Story for the gods

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“How much i dey owe you sef?” Olu asked Shehu, the vendor of a little but well-stocked container shop in a dirty little street in Aguda, Surulere. He had already put a crumpled stick of cigarette which he carefully retrieved from his pocket to his really black lips and lit up.

“How you go owe person money come forget?” The sarcasm in Shehu’s thickly accented Pidgin English was unmistakable.

Yahaya, who sat on the remains of a mortar that once served as an electric chair to many a tuber of yam sent to the afterlife of the human digestive system, marveled at the slow but measured movements of Olu as he dragged, inhaled and exhaled a rich slew of smoke from content but blackened lips. It always amused him the regular mannerisms of cigarette addicts.

“Why won’t he forget with his tobacco addled brain?” Yahaya said in the local vernacular indigenous to Northern Nigeria to which Shehu laughed.

Suspicious that he had become the butt of a cruel joke, Olu snapped out of his tobacco-induced stupor with a curious look.

“Wetin dey make you laugh?”

Shehu responded in a more undecipherable flurry to which Olu shrugged and continued with his smoking.
“Na so una go take kill una sef one day. Person no go fit solve una quarrel if fight start.” He said as he blew smoke in the air.

“How?” Yahaya asked, stupefied.

“Ah, una no hear of two aboki when quarrel? The matter dey court na. One man come drink Shekpe when the two aboki start to quarrel. As e no understand wetin them dey talk, e no look them. Na so dem begin argue until one break bottle stab the other one…”

“Kai!” Shehu interjected.

“Yes oh! Them no die sha. When the matter go court, them ask the man as witness why e no separate fight and e say e no fit involve for wetin e no understand.”

Yahaya roared with laughter. “What a stupid man! Do you need to understand what two men are saying when one breaks a bottle with the intent to cause harm?”

“If them want make e separate fight, them for quarrel for language when e understand. As them no quarrel for English, e mean say them no want make anybody separate them.” Yahaya and Shehu looked stunned enough for Olu to sashay away without paying…again.

Snap!

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Osita clenched his teeth in anger and gripped the steering wheel so tight as he drove back home. It was almost 9:30pm on a Sunday night. The day started off well with an unlikely visit to church after nearly 9 months. The sermon from the visiting preacher was well received; a complete deviation from the regular “sow a seed” message that made him abstain from church services for a while. It had gotten so monotonous that he decided it was time to look for a new church but he never quite got around to doing that.

The preacher, who was simply but tastefully clad in the dark brown traditional attire popularly known as “resource control” was well spoken and had the aura of a man who had experienced a lot of travails but surmounted them effortlessly by the sheer power of optimism which was what his message was pretty much about. It resounded with Osita because lately, he had little to be optimistic about.

He was dreading the team meeting at work tomorrow morning because he had once again failed to meet the his monthly target and he wondered how he was going to sit through another round of tongue-lashing from his sex-starved boss. Miss Atinuke Martins was his nemesis; the 38 year old woman who the office nicknamed “Devil’s bride” was a despicable and utterly relentless bitch when it came to diminishing human beings she considered beneath her. Osita was unfortunately among this group.

Since she was transfered to the Lagos branch from the Abuja head office of the Real Estate Valuation firm he worked for, not one person in the office felt safe anymore. His was particularly worse because she was his direct supervisor and never failed at any and every opportunity to tell him what an incompetent nicompoop she thought he was.

He had endured the insults for two months with a smile which was gradually wearing thin and he realized that he was nearing breaking point when he unexpectedly snapped at Funmilola, his understudy and colleague with whom he had been nothing short of a kind and benevolent tutor. He apologized profusely immediately of course and offered to take her out to lunch as penance for which she politely declined.

“I know you’ve been under a lot of pressure lately and its beginning to tell.” She had said in a most understanding tone that nearly brought tears to his eyes.

“Don’t let the devil’s bride get to you.” She whispered with a smile. “She’s not worth it.”

He wished it were that simple. He had a feeling that the bitch was out to ensure that he lost his job. He was stupefied and thoroughly horrified when he overheard her tell the CEO that she didn’t think he was suitably qualified to perform his duties. A position he had held successfully for two years without incident while meeting every set target.

It wasn’t his fault that there was an internal squabble amongst the board of directors for money and power which eventually led to two of the founding partners calling it quits with the company and their exit, led to an exodus of three of their biggest clients. Now the pressure was on as the company struggled to make ends meet while embroiled in the throes of a bitter and expensive litigation for the soul of the company.

It was in the light of this that management decided to carry out compulsory pay cut with the very possible option of future downsizing if things didn’t improve. There he was, an innocent grass trampled by thoughtless elephants. He thought things couldn’t get worse until they decided to transfer this bitch from Abuja.

As if things weren’t bad enough, he received a wedding invitation from his ex of three months ago last Tuesday which he tore promptly tore into pieces after seeing her name on it. She had told him she was tired of waiting to be married even after he explained in detail the travails he was going through at the office which called for some restructuring and ultimately, a postponement of their wedding plans.

After he got off the initial shock, he relaxed and actually felt relieved to be away from the pressure. Granted, they had been dating steady for two years at the time when they had a major issue of it, he wasn’t ready. He would bounce back; he definitely would but recently he had begun to have doubts after realizing that he shouldn’t have waited for the perfect moment. He was beginning to realize that there was never going to be a perfect monent. There was only now.

Which brought him back to his most current predicament. His rent was due in a month and he was still a couple if hundred thousand short. The side deal he had done 21 days ago had refused to yield dividends which would have taken care of his immediate problems. A visit to his client had brought more “stories that touch the heart” for which he was totally uninterested. He stated in the most polite way he felt was possible that he would resort to drastic steps if the client didn’t start spitting money instead of sorry tales.

It was in that state of mind that he met Lekan, his gifted but most unreliable tailor. He had given materials to the tailor 2 months before a wedding he was to attend knowing his penchant for failure in terms of timely delivery. The wedding held yesterday and he had no option but to improvise. He had made a mental note to collect his clothes at whatever stage they were in as well as his money as the imbecile had stopped taking his calls.

He had gone to the tailor’s to calmly terminate their relationship but what happened took him totally by surprise. The small but untidy shop was littered with all sorts of materials at different stages of completion and there were two or three other customers who had probably decided to sit it out with him until he completed theirs.

“Bros, bros!” Lekan hailed in his usual mischievous manner. His voice was small and squeaky, like that of a hungry rodent and his miniature size was at par. On a good day, Lekan was a source of amusement but not today. The stern look Osita gave was enough to pass the message but Lekan, often used to getting away with all sorts didn’t take the hint.

“Bros, why you no wan answer me na?” He continued to joke.

“Lekan, I’m not in the mood. Where are my clothes?” His tone was business-like.

“Ah, bros. E remain small. E go ready tomorrow.”

“That’s what you told me two months ago. I told you it was for a wedding; the wedding was yesterday.”

“Ahhh, Olorun! You for remind me na. I for finish am for you.” He exclaimed.

Osita was near breaking point. His body shook with rage as his fist unconsciously clenched and unclenched – a sure sign that he was about to lose it but he maintained impressive control.

“You stopped answering my calls and you ignored my text messages and you say I didn’t remind you?!” He said incredulously.

Lekan scratched his head remembering the text messages and the calls from his many customers that he never acknowledged. The mischievous smirk never left his face the whole time and Osita found this increasingly infuriating.

“Just give me my clothes and my money. I will find another tailor.” He said tiredly.

“Ah, bros. E never reach like that na. See, I don already cut am. Na just to sew am remain.” Lekan reached for the untidy pile beneath his sewing machine and brought the cut material out. Osita made to take the material but a mild tussle ensued as Lekan refused to let go.

“Leave it!” Osita growled angrily.

“Bros, abeg na. I go do am this night. E go ready tomorrow.”

“I said LEAVE IT!”

“Na so Lekan dey do. He can never keep to time. Na only to make empty promises e sabi. Later, e go say our politicians no be better people. How you take dey different?” One of the obviously pissed off customers interjected; a young lady dressed in jeans and an oversized tee shirt.

Lekan gave her a stern look and momentarily lost concentration in the tussle which Osita took advantage of.

“Brrrroooos! Why you dey vex like woman na?” Lekan teased after realizing he had lost the tussle.

“What did you say?” Osita asked with raised eyebrows.

“Bros, you go collect am tomorrow. I promise.” He pleaded.

“I gave you seven thousand naira; I want it back.” Osita said without a hint of a smile.

“Ah, bros, you go forget that one oh. Ya money don enter voice mail.” Lekan said. He wasn’t smiling anymore.

“Wetin you talk?” Osita asked again, reverting seemlessly to pidgin English.

“Your cloth go ready tomorrow.” Lekan said as he stretched his hands for the clothes Osita held away from him.

“I no want again. Just gimme my money make I comot here. The wedding when I was use am attend don pass. I want my money.” Osita said again.

There was a tense silence as both men looked each other in the eye. Lekan realized that he had just lost this customer so he sat back down and continued to sew what he was sewing.

“You no hear wetin I talk?” Osita asked, the steam coming off his ears very visible now.

“Bros, you come collect ya money tomorro…”

He never completed the statement as Osita slammed a clenched fist into his face. As a result of the awkwardness of his position which was way above the sitting position of the short, sitting tailor, he missed Lekan’s face but not the neck as he crashed on the sewing machine. The impact of fist on neck produced a dull thud which was quite deceptive in terms of the intensity as Lekan’s head slammed the wall by his right side. The expression on his face was one of utter disbelief. It was priceless!

The three customers jumped up in shock as a cacophony of exclamations escaped their lips unharmoniously but simultaneously.

“Jesus oh!”

“Olorun!”

“My God!”

All attention was suddenly focused on the little shop and passersby changed direction to watch.

Osita stood up, his legs shaking, temper spent and surveyed the damage. The sewing machine had fallen to the side – it wasn’t damaged. Lekan on the other hand, had slumped to the ground from the stool he sat. His head had hit a sharp object. There was blood.

“You wan kill am?!” The lady in jeans screamed.

The younger man was speechless.

The older fella who had before now, been engrossed in the Complete Sports magazine he was reading sprung to action and grabbed the limp Lekan from the floor where he lay in a crumpled heap unconscious. He examined the wound which turned out to be on his neck and not the head.

“He’s unconscious. We have to get him to the hospital.” He said.
……………………………………

Osita shook his head as he drove home twenty five thousand naira poorer. The injury wasn’t serious, he was told after being berated by every and anyone who happened to witness or hear the story. He took the insults with equanimity. He didn’t like it but this time, he was quite sure he deserved it.

It had been ages since he lost his cool like that. The last time he did was in the university many years ago and the young victim who got the full brunt of the intended punch stayed in the hospital for almost a week. None of his peers ever messed with him again after that.

The good thing out of all this was that Lekan, when he came to, apologized sincerely and promised to deliver the clothes personally to his office the next day and forgo the outstanding balance.

And he did.

Pyrrhic victory…

The Love letter on 54

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Dear Nigeria,

54 years ago you were born the gifted child of unwilling parents; midwifed by colonial imperialists. Your birth was heralded by so much fanfare. Even though you were born on no manger, you were touted to be the messiah of the African race.

The DNA of greatness in you has always been as conspicuous like the shimmering light on a dark continent. It was the envy of our brother countries and a threat to the colonial imperialists who reluctantly bade us farewell.

How is it then that 54 years later, the talk is still on about that DNA of greatness yet to harnessed; that potential yet to be maximized?

Independence is a word used loosely on every anniversary of yours and it saddens me for all year round, we are stunned with glaring evidence that slavery yet abounds.

You are likened to the gifted child nurtured for greatness by well-meaning parents but derailed by the greed of your extended family who have refused to let you be who you are meant to be. The golden eggs you lay has become the cause for your incarceration.

These extended relatives, stakeholders, cabal and the like have employed all manner of uncouth tactics to keep you from being what you should be; from where you should be. They have sold you off to foreign interests in order to continue to luxuriate in the wealth of your sweat and blood.

Still I believe in you; I believe in what you can and should be. I believe that someday, you will take up that exalted seat that has been prepared and reserved for you from time immemorial.

Your past and present betrays hope for the future to the disillusioned eye but something stronger exists deep within you; an unignited spark of brilliance that  came to bear when we were plagued with the threat of a devastating epidemic of dubious origins. In that moment of danger, the slumbering strength of your spirit came alive to the chagrin of your detractors.

You have experienced trying times and still will dear Nigeria but by the sheer will of that DNA of greatness in you, you have remained firm and resolute to survive. You have continued to show promise in the dream of a greater tomorrow.

Your past may be tainted with the blood and tears of the innocents but that untapped potential is always a reason for us to believe. I know we cannot change your past, but as the river keeps flowing, you must keep moving knowing that every river has a destination.

I love you Nigeria and I always will.

Happy birthday.

Yours sincerely,

The people called by your name.

Conspiracy Theories And Weird Possibilities

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Ok, I know this article may sound like another conspiracy theory but its something that has been on my mind for a while. How the Ebola virus resurfaced after many years with a much deadlier strain has always bothered me. Forget the cock and bull story about eating bats and the like; I have always believed that it is the product of biological engineering and too many arrows point in that direction.

The fact that the only index case in Nigeria for the spread of the disease was Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian diplomat whose family is tucked away in far away America gives me cause for concern. How we were given the silly excuse that he came to Nigeria because he believed Nigeria had better treatment for Ebola when we had no known case at the time or better health facilities always sounded illogical and fishy. For a man who lived in America to think the Nigerian health care system is so top notch that he came here to get better treatment is the height of undiluted nonsense. Forget that Labaran Maku made spurious claims before Ebola got here; no informed person will take him seriously when its well known that the politicians and the wealthy fly out to other countries to treat the flimsiest of ailments. This is more so, when at the time Sawyer came in, it was well reported in the news that Nigerian doctors were on strike.

This poses two scenarios: if he truly came here because he had heard of Maku’s claims, he must have heard as well that our health care system was crippled as a result of the strike. I’m still at loss at why he chose Nigeria…except it was a purposeful act of bio-terrorism. Thank God for Dr. Adadevoh of blessed memory who virtually had to physically fight him to keep him quarantined and succumbed to disease, we would have been dealing with an epidemic of catastrophic proportions for which we were hilariously unprepared for.

Now, America is preparing a vaccine which is already undergoing testing and I was shocked to find out that America acquired patent for the Ebola virus in 2010! For God’s sake, are you trying to tell me they ran out of things to patent that they had to patent a virus? And by some “strange” happenstance, the disease, a tougher strain of it so happened to resurface in West Africa 2014?!

I was particularly furious some months ago when a collection of African leaders who didn’t have enough problems to contend with in their countries went to a summit in the US on invitation from the American president. They were told they would recieve financial support and they were only too happy to take turns to have a photo session with the American president. I was pained to my marrow. There is this old adage I use to hear a lot when I was younger: Its not enough to give a hungry man fish because he will continue to come back for more. If you want him to be independent, teach him how to catch a fish.

The West has continued to cultivate a mentality of dependence on our African leaders by throwing financial aid their way and these African leaders, daft as they are, are quite content to sit down and wait for handouts and like Esau for a morsel, have sold Africa’s sovereignty. Our leaders have forgotten that nothing goes for nothing. These “greek gifts” from the West come with a price and the price is a new form of slavery; colonialism on a much larger scale.

The only African leader who stood firm and tried to create an African front that would not depend on the West was Ghaddaffi and he was killed. Look at what Libya has become today. How any right thinking person see the West as benevolent constantly baffles me. Their antecedents tell a much more selfish story.

African leaders need to wake up from their financial handout-induced slumber. No country will constantly feed you except they want to own you and look around you today. Is it so wierd to see that we are practically under ownership when we are dependent on foreign investment to drive our economy? We are gradually getting to that stage where foreign nations dictate our local policies, that’s if we are not there already.

Its time to start over. The dream that Ghaddafi had of Africa is what will keep and sustain Africa from the whims and caprices of dubious benevolence. For how long must we continue to be a testing and dumping ground? People are dying everyday from weapons developed and sold by the West and possibly now, genetically engineered diseases.

Its time for Africa to take her destiny in her own hands. It starts with every potential leader of tomorrow. It starts with YOU!

Please read this thought-provoking article.

http://abusidiqu.com/its-all-scripted-ebola-virus-is-a-biological-weapon-from-the-us-read-this-shocking-report/

Of Mutineers, Death Sentences and Untreated Root Causes

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In my younger years, I wanted to join the military; the Navy to be specific. I have always admired the bravery of men of the force who dedicate their lives to defending Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Having visited the barracks in the good old days, I marveled at the morning drills and the strict discipline it instilled.

I was particularly enamoured when I had the opportunity to interact with a few; the highly educated ones. I have a distant cousin who served with ECOMOG and I remember when I first saw him when he just arrived from one of such missions for an uncle’s funeral in the military regalia of green camouflage. It was a proud moment for me.

Their exposure as a result of their travels on various missions, military courses and tales of their exploits always aggravated the itch in me and at a time, I made efforts – though half-hearted – to apply for short service but it never seemed feasible and I won’t say it bothered me much . I took it as one those fantasies of youth.

I was also aware that the regimented life in the military was guided by Martial Law and I knew that insubordination was a serious offence which at occasions was punishable by death. It was a hard pill to swallow considering that I am quite outspoken especially at what I perceive as injustice. We can blame my law background for that.

