Tales from the zoo – and more, in today’s news round-up with Cheta Nwanze

by Cheta Nwanze

Damino Damoche

Slain LASU student and upcoming artiste, Damino Damoche

According to Williams Ogbonna, a few days ago, he was given the sum of US$700 (N110163 as of this morning), a passport, a bag and two pairs of sandals, then told to go meet his uncle in India so he could continue his education. So he went. Sadly, his boarding was probably marred by one of the three power cuts that occurred at the Murtala Mohammed International Zoo yesterday, and he was held by the vigilant Hamza Umar of the NDLEA. It is presumable that he will spend a while in the cooler thinking of a better story for next time.

For someone like me though, three power cuts in the Zoo in one day is simply too much and too embarrassing, especially given that one of the blackouts lasted for at least an hour. Why, as I type this, I’m listening to the pleasant sounds of thousands of generators, and drawing inspiration from them. What that makes me wonder, is how hard it can be to send someone to go and turn on the generator at our main international gateway. Now, considering that this embarrassment happened on the same day that our legislators were finding out whether it is true that our biggest bird is a tribalist, then some of it may just begin to make some sense. Expect the next NEPA bill to land at the Zoo’s account office in time despite protestations by fellow victims of NEPA’s grand swindle.

It is common knowledge that swindlers abound in our country, although Femke van Zeijl would disagree. In my view though, there aren’t many bigger swindlers than the banks. Sad fact is that banks in these parts tend not to give you a loan to start a business no matter how great your plan is. However, if you are already a success and do not need their money, the tendency is to come after you with large offers. What follows it that those large offers are taken up by people who don’t need them, then they spend the cash lavishly, then fail to pay the banks, then the banks raise interest rates to make up the debts since the guys i) didn’t really ask for the cash in the first place; ii) are too big to be arrested by policemen who earn 18k a month.

As things stand then, one of our biggest suits is offering cash to build refineries. You see, the refineries, if they ever get to work, are a guaranteed cash cow. The kind of which Nigerian banks tend to go after. You see, they don’t give a damn (apologies Mr. Prez) about the economy, so they refuse to take the risks that would actually grow the economy.

Speaking of risk takers, and we come back to Big Boss. We all know that just under a month ago, one of the biggest risks in Nigerian sporting history paid off big time. Remember he-of-the-Sunday-Sunday-goal? I’m quite sure that a lot of you are aware of the greedy transfer saga that has followed his heroics in Johannesburg. Well, tomorrow, the NFF will decide who actually has the rights to he-of-the-Sunday-Sunday-goal’s registration. Expect Enugu Rangers to file an appeal to CAF after they lose this (their second) battle.

Bits and bobs

One of the reasons I like Baba is that he wrote books about his experiences. Those books gave us the ability to look at what he did, and learn from his many mistakes. Prof. Akinkugbe of UI agrees with me, and advices former head honcho, Jack Gowon, to take to his keyboard.

Meanwhile, Baba himself tends to have moments of stunning clarity. In one of those, he tells us that “Nigeria lacks good leaders”. I’ll attempt to speak for him, and assure y’all that he looked into a mirror before speaking.

The war between various confra in LASU is escalating and another body has turned up. I’d have thought that in these days of Yahoo-Yahoo, those boys would be too busy fleecing white men off some cash.

For those of you with a historical mindset, today makes it 60 years since the Politburo under Laverenti Beria delayed treatment from getting to the Little Father. The man who was responsible for brutally forcing Russia from the 18th century to being a super power in the space of 25 years,shuffled off the mortal coil after a few days, and in extreme agony. He left behind millions of corpses and a nuclear armed, third world country.

Right of reply

Ebi Bozimo said,


A subtle but significant item in your missive today is “…those who are willing to be engaged”.

There are many who, having little appetite or capacity for strategic or complex thought, will never observe or key into the efforts by government to diversify the economy. Right now efforts are underway to make agriculture a significant element in food security and employment generation.

What do I see? See-no-gooders sitting on their thumbs (except when engaged in broadcasting pointless pings) who will not want to leave their artificial, dependent existence in the city for opportunities to create personal wealth, employment and long-term societal value.

They sit around, barely able to comprehend the written word, exposing their borderline illiteracy by typing inanities like ‘lolz’, ‘kk’ and ‘tins’ and waste the nations time making up inane accusations about a minister using N60 BILLION for cell phones! I didn’t hear their dreary dirge recently when one of their ‘idols’ – Bill Clinton – said the (much reduced in budget) phones were a GOOD idea. I guess their short attention span failed to maintain traction with that tale. That or simply the fact that ideas that generate solutions are not now and will never be their forte.

Many who consider themselves ‘stars’ of ‘social media’ are pointless, pretentious prats who have NOTHING novel to offer Nigeria. They revel in tawdry abuse of anyone THEY deem unsuitable in authority but cannot be called upon to offer a SINGLE viable idea. 

You are unique in that you are able to be objective (to the largest extent) and I rarely know you to abuse people, which is good because that is the basest form of self expression. 

Please teach the ‘stars’ engage rather than enrage. It makes a difference in how their views will be received and responded to.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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