The Making Of St. Janet Of Sinners' Chapel
By Reuben Abati
"One hundred million Naira! Kai. Mo-ney. God. Why not me? Why not me o?"
"Has somebody won a jackpot?"
"Yes. You remember Uzoma Okere. That lady that was assaulted by six naval ratings for failing to move off the road for a Rear Admiral of the Navy in November 2008"
"Oh yes, yes. I salute her courage. Hers is a classic case of David and Goliath. Now that she has won the case, other uniformed persons will learn to be careful. The moral of the case is that an official Nigerian uniform does not give anyone the right to abuse the rights of other Nigerians. Certainly not in a democracy."
"I am talking about the money. N100 million!"
"What has that got to do with you? The judge also said Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade and the Navy should apologise publicly to the lady. I think the judge was determined to humiliate the Rear Admiral and the Navy. But that is precisely the kind of strong warning that uniformed persons in our environment need."
"N100 million. I think the lady is still single. Do you by any chance know her phone number?"
"You are not serious. And by the way, the N100 million is for her and one Abdullahi Abdulazeez, her co-plaintiff"
"I just want to congratulate her."
"She doesn't need your congratulations"
"N100 million jackpot awarded by a court of law. Clean and legal"
"You know, if you ask me; that is one aspect of the judgement that I am uncomfortable with. Does the judge really expect that Arogundade will have N100 million or that the Navy should use public funds to settle the plaintiff? An award of N100 million in a civil suit of assault and abuse of human rights is disproportionate."
"It is not dispro-por anything. In fact, anytime I go out now, I will look for any policeman or soldier or naval officer, even Air Force I don't mind, who will just make the mistake of beating me. In fact, after receiving a slap on one cheek, I will provoke the man to strip me naked. And then, I will go straight to court, and ask for my own N100 million. Of course, I will make sure the incident is recorded."
"Precisely my point. In correcting one ill, Justice Opeyemi Oke may have unwittingly created an option for opportunists like you to start confronting men in uniform with the hope that they too will get similar compensation. Look at you; you are even planning to woo the lady because of her money. 419 suitor! Just don't forget that the matter may go all the way to the Supreme Court. A superior court will definitely reduce the N100 million. The law is not about money, but justice. With due respect, I think the learned Justice got carried away. "
"You are blowing grammar. What a judge awards to a plaintiff is a matter of his or her own discretion"
"These days, many of our judges surprise me. That was how a Federal High Court judge ruled in Abuja that the President is not obliged to hand over power to the Vice President if he is going abroad for medical treatment. What exactly is he saying?"
"That Yar'├ždua issue is no longer a matter of law. It is now high politics. Did you see the statement by the United States and EU leaders?"
"I did. It is a diplomatic way of telling the Nigerian military not to try anything funny and for Nigerians to protect their democracy."
"We are protecting our democracy. The ruling by Justice Opeyemi Oke for example is a major statement to the military. Besides, I understand the Federal Government has banned all soldiers from moving carelessly around during this period until further notice. The House of Representatives is also taking charge. 200 members have signed up to the YarAdua impeachment plan. With the visit of elder statesmen to Aso Villa asking Yar'Adua to respect the laws of the land, we seem to be making progress."
"It is amazing how all of a sudden everybody is now rooting for Goodluck Jonathan."
"What do you expect? The man's name is Goodluck. His wife is Patience. Goodluck and Patience. It is a deadly combination that seems to be working in their favour."
"Professor Tam David-West is not impressed. He says Jonathan has no biceps and that he will be controlled by General Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President"
"Don't mind David-West. Nobody needs biceps to act as President. What does he think the job of a President entails. You need biceps to lift weight, not to act as President."
"You are taking what the Professor said literally. I read the interview he gave too. What he means is that Jonathan is inexperienced. Just 11 years in politics and he is Vice President and waiting to be Acting President. Professor David-West also says Jonathan is not his own man; he has no political base."
"All of that is irrelevant. What we need is for the Constitution to be respected."
"But what if President Yar'Adua suddenly returns to the country."
"Good. That is our prayer. But he will have to address a press conference at the airport on his return. We must actually see him returning. I have been hearing stories about a medical unit being set up in Aso Villa to take over from the doctors in Saudi Arabia . When the President returns, we expect that he will return to work, not a sick bed."
"I can imagine what will happen if the man returns. Governors, traditional rulers, contractors will all troop to Abuja to pay homage and welcome him. Professional associations - NBA, NMA etc will send delegations, even our elder statesmen will go back there to say something else."
"You can trust our people. They see an opportunity in everything."
"This country beats me. Can you imagine that some Nigerians are already setting up "Help Haiti Appeal Funds?" I overheard two guys running an NGO planning how to get Nigerians to contribute to the Haiti Relief Fund through them, I laughed."
"There is something called the law of Karma. I believe in that. It is a natural law."
"Well, I can give one good example of where that has worked recently. The African Nations Cup and the Super Eagles' performance. No man can give what he does not have. What you sow is what you reap."
