Archive | January 2015

Table manners

By Frederick Mordi

Table 2

“Stop making an ass of yourself,” she snapped suddenly. “I can’t stand the way you eat! If you can’t use the knife and the fork the proper way, can’t you at least, use your head? I mean your hands?”

It took him one full minute to digest what she was saying and another 30 seconds before he could summon enough courage to raise his head slowly from his food. He had never been so embarrassed all his life. He wished the ground could open up and swallow him, to save him from this humiliation.

 

“Are you talking to me?” he finally growled, even though it was obvious to everyone that she was addressing him. He was not prepared to stomach this insult.

 

Their eyes locked briefly and he gave her a murderous look that could have caused anyone to develop instant indigestion. But the woman was not prepared to have her healthy appetite spoilt on that particular day. Her frame leaves no one in doubt that she enjoys eating.

 

“Of course I am talking to you!” she spoke loudly enough for even passers-by along the ever busy street to hear. “You lack table manners! The way you eat reminds one of a dog!”

 

She snorted with disgust for good measure and hissed.

 

It took a superhuman effort for him to keep his shirt on. He was burning slowly like a fuse that seemed like it could blow up any minute. When they could not bear this spectacle any longer, the customers and the saucy service girls burst into laughter. They laughed and laughed until tears rolled down their checks. Their laughter stung him like a bee. He fumed with impotent anger.

 

He glared at her helplessly again, undecided how to get even with the corpulent lady, who was sipping her coke in utter peace. She had ordered a second helping and had inquired from one of the giggling service girls, if there was a vacant table available. She waved her left hand in front of her nose—a gesture meant to convey a feeling of utter contempt for him.

 

He knew he had to leave immediately before he lost what was left of his dignity. Slowly, he pushed his half-eaten food to one side, sorely tempted to empty the contents of the plate on her cold, hard face. That would have assuaged his pain to an extent. However, he managed to pull himself together, having obviously weighed the consequences of his intended action. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valour.

 

“She’s right, you know,” a middle-aged man, who was exploring a large piece of roasted chicken thigh with a knife and a fork held between his fingers, delicately, interjected, after the laughter had subsided. “You should have gone for amala and ewedu, instead of exhibiting your obvious deficiency in culinary expertise.”

 

This remark triggered more prolonged laughter. As he wheeled round angrily to confront the interloper, the sour-faced restaurateur waded in:

 

“Please, please, gentlemen, I don’t want any trouble in my restaurant,” she pleaded. “If you don’t know how to use knife and fork, you should have said so! We have enough spoons and water for you to wash your hands with!”

 

Her remarks sparked off another round of hysterics. He regarded her coldly, stood up abruptly, and stormed out of the restaurant, after settling his bills. He did not wait for his change. The laughter was by now, quite uncontrollable.

 

“Why didn’t he just walk across the road to one of those bukas under the bridge, to eat, instead of messing himself up here?” The lady who started it all, asked no one in particular.

 

“What a glutton! Could have eaten a horse, you know…” the man said.

 

“Village boy!” she added tartly.

T10

“You brought all this wahala to yourself,” his colleagues blamed him when he recounted his ordeal at the restaurant to them.

 

“Yes, serves you right,” cuts in one of them. “Next time don’t go near Standard Restaurant if your standard is not high enough!”

 

They turned him into a laughing stock.

 

“Why didn’t you settle for fufu and egusi eh?” said another. “You could have saved yourself all this embarrassment. “Come on, you just wanted to show off, didn’t you?”

 

“Was there a girl in the picture?” demanded another cheekily.

 

He scowled at the mirthful lot and made for the door. But as he threw the door open, he received the shock of his life. There, standing before him, was a pretty girl who held up his wallet and identity card for him to see. There was a warm smile on her face as she said:

 

“I believe these are for you.”

 

He was tongue-tied for the first time in his life as he stretched his hand to pick the items from her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw deal

 

By Frederick Mordi

 

 

RD 6

He glowered at the article in the newspaper as he tried to sip tea that bright Tuesday morning. A pack of digestive biscuits, three big red apples and a glass of water lay on a small tray beside the white tea cup and saucer. There was a medium-sized bottle of imported honey on the table. He never takes sugar as a rule.

“Nonsense!” he finally said as he threw away the newspaper. The tea spilled slightly on the saucer and the table.

“Arrant nonsense!”

He bellowed at his PA through the intercom.

“Kema, get me FCT at once!”

Kema linked him up quickly.

“Senator, have you seen National Mail today?” he demanded angrily.

“You mean that report?” the voice at the other end of the phone replied calmly.

“Of course,” he retorted. “What else would I be talking about?”

