ajagunna

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Tag: Creative Writing

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Where are the jobs, Mr. President?!

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

This was how you got your first job: you walked into his office that Tuesday morning, in your black faded suit, frustrated, upset and infuriated. ‘I will like to work here sir, for free’ you told him. He looked at you with something that was between suspicion and surprise; he sighed, then told you he liked your courage and good spirit but it was not a requisite for the job, however he was willing to give you a chance. You chuckled and your heart was finally at peace because at last you could look forward to the end of the month as you did in your NYSC days. Numbers ran through your mind as you thought of what the salary would be: 80k? 100K? Maybe 120k? Then you increased it. 150K?! And you felt a tinge of excitement.

‘So, Bade Taiwo, you can start work next month, we won’t be able to afford your salary yet but we can fund your cost of transportation. That will be Ten thousand Naira.’

You felt like dying a thousand death and thought yourself stupid to have brought up the idea of working for free. But on a second thought you remembered the numerous offices you had gone to submitting CVs after CVs praying daily as you went and laying your hands on the white envelop in which you sent most of them: ‘I declare favour over you, whoever reads you favours you, I will get this job in Jesus name.’

You had started with the big companies, you submitted your CVs to Chevron in Lekki, BAT in Victoria Island, Glo, MTN, Channels Television and many more. Then when your account was waning from so much spending and no crediting, you considered the smaller companies. None of them sent you a response. You hated yourself and sometimes your parents for not helping themselves when their mates did, for not being rich or influential enough to write you letters, send you to an uncle or send you to a friend.

You accepted the job at Surulere. At least it gave you that relief of leaving home for work, you stayed with your cousin in Yaba, you trekked every morning to Ojuelegba before you joined one of those long buses that called ‘Itire! Itire!! Itire!!!’. You worked yourself off, trying so hard to please your boss, you read more than the others and stayed at the office longer.

Six months later, your boss increased your salary. You began to earn 60 thousand Naira, you thought of renting your own apartment somewhere close by and leave your cousin’s house but it made no sense, so you stayed on, you endured longer.

One year after you took the job at Surulere, on a Tuesday morning while you attended to the database of the company, he walked into your office. Mr. Stevens, one client that hired your company to hire for them, he told you that his company wanted an HR executive and asked if you did not mind working with him. It was a cool idea, so you left your job in Surulere and took Mr. Stevens’ job on the Island. Ten months after, you bought your first car, it was a red Toyota Corolla 200 model. Second hand, but that was the best you could do. Life was taking a good turn, you thought. You had thought of proposing to Yewande. A right move. You could not have asked for someone better, she was there for you in the very low. Many times it was Yewande who lent you money from the meagre 40,000 Naira she earned as an insurance sales-rep, you rarely paid back, she loved you, you knew.

You also moved out of your cousin’s and got an apartment in Ketu Alapere, you bought your Plasma TV from the December bonus of that year. It was on this Plasma TV you watched your president’s chat on a Sunday evening. You knew the drill, the four journalists with whom your president had the chat would have been paid, their questions screened by various presidential media aides, you knew because your friend, Larry works with a media aide to the president. But you watched on, boring it was, your president spoke tiredly, something close to a drawl, you had laughed several times on his bad use of metaphors, his sense of comparison was poor, he was terribly poor for a PhD holder!

‘My government has provided at least 1.5 Million jobs’, the words strolled out of the TV .

‘What?! Bloody liar!’

Then you thought of Ade, Bisi, Yemisi, Ranti, Mezu and your many other classmates with whom you completed your degree, they still roamed the streets looking for jobs that seem not to exist. You knew Kene, Uche, Bayo had taken to playing lotto hoping that one day fortune would smile on them and they would make millions from predictions.

About 100 graduated from your class that year, you read History and International Relations, just eleven of you have something you can call a job, six worked in a bank, one lectured, the other three in the telecommunications companies while you were beginning to thrive in your HR company. Of course many others too had their jobs, Ranti, Denrele, Shadia, Fatimo, Fahd, Abdul, Charles taught in schools where they earned 30,000 Naira. Others freelanced as marketers selling anything good for the season.

‘Where are the jobs, Mr. President?! All through that night, you kept asking yourself and you wished the president could hear your thought.

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): I Don’t Blush when I Smile!

