How many times have you seen a nice seen a nice picture or video of Nigeria on BBC or CNN? Apart from that Zenith bank advert (which was paid for), hardly ever. These people have a way of making this country look worse than it really is.
The first wake-up call I got was about 10 years ago, I saw an American cartoon (the likes of voltron) on a Nigerian station. I can’t remember the story line but I think the hero was supposed to go and catch a villain hiding in Lagos. This is how Lagos was depicted, a place filled with cows and nomads moving them cows with stick. I was so dumbfounded, I have lived my entire life in Lagos and I’ve never seen even a stray cow on the road. The only place cows are found are in the meat market where they are sold.
I don’t know if you readers have noticed this short footage that has been running on CNN IODesk for about 3 weeks now, it says that “Talking about Breast cancer in Nigeria is considered a taboo”! What? Am I the only one that is seeing something wrong here? I’m sorry, but I think CNN should get their facts right before broadcasting such lies about us. I’ve been hearing about Breast cancer and its dangers since I was 11 years old, I have even been taught how to do self examination of Breast cancer, I’ve heard so much about breast cancer for over 10 years that it is beginning to sound like a broken record. What about Rhythm 93.7 fm that keeps on drumming the breast cancer message before and after every news reading? So what does CNN mean about that statement? I don’t know if there is a particular village in Nigeria where talking about it is a taboo, but when you start referring to the whole nation, it shows how wrong CNN can be at times.
There is also this footage on the same CNN IODesk that talks about over 300,000 people in Nigeria dying of malaria every year. I really don’t know how many people die but the painful part is that in this particular footage, they ‘implied’ that we cut leaves from trees and burn them in order to keep the mosquitoes away! Again, I don’t care if some people do that, but why didn’t CNN mention that we use insecticides, mosquito nets, mosquito coils and other sensible preventive measures that we use here in Nigeria? Why did they have to depict our efforts in such a negative way? Accompanying this footage was a horribly looking man who couldn’t speak English burning something strange. Whenever CNN and BBC want to talk about us, they go to the very remote Nigerian villages I have never seen or heard about to get pictures and videos and they depict it as Nigeria. I read BBC online a lot and I have never seen a good picture of Nigeria or Nigerians. Aren’t they being myopic that way? They don’t show pictures of places like Port Harcourt, Kano, Ibadan, Lagos, etc and if they do, they’ll pick Ajegunle and depict it as Lagos, leaving places like Omole, Victoria island, VGC, Ajah and co out to rot. Did they ever talk about the things Governor Fashola did? Did they ever show footages of his beautiful works? No, all they show is what they want the rest of the world to believe about Nigeria. And how do they depict her citizens? Let’s not even begin to talk about that.
Well, it is not their fault. After all, we are the ones who are still running to their countries instead of staying to develop our own. I know our leaders have failed us but they don’t have to make our situation look worse than it actually is.

Perfect People

I hate ‘perfect’ people! And this is why I say so, they have a way of making people like me look bad, incapable, inadequate, etc. Anytime I come across a nice, accommodating, always smiling, friendly, ‘never do wrong’, etc. person, I cringe. It always seems to me that the person just makes my weakness obvious.
I have this aunt that stayed with us for about a year. She was perceived to be very hardworking. She woke up every morning to clean a very large part of the house, she always made me look lazy and my mum always fell for it. Anytime my mum saw her working, it would suddenly occur to her as to what a horribly lazy child she had in me. Never mind the fact that I am the first girl and started washing my clothes and plates at the age of five, and since then I did a lot of house chores and still do till date. My ‘perfect’ aunt will wake up by 6.30 am and start cleaning an already clean house and then my mum will wake up and start shouting at me, 'the lazy daughter'. I’d just be looking soberly but inside of me, I really couldn’t be bothered, if she wants to work, let her work, I didn’t care. The day she crossed the line from perfection to eye service was when she carried out a duty reserved for me. I used to clean my mum’s bathroom every Saturday after washing my clothes and cleaning my portion of the house. That day, I woke up a bit late and before I could finish my earlier chores, she had gone to the bathroom and cleaned it. I was perplexed, since she knew that it was my duty and my mum was going to shout at me. As expected my mum complained about me, 'the lazy daughter'. I later told my grandmother about it because it was obvious she was trying to steal my mum’s affection from me (as if that is possible) and she wanted to be getting a lot of things from her.
It would happen that after my ‘perfect’ aunt left our house to her husband’s, it did not take 2 weeks before an issue developed between her and my mum which resulted in her shunning my mum showing her true colour. Who did my mum whine and complain to? Well, me, 'the lazy daughter'.
Time after time, I meet people that after spending like 4 weeks with them, you still cannot find any weakness in them, I mean no single one. If you want to find, you’d have to spend a lot of months with them. I compare them to people like me that before encountering our strengths, you’d have noticed all our weaknesses but after then, you find countless strengths. I know many of my weaknesses and sometimes I wish I could pretend in order to cover them up for a while, but I just can’t. You see why I hate ‘perfect’ people? They know how to be accepted anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances. They know how to fix plastic smiles. They are hardly sad, bored or angry. they know how TO PRETEND. And believe me, there are a lot of perfect people in this world. I run away from them as much as I can because they always make me look bad. I know my weaknesses, you don’t have to make it obvious. Thank You!

