Monday, April 23, 2007

"President" Yar'adua as predicted, watching Icarus Girl and Suya Express

So after all the wahala, here's welcoming President Yar'adua and Vice President Goodluck. As "predicted" by the PDP Secretary a good two weeks ago, they won by a landslide of 70 per cent. Never mind the minor problems of missing ballot papers, ballot boxes, violence and the many places where elections did not hold at all, not to talk of the little fact that even the president had his vote cancelled in the governorship elections. Interesting to see that the Niger Delta as usual is where a lot of the creative formulation of election results has again taken place. It was ever thus. I remember meeting a former NPN stalwart from the Shagari days who was from Rivers State and his boast that from the sixties to the present day- this was in 1999- elections had never taken place in his creek home village. Instead he and a few other "village leaders of thought" had always allocated the votes to the various parties and because of the treacherous nature of the terrain, it was often difficult for any observers to penetrate the area. Perhaps he was exaggerating but again perhaps not....Meanwhile the US excoriates a deeply flawed electoral process but fails to call for a rerun, leaving that decision to Nigerians and the Nigerian legal system. Did someone just say Florida? At least our Supreme Court has in the last few weeks performed better than another Supreme Court did in 2000.... I suppose at this point we can only wait and see what a Yaradua presidency will hold. If he's sworn in, with his late lamented brother Shehu (former no 2 to Obasanjo in his first coming), he'll make history as the first siblings to hold the No 1 and No2 offices in Nigeria. Did I hear someone say the words dynasty? Plus he'll make history as the first university educated Nigerian head of government

To the Arcola Theatre this weekend to watch the stage adaptation of Helen Oyeyemi's The Icarus Girl, as publicized by London Chameleon. It was an interesting play although the star of the show for me was Natalie Best the actress who played Tilly-Tilly, the mystical friend that befriends Jessamy Harrison on her visit to Nigeria. I felt a shiver of dread run through me as she flounced on stage the first time and she was utterly believable as half spirit, half human of indeterminate age, even if her accent veered strangely from South African to Ghanaian by way of Nigeria. The rest of the cast did well, but her performance stood out....

After the play, I took the opportunity of being in the neighbourhood to visit Obalende Suya now rebranded as Suya Express http://www.suyaexpress.com/ . The dining section seemed rather empty but the takeaway section seemed to be doing brisk business. Having been served a Star beer I waited and waited and waited for my order of jollof rice and lamb suya and had to bite my tongue when the waitress returned to ask, "You wanted something else in addition to the Star, didn't you?" In a corner of the restaurant a tree bedecked in what looked like Christmas decorations sat forlornly in a corner. Elsewhere, two London Big Boys argued about whether Babangida had betrayed his friend Abiola in 1993 or not. The decor was clean and bright, as was the bathroom but for a Friday night it seemed strangely empty. The jollof rice was very dry but the succulent lamb suya more than made up for it, as did the circles of golden dodo....

I rang my aunt on Saturday morning- "Ah ah" I said, " You're still at home? You didn't go to vote?" She drily retorted- "The one wey we vote last week, how far ?" Last week, she had queued in the sun, her seven decades notwithstanding to vote only to hear that virtually all the votes cast at her polling station had been cast for a particularly unpopular candidate...

We'll wait and see what happens next- I hope the Supreme Court judges are gearing up to hear lots of appeals (including some from the PDP)- apparently they are particularly aggrieved at losing Lagos and Kano States....

Ah Naija!

17 comments:

My Talking Beginnings said...

I love your aunt!!!
Once again, a desirable account of your dining out...did someone say salubrious?
I can't understand why we are all still talking about president Yaradua...one would imagine that we were shocked!

Waffarian said...

Hehehehehe! called my people on voting day in Warri.........

Me: You guys should not go out oh! anyway, wetin dey happen for that side? Any gra gra?

Warri people: Where we wan go before?

Me: Ah ah! Una no go polling station?

Warri people: Where im dey? nothing reach this side oh! dem no get anything, ballot boxes no reach our side! how we wan take vote?

I rest my case.

Anonymous said...

my mum and sister's name did not even appear on the electoral register even though they did register. the shame of it all. I read Helen Oyeyemi's Icarus girl a while back and quite enjoyed it even moreso as she was a teenager at that time. shame i could not see the play. Glad you enjoyed it.

Bitchy said...