Game

During my youth service, my friend and I played the game screen-shot above. You must have heard this riddle with varying characters: Either a non-human animal or an animal. Three lions and three men must cross a river. Their canoe can only carry two individuals at once. How do they cross so that each time the lions do not outnumber, outpower and eat the outnumbered men? In this case, it is all men; the three cannibals are blacks and the three missionaries are whites.

We might have cried ‘othering’ had the game been scripted as a novel or poem but it was so benign that we played on, my friend and I trying to be the first to complete the task. How does the new media further advance such narratives and binary oppositional themes of the blacks as cannibals and whites as their saving Lords and colonial masters? By the way, Personally, I have an issue with the English language, so it irks me we call Britain our colonial masters; for one the English language has been a safe haven in which this othering is hidden and conveyed.

To what extent do these narratives affect our psyche as Africans. In the series, Roots, a child was able to quell the ‘rebellion’ of blacks on the ship, though the writer, Mr Alex Haley was Malcolm X’s friend, I still wonder why he gave such enormous power over brave warriors to a white child. In contemporary narratives, othering is still rife, blacks are still the inferior and whites the superior, we have lived with it as Africans because it seems normal and benign so. Except the N-word is mentioned or an obvious derogatory term is used for a black person, we don’t feel the sting. Hence in the recent movie, Hercules, the barbarians are still black while the conquering nations are whites. So do you still wonder why the Cameroon-Nigerian Dencia’s whitening cream still sells well?

Like other histories, our history is not perfect and I won’t deny there were instances of human sacrifice and rituals in it. Nobel Laureat, Prof. Wole Soyinka explained by fictionalising the historical Elesin incident with Olunde. While this ritual was understood in the Yoruba cosmology as a way of transiting the king into an ancestor and helping the prosperity of the town, the West also have equivalents as revealed in Olunde’s question to an oyinbo official. Words like martyr, hero are used to describe the Western equivalent of our Elesin and others who willing gave their lives for the prosperity of their nations.

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Here is an example, after the French revolution, the French paraded the heads of their lords on stakes, and guillotined their kings, this is the height of barbarity if looked at from a centurial angle. And this happened in modern era, after the industrial revolution. The oyinbos whitewashed their history by the ongoing (post)modernization, whereas our history stares at us and refuse to go away like Mugabe refusing to leave the seat of power.

To progress, African governments and universities must rise up; the media is a major actor in socialization; the industry should be funded to counter these narratives. What if we had a movie in which Amina of Zaria is fictionalized to have led a war and won against a Western state? What if the historical sites of Ife are replayed not in documentaries that but in movies for larger public consumption. What if apps are developed in Africa by Africans with emoticons that are black and behave like us. For crying out loud, I don’t have a blush when I smile as my BBM smiley portrays neither do I get red in the face when I am angry (I get red in the eyes instead). Our institutions of higher learning will lead the charge for change. One way is moving beyond the classical reasoning of literary appreciation as entailing only books, the media has to be criticized. The earlier we start, the better.

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): The Homes in His Head

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

There are four homes in Uncle Tunde’s head. Home when Maradonna was the Military Head of State (HoS) and president at the same time. It was this home that Mr. Ajibade visited weekly because Daddy had promised to lend him some money. The government had devalued the Naira and Mr. Ajibade was unable to import the 3 printers he wanted from Germany.

His financial ruination happened in the space of three days. On Monday, he had the whole sum for three industrial printers! 50,000 Naira! On Wednesday, the money for three could only buy one! Consequently, he wasn’t able to execute the printing contract he got from a multinational!

Thereupon, the bank threatened to take his house. Mr. Ajibade died one Saturday morning. This Job’s message came to us while we breakfasted. High Blood Pressure (HBP) snatched his life! He was a man in his prime!

Uncle Tunde smiles when he remembers that home because beside the many downs of that home, they had it good a number of times. Before school, they ate good food and Milo was in granules. They could afford tin-milk. Water ran in many houses. They had light so much that they only noticed when it was taken. It was from that house and home they built and moved to our present house where I was born in 1996.

Many neighbours also moved to their houses. Life was a mélange of good and bad, a cocktail of having and not-having, but they enjoyed the excitement of riding in parks, the fun of waiting for Christmas and how they drove to school in Daddy’s car. Sometimes, they used the school bus and so did his friends.

He said: Back then, we were not rich but we were not poor. No wonder we hated so much the man that made our lives miserable and less pleasurable.

