ajagunna

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

Take Charge! Vote Buhari for Change! by Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi

General Buhari

General Buhari

The ring is ready for another rumble. Blood courses through my veins in futile attempts to stop my heart from racing. This man here is praying. That man there is hyperventilating. And can someone please tell this woman beside me that she’s holding on too tightly and her blackish green sweat is beyond disturbing, quite unpatriotic I might add. And can anyone help me whisper to that raging loudmouth by the corner that he’s preaching to the choir. And I’m their director.

That cock and bull story of how a soldier is no good for Nkem, my daughter, is getting old. The loudmouth said it last Friday, yesterday his rants annoyed me to bed and here he is today, saying the same thing. Even the walls seem tired of his discourse; I saw them crack this morning as he spoke.

The young man must think so little of me. He is particularly excited at how the soldier’s age completely disqualifies him from being in contention for Nkem’s hand in marriage.

Is he calling me blind for not regarding the wrinkles on the suitors face? He must have mistaken my squinted eyes for decoration. Maybe he has.

Or is he insulting my memory by reminding me of things I already am reminded of? I saw sweat trundle down his forehead as he pumped his fist in the air and went on pointing out the wrongs the old dove has done. He called him unrefined, extreme and harsh. Of this, I already am aware of.

Or maybe he thinks I’m deaf. His parents must have told him I fought in the Great War. Maybe he thinks all the noise of grenades and gunshots must have clogged my ears. Yesterday, when he chattered endlessly, I actually wished they had been clogged. His “salient” reasoning poured like rain much to the dismay of sanity, and unsurprisingly to the admiration of the gullible crowd at the village square.

He must really think I’m deaf, for I don’t understand why he enjoys reiterating every unsavoury speech the man said in times past and expects me to applaud him for his “thorough approach”. I am aware this soldier believes some things I do not, and has said some things that probably should be unsaid–if only that were possible– but the fact that I choose to have him in spite of all the scandals that surrounds him is a pointer to how bad the other option is. In spite of his flaws, picking him is a risk I am willing to take.

This crusader has forgotten that although he may be family, he can only suggest, not command me on what to do. Nkem, my little princess has gone through a lot. Her ex-husband, Dothan, had her for six whole years and you need to see the state she was in before I snatched her from his arms.

Battered and bruised, she could barely recognize me. She fell asleep as I took her to the hospital, and when she finally came around, the first word she said was “Papa”. She called me father. But I know i don’t deserve this title. Her father was a man like none other. A warrior-par-excellence. Yet, a very homely man. He knew when to wear a smile and when to take care of business. A man of steel and brawn. Maybe it’s that bit of him that I see in this soldier that has me decided on him. Nkem needs someone with a firm hand, but a gentle grip. Someone that, if needs be, would catch a grenade for her, without thinking too hard about it. And this “soldier boy” looks the part. I may be wrong about him, but i doubt it.

Dothan, although not outrightly evil, is in cahoots with the wrong crowd. They pervert his judgment and cloud his cranium with corrupt concepts. They feed him lies. They tell him he’s invincible and we are all fools. He has always been a simple man, easy to manipulate. His friends know this. They never liked him; they were only after all he had. Nkem was all he had. Without her he was no better than a drunken fisherman by the waterside. So the gullible Dothan attended to their every whim, bending like the palm tree to a strong wind. And when I heard he had begun pimping her out to please these evil men–the so called “cabal”– he heard my roar. I refuse to stand by doing nothing while my favourite falls. I refuse to do nothing while things go awry.

Now back to the loudmouth activist and his hatred for all things military, be they active or retired. I accept, he may never fully understand why i take this risk. But I hope he’ll join me and see the error of Dothan’s ways. I hope he agrees with me and hopefully, someday when we look back to how bad things were before the soldiers came back, we’ll rest knowing we did what’s right.

Have you heard? Our Nkem is getting married this month. Have you gotten your Invite? Of course, the Invite is the PVC. Your vote is your voice in her betrothal…do have your say wisely.

Take charge!

Home! away-from Home! H!aH!

The question to ask is this: Why must people give me reason(s) to connect good things with bad. And it seems they often do. At least, each time I enter Afro-shops in Dortmund. Home away from home. I am not missing home. Good?! That exactly is the problem! There are things I definitely want to miss about home, some of them prompted my departing after all. Top of the list is dirt!

