the mysteries and secrets are hidden. The torture and execution chambers which date back to the 12th century and beyond, the darkest days of the city, lie underground and hence the cliche “The Truth is Down There”. The tour also took us to the mysterious Jewish Ghetto with its famous synagogues, before crossing the Vltava River via Charles Bridge, one of the 16 bridges across the river, to get to the picturesque Lesser Quarter located on a hill and from which one could enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city. We also visited the iconic Prague Castle which now houses the seat of government.

The tour was made interactive and I was able to catch some facts of the the history of Prague that is riddled with executions and executioners who were revered and held in awe, prisons and prisoners, a past both glorious and tragic. I had an history lesson in which the buildings, monuments and streets tell the captivating and horrific story of a city through time. I was almost weeping to hear the horror and terror of Nazi occupation and the bloody and gruesome fight to rid the city of the invaders!

For exploration and expansionism reasons of that time, most European big cites were built around rivers which now have high tourism value. As River Thames is to London, so is Seine to Paris, Tagus to Lisbon and Vltava to Prague. Our tour ended with a dinner short dinner cruise in a Luxury boat on Vltava. Against the night sky, Prague’s spectacular water front panorama revealed its splendour! As I jumped off the boat feeling satisfied, I asked myself what have we made of all the various rivers and lagoons especially in the “state of acquatic splendour”?

Generally Prague strikes me as an old Soviet city which still reeks of the consequencies of communism! The people still wear melancholic faces of the typical Russian. Unlike portuguese ladies who are in all sizes and shapes, beautifully well endowed, sometimes fat and luscious, the Czech ladies wear the mean look and manly structure of Martina Navratilova, the famous,female Lawn tennis icon of soviet extraction!
The fear of the executioner was something that I believe must have got a deep root in the psyche of these people and as such responsible for the level of societal discipline and very low level of crime!

Another offshoot of communism is the simplicity of their dressing and other ways of life. As recommended by law, the minimum wage in the country is about 130 dollars and average income is about 350 dollars per month on conversion of their cherished currency, the Czech Krowne(Kc or CZK).
To the Czech, Efficiency is the first word! Aesthetics comes much later!

I could count on my finger tips,the number of blacks that I saw to be residents of Prague. Maybe ten including two Nigerians of Ibo extraction! Trust them, ‘Igbo Kwenu’ This is quite understandable from the stand point of colonization history! While the West were colonising Africa, australia and the Americas, the Eastern Europe under the firm grip o the Soviets went for the far and middle east. I need to find out how Britain still got to Hong Kong, Malaysia etc almost meeting the Soviets halfway!

My dear friends, as the WONCA conference ends this morning, I can’t wait to get back home! I’ve missed my family, my “shop” and the larger Polybonde family, you my friends and patients/clients as much as I miss ‘Amala and Abula’ and pounded yam with vegetable soup!

Windy
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit http://www.etisalat.com.ng for details.

Not Bad

Posted on: June 28, 2013

According to this, Emergency Medicine is for me.

Hmm. Not Bad.

What does yours say?

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“I made an attempt to get on a crowded bus but was irritated by the noises emanating from within and while contemplating whether to go in or not, I saw Obama beckoning to me to wait for him and not to be in a rush. I was glad to see him and to kill time while waiting for the next bus, we started talking Politics. I warned him not to reverse the decision of the court that jailed Belusconi and to hands-off the whistle blower issue! He smiled as we entered the next bus telling me that I should put myself in his position. The bus jerked suddenly and I hit my leg against one of the poles meant to give support to standers”
Oh la la! I woke up with an excruciating pain in my right big toe and some epigastric discomfort! I had been dreaming! I must have hit my leg against the woodwork of my queen bed and suffering acid reflux from late night beer!
Such was the fun that characterized Restaurados, the section of the city centre where our hotel was located!

The flight to Lisbon from Gatwick was right on time in a brand new Airbus 320. A first time traveler will hold his head in fright for the take off and landing. Perhaps the Pilot was still mastering the new machine!

A lot of things have changed at Gatwick with the change of ownership. The place is now owned, albeit under a lease agreement, by our own Bayo Ogunlesi, heading a financial consortium based in New York. His father is the renowned Prof. Ogunlesi, one of the pioneers of medicine in Nigeria! Who says Nigerians are not great! Gatwick is much cleaner, better automated and of course, better patronized and busier. Perhaps because of the state of affairs at home, Bayo has not sought an opportunity or offered his expertise to the powers that be. Perhaps he cannot navigate the murky waters of Nigerian business deals leaving the likes of Wale Babalakin who understand the language better, even without any claim to the slightest know how or professionalism, to handle similar projects at home. He probably won’t be able to stand the nepotism and god-fatherism that characterise and are demonising the award of contracts in Nigeria! He might have foreseen the truth or wisdom in avoiding riding on the Lion’s back not to end up in his stomach! I feel very sorry for Wale in his predicament and I pray he survives it and gets wiser!