There is a second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, home when General Sani was HoS. It was in this home that everybody forgot what it meant to have a right! In fact, they forgot how to talk! They must learn to register displeasure in whispers! Political activism was noticeable only in buying Tempo or Tell Magazine or other newspapers. In them, the cruelty and idiocy of the bad government was exposed.

Visitors shrank drastically. Family members and friends had checked out. Uncle Seyi escaped to London; Uncle Kayode made it to Saudi Arabia; our neighbor, Aunty Gladys travelled to Italy. One man went as far as Azerbaijan!

In the second home in Uncle Tunde’s head, they groaned under the heavy oppression of a Monster but they could still afford something close to dignifying lifestyle, only that they lost their voices. Gani Fawehinmi, Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Chris Ubani and many others spoke louder and stronger like everybody had donated their voices to them.

There is a third home in his head; home when OBJ was president. It was in this home I began to talk and run around. From here Mummy took me to kindergarten. I know this house fairly well. People began to find their voices in this home. They began to gather again at news-stands to abuse our president. But beyond finding our lost voices, nothing much changed. In fact, things grew worse. For one, Daddy complained we used too much milk, Mummy removed Milo from our reach. So we needed permission to take a tablespoonful of Milo! It was in this home Daddy bought tyres infrequently. He could only afford to change them yearly. Before, he did that twice a year.

Even the number of foreigners on our street thinned out. Ghanaians, Togolese and Beninese began leaving for their countries. We heard their countries were now better. Genevieve told Uncle Tunde that Ghana had changed. They had light longer, she said.

The fourth home. Actually, two fourth-homes. In that home Baba Go-Slow was president. Upon whose demise Mr No-Shoes took over. Uncle Tunde said they were one and the same. You can’t say the root of a tree is not part of a tree. So I agree. We live here now. Many people have since moved to our home in Lagos. They are jobless. Neither Ibadan nor Abeokuta where their parents live, provide them with their needs. Lagos is no better place to get a job either. In short, finding jobs in Nigeria is like a wind-chase. The longer you chase, the faster it eludes you!

In this home, Uncle Tunde and friends argue every day. He is now a philosopher, he has stopped going to church. His reason: religion is our problem! Religious leaders are crooks. I don’t know for him. When my other brothers argue, he faults their argument for generalizing. But now he generalizes and blankets all religious leaders! How many does he know sef?!

Anyway apart from his problems with the religious leaders, I like Uncle Tunde because he says the truth almost all the time. For example, yesterday he said: Our country is bad because of President No-Shoes. No reasonable person pushes for the renewal of MEGALOMANIAC EPITOMIC CLUELESSNESS.

I suspect he was right. The big English confirms my suspicion 🙂

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.

Coming to Lagos (Continued)

When Soji returned from school, I was behind the door, holding its handle as if undecided to go out or not. He pushed it from outside, wanting to come in. He was shocked when he saw me. He had not been warned I was home. He got himself together quick enough and greeted.

We were a little confused on how to relate. At first, he said nothing beyond the greeting. I responded. He came in. I stole glances at him. He did same. Our eyes did not meet. My first impression was that of a shy boy. His school uniform was dirty and oil-stained.

“Who are you?” I said my name. He repeated the name. “Yes. I am Baba’s daughter. Father to Mummy.” “I don’t know you personally. But I have heard Mummy talk about you people. Yes…Yes. Mummy mentioned that before she travelled. When did you come? Where is Mummy? Did she cook? Is she at home? Welcome home. What are you doing then standing at the door?” The questions were too many I did not know which one to answer first.

With the door-question, I realized I was looking for nothing at the door. I acted. I left the door-handle and entered proper. He began changing his school uniform. I answered his questions one after the other. “Mummy is not at home. She did not cook. She left you money somewhere on the table. You should buy something to eat when you return from school”.

“I was about to ask if she left money for me. Good you guessed my next question.”

I continued. “She did not say where she went. The bus that brought us dropped us in front of the house. We came in, she went to the bathroom. I took my bath after her. She gave me a change gown. I was wearing it when she said she would be back. That was not long ago, really”. I asked Soji if he had asked a question I was yet to answer. He was now more relaxed and looked less shy.

Looking on the table, he fished out his meal-money. He pulled from under the bed a plastic basket. Hanging in the side-holes were spoons and forks. On top of the plates was a knife. I recognized at once the plastic basket was our container for plates and cutlery. As if Soji read my thought. He turned to me. “This is our plastic basket for plates and spoons”. “You don’t want to sit alone here”. I understood at once he wanted me to come along. I wore a slippers-pair I saw in a corner. “My slippers. But you may have them. That way, I will get Mummy to get me another pair”.