The other time I went to buy okro. My sister followed me. I was thankful at first the usual close-to-badfish odour did not welcome us. The thankfulness was short-lived. The pay-counter was beyond dirty. The young oldwoman attending us was unkempt. Yes, she is young, but must have chosen to age herself faster. She hit the rickety scale. Then tried to type in something. The machine did not respond. She hit again. When it finally answered, I paid for my two plantains. My sister handed over her fish. The woman put her fingers into a small transparent cup beside the scale, punched in something to tell the price of my fish. I already mentioned the pay-counter was beyond dirty, allow me spare you the details. In short, the whole place is a successful mess.

Skin-bleachers are everywhere, in Germany too! I was lucky my own laughter did not choke me when I read someone said she was not bleaching, that she was only toning. Was it Yvonne Nelson or another actor like that. Yes, this is how good our sense of comparison and humour is. It sounds perfectly cool, init?! Crazeman-logic.

In there I had attempted to strike a conversation with my sister.

Me: Iya Bukunmi, have you heard?

Iya Bukunmi: What?

Me: I heard our people now use shampoo toner cream to “tone” skin colour to yellow! I read it on a blackberry thread.

We continued our conversation outside the Afroshop. I began the shampoo toner talk because I saw a woman who must have been a user of this terrible method of skin degradation. She left too soon for my sister to notice what I saw. Her whiteness yellow pass palmoil. But why are our people like this?, I asked my sister.

Apparently, self-hate would stop at nothing to kill her victim. That was how the other day I saw this teenager who overnight turned mulatto; she is now a mix of bad yellow and spot-stained black around neck, fingers and wrists! I almost screamed at her! ALMOST! She used to be black. She was beautiful. We used to enter (enter!) the same metro and tram, so I knew her well. What desperation could have driven her to damage her skin this bad?! I will not pretend to know.

Bad role models? Maybe. Talking of bad role models reminds of a black couple I saw last year in Bochum. I was sure I set my eyes on them, saying nothing until they disappeared into their parked jalopy. I was beyond thankful Ibukun did not follow me out that day. She would have asked why I looked on with so much pity and disgust. The mulatoness of this couple showed they are unrepentant bleach cream users. The husband has a burnt back neck. The redness lay between deep-pink and light-lila. The wife looked more terrible. When the young lady I was with told me they had actually come to buy more bleaching cream from the Indian shop-owner, I could not be more surprised. I remembered the Yoruba logic of that proverbial cough-victim who but would not stop biting at coconuts and chewing dry-corn. This stubbornman-story was the only explanation I could find for the couple’s addiction to bleaching.

Now think of children birthed by these parents and the picture of a shampoo toner offspring is perfect. I told a friend she could consider our friendship over that day if she ever shampoo-tone herself. Abi? Even if I hate myself, I will not be foolish  enough to teach my children to self-hate. Lailai!

I think of using the toilet in a “normal” African church somewhere in Europe to see what is wrong with anything communal in Africa. If the toilet is not being cleaned non-stop (yet stinks of piss plus uncomfortable to use), then the water-pipe is leaking. I might even have to pour water using a bucket to flush my business. Scratch that, I exaggerate a little. The last time I was in such a toilet in London, memories of Iza-antiseptic tormented me. I missed and I did not miss home in that short moment. I was sure to keep my bladder under control till I got home. Each time I entered a good toilet, say Mc Donald, I was sure to tip the toilet-boy/-girl well after I finish. And I think of say many of these boys/girls (read MEN/WOMEN) are good churchgoers.

Yeah, it is that bad, so I avoid at all cost being haunted if I could. Hear a nightmare: I once heard a slab covering a pit-latrine gave way under the feet of a toilet-user. That was long ago. Each time I squatted, remembering the fate of the unknown fellow scared the hell out of me. If you don’t understand why I was that scared, stop trying, you never would!

Hell is real! At least for those who chose to live in the hell they left behind. The last time I showed up in that congregation was on my second visit. I went with Tumi. I throw-way face when he first complained the mounted loudspeakers were deafening. Our own noise as fellow-singers only increased the whole thing. He began to cry. Ibukun pinched me. I took a walk, away from the noise. We met a bird on the green grass and I was sad we had no food to feed the beautiful companion.

Some worshipers walked past us into the congregation of hell-believers. A woman was shout-talking. When we returned, the pastor was cursing himself to prove he told nobody secrets left in his custody by counsel-seekers who had visited during office hours! During prayers he saw some of us had trouble sleeping because a python pursued us in our dreams; the python spirit was in our midst, he concluded. When service ended, he prayed favours for those who shall visit government offices the next day. His declaration confirmed my fear all along. I was (back) home!

%d bloggers like this: