The Age of Gambrach: The Seance of Mikhail Jacksonovic


And so it came to pass that the people of Oyokolova, who ruled its affairs and were courtesans of King Ajimolov, decided to celebrate the ascension of Shittinski into the council of Gambrach. Shittinski had had a woeful time of it from his interrogation at senatii and was depressed of demeanour, for the people had mocked his answers. Thus, did he determine in his heart, to seize the occasion of the festival of his ascension in Oyokolova, to ameliorate his mood.

And on the day of the festival, King Ajimolov was present, and shared the table with Shittinski. Shittinski himself was bedecked in the finest finery he could muster. Robes of coral blue and aquamarine green, ornately complemented with sequinned gloves on each hand. Yea, was his swag complete, for he reminded the people of the late legend of music and dance, Mikhail Jacksonovic, and all thought Shittinski would, before the festival ended, do the walk of the moon and grab his crotch in full glare of the assembly. But it was not to be. Thus the reason for the englovenment of the hands of Shittinski were a mystery.

It was the season of mysteries in the land, as in that time, Dinobetes Mellitus, member of the senatii, brought his brethren a matter of urgency. “Behold, brethren, the sacred abacus of the kingdom has been compromised by those against our progress, these people of Dembitter. How thinkest they, of Dembitter, that they shouldst be possessed of 25 billion of our precious shekels in one day!?!” And there was a rumbling in the land against Dembitter. But it was quickly quelled, for Dembitter had sealed a parchment with the usurers of the land and none of it was legal. The effect of the insertion by Dinobetes Mellitus of himself into the matter was akin to a sugar-infused hyperactivity.

And in those days, following the successful ascension of King Rotamachus to the council of Gambrach, Momodeen, his griot, let it be known that he had had word from Daisy-Annie. She had granted him audience, and the permission to interrogate her. But Momodeen did not delve into his conversations with Daisy. Nay. Instead, he composed a ditty unto himself, describing the obstacles traversed before he was beholden of Daisy-Annie. He slayed a few dragons, stole the golden fleece, beheaded the kraken, had tea with Percy Jackson and finally, found himself before Daisy-Annie. But Daisy-Annie was changed. She was locked in fierce battle with an affliction but she found strength to refute the allegations that Momodeen brought from the kingdoms to her. For his travails, however, the name of Momodeen was changed, to Momodyssius, for he had fulfilled a quest.

Yet was there still unrest in the land. The people were short of black oil, as that which Gambrach produced from his body for a time had run out. Lo, were the people incapable of locomotion via their chariots and yea could they not power their electric candles. And the Wailers cried out, “Why be there no black oil! This was not what Apicuria promised!” And the Lovengers replied “Wail thou as thou must, it is of no use, for Gejoshaphat is gone forever.”

[…To be continued…]

The Lion, The Itch and The Wardrobe (or Cabinet, Whatever)


And it came to pass that Abushola unlooked his unlooking of the list of the members of Gambrach’s council and in accordance with the laws of the land presented them to senatii for verification, jestyculation and approval. Of the number which the senatii considered for approval, there was old King Fasholam of Gideria, old King Jekfa of Ekitilopia, Ancient of Days Ah-Oudu and fellow Ancient of Days Lah-Yi. They were quick to find favour in the eyes of the senatii and didst verily and expeditiously receive its approval.

Of their number was another man, Shittinski of Oyokolova, a man of the laws of man, as well as the laws of the beyond. Shittinski was particularly shit during his interrogation by the senatii. Whereas, the Kingdom practised a system of secularis, nevertheless Shittinski  proclaimed his inclination, if left to him, to pay clergy to implement moralatio in the Kingdom. And when asked about the pestilence that flieth by day and night in North Easteros, Shittinski declared loudly, “Shit!! Why asketh thou me this question of great fright and trepidation? Know ye not that I wish not to fall under their sword and be eternally cut off from my family whom I love so dearly? Yea, shall I hold my tongue.”

And lo, did the voice of the people of Twilistia rise against Shittinski, and the people of Social Mediana against his councilisation. “Wherefore be this the fruit of Gambrach’s quest of four months? We will not have him!” But the word of FemCallamitus had gone forth before the verificato senatii, proclaiming, “These are the beloved of Gambrach. Doubt ye not their competence, for as verily as the fulness of time is upon us, so say I to thee that these men of the council have all it takes.”

Also of their number was old King Rotamachus of Rivisinia, who had ruled for 2 quadrannia. Like Abushola, he casteth himself on exile from Padipalia and pledged fealty to the house of Apicuria, and deployeth all manner of fortification for Gambrach during electoralis. In his stead in Rivisinia ruled King Wi-Kay of Padipalia. Rotamachus had sought to bring Rivisinia into Apicuria but Wi-Kay contended mightily with him and wrested the kingdom away from his grasp. However, Rotamachus was favoured of the house of Apicuria and Gambrach desired his presence in the council.

