ajagunna

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

Month: December, 2014

THE WORST 10 OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN’S 2014 | A Review by Ayo Sogunro

Ayo Sogunro

At the risk of putting a dampener on your holiday festivities, here’s a quick reminder of how badly 2014 went. Of course, we’ll rather sweep all of this under Nigeria’s Big Rug of Forgetfulness, but now that the presidential campaign is in full swing with the achievements of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in roads, bridges and other petty infrastructure, here’s a quick look at the worst tragic events, inane policies and unresolved issues that plagued us in 2014 alone.

1. TheContinuing Boko HaramWar which, insanely, is yet to be treated as a war. Instead, the Federal Government of Nigeria treats it as a mild annoyance while the military keeps pretending it’s a top secret experiment being conducted in the basements of Sambisa Forest. Meanwhile, tragic news from internally displaced persons tells of unbelievable horror: captured towns; wanton and brutal killings; extortion by terrorists. The year 2014 has been…

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Nigeria’s Need for a Mind-Overhaul

Governor Ogbeni Aregbesola, the face and agent of APC-driven change in Osun state

Governor Ogbeni Aregbesola, the face and agent of APC-driven change in Osun state

We need not only an overhaul of Nigeria’s physical infrastructures, there are strong reasons to propose a complete mind-overhaul for Nigeria. Reform starts in the head. Prof. Adesanmi’s call for a psychological rewiring and demand for a reintroduction of civics in Nigeria are, in my opinion, not unconnected with a desire for a mental-overhaul of the Nigerian. I suppose the reason being this: Somehow we know that there can be no true freedom without mental freedom. We tout the popular Reggae quote which demands Blacks to free themselves from mental slavery, but reality confirms that we understand these words to be true but care less for practical realization.

Our sense of what is acceptable is noticeable already in little things. Take for instance, we readily accept to be moved with a goat-cargo from point A to B. After all, they are just goats! Chickens and other domestic birds scratch waste-hills in front of houses with stinking open gutters. After all, they disturb nobody! Chickens are beautiful and goats are the least of my worry. The open-gutters worry me more than the threat of a potential bird flu-outbreak. After all, the goat will move-on and the chicken will go away, but the open-gutters and their many deaths are part of our daily lives!

The problem is this: Humans and goats for transport do not belong in the same train or lorry, bus or car etc. It is a matter of health, and dignity too. Chickens and these other wonderful birds deserve to live in peace, no doubt, but we need accept we live better/safer when they are reared and transported separate from humans.

Lets move away from goats and chickens. In talks/chats it can be seen many Nigerians condole abuse. Political abusers know this. So when Nigerians fight (back) in protest, they needed only to be given time and they shall justify their own sorrows in ways that beat the imaginations of their abusers and tormentors. Many times, they find reasons to blame themselves for the failure of politicians and leadership.

Talking about justifying/supporting abuse from the leadership, here a practical example: Bishop Oyedepo slapped a worshiper in full public glare and he got away with it! Did I tell mention someone said the victim deserved to be slapped? This is the justification: She said she was witch for Jesus! Does Jesus have witch ni?! It did not stop there: After all, he won the case in court paapa.

I was short of words. 1. How do I explain Bishop Oyedepo erred when he slapped? 2. How do I explain I do not dislike him but his action, so that faithfuls do not only see shit-storms thrown at a man of god? etc etc.

Our willingness to self-explain plus justify abuse is a cool alibi exploited by politicians in matters of national importance. They have always bet on Nigerians to (1) either self-explain injustice and (2) forget completely or overlook crimes as if they never happened. The consequence is visible countrywide.

This state of mind explains why public school children learn in the most undignified conditions. Over the years, the practice has always been to give an already dilapidated school complex a face-lift. Whereas somewhere in faraway Yola or Ota some children learn in air-conditioned classrooms with Western grade teaching/learning materials.

Incredibly strange, but true, many poor (wo-)man readily accepts it is “our lot” to be poor. They are quick to conclude that someone somewhere has it worse! Well, no doubt about the relativity of poverty. The question is, do I have to die of hunger because I am poor and if my children had to be taught in spaces not fit for a pigs?!

