ajagunna

I discuss Nigeria and the world at large because I strongly believe MyOpinionCounts!

BreakingNews: MIN Ambassadors Visit President Buhari in London!

“Agba to so agbado modi, lo so ara re di alawada ediye” Yoruba Proverb

Buhari is clinically dead. No, Buhari is dead. No, Buhari is dead and his handlers wouldn’t let us the people of Nigeria, we voted for him overwhelmingly in the last presidential election, mourn a good man in peace. He actually was an evil man, but one doesn’t talk ill of the dead. He deserved all the good and badwill, he worked his life off gathering them in tons. He was part of Nigeria civil war by the war, a repeat of which Nnamdi Kanu is not calling for, but this same president is encouraging with all his body language and actions, right from Nigeria to London in his dying hours.
Meanwhile, two people from MIN, don’t ask what that is, just Google, (MIN is a very powerful group feared by the Aso Rock Cabal on and off Facebook, if that description epps)they visited Buhari in London, the same Buhari that the Cabal prevented our Dearest Aisha, the wife of our dying president, from seeing. The two MIN ambassadors saw him.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

First of all, he’s taking his Nigerian drugs, I mean Buhari is taking his drugs, no fears, the ones that our doctors packed in his aeroplane parked in London hanger, very expensive place to sleep for a Nigerian aeroplane and strange too. No sun, no rain, nothing, nada for the poor aeroplane. We will come to that later.
Meanwhile, Nigerians, knowing what hell the poor creature is facing, have been calling for his immediate retrieval home, I mean the aeroplane, not the person it carried across the ocean, but Femi Adesina, the mouthpiece, whose son is now a pilot, not that the son flew Buhari to London o, he’s not involved, but his father has been talking about him plenty of times these days since Buhari absconded office, it was this Adesina who said Buhari is not dead, as if we needed any confirmation of his being alive, and that tje aeroplane should wait there, not considering what the people are saying. He said many more things which this book cannot contain.
Back to MIN, they saw him and laughed out loud, with the president of course. Who wan die laughing at a sick president! One of the MIN ambassadors is a man disguised as a woman, the president didn’t notice, he’s so sick. If not, he would have been wondering who brought a kitchen material into a hospital space. No respect. Our president is that tactless, no respect for Angela Merkel, Germany’s powerful Chancellor. It was in her presence Buhari shamed his own wife, the wife he married in the right way, Yoruba will say, nisuloka, with yams and yamflower. Poor Aisha I cried when I heard the news and saw the video for myself .
Anyway, this is not about my emotions, back to the president matter. He’s hale and healthy, even Asiwaju is short of words at the moment, Asiwaju The Great. Yoruba oni gbagbe e lailai! It was Obasanjo who gave us Yaradua. Asiwaju topped that in record time. Another dying president sold to us in a beautiful package! APC! The packaging powerful! How did we buy the elephant in the house?! Just how?! All our great people, the intelligentsia in America and Europe and the abroad, they are now calling it what it is, a bad market, but before now, they swore on their own lives that we had no better alternative at that moment.
Meanwhile, one MIN member back then was shouting so loud he lost his voice. He said and I quote: “my people, vote for Jonathan and go and vomit thereafter, it will not kill you if you vomit early enough.” He said so many other great things, like, let me quote again : “APC and PDP are latrines, my people, I advice you as a proud MIN, choose the latrine with two P in it, the one that featured Jonathan as president.” End of quote.
Not that Jonathan was the best Nigeria had to offer, but this MIN member was sincere enough to admit we were already screwed and Jonathan would screw us slower than this unlimited screwing we have been enduring from Buhari since that we can’t take it no more. As I was saying, many many quotes, check them out yourselves on Google, they are everywhere. They littered everywhere some Cabal blocked this selfless Nigerian self for the great effort to save Nigeria from us. That’s history.
Now back to the visit. Buhari spoke not in Hausa this time. He was polite he chose Edo, the language of the Gods, a dialect of The Great Yoruba Language. Alright. Alright. Is alright. No quarrel, yet is not about language or dialect that is not dialect or important, that discussion will come later. For now, it’s about the body language of the president. He’s suffering from speech impairment. Sahara Reporters don’t do fake news. They are real. To be sincere, the president is in bad shape. I have known and seen people in his condition. He deserved all the pity and prayers in the world.
The latter will help no more though. He cursed the Gods too many times they have chosen to ignore any of the latter that involved the name of our president. A tip: When saying a prayer for him, do not mention his name. I repeat, avoid mentioning his name. Just pray.
Some badbelle people are saying the photos from the MIN people are photoshopped. Others say, and so what?! We are okay with them like that. All we are saying is for President Buhari to come home hail and hearty. We love him that much. Dead or alive, just bring hin home, his family doesn’t deserve this shame. Let a good man be brought home with dignity. President Buhari is not like this. It’s people who have been laundering his image since he happened to our public consciousness decades ago. And till today. Lies! Lies!! Lies!!! Imagine how quick bad names stick. Only that in this case, Buhari did all the bad bad things people said. At least, this presidency is a nightmare already, and people are saying this is even childsplay, it pales in comparison to the terribleness of Buhari’s first coming. Is like, the more we are screwed, the juicier it gets for the old and new brigade alike. The politicians and their sidekicks, the people.
I am speechless but not speech impaired. Thank goodness. Anyway, before we lost thread of the conversation, we are still looking for our President, someone said he’s in hiding, seeking asylum in London, some said he’s dying. We are not sure sha, but we know he’s dying. All our Great Dibia from the North are not seeing good things. Imams from the East are speaking with one voice, not seeing anything different. According to Ifa priests from where they are from, there’s tunnel at the end of the darkness. The Babalawo of Osborne is at rest, he believes the Imams and The Dibia and The Ifa priests. Nothing evil, no evil shall happen to our president. Ten thousand shall fall by the right, tens of thousand by the left, none of this shall befall him. I believe too, like the #halleluyahchallenge, Nigeria will survive it. Let us pray.

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Taninomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Joy Isi Bewaji vs. Hallelujah Challenge Brouhaha (JIB vs. HCB)

Don’t throw the child away with the bathwater. While many of you are calling for Isi Bewaji’s head because of her rant against the Halleluyah challenge, you seem to neglect the salient lessons. She was wrong to have interfered in the religious business of faithfuls who decided to come together to worship their God. It was not the Ministry of Science and Technology or the Ministry of Education that called the challenge, it was a group of Christians and that is why they called Christians. But she was also right in the rant; religion has to a large extent adversely affected us. It has made us more selfish, close minded and unquestioning.

So, I went to an ‘SU’ secondary school, those schools where the proprietor is an ultra-religious adherent. We had a long list of dos and don’ts. The school directress, who at that time was running her PhD in English, told us not to read Festus Iyayi’s Violence, a NECO prescribed text. Her reason: it was ‘corrupt.’ The intolerance was top-notch; these were people willing to kill with the rod in order to bend you to the mould they think is right.