The Rivisinian members of the senatii were disenamoured of Rotamachus, for they felt he had betrayed them (which indeed he may have) and, according to the rules of senatii as announced by Dinus Melitus, Rotamachus needed the blessing of 2 of the Rivisinian members. It looketh not good for him.

Yet, in those days came a voice from the wilderness, declaring the way of Rotamachus. It was the voice of Momodeen, praise singer to the wealthiest people in the Kingdom. Momodeen loved the fineries of the rich and was the chief chronicler of the stupendity of their wealth. Momodeen had himself sought to rule over the Kingdom in quadrannia past but, lo, was his vote for himself his solitary vote cast in his village; wherefore was the song of electoralis written by StarrusSolidus the Bard, “One Man One Vote”.

Rotamachus found such favour in the sight of Momodeen that Momodeen entered the town square in Social Mediana, declaring “All hail Rotamachus, first of his name, Lion of the World, Slayer of the Stone Men, Vanquisher of the foes of Apicuria, Sacrificial lamb of the electoralis passover, good in every goddam way! Lion of lions! With a big, sexy, furry mane to boot!”

And many followed Momodeen, chanting “All hail our beloved, indomitable Lion.” Others cried, “What manner of the kissing of the buttocks is this?” And opinion swang between the 2 camps. Just like a gaddem pendulum.

But Abushola and the senatii unlooked Lion Rotamachus. And they unlooked again. And thrice did they unlook him for verificato. And yet, “I stand by the Lion, even though he devoureth me!” remained the refrain of Momodeen and those who followed him.

And behold, in that time was yet another voice heard in Social Mediana, of the Prophetess Sar, pronouncing the Beatitudes of Coitus.

“Blessed are they who coit not though they be married in tradition but not before the spirit, but wait to coit after marriage in the temple, for they shall inherit paradise.”

Hmmm, thought the Social Medianites. And she continued.

“Blessed are they who when the itch to coit comes upon them, coit and love without the lubrication of lingerie, for this is a fetish and is displeasing to the spirit.”

And behold, did the people of Twilistia begin to gather to hear her sermon on the mount. There was a gentle grumbling, but the people listened on.

“Blessed are they who seek not inspiration to coit from images of others indulging in coitus, for this is a perversion.”

“And blessed are they, who when they itch for coitus do not coit by manner of mouth and genitals, for this is a also perversion in the sight of the spirit. For the mouth is meant only for mastication and not mastu…”

The people of Twilistia could bear it no longer and interjected “Where findeth thou these scriptures?” “And obu gini your consain with how I coit my coit?”

And lo did the rumbling rage and rage and increase in intensity until the Prophetess Sar returned. “Peace, be still yo”, she said, “thou misconstrueth my words. Played thou not ‘Simon Says’ whenst thou wert babes? Knoweth ye not that my words be not my words unless they be ending with ‘Sar Says’? Tut, tut!”

Ahhhh, came the realisation to the Twilistines.

Meanwhile, in this time also, word came from afar of Daisy-Annie. She was ill…

The List of Gerontocrates


When Gambrach ascended to the throne of the Kingdom, it was the expectation of the people, in accordance with the custom and law of the land, that he would appoint a Council of State to assist him in the discharge of his duties. Verily, verily, due to the fervency and freneticity of the promises and postulations of the followers of Gambrach in electoralis federalis, the earnest expectation of the Kingdom was that the Councillors would be announced the day after Gambrach was crowned. But it was not so.

Gambrach voyaged to Americanawonda and it was there he bared his mind to the four ends of the earth in his first epistle. “Regard ye the Smaugic desolation of our land and the havoc wreaked as was wreaked by the hands of Padipalia. Consider how much building we must do, and that my name be not Bob. It is manifest to me that those that shall serve in the Council with me must be men of honour. I beseech thee, o ye peoples, that thou wouldst spare me until the end of September to declare my Council.”

“Trentus Septembus have you requested,” responded the people, “and until Trentus Septembus shall we leave you be.” And the first day of October became known as Green Day, because the people agreed to wake Gambrach up when September ended.

In due course, Tword reached the people that Gambrach had ordered proboscis extra magnificat on those he desired to appoint and that to his immense disappointment (which was only exceeded in immensality by his sadness) only 3 were found to be of virtue. Virtue, like its cousin Chill, had long since departed. And yet, heard the people nothing from Gambrach himself, not until he was bequestioned by the 24 of Francinia, upon which he excused the delay with the response, “Trentus Septembus is not yet upon us, and what are Councillors but clanging cymbals, after all is said and done?”

