ajagunna

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Boda Tope, BT for Short

He died. But before he died, he lived.

He joined the OPC, a year or two after his secondary school education. He joined the radical wing of the Odua Peoples Congress, a faction led by Chief Gani Adams, who was not often addressd as Chief by the media when BT joined; Gani Adams was Gani Adams, a thorn in the flesh of not only the military government of that time, but also to Christian and Muslim parents, in whose eyes the Fredrick Fasheun founded and led-OPC was already unacceptable, so that the Gani Adams-led faction was doubly unacceptable to all moralising and proselytising adherents of the Abrahamic faith, who believed that anything neither Christian nor Islam is pagan and would end up rejected at the gate of heaven, damned for hell. Although, when they needed vigilantes and security men to protect them from their own children and armed thieves who killed and maimed without caution at the time, OPC members came highly recommended, guaranteeing safety for all houses, homes and families- Traditionalist, Muslim or Christian in the community. without discrimination.

These were times when armed burglars and life-threatening robbers at nights robbed us all common people, rich and wealthy, do-well, never-do-well, philantropists, businessmen and women, tall, short, fine, ugly, beautiful and what-have-you people, of our deserved goodnight sleep. Same thieves and not-petty buglars and not-ordinary armed robbers terrorised banks, filling stations, open markets and supermarkets and any shop at all that had a resemblance of money or anything valuable.

Passers-by became unfortunate victims of stray bullets, school children went to school in fear and jumped out of classes while teachers hurried into safety at the sound of a stranger than normal explosions that could come from the barrel of guns and other sophisticated weapons; in addition to the number of Nigerians, parents and other adults, young and old, killed by trigger-happy police officers, brutal soldiers and other members of the army community that beat and hit people indiscriminately, sometimes with intention to hit and kill their victims.

Thanks to the terror unleashed on all of us, police officers at junctions became roadside grass uprooters st the slightest sign of trouble, they put-off their uniforms in a twinkle of an eye, black boots that might betray them would be removed with same speed and thrown far away into oblivion. Service rifles landed on waste-hill and into open canals, putrefying gutters and over the fence, any available fence in sight.

We have heard of road traffic wardens, the popular yellow fever, who ate grass like goats and sheep at the command of highway robbers before being dismembered with the sound of double barrel gun and other superior weapons that the government did not equip our corrupt police and military officers with. There were other police officers, real police officers not traffic wardens who accompanied bullion vans to carry money to banks and financial institutions who also met their death in the hands of awon elegiri that killed and destroyed anything in sight when they moved.

The people, with mixed feelings, criticised indiscriminately, choosing to see and call OPC members asocial, all sort of names including branding them thieves when it pleased them. They saw them as saviour at night when they had no other means to guarantee that the night would break well into dawn, dawn into day without any incidences that clothed the morning, and the rest of the day, if not a lifetime, in sorrow, tears and blood.

This was the time BT joined the OPC. It was around the same time that popular song came out, controversial as it was, but well-danced to in and around the Southwest; a song that relived an unpalatable experience when the OPC invaded the Ajegunle community to steal land, kill and maim primary school children. The OPC denounced being the organisation represented in that song, that they were a peace-loving association who protected life and property of all peoples in the Southwest. This was the time BT’s anti-system personality reached its peak and he joined the OPC. 

He was about two or three years out of secondary school as at the time; he attended Sango Ota High School (SOHS), a school whose Motto was Utmost for the Highest, where Bose, my age-mate aunt who died a sad and miserable death from family-induced depression, also attended; she finished few years after BT had attended.

It was the same school that Monday, a tall, hugely-built and light in complexion young man, whose friend was a so-called acquitance of 2face Idibia, the popular musician. He bragged that this acquaintance composed songs that made 2face Idibia and other big contemporaries of that time blew into their fame and prosperity. I saw the said acquaintance once or twice in a jeans trouser and white shirt, well-starched to wad-off any aspiring dirt that wanted to jump on it in the name of say na doti e be. He wore an eyeglass to match and trainer shoes, they walked past our area on the lookout for budding teenage girls who were always taken by these fabulous narratives so much that they allowed them remove their pants to sleep with them in nearby bushes, uncompleted buildings and in their homes at any time of the day or in the cover of the night.

Monday attended the same school a year after BT had attended, he joined in SSS 3 to write the school leaving certificate examination SSCE and became an overnight popular jingo after the acclaimed hairthin-escape from being caught and charged for examination malpractice in the the SSCE of that year.

SOHS was notorious for being the hotspot of all things bad from beating up stubborn, wicked male teachers who failed male students at will and embarrassed them for daring to befriend teenage girls that they teachers preferred and slept with; female teacher were not left out of possible beat-targets especially those who would not shut up and face their teaching jobs.

Rape and counter-rape, revenge rape and all types of rape of female teachers and fine-fine girls, who snubbed advances from boys without being under the protection of this or that gang of boys, was rampant at that time. Boys came to school with knives and ake UTC soakd in poisonous content, igbadi, onde and other terrifying charms that could run people mad, make impotent and or leave victims with leprosy.

So Monday’s action was a tip of the iceberg when he successfully hid a pampa in between fingers and the invigilator could not locate it, although he was sure he saw it a moment ago and in the next moment was left in doubt. Pampa, orijo, eegun, ongbona were at the time names given to copied answers and worked-out solutions brought into the examination hall by students and teachers alike.

It was this school that BT attended and passed out with no intention of rewriting the examination. Not that he did not want to, the real reason is that his parents Iya Children and Daddy Adeniji aka Baba Children could not afford to. They were like all of us poor and not rich enough to pay for a second attempt, except parents who believed in the supernatural power of education beyond secondary school as a tool to escaping generational poverty. It was not easy at all at all.

The daily routine of the OPC members in Ijoko of that time was pretty straightforward: they hunted during the day if they had no meeting scheduled and worked as vigilantes at night, facing sophisticated thieves with bare confident chests and dane-guns. At least in Ijoko of the time. Starting from eleven pm, if we were yet to sleep behind doors locked with big bolts and padlocks, having already said our goodnight prayers. We would see them with their headlamps moving into different vicinities to keep us safe from the evils that accompanied the night.

He was a fine young man, he should be twenty or younger at the time he met with death in Lagos. We heard many things on how they died. It was thanks to Baba Dare’s we got reliable information about their death and mourn him with finality and our grief and mourning did not become one that would last forever. Omo eni ku osan ju omo eni nu lo.

We were better comforted in the assurance of his death and the grief his death brought over us than we would ever be if we must rely only on media report that reached the whole country about the special squad of soldiers and police officers who stormed the building some members of the OPC were gathered on the night that BT left to an OPC-initiation event in Lagos and never returned. Not even his corpse returnedfor burial.

This is what Baba Dare told us about the operation. They were ambushed. Not even those who tried to escape by climbing the fence to jump into safety made it over the fence alive. The heavy guns from the ambusher killed them before they could jump into the safe embrace of the dark night. Bodies, with life inside them when they made to climb, fell off the fence lifeless as angry bullets escaped the ugly uncomfortable metal casing into the soft flesh they were shot. Blood flowed. Ogun lacked no happy bath for that night. All the bodies, lifeless, and those still with life inside of them were decidedly butted out with blows from the killers’ instrument of wrath, as they were loaded into the wagon that brought the killing squad with assured death.


He had a near-round face, like the shape of a good chicken’s egg. Eyes just the perfect size for their sockets. There was a time he laced them tiro. That was about the only time I did not like his eyes; not that they were not beautiful. They were, but something within me repelled the urge to like them. On that day, he wore a tight trouser, an armless top that let air in from the sides, a colourful silk kind of top, he adorned his neck with a bracelet, like one made of leather. Rubberband of different colours were on his wrists, he placed his hands around his waist, standing confidently as though he was seated on his own hands that supported the waist. Akeem and I walked towards him. We had gone to him days earlier to give him money. We wanted him to prepare a charm for us; one that would make my dream-girlfriend fell into my arms without resistance. He assured it would work if I used it as instructed. I could not sleep the whole night in anticipation of the next day when I would meet her and have her do as I say.

When he walked his still-bowed legs were visible. He played great football and organised community championship for all of us. We would go from street to street, neighbourhood to neighbourhood, busstop to busstop speaking to children our age, older and strangers, exciting them for the prospect of playing in an upcoming championship if they would buy a form and drum together their community to participate in the game. 