Our military was once the pride of Africa but not so much today. The hydra-headed monster called corruption overpowered its machinery and today, our gallant soldiers lay at its mercy. This was manifest when a few months ago, there were news reports of mutiny when some junior officers fired shots at their commanding officer for leading their brothers in arms into an ambush where many lost their lives in the fight against the Islamic militant sect Boko Haram.

This was a serious issue of course and normally, one would expect that the occurrence would be subjected to full scale inquiry. However, it was a shocker today when I read news confirming that the “mutineers” had been court martialed and some sentenced to death. This is coming at the heels of a very recent news report of over 800 Nigerian soldier fleeing to Cameroun after being outgunned by the Islamic militants.

It is no secret that our military has taken a severe beating from this Islamic sect who have metamorphosed from the use of the most primitive to sophisticated weaponry. Is it that the military over the past few years has been breeding cowards? No, far from it! On the contrary, I still believe that the military is to a large extent filled with men and women of grit and substance.

The problem is corruption.

Granted, our military has been fighting a war they were untrained for – at least within our territorial borders. They are ill-equipped and generally underpaid. This is especially baffling when you consider that military budget has increased since the insurgency began. How is it then that we expect miracles from these disillusioned and unmotivated men and women of the armed forces?

It is no longer news that these men are sent into the battle with poor military intelligence and archaic weaponry to fight a rag tag but organized bunch of militants with sophisticated weapons in their arsenal. Is the outcome really far-fetched? I almost wept when I heard that these men go into battle with rationed bullets. How dare we expect victory when we all know that you never bring a knife to a gun fight.

It is maniacally bewildering and positively bamboozling that the higher echelons of the Nigerian Military which is long overdue for investigation can sentence its own to death when there is probable cause for the mutiny; especially at a time when we have suffered great casualty in the war against terror. You can never enforce discipline when there is no moral background or justification. Retiring the GOC who was mutineered against is hardly enough. If this unjust sentence is carried out, it may just be the catalyst to a crisis that has the potential to snowball into chaos of immeasurable proportions that we may never recover from.

These pot-bellied men who have forgotten what it feels like to face the barrel of gun knowing you are ill-equipped as you stare surely at death in the face; what it feels like to know that when you are gone, no one will give a hoot about the family you leave behind. I cannot imagine the kind of gloom that hangs in the barracks of our foot soldiers. Are you telling me that there is no reprieve for these men and woman in this world who gallantly lay down their lives for this country?

The injustice of this hurts to the marrow. Selective treatment, selective justice is a plague ravaging this country and it is sickening that the military, a supposed bastion of discipline has fallen hard. It is disgusting that those who seek to instill discipline are in dire need of discipline.

I fervently hope and pray that these unjust court-martial sentences will by some miracle be withdrawn. I pray that the ruthless arm of the law will catch up with those who have continued to without consequence pilfer military funds for their personal use to the detriment of the lives of gallant men and women of the force. I pray that our military will surmount the current security challenge and become once again, the pride of Africa.

But hey, what do I know? This is just the rant of a “bloody” civilian.

The Unseen Religious Battle Ground

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What is Christianity?

Is it a way of life or just a course that must be pursued aggressively?

In recent times, I have come across many conspiracy theories about a plot by Islam to overthrow Christianity world wide and I have always dismissed such as idle talk being a massive proponent of peace and harmony across all ethnic and religious lines.

However, my recent exposure to certain information and current happenings in the world and Nigeria especially has given me serious cause for concern and a reason to revamp my thought process and mentality.

A firm note of warning: I am not a religious fanatic. On the contrary, I admit that I am passive but I feel there are certain revelations that I feel obligated to reveal to my blog readers. I can only hope that a pattern will emerge but ultimately, the decision whether this is something that should be pushed aside as the ranting of another religious fanatic lies with you reading this now.

This sudden change in my perspective is as a result of a revealing message by an RCGF pastor and I must thank Dr. Uyi Asemota for bringing this to my notice. For someone who is very concerned about data usage, I streamed through this over-an-hour online audio and my internal bull-shit filter which protects my data subscription went on hibernation. It was that serious! The link to this audio is at the foot of this blog post and I encourage every practicing and non-practicing Christian to take time out and listen to it.

Now, back to the question of Christianity. This came from a conversion I had with my best friend. From my understanding of the life of Jesus Christ from whose name it is coined, it is a way of life; living like Jesus Christ did. However, the bitter truth is that is not all we are to do as followers of Christ. Jesus Christ came for a reason: to bring men to the knowledge of the truth which is love and God is love. He has done that and has returned back to heaven at the right hand of God.

Before he left, he charged us as His followers to “Go into the world and preach the gospel”. See Mark 16:15. This is the answer to the previously asked question. Christianity is not just a way of life but a course that must be aggressively followed.

The question to ask now is are we doing this? Please take time out to research on the predominant religion in Turkey a thousand years ago and compare that with what obtains today. You’ll be amazed!

Let’s come down to Nigeria. Nigeria has in the past five years or more been battling an insurgency problem. There is a tendency to mask all that as politics. Well, yes. It is politics but politics that is deeply rooted in religion. Boko Haram has never masked its objective from the start. In fact, the name is quite revealing; western education is bad.

However, as we have seen in recent times with the bombing of churches, maiming and persecution of Christians resident in the Northern part of Nigeria and the declaration of an Islamic Caliphate in parts of Borno State, it is safe to say that they are not just battling against western education and influence but Christianity as religion.

I have always wondered why many notable Nigerian Muslims have not come out strongly to condemn the activities of the sect and this in my opinion is a tacit support of its jihad. Fear is a factor I will not rule out considering that the radical sect has not limited itself to killing Christians only.

We all have at one point or the other heard of a ploy to Islamise Nigeria. The most disturbing is what is called the Abuja Declaration of 1989 under the IBB regime. It was made by an organisation called The Islam in Africa Organisation (IAO) which is an offshoot of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) of which Nigeria is a member. Please ask yourself why Nigeria is a member. Aren’t we supposed to be secular state? Do you realize that Islam is a constitutionally recognised religion in our constitution? In fact, a cursory look at our constitution will reveal that it is more Islamic in nature than anything else (I had to check this out to confirm). Can we now honestly say Boko Haram does not have a legitimate struggle? Food for thought.

I digress.

This OIC offshoot was founded with the goal to “win the whole of Africa for Islam”. Now, this is definitely an aggressive course of action. It has been rumored that IBB donated the hefty sum of $21billion dollars of Nigeria’s money to assist it in achieving its goals. This rumor has neither been debunked nor affirmed. The statutes and goals of the organisation were ratified in 1991 and some of them are listed below;

-To ensure only Muslims are elected to all political posts of member nations.

-To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Muslim religions in member nations (such religions shall include Christianity, Ahmadiyya and other tribal modes of worship unacceptable to Muslim). Please note that word “Christianity” was underlined.

-To ensure the ultimate replacement of all western forms of legal and judicial systems with the sharia in all member nations before the next “Islam in Africa Conference”.

-To ensure the appointment of only Muslims into strategic national and international posts of member nations.

I have tried to research on this but have come up with nothing so far. Its either this is figment of somebody’s imagination or its a closely guarded secret. Whichever, it sure sounds familiar when we recall that at a point in time, Shekau called on President Jonathan to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam for the carnage in the North to stop. I’ll say no more on this.

I never had any faith in the just concluded National Conference especially with the mouth-watering emoluments prepared for participants but some interesting things came to light during the process, one of which is that constitutionally, Christianity is at a disadvantage. All attempts to rectify this were met with stiff resistance. We are still waiting to see what becomes of the recommendations from conference so for now, I will cease to make any further comment.

Let’s talk politics. Most people know that I have no love for PDP and that is true till now because I feel if they had a prime focus, Nigeria would not be where it is today. However, when we talk about a viable alternative, is APC going to be any better?

At this particular point in our national history, we cannot avoid the fact that we are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. The principle of fairness should dictate that this characteristic MUST be taken into consideration even though I still believe this to be breeding ground for mediocrity; but we are a peculiar nation so we require a peculiar solution.

There was a time when I received and was offended by lots of broadcast messages spelling how the critical affairs of Nigeria are owned and controlled by Muslims. I’m not so offended now as there is an awareness in my mind that there is truth in all this. Is APC a religiously balanced political party? The answer is a big NO. Should we be worried? Yes; especially as it was rumored at a time that a purely Muslim presidential ticket was a consideration for 2015. Does this sound familiar again?

Personally, based on General Buhari’s antecedents, I would want him to become president of Nigeria but in the light of this “conspiracy” and its gradual unfolding in our political sphere, I am very wary now and have had a course to reconsider.

I hate to sound fanatical but in the course of being liberal, too many things have escaped our notice; especially how Islam is becoming a dominant religion in the world and is now being “aggressively” pursued in Nigeria. Seeking to convert people to Christianity is not a bad thing; neither is seeking to convert people to Islam a bad thing. I only have a problem when violence, coercion, blackmail, indoctrination or brainwashing are used as tools of achieving this.
The right of choice without undue influence in religion should be absolute coupled with an ability for peaceful co-existence. In the absence of tolerance and peace, there can only be chaos.

I’ll conclude by saying that if Islam is overtaking the world and eventually overtakes Nigeria, it is the fault of no one but us who bear the identity of Christians and view it only as a way of life and not as a course of action to be aggressively pursued. We have been given only one duty by our Lord Jesus Christ which is to spread the gospel. I’m not much of a preacher but my hope is that I get to those of you out there by writing this lengthy “sermon” on why Nigerian Christians need to sit up before our faith is forcefully and completely obliterated.

Our Nigerian pastors need to de-emphasize prosperity teaching and retrace their steps back to true repentance. We as followers have our part to play. If an ex-military head of state can dole out billions of Nigeria’s money to support Islam, where are all the Christian millionaires and billionaires? Rather than contribute to buy a private jet for your pastors or build churches, let’s help our Christian brethren who are being persecuted in the North. Let’s sponsor credible Christian candidates at elections and most important of all as 2015 draws nigh, come out and vote!

Please listen patiently to this message by following the link.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xNjEGfcZC74

Malcolm O. Ifi.

In The End

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It all looks the same, it all feels the same
There is yet cause to be alarmed
To the eye that sees but sees naught
The downward spiral of mankind
As foretold in the days of yore
Mother earth weeps from endless plundering
Even as she is down to her last breath
From carrying the children of mankind
In her bruised and over-used pouch
The same who seek her painful end

The product of civilization and advancement
Has undergone a full circle as it guides us
In our dependent and blindfolded state
Back to our primitive and regressive nature
The power of subliminal messaging
And intolerant trains of thought
Has upset the balance of sanity
As the standard for horror is reset daily
Numbing humanity to its very core
The death of love and kindness

We strive to live, try to dreams achieve
In the midst of an age long conspiracy
That is tailored to suit our needs for a time
Till we are all subjugated in a matrix
Mental prisoners in a world of our making
Or the making some other force
Through the ignorant efforts of renegades
Living under the illusion of enlightenment
Let all eyes see, analyze and understand
That indeed, we are in the end

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (7)

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The jig was up. She knew it.

She had spent the night tossing and turning on her bed and after knowing that sleep was probably going to be an impossibility, she went to the sitting room and switched on the TV. That was where the rising sun met her.

Tope’s call last night left her disoriented and for the first time in her life, she wondered how she got here. How Wale and Chidi met, she didn’t know exactly but there were a few possibilities that had run through her mind. And surprisingly, Chidi didn’t sound like anything was out of place last night when she called although, she detected some sort of weariness in his voice which could be attributed to many things.

It would have been foolish to go to his house last night as she had said she would, knowing what she knew now. She would have walked right into a trap and he would have interrogated her mercilessly. Chidi was a kind and forgiving man but he hated to be taken for a fool. She knew this after past scrapes.

She had expected him to call her temporary line to ask why she didn’t make it last night but it was almost noon and he hadn’t even bothered to call. Wale on the other hand, called her twice last night but she didn’t pick up his call. As soon as she confirmed that he had given her phone to Tope, she didn’t feel she had to answer any of his calls.

The thing with Wale had started off as a joke. They had met at Tope’s party in 2007; she had a big party planned for her 26th birthday as her boyfriend had just come in from Malaysia with loads of cash and was sponsoring the whole show. Veronica was amazed at the fact J-Boy (that was the only name they all knew him by) was ready to spend whatever it took and as Tope’s trusted sidekick, she had access to unlimited funds.

The party was a huge success and was the talk of town for a while as J-Boy had it held at his newly acquired mansion in Lekki. Champagne flowed, there was a smorgasbord of African and intercontinental dishes, no shortage of the happening ladies and gents in attendance, a healthy sprinkle of celebrities with their entourage and lots of expensive cars.

Veronica had initially felt a bit out of place but adjusted quickly and in no time was being courted by many a man on account of her unrivaled beauty and appreciated by several envious ladies who thought her outfit, though a stunner, was a little too attention-seeking. She had just got off the phone with Chidi after he called to inquire how she was holding up at the party when she noticed that someone had been staring at her from where she stood at the fancifully lighted but secluded part of the patio that overlooked the large car park.

He seemed to have been patiently waiting for her to conclude her call before he stepped up to her. Not again, she had thought miserably. She had continued to sip from her glass of Irish cream and acted like she didn’t notice him. She couldn’t see his face and was mildly amused that he wore a face cap at night but he was well dressed; a dark leather jacket that was adequate for the chill in the air, a pair of blue jeans and white Sneakers.

“What’s a beautiful lady doing out here all by herself at this lovely party?” He asked jovially. He leaned his back on the protective railing a few inches away from her.

“Nothing. Just taking in some air.” She had said politely. They light reflected on his face under the face cap and she saw his features. He was dark complexioned, strong features with a tinge of roughness, not as tall and regal as Chidi. Not her type, she concluded unconsciously.

“Yeah. Its breezy here.” He agreed. He regarded her for a few minutes before he continued.

“You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” He said with such honesty that surprised her. She had gotten an overdose of compliments for men whose eyes betrayed their lecherous intentions and she was tired. She knew the power she had over men and most times, she was content to bask in their adulation. But not tonight.

“Thank you.” She said quietly and continued to look at the large compound that never seemed to empty of inebriated guys and scandalously dressed ladies. The party was in full swing inside as the house boomed with loud music.

“I’m Wale.” He said finally, extending his right hand for a hand shake. She hesitantly offered hers and withdrew it when he attempted to kiss it.

“My attention is needed inside. It was nice to meet you.” She said as she walked back inside.

“I didn’t get your name.” He said after her. She smiled and ignored him and went back inside the crazed noise of the party.

Two days later, he “happened” to drive by as she was walking out of a pharmacy close to where she lived.

“Are you stalking me?” She asked mildly irritated when he came down from his car – a sleek Cherokee and walked with her when she wouldn’t stop walking.

“Stalking you? I wouldn’t do that. I’m shocked to see you here right now.” He said, visibly pleased. “Do you stay here?”

She didn’t respond.

“I came here to see a friend – Lukman. Do you know him?”

Everybody knew Lukman. He was that notorious but handsome rake who had slept with more than half the girls on her street. He had made several passes at her in his usual cocky manner. She detested him…and by extension, anyone who was his friend.

“Everybody knows him.” She said with disdain.

“Hmmmm. You don’t seem to like him very much.”
Wale observed.

“Is there a reason you’re harassing me on the street?” She asked impatiently.

“You didn’t tell me your name.” He asked, determined to not give up.

“Its my name, isn’t it?” She asked, giving him an odd look.

“I don’t mean to offend you but I just want to be your friend, that’s all.” He said innocently.

She stopped and looked at him. He still had a face cap on, a different one at least.

“Look, the answer to whatever it is you want is NO. I’ve got a big and strong boyfriend who does not care much for guys like you and certainly won’t appreciate you stalking me. Just leave me alone.”

He seemed shocked but when she walked on, he followed her still. She laughed in her mind.

“I don’t want to steal you from your man…except he treats you wrong. I just want to be your friend” He said with a smile as kept up with her as her pace increased.

“You think you can steal me?” She asked as she laughed genuinely amused.

“Only if you let me.” He said. “All I need is a name to match your pretty face…and your number, hopefully?”

She had smiled and had taken his number instead. From then on, she had literally “used” him and being a love-sick puppy, he complied like a genie. As time went on, he got bolder and she got to find that he wasn’t actually a bad guy.

The first time they had sex, she had been vulnerable. She and Chidi had a major fight over a terrible mistake she made and he had broken up with her. She wanted to forget; she wanted to be consoled and as he was always around, it happened. She got to realize that she actually needed him as Chidi resided in Abuja at the time but since Chidi relocated to Lagos after she had pressurized him to, it was quite difficult keeping up with the demands of the two major men in her life but somehow, she did.

She wanted to call it off with Wale but Chidi didn’t seem ready to want to get married right now. She needed to have a backup if the worst ever happened especially as she suspected Chidi didn’t trust her as much as he once did but she wanted to do it at the right time.. Now she knew her procrastination was a serious error of judgment. How was she to wiggle out of this now?

As if to answer her question, her phone rang.

It was Chidi. It was almost 3pm.