Finally, Green Day’s Eve came, and anxiety descended upon the people for Gambrach was yet unfulfilled of his promise. And Abushola, Wardsen of the Senatii, recently temporarily reprieved of Conductivitis, summoned and dismissed the senatii without any consideration of the Council of Gambrach. And yea, just as the sun was about to set on Green Day’s Eve, did the tword of Abushola go out, “Lend me your ears, oh people, I can confirm that I have received a scroll from Gambrach containing the list of the upright he has chosen to preside with him in his Council. But, for the benefit of the gratuitous high drama we are enacting and as this is the hometown of Nollywoodinia, yea shall I unlook the scroll for 4 days. You know, just because I can.”

And the spirit of speculatio descended upon the people of Social Mediana for Green Day had come but was there yet no Council. But across the padipalian-apicurean divide, there was a kumbayanic expression of hope, for Gambrach had spoken of great change. But very quickly, the time came for Abushola to break the seal upon the parchment and pronounce the names of Gambrach’s Councillors in senatii. Thus was the seal broken and the list read and all over the land there was the loud sound of air escaping from a balloon. Gambrach’s councilors were more a whiff of old socks than a breath of fresh air.

“How takest it 4 months to gather these names?” many asked, bewildered.

Very quickly, the Lovengers assembled and responded. “While this list of councilors is a list of Gerontocrates” they began, “nonetheless, Gambrach is the best list compiler the universe has ever seen, because in spite of it Gejoshaphat was not an option for us.”

And while all this transpired, word came to Twilistia that far away across the oceans in Jandinia, Gejospahat’s councilor for black oil had been apprehended by the kingdom’s soldiers. Her name was Daisy-Annie and she was very fair of face. Many said it was about to become a hard knock life for her…

Cracking Digital Music in Nigeria: The COSON Summit


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are totally personal to me, in my personal capacity as someone who has had a keen professional interest in the development of the copyright administration system in Nigeria for over 10 years.


The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) just concluded the hosting of a summit on digital music distribution, licensing and consumption. The 2-day event was tagged “The Nigerian Digital Music Summit” and its theme was “Establishing the Basic Rules of Engagement in the Digital Environment”. It was attended by industry practitioners, lawyers and also had resource people from countries with more mature copyright systems, such as Norway, Finland and South Africa. At the end of the summit, a communiqué was published, outlining the various things the community wanted to see in place.

The summit was timely for a couple of reasons – this year, for the very first time, it was reported that revenues from digital exploitation surpassed sales from physical. Revenue from streaming is quickly bridging the gap with revenues from downloads, with some companies actually reporting higher income from streaming than downloads. Streaming is the future, as I have previously written, and the time to begin to lay the groundwork for the Nigerian music industry to fully partake of it, was at least 3 years ago.


Moving quickly to the substance of the proceedings, the gathering very quickly turned on the telcos, accusing them of benefitting unfairly from the music they exploited, mostly via Caller Ring Back Tones (CRBTs – the songs you hear playing when you give someone a call). And it was understandable. For an industry that has risen from piracy-ridden ashes to becoming arguably the leading hub in Africa and a major contributor to GDP post-rebasing, CRBTs were the content producer’s goldmine for sometime. Network saturation, in terms of subscribers and availability of CRBTs now means there are lots more mouths contending for the same pot of beans and individual revenues are declining somewhat.

In the middle of all this however, is the [unsavoury] fact that the telcos retain anywhere between 60 and 80% of the income generated from CRBTs. The remaining 20-40% is then shared between the Value Added Service (“VAS”) Company and the artist/or record label, with of course an even smaller share for the artist if they are signed to a label. With the bulk of their earnings coming from either corporate endorsements (but we can’t all be Don Jazzy, Phyno, Wizkid or Olamide) and CRBTs, the industry is probably justified to demand a larger cut.

Tellingly, however, very little attention was paid to streaming in spite of the efforts of CAPASSO CEO, Nothando Migogo, to stress that the time to focus on it was now i.e. before bandwidth and data costs stop being issues.

The industry should be worried about streaming because each of the four telcos in Nigeria now operates a music streaming service – MTN Music+, Airtel Wynk, Etisalat Cloud9 and Globacom’s Music App. If these telcos have held on to the lion share of the revenue with CRBTs, what’s going to happen with streaming revenue from their services? For other music streaming services, the most efficient way to take payments from subscribers and purchasers is via their airtime. However, when the telcos convert airtime to cash to pay for a transaction, they typically retain about 70% of it, leaving only 30% to be shared between the stand-alone streaming service and the artist/label. Perhaps the even more pressing issue is that the aim of the telcos in starting these services, in my opinion, is to sell data, as voice revenues have peaked globally – data is the new frontier. It’s the same reason some of them are getting into video on demand, etc. In other words, data sales are the real target, the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the telcos, and these guys don’t share data revenue (larger than music download or streaming subscription revenue) with anyone.



