Kobe Bryant and Other Stories

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By Reuben Abati

“You look so downcast. Everything okay? Cheer up, man. This one that you are looking as if a trailer just crushed your legs.”

“I won’t deceive you. I am not happy at all. I am sad. Heart-broken.”

“What happened? You lost a contract, or someone swindled you? Whatever it is, just cheer up. When there is life, there is hope”

“I just look around and I wonder why this world is the way it is.”

“Don’t’ sound like that. The world has always been the way it is, and it will always be as it is, life without end.”

“So is that why bad things should always happen?”

“Good things happen too. Everyday. Life is a terrible mixture of good and bad. Be philosophical my brother. Without philosophy, we would all be sad and depressed and waiting to die.”

“So is that why Kobe Bryant should die in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year old daughter, and seven others?”

“Very sad. Tragic. In that helicopter crash, a dream died. The future was erased.”

“He was just 41. He had to die at a time he should be enjoying his retirement. He had great hopes that his daughter would step into his shoes and become a great basketball athlete, the same way he too took over from his Dad, who was a basketball player. And just like that, the helicopter burst into flames putting an end to it all.”

“I am not a basket ball fan but from the little I have read in the news; he must have been one legend of a guy on the basketball court.”

“You don’t know Kobe Bryant? What are you? An alien?”

“Football is my game. I am a football person.”

“Kobe was one of the greatest human beings that ever played basket ball. He spent 20 seasons with the LA Lakers and made history with his talent. He is in the class of Michael Jordan. Off the basketball court, he was a humanist. We have lost a gem and a hero. He was NBA champion for a record five times. Most Valuable Player. NBA scoring champion. Olympic Champion. O ye Hills of Calabasas! May whatever demons that live therein remain cursed.”

“From what I read, it looked like the crash was caused by weather problem. I understand the weather was so foggy even the police grounded all their helicopters.”

“Kobe always shuttled around in his helicopter to avoid busy traffic. That was not the first time he would use his helicopter.”

“Accidents happen.”

“I know. But this one should not have happened.”

“There were other people in the helicopter.”

“I know. Their death is also tragic. John Altobelli, the coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team, his wife, Keri, their daughter Alyssa and Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at the Mamba Sports Academy.”

“Take heart. His legacy will no doubt endure. The way people have been reporting the incident, I am beginning to show interest in basketball. You are not alone. I have seen many Nigerians who have expressed so much sadness.”

“People are mourning all over the world, from the US to Italy to the Philippines.”

“I hope someday Nigeria will produce such a great athlete too, in any of the sports, who will capture the public imagination and evoke empathy in life and in death, not because of where he or she comes from, but on account of the quality of his or her contributions and achievement.”

“Do we value anything here? In a country where people are beheaded or killed in cold blood, and there is just no outrage? Isaac Promise, who distinguished himself representing Nigeria in U-20, and U-23 football died the other day, nobody from the Nigeria Football Federation attended his funeral. A Christian leader in Adamawa was abducted by the Boko Haram. He was later beheaded. Did anybody consider that unusual? We don’t care enough. Human lives mean nothing in Nigeria not to talk of the lives of accomplished persons who inspire others to greatness”

“By the way, I understand that one Prophet in Ghana has said that he can raise Kobe Bryant from the dead if 10% of his net worth is given to him.”

“Please. I am not in the mood for that. Too many charlatans parading as prophets. I am talking about death, you are quoting an idiot.”

“Talking about human lives, I have just read the story of the conviction of that lady who killed her husband in Abuja, because the man was seeing another woman.”

“Maryam Sanda. That is another tragic story. I understand after the judge read out his ruling, and pronounced death by hanging, she ran out of the court.”

“That was a tragic moment, with the judge reminding everyone in court that “Thou shall not kill. Whoever kills in cold blood shall die in cold blood.”

“You know these days when I attend a wedding, my prayer for the couple is that may they find everlasting love in each other’s company. Too many cases of domestic violence these days. Husbands killing their wives. Wives killing their husbands. Where then is love?”

“You know as I was going through the Maryam Sanda story, I saw another story, about how a 19-year old housewife in Malumfashi in Katsina also killed her husband yesterday. And somewhere in Abia State, one Mr. Kalu also shot his wife citing infidelity. Angry youths in the community captured the man and killed him.”

“When we have this kind of incident, so much is affected. Families are thrown into grief. The children in the marriage become orphans. It is one tragedy after another. Take the case of one 29-year old lady in Umuahia. She caught her husband in bed with their housemaid. She was so enraged she poisoned herself and her two children.

“What nonsense is that?”

“It is called the Medea Complex”

“Who is Medea?”

“I don’t want to bore you with Greek mythology. But if you have the time, try and read the ancient Greek play, Medea by Euripides.”

“Must you always quote a book? Look, I don’t have time for any ancient story. And I don’t need to read a book to know that there is depression in the land and that many couples are just tolerating each other. Why would a man shoot his wife? Why would a wife kill herself and her children because of a man? Because of infidelity? Well may be with the Maryam Sanda case, people will learn some lessons. You can’t just get angry and kill another person.”

“But do you think she stands any chance of winning at the Appeal Court? She has two children. Who will look after her children?”

“In this country, anything can happen. After that Supreme Court ruling on the Imo State Gubernatorial election, I concluded that anything can indeed happen in our courts. But talking seriously, a miracle may happen in the Maryam Sanda case. Afterall when one lady, Yewande, killed her husband in Ibadan in 2016, she was sentenced to only seven years imprisonment. She was later granted state pardon by the state government. Today, she is free. She will marry another man and move on.”