Soji still had his school sandals on; with a bowl in hand, he opened the door. I followed as he led the way to the house-exit.

“Look over there!”. He pointed to a mosque. “We go there to pray. We go with Boda Fatai. But with or without him, we like to go there.” I could touch his excitement as he talked about the prayer. He was yet to master the process. He had an alibi- the prayer-leader said the words too fast. He went twice to the Koran school with Jelili, one of the house-children. He could only learn few letters in Arabic. He was surprised that the language was written different from English. “Can you believe that?” He paused to catch a breath. We continued to the food-vendor’s place talking excitedly.

We went round a corner to arrive at the the food-vendor’s place. The shed was part of the mosque. I wanted to know if Soji liked beans that much. “Not really. My taste is fluid. Sometimes, I eat it endlessly. Like this week. The week before it was rice.

We only stopped talking when the woman shouted at us. “How much beans?!”

“Ewa o ni 50 Kobo.”

She scooped into the bowl.

“With beans-water too, please.”

“Now, tell me exactly what you want!”.

“I told you already. I wanted 50 Kobo worth of beans. Only that I did not know you were going to sell me only beans-water. Beans-water is free once I bought beans.

She scooped weevil-infested beans into the bowl.

“I don’t want that.”

The bean-seller did not as much as look us in the face. She simply scooped on, then she pressed the weevil with the back of the scooping-spoon. Soji appeared a little rested with the disappearance of the weevil under the beans.

“What else do you want?” she asked rudely.

This time around, I answered.

“Pay here. Take eko in the basket there.”

Soji paid. I took one eko-wrap from the basket.

A child ran out from the mosque. Actually, I wasn’t so sure from where he appeared, he practically happened on us, all of a sudden. Before I could blink an eye, he was already on us. He knelt down to blow fire. At first, he blew with his breath alone. When he wasn’t getting far that way, he grabbed a hand-fan and began blowing away with full energy.

The pre-fire smoke entered our eyes, the beans-sellers’ eyes too. The child was coughing where he knelt, yet he did not stop. The woman yelled. “Terrible being! Direct your smoke somewhere else!! Do quick so fire come out!!! Abirukireke!!!! Leave the fire alone till I finish. Go away!!!!!”

She was not yelling again when she said she was sure the terrible child was intent on removing her eyes from their sockets. “Only God will pay you back in your coin!”

The child had stopped blowing, only coughing intermitently. He was not kneeling anymore. He sat in a corner, if not for the cough, he made no sound. It was as though the words were not meant for him; he appeared too exhausted to care. His reaction reminded me of the proverbial goat back-sending a curser’s curse.

I told the beans-seller I had never met anyone so terrible. I spoke my anger not in Yoruba but Igashi. She did not understand but noticed I was angry. I turned to Soji. “If I were you, I will never buy something from this woman again. Never again!”

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?

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.

FictiononSunday(FoS): The Madman

Yesterday I saw the madman, when I went to arrange for water. I have always seen him, but yesterday I looked at him longer than usual. He was about to smoke a cigarette. He had empty cigarette packs. He probably had smoked them all or found some empty packs on his many walkabouts, to add to the proverbial madman’s load.

Intuitively, I assured myself he was going to get more cigarettes, once he finished the last stick. Cigarette was probably his only consolation. Saving the packs and stack of papers, he seemed to care for nothing more. Held very carefully, he drew in, as if his life depended on it.

A dirty rope held the papers together. Was I expecting a madman’s load to be any cleaner? My keen observation of the madman baffled me, but for a moment. I discarded the bafflement and looked on.

The papers were written all over. He was writing on another while he smoked. I concluded he would add it to his load, get more to write on, then add to those already in his possession.

The madman must have been learned, before he lost sanity. “But why am I even thinking all these?”, I asked myself. I was yet to answer when another thought occurred to me.

Writing on those papers could be something the madman unconsciously chose to do; that way, he wanted to show there was nothing wrong with him. A way to disabuse his own mind from seeing his madness. I heard stories of mad people, who did anything to simulate sanity. Unfortunately, the sanity simulation only made the madness more obvious.

I was once sick; not mad. It was a strong malaria. At a time, I began to laugh. I had no control over the laughter. I thought of something, which was hilarious to me. That was the trigger. Nobody understood me. Mother became agitated.