“Calm down, Chief…”

“Calm down, did you say? You expect me to calm down when my multi-billion naira investment is being jeopardised by one small yeye Minister? I thought you said you could handle this. Now, I have my doubts. My whole investment is going down the drain because you failed to do what you are supposed to have done!”

“I don’t think it has come to that yet chief,” the voice said soothingly. “I have been pushing hard to block this. You would recall that I…”

“Apparently, you did not push hard enough”!

With that Chief Imola banged the handset on the receiver angrily. He counted one to 10 as his doctor had advised him to do whenever he is angry. The doctor’s prescription helps him to keep his high BP in check. He swallowed some tablets on the table and did not bother to touch the tea again. The biscuits and the juicy apples failed to entice him.

Chief Imola could not understand what was going on in the country anymore. He feels like an outsider inside his own country! It was as if there was a conspiracy against him. He called Alhaji Tanko, one of his close friends, who runs a successful shipping business at Apapa in Lagos, for comfort.

“If I were you, Chief Imola, I would make peace with the government,” Alhaji Tanko counselled him after listening to his tales of woe, “nobody can afford to fight the government, no matter how powerful that person may be. Do not forget that the government, like a king, does no wrong! Do not also forget that power tends to corrupt. But if you ask me, Chief, I am of the opinion that you must have inadvertently stepped on some powerful toes in the corridors of power…”

“But who could I have offended?” Chief Imola asked rhetorically. “I have always been supportive of the government—any government that is in power for that matter!”

None of them could provide an answer to the question.

Chief Imola felt a bit better after the conversation with Alhaji Tanko, his fidus achates. He tried to attend to the memos on his table. But after glancing at two of them, he lost interest and closed the file. As far as he was concerned, work had finished for the day.

His mind travelled to Abuja, where his last encounter with the intransigent Minister of Agricultural Affairs left him utterly speechless. He was particularly enraged when that ‘rude boy’ told him point blank that there was no going back on the new policy. The Minister had sought his understanding on the matter, reminding him that the masses have been groaning in pain over the exorbitant price of rice, owing to a short fall in local production. The only way to make up for the deficit, the Minister patiently explained to Chief Imola, who had paid him an unscheduled visit in his office, last week, is to import the commodity.

Despite the Minister’s assurances that the new policy would be temporary, Chief Imola was not satisfied. He left the office feeling very downcast. Had not this same government banned the importation of rice and encouraged local farmers to go into production of the staple food? So, why has the government made a volte face particularly now that he had invested billions of Naira in the venture in partnership with a wealthy Taiwanese businessman, who owns one of the biggest rice farms in Asia?

RD 5

He regretted voting for the President, whom he helped to win the last presidential election in the country, with his strong financial muscles. The party’s leadership had assured Chief Imola of juicy contracts that would enable him to recoup his investments within a short time. He believed them as he had always done in the past.

And what has been his reward? Nothing! Absolutely nothing at all!

Chief Imola could not point to just one of the President’s policies that has favoured him since he assumed the reins of office! The government has blocked his usual channel of making money through contracts. As if that is not enough, he no longer has access to the kitchen cabinet. And to add insult to injury, his choice of ministerial nominee was rejected at the eleventh hour. Things seem quite different now…very different. He was seriously considering sending emissaries to the President to sue for peace, as his friend, Alhaji Tanko, had suggested.

After ruminating over it for some time, Chief Imola took up the matter with the National Chamber of Commerce, where he is an influential Council Member. The Chamber was quite vitriolic in condemning the new policy, which it warned could send the wrong signals to foreign investors. Not prepared to sit by idly and watch the businesses of its members suffer, the Chamber convened an emergency meeting in a four star hotel on Victoria Island to mull the policy, soon afterwards.

After exhaustive deliberations that lasted over eight hours, it was agreed that an advertorial be put up in National Mail, to express the position of the Chamber. However, when Chief Imola mooted the idea of a press conference, which should precede the advertorial, it was swiftly shot down by members, who argued that the involvement of the Gentlemen of the Press could send the wrong signals to the government.

He disagreed. He was a lone voice.

“Chief Imola,” the President of the Chamber put it to him bluntly after a heated debate over the issue, “we cannot afford a press war with the government! I am not saying that we lack the means to prosecute a full-fledged media campaign. The fact is we have unanimously agreed that a well-crafted advertorial would better serve this purpose at this time. I quite appreciate your views, but as they say, discretion is the better part of valour. I am sorry, Chief; we will stick to our original plan.”

He was not convinced.

The advertorial that appeared in National Mail Newspapers on Monday, June the 7th, confirmed his worst fears: it was materially different from the resolution reached at the end of the meeting.

