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Category: Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi

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!

Nkem’s Shoeless-Dothan by Emmanuel Oris’

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
We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

See the blood course through my veins as I try to slow him down before he crashes and burns. He shrugs my hands off. Hear my voice call out to him just before he heads off a cliff. He deafens his ears to my pleas. His heart is fixed. He is bent on reaching Hell’s gate, to ascertain if indeed it is what it is.

“Abandon hope all ye who enter here”

Was that not what the philosopher Dante figured the inscription at Hell’s entrance would read? Yet I wonder why Papa Nkem wants to dare the Fates and hopes his gamble pays off. We all thought he was joking when he told us that he was going to marry off our favourite daughter, Nkem, to that unsophisticated Fulani soldier man. For God sakes even the village lunatic remembers Maigari’s days at the helm of affairs at our village’s military consignment. Those were dark days.

Like a slave master, he placed shackles on our freedom. Like dogs we were put on leashes. He called that discipline. A long standing curfew paralyzed our night trade and completely put my late uncle out of business. Papa Ada, who was a palm wine tapper, never truly recovered from the ban on all drinking parlours. He died during Maigari’s repressive regime. It’s a pity he couldn’t hold out a little while longer, as God heard our prayers soon after and Maigari was kicked to the curb.

I can hardly believe Papa Nkem would wilfully allow such a man into our family. I know my friend Dothan really treated Nkem poorly at some point, but no one can deny the fact that the man still loves her. And the look on Nkem’s face this afternoon when I saw her was that of the moon when the sun has been stolen away from it. A thousand stars wouldn’t compare. The moon needs the sun to shine.

It was exactly four years ago we all rooted for Dothan when he asked for Nkem’s hand in marriage. The man was the epitome of humility and servitude. It’s a fact he has gotten a bit overambitious over the years but unlike others I still see that gentleman that charmed us all that sunny afternoon. I remember it like it was yesterday.

The clouds hid themselves that day, heralding the sun’s heated embrace for red earth, thatched roofs and bald heads. Papa Nkem, the family elders and I sat under the Ukwa tree in front of his compound awaiting the arrival of Dothan and his brothers. We had had our fair share of flamboyant displays from red cap chiefs, city businessmen and the likes for the hand of our daughter, but we weren’t impressed. And we were certain this man from the south would be no different.

Soon after they arrived and our hearts were turned. He was a common civil servant, dressed in khakis. He introduced himself and we got to question him further. It was then we discovered his luck was good. Out of nothing – from having no shoes—Dothan had become the vice principal of his community’s grammar school. Soft spoken and mildly tempered, we were certain this was the man for our Nkem. It was Papa Nkem himself who convinced those who weren’t. It behoves me why he has changed his mind to a point that apologies and promises bounce off him like a ball off a brick wall.

I have tried telling him over and again that his temper would one day get the best of him and this looks like the perfect storm, but I’d rather he doesn’t drag Nkem down with him. In times like these patience is more than a virtue. He’s crying for change, but that’s not what we need right now. We need to keep moving forward.

Dothan has started us off on the road to success. I mean, take a good look at Nkem, she was crude and seemed to lack an idea of what to do with herself, but look at what Dothan has done with her. He paid for her to continue schooling. The other day I heard her speak through her nose in a manner I’m sure her white missionary teachers would be proud of. Instead of keeping her at home to rot, this man saw the best in our daughter.

Life is a journey where we sometimes stumble and fall, but that’s no excuse to throw in the towel and return to base. Dothan –much like every man alive – is not perfect and has made some mistakes in times past but I’m sure he’s turned a new leaf and is ready to do what’s right this time around. I may be wrong about him, but I doubt it.

They argue that Dothan hit Nkem, but marrying her off to Maigari – that brute of a man – would somehow make things better. If anything, that sentences the poor girl to severe brutality and this time we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Papa Nkem doesn’t understand the politics Maigari’s playing. Maigari is a proud man who believes everyone is beneath him and the only reason he’s sulking up to everyone right now is because of Nkem. And when he has her, I bet he’ll show everyone his true colours. And God forbids he does worse to Nkem, is it her lily-livered father that will storm a military man’s house to drag her out like he did to the quiet Dothan? I think not.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s often a mirage. I wish we would be grateful for what we have, understand that no man’s perfect and be patient with this man – Dothan. He may not deserve it but it just might be the only wise thing to do. For I will sleep better knowing that our daughter Nkem is lying down in the arms of a common civil servant than be in the neck crushing chokehold of a malevolent fiend of a man.

It is said that “those who do not remember history are bound to repeat it”, but must that be our story? I mean, the man has shown us his hand several years back, must we allow him deal his last card when the power is in our hands this time around?