Governor Okorocha in a badly equipped classroom. He is the face of APC's breathe of newness in Imo state. His speech was lauded one of the best at the APC convention that threw up General Buhari as the next messiah

Governor Okorocha in a badly equipped classroom. He is the face of APC’s breathe of newness in Imo state. His speech was lauded one of the best at the APC convention that threw up General Buhari as the next messiah

This kind of problematic acceptance of evil fate is another reason for the necessity of a mind-overhaul.

To advocate for an outright eradication of poverty in the land will be Utopian, but like Nelson Mandela said, there is a level of poverty that should be unacceptable to Nigerians (paraphrased). This unacceptable descent below the acceptable is the problem. This unacceptable poverty level is best daily noticed in the wealth-flaunting-mentality of the Nigerian noveaus-riches. Many in this group are probably least interested in oppressing the already-downtrodden. They only confirm that Nigeria’s poormen and -women are kept real-hard down, so they show it when they finally “made-it”! Add to that a mentality that these children deserve the kind of classrooms photographed in Arinze Primary School in Edo State. A poorman’s descent into the hottest part of hell is then complete. Arinze Primary School with different shades and grades litters the nook and cranny of the country.

Arinze Primary School in Edo state is typical of dilapidated public school facility in Nigeria

Arinze Primary School in Edo state is typical of dilapidated public school facility in Nigeria

Crazier it is when one imagines a woman who scoops water from a real dirty mud-pool, but covers her nakedness with a wrapper demanding the reelection of President Jonathan or the installation of General Buhari as the change we earnestly demand! Could there be a starker nakedness than this display of ignorance! Let me put it banally: it is a wishful hang-on to life yet begging to be raped harder by a killer. Such contradictions?! Yes! We are talking Nigeria. Really, we live in strange times in that beautiful and yet strange space.

How we see ourselves matters on the road to charting a way out of bedeviling problems. Allow me to illustrate a point. Governor Aregbesola was in a classroom dressed in a school uniform. Governor Okorocha followed suit. He was photographed in a classroom. What is the problem? Here: Mr. Okorocha was in a terrible classroom. Apparently, he was only interested in the photographs, and not the teaching conditions. The blackboard speaks volume.

See for yourself!

govs

If a governor thought that kind of blackboard good enough, then I need not tell us there is trouble. Governor Aregbesola’s attempt to beautify public primary schools (new uniforms, benches etc) apes woefully what is good. Mind you, these are performing APC-governors. I wonder what terrible governors would show for performance!

Add to these two a visit to a typical classroom in a public primary school in Lagos state to get the picture of the bigger trouble with Nigeria. My choice of Lagos is obvious. APC and particularly Governor Fashola are the present paradigm of good governance in Nigeria. Compare what you see with a five-star private school in the same state. Be sure to upload on social media your report before you break down in holy-tears and anger! Our children do not deserve to be abandoned like this!

Morning shows the day. That is a public school in Edo state, an APC controlled state. Exactly why many conclude APC is PDP. Positive change is compassionate and not wicked.

Morning shows the day. That is a public school in Edo state, an APC controlled state. Exactly why many conclude APC is PDP. Positive change is compassionate and not wicked.

I once wrote a piece on the need to see our school complexes/buildings in the right historical context. Chief Awolowo rightly pointed out in his autobiography that the structures were decided for considering finance and urgency of the moment. That was over five decades ago plus government was financially much “poorer” than today. Definitely, Chief Awolowo intended to improve/replace these public school buildings/complexes with structures like those in present day The Bells, Winners Chapel Secondary School and other five-star private schools all across the country. We however lost that vision and are stuck somewhere in the past.

In this light, if there is any set of Nigerians that needed the mental rewiring most urgently, it is the leadership. I agree with Achebe, partly. Nigeria has a leadership problem, not a followership problem. One of the biggest problems is a leadership surviving on over-hyped achievements while it abandoned many things that matter. For every 10km of road constructed, for which a governor “hired” journalists to robustly media-report, there are more than ten over-congested plus badly equipped classrooms which the governor pretends not to notice. Many problems and more rot stare the leadership in the face. Its choice of looking away makes the mental rewiring in these leaders more urgent than ever before. So, while the rewiring of the leadership cadre is but most urgent, the people, i.e. followership must not be spared the difficult road down the house of the mental-overhauler. We just cannot afford to live on without it.