The aerial view of Lisbon shows a well laid out city with draught-like layout of Washington DC around many monumental structures appearing like Adebisi Compound of Idi Ikan, Ibadan. Landing at Lisbon ‘Aeroporte’, looking somewhat quiet at a time when you expect a bee hive like situation gave me the impression of a laid back city and country. The ineptitude of their embassy that embarrassed all Rotarians in Nigeria reenacted itself right from the passport control where there was only one officer on duty causing unnecessary delay. At the Luggage claim area, only one conveyor belt was in use with an inept, carefree attendant who remained on a phone call that gained his attention more than his duty of sorting the luggages.

TY and I by coincidence were on the same flight and it just became economically beautiful for us to hire a cab to our hotel. If not for language difficulty we would have been an easy prey for our cab driver with whom we argued with some Nigerian aggression that we were just not ready to pay more than 35 euros when the innocent and, maybe, God fearing man was telling us with a crooked accent that our journey should cost roughly 15 euros that we took for 50! It took the intervention of a policeman who also was as dumb as the cabman for us to simmer down and continue the journey as we kept our eyes on the meter.

We got to Restaurados with the meter reading a little less than 15 euros. The short and stocky driver feeling vindicated took us right to the doorstep of our hotel located on the second and third floors of a an 18th century building.

As we alighted from the cab, we were greeted by an air akin to a carnival! Even before exploring the area, we knew there and then we were in for the fun of our life. And we were not disappointed.

Staying at the city centre gave us an opportunity to have a good feel of Lisbon. The transport system is amazingly easy and cheap. The Metro(Underground) is the easiest even for an illiterate. There are four lines(linha) red, blue, green and yellow! To get to the convention centre and return cost a little less than 3 euros and took about 30 minutes. From Restaurados, Blue line took us to Sao Sebastiano where we changed to Red line that took us to Oriente, where Feira Internacional de Lisboa, the Rotary International Convention centre is located. An expansive compound of massive structures, Feira is comparable to the the past convention centres and swallowed the rather unusually thin population of Rotarians. Though I don’t have the figure of attendance, with my experience of the last 8 Conventions, I could estimate fairly well.

The convention, though conventional in outlay and program content, was not as bubbly as expected. The few plenary sessions I attended paraded some powerful speakers. The break out sessions too had a lot to offer! The House of Friendship was beautifully decorated but sparsely occupied! The convention closed yesterday, devoid of the usual nostalgic feelings, with lots of Rotarians hurrying out of Lisbon to avoid being caught up in a proposed civil demonstration for fear of it escalating into an unrest and strife!

Generally, Lisbon, an old city of over 2000 years represents another european cultural heritage with laid back population who try to be friendly but appear less so perhaps as a result of their indolence in learning other languages. I cannot understand the basis of their proposed strike of 27th June! Is it in conformity with their peers in Brazil? It is in Portugal that I’ve heard of reverse brain drain! It is an irony of fate and history that young men and women in Portugal now seek opportunities in Angola, Mozambique and the Congos that were formerly Portuguese colonies! The global economic downturn is not sparing any nation And from my own assessment, life seems to be relatively good in Lisbon! I feel they can live life the way it is, rather than the way it ought to be, a Nigerian perspective you will say! Maybe there’s more to it than meets my innocent and short sighed eyes. Whatever he outcome of the strike is and whatever the fate of fellow Rotarians especially from Nigeria caught in the web unprepared is, time will tell.

Windy
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit http://www.etisalat.com.ng for details.

Here’s another;

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Fellow Rotarians and loved ones,
Your various comments on and praises for my previous pieces are appreciated and serve as the tonic for this and future articles. Please enjoy.

As I took my seat in the almost empty Coach J of Virgin Train, a First Class coach courtesy of my friend of over 30 years and host, Ayodeji Osobu, on my return trip to London yesterday, I remembered that I slept all through my outward journey to Manchester on Friday. I decided to stay awake this time, to have a good look at the Country side. And that meant fighting off an almost inevitable nap consequent upon the hang over of an eventful Friday Night.

Beyond that, I am specially blessed with ease of falling asleep even in the noisiest environment and most awkward position. Glory be to God!

Manchester typifies the northern England cities with easy life, no hustle and bustle characteristic of London. With my experience in Harrogate, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham etc in the past, it is easy for me to make this conclusion. No wonder you find more of Nigerians in tangible professions making their living there leaving all the riff-raffs in London. A comparison of this situation with Lagos versus Ibadan and Abeokuta can only suffer on the basis of economic activities!
Trust Nigerians! There’s a joint called Roots in Central Manchester that serves “Ishiewu”, “Nwongwo”, “Shawa” among other Nigerian delicacies! That was our port of TGIF! Cold drinks, Beers and stout originating from Nigeria abound with Naija hip hop emanating from the juke box of a DJ with typical Ibo accent. Before I knew it, the joint transformed into a nite club by 12 midnight with influx of young men and ladies in “hot” dresses! As I watched all sorts of things happening inside and outside the joint, I couldn’t but wished to grow younger!
At my instance, we left the joint with a lot to talk about at about 3am.