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Hand-in-pocket: Oluwaseun Tanimomo of TPoM

In general, it seems besides salvation a number of Nigerian churches have no other good to offer. Church here means an organized body of people on earth who gather in a place regularly to listen to a scriptural exegete. What obtains in the religious circles in Nigeria and some African countries is different from the reality in Western countries, where Christianity and churches appear to be compassionate. In Germany for example, I know that the Catholic Church and the Protestants have scholarship stipends for students. They have hospitals and organise conferences and fairs. In Nigeria we build big churches and organise big programs year after year. How do you explain to the people that they are the real church when we spend millions adorning buildings? And are those private jets really for evangelism or for jetting out to world capitals where the honorarium is heavy and enticing? Do our super-pastors travel to the villages in Adamawa, the poorest parts of Malawi and Mozambique to preach? It seems to me that the good news is only for the super-rich. That is one other thing I like in my German church; offerings are collected to travel to the very poor, for ‘development aids’. Just look at the good Pope don’t you like him?
Religion for a number of us is a tool for control; a tool to force people into your line of scriptural interpretation. It is the reason we are so quick to fight for our God. Imagine! In my second year at the Obafemi Awolowo University, I had picked a Quran to read, so this boy called Maxwel, who we had all thought to be Ibo and consequently Christian told me to drop the Quran. I smiled and thought the bros was joking until he picked a knife. I like my life! I dropped it immediately until another good Muslim friend, Damola is his name, explained to me that they don’t treat their holy book the way we did ours. I asked Damola why he chose not to stab me instead. After all, they are both Muslim . Damola condemned the action of the violent Muslim.
Still in my second year, a group of student-religious leaders decided for the whole hall that it was wrong to watch adult movies in the common room on Friday nights. They succeeded because they added violence to their quest. This was a hall of residence for students majorly above 18 years. adults. Anyways, we went on a two week break after that, we called it Mojo break.
As a child of about 8years, my mum once left her work to come pick me and my siblings at my grandma’s place in Ijoko-Ota because the Gods of the Ota people did not know it was the dusk of the 20th century. Businesses shut down and a pin-drop silence accompanied by a palpable fear enveloped Sango-Ota area, a midway city to Ijoko-Ota, and its environs. The Oro festival was being held. Talking about Oro festival, I once attended a vigil as a child and Oro visited. They charged at us because there were women in the church. Women should not see Oro. Well, our Pastor’s wife and also a family friend said she was not going to hide that she had rights. Fearless woman! Whether you interpret this as a Westernized Christian woman, disrespectful of her culture, standing in the way of tradition. Or a fearless woman standing for her rights against a patriarchal religion is another matter. I choose the latter.
Family members, friends complain about the gridlock along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway from time to time. True, it might not be the responsibility of the churches to build roads, but I believe these churches have enormous influence on governments.
Whatever shape or form religion takes in Nigeria, it seems that those at the helm of its affairs are one way or the other complicit in the oppression of the people. Our ancestors had seen the tyranny of religion and concluded that religion or whatever deity we choose to serve must be able to save us and make our lives better. Orisa bi o le gba mi, se mi bi o ti ba mi, our ancestors warned. In the act of our ancestors, they preempted a danger of an unbridled deity, hence the insertion of the freedom clause in the design of our Gods. The freedom to choose is important, saving which the head of a particular God may swell and tell adherents to kill or punish non-adherents so that (s)he can be more God.
Christianity, Islam and our traditional religions sure have many positive sides. But to be a slave to religion is to be a slave to unreason. Religion should help and not be a problem. In fact, I am against this seeming adopted Westernized religious manicheeism in Nigeria that clearly divorces reason from feeling, and religion from science. Fact is, science and religion can walk hand in hand and lead humans to a more humane world. It does really not have to be this manicheeism kind of approach as it is presently in Nigeria.

WHAT TO TEACH THE CHILDREN | by Ayo Sogunro

Ayo Sogunro

We should teach the children History, because we cannot determine our destinations if we do not know our origins. We should teach children what we know of history and not what we wish it were. We should teach them not just our personal history but also the history of all humanity: because everyone’s story matters and we can learn even more from the journeys of others. We should teach the children to value the sufferings and pains of the past so that they do not repeat the causes of damage; to value the sacrifice and strength of those who laboured — so that we do not nullify their efforts. We should teach children not to fear the past. The past never changes and acceptance of the past does not diminish the present.

We should teach the children the nature of Being. We should teach them the balance between the mind…

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Corruption-Fight a la Deodorant or Insecticide by Ajibola Fabusuyi

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Ajibola Fabusuyi (@Jaybee Deutsch on Facebook) shares his opinion on politics, social happenings and many more on Facebook.

For those who know Arabinrin Onochie, apparently one of the numerous aides appointed to launder the image of Buhari, please tell her that as far as her claim that Jonathan made some people millionaires is concerned, I agree completely. However, those that know her should please read her the Bible passage of removing the speck in the eyes of another while there’s a log in one’s own eyes.

If she still doesn’t understand, then say it to her plainly, but nicely, that she’s only saying things they want her to say, at least, to justify her pay.

Tell her inasmuch as I abhor corruption in all ramifications, I find selective anti-corruption fight even more appalling. Tell her that her Oga PMB didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, unlike many seem to believe.

Tell her her hero, PMB:

-Allowed his ex-Generals, namely Dambazzau and Buratai to go scot-free on corruption in the military while making others pay for same;

-Turned a deaf ear while his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari use his office to do many shady deals including Foreign Exchange racketeering, Contract scams, and lately, arm-twisting Foreign Missions to pay him millions of our much needed pounds;

-Condoned and even claim witch-hunting when all Nigerians, including his own party men in the Senate Committee called out his SGF Babachir Lawal’s corruption, including embezzling N270million to cut an grass in an IDP camp in Yobe… and how the fellow started playing silly pranks to cover up…

There’s a long list, but let me stop here, at least to explain why many Nigerians have no sympathy for or belief in his so-called anti-corruption fight. No wonder Senator Shehu Sanni (Kaduna Central)’s description of the act as “…treating corrupt people in the opposition with insecticide, while treating our own (corrupt) people with deodorant!”)…

Finally, tell her that in addition to being incapable, lacking in initiative, divisive, egoistic and hopelessly nepotic; her hero PMB is only bent on punishing people in the opposition, who have benefited all the time he contested election and lost. Tell him this mind-set would only make him blind to real picture on ground in Nigeria, and that’s result, as it’s doing already, in absolutely no progress (take a look at Osinbajo yourself, and learn how to be a leader, at least from what I’ve seen so far).

I pray that he (PMB) recovers soon, so that we’d be able to tell him many things he’s done wrongly, including surrounding himself with very childish, hero-worshipping and image-laundering assistants who would never offer him constructive criticisms, but shameless sycophancy, who would not at least allow him to get first-hand suffering of ordinary Nigerians, while he’s busy fighting the already super-rich individuals that would always stay rich anyway, even after partying with a little of their loot or a few months in jail.

Again, I suppose some other hero-worshippers would still attack me on this piece, I dare say, real progress would only elude our country if we keep up with this attitude.

God bless us all.

AhjotNaijaBlog: Originally posted on Facebook by the author.

!Colour Does Matter by Tanimomo Oluseun (TPoM)

Dear There-is-only-one-race-the-human-race White Liberal,

Don’t say there is no colour line because there is. Colour didn’t go with the 20th century. Colour still matters.

It matters in the bus: when white people decide to stand in their numbers in a crowded bus than to occupy an empty space beside a black person. Colour matters when your not-so-young academic mentor, a Doctor is asked if he is still a doctoral student. You see, it seems hard to believe someone that young can be a Dr. and a lecturer.

So you see, unfortunately, colour still matters, besides you were not there when he came to us, that proud white boy. He came to us, my friend and me, to ask if I was a Christian or that religion which Africans practise. No, he didn’t say it exactly that way, he wasn’t that smart; instead, when he wanted to say “that religion”, he waved his hands like a magician conjuring some magical things, he also had no word but I read the contempt and derision all over his face. That religion, we, Africans spill human blood to appease our Gods for. Or something like that, he must have thought. Something he must have fictionized after reading or seeing one of those TV progs where the African story starts media res. No airports, no roads, nothing, only jungles: the stories start and end in the African Jungle! Oh, they love the Serengeti!

tmomo

Hand-in-pocket: Oluwaseun Tanimomo of TPoM

It was also him, that boy, who asked me if I had watched the Lion King, I told him no because by then I had had an epiphany, a realization of his foolishness decorated with salad cream and icing. So, he wondered how bad the educational system in Africa was because I hadn’t watched “Lion King.” But I was the gentle one, the phlegmatic who soaks bullshit up like a sponge but my friend wasn’t (still isn’t) she gave it to him hard, fast and smart like Okonkwo gives his opponent (by the way have you read Things Fall Apart? Imagine my autocorrect just underlined Okonkwo! Sacrilege! By now, Okonkwo should be a “standard” word, and you say colour doesn’t matter?). She called him ignorant and told him to read more.