SundayStarter: In Saint-Momo Chapter 24

Hand-in-pocket: Oluwaseun Tanimomo of TPoM

Hand-in-pocket: Oluwaseun Tanimomo of TPoM

He said, to what shall we compare the kingdom of Naija? We shall compare it to a man who prefereth to be robbed by Shina Rambo than a pickpocket. Or to a people who light their candles and hideth it under a bushel. Another parable put he forth to them saying:

”A certain wicked husbandman who had plundered the riches of his farms set forth on a journey to his land. And seeing that he had plundered enough to build his country, he set forth and gave to his stewards talents. To one he gave two talents, to another he gave one. And to many others, he gave none.

And when the time of the season came for the husbandman to go, he sayeth within himself, ‘for a long time I have been on these farms and I have kept my servants and stewards under; lest they come together and ask of the years I spent here, I will bring them together as one kingdom and give power to them who do not want me to leave. And whence the time comest for them to move forward that they will rise amongst themselves and see that they are different.’

And it was so that the wicked husbandman bringeth together his many farms and maketh one of them from them who wantest not that he leave king. So it came to pass that soldier come soldier go and these things be as the certain rich wicked husbandman thought them.

And the king and the rulers of the many farms of the kingdom were happy for they had many occasions to steal them dry. And the rulers caused great strife and division amongst them for the people of the kingdom looked amongst themselves and sayeth they which plant groundnut are not like us for they kneel down whilst praying.

And those who planted groundnut say, look those who plant the palm and cocoa do not look like us for they pray whilst standing and some of them do not believe in anything; of a truth they do not believe in our God.

And the rulers even did more to keep them under for when the time was to anoint a new king that the old king, the scribe and the Levites gave talents of sorghum, of rice to the people. The rulers said amongst themselves, ‘dost the stomach which needeth food reasoneth well? For now, we will keep them hungry that their stomachs shall dictate to them whom they anoint king.’ And they did this.

It came to pass that the booty of the kingdom was so much and greed grew in the minds of the rulers of the people and they became wise in their own ways that they sought to take it all and struggled amongst themselves and sent men of the night after one another and great was the death that followed their greeds.

And when the deaths were too much that they so feared the palace, that the eldest of the rulers of the people thought and said, ‘come let us reason amongst ourselves. Why struggleth we amongst ourselves, for we all are thieves and we have no good to do to the people than to steal all that they have. For we are brothers.

Thou knowest I pray whilst standing, let me go mine way and some will follow, peradventure many others willst be well gullible to follow and then I become king. Then the gold and silver of the temple, the building of the house I will give to you mine other brother-thieves who winnest not. And if it be that thou winnest, thou shall do same’. They reasoned these things amongst themselves and saw that it was good.

Then it came to pass that the people of the kingdom saw that their king was a wicked king and a hard man reaping where he hath not sown, and gathering where he hath not strewn and the people of the farms could take it no longer. So they reasoned amongst themselves, saying, come, ‘thou knowest that these rulers suposseth our servants be, seesth thou as they entreat us like bondservants’

Then, they came together and reasoned amongst themselves for they planned to take power from the rulers of the people. And they said, ‘after we may have fought and won, lest a similar fate as it is now befalleth us lest our last state be worse than the first. So, come let us make laws in our own image after our own likeness and these laws shall have dominion over our money in the treasury, over the security of our land and over everything that concerneth us.’ And they made laws in their own image and after their likeness and they say that it was good.

And it came to pass that when the day of reckoning was nigh, when servants gave account of their deeds in high places that the people come together and blindeth the king and the rulers of the people, and sayeth unto them, ‘thou unfaithful servants, you have been unfaithful in all that has been given unto you, enter ye all into the dungeon prepared for you where there shall be mourning and gnashing of teeth.’

Thereupon, the people dwelt safely and prospered for every man had a vine. This prosperity of the people of the kingdom, and how they built mighty things, and how knowledge flourished, are they not written in books of the chronicles of the king?

Cow leg nor be cornbeef!