Perhaps it’s even more striking that an industry that wants to earn serious digital revenues made no reference to the industry practices that cannibalise the larger portion of digital earnings, particularly the way nearly everyone offers vast amounts of music for free downloads. What will the incentive be for consumers to buy albums when 70% has previously been released for free. If one also considers the fact that the industry is globally now more singles-driven than albums (iTunes killed the album), this is effectively a limiter on potential earnings, if all singles are given away. The CRBT gravy-train won’t last forever and it isn’t even really working for those who need it to, who have neither the eye-watering performance fees or the juicy telco endorsement deals. Will those ones dare cross the picket line against their benefactors?


Another interesting issue that came up was the Private Copy Levy. This is basically a surcharge on all mobile phones, tablets, PCs, storage devices, etc. to compensate musicians for the revenues they lose when we email or Bluetooth music to each other. I would be very interested to see how our analogue National Assembly would treat this sort of legislation.


Perhaps a final impression is on a comment made by the panellist on the need to develop homegrown solutions to our problems. Yes, benchmarks can be drawn against global best practice, but ultimately the mature systems matured because they developed relatively organically and catered to the needs of their locale, not necessarily pidgeon-holing themselves into systems others had developed. I think it’s important to take local peculiarities into account, to get the system that works best for us.

All said, COSON is doing very important work and deserves commendation for how far its come in the past few years. As long as it becomes clearer how it distributes revenues it collects, and as it increasingly delivers value to the industry, the benefits to will be immense.

The Age of Gambrach: Wahala Morghulis

2015-09-25 12.18.59

In the 9th month of the first year of King Gambrach, the prophecy of Wahala Morghulis pronounced by Shiwajun came to pass. Abushola ascended to the seat that the Apicurians had reserved for Lar-Wan, but in the first Centjoury of Gambrach the senatii adjourned for vacation more than to sit over the affairs of the kingdom.

And yea, in that time did a cry go out against Abushola that whilst he was King of the lesser kingdom of Kwarapotamia, did he on a dozen and one occasions declare falsely of his property before the Tribunal Conductivitis. And lo, did the Warden of Conductivitis bring charges against Abushola (whose name they sought to change to Ananias – his wife had almost been Saphiratised herself) which wouldst unseat him as Warden of the senatii.

“Shiwajun persecuteth me”, cried Abushola Ananias, “rise up ye people of the Kingdom against this impunity!” But the people were divided – those of Apicuria professing that this was age of Gambrach where none was sacred; those of Padipalia describing it as a barbaric trial by ordeal, the people of the Fence long since having dispersed.

And Gambrach unlooked it all.

But yet could Gambrach not fully unlook that which he sought to unlook, because for the first Centjoury of his rule, had he not yet appointed a Council. This troubleth the people and they cried, “Oh Gambrach, thou former man of Gunn, now beautiful hero of the Lovengers, whenst will thou appoint a Council to govern with thee in accordance with the laws of our land?” And Gambrach responded through his Chief Scribe, Fem Callamitus, “Like the sweetened taste of aged wine over the effluxion of days, thou wouldst know in the fullness of time.”

It was said that Gambrach was sore in anguish, for he longed for his Council to be filled with only upstanding men. And he had searched high and lo, far and near for Councillors and only found 3. But of his smaller wider council, had he made appointments but mostly men from the northern kingdoms. And when it was asked why he marginalised the rest of the kingdom so, he answered, “I wouldst be a fake guy, if I compensateth not my ride or die homies.” Pressed further, on separate occasion, Gambrach remarked that members of the Council were only as useful clanging cymbals at any rate.

And thus did it bewilder many that the palace of Gambrach wouldst contend with Abushola Ananias, for the approval of the senatii was required for the appointment of the council. But there was a measure of reprieve when Gambrach spake that which he had kept in his heart, that the fullness of time and the end of the 9th month were one and the same. So the people sat in anticipation.

And in that time also was there a King in Oshunlonica by the name of Ogbenysius. Ogbenysius was famed for being ascetic and frugal in his ways. Yea, was he famed for subduing the raging beast Coasterbussium and riding in triumphantly into the town square. But Oshunlonica became bankrupt under Ogbenysius and he was unable to pay state workers their wages.

In fact, many of the lesser kingdoms under Gambrach had depleted coffers and were unable to pay their workers’ wages. And lo, did they petition Gambrach for interventi bailoutfundi. And Gambrach was moved to answer them with compassion. But not all were satisfied.

Still in this time, the people of Gideria looked unto Ambsalom, successor to Fasholam, favoured of Shiwajun, to assuage the menace of falling oxcarts and carriages and cratered pathways. Lo, for 2 weeks in Gideria, was there a daily gridlock and passage to and from the gidiopolis was greatly enstrangled. But Ambsalom was neither seen nor heard.