He taught me and many other children of our community to ride bicycle. We all hanged around as we awaited our turn to jump on the rented BMX-bicycle to BT’s instruction. You might fall down and hurt yourself a little. This is okay. You must hold your breathe and look up. Do not look down. Try to pedal on no matter what. Do not give up. Do not let go of your grip on the bicycle. These and many more were BT’s words as we learned to ride amidst loud cheers, laughs and excitement. Girls that admired us looked on and chitchatted and talked about things that mattered to them and played games which we joined in later or disrupted depending on the mood of the day. Life was beautiful.

He was the second to the last born, the last born was a girl. He fetched water for their household and washed his own clothes and those of Daddy Adeniji, their father. He pounded yam, went to farm with the family. There was a time the women wanted to workshame the boys that they knew nothing about frying Garri. The boys would have none of it and took over the frying of the Garri for the whole day; the whole chain of Garri production, all the steps that culminated in the frying of Garri. Fetching water was one of the household duties that fell on him before he moved out from home like many siblings before him.

There was a timetable gummed to the wall. Not until the Youth Coordinator of the Church of Christ, who was the eldest child of Iya Children, joked in a Youth Fellowship about an ineffective timetable that was never followed (he looked at the corner where the timetable was gummed while he talked), did I for once think that BT probably only drew up the timetable with the good intention of following the strict dictate of the document but never took it to heart.

This is a typical day according to the timetable. Wake up time: 5:30am. Morning devotion lasted thirty minutes. Sweeping the room for fifteen minutes. Other relevant house chores were indicated so that before eight in the morning he would leave for school. School time was clearly indicated to last till 2:14pm. The time he would trek home from SOHS, a distance of about five kilometers was indicated on the timetable. Upon getting home, lunch and dinner-time was documented. Activities that would busy the rest of the day were noted with time. On Monday for example, Monday Bible Study at Roundtree Branch of the Church of Christ was conspicuous. Time: 6pm to 8pm for the youth. 

When he moved out of his parents house, and after he died, the timetable was not removed. He had a girlfriend, a fiancée actually, with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life with if he had not died. We heard that they were pregnant but the child did not stay. That was before he travelled to Lagos to his death. We wished the child chose to stay.

This is in remembrance of a child, brother, mentor, friend, community crganiser and many more in one.

Marriage in the CoC

I attended Brother Gbade‘s wedding. Sister Kafaya, the Single Mother, was Brother Gbade‘s will of God in marriage. I attended theirs and Brother Sunday‘s wedding ceremonies at the Headquarter of the Church of Christ. The latter was the Youth Coordinator. 

Brother Gbade’s will of God was not a false revelation because not only the two of them reported to the marriage committee that Brother Gbade and Sister Kafaya were each other’s will of God. Brother Mutiu, a long-standing single bachelor, who, if he had declared that he saw his will of God in marriage in Sister Kafaya, not a single marriage committee member would refuse to accept.

Given that Brother Mutiu is not the youngest single bachelor of marriageable age in the Church of Christ, anyone would not discourage or doubt God’s willingness to grant him a wife in Sister Kafaya. Some things are best left unquestioned. Oye Olohun.

That Brother Mutiu confirmed same vision about the intending couple, proved they were meant for each other. Pastor Akinleye announced. And all was set in motion to achieve the marriage in the shortest time possible. It was my first church wedding ever, at least, the first I remember. There are other things I remember about the couple.

Brother Gbade moved. He changed accommodation, from the one-room around Pastor Akinleye‘s flat, to a room-and-parlour, where tenants shared a kitchen, pit latrine and bathroom. They washed their dirty laundry in the open outside; the bathroom is not meant for that. The back- and side-yard of the house is. Brother Gbade moved into the new accommodation in preparation for married life; his wife Sister Kafaya, unlike Sister Rebecca, was gentle and homely, a church worker in the usher unit.

If Sister Rebecca and Sister Kafaya had anything in common, it is that they have traditional marks on their faces; while Sister Rebecca’s was a pele, Sister Kafaya had one-one. Sister Kafaya chocolate, Sister Rebecca light in complexion.

Brother Gbade’s younger sister had newly moved to Ijoko, to resit her SSCE and start a new life. She lived with us. She and Jumoke attended choir practice sessions at the Headquarters church to prepare songs that were sung on the wedding day. They joined other choristers at the Headquarters. It was when I saw them in the choir section on the day, I realised the together-singing at home was for this purpose. Jumoke sang Soprano, Sister Wunmi aka Anti Olohun sang Alto.

The Church of Christ joined three couples in Holy Matrimony on that Saturday. The reception, which followed, was at a Primary School. We sat on benches and the desks served as tables. There was jollofrice, meat or fish, moimoi, zobodrinks filled into ice water nylon. Many people brought gifts. The gifts were opened in the presence of the giver and the names documented to match their gift. Not only to know who and how to thank people later. There are 1001 reasons.

The bride’s attire should be humble, she covers herself as is worthy of a Christian sister in the Lord. It should not expose any physical features as may compromise her faith in Christ Jesus Our Lord and Saviour. Her ears are to be covered with a turban that is permitted to match the wedding dress; preferably a skirt and blouse, the skirt is a free-flowing pleated skirt that reached far down to the neck of the legs. If a gown or a dress, it must be sown according to Biblical specification. The Marriage Committee knows the specifications that will not anger the Lord. Shoes to match and if there is a bag, it is one that contains the Bible. The bridegroom is also scrutinized. At least a week before the wedding day, the clothes must have gotten to the Committee for vetting. Many weddings were canceled and or shifted into the future, couples rebuked and sent on compulsory supplication to seek the face of God Almighty for disobeying open instructions of God. When years later couples were permitted to wear traditional attire at their own wedding, not only were there complaints whether this choice was Godly, there were dissents among Marriage Committee members if the Church of Christ had not committed an error in the permission to dress differently. Until the Man of God stepped in and silenced all ungodly dissenters.

After the hymn came the choir, then the ritual of holy join-together. The father of the bride came forward to hand over the bride to the officiating minister. There was no exchange of rings, an unwanted element in the Church of Christ. Only the declaration of the couple which went like this:

With my body, I wed thee, with my spirit, I wed thee, with all I have I thee wed; to care and cater for you, in season and out of season, in wealth and in poverty, in good and in bad, in suffering and in surplus, just as Christ gave himself up for the church and had first loved us. So help me God.

The Church of Christ said Amen.

Brother James ati Sister Rebecca (II)

Iya Children visited one evening. It was not an unusual visit. She had always visited and talked about many things with Moomi, while we children sat and listened in on their conversation. Iya Children is Iya Children because she had nine children for her husband Baba Adeniji. To the adults in the church and community. To us children, he was Baba Children. He earned that name because Iya Children was his wife. Actually, Iya Children was Iya Children because she was the Children Coordinator in the church among other offices her weight in the church added to her personality. In our house, she was Moomi after Moomi; a grandmother indeed and in action.

There was a day I wanted to die. It was her house Moomi carried me to; to not die at home, at least. Who knows if the gbekude fortification that kept me alive since after the abiku suspicion of early childhood has expired and the Grace of God upon which Moomi relied thereafter, was now not enough or had never worked? In any case, if I was not to live, it should happen in a place where all must have been tried to keep me alive.

So, Iya Children visited that evening to discuss Sister Rebecca. I had fallen asleep before the conversation started, so that I needed not be sent into the room like other children. The core of the conversation went like this: Mo ma ti salaye fun Rebecca pe James o ma gbodo ku. Rebecca daju bi ose ni. Odabi pe koribe ni sa. Mio sa tun le ma sofun wi pe James fejo re sunmi. Ehn, Iya Sunday, Se ori James ni wi pe oti ku kikida orun ati eegun?! Ehn, Iya Sunday.

Apparently, Brother James had reported his wife that she only fed him, when and what she wanted. She bought him food from foodsellers on the streets, fed him bread and beans, not home-cooked while she Rebecca sat in the kitchen to prepare. She had no time, she was busy. Very busy. Her bread market, her cloth selling markets, her customers, her more pressing business deals. No time to be a wife or housewife. No time.

There were times Brother James wore rough shirt to church services, rougher than when he was an unmarried single bachelor and only a Church Coordinator. Now that he was Substantial Pastor, a position added to his coordinating job of the Ifelodun Church, this branch now upgraded to a more senior church in the Church of Christ. And then a married man! All these, in his opinion and that of Iya Children and Moomi, made him even more deserving of a wife that saw and understood his condition and need for good food and care.

Not that we children noticed any change for worse in Brother James really; at least not until Iya Children came to talk about Sister Rebecca and how she intervened to appeal for change in Sister Rebecca towards her husband. Not that he deserved to be Sister Rebecca’s husband anyways.