A real cool piece. Read and confirm

Pa Ikhide

America Police nor go kill me O! Every week for America, we dey do environmental, that is, for night you go put your dustbin outside, for morning, environmental people go come carry am with their agbegilodo lorry. The dog and the deer wen dey our compound dem plus the vulture dem nor like me at all at all. Dem be racist because dem nor like say Black man like me dey gbaladun for oyinbo neighborhood. I don call police for dem tire, still yet dem nor dey hear word. Di ting pass me. If I just put my dotty for outside like this those witch dem wen be animals go throway di dotty make everybody see dey laff me.

I go wake up for morning, come see vulture and dog and deer they laff my dotty, for road. See wahala O, all di cowfoot, abodi, roun’about, cowtail, chicken leg, chicken…

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Thank you 2014! Meet the AhjotNaijaBlogFamily! Vision 2015 and Beyond!

The lizard, having just landed on the ground from a very tall tree, looked up and looked down, repeating same three times, apparently awed by what just happened, said to himself: I have achieved something, this is a big thing indeed, I must admit. If nobody praised this feat of mine, I know this achievement is praiseworthy. I praise myself! Yoruba Proverb

This is a piece of thankfulness while I highlight the blog’s plans and visions for the new year. We have real great plans for the new year. We hope to keep your readership in the new year and beyond.

1410700226068

I strongly believe we complement each other superbly, namely the readership and the writing team at AhjotNaijaBlogFamily. I have always believed people want to read, they are not tired of reading good pieces, they read even more gladly when the passion in the written words practically jumps at them in the face, is strongly personal yet purely unabusive; a writing that is not absolutely void of subjectivity, but clearly non-charlatan.

We know our readers want to read on and read more when the matter at hand is subjectively discussed with a touch of objectivity that is the hallmark of every good work, be it written or spoken or passed across via other means.

What is !SiDoS upto with that smartphone?! Kel is the wonderful young lady with mischievious Ola

What is !SiDoS upto with that smartphone?!
Kel is the wonderful young lady with mischievious Ola

At AhjotNaija we key into this beautiful success recipe for our brand of blog-journalism. It is working for us. Our readership statistics is a loud confirmation of our success. We thank you for believing in our vision.

AhjotNaija with Nathaniel Jonah of BeerTalk

AhjotNaija with Nathaniel Jonah of BeerTalk

Isiaq Hammed An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq Hammed
An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE!
He is a giant contributor.

It is now eleven months since we moved permanently from our dotblogspot to dotwordpress. In continuation of excellence, it has been eleven months of critical engagement, discussion, dialogue, opinion, creative writings and what have you on AhjotNaija. You can be sure we are not tired of bringing out the best of opinion pieces on national and international issues in it widest and wildest forms imaginable, subjectively objective, creative writings, personal experience, narratives of all form, shade and coloration.

AhjotNaija and Oladapo Ajayi. This Yoruba proverb captures Oladapo's personality so well: "Egun nla ti nkeyin lgbale".

AhjotNaija and Oladapo Ajayi. This Yoruba proverb captures Oladapo’s personality so well: “Egun nla ti nkeyin lgbale”.

The ideal is, if you can imagine it and it is beautiful or not completely so, then we can get it published/posted on AhjotNaija. We want to inform and entertain, we want to do it not alone, but together with you, while not forgetting the writers’ sacred role of shaping and creating well and better informed world citizens. We believe it is best to teach how to think and not what to think. Our writings strongly represent this submission. Our readership would agree with me on this. We are privileged to have you share the year and our ways of thinking.

Why am I in almost all the snapshot?! I hate the camera, seriously. I am anything but camera-delighted. Olohun ngbo! Mi o paro!  *hands on tongue to swear sincerity*

Why am I in almost all the snapshot?! I hate the camera, seriously. I am anything but camera-delighted. Olohun ngbo! Mi o paro!
*hands on tongue to swear sincerity*

AhjotNaijaGuestbloggers are conscious of this truth when they pen down their thoughts. They bear responsibly that old writers burden passionately within; writing for them is a passion that is best done when for example readers in faraway Australia clicked their piece(s) written on a smartphone/tablet/laptop somewhere in Germany, Saudi Arabia or Nigeria, read them, and were grateful for finding yet another beautiful piece; a priceless piece of art which put a smile on readers’ face or provokes newer thoughts and inspiring actions.