And yea, was a word raised against Fasholam, alleging his fame was a mere façade and he was as ordinary a king as his peers had been. Fasholam responded with a proverb about wrestling with swine and being covered in mud. Who are the swine? Shiwajun and Ambsalom? Or others whom Fem Callamitus didst christen the wailers who wail about wailing?

All this had gone on and continued during the first Centjoury and the next few days, leading into the festival of Ram. The festival of Ram was holy time of prayer and thus didst Abushola Ananias return from his travails at Conductivitis to his kinsmen in Kwarapotamia to offer prayers. Lo, was there a stirring amongst his kin and twas written of them that they chanted “Thief, Thief” and threw transparent gourds of water at him and the kings guard had to whisk Abushola Ananias away. Abusholam, through his scribe BanksAMakeAmDance, ascribed the disruption to workers being disgruntled at Kwarapotamia being in the same condition as Ogbenysius’s Oshunlonica.

Far away, from whence he also observed the festival of Ram, Shiwajun chuckled again to himself. Wahala Magnum Morghulis, he said.

New York Diary


I finally got to see the great, great city of New York. Five previous visits to the USA but no time at all spent in the Big Apple. It was a very short stay, which was just as well, given how expensive everything was, and this is a recollection of some of my impressions, before the memories become too hazy.

Coming to America

Because I can be cheesy like that, and musical like that, planning for the trip meant that I remembered all the signature New York City songs – Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”, Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”, Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind”. All great songs, which unfortunately don’t prepare you for the ugliness that is the JFK airport. Sheeeeesh! Heathrow Terminal 5, take a big bow!


Of course, it didn’t help that the immigration queue was over 2 hours long (after a 7 hour flight!) but the murals/relief sculptures we had to stare at the whole time got uglier and uglier with each passing minute.

This won’t be a whiny article however, fear not. The airport was the low-point of the trip. Everything else was exceptional. Oh, and like Akeem, I was in Queens, but only briefly.


Concrete Jungle

In Nigeria, we have the running gag about first timers in Lagos counting bridges. In New York, they probably have one about first-timers spraining their necks , craning, looking at all the sky scrapers. And these aren’t hideous monstrosities, no. They all manage to be unique yet complement each other in the most, well, complementary way. Taking random walks, I’d inevitably come across something iconic or historic every few blocks. Transportation was however a little awkward.

NYC Skyscrapers

Taxis are expensive. I don’t have Uber (which I saw really work for users in NYC). So I had to do the subway. In London, each subway line has a different colour and fairly distinct name – circle line (yellow), district line (green), central (red) line, etc. In New York, their lines have numbers and letters, many of which share colours. The 2 and 3 (both red), the 4 and 5 (both green), the P, Q and R (all yellow), very confusing especially when one has to switch lines. Native New Yorkers tell you how it’s all cool though.

NYC Subway

Striking though, was how these buildings, the various iconic bridges across the Hudson and the subway system all started in the early 1900s. The technology isn’t new or esoteric. Yet back home in Naija…

Brotherhood of Man

One evening, my wanderings took me into Washington Square Park, at about 10 pm. This isn’t about me getting mugged, sorry to disappoint. I heard a guitar and some singing and, being a guitar boy, followed the sound. I found 2 guys playing, one with an acoustic bass, the other with a regular 6-string, with a cluster of about 5 or 6 people sitting or standing around them. They were singing “Jumping Jack Flash”, a song I only know because of the eponymous Whoopi Goldberg movie from way back. Suddenly, somebody joined the band, with a tambourine and another person brought out shakers. Now we had percussions.

Then we started doing Beatles songs and that was when things really got going. In the middle of “Love Me Do”, we had 5 people come up and join in with the vocals, harmonising like they’d all been in rehearsals all week. Next thing, somebody shows up with a harmonica and for me, it was simply the coolest thing ever. Random strangers, mostly, getting together under the clear night sky making fantastic music.

The next day, having lunch with Siddhartha Mitter and my cousin Seyi, I got a little history lesson about how Washington Square Park used to be the hub for artsy types and how if it was 40/50 years ago, I could have run into Bob Dylan or Buddy Holly before they became famous. With NYU buying up most of the neighbouring property and Manhattan becoming more expensive than the average struggling artist can afford, the park is no longer the talent incubator it used to be.

DSLR Congress

If Canon, Sony or Nikkon are being publicly traded, you should buy shares in those companies. The sheer magnitude of people carrying expensive photography equipment about was staggering. (*strokes own Sony DSLR lovingly*)

Homeward Bound

I won’t dwell too much on the airport security queues heading out but given that other countries do these same checks with the same amount of rigour and seriousness, the TSA could probably do a bit better. Yes, NYC bears the scars of 9/11 (I stumbled onto ground zero too, by the way) but the airport experience was very subpar.