She thought her son was losing his mind. I knew I was, but I could not help myself. Mother screamed my name. With both hands on my arms, she pulled and pushed me to and away from herself. She was not angry at me. It was the common expression of panic. She was confused and feared for me. She knew it was due to the strong malaria. She was desperate to end the terrible laughter.

At a time, I was annoyed mother was trying to stop me from laughing. She could not help me. I was sure when the laughter stopped, it did because it wanted to. I fell into a deep sleep thereafter.

This must be madness: a victim is out of control. A remote force, from within or without, determines the day-to-day routine of the victim.

This madman was different. They are always different anyway. After all, different things lead to madness. I walked past with mixed feelings, most times. Yesterday, I concluded this madman earned his madness. I could not explain this bad conclusion. “Did he choose to be mad?”, I asked, thinking of predestination. “He could not have escaped loosing his mind, if it must be.”I was sad.

It occurred to me I would be mad if I was predestined to be mad. At that point, I deleted predestination from my vocabulary and wished it strongly out of my mind; I succeeded, but for a while.

While I attempted unsuccessfully to delete predestination, other questions popped up: why is this particular man mad? What led to his insanity? Why should it be him? Why does he smoke? Who was he before madness? Does he have a family? Can he be cured? I was worried.

I became even more worried when I noticed some people. They pointed at his direction. I walked closer, hoping nobody saw me. Anyway, it doesn’t matter so long I only wanted to listen to them. Who knows, they might want me around self. I boosted my confidence.

I was right. They were talking about him.

All they said came from hearsay. They did not know the true story. There was one among them however, who spoke with conviction I almost believed him. No doubt, he knew something about the man. I only contributed at intervals; a word or two to show I was around. We were all curious to know something about the madman.

After a while we dispersed.

I walked down the road where meruwa often gathered. I saw them from afar. They sat idly on their barrows. It wasn’t peak time. I was sure to come at this time when I could get one without much haggling over price.

The closer I got to the water-fetchers, the more vivid the picture became; I remembered a seemingly madman during my student days. The madman spoke as though his sanity was not tampered.

From a distance, his appearance gave him away as a psychiatric case, still it was difficult to conclude he was mad. He was neither completely sane nor outrightly insane.

Another thing that struck me about him: he drew like a genius. The first time I noticed him, it was the artwork, tightly held under his arm, which caught my attention. Like reflex, I turned to the man beside me, with a smile plastered on my face, “A madman is at it again. He must have stolen the artwork.”

It was a pencil sketch of a beautiful lady. She was charmingly decorated with beads. She sat in a chair. Her legs were crossed.

I was shocked when he told me the madman was once a fine-art teacher. I supposed he was telling the truth. The madman spoke fine English. His diction confirmed it. He must have studied when Nigeria offered qualitative education.

Once, the madman crossed the road. I was with friends. He came to us. He said something. My lack of interest was too obvious. However, the artwork he held changed the mood. This time, it was a baby, wrapped in a shawl, eyes partially opened. He smiled thinly, beaming with innocence.

The water-fetchers ran towards me to offer their service. They brought me back to myself.

I sighed, hoping the innocent baby would not be mad or even killed prematurely. For a moment, I thought Nigeria a more dangerous tool of destruction than an ill-fated predestination.

I spoke with my usual meruwa. I was about to describe my apartment when he told me not to worry. “Haba. Oga, I know where your house dey now”. He wasted no more time. He dashed off to his water cart.

I wondered if those things were true. One of us said he knew the madman when he was not mad. He knew where he lived and that he had a family. I did not believe him at first. My doubt began to give way when he mentioned the name of the madman.

“Baye”, he said, “was his name when he was a sane person. He had a wife that bore him a son. He used a car. He had a relatively comfortable life when he was a sane person.”

This man spoke of Baye as if he knew him personally. His voice was heavy with sadness. One would not doubt him, going by the conviction in his voice. One thing we all agreed on, although we did not say it, was that Baye was once normal; he could not have been born mad. It was only the man, who spoke of Baye in that sadness-laden voice, who insisted he was sure of his name.

One of us said he was used to see the madman in a black uniform; starched and ironed. He used to carry a gun. He did not refer to him as a madman. He called him a policeman. He knew about his madness. “He was charmed with madness ni”, he claimed. “That madman was that police man who ran mad”, he was actually shouting as if to confirm his claim was true.

I did not believe his story, but listened on all the same.