Then he told us the story of his girlfriend’s African flatmate who still fries banana in the 21st century. Let me tell you why this matters, “Africans” are close to monkeys, monkeys like bananas you know? So it does matter if there is a German word for plantain – Kochbanane, he didn’t bother to think. So, this his girlfriend’s African flatmate loves banana so much she even fries it in the 21st century! What other way is there to describe an innocent act like frying plantain as primitive if not by placing it in a century that is not this present one. I can write a whole paper on this!

Then imagine that every time I write an essay, I have to check if Smith, Derrida, Kant, Descartes etc. agree or said something about it. I must find a way to inject them into what I write before it looks “theorish.” Imagine reading my essay without any of those guys, no Greek mythology and the likes. You see?!

All these are through my eyes, and I’m gentle and introverted o, I allow things to pass I even rarely talk in class, I instead think about my crush and I under the waters of Erin Ijesa. I don’t make many friends too and I really don’t care because I don’t plan to stay in the West for a long time after my education. So if I noticed and experienced these, now think about what many others experience. Ask those who work here about their experiences for a starter.

And by the way, colour bias is not a white-only thing. So, in 2014, while visiting my aunt and cousins in the UK, I decided to go to church on my own. I charged my Oyster card with 10Pounds on what I had, I don’t like embarrassment. Unbeknownst to me, Oyster cards can’t take you round London. At the Dartford station, it was clearly written on the walls, Oyster cards can’t be used here (or something like that). Long story short, I walked up to two security men, both black, they didn’t ask questions they suspended their brains and started screaming “so you mean you travelled without a valid ticket?”, even though my Oyster card was valid to the station immediately before that. It was a white man that saved me, he advised me to go back one station and I would be fine from there. So why did the black men serve me with a plate of their stupidity marinated in idiocy? Because in their minds, black men don’t buy or use the correct tickets. NB none of my black friends has ever been booked for a ticket offence.

Colour is also the reason some Africans assume that Africans married to whites mostly do so because of papers.

So, my friend, the next time a person says they see colour, don’t tell them it no longer exists and also don’t sermonize about the one human race thing. Just ask them “how?” For that is the sensible thing to do. Sebi you are sensible? Have you eaten?

Editor’s Note: First published on Facebook by, Tabimomo Oluwaseun. This is an unedited publication for the purpose of reaching a wider audience.

Will Twitter kill off African literature?

Ikhide

For you. Thank you.

Reading Chibundu Onuzo’s The Spider King’s Daughter is a sedate but thrilling experience. The senses travel everywhere with this gentle storyteller as she quietly but accurately records the history of contemporary Nigerian dysfunction. At some point, you realize you have been tricked, this is a love story. Romance! This is not your traditional genre of romance literature, where you are told from the first sentence of the book: This is going to be about heart-break and you will love it. Onuzo’s lovely book straddles the no-man’s land between chicklit and serious literature. No, The Spider King’s Daughter is not “serious literature”, as self-appointed purists of African literature would say in the unctuous and supercilious manner that only they can conjure up. This is a compliment to Onuzo. For the weary reader, “serious literature” as it is applied to African writing is fast becoming a pejorative…

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!SiDoS Slams For Girls in Münster Germany

This is For Every Girl Fighting The System

dunni

Ms. Oladunni Talabi is a beautiful and wonderful addition to the AhjotNaija!BlogFamily. She is a Master student resident in Germany, young and very-full-of-life. She experiments with different forms of writing; this is one of them: Entertaining while strongly pushing for deep self-discovery/identification and cross-cultural dialogues among other interesting themes

It was the end of the school term
I accompained my mum to my brother’s school
I was four years old
My brother was nine
The three best students for each class were always selected
And prizes awarded amidst claps and encomium
It was the turn of his class
He came second
A girl came first
I was glad, I was proud of him
I clapped so hard my hands began to hurt
My mum wore her pride like a peacock
And marched out with him to receive his prize
But her face was marked with lines of unsatisfaction
Well, must it be because the first position was snatched out of his hands?
I questioned myself
Every parent wants her child to be the best

On our way back home
My mum said to my brother
Congratulations, you did well
But a girl beat you to the first position
A girl
You shouldn’t let that happen next term.
Whats wrong in being a girl?
My four years old brain pondered
Why cannot a girl be the overall best
In an egalitarian society,
My mum would have said
Congratulations my son, you did well
But second place is not the best
Try harder next term
I am proud of your achievement

My mum bought me every kind of dresses
Puffed shoulder, wide- lacy-frilly skirts
But I envied my brother’s trousers and t-shirts
All I wanted was simple t-shirts and trousers
Why couldn’t I have clothes like him
I wailed at my mother
Because you are a girl
She responded
And girls should not wear what belong to boys
I hung my head in despair
Pondering on this argument
Why make this much effort for someone who don’t want it
Well, you don’t have a say in this, she smirked at me
So I wore my dresses and pranced about in my girly shoes
Cussing at my life for being a girl

Visiting the tailor was another scary day
My mum and I always came home mad at each other
I had to make my pick out of the feminine collection
I was always very quick to choose the simple dresses
Can we go now mum
I would say to her
Oh, so quick
She would stare over my head asking me to show her my choice
Well, here it is
I would fume at her
Why not this? She would say
Why that? I would reply
At least now, you can’t question my choice
It’s still from the freaking female catalogue
So can I have my deserved space
I would glare back at her

I enjoyed playing football with my brother and male cousins
Running, jumping and screaming to high heaven
Oh, the scent of freedom and liberty
But my mother wasn’t having any of it
It was all good at the beginning
She didn’t care too much
But whenever an errand needed to be done
It was me who had to go
What a heavy burden
The boys continued with their football
While I quickly went on the errand, returning to join in screaming
One day, the football had to stop
Why?!
Because you are a girl!
You shouldn’t be jumping around!
You are beginning to grow boobs!
Wow!
I hate my boobs then!
And would like to cut it out if given the choice
I bared my teeth at her
But then I found a way around her
Whenever she wasn’t home
I joined them
But my long dresses wasn’t made for the sharp turns and twists of football
Often, the ball got buried in my yards of skirts
We had to dig through to find it
But my cousins were super nice
So we came up with a plan
I had to be the goal keeper
Both team wanted me even if I sucked at it
Because my wide skirt did the job of fending off the ball
That’s quite smart right?
Hell yeah
My team always won
My skirts did a very good job
The moment we heard my mother’s car horn
I scrammed into the house
Wiping off my sweat and trying to stabilize my breathing
To get caught was to be flogged
And lectured on the proper way of being a girl for days

Sunday was the Lord’s Day
It was another day to spell out your gender codes of conduct
The pastor was the police
The bible was the constitution
It was a predictable service
I’ve heard it countless times I could become a pastor
Woman, be submissive
Learn how to please your man
Be quiet when he is angry
Give him food when he is hungry
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach
For a submissive woman is a woman after God’s own heart
I would dose off mid speech
Waiting for the service to end
So we could go home to eat rice
One Sunday,
My mum said
I don’t want you to sit in the front pew any longer
Well, I don’t care wherever I sat
I would rather stay home
If I had a choice
The back pew would be more comfortable for my sleeping session
But out of curiosity, I asked her why
She said I was disrupting the church with my negative rebellious energy
Well, if your pastor was making sense
Perhaps, you won’t be staring at me during the service
Trying to pin down what energy my body was emitting
I grumbled under my breath