There was also that part of the conversation that was not meant for the ears of children. But since I was asleep and the other children were in their room, they could talk about sex between the couple without worry. They, Brother James and Sister Rebecca, had hardly any beautiful communication that did not end in good quarrel. Sex was a major issue.

Was she starving him of sex too? Moomi asked. Could they not sleep with each other or what is this nitori Olohun?! But why is Rebecca like this for God’s sake?!

Iya Sunday, Se gbogbo nkan timo nso koye e ni latekan? Ibi ti James ti bere oro gaan niyen! I asked Rebecca how they wanted to have children if she ignored him that much. Iya Alaso, myself and Iya Rebecca fun ra alara re lajo wa mbe ta mbe Rebecca wi pe ko dariji James.

They begged Sister Rebecca to forgive Brother James. When months after that conversation their first joint child was born, I concluded Sister Rebecca must have forgiven Brother James. I am not sure if I attended the naming ceremony of their first child.

If I did not attend their wedding and the naming ceremony of their first child together for whatever reason, it was not because of jealousy that Sister Rebecca called me her husband and that she would marry me. She gave me special bread; she brought my own bread to church on Sundays and patted me on the head whenever she saw me and Moomi. She liked me and showed it with bread gifts and kind words. If my sisters gossiped about my bedwetting, and talked about how much likeness I showed for Toyin, a girl I liked well in church and always sat around, and their gossip was when Sister Rebecca was around, she defended me and told them to mind their business. It was not because I could not marry her any longer as Brother James is now her husband that I missed both occasions. It was just sheer coincidence. Nothing more.

Brother James ati Sister Rebecca (I)

I cannot remember when Brother James, Coordinator and later Substantial Pastor of Ifelodun Branch of the Church of God, moved to Ijoko.

Unlike Brother Gbade, who moved to Ijoko at a time when we could plant watermelon. He brought and introduced Chinese yams from the School of Agriculture he attended where he got his Ordinary National Diploma in the Monotechnic.

He attended a Monotechnic at a time when nobody knew what it was and the idea was not popular among young people of that time. I saw his certificate that he placed carefully between books, one of which was the Bible. That was that one time that Moomi allowed me to sleep over at his place.

Brother Gbade moved to Ijoko to live and settle down. The latter part was realised when he prayed and saw the Will of God to marry Sister Kafaya, a Single Mother. We heard he was an old man who had his family already but Sister Kafaya fell for him, but she had since realised the error. She accepted Christ and stayed single in Christ all the while.

She left. To focus on Jesus, her child and her life. But she did or could not leave until the child had been scarified in the face with a minus mark each on both cheeks.

Whenever I imagine the child now, I picture her with the marks on her face and that one time or two when she had mucus in her nose, waiting on her mother to come pick her in the children church.

Sister Kafaya was part of the ushering team. Brother Gbade, her husband and stepfather to the child was a choir member and acted as choirmaster whenever Brother Opeifa was absent or on a bigger assignment at the Headquarters.

Brother James married Sister Rebecca. To say it was possible at the beginning was talking in the nonsense. There was until then no husband material among the available brothers that matched the beauty, industry and wealth of Sister Rebecca in the whole church. We had in our gossip kitchen from time to time considered the possibility of a brother coming from the Headquarters church to marry her off or any other branches of the Church of God. And we became angry at the thought of losing her to another branch.

And really, it is not as though he was a match for her, but she was talked into the idea by old mothers and relevant matriarchs in the church, those women whose words meant a lot to all of us. They were women, by whose countenance during church services the Coordinators and Pastors, especially the young ones, measured the effectiveness, acceptance and okayness to God’s standard. It was their words that persuaded Sister Rebecca to eventually give in to marry Brother James. 

To us, aside that he was former Coordinator and now Substantial Pastor who spoke good English, he was not a match for his wife. He owned an Alupupu that he rode to farm and to the bakery where he was manager, and to the bakery of his own, that bakery that went bankrupt the same night it started and left many bread-sellers, those he had promised better bread and cheaper rates, former customers of the other bakery, at a big loss for the day. It was a day loss, but big enough to ruin some people‘s reputation with their creditors. They all returned to their former bakery. With the absconding rebelling manager.

He was well-built and had a squared face, with obvious cheeky bones, that we knew only kitchen-cooked food from a wife‘s pot could fatten. He wore shirt and trousers all the time, tucked in and well-belted. He liked navy blue, the shirt light navy blue, the trousers deep. His shoes were either black or brown. He did not wear eyeglasses and had a deep voice that was not baritone.

To say more on what happened that the new bakery died before it even kicked off. Two theories. One that we knew really happened and two was that which we speculated. First the former. Brother James and Fowosere, the labourer that followed him, slept off. They did not check on time. When they woke up, the whole bread loaded into the factory oven was burnt beyond recognition. Completely burned and black. This is what Fowosere said while we laughed: I told him we were overworked, the two of us alone wanting to stay awake the next few hours to watch over the loaded bread. If he listened, I don’t know. When we closed our eyes to relax, it was the burnt beyond recognition breads we woke up to see. That we rushed to the oven was futile and of no use. What has happened has happened. Well, we were tired, Fowosere concluded.

The latter and most unlikely was the rumour that the owner of the old bakery had bribed Fowosere to ruin the new bakery. This could not be farther from the truth. Fowosere‘s parents, Iya Imole-Ayo and Baba Tunde, they owned a bakery too, one that was not as functional as the old bakery. If there was a bakery to ruin, Fowosere could have ruined the old bakery to keep his own parents in business. Plus, Fowosere himself denied any willful sabotage. If there was one, it was that Brother James refused to listen to the call of nature when God used Fowosere to warn of the impending catastrophe that was brewing before sleep took them both out.

Whether it was Brother James or Sister Rebecca that went to the marriage committee to inform about the will of God to marry the other person, we did not know. Moomi, who had newly joined the Marriage Committee, was too new in the committee that she was considered too new to have been approached by either of the intending couple to tell of their intention.

Now, this is how it works: should a brother or sister approached a Marriage Committee member to inform of God’s will to marry, the member shall at once praise God for this miracle and report to other members, after which they shall convene to deliberate on the matter. Prayerfully doing so. 

If it was Moomi who was approached, we could have known who it was that came forward first. 

We did not hear of their will of God until Pastor Akinleye announced in a church service that they both were now an item to be married if God so will. And that we shall be seeing them together more often than usual and that we should not worry because the church is informed of their intention towards each other. It was in the Lord and holy.

I did not attend their wedding. Not that I was unhappy for them. Far from it. I was sick and must stay in the hospital. Those that attended said Brother James walked right into the reception without the usual hymnal that played when couple walked into the hall where the chairman of the occasion, usually a pastor must have been seated. It was recent practice that family members like parents or their representatives were being invited to the high table. But even at that, walking in without a hymn is another level of holiness. Sister Rebecca came in through the side door. Holiness over-do.

In no time, both of them were on the high table and the chairman took over the microphone to start feeding the attendees with the word of God. I will not get started on what he preached. Like the sun that will shine after the rain, the people’s patience was rewarded with jollofrice and moimoi, water and softdrink. And zobo was not part of the menu.

Mummy Children came to our house. It was not unusual…

shop-overtake

Gbaso. It was a case of shop-overtake.

So, she moved to Ijoko when we were in JSS 3 thereabout. The kind of love that the Church of God welcomed her with was phenomenal. We were like that, always loving each other in Christ as Jesus instructed and He had first loved us, in that while we were sinners, he died for us. He was dumbued that we might not die but know love.

So yes, we loved them, her and three children that moved into Ijoko and became part of the body of Christ.

But truth be told, she deserved all the love, she came a firebrand, burning for the Lord, a powerful woman of God, from whose mouth proceeded Rhema, not unheard of before, but being from a woman as at that time, she was power and a force to not ignore in the church. She was fire.

Now the above is true and she did serve the Lord in truth, in spirit and with all sincerity of heart as a worthy Christian, a soldier of Christ.

Three of her children, two were the names I remember. Sister Ruka, her second born, and Sister Taiba, her first. Her third, the name I cannot remember for now. I think she wanted to be invisible, was fragile in look, tiny kind of face, bony but healthy, mildly light chocolate, inbetween the first and the second in complexion. She was not too brown like the first. Well, for now, so we can move on, let’s call her the child whose name does not want to be remembered.

Unlike the first two children, she did not join any workforce in the church. She only followed to church.