Have you heard? Our Nkem is getting married this Valentine. 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.

By Wind and Awe- Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi

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
We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

When a child is born into this world, it has no concept of the tone of skin it has. It’s only grateful for what it’s been given. If the world around accepts it, it would learn to love it. Just as I learned to love you—Africa.

Much like a toddler loves it’s mother and the sound of her voice, sonorous was yours when you welcomed the morning sun, singing Makeba’s “Mbumbe”. Or at night when you sang the moon sweet lullabies. The elements seemed to like it, as I remember the stars shone brighter that night when you sang Salif Keita’s “Wamba”.

And at noon when the sun did our corn roast, you sang to the hearing of the king and his proud chiefs, who sat like children about him, the songs of the one who held death in his pouch.

The truth was never bitter in his mouth, so he mixed it with lyrics and made nobility drink it like sweet wine. For he had a hope that our shores would one day welcome peace and that she may find her place among us. So he dared the elements and made music his weapon.

These days you mumble K’naan, wanting more from the dusty foot philosopher. And your brows were arched when you counted the units to Youssou N’dour’s wordcraft.

I really can’t put my finger on what your reaction would be if you heard what’s being aired on the radio these days. It’s either you’re impressed or sorely disappointed. I pray it’s not the latter. Afterall, we do have some songs that mother and child can dance to. Songs that make them jolly, bringing back good memories, they tell us about what we can have & become. The old days were good, but the future looks brighter. I see the light on.

And one day, when my hair glimmers like the sun when it sets, I should be able to sing my little ones a song from Africa, woven like fine tapestry, soothing to sour minds & uplifting to wary travelers from across the five oceans, brought in by the wind and awe to trade with Mr Black and Miss Beautiful.

WeekendStarter by Oladimeji Abiola: Felebrating the Enigmatic Fela

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

Sent to the UK in the 1950s to study medicine, Fela Anikulapo Kuti opted for music. He was a non-conformist. He spoke against bad government and infringement of human rights. This made him the man of the people. To the ruling elite and the clergy, he was an irresponsible fella.

In his song Shuffering and Shmiling, Fela denounced the exploitation of the masses by religious leaders. This assertion is valid. Thus, he was generally disliked by many Christians and Muslims. In 1989, his song Beast of no Nation criticized the composition of the UN Security Council. Each member of the Security Council has a veto-power that is is equal to 92 or more votes of non-permanent members.

The songs Look and laugh and Army Arrangement accused Chief Obasanjo of corruption and aiding bad leaders to power. Fela, aka Abami-Eda (Enigma), depicts contract awarding system of the Nigerian government and the non-realization of awarded projects. Fela faulted the judicial system too. He says,

go to court, na big big English. … Case of 1809 na him dem go bring to judge the case of 1980.

To him, language usage in courts was grandiloquent. He mocked the judicial tradition of using precedent in adjudication as archaic.

Due to his anti-elitist stance, Fela, alias Omo-Iya-aje (Son-of-a-Witch) chose Pidgin English to transport his songs. He wanted the man on the street to understand his music.

To be critical, Fela was too Afrocentric about certain issues. He supported any anti-imperialist African leaders, good or bad. Idia Amin of Uganda, a nepotistic,  corrupt and brute-dictator was Fela’s hero. He was apparently carried away by the struggle against imperialism, he ignored criticizing African despot so long they shared his anti-imperialist views.

Abami Eda experienced racism in its ugliest form when he studied in the UK. This explains his strict Afrocentrism. I celebrate virtuously Fela’s activism and deep appreciation of African cultural values. I subscribe to his emphasis on  the African origin of ancient civilization and the use of traditional medicine.

Fela could be as strange as unpredictable. He pulled out of a deal with Motown, an American Record Company. He said, Motown sounded “Mo ta ohun, the Yoruba translation of I sold my voice. To him, the word Faculty bred cultism on Nigerian campuses.

These utterances are unbelievable but true. Prof. Sola Olorunyomi, a Fela expert confirmed them in his book. Wole Soyinka’s Memoir You must set forth at Dawn confirmed Fela’s view of himself as a reincarnated Egyptian God.

Actually, upon his death, the people deified Fela; he became an Orisa (a deity). Lagbaja’s tribute song to Fela pointed to this, Abami ti di Orisa, i.e. the Enigma finally became a Deity.

Abami-Eda was certainly a hero, celebrated till today. This piece is written in the spirit of the ongoing annual Felabration to celebrate his life and works. As we felabrate, there is a lesson to learn. Criticism of foreign oppressors must not exclude homegrown oppressors.