I was always the best in school
I was smart
I had no competition
My report sheet was predictable
Intelligent but rude
The intelligent part always got my mother so proud
But she would shake her head and beg God to change me
I could understand her though
I had one flaw
I was a girl
And girls shouldn’t be considered rude
They shouldn’t have a cause to fight for
They shouldn’t talk back to people
No no no, they shouldn’t even have opinions
I would laugh at her and run into my room
Screaming,
You don’t have to be worried for me mother, I don’t want to be married either

The more I aged,
The more my femaleness became hell for me
So I distanced myself from anything considered feminine
I didn’t want my brother’s penis either
So no, I had no penis envy
I just wanted to do things everyone labeled boyish
And also liked the benefits that came with having a penis
I would sit with my legs wide apart
Strut around like a peacock
Pick up fights with boys in school and on the street
I was tough
I was assertive
And I dared anyone to correct me
So everyone called me a tomboy
And I began to wear the label with pride
Because it meant being different from other girls
It meant power, authority, intelligence and superiority
It meant being able to wine and dine with boys on the same table

But then as I began to put things into perspectives
I realised the problem wasn’t me
The problem was the society and its perception of the female body
I realised being called a tomboy shouldn’t be a label I should wear with pride
I realised whenever I talked, men listened
But whenever another feminine girl talked, she was always shrugged off
I realised there is language and there is language
The difference between the two is how you wield it
I realised that whenever I wrote articles and responded to comments
People always assumed I was male
I always took great joy in telling them I was a girl
Then they would ask again to be sure
Are you sure you are a girl?
And I would puff out my chest in great pride
But then, I stopped smiling whenever my guy friends said
We don’t see you as a girl anymore. You are now part of us.
You belong to the guy club. We can’t date you.
So I would say: No, I am a girl. A girl who doesn’t want to be a boy either
You don’t get to mutilate my female body to consider me equal

This is it: I ran away from my life. The problem
I didn’t run from my female parts. The physical me.
The problem is this: We raise girls to be different from boys
Now, I still love to wear big t-shirts and trousers
And there are days I like to wear dresses and paint my face
It dawn on me that the dresses are not the problem
The problem is the baggage attached to the dresses
The problem is being taught hours hours unend how to rightly be a girl
Investing so much effort in teaching to live life as the inferior gender
Talks like: Keep your virginity. It’s a big price to pay for
Don’t have multiple sex partners or you would be considered a slut
Let a man decide for you what he wants or he might get turned off
For the big price, why don’t you go sell me in the market then?!
Meanwhile, the boy child is left off the hook
He doesn’t need to be taught these things
Only the wings of the girl child must daily be clipped
For the unfortunate reason that she is a girl and must fit the norm

So I reclaim the female parts!
I take great pride in the boobs and vagina!
I love big t-shirts and sweaters!
My favorite color is blue!
I do whatever I want without giving it much thought!

I sit and ask:
What if I was super feminine and liked frilly dresses, and stylish hairdos?
Would I still be taken seriously? Wouldn’t I always have to prove my worth as female?
Why can’t girls be happily girly without their femininity attached to inferiority?
Isn’t this why boys stay miles away from anything labeled feminine?
These asymmetrical relations, that can be traced to no beginning! Will it ever end?

I will say this:
A culture that weighs down a woman to feed the ego of a man is bad!
I am a woman. I sit on the same table with you. As a woman!
I have boobs and vagina! And I will behave whichever way I want!
I will be feminine! And masculine. I will be whatever I want to be!

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Ola Dunni of !SiDoS Slams for Girls in Münster Germany in a Spoken Words/Poem Event titled “Kunst gegen Bares”

Na Who Debauchery Epp?

“With these thoughts in my mind I came to Italy and Sicily on my first visit. My first impressions on arrival were those of strong disapproval-disapproval of the kind of life which was there called the life of happiness, stuffed full as it was with the banquets of the Italian Greeks and Syracusans, who ate to repletion twice every day, and were never without a partner for the night; and disapproval of the habits which this manner of life produces. For with these habits formed early in life, no man under heaven could possibly attain to wisdom- human nature is not capable of such an extraordinary combination. Temperance also is out of the question for such a man; and the same applies to virtue generally. No city could remain in a state of tranquillity under any laws whatsoever, when men think it right to squander all their property in extravagant, and consider it a duty to be idle in everything else except eating and drinking and the laborious prosecution of debauchery. It follows necessarily that the constitutions of such cities must be constantly changing, tyrannies, oligarchies and democracies succeeding one another, while those who hold the power cannot so much as endure the name of any form of government which maintains justice and equality of rights.”
Plato, 360 B.C.E.