Iya Gbaso, like she was later popularly referred to, was mother to the three of them girls. She sold Bread, Agege Bread. Like Sister Rebecca, who later married Brother James for lack of any other better qualified husband material.

Like Sister Rebecca, Iya Gbaso sold Bread that she woke up at dawn to go collect from Brother James managed bakery. For the records, the bakery did not belong to Brother James, but to another brother in Christ, whose wife wore a foot-prothese, who we heard that their joint son, his anus had something wrong with it that they had to cut it. They said he had a situation that we call anus-come-out in English. 

They lived around Iya Onigedu, a timber-seller, the millionaire of our area and time, a woman with a half-white face, that children and women feared as a witch and about whom rumours spread that she killed her other husband and brought Brother Kilani into her house to become her husband. 

Willingly, I later got to know when we children got closer to the trees around her compound and listened to her stories as told by the beautiful colourful birds of her compound and the branches of her trees that never lied or scared us.

The truth that we knew when we moved away from the rumours of jealous souls and angry hungry people that Iya Onigedu must have helped but did not desist from maligning her name and person.

Well, I will continue the story of Iya Onigedu in a moment. Now back to that of the bakery owner whose bakery Brother James managed.

It was at this bakery that Brother James met Sister Rebecca where they started their story. That same bakery was the bakery that both Sister Rebecca and Iya Gbaso, formerly Iya Ruka got their bread supply to sell at various spots in Ijoko of our time.

This is how she looked, as much as I could remember. She was medium height, a little bow-legged, only visible on a second closer look. Her headtie hid her hair, not always a turban, but even when, it reminded of the Onilegogoro era, only that she did not wear her headwrap that tall. I cannot imagine her now in any other wear than Ankara and or Guinea of that time. I am sure she did not wear Up-Nepa, that fabric called Jackard. Lace was a no-no for a Christian anyways. She was a beautiful woman. So also her children.

When we heard the rumour of why and how she left her husband’s house, it was from hearsay and postreport of a church service I did not attend, where people said it was gathered from testimonies, then woven into a full-fledged reality with the thread of imagination and colours of the narrator’s mischief.

I know of a time when one woman like that, who was her friend before, but not again, told of how Iya Gbaso had told them in a women-meeting her true story. They were not many women, only those she trusted, so she was not worried to tell how she had been called by God, The Father of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to leave her husband’s house.

Being the fourth wife and having already three children, she accepted Christ, and must restitute, part of which spelt out that she abandoned, according to her, her loving husband, who took good care of her and their children.

A man, who was a gentleman to the core, not a Christian, he was a Muslim, a faithful Muslim and had been to Mecca, well deserving of the title of an Alhaji, a pious man who loved all his wives, children and catered for their needs according to the demands of faith and culture.

This marriage her new found faith and conviction told her to leave. After three grown children. At once.

All plea to stay put in the marriage fell on deaf ears and to the ground. Families begged. She refused. Alhaji begged. With all that he had. She refused.

Some of her pastors wanted her to take her time, restitution in this case is not tipatipa-tikuuku, they felt it was not wrong if she stayed, that she would not end up in hell if she did not leave. 

Now, according to her version, Pastor Kumuyi intervened to no avail. The case was pending in front of the Man of God. 

Unresolved of course. But this was before the bigger and never-would-be-resolved lacuna happened, before the Gbaso case befell our village that was hoping to one day become a big town and eventually make it into a city. One day.

That she left showed they did not entreat her enough. Or she was decided to do what she wanted to do.

Long story short, this was how she ended in Ijoko with all her property and children in one-room in a Binukonu in the Ijoko of our time.

Prayer warrior. Her specialty. She interested women for an area that hitherto was reserved for men and one or two women. 

Mothers prayed, yes. That’s normal. Prayer warriors take over where mothers own stopped. For example, women and parents that had given up hope of having children after endless prayers and fasting, got their wanted and desired miracle babies when prayer warriors prayed for them.

People who were tormented by evil spirits and miserable and no one could help, cases of abject poverty and generation curses or spirit husband possession, women, and once a while, men, who were being slept with by their spirit-world husbands and wives, they were all delivered if their infirmities and bondages when prayer warriors took on their matters to God in prayer.

There is another higher group above prayer warriors, we call them Deliverance. Deliverance with a capital D.

They handle all cases of prayer warriors listed above plus deliverances.

Above the two groups was the owner of the church who was called by God to superintend the body of Christ. And whose superior was understandably The Lord God Himself, The Founder and Creator of the founder and head of the church.

It was in this pyramid, that section of the pyramid the prayer warriors that Iya Gbaso interested women for. A new breath of freshness in ways unseen and unheard of before in Ijoko.

When Pastor Akinleye was concerned that something was not right and called for caution, a section of the church rebelled. Old time conservatism, no it is the Lord’s, there is nothing wrong with prayer, a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian. These and many more came in from the rebels-corner and supporters. 

Some left to establish their own churches and ministries, some stayed put, some grumbled without end. This or that way, the voice of reason was momentarily silenced. Until the unbelievable but not impossible happened.

Baba Sewe, whose wife was a slim fine woman like this, with hairs like that of women who cared less about their hairs, with three or four children of their own, who sold Ewa Aganyin to all and school children in the morning time, lived with his family in a facility like a garden that looked like somewhere that did not belong to him, was beside NUD Primary School, it was an abandoned colonial facility built to house headmasters and mistresses and their househelp at the time when the school was founded long time ago, but which was not decrepit and of interest to no one, except Baba Sewe, who came from where they are from, strangers and daily-wage-earners, people like them would live anywhere they found so long the community accommodated them.

This was how they ended up in that facility that became their home where Iya Gbaso eventually slept with him, not one night, not two nights, when Iya Sewe caught them redhanded with her two korokoro eyes, upon which she was threatened with bodily harm and was in fact beaten up and sent packing for daring to fight for her marriage to Baba Sewe.

It was a case of Yes-now-that-you-have-seen-it-so-what with a question mark to the situation.

It was her version of event that we heard and the reality of Iya Gbaso moving into Baba Sewe’s facility ti replace Iya Sewe and her children that shook the whole town to it bones and marrows. The church of Christ was not undented in the whole scandal.

Iya Gbaso moved into the facility with her last born, her third child, that child whose name does not want to be remembered. She was still in high school that time. The other two children stayed away during the day from their mother, but saw her when they must in the evenings and nights. They were worried at first that their boyfriends would leave them in shame or solidarity with Iya Sewe and our town.

Well, like many things that did not happen in Ijoko, when their boyfriends stayed with them, notwithstanding the weight of the scandal, they let go of their shame and removed the spectacle of disdain that they wore when they refused to see their mother during the day. After all, after all said and done, na their Mama she be. They needed her more alive than dead.

The firstborn lived in the one room they rented when they first moved to Ijoko. The secondborn lived with us for a while, moved away for a while and returned to Tope Busstop to stay with a family friend, whose son later snatched her away from her boyfriend and lover who loved her like firstloves used to love person. 

As for the first daughter, I was witness to a street fracas as two boys from two different streets threatened to burn down a whole neighborhood because, yes, they were in love with her.

She was first in love with one of the lovers before she gave in to the advances of the second lover. That was the genesis of the whole trouble.

It was the friends of the first lover who instigated him to start a streetfight, to which all kinds of urchins partook. They wanted to avenge their friend’s honour.

Ola, the self-acclaimed herbalist and programmer, who knows ways to crack credit cards of people in faraway lands to pay for SAT and TOEFL examinations, whose father was a former chief, formerly rich but now poor and humble, from whose hand Ola had inherited plenty wicked medicines, that Ola was part of the streetfight. 

I saw Boda Segun, not too far big brother in a street around Tope Busstop who sold us water and from whose cubicle-shop we telephoned to London, sometimes on credit. He was a friend to the first lover and would not abandon his friend, especially with the level of insult he felt was passed on to their person in the disdain their friend had suffered in the situation.

Tension had calmed before Fowosere, The Chief Arearboy and King of the Streeturchins, arrived the scene. Things could have escalated from bad to worse more quickly than anyone could handle going by the stories of flouriscent lightbulbs Fowosere had shooked into people’s shansh and behind in earlier street fracas.

Back to how it happened. Prayer meetings. Night vigils for two. The fervent prayer of two warriors availed much than a singular effort of one person alone in the middle of the night. One thing led to the other and it came to scenes described by Iya Sewe who said she did not believe her eyes when she saw what she saw that her husband was on top of Iya Gbaso digging her water like seriously while Iya Gbaso was under their husband being willingly digged.