Ola Dunni and AhjotNaija

Ola Dunni and AhjotNaija

Talking about guestbloggers, the blog benefits regularly from prime minds of Ola Dunni, Tanimomo Oluseun, Isiaq Hammed and Oladimeji Abiola. Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi is a giant of words. Nathaniel Jonah wrote for us once a real cool piece on President Obama. BeerTalk was one cool and spontaneous creation with him. I enjoyed it. Ms Omodara sent in a piece once. We thank you.

AhjotNaija with Ola Dunni- The brain behind !SiDoS in Dortmund

AhjotNaija with Ola Dunni- The brain behind !SiDoS in Dortmund

Oladimeji now has a dotwordpress. His philosophical writings are insightful and beautiful. We thank him for the chance to share of his wisdom. He is always welcome to write for us.

Tanimomo of TPoM

Tanimomo of TPoM

SIDOS is the brainchild of Ola Dunni. Believe me, she is now a star! Loads of compliments from right, left, back, front and center! Ola Dunni writes very beautifully and she runs with it! You just cannot stop reading SIDOS once you click in. You had better not click if you don’t want to get addicted to her way of doing art!

Thinking back, I could not be happier Ola Dunni did not only agree to write for the blog, but that she finally saw what I saw in her first piece even before it was written. SIDOS is any publisher’s pride. She joined the team nearly ready-made! I am sincerely happy to have her on the team. Take my word for it, she is going places.

Who wont be proud jare?! I mean a President Jimmy Carter scholar writes for us! See her pictures for yourself. They are not photoshoped!

Mildred Ides Azeigbe with the President and Mrs. Carter

Mildred Ides Azeigbe with the President and Mrs. Carter

Mildred Ides Azeigbe shares her wisdom with us in MIAS. MIAS, like SIDOS, is dedicated to featuring this heavyweight. Thank you, Ides. I was wowed when I read her piece on poverty from a very personal angle. She tells a beautiful narrative. Reading her juicy piece first as publisher is one cool privilge I will like to enjoy for a longtime. The beauty of the written word is, there is enough juice to go round.

Mildred Ides Azeigbe

Mildred Ides Azeigbe

Lets talk TPoM i.e. Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind. Oluseun is another beautiful writer. He has grown over time. Every new piece surpassed the creativeness of the old, setting newer and higher standard. Just go check out his writings on the blog to confirm. Tanimomo, it is a privilege for me to accompany you through your various stages of maturity in your wonderful TPoM articles. It is an humbling experience for me personally. I learned so much from you. Thank you very much for the opportunity. I know to cherish it.

Isiaq Hammed blessed us with his writings READY-MADE! By the way, I have finally learned to write your name correctly. It is ISIAQ and not ISIAKA 🙂

If there is a thing I have learned and never forgot over the years as a life-artist, it is this: prejudice is hurtful. Besides, it is one best way to mess up real big and make a circus of one’s nakedness.

Isiaq Hammed An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq Hammed
An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE!
He is a giant contributor.

I did not make this mistake in my assessment of Isiaq. Isiaq is a strong political voice and national mind in the making. I do not always agree with him on issues and opinion. Our difference of views notwithstanding, it will be insincere to describe the sighting of an elephant so condescendingly with a wave of hand as though nothing went past! Isiaq is a beautiful and brilliant writer. Respect!

This is a vision for the new year: We intend to push our limits and explore new lands and newer forms of doing art. AhjotNaija as a brand intends to be a meeting point of and for beautiful writings and readings, a place where all engage to agree and disagree respectfully, expressing dissent without verbal or non-verbal violence. We intend to break new grounds in writing Nigeria and Africa, and by extension the world. In short, we want to birth a market of great writings and ideas. We want to change the world. And we mean it!

Mr Abiola Oladimeji is a scholar resident in Germany and guestblogs for AhjotNaija

Mr Abiola Oladimeji is a scholar resident in Germany and guestblogs for AhjotNaija

A goal is to bring together Nigeria’s (Africa’s) finest innovative minds talking and exchanging ideas to change the continent and chart new course for a positive thrust into Africa’s future. I strongly believe Nigeria (Africa) potentials are limitless and yet to be fully maximized. One way to tap into them is to keep talking and moving while we do so.

Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi is a writer and an inspirational speaker. He is the author of “I Dare to be a Nigerian: A collection of inspiring stories, plays and anecdotes” available on Amazon We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi is a writer and an inspirational speaker. He is the author of “I Dare to be a Nigerian: A collection of inspiring stories, plays and anecdotes” available on Amazon

When I have points, I present them very strongly and passionately, to a dissenting mind, they appear rigid and unfriendly. Strong and passionate they are, but not rigid and permanently dry. A good thing is it, when one reads opinion, posts and comments from the past with little or no regrets. Positions can change depending on circumstances, what must not be subject to too frequent change are the operating principles. Principles are formed not in a single day, but over time. They are a coming together of lives and experiences. If they must change, then gradual and critically considered they must be. This spirit guides my art in and out of the blog, and this exactly is AhjotNaija.

MERY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR IN ADVANCE!

Durotimi, Asa’s Handbag and More

Asa's Handbag

Asa’s Handbag

Durotimi complained each time Asa sent him to get something in her handbag. He will gladly go anywhere without blinking an eye except an errand to go search a place of unending chaos. He simply did not know where to start. He complained only to himself though, not even once to Asa. She has sent him again to bring something in her handbag- Her purse. He left at once to get it.

It was not difficult to locate the handbag. It was on the bed. He set out to look for the purse. He looked into every compartment of the handbag. When he could not find the purse, he knew he had searched too hurriedly. He must take his time to locate the purse. If she said it was in the handbag, then in the handbag it must be!

He saw a banana on the cupboard. He peeled and swallowed it in a bite. The hurried search had left him without strength. It must be that he had been hungry before the search. He would have eaten anything edible he saw first. The banana left him hungrier. The task at hand was more important than the thought of his hunger. The purse he must search for; and that in the handbag.

He removed the trinket box and powder. Asa carried them permanently around. To remove them, he removed a bunch of necklace. The necklace was one of Asa’s favorites. He called it bunch because that exactly was what it was; joined together like a cobweb. He could figure out easily neither its beginning nor its end. The tangle would daunt anyone.

He had run into the necklace unknowingly. He would have been more careful if he knew. Having bumped into it, there was only an option left: to entangle his hands. He had wanted to continue without bringing out the necklace. It was frustratingly difficult. So, he did. He breathed relief.

He placed it gently on a spot. The necklace must not appear disturbed because he had touched it. He did not want to search, worrying the necklace was nonchalantly handled. Asa could come in while he searched. He had just saved himself imagining her face when she saw the necklace carelessly dropped on the floor. He had been in a sort of war with his thought over the handling of the necklace.

His fingers touched something like a purse. He sighed; relieved because he thought he had it.

It was a purse but not the purse. She had sent him to get the purse in which she kept her bus-ticket and many identity cards. Heaven knows if she discovered he touched the money-purse, it would not be lightly taken. He rebuked himself for being so foolhardy. He was about to stir a beehive.

All the while he sweated. Real hard. On one hand, frustrated he was not getting positively far with the search. On the other, he pitied himself already in view of a negative outcome at the end of the search. ‘I just don’t want to think about it’, he gave voice to his thought., unconsciously. He was confused.

In truth, he had no reason to think Asa would do anything silly. As if she knew he sometimes saw her in such unfriendly light, she had told him severally not to make her a monster.

He stumbled over an envelope. It was bulgy; loosely closed at the mouth. It showed Asa was not in a hurry when she closed the envelope; she probably cared a little less when she placed it in. He opened it. Used nose wipes. He was slightly irritated. Under a heavy breathe, he began a sentence with ‘but’. ‘But I have told her severally to throw away these tissues once used! My goodness!’ Then he remembered she disagreed each time he suggested that.

She kept a separate envelope for used wipes. When full she disposed it. Then replaced it. She believed she would keep the environment clean that way. She even advised he adopt her style. He disagreed. He added with sarcastic emphasis, ‘I will not only keep an envelope, I will keep a gorodom’. She did not hear him well. She asked what he meant. He told her of the saliva-gorodom.

‘A friend told me.’, he began. ‘Since then I did not forget. In that part of the country, gorodom was provided at reasonable distance, so that those thickly craved balls of phlegm could be spat into them. Once, a man spat phlegm into a gorodom. The phlegm almost tilted the content of the gorodom, so he smartly retrieved it with the tip of his tongue. He rescued his phlegm!’