 

                                                                             Advertorial

                                           Government’s New Policy on Rice Importation

 

Following the Government’s new policy on rice importation in the country, which will take effect from September 1st this year, the National Chamber of Commerce held an emergency meeting on June the 6th in Lagos.

At the meeting, the policy was carefully deliberated upon and the following resolutions were made:

 

  • The National Chamber of Commerce fully identifies with the government’s new policy on rice importation.  

 

  • The policy is a welcome development that will not only ensure the availability of rice in the country; but will also make the price of the commodity, which has skyrocketed, to crash dramatically.  

 

  • The policy is in line with the government’s bold efforts to bring the dividends of democracy—one of which is food—to the table of the ordinary citizens.

 

  • We will reciprocate this gesture by ensuring that our members import only high quality rice from China.

 

  • We strongly frown upon a situation where a few powerful individuals attempt to hold the government and the citizens to ransom by trying to circumvent this well-intentioned policy. We pledge our continued support of all future policies of the government designed to revamp the ailing economy…

 

Chief Imola collapsed before he finished reading the full page advertorial in National Mail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things you didn’t know about Ronaldo, World’s Best Footballer

By Frederick Mordi

 Ronaldo

There are some things quite unique about Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese international and Real Madrid striker, who won the Ballon d’Or World Footballer of the Year Award for the second consecutive year, yesterday, in Zurich, Switzerland, which are worth noting.

Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, and is the youngest child of his parents, Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro, a cook, and José Dinis Aveiro, a gardener. They named him ‘Ronaldo’ after former U.S. President Ronald Reagan—his father’s favourite actor.

His mother claimed in her autobiography that she tried to abort him while she was pregnant, but the doctor did not support her decision, according to Daily Mail Newspaper. Read the full story here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2697323/Cristiano-Ronaldos-mum-claims-tried-abort-pregnant.html#ixzz3OhOBdN4k

Ronaldo was expelled from school after he threw a chair at his teacher for ‘disrespecting’ him. He was diagnosed with a heart condition that might have forced him to quit playing football, at the age of 15. He resumed training few days after a successful operation. Kanu Nwankwo, the Nigerian ex-international had a similar experience.

He started his career as a youth player for Andorinha, before he moved to a bigger club, Sporting CP, where his heart disease was first noticed. Since then, he has been in the radar of the biggest clubs in the world. He has played in the English Premier League with Manchester United, under Sir Alex Ferguson, and his current club, Real Madrid of Spain.

In 2004, he won his first trophy, the FA Cup. In 2008, he won for the first time, the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was the inaugural winner of the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year in 2009. In November 2014, Ronaldo became the all-time top scorer in the UEFA European Championship with 23 goals. The following month, he became the fastest player to score 200 goals in the Spanish La Liga.

Ronaldo made history in 2009, when he became the world’s most expensive player following his move from Manchester United to Real Madrid, in a transfer worth £80million (€94million/$132million). He was ranked top in Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paid players, with earnings of $73million in combined income from salaries, bonuses and off-field earnings for the previous 12 months, as at May 2014.

He made his international debut for Portugal in 2003, at the age of 18, and has been capped over 100 times. He is the first Portuguese player to reach 50 international goals, making him the country’s top goalscorer of all time. He currently captains Portugal.

In 2008, he won his first Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. He won again in 2013 and 2014. He is also the first Portuguese footballer to win three Ballons d’Or. He had earlier won the 2013–14 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.

With Manchester United and Real Madrid, the two clubs where he has spent most of his career, Ronaldo has won three Premier Leagues, one La Liga, one FA Cup, two Football League Cups, two Copas del Rey, one FA Community Shield, one Supercopas de España, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup and two FIFA Club World Cups.

Though he single-handedly took Portugal to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with his remarkable goals, particularly against Sweden at the qualifying stage, he could not replicate this success at the Mundial due to thigh injuries. Despite warning by his doctor against playing at the World Cup, Ronaldo featured for his country and became the first Portuguese footballer to play and score in three World Cup tournaments.

Ronaldo’s ability to play on either wing as well through the center of the pitch, makes him a flexible attacker. He is reputed for his physical fitness, stamina, and pace, making him one of the fastest players in the world today. He scored 52 goals in 43 games last year.

Rivalry with Messi

Messi

Ronaldo is generally regarded as one of the two current best players in the world alongside key rival, Lionel Messi, the Argentine international and Barcelona striker. Both players hold spectacular records in football history. This rivalry has brought out the best in them as they unconsciously strive to outdo each other. Ronaldo beat Messi, who has won the award four times in a row, and German and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, to the award, for year 2014.