Would you get a ticket if the Courtship cop pulled you over?

Joanna Purswell. She liked the sound of it. Joanna Marie Purswell. Yes, it definitely had a ring to it. Joanna Stockwell was dreamily playing the Last Name Game in her head. Hi, I’m Mrs. Purswell, she practiced. Hello, I’m Mrs. Joanna Purswell. This is my husband.
Shawn was driving her home after an enchanting evening together. They’d only begun their courtship a few weeks before, but she’d already decided that if Shawn proposed, she would definitely say yes. Shawn had so many wonderful qualities. He was cute, he drove a great car, and he was… well… so cute. He’d look so handsome in a black tuxedo standing next to her in her white satin wedding dress. What colour bridesmaid dresses did she want? Pink or emerald green?
Next to Joanna in the driver’s seat, Shawn was in his own dream world. he looked over at her and smiled. She smiled back. The sunroof was open, and the cool summer air was blowing through her hair. There was so much about Joanna he admired… her hair, her legs. He’d kissed her for the first time two nights before. He accelerated the car as he anticipated kissing her again when they said goodbye. If they got married, he wouldn’t have to say goodbye. What would the wedding night be like? Ahhh, the wedding night….Flashing red and blue lights in his rearview mirror jerked him back to reality. “Oh this is just great!” he said angrily as he eased his car to the side of the road.
“Were you speeding?” Joanna asked.
“No,” Shawn answered bitterly. “At least I don’t think so.”
He fumbled in his glove compartment for his insurance card, and then rolled down his window. A tall, meticulously dressed policeman was already walking briskly to the car.
“Uh, hi,” Shawn said, talking quickly. “Sir, I honestly don’t think I was going over limit back there and….”
“Not here to talk about the speed of your car, son,” the officer interrupted. “We need to talk about the speed of your relationship.”
“My what?” Shawn asked.
“You heard me,” the officer said, pulling off his dark glasses and hunching his body down so that he was eye level with the couple. “How long have you two been in a courtship?”
Shawn and Joanna looked at each other in open-mouthed shock.
“I’m a Courtship Cop,” the officer explained. “It’s my job to make sure couples like you don’t speed your way into bad marriages.” He whipped a flashlight off his belt and pointed it in their eyes. “Just as I suspected,” he said. “Bloodshot eyes. Young man, you’ve probably been thinking about sex. And you, young lady, have the glassy eyes of a Premature Wedding Planner.”
The color drained from both their faces
“When did you start your relationship?” the cop asked again.
“Um, about a month ago,” Shawn stammered. His mouth was dry
“And did I just see you pull out of the parking lot of Marquee Jewelers a few miles back? The cop asked.
“Uh… well, yeah,” Shawn said.
“Don’t tell me you’re already looking at engagement rings!”
“Well, um, we were just browsing,” Shawn said sheepishly.
“It was his idea,” Joanna interjected.
“Hey!” Shawn said defensively. “You wanted to look too!”
“I really don’t care whose idea it was,” the cop said dryly. “I pulled both your records, and neither looks good. You both have a history of quick emotional entanglements. You’ve only been courting three and a half weeks; and our reports show that most of your interaction so far has been superficial and based on fantasy. No real friendship. No spiritual relationship. And there’s been no serious discussion of values, goals, or expectations for marriage. Even worse: zero counsel from others!”
“Could you let us off with a warning?” Shawn asked meekly.
“I don’t think so,” the officer said sternly. “I’m writing you both up for ‘considering engagement while under the influence.’ Do you realize the danger you put yourselves in by speeding towards marriage while romantically intoxicated?”
At that, Joanna started wailing and tugging on Shawn’s arm.
“My mum is going to kill me!” she moaned. “She’s a member of MADE- Mothers Against Dumb Engagements! She’s going to freak out. This is all your fault!”
Shawn didn’t say anything. He was already beginning to sober up…

An excerpt from Boy meets Girl by Joshua Harris