Mere Words

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They were mere words
A logical assembly of letters
Conveying cognitive coherence
Like dry but able hands
Dipping into dry wells
With a little piece of magic
To produce water from air
From the water came colour
And with brush-like fingers
A master piece was created
With her heart as the canvass
Its steady rhythmic beats
Gave inspirational harmony
And the words came to life
From the mouth of the speaker
They lived and brought freedom again
For the soul that longed to see the sun

They were mere words
A logical assembly of letters
With roots from the idea of the Divine
A path to lead all mankind
To the way of love and truth
But words are malleable
And so are the ideas they create
The message of peace
Became the message of war
So did love and truth
As they became hate and lies
Like animals
Man preyed on man
The need to believe in the Supreme
Has become a daily nightmare
For they instill in the gullible mind
A dark purpose
With ludicrous fantasy as reward

They were mere words
A logical assembly of letters
A fresh breath of air
To clear the decay of a decadent past
And provide glimpse of a bright future
Hungrily the people feasted
On the food of hope
In castles built on air
As they cast on happily
The emperors new clothes
Until hope brought despair
But what is a promise
If it is not to be kept?
What is suffering
If it is not to be survived?
Thus the wheels of deceit spins
Enabled by words

Mere words…

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (6)

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“That’s what happened. I know I was wrong to hit her and I apologize but I lost my temper. I couldn’t control myself.” Wale concluded.

Chidi was a bundle of mixed reactions. He found the continuously unfolding story amazing and laughed at the fact that Wale had a right to lose his temper as a “stakeholder”. Still, Wale’s tale left him astounded. She was good; she had played the both of them to perfection.

Emeka made impatient movements as Wale told his tale. He kept tapping his feet on the floor and at other times, he would sigh and mutter “women”. He seemed to be greatly pained by the tale.

“In all the years we dated, I never lifted a finger on her; no matter how pissed she got me.” Chidi muttered to himself shaking his head.

Wale heard it and felt slighted immediately. He knew he had made a fool of himself the night before and should never have hit her but he didn’t need to be reminded.

“Maybe you never loved her as much as I do.” He said defensively.

“Maybe I have a better control over myself than you do.” Chidi said, smiling thinly.

They both regarded themselves over what each considered to be veiled insults to the other as the atmosphere grew heavier with tension.

“Ah, which kain talk be all this one? Biko, let’s forget all this one oh. We are not women. We will settle this as real men do…over bottles of beer.” Emeka said, wading in to diffuse the tension.

“I apologize for my comment.” Wale said quickly.

“So do I.” Chidi replied.

They were interrupted briefly by Yahaya who came to inform Chidi that he was ready to go and buy fuel for the generators in the compound. He had been watching from a distance and had wondered what the matter was. Oga Chidi was a good man and he was fiercely loyal to him.

Chidi excused himself for a few minutes and went back to his apartment and laughed as he changed for the first time since he came back from work.

“What a day!” He muttered to himself still wondering if today was one nightmare that was going to end soon. After sorting out things with Yahaya, he went back out to the two men who were patiently waiting.

“There’s a bar down the street. Let’s go there.” He said.
………………………………………………………………..

“I’ve told you to stop these your late night movements but you never listen. If I talk now, they’ll say I’m talking.” Mrs. Vivian Amadi or Mama Vee as she was fondly complained bitterly as the nurse applied the treatment to Veronica’s bruised face which seemed to have gotten worse overnight.

Veronica winced in pain but more from irritation at her mother’s constant tirade but then again, her mother  had every right to. She was shocked when she saw her face in the mirror when she finally roused herself from her fatigued slumber. The spot Wale had hit had grown tender, swollen and bright red. She had hoped it wouldn’t get any worse but alas, it did. She half expected it though; her skin had always been sensitive.

“Look at your face now. Some miscreant wants to kill my poor daughter.” Her mother continued to complain to no one in particular, both arms on her great breasts.

“What would I have I said? What would people have said? That I don’t take care of my only daughter? God forbid! Tufia!!” Her mock spit in disgust supported by the “tufia” made the nurse hold back a laugh that had been building up for some time.

Veronica gave her mom a stern look. She was tired of the ranting.

“Yes na.” Her mother continued in response to the nurse’s chuckle. “They’ll say because her father left that…”

Veronica had had enough.

“Mummy, you’re giving me a headache please. Enough with all the talk!” She grumbled with irritation.

“Keep quiet! If you had listened to me, none of this would have happened.” Her mother shouted with a venom that shocked and silenced her.

The air was still and heavy with tension and the silence deafening for a while. The only sound was the measured movements of Nurse Matilda as she attended to the tender spot around Veronica’s eye. It felt a bit awkward to experience this maternal scolding of this beautiful, young woman. Veronica winced in pain as the Matilda dabbed the tender spot with a cotton wool soaked in healing ointment.

When she was done, she directed them to the pharmacy to purchase the drugs the doctor had prescribed. Veronica practically stormed out with her mother following proudly behind. She considered them for a minute and shrugged and went about her business.

“What was all the shouting about?” Her colleague, Yemi asked as she came in carrying some files. Yemi was never one to miss out on a gist.

“Hmmm. She was angry at her daughter’s late night movements that obviously resulted in her getting rough handled.” Matilda said, filling the form behind the desk she now sat.

“She said she was robbed, abi? I think she’s lying.” Yemi stated as a matter of fact as she shelved the files she came in with.

“Really? How do you know?” Matilda asked as she looked up.

“I know her very well. My sister’s friend is her neighbor and she knows her well. Her ways no pure.” Yemi concluded.

Matilda considered this; she had her doubts about the lady’s story but it wasn’t her business.

“Na them know.” She shrugged and went back to work.
…………………………………….

The night proved to be rather interesting…and boring. Interesting because alcohol always seemed to lighten up the mood even it didn’t do so much this time but there was no restraint for those who had no control over soaked lips; boring because Chidi was still hurting behind the facade of machismo and nonchalance. Across the table filled with a set of black and green bottles, Wale made no attempt to conceal his feelings as he made a lamentation of the evening. Chidi began to feel more sorry for him than himself.

The question on his mind now was what to do. No doubt, this occurrence would give his friends the I-told-you-so upper hand as he had been subtly warned about this woman he had put above everyone else that really mattered. He laughed at himself as the millions of questions began to crowd his head. A gulp of the sparking liquid in his glass cup dispersed them as quickly as they came. They would be back. They weren’t done just yet.

“She made me move out of the family house. She told me she wanted me all to herself.” Wale continued to lament.

Chidi felt sorry for him. There was no doubt in his mind that he probably was hurt the most because he never saw it coming. Her numerous escapades had given him warning signs so he wasn’t so surprised though he never really expected that it or the fact that her treachery had gone so far.

Emeka was pretty much out of it. He had focused more on the drinks than any other nonsense they had talked about. He hadn’t said much but saved his energy for the bottles and the barman kept it coming.

Chidi felt the phone in his pocket vibrate so he checked it out as Wale rambled on. Two missed calls from a number he was unfamiliar with. He was tempted to call the number back but decided against it. Whoever it was, if it was important they would call back. He was about to reach for his drink when the phone vibrated again.

“Hello.” He said.

“Baby, its me.” Her voice still sent chills up his spine. He was unsure of what to say so he remained silent.

“I’m sorry I’ve not called you since. I had to go the hospital to get treated.” She said with a voice that made him actually feel sorry.

“Are you ok?” He finally asked. He had to force the words out of his throat with difficulty.

“I’ll be fine. I’m coming to spend the night.”

“You’re sure you want to do that?” Chidi said, his heart racing.

“Don’t you want to see me?” She asked.

“I’m just considering all you’ve been through. You should be resting.” It only after he said this that he realized that Wale and Emeka’s attention were on him. They both had an idea of who he was talking to.

“I’ll rest at your place. I think I need a massage. I need you.” She said with such innocence and sincerity that weakened him.

“Ok. I’ll be expecting you.” He said and hung up.

Wale and Emeka resumed their drinking but seemed curiously expectant. Chidi made no attempt to satisfy them as he took a sip of his drink. His heart was pounding so hard and this annoyed him because he knew why.

“Was it Veronica?” Wale asked after he couldn’t hold himself back any longer.

“Yes.” Chidi responded, not feeling inclined to go any further.

“What are we going to do about her?” Wale asked. He had been dreading to ask this question for a while.

“What’s there to do? I’m done.” Chidi said flatly.

“What do you mean?” Wale asked wanting clarity.

“Its over between us. You can have her if you want.”

Wale kept silent. If this guy was leaving the picture, the possibilities were endless. He could…

His phone rang.

“Hello.” He picked immediately.

“I’m coming to pick up my phone. Where are you?” An abrasive voice said from the other side.

He excused himself and walked outside ear shot.

“Baby, I’m sorry for my behavior yesterday. I…” He was cut short.

“I have reported you to my friend in State CID. To avoid more trouble, tell me where you are and I’ll have someone pick up my phone.”

“Ah baby!” He was so shocked that he didn’t know when he reverted to Yoruba. ” Don’t do this now. How can you call Police for me? I was angry and I promise it won’t happen aga…”

“I need my phone!” She screamed at him.

“I’m at Q’s. You know where it is?” He said with resignation.

“Tope will meet you there.” She said, ignoring his question. With that, she hung up before he could respond any further. He sighed deeply before returning to the table.

“Was that Veronica?” Chidi asked before he could sit.

He hesitated before he answered. “No. Just some business I had to attend to.”

Chidi smiled. He knew it was Veronica but he didn’t pursue it.

“I want you to know that we had already made plans for me to visit her parents in October.” Wale said suddenly.

“Oh, really? That’s just two month’s away.” Chidi commented thoughtfully.

“I still want to marry her.” Wale said after an uncomfortable silence.

“Up till now? With all that’s happened?” Emeka asked incredulously. It seemed he awoke from alcohol-induced sleep. Wale ignored him and looked intently at Chidi expecting some kind of response.

“Well…” Wale asked.

“Well, what? You want me to give my blessing? I’m not her father.” Chidi said sarcastically. He stood up, a bit unsteadily.

“My night ends here. I will not stand in your way. I’m through with Veronica. You guys may do as you please.” He reached for his wallet.

“Don’t worry about it.” Wale said, stopping him. “The drinks are on me. Maybe next time?”

Chidi looked at him and smiled. “Next time, then.” They shook hands and he left the table.

He didn’t notice Tope who stopped cold in her tracks as she watched both of them shake hands from outside the gate of the compound. Tope backtracked and faced the other way as the gateman unlocked the gate and bid Chidi farewell as he walked home. She knew his house was around the corner. She had been there before…with Veronica.

She quickly brought out her phone from her bag and dialed.

“Vero, you’re in deep shit!” She said breathlessly.

LOOK!

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Have you ever lost something precious?

Do you remember how that feels? You walk around in a daze as depression sets in and you begin to lose taste for almost everything.

Would you recognize the harmony of music that you haven’t heard in a while? Would you recognize hip hop if you heard her from a distance?

For a while, hip hop has been taking a slow walk to the grave in the Nigerian music scene. The air waves has been filled with all sorts that have only one distinct theme. It would appear that the hip hop heavy weights have all gone to sleep…well, all but one if you LOOK hard enough.

Duno needs no introduction in the Nigerian music scene as he has been at it for donkey years. Here’s a man not driven or corrupted by the glamour that comes with the industry but is fueled by nothing but love for the art.

LOOK is a classic work of art that any hip hop head worth his/her salt would be proud of. From the fast paced base line, to the alchemic flow and the quick burst and depth of knowledge, Duno has once again presented ear candy for hip hop lovers as he invites all to take a break from the rat race and LOOK.

Y’all know how I do. If its on Malcolm’s Blog, then you know without the slightest shred of doubt that its good.

Trust me, its not just the song. The video is worth the LOOK!

—» PREMIERE: Duno – Look [Video+Audio]: http://t.co/ToTzWjyc4J

Nigeria: Love Gone Sour Or No Love Allowed

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What is Nigeria? A mere geographical expression comprising of the Northern and Southern Protectorates put together by the colonial powers for administrative convenience.

Who are Nigerians? A people of diverse tribes and religions caged in an unholy marriage by the administrative whims of their colonial masters, bound by the tragedy of such a forced co-existence and battered psychologically by the misrule of the custodians of a law foisted down the throats of the masses.

My above definition notwithstanding, I have always believed that the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates to form what is now Nigeria was to serve a higher purpose; Nigeria ought to be a beacon of hope and light for Africa just like America is for the rest of the world.

Sadly, Nigeria has since its inception been a house of straws without adequate foundation. This shaky foundation threatened to give way in the events that led to the Civil War of July 1967 – January 1970 but for reasons of superior military might, unfair and unsavoury war tactics, it remains.

Unfortunately, the issues that begat the Civil War has continued to be relegated to the background. We have had a situation akin to a doctor administering all sorts of drugs without correctly diagnosing the ailment it seeks to cure. The result is Nigeria has gotten sicker with each passing year and as at today, is much closer to its demise than it has ever been.

For a people as diverse as Nigeria, it is not surprising that the concept of unity is alien to us; at least between the divide of the North and South. Any person who has lived in Nigeria can attest to the fact that the diversity in the South is more united than the unity between the North and South. This assertion has its roots in the glaring tribal, cultural and religious differences. I remember many years ago my first visit to Kano where I attended law school, I never was able to shake off the feel that I was in a different country. There has always been a wide gulf in the mentality of the people of the South and the people of the North attributable mainly to religious differences.

Despite all of this, I have never failed to see the potential of a truly united Nigeria that got her act together. For a nation so blessed with natural and human resources, its potentials are truly limitless. Sadly, Nigeria has been bedeviled from its inception with a nagging suspicion of dominance of one tribe over the other. This is even more so without there being any serious frame work for a truly Nigerian consciousness from which the diverse tribes could be assimilated, and worse still, the total absence of an autochtonous constitution which embodies the will of a diverse people who have agreed to come together for the greatness of the nation. The result has always been a situation where tribal sentiments have always been placed over nationalistic sentiments.

The greedy jostle for power coupled with tribal sentiments has given rise to military incursions and more recently, do-or-die politics; a situation where principles of ethics, morality and fair play are thrown overboard to perpetuate a corrupt group in power as well as terrorist insurgency to foster an agenda of hate, intolerance and destabilization.

The indisputable fact remains that Nigerians as a people are yet to independently decide if they want to be a nation. A century after the amalgamation and almost six decades after independence, Nigeria is yet to show any signs that she is ready to embrace herself entirely and work together towards a common goal; a choice that would make it a force to reckon with in the committee of nations; a choice that I favour greatly. Unfortunately, after reading the article of a certain Yusuf Jubril, I am forced to reconsider my stand.

http://scannewsnigeria.com/news/2015-why-power-must-return-to-the-north-by-dr-yusuf-jubril-and-sani-mohammed/

The arrogance of his ignorance is both humbling and pitiful. It lends credence to an opinion held by many that the entitlement mentality of the North to rule is a great draw back in terms of progress for the Nigerian State. This can be clearly seen by the assertion of the man; the North has since independence by divine blessing provided leadership and administration which has kept the country stable and secure and would continue to work for a peaceful country. This is no accident; it is the Almighty Allah that has destined it so.”

One can’t help but wonder that after the years of the North at the helms of leadership of Nigeria as Jubril grandiosely bragged, can we honestly say that the Northern people of Nigeria are the better for it?

This fanatical statement is one that must be considered with all seriousness because in a region where a sizable amount of its people hold such an opinion, there is little need to wonder about presence of a terrorist group such as Boko Haram. The article is reckless, insensitive, misguided and displays the abysmally low level of intelligence of the writer.

Such fanatical views should be discouraged or alternatively, Jubril and his ilk who hold such opinions should be given the opportunity to secede and fulfill their “divine blessing” to rule.

Nigeria is at a dangerous stage where a breakup is beginning to look like the only solution to corruption, ethic violence and insurgency. Honest attempts should be made to see if this unholy union can be made holy by a sovereign national conference unlike the ongoing farce called the National CONFAB organized by this administration. A National Conference where the each region independently chooses its representatives; where the youth as the future of tomorrow are the main focus.

Or else we all should simply agree to disagree.

Interact with me on twitter @saymalcolm

The Tomorrow We Don’t Know

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I almost died yesterday.

I was in the company of friends and we had set out to do a couple of things. We were all chatty and the mood was light and jovial as we threw good natured jibes at each other. None of us could have guessed in the least that in five seconds, we all would have shuffled off the mortal coil in a most unceremonious manner as a result of the carelessness of another person.

The funny thing was that when the near status-altering five seconds came upon us, I was totally unaware of what was going on. My head was down and all my attention was fully focused on my mobile device in the back seat where I sat. I only became aware of what was going on when my side of the car smashed into the rail of the Anthony-Ikorodu link bridge and when I looked up to understand what was going on, we were heading directly for the rail and would have cleared the railing and plunged down to certain death.

However, by the special intervention of God and the skill of my friend at the wheel, we were saved. He had to make a decision in a second as to whether to smash right back into the thoughtless driver who put us in that predicament and risk the driver’s life as there was an oncoming truck moving at such speed that would have smashed him right into thy kingdom come.

Nothing short of a miracle could have described how my friend managed to swerve to the middle, colliding with the driver in a way that his life was saved and ours was as well by avoiding the almost certain plunge off the bridge. Both cars were damaged of course but we all managed to escape unscathed.