On the flip side, I have never had a more expeditious exit from the Muritala Mohammed International Airport than I did on this trip. Nigerian Immigrations still employ 2 different officers to put the one stamp on it (*rolls eyes*) but baggage was out pronto and Customs were courteously on point. Change, eh?

Lovengers: The Age of Gambrach

In the beginning there was chill. And the chill was with chill. And the chill was chill. Chill was with chill in the beginning and nothing was chilled except by through the chill of chill.

And chill was lost to the people of Social Mediana and Twillistia for many moons. This was in the time of the quadrannium and a quarter of King Gejoshaphat. He was said to be good-hearted king but too much given to simpleness. Such was the simpleness, it was said, that he was robbed of all his clues. And he was said not to have been a great king, because of this theft and deprivement of clues.

King Gejoshaphat contended against Gambrach of Gunn in Electoralis Federalis and was defeated. Such was the defeat of Gejoshaphat however, that he surrendered just before the battle ended. Wherefore it was said of him far and wide, and beyond the 37 kingdoms that he had set a worthy precedent. Wherefore, with Osinoshin as his Hand, Gambrach ascended to the throne of the 37 kingdoms.

And there was chill. The chill that passeth all understanding; the chill of chills which was chilled by chill. And yea, did it last…all of ten days. And lo, this decadintum of chill came to be know as the decadintum of the lovengers.

The lovengers were the lovers of Gambrach. Lo, was nothing said, unsaid, de-said or not said by Gambrach which did not find the love of the lovengers. As Gambrach standeth, said they of him, “Oh, he is by far the greatest King at standing ever!”. As Gambrach smileth even did they say, “Oh, such a royal smile Twillistia has never seen!!” And yea, even whenst the King shitteth, did the lovengers inhale and exclaim, “Behold the fragrantest shit which thou ever smellest! Truly, we are now possessed of King! Rejoice for the reign of Gejoshaphat is past!” And lo, did it continue in the decadintum, ad nauseam.

Now, a week after Gambrach ascended the throne, the time came for the senatus to select its Warden. In that day, rose a man of ambivalent origin, Abushola, a former King of Kwarapotamia, and he set his heart upon the Wardenship of the senatus.

This displeased Shiwajun, Head Meister of the house of Apicuria, himself also a former King, in Gidipolia. Shiwajun favoured Lar-Wan of Yobia. And when Gambrach was prevailed upon to anoint either Abushola or Lar-Wan, yea did he unlook; and lo, did the lovengers proclaim it the greatest, most unlookingest unlooking that there ever was.

And lo, did the Elders of Apicuria attempt to bring only one contender and didst request a conclave. The conclave of Apicuria was a procedure unknown to the laws of the senatus but the senatii in support of Shiwajun and Lar-Wan cast their votes. And whenst the white smoke from the chapel cleared, Lar-Wan was named candidatum consentium.

Yea, didst Abushola kanyeshruggeth the conclave and advanced to the senatus. And on the morning the senatii were to chose their warden, lo, were the senatii of Shiwajun and Lar-wan nowhere to be found. Their disappearance, a great mystery, some said was because Gambrach summoned them for reasons unknown (which the lovengers surely must have proclaimed the best summonses in all the quadrannia of the kings), others that their sundials had been mysteriously set 2 hours backwards.

“All hail Abushola, Warden of the senatus, defender of the legislatum, proclaimer of the law!” the voices cried out, as Abushola swore the sacred oath of his office.

Far away from the scene, a valet delivered the news to Shiwajun. Expecting Shiwajun to break forth into rage, the valet was taken aback.

“Thou vexeth not, my Lord”, he said, “art thou not filled with anger?”

Shiwajun smiled, responding calmly, “Wahala Morghulis.”

Buhari Presidency: What Lawyers Expect

I was asked to do this piece as part of  a series for The piece was first published on their website, here.


I did not support General Buhari’s candidacy for the 2015 elections and I am therefore wary of adding my voice to the growing list of people setting an agenda for him. However, as someone recently pointed out, he’s going to have a difficult enough time merely living up to his campaign promises without the input of this new self-appointed council of state, so I suppose this piece cannot do too much [further] harm.

The original topic I was asked to discuss was the Judiciary’s expectations of the incoming president. As I am not a judge however, I asked for latitude to discuss what I think will be the expectations of the legal profession as a whole.

Judicial Reform

There is no better person in the world to be Vice President, when it comes to the issue of judicial reforms, than Professor Yemi Osinbajo. He is the reason why the Nigerian Law School had to develop additional course material on civil procedure. During his time as Attorney-General of Lagos State, he oversaw the introduction of revised rules of court that sought to make the process of litigation a much smoother and more efficient affair. Many states have since amended their rules of civil procedure to conform more to those in Lagos State.