She said Iya Gbaso‘s legs were up in the shed surrounded by trees and covered by corroded ironsheet and netted around the sides in the facility.

The noise from the prayers was usually loud and as was normal for prayers acceptable. When at 3am after prayers their husband saw her off, she saw nothing bad in that.

As she lived not far away. There were times that she slept to leave when day broke. Over time, they all got used to whichever was convenient. Until of course sleeping with each other became a convenient option too. Only that Iya Sewe got wind of the sex option way too late when there was nothing, that she could do to win back their husband to herself alone.

Iya Gbaso moved in. Iya Sewe was sent packing with her children, only temporarily. She came back over time with her children. Together with her children, they were the first members of the church that Baba Sewe and Iya Gbaso cofounded. Iya Gbaso did not sell Bread again. She went into ministry and did other things.

If she was pregnant, I am not sure what the rumour kitchens whispered in town anylonger. My memory of it is now faint.

I will continue with the story of Brother James of how he burned down his own bakery when he left the other bakery he managed, only to return like the prodigal son. I remember vividly the role Fowosere played in the disaster the self-owned bakery became in the night it was started, and many more stories. But first I must sleep to wake up in the morning to continue.

Mr. Omoyele Sowore, 2019 Presidential Aspirant Visits Berlin for Townhall Meeting with A Breath of Fresh Hope for Nigeria

Convener of #TakeItBack Movement and Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential Aspirant Mr. Omoyele Sowore In Historic City of Berlin as A Breath of New and Fresh Hope In Nigeria Political Space. It was a full hall yesterday as #TakeItback Presidential Aspirant, Founder of Online Media Platform, Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore came to Berlin the Capital of Germany to meet with Nigerians in pursuit of the race to Nigeria’s Presidency in 2019. It is worthy of note that the election and handing over to a new administration in Nigeria is less than a year from now. Therefore, Mr. Omoyele Sowore’s plans are in high gear to ensure no place is left unturned or untouched. Prior to the BErlin Townhall Meeting, he had been to Italy and several other cities, towns and villages in the North, South-South, South-East and South-West of Nigeria with Townhall Meetings. He continued to Barcelona Spain from Berlin Townhall Meeting spreading the #TakeItback Movement to Nigerians in every part of the world.

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Presidential Aspirant and Converner of #TakeItBack Movement Mr Omoyele Sowore with Ms Abigail Okorodus, A Current European Union-Scholar(ERASMUS) and Alumnus of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife Nigeria. Impressed by the intelligent multifaceted questions of MS Okorodus on pathways to financing and successful implementation outlined agenda in the manifesto acronymed SPICER-HEAT, Mr. Omoyele Sowore answered the questions with great indepth and analysis, and also agreed to take a selfie upon Ms. Okorodus request.

Prior to the powerfully attended Townhall Meeting in the historic city of Berlin, Mr. Omoyele Sowore met with leaders of Nigerian communities in Berlin, business leaders and entrepreneurs of Nigerian heritage. Also Nigerians with passion for social and community works were duly represented to dialogue and discuss matters and issues of the Nigerian state and Nigerians at large with Presidential Aspirant Mr Omoyele Sowore.
Nigerians with professions ranging from Doctors, Lawyers, Businesswomen and men, Traders, Musicians, Factory Workers,Teachers, Students, also Children and Parents came out in large numbers to attend.

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L-R (1) Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Converner of #TakeItBack Movement and Nigeria’s Presidential Aspirant, (2) Mr. Okejimi Segun, A DAAD Scholar in Germany and (3) Publisher of http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com Blog, Mr. Ibukunolu O. Ajagunna aka Ahjot Naija in Attendance at The Berlin Townhall Meeting

Nigerians all over the world tuned in online to join in on the Facebook-Live handle of the movement. The show of love and the daring power of hope was visibly represented among the people yesterday as Mr. Sowore thanked Nigerians for the strong faith and hope they have in the country and in the potentials of our people as a nation. He noted the historic importance of the Berlin visit pointing out that in 1884/85 was when Africa was divided up without the presence of Africans at the table to discuss and negotiate their own future. The #TakeItback Movement, having convened in Berlin is therefore a historic moment as it seeks to discuss and dialogue on the future of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and to see that it stays united and draw up new pathways for a successful administration of the country. “If Nigeria gets it right come 2019, Africa will get it right”, says Mr. Sowore.

Mr. Sowore listened with rapt attention and discussed matters arising with participants in manner worthy of a president giving indepth analysis of and into issues without mincing words on the urgency of the task at hand. In the Townhall Meeting, he addressed Nigerians and answered questions. He touched on his manifesto which is summed up in the acronym SPICER-HEAT, that is Security, Power, Infrastructure, Economy, Restructuring, Health, Education, Agriculture and Technology. He discussed in details each of these agenda and pathways to realize them, funding being a major factor that he left nobody in doubt will be taken care of.

He emphasized that his Presidency will not be business as usual. A great wind of positive renewal and intervention is about to happen in the Nigeria political and national space come 2019. He stated that Nigeria will have its pride of place once again among the comity of nations. Not only did he categorically state that Nigeria Airways will be brought back to alive, but also pointed out the economic loss the absence of a national carrier is to Nigerians, the Nigeria state and businesses.
Job creation was top of the discussion as he dived into the core of his agenda for the country. In the Power Sector alone, when solar and wind energy is properly harnessed and developed, it has the potential to employ over 2 million Nigerians, young and old alike. Agriculture, Health Sector among others will be rediscovered and new ways to tackling long standing problems in various sector of Nigeria’s daily life will be introduced.

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Mr Omoyele Sowore, Converner of #TakeItBack Movement and Nigeria’s Presidential Aspirant at the Berlin-Schönefeld Airport with Mr. Victor Ayog, Coordinator of the Berlin Branch of the #TakeItBack Movement.

All in all, Mr. Omoyele Sowore is a breath of positive fresh air into the otherwise discredited political landscape in Nigeria. Nigerians in Disapora and Home are proud once again as the look forward to the emergence of Mr Omoyele Sowore as President of Nigeria in 2019. Many participants, both online and offline all around the world have continued to spread the message that there is hope after all for Nigeria once again.

Mr. Olubakin (ESQ.) Sues NBA For 500 Million Naira Damages, Claims NBA Stole Intellectual Property, NBA Already Presented Portrait to President Buhari

The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Gifted President Muhammadu Buhari a Stolen Portrait of the President. Owner of Intellectual Property, Mr. Olubakin (ESQ) Sues for Immediate Return of Stolen Portrait and 500 million Damages

Facilitated by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), President Muhammadu Buhari received an artwork, a portrait painting of the president. The portrait, painted by Mr. Olubakin Oladele, also a lawyer and a member of the association, who has since requested that the painting be returned back with immediate effect, was declared missing by NBA, only to ahve it presented to the President with fanfare. In addition to wanting the portrait returned, he is suing for damages to the tune of over 500 million Naira.

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NBA Presenting the Stolen Portrait to President Buhari. Vice President Osinbajo was present too, a Law Professor and Former Minsiter of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG)

Mr. Olubakin, a God-fearing pastor, lawyer and respected member of the esteemed association, who also happens to be an artist, painted the non-commissioned portrait of the president. He took the finished work to the association and requested that same be presented to President Buhari on the condition that he was there for due recognition. The association took possession of the painting, noting the request of Mr. Olubakin. He went back to get a response, but was told that the painting could not be found due to many reasons. Moreso, even if it were found, it could not be presented to the president. Unhappy about the development, which Mr. Olubakin duly communicated tot he association, the association promised to locate the painting and return same to him. Mr. Olubakin was sure to leave a message with the secretariat of the association. He wanted his portrait returned as soon as the association found it.

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Court Order Requesting the NBA to Return the Portrait and Suing for Damages

This request was unfortunately bluntly ignored. To his greatest shock and surprise, Mr. Olubakin only found out that the missing portrait had been found when it was presented to Mr. President by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) with accompanying fanfare. Not a single word was said about the source of the portrait, no recognition whatsoever. In fact, the recognition would not have been necessary because Mr. Olubakin had requested that the painting be returned to him once found. It was not to be presented to the president anymore.IMG-20180314-WA0002

Recovering from the shock, the rightful owner of this work of art, being Mr. Olubakin, went to the secretariat of NBA to understand what had just went down, what exactly happened, who found the portrait, where was it found, why was it not returned, why was he not informed. So many legitimate questions, yet the NBA ignored all questions and request to have the portrait returned. Request for amicable settlement was ignored. All attempt fell on deaf ears.

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Mr. Olubakin, Lawyer, God-fearing pastor, standing beside his intellectual property before it went missing.