Looking back in retrospect, I realize that had things gone awry, I would have embraced death with nothing but a paralyzed shock on my face. Talking with my friend afterwards, he had a completely different view, being fully aware of what was going on; the cause, reaction and the almost inevitable consequence of a wrong decision in that split second. He told me that the highlights of his life thus far had flashed before his eyes in that moment and he went on to recount everything he thought about.

His experience made me consider certain things; his photographic peek into the past when he made a choice, acted on it and waited for the outcome-a split second in all, must have given an insight on what was truly important to him and from what he told me, I could tell as well.

I couldn’t help but relate that to the circumstance of our fellow citizens in parts of Northern Nigeria who literally face death everyday when they step out of their houses to go about their business. My experience is in no way to be compared to what they face as theirs is more horrific and gruesome but it made me wonder about a man’s final moments and those things that are truly important.

It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life where everything that really matters dissolves into a wisp of smoke that fades as the wind blows. The vicious cycle of the rat race replays monotonously: go to school, graduate, get a job, get married, have kids, slave for the kids and before you know it, you’re old and useless without ever doing a damn thing for yourself.
Tough cycle
In my after moments, I could see myself like millions of others doing the same thing like some of our parents did. Does life really have to be a race? Well, yeah…it is and if you don’t need to do what you need to when you need to, you’ll be left behind. But then, we must develop the boldness to get off that perpetual cycle and live a little because tomorrow is not a guarantee but a wish that may or may not come true.

What is that thing that you’ve always thought you wanted to do that you’ve never got around to do? I think you should stop thinking and just do it. You don’t need a near-death experience to realize that the things that are most important are the things that we do for ourselves and for others; things that bring a little bit of contentment to our souls and the souls of others in this miserable world. Its time to wake up from that dream and live it. A near-death experience could very well be near enough.

Oh, just in case you’d like to know what I did afterwards; I went on a splurge and it felt good. Very unlike me who’s usually very, veeerrry conscious about tomorrow but then again, tomorrow may never come so what the hell…

Malcolm O. Ifi.

There lives a Woman…

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There lives a woman
Who touched the lives of many
But one most especially
The tall, dark man
Who searched for what he knew not
By grace, he stood
Continuously believing in all that was good
In a world governed by fear, pain and rot
Who would have thought
That a meeting of chance
Would bring about that glorious victory dance
Fulfillment for which gold couldn’t have bought
Chivalry obscured true vision
Until pure friendship begat love
One so true as that from above
Revealing life’s true mission

It wasn’t just her eyes
That gave insight to her beautiful soul
Neither was it just her voice
The sound of balance and harmony

It was the language she spoke
The language of love
That fulfilled a lifetime of yearning
Perfect communication that touched his soul
And healed scars of wars won and lost

I am that tall, dark man
And you are the woman
That gave the breath of rebirth
And together, we are truly alive

I’d do it all over again…

Slumber of the gods

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In the dead of the night, in the light of day
The loud groans of misery and hopelessness
Hangs in the air like a blanket of smoke
Pandemonium is the name of the scenery
Littered with bits and pieces of charred flesh
Covered with entrails that were once functional
The sand is muddy
With the blood of the innocents
And the stray dogs have come out to feed
For yet again, Suya has been made out of men

Our parents are gone
Our siblings are gone
Our friends are dead
And so are our sons and daughters

From the subconscious, I hear the screams
The cries of agony
And the flash of murderous light
The last thing ever to be seen
By the eyes of the unfortunate
The deafening roar of wickedness
The final sound to be heard
By the ears of the unfortunate
Before they were torn apart limb from limb

Survivors lie in shock, in an impromptu bed
Of blood, bones and battered flesh
Ears ringing, balance lost, excruciating pain
Lost limbs and different states of tears
Clothed in blood, theirs and the previously living
Unsure of having joined their ancestors

Our streets have become blasted abattoirs
To quell the bloodthirstiness of the god of war
A legendary drunk for blood
And persistent hunger for human sacrifice
Once again, its demons dissolve into thin air
Not a trace of them
For the guardian is a fool

Weep for them, those who yet live
Rend your garments to the sky
And cry to the high heavens
For the gods have fallen into slumber

A very deep slumber…

How Can I Continue To Love You?

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Its hard to be a patriot in today’s Nigeria with the psyche of the average Nigerian been bashed on a daily on every side.

Shall we talk about the insensitivity of the ruling class in its bold display of profligacy in the face of mass penury? Or shall we describe the hardship faced on a daily by the common Nigerian in their struggle to eke out a living in the face of infrastructural decay and severe economic hardship?

Shall we paint a picture of how the land has gone from green to red with the all too frequent bloodletting by forces of greed and sabotage that seem determined to foster the extinction of the unlucky middle and lower class as we are reduced to unfortunate statistics? Or shall we discuss how the custodians of power continue to spew total idiocy without regard to the pitiable condition of the governed as they reside on the alternate side of plush reality?

How can we love our nation when there is no place for our dreams? How can we inspire ourselves to hope for the future when we continue to wallow between the threshold of deprivation and survival?

How is it that a nation so blessed can yet be so cursed?

The future is bleak for the beautiful ones unborn for there is no legacy to bequeath. To be born into Nigeria without a silver spoon is to be born into condemnation; it is to be born without a fair shot at greatness; it is to be born to live the all too famous lie that “things will get better”.

Pessimism, you say.

No. Reality more like.

We have evolved the lowest form of adaptability. That is why we lie; that’s how we are comfortable with the lie of how things are. We indulge too often in the greatest opiate of all and reside in a state of perpetual high where we believe that God will come down from heaven and deliver us.

Shebi na only Nigeria dey this world?

What is the way forward?

Where shall we go when this dysfunctional and disjointed family of misfits implodes? What shall we do when this unholy marriage held on by the thinning rope of hope in a shared tragic history snaps? What happens when the blood of the earth we fight and kill each other for drains out?

How can I continue to love you Nigeria when you break my heart everyday?

The Ultimate Warrior: A Tribute To The Great Past

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He came into the scene and immediately caught our attention. We were used to the famous and unmatchable antics of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Bret Hart, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Sergeant Slaughter and a host of other wrestling greats from the 80’s/90’s but there was something about this guy. He looked different, acted different; in fact, he brought the drama into dramatic and before long, he became everybody’s favorite.

I remember a day many years ago; when I and my siblings were coming back from school. I couldn’t have been more than 10. As my dad drove close to the gate of the compound where we lived, we saw a neighbourhood playmate dressed in the Ultimate Warrior regalia (which actually meant not being dressed at all except for a dirty underwear and ropes tied on the leans biceps of each arm to a scrawny little body that bore no semblance to the muscular ferocity of the ring warrior and the trademark chalk sketch on his face), huffing and puffing as arms went up and down in calculated motions as if he was trying to draw strength from above.

We all laughed that day and though my dad would never have allowed me or my younger brother do that without consequences (and by that, I mean good thrashing with a cane), I secretly longed that for a short while, I could be like my neighbourhood playmate and dress like everybody’s favorite WWF(as it was called then and it remains for me the only time when we had real wrestling ) hero for a few minutes, run around the streets of my neighbourhood and just be like the Ultimate Warrior.

We all loved the WWF character played by James Brian Hellwig. He was dogged and never ever seemed to give-up. The epic encounter between himself and Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI where he bested Hulk Hogan to clinch the WWF title remains one of the best wrestling matches of all time.

The Ultimate Warrior was an inspiration to my childhood and though he didn’t last on the wrestling scene as long as other WWE greats, he made a lasting impression on me and on every kid of my generation who was really into what wrestling was and not what it is today.

James Brian Hellwig a.k.a. The Ultimate Warrior died on the 9th of April, 2014 at the age of 54. May his soul rest in peace and may his family find comfort in the fact that his heroics inspired many worldwide.

He will never be forgotten.

Malcolm.

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (5)

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“Dude, are you serious?! You still had her number after what now, two years?” Fizz asked ludicrously as he poured himself a generous shot from the bottle of Hennesey that stood majestically on the glass table.

“If I didn’t know you better, I’d say you’re in love!” Carl added laughing.

“Love? Not an existing word in his dictionary.” Fizz said pointing at Markus laughing; Carl joined in.

Markus was still sort of smouldering after everything that happened the evening before. The story was too damn shameful and embarrassing so he had kept it in for a while but confided in his friends Fizz and Carl when he couldn’t hold it much longer.

They were in his little 3 bedroom duplex in the family mansion which consisted of 3 marble duplexes at the heart of Ikoyi, a sprawling compound of tiled flooring and beautiful gardens bounded by an expansive drive way littered with exotic cars and a swimming pool on each side. They had come in a little after 7am having bade their paramours farewell, still a little drunk from their escapades and in dire need of a step down.

“That fucker of a dude just ruined a fantastic evening I had laid out. She was ready for me, I tell you. I had her eating from my hands.” Markus vibrated.

His mind replayed the infamous evening which he had just recounted. After Veronica ran off, he had just stood there in shock totally bamboozled. The face-capped dude who just claimed to be her husband was heaving and shaking with murderous rage. He was restrained by his friend and two other waiters until the manager and security showed up.

Now these security guys were no-nonsense guys. Markus could tell as they impatiently tapped their batons in their palms waiting for a go from the manager to pummel whoever was responsible for disturbing the peace until the manager recognized him.

“Are you alright sir?” He asked. The manager was a beefy and rotund Lebanese called Arnold who never seemed to stop sweating regardless of whatever atmospheric climate he found himself. They had met a couple of times before at other occasions and he never seemed to forget the guy because he looked and dressed funny and seemed to sweat for a living.

“I’m fine.” He had said impatiently. He had hurriedly left the embarrassing scene as all attention seemed to focus on him. His confidence had taken a big blow and he was determined to remedy it by all means available to him.

He was surprised that bits and pieces of his misadventure had already begun to filter into ears. He recalled with distaste Amanda’s tirade when she called him while he was at the club last night. He was on his fourth glass of Jack when her call came through.

“Hey baby” He had said.

“Don’t baby me!” She screamed, the high pitch of her shrill voice nearly rupturing his eardrums. His regular VIP spot at Club Ntyce was soundproof from the organized madness down stairs.

“Why didn’t you call me, huh? You went in search of your other whores, right? And you thought I wouldn’t hear about it?!”

“Baby, be cool. What are you talking about?” He had said calmly.

“DON’T! Don’t tell me to cool down. You thought I wouldn’t hear about how you went after another man’s wife? How could you go so low?!” She screamed louder.

Shit! He muttered. It wasn’t more than a few hours yet she had already heard. He had chosen a spot on the Mainland for the dinner with Veronica to be out of the prying eyes of the gossip media but that obviously didn’t work.

“You’re drunk. Call me when you sober up.” He said curtly and hung up. Looking at his phone, he decided to switch it off. He didn’t need all that drama right now.

He had leaned back on lounging chairs and let the reverberating sounds of music on the soundproof walls distract him for a minute. He shouldn’t be out tonight, he decided. If Amanda had heard, it wouldn’t be long before everybody else did. He finished up his drink, picked up his half-smoked cigar and his jacket and headed out, leaving behind the half drunk bottle of Jack.

He spotted Carl and Fizz in the company of some ladies at the bar and decided against letting them know he was heading home as they didn’t see him. As he entered his white Porshe Carrera with number plates “Markus 1″, he suddenly realized that the car was too loud for such a clandestine move. He had been plain silly.

“Uh-oh! Look who’s in the news again.” Carl said suddenly, teleporting him back to now.

“What’s that?” He asked warily.

“Your adventure is already on blogs!” Carl said as he scrolled through his iPad, laughing as Fizz joined him. They both read.

“Popular Lagos playboy Markus Adeleye is in the news again and this time, reliable information has it that he got caught with another man’s wife. More details to follow shortly.”

“God, I hate bloggers! Markus groaned.” Is that Linda Ikeji?”

“No. Its Moji Delano.” Carl replied laughing.

“You failed to mention she was married Mark.” Fizz said with disapproval.

“How the fuck was I to know she was married? She wasn’t wearing a ring!” Markus exclaimed in exasperation.

“This complicates things. Your girls will start callin…” Carl was interrupted by the Markus ringing phone. Markus peered at the caller display suspiciously and made an impatient movement. Carl resumed his volley of laughter.

“Its Amanda again. Sometimes I wonder if she has a tail on me.” He muttered and let the phone ring out. Within 10 seconds, the phone was ringing again. He swiftly muted the phone.

“I so don’t wanna be you right now.” Carl said still laughing. “She’s gonna give you hell for this.”

“Fuck her!” Markus said nonchalantly. “Like I give a damn. I’m a lot more bothered about when this gets to my mom. She reads all these fucking blogs.”

“Ha ha, you’re royally screwed man. She’s definitely gonna see this.” Fizz said.

The intercom rang.

“Shit! Hope that’s not my mom.” He picked it up.

“Yeah?”

“Good morning sir.” It was Tony, the Head of Security at the gate.

“What is it?”

“Miss Amanda is at the gate demanding to see you.” Tony said breathlessly. Markus could hear Amanda’s shrill voice in the background arguing with the other guards.

“What the fuck?!” He exclaimed angrily. “I don’t want to see her and I don’t want her making a scene either. Handle it.” Markus said curtly and hung up.

“Can you believe that bitch is at the gate?!” He exclaimed angrily.

“Oh dear! She must be about to explode from holding all that verbal venom specially reserved for you.” Carl said again.

“Men, shut the fuck up!” He said angrily as he threw on his bathrobe and wore his slippers.

“You’re going to the gate?” Fizz asked.

“The gate? To do what? I’m going to the house see my mom. Its time for some damage control.”

With that, he left his apartment.

Unemployment: A Threat To National Security

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Having being out of the unemployed circle for a while, one tends to forget the horror and difficulties that young Nigerian graduates go through on a daily basis. I remember with distaste being part of a humongous crowd when I was applying for a job in the civil service some time ago and I thank God everyday that today, I am employed and can at least afford to cater for my basic needs to an extent.

The unemployment rate in Nigeria is perhaps one of the biggest threats to national security. It is a difficult pill to swallow that after more than a decade in a democracy (pseudo-democracy more like) and with our great endowment by nature, nothing has changed despite the fact that the Minister of Finance and co-ordinating minister of the economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has continued to reel out meaningless facts and figures of how our economy is growing; statistics that have absolutely no bearing on the life of the common Nigerian. The reality is that things have never gotten better; they have astronomically gotten worse.

More heartbreaking is the fact that the reckless brigandage supervised by the ruling party PDP has continued unabated. On a frequent basis, Nigerians have been stunned to the point of numbness at ridiculous amounts of monies meant for curing the nation of its ills that have found their way into the accounts and pockets of a miniscule percentage of the population without consequence while poverty reigns supreme.

It is no rocket science to understand why there’s been an upsurge in crime and violence in recent times. People have lost hope and now have nothing else to lose. In a nation where the government doesn’t give a damn about her citizens, people must survive. We have been cast back to the stone ages in terms of quality of life; we now live in a society where a man must hurt another in order to survive. In a lot of ways, we have regressed to the state of nature where life is “nasty, brutish and short” as aptly captured in the Social Contract treatise of Thomas Hobbes.

A friend alerted me to a post on Linda Ikeji’s blog yesterday evening about the Immigrations Recruitment exercise that was slated for yesterday. A first glance at the pictures of the mamoth crowd in different states where the exercise held had me wondering if this was actually a recruitment exercise. It felt more like a soccer match, World Cup finals between Nigeria and Brazil which was particularly ironical as some of the venues were in stadiums.

In all states where this sham, this testimonial to the failure of governance held, the story was the same. For less than 5,000 positions, the number of graduates who turned out nationwide was way above half a million mark! If the Goodluck Jonathan administration ever got to see this and did not squirm in their seats or feel an ounce of remorse for the pathetic condition of these people, then by God, they deserve to die horrible deaths!

I write this article with bitterness in my heart because for many years, the Nigerian government has committed the greatest crime against Nigerians. A government that persistently refuses to empower the supposed “leaders of tomorrow” is a million times worse than the frightful menace of terrorism and insurgency.

Boko Haram as a terrorist group is a lot more useful than this administration. Their objective is terror and wanton destruction; a goal to which they have achieved resounding success time and time again. The government on the other hand, that is supposed to be the custodian and the equitable distributor of the nation’s wealth has FAILED in their purpose every single time. Even worse is their indifference to the worsening plight of the masses while they luxuriate in the opulence of ill-gotten wealth and wallow in the stupidity of mediocrity.

Tragedy in such inhuman conditions is bound to occur and occur it did. Reports have it that as much as 19 persons lost their lives in their search for a means of livelihood. Even worse are reports that amongst these unfortunate souls was a young woman heavy with child. This, in my opinion, is just as bad as the brutal murder of school children in their sleep.

I have consistently maintained that our elitist government is out to drain her citizens of their essence like vampires. Over half a million applicants, yet the Immigration Service deemed it fit to turn the exercise into a revenue generating one by collecting a registration fee of N1000 from UNEMPLOYED graduates. If this is not cruelty, then I don’t know what cruelty is.