Nobody knew the herbalist was a herbalist. Understandably, nobody would have known there was a herbalist in the omnibus. The policeman would not have stopped the omnibus if he knew what fate awaited him.

Upon stopping the bus, he refused to let it leave. The passengers were vexed; near bursting at the seams. They began to murmur. One could see they were ready to do anything to get their fare back from the omnibus-boy.

The omnibus-driver, apparently frustrated and tired of begging the officer, came to the bus. He would find a different bus to bring them to their destination.

A passenger demanded to know why they must be conveyed by another bus. He concluded the driver had refused to tip the policeman. The driver was forced to tell the truth. The officer wanted more money than he offered.

Thereafter, an argument ensued, at first between the driver and his conductor, then between the driver and some passengers. The police officer, who had stood a stone-throw from the quarreling passengers, came closer. He hoped to quench the wild noises.

His intervention did not help. The passengers became more furious. The intervention was an insult. After all, he was the cause of the whole mess in the first place. If he had not stopped the omnibus and demanded for a bigger bribe, there would have been no fight at all.

Before long, the herbalist, whose identity was unknown until then, got into an argument with the policeman. The scene got noisier ad wilder.

The policeman unlatched his booth. Some of the passengers thought he was about to fight the herbalist. Then he untied his top, trousers and underpants.

It only dawned on the passengers it was no intention to fight when the police officer started to dance. He was stark naked. He laughed loudly and his dance became intense. He sweated profusely, looking terribly wild and dangerous.

He fled into the bush when passengers attempted to hold him. They had wanted to clothe him when they eventually realized he might be mad. Unfortunately, the madness was already full blown.

A passenger alerted the others. He was sure the policeman, who had successfully made his way into the bush, last argued with the herbalist. Nobody wanted to confirm the allegation. The driver came back for the bus three hours after the incidence. They all fled the scene. Even the supposed herbalist took to his heels. Apparently, they were all scared. Nobody knew who the god of madness might strike next.

I came back to our compound. Men were seated drinking. I could not have gone past as if they were not there. A chair appeared from nowhere. The men shifted theirs to accommodate me. More drinks were arranged immediately. I sat and opened a drink.

We talked about different things; from the most beautiful woman in the compound to the latest infidelity gist in the neighborhood. One of us exclaimed, as if he was jabbed at, “na only women sabi the true father of their children”.

His word was received with thunderous laughter. We poured ourselves more drinks. Talking continued unabated.

I drank from my cup and stood up. They all looked at me. I lowered my cup which was half-empty. It was quickly refilled. I removed my cap, wiped my face and poured libation. I started a prayer. The men echoed amen in unison.

May we never be struck by madness

May our children never be struck by madness

May our days be long, healthy and prosperous

May we live our time in peace and our times always be joyous

In this peaceful compound and in the neighborhood.

The prayer ended. I talked about the madman and the orisirisi stories I had just heard about him.

“Tisa, you get time sha”, one of the men was referring to me.

“Yes, I used to know him too. Different stories about him, really”, another said.

We continued drinking and talking. I watched out at intervals for the meruwa’s arrival.

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Home is Where the Heart is!

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Ranti bends over his window, his 3rd floor room gives a vantage view of theneigbourhood. It is his 8th year in the country of happiness. He had left home in the Summer of 2002 hoping to return after his doctorate to pursue an academic career in one of the universities.

 He picks a strayed leaf from a nearby tree that hangs on his window. It is Autumn. The beginning of the long lifeless season he has learned to endure in the last 8 years.

He remembers his first experience of Autumn, October 2002, three months after he arrived. It wasnot the falling leaves that troubled him but the rude dense atmosphere that greets him every time he left his room on Amberton Street.

He did not like Autumn, he could give half his wardrobe to have his Harmattan back. Harmattan, that season he dreaded most back home now created in him a sense of nostalgia. He longed for Harmattan and craved the dryness and wind it brought, not the dense cold of Autumn and its nascent deaths.

Now 34, Ranti is armed with a doctorate degree from one of the best universities in the world. Ranti shrinks from those Naija things he craved for in the Autumn of 2002; back then when he had wanted to return home.

Home is now a distant land, a vacation spot he visited only twice since he arrived in the US. Images of war which he disputed as not been the entire African story now form his perception of home. It isnot his fault.

The last time he went home was two years ago when he went for an interview at the Federal University. He was employed but subsequent days in the now hostile country gave him a rethink about settling at home.