Asa finally got the point. Her anger doubled. He had not only made a bad joke, but succeeded in ruining her day. She could not eat that day. It angered her more that he was not sorry, rather laughed hysterically, shaking heavily from side to side. While he searched the handbag, he replayed the scene in his head. A smile plastered his lip. Slowly, the smile gave way to a wider smile. The wider smile succumbed to a bigger one. Until he began to laugh.

He heard a sound. The laughter stopped. Abruptly. He listened keenly to the source and if it would come again. He thought it was a footstep. He listened hard. A breeze. He looked to ensure it was not Asa. He listened harder. He heard it clearly now.

The rats refused to die. Not even his rat-poison could kill them. They must have developed poison-immunity, because he doubled the portion to increase potency. If it ever worked for neighbors, it clearly did not work for Durotimi. The population of the rat only multiplied since the application of the poison. He was vexed at the thought that rats frightened him. The thought that same rats who ate his poison now troubled him annoyed him more. He was angry.

The anger jabbed him to consciousness. He was in the room to look for something. The urgent task was to find the purse. He grabbed the handbag. He was forceful, so nearly all the contents fell on the floor. He hissed and jumped at the same time. He wanted to catch the bag in mid-air. The falling bag was faster. He hurt himself.

He took offense at two things: At the unsuccessful attempt. Then at the bag. Why did the handbag make him jump, if it knew it was going to fall to the ground no matter what? ‘This stupid bag of a thing!’ he fumed. He hissed. He remembered he wore no shoes only when his feet touched the floor. He jumped back to bed. The jump was quick, like a snail who withdrew its tentacles. He rubbed his sole for warmth. The floor was cold. The cold spread through the whole body. Anger, like bile, filled his mouth. He squeezed face. He did not know whether to be angry with his forgetfulness or the floor.

At first, he tiptoed on the foot with a sock, holding the other foot in his hand. He hopped towards the handbag, but fell after a hop. He made it to the handbag when he used both feet. He packed the contents, replacing each item carefully in the right compartment.

He was tired. He decided to leave everything where they were and sat in the blue chair. Before long his eyes were heavy. He dosed off. A dream.

A yellowish gold object. It was in the bag before the fall; now few centimeter into the mouth of the bed. Under the bed was dark. It resembled a box. He bent to get it. When he slipped his head under the bed, he saw the box very well. A box for wedding rings…

Asa looked only at him as he struggled to wear her finger the ring. He cringed. He wanted to cry, but he could not. He was not given to cry. It will spoil Asa’s best day. He definitely doesn’t want to do that. Asa will beg-force him to follow instructions of the officiating minister. He imagined her rage…

He looked into her eyes. He saw the sun, high up in the sky. Intense heat. The sun-god must have decided to descend in full wrath. Then a large army. A captain shouted orders. Countenance betrayed no iota of friendliness. He will condole no disobedience…

Asa smiled generously. He saw a grin and a giggle. The bride finally fulfilled a dream, he thought. Still smiling she said: ‘I care so much about you’. The smile got wider. She continued: ‘Now, we are finally in a boat. Together.’ She was still smiling. He understood her message this way: ‘Even if you did not love me enough before, do so now! You dare not leave me now!’ Durotimi hit his leg. A mosquito-bite. He re-positioned his head. He almost woke up. He coughed. A little. He did not wake it was time for the first kiss….

‘You may kiss the bride’, said the minister. She shook her head, like a go-ahead. He bent to kiss her. He seemed to be the only who heard a grumble, then a voice: ‘Don’t hurt my tongue. I will not expect a long kiss. Control your appetite!’ He kissed, not minding the voice. Asa locked her tongue into his, as if she was eating from a honeypot. Wild jubilation. The kiss seemed to last forever. Applause. The roar of excitement continued. The crowd certainly saw what Durotimi did not notice. He turned the ring on his finger. It hurt a little… He remembered his father’s car. Old time…

Once, they brought the car to the mechanic. To check oil level and brake fluid. While the young mechanic worked, a vulcanizer checked the spare tyre in the booth. ‘The tube is giving me problem. I don’t have money for a tubeless spare yet’. The vulcanizer smiled. He had advised Durotimi’s father to buy two tubeless for the rear. He called two apprentices. They set to work at once. An apprentice held a long thick iron in both hands. He hit the tyre tirelessly. The other cursed when the iron hit the wrong place.