I just blogged about The Icarus Girl play too! Saw it yesterday... Tilly Tilly was sensational. Helen O said she herself found the actress unnerving the first time she saw her in action.

Loved the Florida comment. Lol! The Yote has been flagging that up for the last week, but America still seems to be suffering from short-term memory loss unfortunately. Xxx

Mr.Fineboy said...

God help us! Story of Nigeria. I want to see Icarus girl too, hopefully this weekend if it's still on. Great blog bro, and thanks for the shout out the other day. I appreciate the love...

laspapi said...

"even if her accent veered strangely from South African to Ghanaian by way of Nigeria..."- This made me laugh. I had no idea there was a stage version of Icarus Girl, that must have been really good to see.

uknaija said...

@mtb-salubrious ke? Not shocked, just stating the obvious
@waffarian- Lol@ your waffarian conversation- they no wan make person kolobi them abi?
@Thanks anonymous
@Bitchy just read your account of watching the play- I paid the full whack and din't even get to meet the author...
@mr fineboy- it should still be on at the weekend. Meanwhile keep the laughs coming
@laspapi, it's only recently been adapted for the stage- maybe you could put on a Naija production?

Chameleon said...

Im seeing Icarus girl tomorrow... cant wait as the reviews so far are positive. Glad you enjoyed it!

Chameleon said...

also goin to the screening of Naij documentary on sunday but i only have a single ticket which isnt cool.... :-(

Brian said...

Say what you will about the 2000 US election controversy, it was a once in a lifetime thing. The last time there was such a controversy in a US presidential election was 1876. The 2002, 2004 and 2006 elections went fine.

I'll take the once-in-a-lifetime cockup (as odious as the winner was) to a system where hundreds of people die in two elections in month, thank you very much. If you're content with the current Nigerian electoral system, then enjoy.

uknaija said...

@chameleon- thanks for the headsup and "see" you at the Naij premiere- were you planning on bringing Jason? :-)
@brian- I'm not satisfied with the current system but for goodness sake- give us a chance OK!! I've never said the elections were OK, I demand more as you'll see if you read my current and previous posts but I'm so pissed off by sanctimonious Western hypocrisy..."What, they can't run elections?" that I thought I would offer a little memory jog.Sorry if it hit a raw nerve

I could also say that Nigeria's democracy is less than fifty years old if that but I won't go down that road because it's not a competition...

Idemili said...

Your aunt is admirable. 70? Under the sun? Such an unquenchable spirit is inspiring.

Am I the only Nigerian who hasn't been to Obalende Suya?

laspapi said...

"Say what you will about the 2000 US election controversy, it was a once in a lifetime thing."- The US will preach when it chooses. Weren't US Govt Officials seated as M.K.O. Abiola was given his last cup of tea to drink?
And didn't 'Dubya' invade Iraq despite appeals by the entire world and sane people in his country not to?
Wasn't the underlying motive, Iraqi Oil?
Hasn't it resulted in the on-going mindless carnage in Iraq,the disrespectful hanging of Saddam and a war that might never end?
No sane Nigerian will say he/she is content with the country's electoral system but America should watch its own cooking pots.
Sorry I commandeered your blog, UK. Thought I'd salute Mr. Brian.

My Talking Beginnings said...

Fuck off Brian...if you don't like what you see, don't read!!!!

kulutempa said...

Having been served a Star beer I waited and waited and waited for my order of jollof rice and lamb suya and had to bite my tongue when the waitress returned to ask, "You wanted something else in addition to the Star, didn't you?"

Is our lack of hospitality genetic? You'd think that being in "obodo oyinbo" would encourage people to learn a thing or two about service, and yet they persist in this sloppiness...it's remarkable.

as per voting, i can't count the number of people i know who stayed home to watch football instead. can't blame them. those who went out AFTER the voting (kai, my people) ended up in a war zone: people with their heads shot, buildings and vehicles burned...and the funny thing is, it'll be life as usual before long.

so i guess we DON'T learn anything at all, not history and not hospitality. hm.

uknaija said...

@idemmili-Yes o- which is why I get so mad that some idiots somewhere decided to mess around with her vote. And yes, you must hit Suya Express
@laspapi- nuff said
@mtb- Mind your language, tut tut. We must remain courteous to our guests even if they rub us up the wrong way :-)
@ kulu- if only, maybe one day...

iFaqeer said...

Na why you de torture us here in Amairika, ein? We no sabee get Suya anywheya hiya!

[I'd love to be proven wrong!]