This is consistent with the behaviour of government agencies who arbitrarily bring up all sorts of ridiculous exercises at heartless prices in order to bleed the already ailing masses dry. Take the new number plates for example. Apart from the Nigerian map on it, its no different from the previous one. I am yet to be convinced how it would aid crime detection as some claim when in 2014, Nigeria still has no database that stores information on her citizens. Yet, the change has been made mandatory and it is ridiculously pricey.

The thought of such a large army of unemployed graduates extinguishes any flicker of hope in my mind for the future in Nigeria. The fact that the government has consistently failed to function and do her primary duty of delivering basic amenities to her citizens is a recipe for anarchy.

May the souls of those who lost their lives in this latest unfortunate venture rest in peace.

Amen.

Photo Credits: Linda Ikeji’s Blog

Startup To Prevent Election Rigging Using Mobile Phones In 2014 & 2015 Elections In Nigeria

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It does not take rocket science to be convinced that a large percentage, if not all of the elections in the past in Nigeria have in one way or another been adulterated. Although the general populace does not know what exactly is responsible for these heinous actions, whether the electoral body’s incompetence or dishonesty or the criminal actions of political parties and their cronies, it cannot be overemphasized that some measures have to be put in place to ensure the integrity of the electoral process is no longer compromised and that announced election results reflect the people’s choices.

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In view of these past, and sadly normal occurrences of irregularities and jeopardy in the electoral processes that Nigeria has experienced in the previous elections, a platform NigeriaDecide has been developed to monitor election and ensure the integrity of election results. NigeriaDecide is a platform intended to collate the results exactly as announced in each polling unit across the nation and transfer them to a safe and secure server where everyone can view the results online.

 


This is to ensure anyone and everyone can have a picture of the results that are expected to be announced by the electoral monitoring body. This will help to have an idea of where the discrepancies occurred and the appropriate quarters can be challenged concerning the published results.


This requires that everybody be interested in making sure that their choices in the elections are not over-ruled by some unpleasant elements in the polity. In this wise, there is a need for all to be actively involved in the process – from voter’s registration right through to the election results announcement.

The effectiveness of the NigeriaDecide platform depends on the active participation of concerned Nigerians in the electoral process. This will require the submission of the results announced in each polling unit by SMS to the NigeriaDecide platform for it to be collated and secured on the server.

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There are over 120,025 (one hundred and twenty thousand and twenty-five) polling units in Nigeria, so there needs to be active involvement of concerned Nigerians for this undertaking to be accomplished and to cover all polling and the results from each polling unit, so that the interests of all Nigerians are equally represented (at least 120,025 people are needed).


To be part of this election monitoring platform, you must be registered to vote (you will need the polling unit number on your voter’s card to register on the NigeriaDecide platform). To register on the platform, SMS “polling unit number” e.g. 05/07/09/008 to 09037346541. You will immediately receive a registration confirmation alert on your phone. Then on the election day, to send in election results announced at the polling unit, SMS “party acronym and score” space “party acronym and score” until the last party and score e.g. aa500 apc503 acd512 pdp503 and send to 09037346541.

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The NigeriaDecide platform is powered by CloudWare Technologies, an innovative technological solutions provider that provides appropriate technological measures to meet Africa’s pressing needs. CloudWare Technologies’ client base ranges from individuals to corporate establishment, federal government and international organizations.

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For more information and better information on the electoral process, email info@nigeriadecide.org or call 0700CLOUDSMS or visit www.nigeriadecide.org

 

 

 

Living To Die

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From the time the first cries of a new born are uttered, after the umbilical connection to the beautiful quiet of the uterus is severed, man is born to die. Every step and breath taken from birth is a step that leads us all closer to our final destination which is death.

Life is uncertain but death is sure; that is the curse of our mortal shell. The bane of our existence is that we live to deteriorate, and deteriorate to die. All the things we hold dear and worry about; our poverty or wealth, beauty or ugliness, fitness or fat, potentials or its total absence and our social status means not much at the end of the day because when we cease to be, so does all such pursuits.

Equality is a word we bandy about and strive for in life but it is ironical that it only becomes achievable in death. In death, all plans, struggles and strife cease; all pursuits lose fervour and dissipate into nothingness. For the first time, a silver spoon never matters for we all rot to dust regardless of who we were.

These were the thoughts that filled my head as I watched my friend lay at his final resting place today. It matters no more now how death disfigured his handsome features, how intelligent he was, what his dreams and aspirations were, what he owned or the life he hoped to live. All that remain are the memories he left behind that live in the hearts of those he touched.

For us who knew him, as we trudge to our inevitable destination, his demise is sharp reminder that death is non-discriminatory. How good we are or how bad can never shield us from the fate of certain death. What we did in life can never make a case for us when we get to the crossroads. When and where our hourglass runs its course is where the road ends.

Is there life after death? Despite what our various faiths tell us, we can never really know till we go and sadly, those who know can never tell. All we can really be certain of is who we are and where we are now because the next moment and place is not certain.

Living with the consciousness that we are born to die should make us resolve to live for the now because that is all we truly own. For that reason, we must learn to cherish every breath, love without restraint, appreciate the life we’ve been given, strive for worthy causes every where and every time and above all, be happy and be agents of happiness.

The uncertainty of life and the certainty of death will be much easier to live with.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

Dear Chimamanda, We Are Not A Monkey-See, Monkey-Do Nation

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Before I proceed, let me state for the record that I am not a homophobe; I once was but I have come to understand that our indiscretions do not make us less human. As a matter of fact, our indiscretions are an affirmation of our humanity. That being said, I believe the aspect of the new anti-gay law which criminalizes homosexual unions is timely.

However, criminalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults in their privacy is straight up ridiculous. Inasmuch as I respect Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and agree with her that Nigeria’s anti-gay law is ill-advised, sloppy, draconian and unconstitutional, I beg to differ on what spurred it on. Her statement that the debate was not home-grown is baffling at best.

To quote her, “And it (the law) is informed not by a home-grown debate but by a cynically borrowed one: we turned on CNN and heard western countries debating ‘same sex marriage’ and we decided that we, too, would pass a law banning same sex marriage.”

One then begins to wonder, does this mean that Chimamanda would rather have Nigeria isolate herself from the Global Village the world has become and hence, not make laws of interest to her? Nigeria is a sovereign nation and until the Constitution is amended to state otherwise, the Government is saddled with the responsibility of making laws that they believe to be of benefit to the Nigerian population.

For some reason, I wonder if her being out of Nigeria for so long has left her out of touch with much of what has really been going on with regard to this issue. We all know that in recent times, the agitation for gay rights has gathered momentum around the world. Majority of Nigerians I believe, were content with knowing that homosexuality was an anomaly present in our society but still are culturally light years away from viewing it as normal or embracing it.
 
The sudden agitation for gay rights in parts of Africa was an affront to the African way of life and like the proverbial rat trying to get the attention of a sleeping cat the backlash, though irrational was expected. The demonstrations that took place during the International Conference on HIV/AIDS 2005 in Rio de Janeiro for which Nigeria attended spurred the events that led to the law we have today.
 
Because of the certainty of its spread, the Nigerian Government took proactive steps to nip this trend in the bud and initiated moves to have a legislation passed against legalizing homosexual unions as early as in 2006. Several earlier attempts at sponsoring the bill failed as a result of the activities of faceless lobbyists.
 
I recall specifically watching a delegation of gay Nigerians living in Diaspora making a case for gay rights on the floor of the Senate sometime last year. Naturally, I like many Nigerians was baffled and appalled by this which seemed to be an open confrontation. The boldness of the delegation was frightening. My guess is that this irked not a few members of the Senate who resolved to pass the Bill in record time.
 
When word of the Bill got around, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron was quoted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia last year, threatening to withhold foreign aid from African countries that discriminated against homosexuals. The Nigerian Senate responded swiftly and bluntly too that the UK government could keep their aid.
 
That was one of the few moments when I was actually proud of the Nigerian Government. The Senate however, did not stop at that. They went on to produce probably one of the fastest laws to ever have come out of the National Assembly following due democratic process; a deliberate response in my estimation to showcase Nigerian sovereignty.
 
Chimamanda’s statement as quoted above is emotion-laden and totally unnecessary. To denigrate the Nigerian populace by that statement leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Her statement would imply that Nigerians do not have a proper grasp of the problems that face them.
 
With her status as a literary icon and as a Nigerian Ambassador, one would expect a certain kind of caution that would necessitate proper investigation before making such.
 
There is no action without reaction and for a country quite as docile as ours in terms of legislative capabilities, I really wonder if she would rather have us be overwhelmed by it before reacting as we are known to do.
 
*To read Chimamanda Adichie’s article, click the link below.

http://www.dailytimes.com.ng/article/chimamanda-adichie-writes-anti-gay-law

Malcolm O. Ifi

To Whom My Heart is True and Pure

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As breathing comes naturally
So does the beating of my gentle heart
Dance to the drums of love and passion
That you inspire
You are the rhythm and harmony in the music
Making my tired head nod in unison
Filling me with the energy to tango
As was done in Rio de la Plata

For some reason, the scars of time past
Evened out as you came in
Like little Casper you crept, coolly
Seeping through with little resistance
My walls of defense crumbled at your voice
Till I was delirious with weakness
And only too eager to surrender
And in your bondage have I blossomed

There is no freedom, for it is a lie
But in your love have I found truth
For the sweetness of your lips has
Liberated me from the bitterness of the past From the deficiency of self-sufficiency
Into the wholesomeness of your presence
The refreshing difference of your intellect
Is a lifelong companion to my aspirations

Your beauty is my proof of good in the world
In a crazy world, you’re my place of peace
My life is beautiful because for you I glow
Like the colourful blanket of the clouds
With the Sun just beneath the horizon
You are imperfect, yet perfect for me
And like your name, you have enriched me

Thanks for opening the blinds of my heart
To a view unknown but yet beautiful

Happy Valentine…

Remembering Sylvester “Sly Bane Barzini” Awenlimobor

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You can tell a lot about the quality of life a man lived by what is said about him when he is gone. The streams of comments I’ve seen today about my dear friend Sly Bane Barzini has made me realize what an impact he had on the people who were fortunate enough to come across him.

I’ve known Sly since 2003. In fact, today I had flashes of the first day we met. It was many years ago in Uniben and the only thing robust about him at the time was his character. What struck me about him was his acerbic wit that couldn’t camouflage his jovial and wonderful personality. He had a characteristic way of speaking his mind. None could have guessed at the time that he would switch career paths to Journalism.

Through Journalism, he lit up his section of the world as a voice against corruption and injustice with his satirical articles and his frequent engagements with friends on social topics on the social media platform. Sly was a man of the people with unquestionable integrity and he served them well with his intellect…something that is not so common these days.

Being constantly on the move because of his job and the Lagos hustle and bustle, we seldom saw each other but whenever we did, it was always something to remember. He had this special energy about him that was infectious and always bolstered by bottles of brew.

I was particularly moved at how swiftly he swung into action when I needed a favour. I was almost embarrassed at how he went about making calls to make sure I got the assistance I needed but that was vintage Sly; going the extra mile. He would do that for everyone of his friends.

Today marked a long time in my life since I broke down and shed tears uncontrollably like a baby. I just couldn’t comprehend having someone I always assumed would always be around, unconsciously adding colour to this hard life to be snatched so painfully by the cold hands of callous ineptitude and infrastructural decay.

I was on my way to work in the wee hours of the morning when I received the news and it never really hit me till I got to the office. Only then did I realise that I would never have the opportunity to engage him again by any available medium and this breaks my heart beyond repair. This premature loss is too close for comfort and has brought to mind the frightening reality that life is fleeting…a wisp of smoke quickly dispersed in wind.

Just a few weeks ago, we were exchanging some laughs over his satirically eloquent article about the social media activist and today, he’s no more. I have never felt this frightened in a while that I could die tomorrow and that would be the end for me. All sorts of questions have filled my head today about the quality of life I lead. What would be the legacy I leave behind? Would I cry for me like I cried for him if I died tomorrow? Would I be missed?

I am saddened by the paradox of all this; that Sly, like millions of other Nigerians have become statistical data, victims of the ills of a grossly incompetent system he vehemently spoke and wrote against. The insatiable appetite of ineptitude and the hydra-headed monster has snuffed out one of the starlights of this generation.

I have decided to comfort myself with the fact that he left this world a happier man, having challenged the status quo by doing what he loved and affected lives positively all the way. If there’s anything I’ve learned from his life, it’s that the battle for good by all legitimate means seldom offers reward but standing for something positive is everything.

Sly, as the angels clothe you in a robe of many colours for your service to humanity, know that we will miss you sorely and what you stood for, the battle that you gave your life for must continue so that generations unborn will not experience the decay that has plagued us since birth.

Rest well and be bothered no more by the ills of a nation you loved so dearly and died in the service of.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

Remembering Sylvestor “Sly Bane Barzini” Awenlimobor

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You can tell a lot about the quality of life a man lived by what is said about him when he is gone. The streams of comments I’ve seen today about my dear friend Sly Bane Barzini has made me realize what an impact he had on the people who were fortunate enough to come across him.

I’ve known Sly since 2003. In fact, today I had flashes of the first day we met. It was many years ago in Uniben and the only thing robust about him at the time was his character. What struck me about him was his acerbic wit that couldn’t camouflage his jovial and wonderful personality. He had a characteristic way of speaking his mind. None could have guessed at the time that he would switch career paths to Journalism.

Through Journalism, he lit up his section of the world as a voice against corruption and injustice with his satirical articles and his frequent engagements with friends on social topics on the social media platform. Sly was a man of the people with unquestionable integrity and he served them well with his intellect…something that is not so common these days.

Being constantly on the move because of his job and the Lagos hustle and bustle, we seldom saw each other but whenever we did, it was always something to remember. He had this special energy about him that was infectious and always bolstered by bottles of brew.

I was particularly moved at how swiftly he swung into action when I needed a favour. I was almost embarrassed at how he went about making calls to make sure I got the assistance I needed but that was vintage Sly; going the extra mile. He would do that for everyone of his friends.

Today marked a long time in my life since I broke down and shed tears uncontrollably like a baby. I just couldn’t comprehend having someone I always assumed would always be around, unconsciously adding colour to this hard life to be snatched so painfully by the cold hands of callous ineptitude and infrastructural decay.

I was on my way to work in the wee hours of the morning when I received the news and it never really hit me till I got to the office. Only then did I realise that I would never have the opportunity to engage him again by any available medium and this breaks my heart beyond repair. This premature loss is too close for comfort and has brought to mind the frightening reality that life is fleeting…a wisp of smoke quickly dispersed in wind.

Just a few weeks ago, we were exchanging some laughs over his satirically eloquent article about the social media activist and today, he’s no more. I have never felt this frightened in a while that I could die tomorrow and that would be the end for me. All sorts of questions have filled my head today about the quality of life I lead. What would be the legacy I leave behind? Would I cry for me like I cried for him if I died tomorrow? Would I be missed?

I am saddened by the paradox of all this; that Sly, like millions of other Nigerians have become statistical data, victims of the ills of a grossly incompetent system he vehemently spoke and wrote against. The insatiable appetite of ineptitude and the hydra-headed monster has snuffed out one of the starlights of this generation.

I have decided to comfort myself with the fact that he left this world a happier man, having challenged the status quo by doing what he loved and affected lives positively all the way. If there’s anything I’ve learned from his life, it’s that the battle for good by all legitimate means seldom offers reward but standing for something positive is everything.

Sly, as the angels clothe you in a robe of many colours for your service to humanity, know that we will miss you sorely and what you stood for, the battle that you gave your life for must continue so that generations unborn will not experience the decay that has plagued us since birth.

Rest well and be bothered no more by the ills of a nation you loved so dearly and died in the service of.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

Peak

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I have felt the warmth of sun in your smile
The gentle caress of the perfumed evening breeze in your touch
The taste of the elixir of life in your kiss
And the intoxication of being drunk in your love

The colours now seem sharper
And the days, longer and fairer

I do not know how it all came to be
All these feelings with their healing
But I have been touched to know
Things can never be the same with or without you
Music can never be any sweeter
Neither can the stars twinkle any brighter

Because the peak just has to be you

The Anti-Gay Law: Another Opinion Out of Millions

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I wanted to write an article on the topic but a lot of that has been flying all over the place with most echoing the other so I chose to let the matter be. However, since I was specifically called out by my friend Dr. Chukwusomnazu Nwanze to give my point of view, here it is.

The contents of the Anti-gay Law is a poor testament to legislative drafting in Nigeria which will in the long run, pose more problems than it seeks to cure. This is because it violates the fundamental human rights of privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association. I will explain further, lest some gay rights activists chew me up on this one.

Inasmuch as I abhor the act which I consider an anomaly and a crime against nature, I don’t see it as a crime against the law except in the case of where it is forced or paedophilia. The law is meant to protect the private rights of its citizens. Generally, what anybody does in the privacy of his bedroom shouldn’t concern anybody so long as it doesn’t infringe on the right of another person.

Freedom of expression and association are rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution and the constitution being the grund norm of the nation, any law made that is inconsistent to it is voidable to the point of that inconsistency.

However, I must point out that you can never seperate the laws of the society from the ‘volkgeist’ or spirit of the people. The spirit of the Nigerian people is greatly against homosexuality, that’s why the failures and the probable problems posed by this new law will pass the untrained eye.