Plato is wrong! Damn wrong! He jumped too early into conclusions. Ignorant outbursts. SMH. I’m laughing out loud. LOL. LMFAO. He never was in Nigeria before making this ignoramus of a statement, in fact of himself. He should have waited, or traveled a little farther. He didn’t walk enough. He would have met the great people of Nigeria. Yes, they were all great. No jokes. I don’t have such luxury when I’m reading Plato, The Great. He is such a writer. A great man. A Great Prophet. Of Our Time. Daddy. How did he know there was a man called Senator Dino Melaye in Okunland? This Plato is more than any president!
President Buhari needs to read him. Somebody please read Plato’s The Seventh Letter into Buhari’s good ear. Not the bad one, please. Yes, there was a line, in fact a whole paragraph in the letter where Nigerians apologized profusely to President Buhari for voting him into office. They said it’s time to go. If you don’t believe me, Google the document. It’s there for all to see. It’s history.
Plato called out Saraki and Tinubu goodly terrible names. I’m not making things up. But wait o, what if Plato was a man like Chief Obasanjo, a man who wrote books, a genius, and all the books are full of lies, contorted truths, shistories turned on their heads. And I’m here reading him. Jesus save us from us! We are back from 360 B.C.E. to torment hell into us!
Welcome back, Good People. Let’s ignore Plato. And dance away our problems. Who intellectual debauchery don epp? What intellectual debauchery!!! Debauchery?! What’s the word? What does that mean? I don’t know. I didn’t check, like many of our people, we don’t check, and if we do, we just don’t do. Like the last manifesto before the election. Who understood the document?! Not me. Who get that kain time? At least, I know I don’t. Life is too short to care about non-existent beauty.
Who needs beauty and good roads when there is Gala and LaCasera to sell. We are too much. We are like that. Ahen. Now that I have used the word “Debauchery” I can go back to reading Plato. It feels so cool showing off in a time like this. Bad time it had been. Worse time we had. This is Buhari time. So cool. Asiko yi a tun wa lara o. May this time soothe us like Aboniki Balm. Do they still sell the balm? My neck aches.
Who reads Plato when the country is not well-runned?! Have you ever heard of an hungry deadman? It will not happen. Strange times are here. A Woman, Pastor Wife. Killed. She was not dismembered, as in her head was still joined to her body when she was found dead in her own body. The vice-president church member. That’s an improvement, I mean that completeness of the dead. We are grateful. At least, the president urged us to respect each other’s religion. That was the last time the person who was killed and dismembered was found out not to have been dismembered but only killed. Did that make any sense? No? That wasn’t my intention too. Life is too short to make sense. Not when you can afford not to.
Everybody is tired. No, only some. People like us, poor masses who cannot afford a new car. That’s why we hurting on the good president. Leave him alone. Go grab your husbands and wives. He’s not your president. Can’t you see that? SMH. We are poor and our children finished from England universities. We can afford it. Go to hell if you can’t afford your own children. Why you born them? Useless (wo)man. Thank you. You too. Go and steal if that’s how easy stealing is.
The Man of Daura never wanted to be Head if State. We forced him. Like Tinubu and his gang did with a forced presidency. After the inauguration, somebody said it felt like a big mistake and a relief at the same time. That somebody was Sahara Reporters. I added the relief part. That is a lie.
Back to Plato, he mentioned fuel scarcity in The Seventh Letter. Look not too far. I will quote more when I finish reading him and submit my opinion on my blog. It’s a free world. Grab a copy of NTA and read. Many terrible things in the news these days. Oshiomole. How I wish this people can read Yoruba. Kai! Disaster Has Now Not Only Known Our House. It’s now living with us. At first, we thought it was a joke, we told Disaster we had no stood. Or is it stool. The thing to sit down. Like magic, Disaster produced a fine golden chair and sat with us. Eating, praying, sleeping with us real good. We are pregnant as I speak. May we deliver in peace. IJN!
We are enjoying it. All the roads had been bad, were bad, are bad, will be bad. Please somebody tell Oshiomole to stop the accusations. It’s not his fault. The loan he collected will not be asked back from him. He may keep the whole money. Patapata porongodo. He’s not a useless government. Unlike his predecessors. I don’t mean the people he replaced. I don’t mean anybody. Who wan die! I’m not visiting Nigeria anytime soon. The price hike is revoked. By a court of law. Who cares? After all, it was in the sky The Minister of Darkness announced the price hike. You don’t get it? Don’t worry. This is the truth. The man accepted to grant interview. He told us in the sky. You all must pay more for the darkness to get worse. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Only if you agree to pay more. You all on your own now. He kept a promise. Bad belle will carry nobody nowhere. We are in this together. Congratulate him! Haba!
Buhari, unlike Jonathan, will serve two terms. He’s doing a good work. See him in the military regalia. He is so cute. Sai Nigeria! Just like Jonathan some years back. Some caps simply don’t fit again.
Our Buratai is a richman. He earned all that money. You haters are going to hate, anyway. Buratai. General Sir! We love you! Leave the haters out. EFCC will cater for them. They have started well, sealing off the offices. We have to start somewhere. Anywhere belle face. We need no plan. Professors support the corruption fight. I’m not a professor. I support too. What’s the price of tomatoes got to do with making Nigeria corruption free. The masses are in support. Like Nigerians in diaspora and home love to say. Na corruption we go chop? Who corruption don epp? Bad habit. I crazily like the sound of that word. “Epp!” I can’t have enough of it. That’s why I use it here. Like Debauchery. The thing sound well for ear. Like Nigeria. We need more of it.
At least trillions have been recovered in promise. Trillions of money. To fill the Atlantic Ocean! We are not broke. Hell forbid! We are not broke. We repeat that enough and the truth, this truth shall set us free. We are free. Free at last! The Man of the People has made it clear. No free money to share. Only wise and people friendly thieves can steal. Go back to livestock. Go back to where you come from. Go get life.
The president understands what Nigerians are going through. I assure you people, it’s like that in Germany. Everywhere in the EU. Money is scarce. Children beg for money on the streets in Brussels too. The Capital of the EU. I’m not joking. Begging is not a Nigerian problem. This is not peculiar. My people. Let us calm down and continue. It’s like that everywhere in the world. Who change don epp? LOL. SMH. I am not laughing out loud. Check my article on Pestilential Beggary in Brussels. The records are there.
Our children go to school in swamps. I mean not in Brussels. In Lagos. Those on festland have terrible classrooms. I went to school in that kind of place. Yes. When I saw VGC children for the first time. I mean I became a teacher after all and taught richpeople children. That was when I realized you either get rich or die trying. Nigeria is like America. Two countries. What is two? plenty countries in one. The rich don’t worry. They are rich. Pray you are not poor! I know what it means to be privileged. I have seen it with my my two korokoro eyes. Privilege. That word. Ehn. It’s not a richman word alone. There are privileged poor. Poverty get category. Nigeria is that kind. I know because I moved all my growing up years in that circle.
Let’s leave that. Back to the issues. When is the speed-train inauguration? We call it ICE. Inter-City-Express in Germany. In France. TGF. Or something more chic. America and the UK don’t have that. That’s what bad belle can do to a country. Nigeria. We are not bad belle. I heard the speed-train is in the pipeline. Many things are in the pipeline. That’s why Niger Delta Avengers are bombing pipelines. Goldrush. The mad goldrush. There is gold and plenty of madness. It will go round. Whatever that means. Boko Haram has been decapacitated. Our girls are not back. The ones found are living large, hail and hearty in Aso Rock. Our government has given us life. We are thankful. I swear we are.
The other time, good rich people in power and politics shared food with the poor. To celebrate End of Ramadan. That’s the spirit. In Ekiti state the same spirit worked. , the magic is near over. The stomach infrastructure has its limits. If given a chance, Nigerians would vote overwhelmingly for the Man of Ekiti. To fight later. Don’t argue it. We did it before. Facts are like that. Like PHCN and NEPA. Hardly distinguishable. Many years ago. We voted proudly for Jonathan, followed by Buhari. Fayose is not that bad a choice considering who we are and where we are headed. Even if he is not educated, Fayose speaks English. Good or bad. At least he speaks. Buhari hired lawyers to argue out his WAEC certificate, most times doesn’t understand what he’s saying, and he doesn’t care. Old people are like that. I am old too. Especially those of us who can afford the school fees of our children abroad. This is what we do. We don’t care.
Nigerians and our leaders are genius. We always set newer standard. We raise the bar. So that people with commonsense may never reign over us. Yes, reign. Not rule. Who commonsense don epp? That’s our genius. Think about it. We started with Obasanjo, a man with 20 thousand Naira to his name, according to the El-Rufai mythology, now we are here, dealing with a man who could not afford APC Nomination Form. I was moved to tears when I read the news. I wrote op-eds. Many people did. Professors. Diaspora and Home. Inbetween the two, we had Yar’Adua and Jonathan. Think am, my people. We are lucky. Who knows what the Christian God has in stock for us next.
I’m not curious. I’m interested. There is a chance I will make my first one million Euro with the information at the jackpot. Really, somebody should create an app, like Pokeman. Guess who is Nigeria’s next president and be rich. Nooooo. Rara. Not gender, names, or things like that. Those are for idiots. Not for Nigerians. Choose among the four we had so far. If you guess right, you win. Hey, I should patent my great idea before it’s stolen. I’m the next big thing. Albert Einstein. More books. More books. This summer will be bahd. Real bahd. I’m jobless. I need to find ways to turn this into money. Any epp? Who knows Aso Rock? Abeg. Na we-we-arrangement. Sure. I go settle. Thank you.

Sub War Culture: A Nigerian Perspective on Roforofo Fight by Ola Dunni and Ahjot Naija

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Ola Dunni and Ahjot Naija

Background

Conversing on the exchange between Joy Isi Bewaji and Njoku Nkiru, we will analyse two primary texts, reflect briefly on feminism and sub wars, the place of society and/or culture in this exchange and the benefits of sub war culture.

The first hurdle was deciding the appropriate description for the phenomenon, the core of this piece. Anyone who had read the exchange between the two women, and if per chance is Nigerian, will have little difficulty understanding what roforofo fight is. We must but go beyond the assumption that Nigerians will understand at first sight, to define in no unclear terms what this is, a deconstruction is necessary for the benefit of all.

What is a roforofo fight/sub war?

A sub war is calling someone out personally in a public or private space (without) mentioning the name of the person. One might be tempted to call it badmouthing, it is not entirely badmouthing. The space, public or private, is the medium through which the sub war is realized, i.e. birthed. Until it is birthed, as in passed on for consumption, it is still not a sub war; at best it qualifies as an unrealized sub war. It is safe to say, it is the medium that gives life to this art.