Ayo lives at Imperial Point, a magnificent, beautiful. block of serviced apartments in Old Trafford overlooking a canal across which Manchester United Stadium stands out in what looks like an industrial area. “Old” because there’s a new Trafford that is closer to the city centre. The Old Trafford, I was told was originally occupied by shanties built by merchants and fishermen. Like it is happening at Ilubinrin in Lagos, Old tafford now houses magnificent buildings among which is The Imperial War Museum and industries with jetties along Salford Quays!

To keep me awake, I ordered for a cup of Cappuccino which was delivered promptly and with the typical courtesy of Virgin establishment. Just then, the train left platform 5 almost unnoticed. No noise, no jerk except the driver’s (mind you, they no longer call them engine drivers because they don’t operate locomotive engines)announcement and relative motion that accelerated to what I believe was between 120 and 140 kilometers per hour speed. I sipped the coffee with strong faith as the train sped on with so many things on through my mind while gazing, through the window at the beautiful and spectacular countryside!

The countryside reminded me of the exciting picture I had while in a similar electric train from Paris to Lille way back in 1978.
All the way from Manchester to London I could not see an expanse of land up to a plot that was left uncultivated except close to towns and villages. There are agricultural settlements all the way with various arable crops at various stages of development giving a beautiful jig saw of various colours! Those at the flowery stage giving red, yellow and pink, puple etc while those already harvested and withering off present brown and grey within the ubiquitous green also of various shades! Whao! What a scenery! There are also grazing portions for cattle and sheep!

Compared with the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, you will have to contend with the various Religious Camps and Trailer Parks with their attendant nuisances! Nigeria is fast becoming a country where there are more churches than factories and more Pastors than Managers!

Thick forests that harbour criminals also abound especially beyond Ibadan and Ijebu as you move into the hinterland! Nigeria was once described by a French diplomat friend of mine as a forest because that was all he saw from Lagos to Ibadan in 1977, just before the expressway was commissioned! I took him up, albeit with a baseless argument!
Visiting France a little later opened my eyes!
My little son, Bayonle was to corroborate, on a lighter mood, the Frenchman’s assertion in 1997, 20 years later! My father then kept this unusual pet, a crocodile! My son seeing it for the first time raced to tell me with a lot of excitement, ‘this Lalupon is a forest, daddy’ just for sighting a croc. I laughed my head off!

The train just went past Milton Keynes another quiet town, towards the north, about 30 minutes from London by rail maybe 1hour by road, when there was an SOS announcement for a doctor to come to the aid of a passenger in Coach C! Pronto, I was there to see a young man in his late 20s, most likely an Arab, complaining of palpitation and chest discomfort. He looked anxious, sweaty and somewhat distressed! His pulse was pounding and heart rate about 120 beats per minute. I threw some probing questions and in no time was able to arrive at a diagnosis of Drug- induced Tachycardia! The stupid boy had taken a powerful chinese aphrodisiac earlier in the day! He reminded me of the recklessness of the driver in Frankfurt! Is recklessness an arabian culture? I advised he be taken to the nearest hospital for detoxification with an antidote and intravenous fluids. Getting an ambulance to pick him up at the next station cost us extra 30 minutes.

As we got to London Euston station, I could count not less than ten other Virgin trains waiting to be boarded or discharging passengers! My mind now wandered to this ubiquitous company that has its hand in virtually every essential need of life and also making a success of it! From Virgin ‘tooth pick’ to Virgin Airline! Is there anything that Virgin does not do other than party politics? Virgin India, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin everywhere are success stories in the Aviation industry. My conclusion is that Richard Branson, the founder and CEO is an avid, incorruptible and diligent businessman who cherishes his integrity! In a conservative environment, he has built a large, reputable business empire. His withdrawal from Nigeria, perhaps his first sad story of failure, was not unconnected with CORRUPTION, an entropy that gives me palpitation and missed beats each time it crosses my mind! And it does so many times!

A man of immense means and vision and style, I heard, Richard Branson has an ISLAND to himself in the Pacific Ocean from where he will probably be smiling at the lot of Nigerians who are in a prison.
May I call on all of us to rise up and never get tired of trying to get out of our PRISON where there seems to be no doors or windows but only concrete walls and barbed wire fences.
Disasters are looming in our society and we all owe it a duty to. speak up and speak out! As Wole Soyinka warned us, “The man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice”. Corruption is the greatest injustice in our land converting it into a prison manned by vicious warders!