In those few day at home, he dreaded the road he travelled, he dreaded the police after he saw men in black harass a middle-aged woman in front of a bar where he took his favouriteOdeku-Beer, he dreaded the meat he saw in the market; piles of meat left open for flies to feast on, while the meat sellers talked-on. They showered their wares with spittle from their Kolanut-tinted teeth.

He hated it all but thought he could endure it all- he had survived Government College Igbonla (GOVCO) when boys smoked weed in the forest behind the school field, he had survived the rough life- the early morning waking-up, the beating from senior schoolers who run GOVCO a military-barrack-style.

He had survived the weevil-seasoned beans, the reservoir-tanked water he drank years un-end! He had survived it all before he moved to America. He was back and would surviveit again, he thought.

If Naija consumes anybody, it would not be him. One week into his work, the reality dawned on him, it has been years after he left. A lot had changed:Secondary school students now form the nucleus of various cult groups.He has to endure hours in traffic jams to and from work. That means he has less time to read. To worsen the situation, things didnot look like they were going to change soon considering the crop of politicians in the country.

So that Friday night during Ramadan, after he had endured the long tenuous preaching of a man that emanated from very loud speakers from a Mosque justfew houses away he tried to force a sleep.

All through the preaching, he was infuriated with the Neanderthal-dimension the man approached his preaching. The man preached about a man who was presdetined to die by a car accident and henceforth avoided cars only to be killed by the tyres of a lorry!

 He couldnot have had 10 minutes of sleep when it was disrupted again. A shout of*Somebody Praise the Lord* emerged from the speaker of the church beside his house!

He had to endure the thunderous screams of *die*, *die*, *die* and other chattering he could not decipher.

When he had it to the throat, he did something that would later surprise and make him laugh when he thinks about it; he bombarded the roof of the church with stones. For a few seconds, the church seemed to have succumbed to his bombardments as they mellowed the noise.

Unexpectedly like school students trying to pick their voices after a menacing teacher left the class, the congregants resumed their chattering with even louder and bigger voices.

*Can you see what I mean?*, the leader of the congregants declared. *Our enemies have decided to get physical with*, he added. *You will pray that every arrow of the enemy, back to sender and please do not pray in English, this is warfare, the enemies of your life donot speak English, fight them in a language they understand, now!Pray!*

They resumed the prayers with stronger fervor. Ranti regretted ever throwing those beautiful stones. He needed no soothsayer to tell him that his continued stay in the country of his birth would eventually run him mad!

The following morning, he sent an email to the chair of the Computer Science department of University of South Georgia to ask if he could still return to take up an offer that was opened before he travelled.

He waited three days to get a response. The offer was still open.He would get a little less than he is being paid in Nigeria, not to talk of the high accomodation cost in America. Notwithstanding this financial sacrifice, he chose to return. He returned to the country of happiness-The US.

*Days climbed on top of days* *Months climbed on top of months* Years climbed on top of year*

It is 2014! A cloudy morning! The yearning to be home never really did leave Ranti all these years! He considers returning again! It might probably work this time around! The nostalgy is back!

He calledfriends- Matthew, Remi and Ikechukwu. They live in Nigeria.The friends really donot seem to care much about the tumult in the land. After all, they are not directly affected. It is therefore not their business.

Matthew lives a relatively good life in Lagos. He works in a bank. He has three used-cars. Matthew answered: *Oh, the kidnappings? That is a Northern affair, Ranti. Forget about it!*

Remi earns 40 thousand Naira as a school teacher in Ikotun, a surburb of Lagos. He believes God will save the country, for sure!

*What if the country is already saved, so that Nigerians only need allow the salvation to become a reality!* Ranti had first thought of saying this to Remi, but he perished the thought.

He reminded himself he was talking to Remi,who had rationalized the death of his mother as the will of God leaving out the fact that the poor woman had actually died as a consequenceof being taken to a quack clinic in the neighbourhood. The appendicitis operation could have been successful if done somewhere else.

Ikechukwu is of the opinion the political tumult is the plot of Northern Elite to tarnish the image of the president. Ranti told him his piece of mind. Ikechukwu insists it is an ethnic agenda to discredit the president.

The nostalgia washed away gradually. It might not be in his best interest to return yet again after all. The vision of his first return came back. He would not want to relive those nightmares again. He made a choice! He will stay in America!His children will remain here! His children’s children will too!And the children of the children of his children! This is home!

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