Manuel

In his acceptance speech, Ronaldo said: “I would like to thank all of those who voted for me, my president, my coach and Real Madrid. It has been an unforgettable year. To win this trophy at the end of it is something incredibly unique.”

Other winners at the event include James Rodriguez of Colombia, who won the FIFA Goal of the Year Award, while Germany’s World Cup winner Joachim Low won men’s coach of the year. Rodriguez won the trophy for his beautiful goal against Uruguay.

What coaches say about Ronaldo

“I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. His contribution as a goal threat is unbelievable. His stats are incredible. Strikes at goal, attempts on goal, raids into the penalty box, headers. It is all there. Absolutely astounding”— Alex Ferguson, after Ronaldo’s transfer to Real Madrid

“Ronaldo is a unique player for all of his talent and his professionalism. He is a player who is extraordinarily consistent”—Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti

Ronaldo’s win comes barely a week after Ivorian international and Manchester City’s Yaya Toure emerged Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) African Footballer of the Year.

 

Does Toure deserve ‘African Footballer of the Year’ trophy?

 

By Frederick Mordi

 

On January 8, 2015, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the highest football governing body on the continent, unveiled the African Footballer of the Year 2014, at a very elaborate ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

The three finalists for the award were: Ivorian player and Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure; Nigeria’s goalkeeper and captain, Vincent Enyeama, who also plies his professional trade with Lille OSC of France; and Gabonese born Borussia Dortmund striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The atmosphere at the venue of the event was quite electrifying that cool evening. One would be forgiven in thinking it was a musical performance as some Nigerian top artistes entertained the guests. Globacom Limited (Glo), one of the leading mobile telecom operators in the country, sponsored the Glo-CAF Awards, which is regarded as the ‘Oscars of African Football.’

Vincent

Many Nigerian football lovers were confident that Enyeama, 32, the second most capped player in the country, who made a debut for the national team in 2002, would win the trophy, on account of his excellent performance last year. He captained the team to victory in the 2013 edition of the African Cup of Nations and took Nigeria to the second round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Brazil. He also had a spectacular goalkeeping record at his French club where he played 1,062 minutes without conceding a goal, during the 2013-14 Ligue 1 season.

Pierre 2

Similarly, Aubameyang, 25, the first Gabonese footballer to play in the German Bundesliga, had an outstanding outing at his club last year. The son of a former Gabonese international footballer, Pierre Aubameyang, and Spanish mother, scored his country’s first Olympic goal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He was also voted Best African Player in Lique 1 in 2012-2013 season. All these sterling qualities must have won the hearts of the selection committee.

Toure

However, it was Toure, 31, who eventually clinched the trophy, making history as the first African player to win the award for the fourth consecutive time, having won in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Cameroonian legend and Everton striker Samuel Eto’o is the only other player that has won the award four times, although not in successive years. Had Enyeama emerged the winner, he would have joined the likes of Thomas Nkono of Cameroon and Badou Zaki, a Moroccan, who are the only goalkeepers that have so far won the trophy.

But Toure’s win seems to be well deserved, as the gangling midfielder, who stands 6ft 3in in his socks, was nominated for the award for the key role he played in winning the Premier League and League Cup for Man City. He netted scored 20 goals in City’s title-winning campaign and has nine goals in 26 appearances for his club so far this season.

He also helped his country, Ivory Coast, to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled to take place in Equatorial Guinea from January 17, 2015 to February 8, 2015. He has two silver medals to show for his previous efforts at the Nations Cup. Toure captained Ivory Coast, currently ranked third best team in Africa and 28 in the world, in two games, at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, where the West African country narrowly missed out on a place in the second round. Toure made the initial FIFA shortlist for the 2014 Ballon D’Or prize in October, before the number was whittled down to three: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer.

Toure, who has played for several top clubs in the world including Olympiacos in Greece, Beveren in Belgium, Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine, AS Monaco in France, Barcelona in Spain, and currently Man City in England, started his playing career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas, where he made his debut at the age of 18. Work permit palaver prevented him from playing for Arsenal. He ended City’s 35-year wait for a trophy with a 1-0 win over Stoke City in 2011, wining the hearts of his fans.

Football runs in the family as his older brother and Ivorian international, Kolo Touré, who now plays for Liverpool, once played with him in Man City. Toure began his football career as a defender, before he moved to the midfield. Considered one of the best midfielders in the world today, he is nicknamed the ‘human train’ due to his speed and stamina.

There is no controverting the fact that Toure, who wears number 42 shirt, a reverse of 24, which he sported while at Barcelona, is a talented footballer. His win is therefore well deserved and he will continue to rule the midfield for some time.