The Medium

A public space is for example the social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, a Whatsapp group chat etc. It is a public space when at least two listeners or readers have access to the message. Beyond social media, a church, mosque, an open/closed gathering, school, playground, market, meeting, family, house etc qualifies as a public space. A private space can be, but not limited to, Whatsapp chat, telephone conversation, E-Mail, one-on-one talk, SMS. Using our primary texts as an example, Joy Isi Bewaji and Nkiru Njoku chose Facebook- a public space as a medium to birth/realize their sub war.

The History

Sub war is not new in Nigeria. It is an old art. In our myths, folklore, stories, daily activities abound narratives of sub wars. This is not to suggest this is a peculiarly Nigerian phenomenon. No doubt, there can be features specific to Nigeria. For instance the proverbial Apari Ado among the Yoruba. Of course, it is not meant solely to be a sub, there are other ‘wisdoms’ derivable from the saying, it is but first and foremost a sub to the proverbial people of Ado. Another instance of a sub war in our folklore, and this is realized in a public space, is Ijapa’s call for help in the open market fight between Asin and Okere. To begin with, it is not Ijapa’s fight. He only comes to settle a fight, at least according to Ijapa’s version of event. Before long, he gets a chunk bitten off his nose by Asin. In the song (call for help), Ijapa lays bare his ordeal to onlookers/spectators. Below is the songtext:

Asin toun t’okere. Jomijo. Asin toun t’okere. Awon mejeeji. Jomijo. Awon lonjonja. Jomijo. Ijawon mo wa la. Jomijo. L’asin ba bu mi nimuje. Jomijo. Egbami lowo re. Jomijo.

Of course, if Asin was given a chance to narrate his side of the story, it definitely will be different from this version which presents Ijapa as a peaceful arbitrator, harmless being, who is unfortunately caught in a bad fight. In short, in the song Ijapa succeeds in the representation of himself as the good one, the positive character in the sub war.

Before the advent of social media, it is not unusual to read in mainstream newspapers, gossip magazines, and other media of exchanges between or among public figures (men and women alike); these reports come in different forms, they include news, revelations of transpired activities hitherto kept secret or outright lies. There are enough reasons why A felt it is time to reveal or talk about a particular matter. B may go all out to counter, or reveal something about A, that which is even more damning or scandalous. This trend continues, until peace is reached. Peace is not often reachable. Much older are quarrelsome exchanges between or among family, friends, neighbours etc. In an effort to outdo the opponent, it is not uncommon to throw abusive words at each other and/or at the family in particular, the lineage of the opponent. This is expected, as it gives the message a special weight when disseminated. A sub hardly qualifies as a good sub if there is no vulgarity. It is more potent if the vulgarity is extended beyond the direct opponent. Vulgarity is an essential characteristic of/in a sub war. The belief, an individual is a representative of his family, his lineage, and that through him one can get at his ancestors, explains the inclusion of the family in the course of throwing vulgarity.

The Exchange

Nkiru was informed about Joy’s inappropriate reference to Didi, Nkiru’s daughter, who was born blind. Joy referred to Didi as ‘needy’ in a conversation. In Nkiru’s opinion, the word was to get at her. She normally would not respond to any of Joy’s rants. Joy knew this so well, so she (Nkiru) claimed. The only way to get her (Nkiru’s) attention was to involve the physically challenged Didi. That way, Joy was sure to get the needed attention. This, I believe, is the summary of Nkiru’s piece, if other parts of the text were ignored. Joy, in response or counter-response, wrote three pieces. These pieces are best summed up as denial of a wrongdoing as conceived by Nkiru, acceptance of a wrongdoing (if the word ‘needy’ counts as abusive) and an apology. She (Joy) accepts responsibility for a careless choice of word in a heated exchange, that the physically challenged Didi came up in the conversation was reason enough for her (Joy’s) acceptance of a blame. (Source: Facebook Timeline of Joy Isi Bewaji and Nkiru Njoku)

The Subs

I will analyse two pieces, one each from Nkiru Njoku and Joy Isi Bewaji respectively. Starting with Nkiru’s, we shall take a critical look at the subs in her piece and their specificity, which qualifies them as such. She started off with a typical introduction of a sub. Lets read her:

“I have been advised to stand down from this. I listened. But then I un-listened. Because my motherhood instincts far outweigh my cool-as-a-cucumber status. Heaven basically forbid that I sit by being calm and unflustered while my daughter Dirichi, takes one for the team, in the hands of a silly woman.” ( Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline, 2016)

A sub introduces itself often with a distinction of the sub-giver, a kind of ‘I am different’ badge, ‘I would normally not do this if not for the situation’, ‘my hands are tied, as such I have no alternative response’. She (Nkiru) had been advised. One can deduce from this that she is one that is advisable. She is sure to make clear that ‘she listened’, but something emergent outweighs the advise, as such her decision to act differently. In this manner, we are informed of her character, something of a near flawless personality, a positive self-appraisal. According to her, she (Nkiru) is as cool-as-a-cucumber. After the positive distinction, follows the sub. She refers to the source of the exchange as one that comes ‘in the hand of a silly woman.’ A sub will not only positively distinguish the sub-giver, it will go further, it will tell why the assailed person is indeed the very opposite of what the sub-giver is.

Apart from positive self-appraisal, there is another well-placed constraint the sub-giver employs to justify her effort at being different (distinguised), the conditionality forces an alternativeless action. Here she goes:

“Heaven basically forbid that I sit by being calm and unflustered while my daughter Dirichi, takes one for the team, in the hands of a silly woman.” ( Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline, 2016)

Nkiru basically said it is the involvement of the physically challenged child which necessitates a reaction. This, while passing out a sub, leaves her positive personality intact. The sub act is successful.

After a successful introduction, she goes on to inform the reader about her road trip, making sure the reader is not uninformed of Didi’s condition. Didi has so far slept well through and through. She gets information about ‘her opponent’s madness’ upon stopping to refill fuel. Here are Nkiru’s own words:

“Then boom. I am told that Joy Isi Bewaji has gone to places she shouldn’t go. Joy dragged Didi and her blindness into her madness. I am stunned. Joy should know better. Joy should have a little bit more sense than this. Just a little. But then I remember. She lacks love. As in, Joy was clearly never loved as a child, therefore this is the mess she has grown to become. You can insult me as you’ve done before. My resolve is never to fight on my Facebook wall and if I ever fight, not you – Joy. You KNOW that I do not value you that much. You are aware of this and it has hurt you in the past and it continues to hurt you. I will never understand why. But that is your monkey and your circus. Your problem to deal with, not mine.” ( Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline, 2016)

Taking out phrases like Joy’s madness, Joy’s ‘sense’ should be a little bit more than this, Joy should know better, the reader is told that much more is expected of the said character, that she can be more than what she is or that she is in fact not expected to be caught this way. The character is successfully subbed yet again. It is sometimes not the abusive languages in themselves that qualify the act as a sub, but the manner of conveyance. a character, who is expected to be distinguished does otherwise, the character causes a damage, the damage coming from him/her makes the act worse.

Nkiru, who knows Joy’s (marital) past, alludes to this in her assertive declaration. She claims confidently, Joy lacks love. She goes further in her claim. According to her, Joy was not loved as a child, an act resulting into ‘the mess’ Joy is as a adult. Nkiru weaves her narrative well. She knows Joy had marital problems, she concludes it must be that she lacks love, she extends the search for the reason(s) for this lack of love beyond the publicly known fact, digging farther into Joy’s childhood. This way, Nkiru connects the reader to Joy’s childhood, a possible horrific experience, to ‘the adult mess’ and the supposedly act of wickedness against her (Nkiru’s) child. On the surface, this is plausible, and this is exactly what the writer, Nkiru, achieves- superficial plausibility. A sub does not necessarily have to be truthful, it can be a baseless assertion, one which is probably superficially plausible.