Happy Sunday to all and I wish the convention Goers an exciting time in Lisbon.

Windy.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit http://www.etisalat.com.ng for details.

My Pops; Ajasa as I fondly refer to him is a traveler. He takes his time out every year to travel and he loves it.

Here’s a Story he Sent to my mailbox and I thought I should share.

*******************

As soon as we were referred to the German embassy for Schengen Visa to Portugal, it occurred to me that it could be an opportunity for me to visit Germany for the first time and exploit the opportunity it may offer. Pronto I got in touch with a colleague, a German, I met 2 years ago at the Conference of IFRS, International Federation of Rural Surgeons to which I belong, that took place at Eruwa, Oyo state. The guy assured me of and arranged a guide for my one day tour of Frankfurt.

My night flight to Frankfurt on Friday, the 14th June was uneventful and right on schedule. The aircraft, an Airbus A330-300 was comfortable with adequate leg room and filled up and the cabin crew, very courteous and caring. To my greatest surprise, not up to 10 of the over 300 passengers actually entered Frankfurt, to the effect that on my way to passport control area, I felt lost despite the obvious and unmistakable directional signs.

The expansive Terminal 1 was looking deserted, perhaps because it was early hours of Saturday. But then I had been in even Nairobi early in the morning to talk less of Amsterdam Schipol. I started to wonder what kind of people are these Germans!
On my way out to London yesterday however, it was a different kettle of fish. The airport was somewhat busy with no black man in sight. I started feeling like a fish out of water.
To the credit of Germans, I must remark that Frankfurt airport is the most automated airport I have visited to date, even up to baggage drop. You hardly see any counter officer except for a few helping people like me who may have difficulty because of first time use. Very soon technology will drive everybody out of job, I wondered! Or is it another German miserly gimmick! I started remembering the “visa palava” again!

Getting my bag took no time and I was out of the terminal building to find what my cab driver described as a beautiful weather. Days before it had been disturbingly rainy! I decided to take a cab to minimize my headache with language in describing my hotel. The driver, a middle-easterner, maybe lebanese, started speeding like someone possessed even as he was telling all sorts of stories. This breath-taking speed forced me to literarily beg him to slow down when the speedometer read 240 kilometer! You can imagine his accent and mien in telling me that in Germany, there’s no speed limit especially when you are on autoban meaning highway, which looks and feels very much like the tartan race track of our famous Liberty Stadium in Ibadan.
In no time we got to Meninger Hotel, about 25 kilometers from the Airport at the periphery of the city Centre. Close to it is Main Convention Centre, a massive structure comparable to the Mc Comic Convention Centre in Chicago!

Hardly had I settled down did my guide, Dave, a dry, unfriendly looking but business-like young man came with a bag from my friend Dr. Kholner. I quickly changed and set out for what I thought was going to be an interesting outing. Dave took me in a sparkling Audi A8 which he claimed was a gift from my friend. Taking me around was like a pay back time! He was such a useless guide that I had to make up my mind to release him as I was the one asking questions some of which he was unable to answer satisfactorily about a place of his birth! What a shame! I wondered whether it was deliberate. The guy was just driving me sluggishly round and round the beautiful and clean city of Frankfurt. I discharged Dave with a Thank you note on my complimentary card to my friend.

By 1pm, I was back in my hotel and trust Naija man! “We no dey carry last” I decided to make the best of my stay! I hired a bicycle for 12 Euro to look around the developing suburb of Franfurt. My bicycle was equipped with an ergometer. I could calculate how much calories I was burning and what distance I had covered! I had a wonderful time cycling round the well paved roads of Main and its environs. I covered about 22 km all together in about 3 hours.
I went round some developing areas and to my amazement, Strabag was the only familiar name I saw on a few of the many gigantic building and civil engineering projects going on there!
The almighty Julius Berger that holds sway in Nigeria was nowhere to be found! I then started thinking. Could it be that JB is not known at home? Or could it be that it is holding sway in Nigeria because it “speaks the language” of corruption better than the others? Let the clients tell us!

I was about to sleep when I now remembered that I had not checked the contents of the bag sent by my friend from a remote village off Hamburg. On opening the box, I found a note which reads:

“Dear Dr Windapo,
As discussed, please find these items which have proven efficacy as the “secrets of German machine” which you craved to have. (LOL)”——–
Kirk.

Please when next you see me, ask for the secret! It will be given for a fee! It is professional!

Cheers!

Windy.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on our easyblaze and plans for BlackBerry. Visit http://www.etisalat.com.ng for details.


    • Cecila: When shopping from the internet, a numerate of the great unwashed ofttimes take time to scan done a twosome of reviews on the merchandise ahead qual
    • cycatrx: Kem dela creame....... :d
    • bybaaaa: Lol. I just saw this thanks to oumissa. I love you. :*

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