The law does not show what constitutes elements of the crime; neither it does categorizes what sort of display of affection between people of the same sex will be classified as gay or, how do we prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a person has engaged in homosexual acts, except where it was done in the full glare of the public. These pointed lapses makes the law draconian and discriminatory at best.

The greatest injustice of all is where the Act seeks to punish those who witness it “directly or indirectly” or show even tacit support of it with a prison term of up to 10 years is the ultimate recipe for disaster, especially in the kind of country we live in. This is basically taking away the right of all Nigerians to hold a contrary opinion on the subject without facing the risk of a jail term.

What’s to stop Nigerian public officials and politicians alike from using this law as a tool of oppression?

Personally, I see the law as backlash to the increasing boldness of the homosexual community. I was shell-shocked when some time in 2012 or so, some LGBT activists came to Nigeria and attempted to sell the idea to the Nigerian Senate. The outrage it spawned was palpable and this probably informed the Senate to do the half-assed job it did.

For the record, same-sex relations between men has never been legal in Nigeria anyway. Section 217 of the Criminal Code Act penalizes indecent practices between males. A revision of the Criminal Code would have sufficed to ensure it is in tune with modern realities.

I don’t think the Anti-Gay law will stand the test of time because of the many lapses. By the time it comes up for interpretation before an erudite Supreme Court judge, the ridiculous aspects will be done away with.

Like I have constantly maintained, the National Assembly is full of lazy and ignorant jokers. This new law has no bearing on development in Nigeria. If they want to show Nigerians that they are earning their ridiculous emoluments, we have laws dating back to as early as 1900’s begging for revision; the PIB is still stuck in limbo.
They have used this to cover the eyes of Nigerians to more important issues and personally, we have over-flogged the back and forth arguments enough. I think it’s time we put the issue to rest and face more important ones.

Engage me on twitter @saymalcolm

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (4)

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Chidi was amazed. He had seen this guy’s picture on Veronica’s phone many times. The first time he asked who he was, she responded dismissively that he was a supplier of some of the accessories she sold. This same dude always called at odd hours at night and he had noticed she always switched her conversation to Yoruba language whenever he called.

God Lord! What a fool I’ve been, he thought miserably. I trusted this bitch absolutely against my better judgment.

He wasn’t the prying type but the few times he did, he always came up with shocking discoveries. He remembered the first incident he was exposed to. She had come back from one of her numerous shopping trips for her merchandize. He had wanted to make a call but didn’t have credit so she pointed her phone to him. He had tried the number several times but there was no response so he decided to send a text instead.

Scrolling to “compose message”, he stumbled on a text she had composed but was yet to send. It read;

“Thanks darling. My stomach still hurts a bit but I’ll be fine. I miss you too.”

A bomb went off inside his head. He went through her inbox, sent items and drafts and what he saw confounded him. To be sure he wasn’t over reacting, he called the number with her phone and a male voice said;

“Hello baby…” He hung up immediately, his heart pounding so hard that he could barely breathe. She entered the room from the general kitchen where she had been cooking and he suspected she sensed immediately that something was wrong.

“Baby, where you able to reach the person?” She asked innocently.

“No.” He said tightly.

When she saw the phone in his hand, an expression of fear jumped into her eyes but it was quickly gone but he saw it.

“I need to call Mary sef. She’ll be wondering why I haven’t call her yet.” She said casually but fidgeting nervously.

“Can I have my phone?” She asked.

Chidi didn’t answer but kept staring at her. He finally handed her the phone without a word, got up from the bed and got dressed.

“Where are you going? The food is ready.” She said, still play-acting.

“I’m not hungry.” He said harshly.

He watched her look at the phone and gasp. He had left the draft for her to see.

“Baby, I can explain…” She started with a cuddly, baby expression on her face but he cut her short.

“Of course, you can. Let me give you time to think of what lie to tell me.” He had said as he stormed out of the room in anger.

“Baby, please…” She pleaded holding his arm but he shrugged her away roughly.

“Don’t touch me!” He shouted. With that, he was gone.

After not a few sticks of Benson & Hedges and a few bottles with a couple of friends, he calmed down somewhat. He had gone back to the room they shared a few minutes past 12am . As soon as he got inside, she jumped from the bed and knelt down, holding his legs with tears in her eyes.

“Baby, please let me explain.” She cried.

“I’m listening. Go on.” He said nonchalantly. She went on to tell him a tale about how one of the guys she bought stuff from at cheap prices had been asking her out for a while and she had constantly rebuffed him but she didn’t want to ruin the business relationship they had so she allowed him take her out, blah, blah, blah.

By the time she was done with her cock and bull story, he said nothing and headed straight to bed. Somehow, he let that slide but he became aware that trusting her could be dangerous especially as he couldn’t monitor her. Still, he loved her anyway.

The second time was about less than a year later. This time, he had raw evidence. He had stumbled on her email on his laptop after she failed to sign out after using it. Out of curiosity, he scrolled to her sent items and there it was again! She had sent a photo of her breasts to another guy, a Nigerian who was an American soldier based in the US. His shock as he read the trail of emails between her and this Adebayo could not be quantified.

She had even gone as far as meeting the guy’s family and had taken photos with them. He broke up with her immediately and didn’t have to tell her to get her stuff and leave before she did.

It took almost a year for him to get over that after she sent emissary after emissary to plead on her behalf, including her mother he’d never met at that time and her elder brother whom he’d met once. He took her back because he still loved her but he warned himself that she was no wife material and a third time would be the deal breaker.

Looking at Wale now, he couldn’t begin to imagine the lies she had told this guy about him as well. He snickered at the thought.

“She told me the person who stays here is her cousin. I didn’t expect it to be you” Wale was saying looking rather confused.

“Wow! This girl is something else!! I’m a cousin?” Chidi exclaimed, laughing so hard.

“Yes. I’ve dropped her off here a couple of times.” He said in dismay.

“She told me you were a business partner of hers.” Chidi said, still laughing.

“A what?!” Wale exclaimed visibly shaken.

“A business partner.” Chidi repeated with laughter.

Wale took off his face cap and scratched his head in disbelief. He couldn’t believe what was happening. A business partner?! Hell, I am her sponsor!!! He looked at Maxwell and felt a bit intimidated by his size and more intimidated by the tales Veronica had told him about this guy.

Veronica had practically idolized this guy. She told him Maxwell stayed in VGC; that Maxwell has once bought her a brand new Gulf 4 to beg her to come back to him which she refused; that Maxwell had professional assassins as friends; that Maxwell had always wanted to find out his identity so that he could do away with him; that Maxwell was going to kill him for snatching him away from him…what didn’t she say about this guy! She had practically used this guy to put the fear of God in him. He had been scared that after the events of last night, his life was in danger.

“You’re the one with her phone?” Chidi asked, breaking into his thoughts.

Wale stopped short. “Are you the guy I spoke to on the phone a while ago?”

“Yeah.” Chidi said, folding his arms and leaning on Wale’s car. Today was turning out to be a day of revelations.

“Are you the one who bought the phone for her?” Wale asked.

“Me?” Chidi asked, rather surprised. “No. Why?”

“She told me Maxwell bought the phone for her.” He said, a bit relieved.

“Back up a minute.” Chidi exclaimed, holding up his hand. “I’m missing something here. I’m Maxwell but I certainly didn’t buy her the phone she uses. When did she tell you this and how did you come by her phone?”

Wale sighed miserably. “It’s a long story.”

“Well, pray tell. I’ve got all the time in the world.” Chidi said patiently.

“Hmmm. Na wa oh.” Emeka exclaimed suddenly, totally stunned. He had watched the exchange between Wale and this “cousin” of Veronica and the story unfolding was nothing he ever expected in his wildest dreams.

The events of the evening had left Wale a broken man. He had been surprised when Wale bolted out on him last night while they were having drinks at the bar. When he saw Wale at his gate early this morning, looking devastated, he knew something was seriously wrong. When Wale finally calmed down and explained what happened, he was so shocked that he could barely speak for some time.

This evening again, it was an entirely different story!

He knew there was something off about Veronica whom he knew quite well having met her several times but he never could put his finger to it. This right here was epic! How could one so angelic be so demonic?

He looked at his dejected friend and felt pity for him. He knew better than anybody how crazy Wale was about Veronica. He had gone through all sorts because of the girl. He had major disagreements with his mother and siblings over this same girl. He even went as far as moving out of the family house to rent a place for her sake only to experience this!

Women are devils sha, he thought. He had had own his fair share of experience in that department but it didn’t compare to this at all!

This Maxwell guy seemed amused the whole time. He probably didn’t understand the gravity of what was going on here. How could he? He probably was just there for the ride, feeding off Wale’s investment. Still, he sort of liked the guy.

“Do you have any idea where Veronica is now?” He asked.

“She said she was coming over this evening but wanted to pick up her phone first.” Chidi volunteered. “By the way, did she tell you she was robbed last night?” He asked Wale.

“Robbed ke? Ha! This girl has killed me!” Wale wailed.

“What do you mean? How then did you get her phone?” Chidi asked surprised.

“Let’s just find her first.” Emeka said, cutting in. “Wale will tell you on the way.”

“Huh? Find her? Now, why will I want to do that? You can tell me right here.” Chidi said to Wale. “I’m not moving an inch till I get some answers. Besides, where do you think you’re going to find her.”

“Her house. Where else?” Emeka answered incredulously. “Her people know you, don’t they?” He said to Wale.

“I know her brothers.” Wale said.

“Oh, so you do too?” Chidi asked quite surprised. “Wow!” He muttered. “This just keeps getting better and better.”

“The question is do they know you?” Emeka asked pointedly at Chidi.

“Of course!” Chidi responded sharply, almost offended. “How won’t they know me?”

“No offence bros. Na question I dey ask.” Emeka said apologetically.

“None taken. It’s just a ridiculous question is all.” Chidi said lightly.

“Ok, so what do we do now?” Emeka asked, beginning to get impatient.

“Calm down. I’m yet to understand how Wale got her phone when she told me she was robbed.” Chidi insisted.

“Ok, I’ll tell you.” Wale said, sighing heavily.

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (3)

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Veronica ran as fast as she could as tears streamed out of her eyes. She had never felt so embarrassed her whole life. She remembered with fear the murderous look in Wale’s eyes. She remembered with anger as his hand connected viciously with her face. Her face was still smarting terribly. She was lucky Lawrence was there to hold him back. What was Lawrence doing there anyway? How did Wale find out where she was? How dare he call her his wife? How did a supposedly pleasant evening end up being such a disaster?

When she left Wale’s place, all she had wanted to do was have a bath, change to something casual and go to be with Chidi as she had planned initially. It was the call from an unregistered number which came in that changed everything.

“Hello.” She had said tiredly. Wale had worn her out.

“Hi…am I speaking with Veronica?” The heavily accented voice had said, rather hesitantly. She sat up from her bed.

“Yes, you are.” She racked her brains as to who this could be.

“Oh my days!” The voice had exclaimed with relief. “I could have sworn you gave me a wrong number.”

“I gave you my number?” She asked surprised.

“You sure did!” The voice said, confidently now. “You actually wrote it down for me on a Dubai Mall receipt…”

And she had screamed in delight.

2007 had been a difficult year for her. She was depressed. She needed fresh air. The Nigerian educational system was on the verge of frustrating her life. After almost four years in school, her admission process was found to be flawed and she was left hanging, unaware of her fate. She had cried so hard that night while Chidi comforted her, encouraging her not to be deterred.

“You’ve got many other talents. Your life doesn’t have to be verified by formal education. I’m sure we can work something for you.” Chidi had said, holding her close and kissing her forehead tenderly.

The only sound in the typical student-furnished room they had shared was the quiet hum of the battered air conditioner that had seen better years but still served loyally.

“But what am I going to tell my parents? All these years of investing in me to get a degree. At the eleventh hour, they tell me my admission is invalid! ” She said bitterly, tear streaming from her eyes.

Chidi who had been preparing for his final exams had left the reading table and joined her on the bed. He held her hands as she cried and ranted while he had remained silent, deep in thought.

“The right thing would be to tell them…” He started and as she was about to protest, he continued, “…but on the contrary, you can do something else and be successful at it.”

She considered his words; he was most likely on to something as he often was whenever he kept silent for short periods of time. He was a reflective man of few words but expressive nonetheless.

“What can I do?” She asked, not feeling too confident.

“You’ve got mad skills when it comes to marketing. I’ve always marveled at how quick you sold off those shoes Peter sent down.” He said, his eyes lighting up with enthusiasm. It was always infectious when they did.

Peter was Chidi’s oldest friend; they had been friends since childhood. She remembered when Peter had come into Nigeria with a collection of designer shoes he was to supply to one of his contacts. The deal went sour and Peter was left with the large merchandise, confused as to what to do. Peter had offered them a generous commission if they could sell it off for him. Chidi had been doubtful but she jumped at the offer and in less than a month, she had sold all 48 pairs.

Peter had been so happy that he added a generous tip on the commission and even went as far as suggesting they work towards a collaboration. She had smiled at the thought.

“So what do you say? All we need to do is get enough capital to get you started.” Chidi had said smiling. “You don’t worry. No one will ask about a degree when you own a successful chain of designer stores.”

She had looked at him with grateful eyes and laughed.

“What would I do without you?” She kissed him long and hard on the lips until emotions overflowed.

Three months later, she had the sum of N800,000 in her account. Chidi had raised a good percentage of it while she got the rest and they decided Dubai was to be her first shopping destination.

That was how she met Markus. She had spotted him while checking in. He was handsome and well dressed. She had always loved guys with style. He reminded her a lot of Chidi who she was already missing dearly. She remembered to call him to give progress updates as he demanded. He was so protective.

As she boarded, she looked up to see Markus ahead smiling at her. She knew the smile too well. She was no stranger to getting looks from men. As a young girl, it creeped her out because she always felt naked when she got that look and it made her uncomfortable. With time, she got used to it and milked it for what it was worth. When she was in a bad mood however, she would totally ignore them but that day, she had been so excited. It was her first trip out of Nigeria.

She had just settled in and was about to fasten her seat belt when Markus came out from the First Class section and walked down the aisle towards her and stopped only to whisper to the fat middle aged woman who sat next to her.

Without so much as a word, the middle aged woman retrieved her hand luggage and moved to the First Class section while he settled down next to her. She was shocked but decided to ignore him until he said his first words.

“You’ve got the lovliest eyes I’ve ever seen.” He said with a clean British accent.

And she was hooked.

He was smart and witty and smelled money but she could tell he was a player. She just decided to humour herself and be entertained by him. Markus, however had other plans as he wouldn’t let her be. When they got to Dubai, he had followed her everywhere and paid every bill. She decided to enjoy it while she could.

She would never have given him her number but she felt rather guilty when she did a mental calculation of what he spent that night. He had offered her a room in the most expensive hotel in Dubai but she politely declined and let him have her number. She never thought she would see him again so she was shocked, and impressed that he did call. When he asked for a dinner date, her mind was in turmoil. She had no appropriate gown that would suit the evening, which was odd…until her mind went to the bag she had come home with.

Chidi was still the love of her life but a lot had happened since those good years. Twice she had slipped up in the relationship and he had found out but forgave her. Now however, she wasn’t so sure of his intentions towards her anymore especially as he had told her he wasn’t ready to get married. This was worrisome because the pressure on her to get married had mounted to unbearable levels. Her mother had been on her case for some time now. So had her brothers. She had decided it was best to leave all options open.

She thought of Markus. What would he think of her now? She didn’t really care much anyway. She would probably never hear from him again after tonight’s fiasco. Still, she felt a pang of regret that he had to witness what happened. At that point, she was grateful he had picked her up at a rendezvous point close to where she lived. She didn’t want him showing up and putting her under the obligation of explaining. She wasn’t sure could stand seeing him again

She had managed to get a cab and it was while inside the cab, she remembered her bag and her phone.

“Shit!” She exclaimed loudly and angrily inside the cab without meaning to.

“Eh?” The driver, had asked looking at her from the rear mirror.

“Don’t mind me Baba. I just remembered I forgot something.” She said in fluent Yoruba.

“Ok. I thought you were talking to me.” He responded. Baba Aremu had seen the dark bruise around her eye and had shook his head in pity. Such a pretty lady. He was no stranger to this kind of thing as he had been a cab driver in Lagos for nearly fifteen years so nothing surprised him.

This one must be a high-class prostitute, he thought judging from how she was dressed. The blackness around her right eye told him she had had a rough night. Lagos was a tough place to live in.

Veronica had thought of heading to Chidi’s place immediately after the incident but decided against it. He would interrogate her and she was in no mood to conjure stories from 21 questions. She had planned to spend the night with him after dinner with Markus until Wale ruined it.

It was almost eleven pm when she got home. The street was quiet; a very uncommon occurrence on this part of Ikeja. It was always noisy with the monstrous rumble of a million generators. PHCN had decided to show mercy on this night.

When cab pulled up in front of her gate, she collected money from Adamu, the Mayguard and paid her fare. She prayed fervently that her mother was asleep. She couldn’t afford to be seen like this. The lights in the house were off. Her prayers were answered, her mother was fast asleep. She tiptoed into her mother’s bedroom and retrieved her phone which lay on the table charging. As she tiptoed out, she checked the account balance. It was more than enough.