Unfortunately, however, even though Lagos continues to lead the country in judicial process innovation, trial times still average 2-4 years for hearing relatively uncomplicated matters. Many people do not mind being taken to court because they know immediately that the pressure to take remedial/corrective action has been lifted for a while. Many people, on the other hand, also resort to self-help because they do not have the luxury of 2 years to waste on a decision which they can’t even reasonably predict. I have previously discussed judicial reform here.

Of course, this is a matter on the Concurrent Legislative List, meaning that the Federal Government cannot dictate how States run state courts. However, the Buhari-Osinbajo regime would do well to pioneer the reform process at the Federal Courts. If they are successful, it is only a matte of time before the states follow suit. Faith must be restored in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man. There should be relative predictability of durations and outcomes. The judiciary staff, especially the support staff should become more professional and less demanding of “facilitation” to give dates or progress files.

Regulatory Certainty/Stability

This is probably the great desire of my constituency of commercial law advisers and practitioners. As it stands today, you would be hard-pressed to find legal advice with absolute certainty on all applicable taxes applicable to a business. Most advisors will only give an approximation because we have 3 tiers of tax, which get murkier as you descend down the federal ladder. Some of the taxes overlap and although successive governments have promised to address the matter, very little progress (some would even say effort) has been made.

If you add into the mix the growing number of chartered professional institutes and professional regulatory bodies all jostling for relevance and adding further barriers and hurdles to the business process, the picture becomes even cloudier.

Uncertainty is a disincentive to business and investment. It hinders proper planning and leaves avenues for businesses to be exploited by unscrupulous government officials. Of all the talk and bandying about about of the much clichéd “creating an enabling environment” for businesses, putting entrepreneurs in the position to resist the imposition of random and stealth levies ranks nearly as high, in my estimation, as ensuring stable electricity. Let everyone know what their obligation to society is and be free thereafter to pursue their interests.

There is also the uncertainty that comes about in legislating via directives. Heads of government agencies, very many times on whims, change policy or business requirements with a mere letter or an interview in the newspapers. Thankfully, a few directives have successfully been challenged (eg FRSC directive on new license plates) but a system where wide-reaching policy shifts or legal requirements don’t go through the rigorous process of law-making or being issued as gazetted regulations must be discouraged.

Rule of Law

This should not be too hard for the ex-General as his greatest asset is his reputation for abhorring corruption and corrupt practices. I would approach upholding the rule of law from 2 sides. The first, more obvious side, is that which compels government and its agencies to respect the law and be subject to due process at all times. The less popular, and less expounded side, is that which insists that there must be consequences for wrongdoing, no matter how highly placed the wrongdoer is.

Conversely, agents of government must also act within the limits of their powers. Wearing a uniform and brandishing a firearm should not become a license for trampling on the rights of citizens. Policemen should no longer be available as intimidators-for-hire to settle civil disputes (which, when you think about it, would no longer be necessary if the courts granted timely/speedy justice).

This point also extends to our orientation as a people. While it would be totally unacceptable for the country to go back to the floggings of when the General was last at the helm of affairs, we do need to be “whipped” into shape. The “Do You Know Who I Am” syndrome had to die an urgent death. People must learn to wait their turn, be orderly and show consideration for the next person. So whether it’s in the conduct of one’s business or simply driving from Point A to B, upholding the rule of law on the part of both the government and the citizenry, means everyone understands the legal and social consequences of all their actions.

The public office side probably should be higher on the priority list, however. And if they can reform the judiciary and speed up the dispensation of justice, it should no longer take 2-3 years to determine if a public official pilfered or not. There should also be no interference from the Federal Government with the various law enforcement agencies, as long as those ones also act in good faith within the scope of their enabling laws. They should be free to investigate and prosecute without let or hindrance.

To conclude, there are probably a few more areas that the profession would like to see the impact of the incoming government. However, it is my belief that achieving even one of these items would be transformational for the entire country. Achieving all three would be nothing short of earth shattering. If the government can ensure that the system works more efficiently, is fairer to those on the lower rungs of the societal ladder, and metes out commensurate punishments for crimes (no more N300,000 fines for N50bn thefts), then I am quite confident that the government will earn a veritable commendation from the legal profession.

SACKISM IS NEXT TO LAGOONISM – Philosophies of the 2015 Elections


These have been the most interesting times for Nigeria. Campaigns were had, tents were pitched, votes were cast and a winner was declared. The heavens were supposed to have fallen but they didn’t. It seems the world’s pillars are foundationed in Nigeria as, in spite of the world’s very best predictions of our imminent collapse, we still seem to be holding up half of the African sky.

This season witnessed the birth of new political philosophies in our country. There was Jonathanism and Buharism and fencism, fencists roundly being declared to be closet members of one side of the divide or the other. Interestingly, however, we have seen subsets of Jonathanism and Buharism evolve into unprecedented schools of political thought that would make even the member of the ancient Agora jealous. Jonathism has given way to sackism and a small faction of the Buharist school of thought propounded the theory of lagoonism. So stand back, Plato. Stand back Hobbes and Montesquieu. Stand back, Louis van Gaal. The age of new philosophy is here.