It was as though Durotimi was the tyre. He held his breathe when the rod was raised, and jerked when it landed. Like someone with a seizure. The tyre-beating ended. Durotimi did not have to jerk for too long.

Placed in-between two flat surfaces above which a fire burned, Durotimi expected the tube to catch fire. He asked when it would. The apprentices laughed. The vulcanizer came, held the tube up to the sky. He had an air of expertise about him. The apprentice moved with every move their master made; stretched necks to see what their master had observed. When he changed the tube to his other hand, they switched positions, almost involuntarily. The vulcanizer left without a word.

Durotimi heard the vulcanizer talking with his father. He was shouting to be heard. The afternoon prayers blasted from mounted loudspeakers. A pepper-grinder was at his trade. People must have long given up the pepper-grinder was going to change equipment. When filled with pepper, the noise from the grinding machine skyrocketed, shouting seriously.

‘Daddy, we can only patch this tube one more time. We need a new spare, sir’. He nodded and drank on. He had ordered paraga, with his usual mixture. Durotimi always wanted his father to patronize the paraga seller. Each time he gave him palm-wine. A small portion. He gulped it once. The seller’s compliment usually swelled his head. ‘Be sure to be like daddy when you grow up’.

He was back under the bed. Darkness…

He made to bring out the object. He was about to curse, but thought otherwise. He balled his hand into a fist and bit his lip. Durotimi’s head hit the bed base. It felt as though he hit a sandsack. A long time that part of the room was cleaned. He sniffed and saw dust everywhere. He coughed. An attempt to clean his head and face at once only worsened the whole thing. The dust robbed deeper into his eyes. His eyes peppered. He feared for his eyes. He wished he was anywhere but under the bed. The thick dust had built up over time.

Close to the box, he hissed. Before he hissed, he reassured himself his action was not at the object. The sound ended before he touched the box. He held it tight. It must not fall again.

Asa entered. “Stop snoring!” Her voice ended the dream.

The bright smile. The soft face. The thick cloud. Her perfume wore him. He gave in with sheer abandonment. The immediate past was forgotten, as though it never happened. Love. Forgotten times and dreams. Happiness. They kissed. He saw light. She was the light. An aura above her head. Her garment. Sparkling diamond. He saw perfection. Her breasts. The succulent flesh overwhelmed him. He held her palms carefully. He groaned as though in pain. Happy and free. He wept. She hugged him tighter. They felt closer like never before.

They laid in bed, locked still in each other’s arms, he smiled.

Life in America: How to be a man!

A beautiful piece

Pa Ikhide

Today did not go well. I woke up in America where civil servants do not have house help, gatemen, cooks, big fat SUVs to bring big fat sautéed escargot (em snail!) to you in bed, etc! I don’t like it! I miss Nigeria! Where is my cook? I want my coffee! The other day I had to take my sons myself (!) to their football practice! No driver! Lawd have mercy, I can’t live like this! I want to go back to Nigeria! I don’t like being a man in America! Waah! Wail! Sniff!! I would like to be a man. In Nigeria. Yeah, I just got back from Nigeria where real men are treated like real men!

Allah, I swear, I am moving back to Nigeria because they know how to treat men with respect over here unlike in America where men are glorified houseboys. I really loved and…

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No One Gets to Tell Me I'm Not An African Writer

A beautiful piece

people who write

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Ghanaian-American Writer - peoplewhowrite African enough. (Photo by Hannan Saleh)

In the past two years, African literature has undergone a renaissance of attention. Articles in the New York Times and The Guardian have noted the growing number of African literary stars; new awards like the Etisalat Prize and the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship have cropped up to fete and foster talent, and blogs like James Murua’s Literature BlogBrittle PaperThe Ehanom Review, Mary Okeke Reviews and AfriDiaspora.com are among several dedicated to keeping their audiences abreast of writers and writerly news from the Continent.

Contemporary African authors are earning global recognition for their work. Zimbabwean NoViolet Buluwayo’s debut We Need New Names has racked up a slew of awards including most recently the 2014 Hurston-Wright Foundation’s Legacy Award, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. Nigerian-Ghanaian Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go, was named to Granta Magazine’s list of the…

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