She went to her room and locked the door securely. Her eyes hurt so much; the water hadn’t stopped pouring but they weren’t tears anymore. When she looked in the mirror to assess the damage, she silently cursed Wale. He would suffer for this, she vowed as she dialed Chidi’s number.

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (2)

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Here’s my Christmas gift to the wonderful followers and readers of my blog. May the joy and blessings of Christmas rest with you and yours forever.

Amen!

Malcolm.
——————————
As Wale sat in his car waiting for Emeka to call out this mysterious cousin of Veronica he had never had the pleasure of meeting, his hand shook with a mixture of fear and rage, so much so that he gripped the steering wheel tighter than necessary.

He thought he had just one problem now; to make up for his violent reaction last night but the calls he had received and the messages he had read on her Blackberry was straight up scandalous! None of them however, infuriated him more than the call he had received from Veronica’s phone a few minutes ago. It had totally floored him.

He thought she used to kid him when she told him she could always go back to her ex whenever he refused her what she wanted. Now he knew the threat of the ex was real.

Yesterday started of like an ordinary day. He had just come back into Lagos from Calabar on a business trip which had kept him out of Lagos for nearly three weeks and he couldn’t wait to see her. He had bought a lovely dress that was her perfect match. She was a difficult person to please but he could tell she loved it because she allowed him make love to her without making a fuss.

He was so sure that the time was right to pop the question again. She had put him on hold since the first time he did that in 2009. Her reason made sense; he’d had a son as a teenager and she didn’t want to get married to someone who already had a kid. That didn’t stop him though. He had upped the ante since then by putting her on a salary and buying all manner of expensive gifts each time he got the chance.

Two years after that, he was thinking now was the time. She had been out of school and though she didn’t really have a regular job, he believed she wouldn’t turn him down now seeing as he had invested so much. He had just moved out of from his flat in the family house in Surulere and had rented a flat far from home because she loved her privacy. He gave her whatever she needed to furnish the house thinking it would show how serious he was.

Apparently, she had still had other ideas.

The problem was that she was beautiful and she knew it. How do you tame a woman who obviously had the eyes of many men on her? The only way out was to marry her quickly but that hadn’t worked out so far but he was determined to try again. His only ally was time. She was three years shy of thirty and was aware that time was flying fast and most of her friends were married with kids now. He had no doubts that she would say yes.

Now however, he wasn’t so sure.

She wanted to meet up with some friends so he dropped her off still feeling a little disappointed that she wouldn’t stay the night. He deserved that much as the dress was ridiculously expensive but he knew better than to push.

So it was surprising when a few minutes to 9:30, a friend had called him saying he had just seen her at Protea Hotel in Ikeja with some other guy. He didn’t believe it because they had spoken a few minutes to 8pm that evening when she called him to say she was home. However, Lawrence was very insistent that it was Veronica he saw. He even sent a photo of her having dinner with some guy.

It was then he flew into uncontrollable rage. He left his half-empty bottle of Guiness Stout and his friends at the bar and drove carelessly from Surulere to Ikeja. Lawrence was waiting at the parking lot when he drove in and parked.

“She still still dey there?” He had asked almost breathlessly, anger and misery written all over his face.

“Yeah. If to say she see me, she for don move.” Lawrence said with concern on his face.

Lawrence had known Wale for years. They had attended the same primary and secondary school together until Wale dropped out when his father passed on to handle his family business. They hardly rolled in the same circle these days with Wale being an engineer but they remained close friends.

When Lawrence had first met Veronica a year ago at Wale’s mother’s 58th birthday party, he was concerned for his friend. This girl is too flashy for you, he had warned but Wale picked offense so he said no more. It was ironical that he was now the harbinger of bad tidings. He had wanted to mind his business and act like he never saw Veronica but his conscience wouldn’t let him. He made the call against his better judgment that warned him that someday, he would be the enemy.

Wale said nothing further and went straight into the hotel reception and headed for the restaurant. His eyes scanned the scanty tables and his first view of Veronica brought tears to his eyes. She was wearing the really short red dress he had just bought her and was laughing at something the handsome and casually dressed young man had said. He was holding her hands too!

His rage took over.

He strode purposefully to the table, deaf to Lawrence’s advice to be calm. As he got closer to the table, his hand began its violent shake. Always a sign that it was about to hit somebody or something. The only thing on his mind at that point was to smash his hands, which had become a fist into the handsome face of the young man.

Unfortunately, he got close to Veronica first as she had her back to him. The dress was meant to be for him, to be worn only when they went out together. The design exposed a generous portion of her light-skinned back.

His rage reach its apogee.
……………………………………

Markus met Veronica on his way to Dubai in 2007. They had shared the same seat on the plane and had struck up a conversation. He was handsome, charming and a spoiled, rich brat. His father owned an oil business empire that spanned the major cities in Nigeria and a few countries in West Africa. Being the only son, he was destined to take over when his father passed on; something he was waiting patiently to happen.

Since he finished his MBA from the London Business School, he had come back home hoping for a seat on the board of directors but his father had other ideas. He was to start as a low level executive in the company and despite his mother’s entreaties, he had refused the job and instead spent his time partying and womanizing.

He had decided to go to Dubai to shop before heading back to London and that was when he met her. Veronica was a goddess and there and then, he knew he had to have her. She proved however, to be a hard nut to crack. He had spent over £2000 on her that night shopping in Dubai Mall and was amazed when she coyly refused to accompany him to his hotel room. She had business to attend to she said and she left him with a piece of paper that had her phone number in Nigeria.

“Call me when you get back home.” She had said with a look that held so much promise. He had kept that paper till this night and when he showed it to her, she laughed with delight and touched his hands tenderly.

He was amused when he saw a baseball hat-wearing fellow walk towards them with a strange expression on his face.

“What kind of guy wears a face cap at night?” He whispered to Veronica, leaning forward towards her.

“What are you talking about?” Veronica giggled as she looked up to see the man in the face cap who had only just approached their table.

It happened so fast that Markus had problems believing if what he saw actually happened.

The back of the face-capped fellow’s right hand swung in a perfect, descending arc with such force and blistering speed that it made a resounding “TWACK” as it connected with Veronica’s face so hard that she fell off her seat. As she fell to the ground, her foot tipped the table that held a dinner of prawns, her Blackberry phone, plates and cutleries, two filled glasses and a near-empty bottle of Champagne to the floor with a loud crash that shook the large hall.

“What the fuck!” Markus exclaimed as he jumped from his seat to avoid any stains on his white shirt. His Gucci pants were not spared as the white sparkling liquid splashed on it as it fell to the ground.

By this time, some of the diners had alerted the waiters who sprang in from all directions. The face-capped man advanced towards a confused and horrified Markus as he stepped back cowardly, unsure of what was going on. His saving grace was the gentleman who held the face-capped man from behind with an equally horrifying expression on his face.

“Wale!!!! What is wrong with you?!” He screamed.

Veronica was on the floor, speechless and in shock as she looked up at all three men. Her face hurt so bad like she had just been stung by a thousand bees and slapped-punched by a Gorilla. She could taste blood on her lips but the skin around her right eye took the weight of the hit and was already tender and swollen when she covered them with her hands. Tears flowed.

“What are you doing with my wife!” The mad, face-capped man snarled as he struggled to break free from his friend who was now joined by the male waiters and security personnel who wrestled him to the floor.

Markus couldn’t hide his shock as a million pairs of eyes stared at him. The diners couldn’t believe their luck as they experienced this live Nollywood drama. They had abandoned their meals and formed clusters around the center stage.

“You’re married?! He asked in a whisper as his gazed turned to Veronica who lay on the floor whimpering. The million pairs of eyes followed suit.

Veronica took stock of the situation. Words would be useless here as she felt eternal judgment and damnation beam from the eyes of the spectators and participants alike. She scrambled to her feet and ran like mad out of the restaurant.

Nobody stopped her.

She left behind her bag and her Blackberry.

Tales of Deceit: The Legend of Veronica (1)

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“It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

-Mark Twain

The air was still. The usual awareness of external noises ceased as his ears temporarily lost their function. The heat was particularly unbearable this afternoon but he didn’t notice…not after he received the call. He stared in space numbly as sweat trickled down from his neck down to his bare chest.

Chidi wasn’t sure how long he sat there but suddenly, his brain came alive and he jumped up like a man who just realised he had something urgent to do. His brain was working over time now. He needed to confirm at all costs that he heard right a few minutes ago.

He picked up his mobile phone and dialed the only number he’d known from heart for years besides his own.

“Your account balance is low. Please recharge as soon as possible.” The automated female voice said to him.

He swore angrily. The last call he made had swallowed up what was left of his units. The time displayed on the phone was 6:36pm. By this time, he should have been resting after a hectic day at work. He had managed to leave early from work in order to avoid the traffic but in Lagos, that is mostly a pipe dream.

He still had on the trouser he had worn to work. He had only managed to take off his shirt and the inner tees when the call came in and it replayed in his mind with frightening clarity.

Veronica was robbed last night…or so she told him. She was supposed to spend the night at his place last night and he had stayed up late expecting her but she never showed up. He had reservations about her nocturnal habits but he was too in love care, too gullible that he believed her lies and consequently, blind to see.

He had been in love for nearly 8 years. Since the first day he met her as an undergrad in his Sophomore year and she, a Jambite, he fell for her and he fell hard. They were well known on Campus then as an almost inseparable duo. As he edged towards graduation, they moved in together on campus and most of those years where the best of his life.

But today, the mist fell from his eyes and finally, he could see.

His mind went back to the call he had just received. When Veronica had called him last night with an unknown number, he was surprised.

“What happened to your phone?” He had asked.

“I was attacked by robbers oh. I had to run away and even dropped my phone in the process. They even beat me up…”

That was all it took to rile him up. He had wanted to leave the house in the dead of the night to go and find her, wherever she was but she managed to calm him down by saying she was ok now and at home.

She promised to come over later today and he had been expecting her. She had called again while he was at the office and told him she was going to pick up her phone. Someone had picked it up and had kept it for her, she said. She was the reason he left the office early today.

He had called her number when he got home hoping she had retrieved her phone but he got the shock of his life.

First, it was a guy who answered the phone.

“Oh, I thought Veronica had picked up her phone.” He said, wondering why she still hadn’t gone to pick up the phone.

“Who is this?” The voice asked with an authority that alerted him.

“It’s Veronica’s fiance.” He had said.

“I AM Veronica’s fiance.” The voice replied assertively.

Chidi was taken aback. He didn’t believe he heard right.

“Say that again please?” He asked politely, wondering if his ears were playing tricks.

“I am Veronica’s fiance.” The voice repeated.

Chidi was a thinking man and could define Eureka moments. This was one of them. There were several times he suspected and even had outright proof that Veronica was a two-timing slut who wore a deeply religious garb but somehow, he made excuses for her and continued to love her. This time, he’d had it!

“I see.” He said. “How long have you been dating her?”

“How long have you been dating her?” The voice said, repeating his question.

“I asked you first.” He said.

He heard a deep sigh through the static. “I have been dating her since 2008.”

Good Lord! This girl has been fooling me for 3 years…if not even more. The realization hit him like a sledge hammer to his gut.

The voice nudged him back to consciousness. “How about you? How long have you been dating her?”

“For over seven years…since August 7th, 2003.” Chidi responded numbly, automatically. He remembered the day just like it was yesterday. He had met her through a mutual friend and they had taken an instant liking to each other…or so he thought.

He heard the voice catch his breath sharply. The information must have shocked him as well.

“Are you…” And the line went dead.

That was the reason he was going to get more calling credit.

He threw on a t-shirt and stepped out of the house. The scathing sun was setting and there was some semblance of coolness which contrasted greatly with the severe humidity that pervaded the day.

As he got close to the gate, he saw Mohammed, the cheerful mayguard walking towards him.

“I dey come find you Oga.” He said with his characteristic cheerfulness.

“Ok. I be want make you help me buy recharge card sef.” Chidi responded as he brought out his wallet.

“Person dey find you.” He said as he led Chidi to his little shed at the gate entrance which housed his mini kiosk and sleeping quarters. There was a well dressed young man standing there with an iPhone in his hand.

“Thank you Maigida.” The man said in heavily accented English.

“Hello,” Chidi said, extending his hand for a handshake which the man took. “I understand you are looking for me.”

“Not really. My name is Emeka. I’m looking for the cousin of one of my friends who stays here.” He said.

He leaned forward and unlocked his iPhone to show the picture. A familiar picture stared at Chidi in the face.

“Veronica?” He asked surprised. Emeka nodded vigorously with a smile.

“She usually comes here to visit her cousin here.” He continued innocently.

Chidi’s misery knew no bounds. So she went as far as telling people he was a cousin? A girl he dated for almost 8 years and was planning to get married to?! For some strange reason, he burst into laughter.

Emeka looked at him with a puzzled expression on his face. Why the hell is this guy laughing?

“Are you the one looking for her?” Chidi finally asked when the laughter subsided.

“No. I’m asking on behalf of my friend.” He said, still confused.

“Where is your friend?” Chidi asked, determined that nothing about Veronica would surprise him ever again.

“He’s in the car outside.” Emeka led him outside of the compound to the beat-up Cherokee that was parked outside.

Chidi saw the head of someone seated in the driver’s seat. The guy had apparently been watching the rear mirror and stepped out of the car immediately.

When Chidi swore he would never be surprised again, he never knew how wrong he could be. The man was about 5’8 in height, dark in complexion and wore a face cap.

When all three men got close to each other, he saw the man blink in surprise.

“I know you!” Chidi exclaimed. “Your name is Wale!!”

“I know you too. Your name is Maxwell!”

***

Follow the writer on twitter @saymalcolm

Words Are Powerful

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The sooner we understand and appreciate the power of words, the better for our future. Words are precisely the medium by which we, by which this world came to be in existence…only they were God’s Words, not ours. So this leads us to the conclusion that words are more meaningful, much more potent than the famous ACTION. This kinda swims against the tide of our physical reality. But why not? Isn’t it also true that all physical manifestations are resultants of spiritual occurrences?

I like to think of it this way; if words are responsible for the existence of this world and everything that has become, then words are rooted in the spirit while actions are strictly physical. This makes so much sense to me. Without words, everything ceases to exist. Words spoken without or words harboured within spur the spirit to harness powers we yet know not of and somehow push all forms to the achievement of that which is said.

Words are Gods. Words are of gods. But we are only men, human with little understanding of things we cannot see, touch, smell and feel. The question then becomes “how do we learn to create, to build, to manifest our desires through words?”

The only way is to know who you are! Interestingly, anyone who seeks to know himself can only do so by knowing his maker. So, invariably, to exercise the power of words to mould our physical reality we must seek to know ourselves and only by striving to know our Creator can we hope to know who we really are.

A simple way to begin the knowing of yourself must then be to appreciate Genesis 1:27 where we are made to understand that “God created mankind in His own image…”. Isn’t that just wonderful! The same Supremacy that made this world come forth created us human to BE like him! So it all makes sense from there: IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE, SEEK TO KNOW THE ONE WHO MADE YOU AND IN WHO’S IMAGE YOU WERE MADE.

Ponder on this. Good morning to y’all.

-Arinze S. Ifi

Follow Arinze on twitter @iamxari

Rantings Of A Disgruntled Manchester United Fan

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When Sir Alex Ferguson chose former Everton Manager David Moyes as his successor to manage the legacy he built at the one-time fortress of Old Trafford, I was apprehensive and feared the worst. But again, this was the decision of the great Sir Alex Ferguson and I knew better than to question this decision.

Apparently, I was wrong. Ferguson for all his greatness is still human after all. Moyes has proved himself to be the chink in the seemingly impenetrable image of Sir Alex Ferguson. Fifteen matches into the league and it has become apparent that Moyes is drowning in the over-sized shoes his predecessor left behind. He has succeeded in demystifying the club’s greatness much so that the awe of greatness that heralded our arrival against any club has vanished. Even the little clubs can now hope to get a piece of United and actually go on to get it!

At the beginning of the season, I realized that Moyes would not perform miracles overnight and decided he needed time. I erased from my mind all thoughts of retaining the league title and focused on a spot at the UEFA Champions League next season, the specific preserve of Arsenal fans. However, it is beyond doubt now that the hope of a spot at the UCL is fast becoming a mirage. With three back to back home loses, I have decided to put things in perspective.

Manchester United currently sits ugly at the 9th position in the Premiership. This is eerily familiar with Moyes and it brings me to the conclusion that the Moyes at United is the same Moyes at Everton. He has shown a remarkable consistency with mediocrity that appears to be a trademark.

Who were we kidding?

This is a guy who has been in the Premiership for over 15 years without a silverware to show for it. I think somehow, Moyes still believes he is coaching Everton. How else do you explain a coach who came into a club with so much money at their disposal and managed to make just one mediocre signing in the transfer window? As if that wasn’t bad enough, it had to be from Everton!

Word on the grapevine has it that before Mezut Ozil was sold to Arsenal, he was offered to Moyes who stubbornly refused and decided to continue chasing fools gold in Cesc Fabregas. It was crystal clear that there was a gaping hole in the midfeild which needed to be plugged with a creative midfeilder; everything that defines Ozil, yet he kept bidding despite several rebuffs without making contingency plans should the pipe dream fail.