“The facts of the case may not be exactly the same. But murder is murder. Jealousy kills. Anger destroys. Hopefully, her lawyers will pursue the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Who knows?”

“Supreme Court. That reminds me. Emeka Ihedioha who was removed as Governor of Imo State, is going back to the Supreme Court to ask for a review of that controversial judgement?”

“I am aware of that. It is like giving the Supreme Court a second chance to correct its own mistakes. I hope their Lordships will find the courage to do the right thing. And I hope no ambulance lawyer will come up with the inane argument that the referee’s decision is final. Even in football these days, there is something called VAR. The Supreme Court needs to take a second look at the Imo case.”

“Are you optimistic that the Supreme Court will reverse itself? I don’t see that happening. There must be an end to litigation.”

“Still, justice must be done. Justice, not law.”

“What if the Court insists that it has done justice?”

“And what if the Court reverses itself and returns Ihedioha as Governor?”

“So that people like you can abuse their Lordships”

“Nobody will abuse them. Just answer my question, what if…?”

“I don’t think we can comfortably comment on something that may or may not happen.”

“Let us just assume”

“I don’t know. I don’t know. But if that happens, I would like to see the reaction of all the members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo state who immediately defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), the moment Ihedioha was removed by court order and Senator Hope Uzodinma was installed as Governor.”

“Those ones? They will simply abandon the APC and return to the PDP. They will do so with straight faces and justify their conduct.”

“No ideology”

“There is nothing called ideology in Nigerian politics. There are only stomachs. And some stomachs are bigger than other stomachs.”

“My belle oh.. my stomach oh.”

“Even the people are interested in their own stomachs too. That is why they sell their votes to the highest bidder.”

“Our democracy is in trouble.”

“You can say that again.”

“Hen hen. How far with this their Operation Amotekun thing in the South West, now that the Federal Government says the security network as proposed is no longer illegal? Have you seen any of the Amotekun officials on the streets of the South West?”

“I have seen pictures of Amotekun vehicles on social media. I have seen pictures of hunters wearing charms and amulets. I have also seen pictures of some pretty ladies wearing Amotekun fabric, each one of them with “come and do” eyes. I tell you, if those are the kind of ladies that will be recruited into the Amotekun squad, I may consider a change of vocation and join the Amotekun”

“Very good. I will be the first to let your wife know your plans. Whatever happens to you, you are on your own. Of all the things that have been said and written about Amotekun, the only thing that you are excited about is the images of women, who have nothing to do with the security outfit by the way, but who are just part of the dark humour that the Amotekun has generated on social media.”

“We joke too much in this country. That is part of our problem. But did you see the T-shirts that some people have made with Amotekun labels, and which they are now selling online?”

“That’s called enterprise. I have no problem with that. It is certainly better than what one Pastor is trying to do in Abuja.”

“Which Pastor is that?”

“I don’t know his name. I only know that he is now selling what he calls “miracle pants and bras” specially designed for single ladies who are looking for husbands. It is said that the miracle pants and bras will attract men. And you know some desperate girls will actually patronize the Pastor.”

“These Pastors! Where in the Bible do you have miracle pants and bras? He is actually promoting promiscuity and pre-marital sex. Too many people hiding under religion to mislead people in this country.”

“It is terrible. It is just like one Muslim group which has been quoted as saying Muslims in the South West should reject theAmotekun because it has Biblical origin.”

“How? Amotekun is just a Yorba word for the Leopard. Amotekun also has symbolic meanings in Yoruba cosmogony as a totem.”

“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is complaining that there is a reference to the leopard in the Bible. Specifically, Jeremiah 5: 6 which says “A leopard shall guard over their city.” The group claims that Amotekun is meant to be a Christian outfit, that will parade pastors, bishops and archbishops alone”.

“What is wrong with some people, though? Why do we have so many idle people in this country?”

“It beats me.”

“Please let me come and start going. I’ll need to take an Okada back to the office. I didn’t come with my car. I don’t like driving up and down during office hours. I left my car in the office.”

“Okada? Have you not heard that the Lagos State Government has banned motorcycles and tricycles on the streets of Lagos?”

“That wont be until February 1. And in any case, it is not an outright ban, it is more like a restriction of movement. The state government merely wants to enforce an existing law. I only hope they will insist on certain regulations such as the use of helmets and ankle guards particularly by the motorcyclists and their passengers, and penalties for overloading.”

“They should ban all motorcycles and tricycles. They are a nuisance. I detest them.”

“And what jobs will you create to absorb the motorcyclists and tri-cyclists? You want to create an army of armed robbers and petty thieves? The poor should also be allowed to live. We only need to enforce the laws to save them from themselves.”

“E-eee-hei-shun!!!”

“What’s that? Did you just sneeze?”

“What does it look like to you?”

“Please come and be going before you come and give someone Corona Virus. Ha. Ha. Have you not been reading the public health advisory issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Federal Ministry of Health?”

“There is no Corona Virus in Nigeria”

“Who says? For your information, it is already in Ivory Coast. It is on its way. Please, I beg, don’t sneeze again anyhow. And don’t make the mistake of shaking my hand… Bye!.”

Reuben Abati, a former presidential spokesperson, writes from Lagos.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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