What is sackism? Sackism is the Jonathanian belief that after the fatal loss of an election, order can only be restored to society by sacking every gaddem thing and person in sight. You see a sitting head of the ports authority, feeling pretty and secure in their position, you sack them. You see the head of the police authority revelling in his unprecedented gall to ignore his mobile phones in spite of his commander-in-chief’s telephone calls, you sack his gaddem ass. In fact, one of the strongest tennets of sackism is, if you were not already on your way out after fatally losing an election, you might as well sack your gaddem self. Order must be restored, no matter the obstacles.

What is the ultimate aim of sackism, however? What do sackists ultimately believe? Is there a special heaven for sackists? Do they believe in the ultimate redemption of the sackist’s body, through imperious sackism in the last hours in office? This is not yet known. But Patience is a rite of passage for sackists. Not just patience but fakanistic patience, the sort of which a sackist must have endured prior to his fatal electoral loss. There is yet no agreement on how fakanistic the endurance of patience must be for a sackist to find true redemption but this is still a new, emerging and evolving philosophy. Not unlike lagoonism.

Lagoonism is a theory propounded by the house of kings, espousing a belief in the fatal submersion of all intransigent non-indigenes who resist the call to conformity. The pillar of this belief is that the philosophy of a king is rooted in the infallibility of the poseidonic progenity of Percy Jackson. Lagoonism is akin to baptism but only as far as it relates to submersion. Lagoonists do not believe in the emergence of the submerged body in a cleansed form or state of elevated sanctification. Lagoonism believes that the submerged body of the non-indigene must perish, travel to hades and hope to be reincarnated in the kingdom of the kings as an indigene, to find redemption.

So far, the High Priest of the Lagoon remains the philosophy’s only real proponent but the philosophy has grown a few legs and traversed the length and breadth of the country. Many have visited the temple of Lagoonism and sought in vain to propagate its gospel but their faith was insufficient to surmount the shame there. A quick note must also be made denouncing the purported and oft-pointed out similarity between Lagoonism and Coffinism, largely because philosophical thought must be expressed by known persons in order for credence to be lent to the emergence of the articulated thought as philosophy indeed.

Thankfully, these philosophies are yet to go mainstream and the believers in one are generally not far in proximity to believers in the other. The age of enlightenment is upon us and we salute the espousers of these gaddem newnesses of thought. Commit yourself to deep thinking, that ye might find, ultimately, enlightenment.

DSTV and Ex Parte Injunctions


The recent ex parte injunction against Multichoice (owners of the DSTV brand and service) is an interesting one. While litigation is not my forte, I think the issue at this stage is one of basic procedure but, of course, I welcome any corrections from my more experienced colleagues.

To put the lawsuit in context, Multichoice, a cable TV broadcaster, has been sued in a class action for increasing its subscription fees in Nigeria. The plaintiffs commenced their action by filing an ex parte motion asking the court to order Multichoice to keep its fees at the pre-hike levels, pending the determination of the lawsuit. An ex parte application/motion is one made to the court by a party in the absence of the party against whom it is sought to be enforced.

Personally, I was surprised to hear that the ex parte motion was granted and here’s why. The relevant rule of court procedure says as follows –

“A motion ex parte shall be supported by affidavit which shall, in addition to the requirements of rule 3 of this Order, state sufficient grounds why delay in granting the order sought would entail irreparable damage or serious mischief to the party moving.” (Emphasis supplied.)

The default position of the law is that the party you’re seeking an order against should be given notice of the motion, as well as the opportunity to present arguments against your motion at the time you’re moving it. However, the law recognises that in some instances, irreparable damage may be done if the normal process is followed and therefore provides for the ex parte process, in what should really be emergency situations e.g. a house may be demolished, or a life is in danger of being lost, or the asset in dispute (a vessel, machinery, etc) may be moved out of the court’s jurisdiction. To my mind, really serious stuff.

Now, while the party against whom an ex parte order has been granted can apply to the court within 7 days to amend or cancel the order, it would be interesting to know the circumstances cited by the Plaintiffs to justify an emergency freeze on the DSTV subscription rates. The company is a private company, delivering a luxury, non-essential service, with different product offerings to cater to different budgets, and customers have the ultimate option of not renewing their subscriptions to prevent the “irreparable damage” to their wallets and bank accounts. There are also alternative services available, ranging from free-to-air terrestrial channels to web-based providers and other cable services as well. It simply seems a very un-urgent matter to me.

I look forward to the final outcome of the suit and ultimately to a time when a Competition/Anti-Trust Commission is established to look into allegations of monopolistic practices and abuses broadly.