"I didn't expect anything extra-ordinary from the Super Eagles. Coach Shuaibu Amodu promised to take us to the semi-finals and he did. He kept his promise."
"But you don't go to a tournament with a promise that you don't intend to win. What kind of attitude is that? We should sack Shuaibu Amodu and look for a serious-minded coach to take the Super Eagles to the World Cup in May. They should find a job for Amodu in a gum-chewing competition."
"I saw the man chewing gum. But you can't blame him alone. Our players are old and tired. Look at the Egyptian team. The Ghanaian team. Compare the Super Eagles."
"The Super Eagles lost at crucial moments in recent matches due to lack of technical depth on the Bench. Amodu should be sent back to a football institute."
"Don't forget though that Nigerians are also bad losers. We want to win all the time."
"Yes. We should try to win all the time."
"Not possible to win all the time."
"But I want to see real effort. Not a coach with chewing gum in his mouth, who does not know what to do."
"Alex Ferguson of Manchester United chews gum on the pitch too. And he is a fantastic coach."
"Okay. May be Shuaibu Amodu imagines that he is an Alex Ferguson but I think he chews gum because he does not know what to do. Even Osaze Odemwingie had to criticise the man and you know it is unusual for a player to say publicly that his coach lacks technical skills; according to Osaze, the only football technique that Amodu knows is the 4-3-3 combination. That won't work at the World Cup."
"This country is just one big sinners' chapel. It is a country without saints."
"I know one Saint. Saint Janet. But did you see the advert by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) titled Status of the Power Sector."
"I read it. They have shifted the goalpost now to the first quarter of 2010. They say they have generated 3, 710 MW but how much of that have they transmitted? This country as far as I can see continues to run a generator-driven economy. And the sinners who are behind this have no shame."
"Like Saint Janet"
"Who is that?"
"She is a Fuji musician, a married woman, and probably the most controversial female fuji musician at the moment. Her brand of Fuji sounds like highlife."
"There are so many women leading musical bands these days."
"Saint Janet is something else. There is nothing saintly about her music at all. The last time I listened to her music, midway through, I felt as if I had taken Viagra."
"You mean...Oh come on, is that the musician that was discussed by the Lagos State House of Assembly with the proposal that the state government should ban her music from being aired on public radio?"
"Yes. It is the same musician. Her music is raw. Pure obscenity. When I heard that she is married with children, I was shocked. What kind of man will allow his wife to go about singing such songs that are no better than an invitation to rape?"
"Some men are liberal."
"In her own case, her husband is her guitarist and band manager. You need to listen to her. Her music reminds me of the songs by campus cults, completely x-rated. She and her husband say they don't play it at home because of their children and that the music is for adults only."
"She is following in Obesere's footsteps. It was Obesere that introduced obscenity into fuji music with his "baba to si be" songs."
"Obesere is civilised compared to Saint Janet. Her music is so immoral, so totally shameless, I am surprised she calls herself a Saint, although she is a Saint in a church called St. Bottles Cathedral of which she is the General Overseer."
"It is like Nigeria . Anything goes. It is also a reflection of the decadence in Nigerian music. These days, what sells is obscenity. I don't support banning her music though. She can sing whatever she likes, but access to her music can be restricted."
"How do you do that? You'd only end up making her popular."
"In that case, public morality should come first."
"I'll get you her CD. It is titled Faaji Plus. The woman insists that all the people criticising her music are hypocrites."
"Do I really want to listen to musical pornography produced by a Yoruba woman?"
"You should. But make sure you do so at home, so you don't end up committing a crime, because the woman sings about everything sexual and do-able."
"You think I am like you?"
"No. You are not. You ride a Toyota . I cruise about in a Honda car. I see you are still riding this your Camry.. I hope you know that Toyota is having problems with some of its models including Camry and Corolla."
"New cars. The pedal problem that has been detected affects only recent models 2008 - 2010. My own Toyota is an old reliable. It is a Tokunbo. Grade A. It is only people who buy brand new cars who should be bothered."
"I have seen quite a number of brand new Toyota cars in Nigeria including 2010 models."
"Look, I don't want to worry about how the rich spend their money. In any case, what is all the noise about? Do you know how many vehicles are on Nigerian roads with defective pedals?"
"The country itself has bad pedals. Just look at the Niger Delta. MEND has announced that its ceasefire is over, and so we should expect more violence in the Niger Delta."
"Let them ship all the defective Toyota cars to Nigeria at give-away prices, you'd be surprised Nigerians will be too happy to buy them. In actual fact, I have seen cars on Nigerian roads that have no ignition (just two wires), no mirrors, no accelerator pedal (another makeshift wire) and yet they are on the roads. White man too dey fear.
"The Toyota brands were withdrawn from the American market. That is a country with standards. That is a country that values human lives, Unfortunately in Nigeria , we don't value human lives. That is MEND has announced a war against oil companies and the state "
"What we have here is a sinners' chapel."
"It is a country of St. Janets."