Lets look at this part:

“You can insult me as you’ve done before. My resolve is never to fight on my Facebook wall and if I ever fight, not you – Joy. You KNOW that I do not value you that much. You are aware of this and it has hurt you in the past and it continues to hurt you. I will never understand why. But that is your monkey and your circus. Your problem to deal with, not mine.”(Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline, 2016)

The first sentence suggests this is not new. Joy had done this in the past. And Nkiru’s decision not to fight was unbroken. Joy knows she is of little to no value to Nkiru. This knowledge, according to Nkiru, hurts Joy so badly, she insists Joy still hurts. She does not want to understand, declaring this as Joy’s monkey and circus. This kind of attitude sums perfectly well a typical characteristic of a sub war and a sub-giver. The line of demarcation is always drawn, that the sub-giver is positively different from the opponent. Reading this part, the Nigeria peculiarity could not be more obvious. the writer declares, ‘if I ever fight, not you- Joy(…)’. There is a sense of an oral transportation into the written form. This line transports the reader into a particular mood, that which is best imagined as of a physical presence of both parties to the exchange sorting out their difference in a thug of words, fist cuffs and all attending theatrics in a Nigerian atmosphere.

This is also of interest to the subject matter:

“Please say absolutely anything about me. I don’t mind being ‘subbed’. That shit doesn’t affect me the way it affects many people. So please go ahead and project all you want. Identify everything that you are, and say that is what I am. Foam at the mouth as you do so.” (Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline)

And this too:

“In any case, may you find love one day. True love. Whether it be from family or friends or a romantic interest, I actually wish that you find love. The kind of fierce love that I have for my Didi. Maybe your life would be better then. Maybe you won’t feel the need to make such needless displays that show you for who you truly are. You make me laugh. You’ve always made me laugh and I’ve also always viewed you with a mixture of suspicion and pity. I was not wrong about you.”(Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline)

Hardly goes a paragraph without a sub, clothed as a non-sub, this does not make it less a sub. While trying to suggest the opponent is probably satisfied at the thought of the created mess, she (Nkiru) subs her opponent by calling her ‘the needy one’, ‘In need of attention and not caring how you get it’. She refers to her action as ‘such stupidity’. This is Nkiru in her own words:

“I hope you get that satisfaction now. I hope you gloat. Because this is the sort of person you are. Calling my child needy? When you’re the needy one. In need of attention and not caring how you get it. Such stupidity.” (Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline)

She ends her piece with a sub:

“But you see Didi – don’t ever fucking come near her again. Or speak about her blindness with derision. You silly, silly woman.” (Nkiru Njoku, Facebook Timeline)

Lets consider Joy Isi Bewaji’s piece, a response to Nkiru’s. The introduction is not much different from Nkiru’s. In the same manner, it is someone who insisted Joy must do this. This qualifies for the ‘I don’t normally do this badge’ a sub bears. She is coerced against her will. This act of coercion presents the writer in a different light, a positive one; this introduction attempts to convince the reader to see she (Joy/the writer) is unaware of a wrongdoing, or at least it is not intentional if any wrong/harm was done. This is how she starts out:

“This is not the easiest thing to do…but Toni Kan is not going to let me rest if I don’t.

He knows how to string his words that will wrap around my neck like it’s about to choke me. That feeling can be very uncomfortable.” (Joy Isi Bewaji (JIB), Facebook Timeline)

Somewhere in the introduction is this:

“Toni Kan says this roforofo fight is beneath me. Long note. But it touched me. Iheoma Obibi says the distraction is beneath my brand. I agree. These are two people I respect. I have seen their works and their love for me runs deep.” (JIB, Facebook Timeline)

After the admittance of the task at hand, that is to ‘do what she is unwillingly doing’, follows a sub:

“In all of this, a child is involved. It was the mother I wanted to chop into bits and fry to a crisp. But the child found her way in.” (JIB, Facebook Timeline)

She wants to chop the mother (Nkiru) into bits and fry her to a crisp. To tell the truth, she did exactly this in the piece. Joy wastes no time in telling us what her mission is. She is out to sub her opponent. Her choice of words is unmistaken. She dilutes or attempts to dilute this clarity with a tint of kindness, when she admits that a child is involved. Suggesting it was not about the child, but the mother, she wants the reader to focus on two things, one, the sub and the subbed person (who is anything but the positive distinction the sub-giver is), two, the child. The second being the sub-giver’s way of stretching her own positiveness in the course of the sub war.

The reader is informed of Joy’s two healthy children. In contrast to Nkiru’s physically challenged Didi, the message is not lost on the reader. She (Joy) never intends to involve the child, it is an accident. While taking responsibility for her action, at the same time she shifts blame away from her person; she is a mother just like Nkiru. She would not cause another mother pain, especially if the pain is one that she personally does not know. This way, she taps so well into the sub war frame.

Joy has not only Nkiru to deal with, Chioma, another character, comes up in her narration. This is what she wrote about Chioma:

“(…)I got munched tweets from a twitter handle I didn’t even know who it was. I was accused of subbing their sister…and sincerely, how do you sub Chioma? There’s nothing to sub. I know nothing about her. I have no records of any achievement. Not even a proper job. Or career. Or exceptional goals. She is on twitter. And that is all I know of her. And she uses the hashtag #Winning alot for the most trivial of activities. It was all I could gather when I ran through her timeline (is that what they call it on twitter?) to understand what the issues were. And I was really offended. (JIB, Facebook Timeline)

To Joy, Chioma cannot be subbed because she has no record of any achievement beyond being on twitter. In that case, we see Joy admitting she subs, she indicates the criteria which the character for her sub must fulfill. There is a standard. She would not sub for the sake of it alone. Does it qualify as a sub to conclude that someone cannot be subbed because her career identity is unclear on her twitter handle, has no proper job or career or exceptional goals? Yes, it does. In the same text, Joy ‘was really offended’ because she ran through the timeline to understand what the issues were. The reason for her being offended and the tone employed are apparent; she found nothing worth subbing about when Chioma is the character involved. She does not meet the criteria.

She further emphasizes on the criteria. She wants trouble ‘with a worthy contender’. Thus being caught in a web with this below-my-sub-character infuriates her more. Throwing a jab at Chioma’s sister, she employs an abusive word used by the latter in bringing home her message. She describes her relationship with Chioma as a “preek”, stating that the word was borrowed. She dilutes the message (sub) with a touch of apology for ‘unknowingly’ firing at a child. Below are her words:

“If I want trouble, I want it with a worthy contender. It was insulting, and I just concluded that her sister was right- the only relationship I have with this person is a “preek”. That’s her sister’s words, not mine. And it irritated me further. And I aired my irritations. But thing is, I have very strong opinions about people and groups they all are involved in. So the heat never really goes away. I really don’t mind the heat. But not when a child is involved. And I dragged a child into this. Unknowingly.” (JIB, Facebook Timeline).

Worthy of note is, the art of conveyance (as visible in the diction, the tone and texture employed) is important in a sub war. It drives home the point. Take for example the use/choice of the word ‘preek’. Limiting the definition of the word to the context, we can read ‘preek’ to mean ‘a tiny minuscule’. A minuscule is already very tiny, unimportant, it describes something or someone absolutely immaterial. Lets now imagine the addition of an another adjective to qualify this word, and the choice of the new word is ‘tiny’. The effect of the doubleness is not expected to be lost on the reader. In Yoruba language, repetition can be for emphasis, in fact, it is a common tool employed for this purpose. Driving home a point in a sub, it is not out of place for a sub-giver to employ this tool for a purpose, namely to strongly emphasize the absolute uselessness of something, someone, a situation etc. In this case, Joy excelled at this with her use of the word ‘preek’.