The association, being the highest body representing lawyers’ interest in Nigeria, understands too well the implication of its action, no doubt. It begs understanding though, why the association, aware that an intellectual property remains the property of the creator except otherwise agreed, ignored the request of Mr. Olubakin, the rightful owner of the portrait, to have it returned.

Since the NBA is unwilling to settle the matter amicably, Mr. Olubakin has decided to have the case resolved in a court of law. He is suing for damages of over 500 million Naira as shown by documents made available to AhjotNaijaBlog.

The Black Burden by Ola Dunni

One day,

My nephew arrived from school

Tapped his mum and asked in a very innocent voice

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Ms. Oladunni Talabi is a beautiful and wonderful addition to the AhjotNaija!BlogFamily. She is a Doctoral 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

Are Africans stupid?

Are we stupid mum?

Were we shocked at this question?

No

Wary?

Yes

We needed some more time before we had to do the whole black stereotype discussion

We wanted him to be innocent for a few more years

To grow up like every other kid

And not be weighed down by the black burden we all have had to carry for centuries

He was just 7 years old

7 freaking years old

Why do you ask this?

His mum inquired

My classmate Bobby said all black people are stupid

With further digging and prodding,

We realised Bobby’s mother was the origin of this statement

Bobby’s mother told Bobby who called my nephew stupid

 

My nephew is the only black kid in the school

A very smart kid who has been promoted twice

But he questions his intelligence because a white kid said so

Unfortunately, that is just the tip of the iceberg for him

I am not pessimistic, simply realistic

He is gonna encounter far worse as he ages and leaves his cocoon

All we can do is arm him with tools to navigate a world which has been tilted against his kind

Educate him on history which was scripted to subjugate his kind

While stealing from him

Got us convinced we are not good enough

Got us convinced our religion is paganistic

Our way of life is far from the ideal

While stealing and raping our culture

Got us convinced our culture should take a back seat

While we embrace another whole heartedly

For yours is the standard of civilization

The bible was given to us in exchange for our freedom

And now you want me to continue to pray to a god which looks nothing like me

Believe in a fairy tale which paints an image of my kind as never do well slaves

You wear my hair as wigs during your carnival

While I am still struggling to wear mine as they grow from my head

Without being subjected to regulations on the definition of beautiful hair

 

My flatmate once called Kenyan food smelly and disgusting

With her nose scrunched up at me

Probably wanting me to apologise on behalf of Kenyans

Me shrugging my shoulders and retorting

Yours too stink and taste like rubber

The smell of cheese makes me want to puke

But the difference between me and you is understanding that identity is a construct

And no one chooses to which race, country, family he is born into

And that whatever you are,

Your taste, favorite food, fashion, culture is largely dependent on these 3 factors

What one chooses however is how you treat another human

How you don’t assume your own normativity should trump another’s

I am no longer going to be defensive

Apologizing for my culture, food, hair, body and colour

I have a right to own my narrative same as you do

I do not owe nobody an explanation either

For I am tired of smiling to the camera

Like some props to be displayed at the market square

 

Ask every black person

And you would hear the same story

How we subtly double check ourselves at every store

Before walking out the door

Making sure no article is tagged to our body mistakenly

We all sadly make fun of this

But it is a worry that plagues us all

That even if we got nothing on us

The alarm would still ring and we would be doubly embarrassed

So we pat ourselves stylishly

Because we are always automatically guilty until proven innocent

Who decides the innocence?

You

How do you then decide my innocence

If you are already plagued with your stereotypes of me

That I am a good for nothing criminal

 

The young guy who screamed monkey from his car

While high-fiving his friends

All laughing drunkenly

The doctor who requested for my asylum card

Automatically assuming my identity

The checker who came directly to my friend

And asked for her ticket

While the white dude who minutes before told his friend on the phone that he had no ticket was ignored

But of course he’s white so no one assumes he would drive black

Only black people drive black

The bouncers who refuse us entry into the clubs multiple times

The people who try to justify this act

The girl who dug her hand into my hair without my permission

Giving me her unsolicited opinion on the texture of my hair

Like my existence desperately needed her validation

The guys who ask to date me to satisfy their fetish

According to them,

Black girls are this and this and that

I was just some black face to them

And still told me I was the racist one for not throwing myself at their kind

The old woman who dragged me to her living room

To show me pictures of black kids she helps back in Africa

Oblivious to my discomfort and mechanical smile

All I wanted was a room to rent

The people who say we are all one when it suits their narrative

And scream go back to your country

At other times

The problem is not our difference

The problem is the interpretation of our differences

How we are narrated as not good enough

By the one who has the structural power

A proverb says,

Until the lion is able to write

The story will always glorify the hunter

 

So I told my nephew

Do not let society own you, shine so bright it dims the one who tries to stifle you

You are not intelligent, beautiful in spite of being black

You are all these because you are black

Embrace an undiluted image of you

Love yourself unaplogetically

But remember,

You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have

Standing tall in a world that has been programmed to proclaim your negatives

And impose their narratives on you

 

So when you say All lives matter

I ask you

Will your kids die with the world on their back

For mine will.

The Stable Must be Cleaned: A Call for A Refocusing of NISIG National

To jump-move forward, a step backward is a must. As a group, it is urgent to critically look at the immediate past, with a view to better the community for the now and future. It is in no member’s interest if the group is run aground willfully, unwillfully, intentionally or unintentionally. Like the saying goes, the road to hell is full of good intentions. We know better.

Lets call a spade a spade. The NISIG Summit 2017 in Hamburg was not well planned nor executed. It failed in many aspect. This Summit, which holds once in a year is organized by NISIG National, the umbrella body which takes it place of pride in the fact that it joins the different NISIG chapters together and represents them as the face of the chapters in the public, particularly when the chapters must speak as one.

The conclusion of an awful and a completely left-footedly planned 2017 Summit in Hamburg is based and justified by the multiple dissenting voices registered via posts and comments on the group’s page on Facebook, a closed group to which only members of the association have access. NISIG is the short for Nigerian Scholars in Germany, a registered association as a not-for-profit association under Germany’s laws, for which a tax-free status is enjoyable so long the association abides by the rules under which it is registered.

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Incumbent President of NISIG National, Mr Ayansola Ayodeji. The president and his team, the executive body are working tirelessly since their inauguration to clean the stable left behind in order to refocus the scholar association which represents thousands of Nigerian students and scholars in Germany Source of Photograph: Facebook

It is noteworthy that there are 16 federating states in Germany, each federating state is entitled to have a chapter, operating as semi independent chapter, umbrella-ed under NISIG National. There are states in which the presence of Nigerian students are less strong. In such states, it is acceptable for a city or cities to form a chapter of NISIG and they are in theory accorded status of a state chapter. The big purpose of the association is bringing Nigerian scholars and students alike together in Germany to synergize them for the immediate benefit and common good of both countries, and long term for the greater benefit and common good of Nigeria at large.

Going back to the Hamburg Summit, the president of NISIG National, who coordinated the organising, pre-, during and post summit planning, was Mr. Kolade Moses Ogun, a Nigerian, resident in Germany. He was assisted by his team, called the executive body. He managed the affairs of the association as president for a two-term tenure. He has since not responded to any of the posts, comments or anything of such on the summit on Facebook, as members of the group demand answers to the myriads of questions that lay heavy on their mind, some of which are posted on the group page on Facebook.

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Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses, Ex-President. He is currently threatening a legal action against a member of the association who he claims defamed him because the member expressed his opinion on a closed Facebook group that the financial report submitted to the members of the association was an insult to the intelligence of the members. Efforts to persuade Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses to withdraw the case and settle inhouse is so far fruitless. Source of Photograph :Facebook

(Edit: The Organizing Committe of the Hamburg Summit posted a purported response on Facebook. It is a reponse which refused to answer the questions asked but dived into name calling, mind-guessing people’s intention and ultimately suggesting how the Facebook page of the association should be ironfisted-ly managed.)

However, an active member of the group reported that he got letter from the lawyer of Mr. Kolade Moses, who is now ex-president of the association, in which it was quoted that the member is being charged for character damage and defamation of personality. This further buttress the fact that Mr. Kolade Moses Ogun is not unaware of the questions and demands for answers to the questions being asked his administration while in charge of NISIG National. He only chose a different channel to attend to them, one of which is intimidation and indirect verbal blackmail. Permit a question: Where else could a member of an association raise issues that need to be attended if not in spaces that house members of the association? A closed Facebook group is one of such space. A WhatsApp Group, if any, is such space. The official E-Mail of the association is another of such space. Private messaging does not belong in this regard, because this is a not a private matter.