Some vulgar Afrocentric rants on the social media feel Europeans have no right to criticize anomalies in African society. I disagree. If the criticism is factual, ridiculous updates on social media in defense is unnecessary. Prof. Niyi Osundare described such defense as newsance (nuisance).

Videos of hungry children in Western media are not fabricated. We need not be annoyed they are shown. Many in Africa need help. Arguments abound that such videos portray Africa in bad light and/or used to justify further interventions in Africa. However, many Africans still benefit from the awareness created by these media reports.

The love for African culture becomes problematic when one denies the lapses in African societies because Non-Africans pointed to these ugly sides. Afrocentrism can never be a response to Eurocentrism or any other ethnocentrism. It distorts reality. We should rather put the VIP Vagabonds in Power, Fela’s reference for bad African leaders,  on their toes.

If you still don’t know Fela, the words of Harald Sun might help: Imagine Che Guevara and Bob Marley rolled into one person and you get a sense of the Nigerian musician and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

PoeticThursday(PT): Òlòde by Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi

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
We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

You stand over him, a judge

He begs though he knows you won’t budge

Regret tears at his heart,

You pull the knife — slay the hart!

You are Òlòde—One who bears light,

One who keeps evil out of sight.

Are you not Òlòde—the one who watches,

Why then do you stone a lad in clutches?

Is that a smile I see on your face,

A blooming joy at another’s disgrace?

You stare over him

Heart cold, eyes grim.

Be done with it then Òlòde,

Finish the man!

And sing him an ode,

Is that not the plan?

Bare Barrels bear Laurels by Emmanuel Oritseweyinmi

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
We at AhjotNaija are honoured to have him guestblog for us. This is first of many inpsirational series soon to be published.

What do you put in a barrel to make it lighter?

In a world as complex as ours, where processes overlap processes and countless procedures drown the common man, it is quite safe to say posterity will surely plead some simplicity. Simplicity at home, at work, in schools, at the mall, in religious places and of course in people and their outlook of life.

In my village, there once was a man who thought it right to only speak in parables, so he seldom said a sentence without dropping a wise saying. At first he was a wonder to everyone, but soon they wandered far from his abode. For they feared he was insane.

I, much like my people, am always wary of people who try to make every little thing as complex as they possibly can. They tell you there are ten things you must do to go through an open door, when even lame dogs slink through.

Life is a mystery solved in simplicity.

I can imagine life is a free flowing stream and we are all barrels and our common goal is to make it through to the other side of this strange stream where good things lay plenty. And no, contrary to popular belief I’d like to think the stream doesn’t flow against us, but for us. So we gear up and ready ourselves to float to the other side.

But due to the surges of the stream, some actually believe adding excess baggage keeps them afloat and so they go on, in an attempt to fully equip themselves, they wind up clogging themselves with complex complexities. The helter-skelter their lives turn into leaves them worked up and always on standby to throw a fit. To such a paranoid one a Sage once quipped:

Life is easy, stop trying to make it hard

Life is hard, that’s why you need to take it easy

You see, heavy barrels don’t float. They either do the exact opposite or they crash against a rock. There are a lot of things we put in our barrels daily (anger, hate and worries), please realize that no one is worth your eternal resentment, so forgive and move right on. Bitterness only imprisons its keepers. I fancy the epicurean ideology a tad, but only in the sense that life should be attacked serenely.

Empty your barrel. Take out the trash and take in only the right stuffs.

I knew a man who went through life like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. He seldom smiled and was constantly suspicious of everything. His superstitions were literally out of this world.

You see, this man believed the walls had ears. He appeased animal spirits, drank and sprinkled holy water on himself. You would often find him wearing a rosary on his neck and a talisman around his waist. Needless to say, his ending was rather miserable, as his wife and kids couldn’t keep up with his routine and his fears caught up with him soon after.

That’s not to say one shouldn’t practice religion and caution, but please don’t overkill. Quit making ominous mountains out of little molehills. Life is too short to live with a chip on your shoulders. I have always believed staying depressed is a choice. We all have our ups and downs, but it’s never been a smart move to stay down. Get back up on your feet, find the spring in your steps once again, stick your chest out and keep your head high.

Approach life not only with stealth but also leisure, for as the good book puts it:

There is a time for everything…even …a time to laugh

And when faced with problems, ask simple questions. Simple questions often bear answers to hard problems. And one last thought, if you are actually offended by this article, then you are most definitely the one it was written for So smile. You see friend, worry never solved a problem. Quit clogging your barrel with worries of life’s bare necessities. Stay positive along your journey. Stay Inspired.

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