Rounding up, Joy lands hard on her opponent and the opponent’s supporters, subbing them all. In an advisory voice, one not completely free of scorn, here is how she ends her participation in the sub market:

“In the last 24 hours, I have been reminded of the most heartwarming things I have done and I could do with the brands that endorse me and my platform. These are the things I want to focus on henceforth. I am rising above it. Without anyone’s permission. What else? Yes. Hymar. Son, are you hungry? I’ve always wanted to ask that question. Your hunger can be cured. You are not an angry man. You are hungry. There’s a difference. Until subs and counter subs and comments and likes translate to money or flight tickets… I will like to concentrate on the things that actually cover my buttocks. Iheoma says there’s alot of work I need to put my name on. Many worthy causes. (…) And we are here, living on subs. This is crazy. (…) I can’t do these things if I am going to keep up with the sub market. It ends now. Have a beautiful Sunday y’all.” (JIB, Facebook Timeline)

Feminism and Sub wars. Any Connection?

An attempt to localize the discourse in feminism will not be out of place. The authors of our primary texts are women warriors, they are feminists. Feminism is a movement for gender equality for women in every sense of the word, not only as opposed to the other gender, that is the man, it aims to remove any form of intra-gender bias and inequality that exist among and within women. Does sub war diminish the work of the movement? No, it does not. Although it adds some negativity to the personalities involved, this deducts nothing from their contribution to feminism. Does sub war have a place in feminism? No, not at all. One can be a feminist and sub-giver at the same time. The sub war culture is not peculiar to women or feminists. Anyone can sub. Neither must one be a woman nor must one be a feminist to sub. As far as their works in the feminist movement is concerned, both parties in this sub war are independent women who want to make changes, they want to change the narratives and perception of women in the society. Among other things, they challenge the status quo and expose the inherent double standards in the society. With this sub war, of particular interest/relevance are unavailable pre- and post-sub war texts. Notwithstanding the unavailability, that which becomes evident from the primary texts is this: Both parties do not understand there is no particular way of who and what the new woman should be as this would be plying the same route we are trying to avoid. No one should own a monopoly of the new woman entity. Independence, economic, cultural and social rights, and the right to be considered an individual irrespective of her attachment to a/no woman/man are desirables in the walk to equality; really, the freedom of choice is what feminism should be about taking into cognizance many factors like race, class, sexuality and many more in the advocacy for gender equality. In the absence of this, we will be shooting ourselves in the leg; in fact, we might be unknowingly ignoring many factors which inhibit the realization of equality. In short, what we are saying is, sub wars can only be evidence of shallow feminism; it is unconnected to feminism.

The Place of Society/Culture

We are undeniably a product of our society. The sub war confirms this. Narcissist tendencies are commonplace in our society. Going through the primary texts, of particular interest is the use of vulgarities. Reading between the lines, we can see that the parties strive to portray each other not only negatively but also to show that she is the better person of the two fighters. There is a kind of ‘I did not ask for this’ attitude in the narrations. A claim that the other fought dirty is clearly a pointer to one’s fairness in an unjust fight. References are made to different people, apparently both parties flaunt supporters, while the other tries to mud-sling the other’s supporters; there is a show-off of loyal supporters. Is this narcissist and like our society? Yes, it is when we think of it this way: Why does one need loyalty, will it not be enough to simply have friends, family members instead of loyal friends, loyal family members, and by so doing creating (un-)willingly grounds for new sub wars or reviving of old strife?

Weaving out words and more new words to cuss out each other adds linguistic angle to it, that which is much connected to our society and culture. The Yoruba language is a tonal language, a very rich one, it is creative when it comes to coining new words, placing identities on people, things, acts, actions, attitude etc. The tonality helps the creativity. This must have informed the parties, or at least one of the parties, use of this creative linguistic form in the sub war.

Freedom is relative. In the South West, at least among the Yoruba, we are a free society, until the borderline is crossed. What exactly makes up the acceptables in this controlled space of freedom is not difficult to make out, when one see them, they are recognizable. There are gray areas too. Same goes for behaviors, actions, or situations outside the border of allowed societal freedom. Our freedom is controlled. We are at liberty to do whatever pleases us until we cross this thin unwritten border. We internalize this relative freedom as we daily become and grow into our society. We call it the Omoluabi character. It is thus not unusual when strands of this societal norm find their way into our words, oral or written; in exchanges we want to determine where these borders are, what makes up the border, and more important is who sets the borders. We negotiate these things among ourselves. There is for example a right way to talk, eat one’s food, there is a right way to dress, to party, to have fun, to think etc. This is much visible in the primary texts. Take for instance, the un-listening by Nkiru after being talked to (advised), the attempt by Joy to contextualize or neutralize the word ‘needy’ as used by her, the acceptance by Joy to attend to a matter after being persuaded upon by another character etc.

The Benefits

Who roforofo fight don epp? Are there benefits for individuals and for society at large? As it is presently, hardly. Sub war is a societal norm, an indigenous art form, which if refined, can serve us positively. A recognition of this societal norm is a step in that direction and can help create an atmosphere of constructive criticism, an indigenous streitkultur sans the vulgarities characterisitic of sub wars.

 

A Telephace Conversation by Tanimomo Oluseun

tmomo

Hand-in-pocket: Oluwaseun Tanimomo of TPoM

When she came to you last Sunday and asked which part of Africa you were from, you thought she was not one of those people. Those white-church people who thought Africa was a single country with warring and half naked peopled tribes. So, you smiled at her and said “Nigeria”. “I am Igbo, from the Eastern part of Nigeria”, you added. She smiled back; her blush reddening as she took the empty seat beside you. 

She told you she had been to Ghana where she attended a good church with fire, she stressed the fire, her accent bending the word to sound like “foya”. She told you of her time in Uganda, Zambia and South Africa; she had visited Uganda and Zambia with her second husband and South Africa with her third and present husband. She told you that in those countries she met other fire brand Christians who could pray an entire week without food. But she had never been to your country, Nigeria though she had heard of the revival in your country of men and women who really sought and knew God not like the Europeans who had abandoned God and church.
She was beginning to sound like them you thought. “People should be able to subscribe to whichever religious system they want to. If Europeans don’t go to church again, they have their reasons. And Nigeria is not a Christian state” you had told her praying she would be kind enough to leave you at that moment.
“Don’t you think we should be doing something about that?” she responded. “Souls are perishing in Africa, many Africans are going to hell if they don’t change from their voodoo ways” she added with that knowing mischievous smile you had seen on many other faces.
You were beginning to hate her now. She was obviously one of them. One of those Christian people you had met in several other churches you had attended across Europe. But you allowed her; you were willing to suffer her foolishness gladly. “Don’t you think you should be more concerned about your country than Africa where religion is presently a problem in some parts?”
“No, you don’t understand, we need to save Africa, polygamy, female genital mutilation and all those” she quipped back. “Most especially with voodoo” she waved her hand like a conductor leading an orchestra when she said “voodoo”.
Your Nigerianness slipped in “Ehn ehn?! So what’s wrong with polygamy?”
“What’s not wrong with polygamy?”
“I don’t think polygamy is wrong provided it is done with consent and the woman is also allowed to come home one day with another man and tell her husband she has a second lover”.
She looked at you in surprise, her blush a dark red, she threw some strands of straying hair to the packed lots and muttered with something close to anger, “no, that is not right and we have to save the Africans they are perishing, their souls will rot in hell if we don’t save them”.
You were beginning to enjoy how she looked and it was your turn to enjoy the moment. You dropped the shell and shattered the friendliness that was budding between you two, “but you are also a polygamist if we look at it from a Biblical stance, you have divorced two husbands before your present husband.” You fired.
She went ballistic, her high-pitched voice filling the church hall. She told you that you had no concern with her private life and that you were not genuine with your Christianity and that you, Emeka who had gotten born-again twenty years ago as a secondary school student, were an ungrateful servant saved but not wanting to save the many perishing lots in Africa.
“We can start from here, from your country” you retorted with a mirth.
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