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In a letter made available, Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses parades himself still as president of the association although he has handed over in a publicly contested free and fair election. The election chairman is kindly requested to clear the air on this matter.

(Update: Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses, although having handed over officially in the presence of the whole of NISIG in an election fairly contested and won, still as at November 2017 in a letter parades himself as president of the association in order to pursue a court case wanting a member to renounce a statement made on this platform. In fact, he sent via his lawyer a written piece and confirmation, showing he was still president as at when he engaged a lawyer to legally pursue a case with this member for having aired his opinion in this closed space. If Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses still saw/sees himself as president as at when he was no more president or expected to be, what exactly is going on here in NISIG National? Who is the president? Who is still in charge? Are we being ruled by Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses still? Has he indeed handed over? Mr. Babajide Moibi, the Election Chairman should kindly enlighten us on this matter as at when the tenure of Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses expired and when that of the incumbent Mr. Ayansola commenced. We are in the dark on this matter.)

By the way, this is for the record, the data of the member Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses intends to sue/sues, was suspectedly gotten from the data submitted to NISIG National. Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses instructed his lawyer to send a letter to the place work of the member, a letter whose content demands that this member purportedly defamed Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses; a letter which clearly shows that it is from a lawyer to a place of work of a member he once sworn to work in his interest and benefit does not speak well of the image we want to project as NISIG National. I have questions: Does this not border on abuse of data protection policy? Who gave Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses the address? Who ordered Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses to use the address of a member in this manner? Did Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses took permission from the owner of the address or from NISIG National before using this address? Why did Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses acted in this manner? Many questions, but few or no answers.

Since this reported incidence, it is not uncommon for members of the association to express their opinion by expressly posting a caveat or a disclaimer before going ahead to air their view. Apparently, Nigerians are technically being silenced and threatened with legal action because they have chosen to associate with a course to benefit their country of origin, namely Nigeria. And to think that these members are now being cowed by a former president, who should be furthering progress and growth of the association, leaves much to be desired. To even think that Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses did not first explore other means of negotiation and dialogue, which is the responsible thing to do as a one-time leader of the association calls for great concern. What does he intend to achieve by dragging a member to court? Why did he leave out relatively peaceful means of conflict resolution? (given that an expressed opinion in a close space could be seen as a conflict). Does this in anyway have anything to do with his personal ego? Has he before now attended to issues in similar or related manner? What experience did/do members have with him? Does any member have reasons to be worried for being in NISIG National space? This is not the way to go.

Recently, a financial report was shared to members on the Hamburg Summit. A member, who apparently was not happy with the way the association’s money was expended, in the member’s subjective opinion, he surmised that bulk of spending clearly was a tailored wastage or near willful reckless spending, posted on the Hamburg Summit thus:

To the organizers (plural) of the last NISIG Summit in Hamburg + whom it may concern: I have some few questions after going through the financial reports document named “NISIG Summit Report Hamburg 2017.xlsx”:

– 250€ for 5 Persons Small Job-Registration: Why did we have to hire external labourers to do a job that could have been done by NISIG members (perhaps for free)? All they did was get people sign in on a paper, gave out paper bracelets in return, stood around. What part of that could have been too difficult to handle by NISIG members?

– 50€ for Small Job-Bar Keeper: see above! A NISIG member could have volunteered to do this and gained access to free drinks all night in returns as renumeration instead of paying money. Why did we have to hire someone for this? I was glad the lady was helping out, being an old friend of NISIG, unbeknownst to me it was a paid job
– 257,90€ + 184,00€ + 201,00€ (total of 642,90€) for transportation of the speakers: can we have/see the receipts to these costs?

– 104,24€ for lost borrowed items from the university: How could we have misplaced such equipments? Why was there information about this? Everyone could have joined in searching for these stuff. Could we see the receipts of the replacements? Or the bill from the university?

– 80€ for graphics: A member admitted that his company did the graphics, videos etc. I’d assume at this point he’s still a member and he pays his half-yearly dues. I’d assume he wants to see the NISIG-movement and dream progress. My opinion: this could have been done for little to no amount. Yeah a run company has to make profits, I get it. There are many other members that could have rendered these services for free. I could have gotten a friend to do it for free. Why did we not ask OUR members if anybody was interested to do the graphics? It could have motivated some people to get involved and feel important as part of the association.

– 56,99€ for armbands for registrations: Of what essence were these bands? Can we see the receipts?

– 200,00€ for DJ: did we really have to outsource this service? Believe you me, I could have done the same job. I am definitely not condemning anybody here. Why didn’t we ask any member if he could do this? All we needed was just a laptop device since we had every other music instrument in place, for which we’d paid extra 200,00€.

– 130,88€ for Ambiance Designer: I can point at some members that could have done this. This could have been done voluntarily by members only if we had asked. Why did we have to outsource this? Really why?

Expenses we could have DEFINITELY avoided and done without:
– 5 Persons Small Job-Registration: 250€
– Small Job-Bar Keeper: 50€
– Lost borrowed items from the university: 104,24€
– Graphics: 80€
– Armbands: 56,99€
– DJ: 200€
– Ambiance Design: 130,88€
TOTAL: 872,11€

I, (name removed) – an active member of NISIG, need some answers. I’d appreciate that.

(Name removed),
a worried member

PS: I am acting and asking these questions solely as a single member of this beloved association and there’s nothing I want but to see us as an association, a team move forward. This definitely is not the way forward if we have to spend money this way.
PPS: I am not accusing anybody and raising any false claims. I am just asking simple questions and giving suggestions on how we could have minimized costs being an Ijebu descent.

This view sums up what is wrong with the Hamburg Summit in many ways, especially with the planing and execution. Another commenter writes:

I would like to add the following as (Name removed) pointed out as most of my points already.
Form the financial report, I saw multiple courtesy visits made to the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin and Frankfurt this year and last year and I presume other members of NISIG Germany never got any update or matter discussed on “These courtesy visits”, therefore, I would consider them as personal visits.

I and if anyone reading this agree with me: The funds spent for such personal visits by the Excos should be kindly refunded to the NISIG account.
We are all free as NISIG members and Nigerians to visit the embassy any day, anytime, even when they are having a ceremony or visiting dignitaries.

I assume the current NISIG President got the petition sent last month and we are awaiting a response as a silent approach to any of this matter would make it worse.
Lastly, 68 Euros for Ballons, That really got me cracking!

The financial report the commenter referenced in the comment is the consolidated financial report of the association. This document, shared among members as clearly stated in the constitution of the association, is controversial at best; it is still being scrutinized and questions have been raised, calling for a diligent review of the content therein. One item raised by the commenter is the frequented trips to the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin, purpose of which was never reported back to the state chapters of the association or disseminated to dues paying member(s) of the association. Meanwhile, money used to execute the trips came from the common purse of the association.

(Edit: Since the post cited above was made, many commenters have given their piece of mind, and we are no more in doubt what many of them think of the summit. The opinion of manner of management of one person, in the person of Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses does not in anyway supercedes the opinion and views of the people who attended the summit and came up to tell NISIG National what indeed went south with the Hamburg Summit. A leader or an ex-leader would take this in good fate, accepting the wrong, wishing to learn from the errors of the past, attend to issues raised objectively and account in action by opening the books, instead of suggesting subtly and openly reasons why there should be no opening of books as constitutionally allowed. It is fair to say that there is a strong play of ego in this matter. We should be clear though and be quick to remind Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses that the call for accountability and responsibility, in fact a call for a probe, is in no way a personal issue. We want to refocus NISIG National on a solid ground for greater benefit for now and the future. NISIG National is not about him, his ego or any other personal hurt he might have felt or feel.)

It must be said though that the current administration is working to clean the stable left behind by the last administration and lay a solid foundation for future activities of the association. This submission stems from the response to a call for probe and for accountability in the association. It was stated in the response that Mr. Kolade Moses Ogun has been contacted to address the issues raised therein, many of which border on probable fund mismanagement, misrepresentation of office functions and duties among others, set out in the letters which seek to clarify matters arising during his administration, many of which (might) suggest gross abuse of office if left unaddressed in public space. It is hoped that the petitioning members will be furnished with Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses response once made available.

(Edit: The response posted on Facebook by Mr. Oreoluwa Afolayan on behalf of the Hamburg Summit Committee (HSC) is a move in this direction, although much of its content is a distraction from the core of the matters to be attended to, it still is a move in the right direction. The key matters were left out. The books should be opened. Receipts should be attached. If they are lost, they should be clearly stated. If the records were kept only in the heads of the HSC members and later recalled for writing out, it should be so stated. If the receipts and other necessary documents are not going to be released, this should be so said. It is not in the place of the HSC to decide whose audit is better. It is good that the HSC is accountable to the Hamburg State Government. This is not unusual. We should remind them too though that the fund given to NISIG National was gotten in our name, and as the constitution clearly states, members are allowed a look into the books and records of the association if they demand. The HSC, and Mr. Kolade Ogun Moses, should kindly attend to the key matters.)

To point out other areas in which the current administration can and should focus is to refocus the association away from a one-man affair to a communal body, which actually is the set-out goal of the association. To achieve this, it is suggested that the constitution of the association be reviewed. Another important aspect to emphasize in the course of a holistic refocusing of the association is the readiness and willingness to obey the provisions of the constitution without hesitation. Other recommendation is to place a ceiling on certain expenses incurable by the association without the permission of dues paying members or members in whose name the fund is secured. It cannot be acceptable that funds must be exhausted by all means. It cannot be acceptable to leave a backlog of debts for the incoming administration, if this is the case. This clause will save the association from certain misspending and bad expenditure, in short, NISIG National will be saved from objectively/subjectively bad financial decision as is represented in the financial report published and shared to us all. There really can be no justification for an association with an annual budget of less than seven thousand Euro to incur close to 700 Euro (ten percent of its annual budget) to transport and accommodate two persons, whose presence and function at the the Hamburg Summit was definitely not irreplaceable. Another miscellaneous but avoidable discretionary expenses is the purchase of balloon for 68 Euro or a figure in this regard. Pettiness aside, there really is no good reason why a president/HSC who is sensitive to the implication of a careless spending should not be discrete enough to cut out this kind of waste and burden on the association. It must be kept in mind that this is a young association with a lean purse.

Of importance is conflict resolution, negotiation and management in the association. It should be part of the association’s creed that members are not to be sued, threatened, blackmailed, or otherwise by any means on opinion, comments, views expressed in official spaces or reported in news articles or blog post as regarding the association. Of course, this formulation is a loose draft of what should be included in such a legal escape/guard/protection for members of the association, it should be further sharpened and modified as standard documents demand.

This should also be seen as a call on all to comment on this piece ways in which they want the association to be refocused, re-engineered, re-energized and reviewed. If I may, I will suggest in fact that the present administration should via social media ensure that members submit their views and opinion etc as to what they want to see in a reviewed NISIG constitution, the administration should initiate a committee to steer this refocusing effort within a set time and achievable period so that this is realized still before the next summit.

I thank you for your attention.

Ibukunolu Olugbemisola Ajagunna

Lost in Transit? A Long Poetic Conversation on Language, Culture and Identity by Ola Dunni (!SiDOS)

dunni

Ms. Oladunni Talabi is a beautiful and wonderful addition to the AhjotNaija!BlogFamily. She is a Doctoral 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

Hasten up,

I’d like to take my shower before we leave

No, it is take your bath, not shower, my friend corrects me

No, it is shower, I insist

No, you shower when you want to cool off your body

And take your bath when it involves scrubbing your body

Whatever, I’m off to the bathroom

Lets continue this English lesson in the bus

Ola I’d like some tea

No I don’t have tea

But I got chocolate if you want that

Well that’s tea, my friend shakes his head at me

No it’s chocolate, I insist

Tea comes in a bag

We argue over this for some minutes

Until I shrug my shoulder, “Whatever leave me be”

 

Hey Ola

Can you direct me to the closest cafe around here?

Sure, it’s right around the corner after the traffic light

You want to get some bread and coffee?, I inquire

What?, my friend stares at me incredulously

I want to print some documents

Oh! Its a print shop you need and not a cafe

No, its a cafe I need to go

 

These are the excerpts of conversations

between my newly arrived Nigerian friends and me

For two weeks, I’ve been made to pay attention to my grammar

With the realisation that I’ve picked up the German English

And lost my Nigerian English

Replacing peculiar Nigerian words for German phrases

It doesn’t end there

 

Wake up, your phone is ringing

The guy slaps the girl lightly on the shoulder

Wake up, it’s your alarm

Wake up, you have a message

I stare at them both incredulously

Why you do you have to wake her up to pick her call?

You should just mute the call and when she wakes, she calls back

Why would I do that?, he replies

Your suggestion is weird

Well, you waking her up to pick a call is weird too

I sigh

 

The guy is gone to class

Just me and my girlfriend at home

Her phone rings

I am awake so I mute it

She wakes up later

Hey Ola, did my phone ring?

Yeah, you were asleep so I put it on mute

Why didn’t you wake me?, she grumbles

You didn’t inform me that you’d like to be woken up to pick a call,

I replied

 

Hey Ola, can I use your perfume

My friend shakes my shoulder to wake me up

Is the home on fire?, I ask sarcastically

My sleep ridden face all squeezed

No, but I’d like to use your perfume

You actually wake me to ask this question?

I wasn’t even pissed

I was flabbergasted

You know you should simply use it or leave without using it

Either way, it’s rude to wake me up

I note the differences in our interaction

It will be difficult not to

 

These differences are very obvious

How I walk, how I interpret and respond to messages

My gestures, short mechanical smile I give to strangers

Do you know that person you just smiled at?

They ask

No, we don’t know each other. It’s just simple mechanical smile

Why you smile then? They ask

The hugs of goodbye and welcome I share with my friends

These ones opening the door without hugging me

Me still talking about the weather while they already gone back to the room

Weird people, I shake my head at them both

You are the weird one, they laugh at me

Why you hugging everyone

You not even in a relationship

 

My two newly arrived Nigerian friends

Remind me of the fact that I’ve lost the authentic Nigerian identity

Yes, I have a green passport

And I say I am Nigerian to everyone I meet

Holding on to that identity

But I realise I am swimming against the tide

And I am at the point of drowning

My friends tell me every minute

You are not Nigerian

You are so German

You wont fit into the Nigerian society

 

I have not visited home in 4years

Without my friends showing me what it means to be Nigerian,

I would continue to insist on my authenticity

Telling archaic stories and slangs

No one uses that word any more

They’d laugh at me. This is how we say it

Even your English is all mixed up

It has lost that peculiar Nigerian accent

Your words are pronounced on a very high pitch

Our pronunciations are very flat and low pitched

You are hybrid, just accept it

 

Then I remember the woman at the train station

On a Sunday morning

Shouting in anger at a young boy

It was a small argument that quickly escalated into a fight

I was tired

It was 5am and I had partied the entire night

All I wanted was to take the bus home in peace

But these two were at it

Exchanging words

And then the outburst

Go back to your country!!!

The woman shouted at the dude

It was obvious his facial structures was Arabian

We all turned in alarm

Shock written over our face

Condemning her in our silence

But of course we said nothing

That’s how it always goes

No one was willing to tell her how terrible that was

Then the dude responded, back to where? Bitch!

I was born here, same as you! I belong here!

I am from Germany!

 

He was from here

This is what he’s known all his life

But his identity was snatched from him in seconds

And he had to fight to reclaim it

Who knows how many times he’s had to do this?

Fight this identity battle

Telling everyone willing to listen, I belong here same as you

I pondered to myself

He didn’t look fazed

His statement was very flat

 

So when you say, tell me about Nigeria

I can only tell you about memories

Locked up

Brought out once in a while

Cleaned till it glitters

And locked up again

To be pushed out when the occasion arises

 

But my Nigerian identity has been contested

By my newly arrived friends

I cannot even eat their food

Neither can they mine

I talk about how we eat pepper a lot

Not realising that I do not eat the Nigerian quantity of pepper anymore

They say my food is bland

I say theirs is too hot

Almost ripping my tongue out

How can you feel the taste of the food if you douse it with this quantity of pepper

They say the pepper is actually the taste

So we decided to cook separately

 

I do not know what I am

Of course I’m not German

But they say I’m not Nigerian either

And I’d have to learn how to be Nigerian

So I cannot in good faith regale you with stories of Nigeria

Or how it feels to be one

That will be claiming an identity I do not 100% fit into

Neither do I 100% fit into the German society

 

So I have decided to juggle both

Be the German in the very Nigerian camp

You should lower your voice when you talk

Use your earpiece when you listen to music

Wait for the traffic light, be very time conscious

And be Nigerian in the very German camp

Laugh at the top of my voice, be the pepper eater, invite strangers into my home

This way I have my peace

And I do not have to try too hard to be anything.

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