Manchester United under Moyes has hobbled and is now on a downward spiral. With fans like me now having nothing to look forward to every weekend with the unique transformation of the club from superb to pathetic, it is time for the Board of Manchester United, especially Sir Alex Ferguson to swallow the bitter pill of the truth that Moyes is not of United stock and start searching for a replacement.

Granted, the team is quite ordinary and it has never been more clearer that the imposing image of Sir Alex, his foresight and tactical dexterity made the club what it is today. A smart coach would have made massive changes in the team, besides changing the backroom staff and started to build his own legacy but not Moyes. He is less than half the man Ferguson is and yet hopes to achieve results with the ordinary team Ferguson made super. That is impossible!

My advise to the board: cut your loses now while you still can and save us the trouble of wondering how we took a free fall from the top of the table to the relegation spot because at this rate, with Moyes, it certainly is not looking impossible anymore.

Worse still is the fact that Moyes is beginning to make Manchester United look like a sinking ship, a no-go destination point for world class players who would normally have loved to come to Old Trafford. I just hope Robin Van Persie is not regretting his decision to join United just yet.

My ten kobo on the issue and yes, I DEY VEX!!!!!

Malcolm O. Ifi.

The Tree Has Fallen

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The tree has fallen!
That great tree
From which many branches sprung
Lovingly sheltering many
From the harshness of reality
Of the curse of the black race
Weather-beaten, incarcerated
But notions stood firm
Love and reconciliation,
The creeds emblazoned on the rare crest
From the jungle of Mzansi
This gentle lion arose, a king for all
Unblemished by the murky waters
And the gospel of intolerance
Resolute and firm as an ambassador of peace
Donning perfectly the toga of a sacrificial lamb
Our very own Black Jesus
Laying down the foundation
For the politics of love
As opposed to love of politics
Indeed, you are the prototype
Of World statesmanship
The genesis of African leadership
And the epitome of humility and peace
To which the world aspires
May your gentle heart forever inspire us to love
Beyond creed, colour and religion
May your gentle smile
Forever remind us that a peaceful world
Is indeed possible
May your impeccable leadership
Inspire Africa to love herself again
May your legacy of selflessness
Deliver us from the greed of politics

Oke osisi adago
The tree has indeed fallen
Yet the legacy stands tall
To intercede for the children
From the scorching rays of the sun

Adieu Madiba!

For: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
1918 – 2013

Gratitude

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Day break.

I awoke to the symphony of birds. The melodious tunes of these beautiful little creatures filled me with nostalgia. I was cast back in time to when my life was easier but difficult…slower. I am irresistibly drawn to nature’s music; the invisible orchestra conducted by the angels themselves. No guitar strings, no piano cords…just the sounds of gratitude for another chance to live in this beautiful world.

The bird-calls lead me outside the confines of what I call home. Its just a few minutes past six on a week day but it feels like Christmas. No activity on the streets yet but from the surrounding houses, I feel the stirring of the various souls residing within.

The air is clear and light with a freshness that feels alien from the tired and saturated one I’m used to. I feel closer to the birds as they sing and hop from tree to tree with glee. The colours on their sleeves are brighter than I can remember and blends perfectly with the green upon which they reside.

I take a minute to inhale life and all its goodness. The feel of the rush of clean air in my lungs is pure intoxication. My eyes open to the clear blue skies. The gentle and rare mix of blue and white is the colour of God. He peeps at me from the curtain of the clouds and smiles. The warms rays of that smile warms me up from the pleasant morning cold and adds a little yellow to the blanket of the sky.

I am surrounded by lush green, well watered by the morning dew; red sands and majestically constructed buildings; the love of God and the genius of mankind.

What a beautiful world.

In these few moments, the beauty of life unfolds before my eyes. To be gifted with this view is divine providence. To be alive and healthy enough to appreciate it is proof of love.

I take stock of my life in 2013 even as its curtain closes. I have gone farther in my journey through life and I’m much closer to where I want to be. I have learned to sail with the wind rather than fight against it. My course is plotted by a divine compass and I can sleep through the iceberg-laden ocean with all confidence and not face the fate of the Titanic.

Not because I’m a skilled captain, not because I know my path and where my destination is, but because the force of love steers the wheel.

God is love…and I’m grateful.

Emasculated

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“You are a sorry excuse for a son-in-law! You can’t even afford to pay for your house rent. I don’t know how we ended with such a useless man like you!”

The harsh words of Mrs. Okwuchukwu, a woman he once called “Mama” had stung worse than the sting of a scorpion and it kept replaying in his head with crystal clarity. It was like she was inside his head. When she first uttered those words, Uche prayed for the floor to open up and swallow him for he had never felt so useless in his life but the floor held firm and wouldn’t budge.

What killed him the most was that Ada stood there and watched as her mother hurled unprintable words at him. Wasn’t she supposed to stand by him in all this? Instead, she stood by her mother.

His head had remained glued to the unobliging floor as her merciless tirade continued. She was a shrew with a venomous mouth. He found it ironic that this same woman had welcomed him with open arms two years ago when he first visited her home.

Since his wedding eleven months ago, the only word to that came into his head whenever he tried to define himself was “emasculated”. This was a non-existent word in his vocabulary some years ago. He reeked of confidence and prospect as a high flying banker. He had made efforts to culture himself to a fine gentleman despite his humble beginnings and he succeeded immensely.

This was what Ada saw in him; this was what everyone saw in him. He remembered the day he went on one knee and asked Ada to be his wife. He remembered the tears in her eyes as she said yes. He remembered the pride in his heart when he pulled into the compound of his prospective in-laws in his brand new Kia Cerrato. He remembered the good words they all spoke of him.

It felt like a life time ago.

He saw the tired disappointment in Ada’s eyes everyday when he came back home from another futile adventure into the saturated labour market. The fact that there was a baby on the way didn’t help. There were no jobs. No, there were jobs but he knew no one with the sufficient clout to pull the right strings to get him one.

Since he lost his job six months into his marriage, he had been living in penury and was heavily in debt. How did this come to be? He had money. He never clubbed, he wasn’t a womanizer, neither was he much of drinker. He had saved judiciously a generous percentage of his income for the four years he worked in the banking industry. Where did the money go?

He gnashed his teeth in anguish as the words of his mother-in-law flashed in his head again. He remembered her demeanor, the way her body shook with rage, how her eyes flashed in contempt as she spoke. She meant every word; he was convinced of that. He knew she wasn’t a nice woman but money and success could butter and shut her up. What he didn’t know was that money and success would leave so suddenly.

“In my house! In my home!!” He moaned silently as a teardrop escaped his eye which he cleaned off immediately.

“I’m a man.” He assured himself without much belief in the words.

He stood up from where he sat for the past thirty minutes, bemoaning his incredible misfortune. Ada and her mother had gone to shop for the baby that would be due in a few months and they didn’t think to invite him because he couldn’t afford to pay for a damn thing!

How could he when he had spent his savings on the ridiculously expensive wedding few months ago? He wanted to keep his in-laws happy so he spent more than he could afford so that they could impress their friends. What a fool he had been? Now, he had nothing. He had sold his car and most of the expensive stuff he owned.

When the rent came up for payment last month, he had nothing. He had managed to rustle up a little money from his friends and his elder brother but it was meager and barely made 50% of the rent. Ada had called her mother without consulting him and the rent was paid. Now, she had practically moved in because he no longer had a say.

“Is this life?” He wondered out aloud.

He looked at his beat-up phone and considered the course of action he was about to take. He shuddered at the thought.

Should I call her? He thought.

Somehow, Debola knew. She knew what he was going through and had offered to help many times but he wouldn’t have it. He couldn’t give up his pride and collect the money she offered even though he needed it more than anything in the world. He knew she still wanted him and if he took her money, that would be the beginning of the end. She was too forward, too bold. His marriage didn’t stop her. She still wanted him.

He thought of Ada. He really loved her but he wasn’t sure she loved him anymore. She was sweet and supportive at the early stages but now she was different; she was cold. She carried out her wifely duties like a robot. Those little details she took care of before were gone now. They used to talk. They used to pray. Now, he felt like he was living with a stranger. He didn’t know her anymore.

How could she betray him so? He couldn’t get over the fact that she called her mother into their home at the slightest hint of trouble rather than rough it out with him. Wasn’t that what marriage was about? Did the words “for better or for worse” not mean anything to her?

He sat down again. He was torn. Even if he got past this, would things ever be the way they were? He wasn’t sure.

He leaned on the chair and closed his eyes. That idea that he had kept at bay danced perilously close to his head. He pushed it away with lesser resolve and it came right back.

What would people think? What would people say? He laughed at the question. Isn’t that what has put me in this predicament? People will always talk and right now, he knew what they were saying behind his back.

Irresponsible man. Dead-beat husband. Useless son-in-law and most likely, foolish father.

The pride he had fought hard to keep had eroded with misfortune.

He opened his eyes in realization. The worst had happened. His pride was just as valuable as a sack of cattle dung. It wasn’t going to get him anywhere.

He thought about the child. His mother-in-law would do a good job of tarnishing what was left of his image when he or she finally came into this world. That was not the picture of fatherhood he dreamed of.

Without further hesitation, he picked up the phone and dialled. Debola picked on the first ring.

“Uche.” She exclaimed, quite surprised. He never called. He wouldn’t even pick when she did. Her heartbeat rate went up.

“Are you at home?” He asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m coming.” He said. There was a loud silence over the line. The only audible sound was mild static…till he heard her catch her breath.

“What about your wife?” She asked with a shaky voice.

“I’m coming for good.” He said with finality. Debola went silent again. Her mind was a mixture of excitement, relief and fear.

“My credit is almost out. Say something.” He said impatiently.

“Ok. I’ll be waiting.” She said almost immediately and the phone went dead.

She jumped up from her bed where she had been lying down watching TV and reached for her drawer. She brought out an old picture. It was from six years ago. They were much younger then. She was laughing at something he had said before the picture was taken and he had this mischievous look on his face.

She placed the picture on her chest and cried.

**********************

Ada and her mother arrived with lots of baby stuff in the trunk of her Picanto. She hated the car. She still wished Uche hadn’t sold his Cerrato and left this matchbox for her. Well, they needed the money.

She didn’t know how she felt but she felt sorry for him. She constantly cursed herself for standing by and watch her mother rain abuses on him in her characteristic manner. What could she have done? The pregnancy always left her too tired to want to engage in arguments and besides, you don’t bite the finger that feeds you.

Her maternal leave was without pay because she was already pregnant when started work at the Real Estate Company on the Island so things were really rough. She knew it was a mistake to call her mother into her marriage but somehow, she was glad she did. Being the only child of her mother, she knew her mother would do anything to see her comfortable. The downside was that her mother’s influence had grown and she now practically ran the house.

It wasn’t Uche’s fault. She had several friends who had lost their jobs as well in the Banking sector but somehow, she couldn’t bring herself to terms with it. He had warned her that they were going to have to tighten their belts after the wedding. He had spent so much but then, he had a good job. Bouncing back wouldn’t have been so hard if he wasn’t laid off.

The baby kicked. It was the only positive thing in her life at the moment. She smiled as she gently caressed her stomach, cooing to the baby that things would be ok. She wished she could tell Uche the baby kicked but the palpable tension between them since her mother arrived wouldn’t let her.

“The baby kicked.” She said to her mother

“Mmmmm. He knows that we just went shopping for him so he’s happy.” Her mother said as she brought out things from the back seat and the trunk.

“You’re so sure it’s a boy.” Ada teased.

“Yes oh and God will answer my prayer. Oya go inside and rest, inugo?” She said endearingly with a smile. “I’ll prepare pepper soup for you when I come in.”

“Ok mama.” Ada responded with a smile. The metal protector was locked. Uche was out. I wonder where he went to, she thought. She remembered the episode before she left and felt sad. She hoped he would cool down and get back home in time. She would try to apologize to him on her mother’s behalf. She took out her keys from her bag and opened the protector and door and went inside.

She was hot and fortunately, PHCN had decided to be nice today. She switched on the fan and Air Conditioner and sat on the sofa where Uche had sat not less than 20 minutes ago and closed her eyes.

She became aware of a piece of paper that flew off the table because of the force of the breeze from the fan. She leaned forward with difficulty and picked it up. I was a neatly folded A4 paper with her name on it. The handwriting was Uche’s. So he leaves notes now when he goes out, she thought smiling. That’s a good start.

The smile however disappeared from her face when she unfolded the paper and read it.

Frantically, she stood up, momentarily forgetting her condition and ran into the spare room where he usually spent most of his time and now slept. The table was tidy and devoid of his many books. Not a trace of his shoes, slippers or even his clothes.

She ran to the bedroom they once shared and opened the wardrobes. His clothes were gone and so was everything that gave a hint of masculine presence.

“Mama! Mama!!” She screamed as she crumpled to the floor and broke into uncontrollable sobs.

“What is it?” Her mother asked, clearly agitated as she scrambled into the room. She prayed it wasn’t premature labour.

“My husband has left me!” Ada wailed as she held her hair. She could almost hear him say the words she read in the final paragraph of the letter.

“You and your mother have succeeded in totally emasculating me. I’m now a useless stranger in my own home. What kept me this long was the child you carry. I now realize the child may never need me. The child will have a father in your mother.”

Her mother stood in shock as she noticed the change in the bedroom until her eyes strayed to the letter on the tidy bed. She picked it up and read.

**************
The End

I am @saymalcolm on twitter.

Frozen

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The glitter of youth will never fade
Though the pain of loss lingers
Of what could and would have been
The beauty of stillness in an eternal pose
Make light the immeasurable loss
The sweetest moments remain
Trapped in the treasure box of time
With the keys forever lost to sad tears
But replaced with joyful memories
Of times past perfectly stowed away
In the restless invisible safetybox covered in
Blood and tissue
To be summoned at will
Or triggered by a glance at the frozen smile
Tastefully preserved on paper,
Frozen motions of happier times
And pleasant thoughts that reside within
As changes come, never will it touch you
Neither will the tough reality of life
Poke at your unchanging beauty
Or colour grey what is black
For you have ascended high and above
Beyond the reach of wrinkling skins
Dimming sights, dying hyper-activity
And the consciousness of passing time
Youthful immortality is who you are
For you are frozen in time
Forever to be loved
Forever to be remembered
For the beauty you gave

For Obii Nwadukwe, Blessing Oruma, Onome Duvie, Isoken Elaho, Precious Odiete, Omoye Omoike and to the rest of my family and friends frozen in time.

Of Treasure Chests And Gift Boxes

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The red ball came to me on a platter
A gift from the gods
To heal pain of the treasure lost at sea
Its radiant colour dulled the memory
Of past glitter and gold
My companion in lonely moments,
As the attachment grew
It had none of sparkle of the past
But it shined bright like the sun
Powered by fire, it lit the path
Through uncertainty and doubt
And for a while, all was well again
But it bounced, bounced too high
And it knew it bounced
Yet it would not trade air for balance
Its ego inflated as did importance
Till it grew wings and soared
Beyond reach
I lost grip
Threw out the lasso to rein it in
But alas!
The lasso stretched thin…and broke

Not another one gone
Broken dreams, and a broken lasso
Pick up the pieces, we shall
As well as valuable lessons
Perhaps, a ball less inflated
Perhaps, a lasso more thickly spun
Perhaps, more care and skill in care
In anticipation for unwrapped gift box(es)
Or the unlocked chest(s)
That lay ahead
With hopes of the ultimate prize

131119

Never The Same

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The hurt thrives
The mask of nonchalance wears thin
From the scars that remain
A constant reminder of what should have been
What could have been but never was
The memory stays vivid just like yesterday
As it pops in and out at will
How do we forget the pain
And yet, hold on to precious memories?
We do not regret the memory
But we regret the pain
That drops with the weight of an anchor
When we least expect
Life is pain, and pain is love
But love is the substance of all things

The loss is a void that can never be filled
Replacement is the only viable option
To bring back a semblance
Of that which was once sweet
But its never the same
We learn the hard way that sometimes
Letting go is all that is left
Starting from the scratch is hard
But the joy is in watching the sprouting seed
Grow Into a tree
From which branches spread forth
To offer a shade from the sun and rain

In the end, it can be beautiful again
But it is never the same

131110

Touch Not The King – Episode One

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My parents were warriors. I can remember vaguely the face of a roaring lion on the shiny brass breastplate of my father and the long sharp curvy Spicala snake on the spear of my mother. We lived a good life, my twin brother and I because we were of the royal circle and distant blood relatives of the king.

In addition to being of royal blood, my ancestry for the past five generations formed the elite squad known as the Kiminag or the Kings Guard. My parents protected the king like my grandparents had done before them. History has it that our great kingdom was formed by one powerful family, our family. We were once a small unit of disjointed little clans frequently, harried by the Magars who were terrible night marauders who left death and destruction in their wake.

We were told our great ancestor Harid, the richest and most intelligent man amongst the clans devised a plan to repel the Magars which was carried out successfully with the sword skill of his younger brother Kiminag and his wife Cerio who was a skilled archer as well as the youngest of them, Porter who was a blacksmith and the inventor traps for hunting.

Harid has devised a plan which was brilliantly executed that left the Magars fleeing never to return in years. When word of the success of Harid reached the other clans, they submitted themselves to be under the protection of Harid and being a just man, he sheltered them.

The walls that previously covered the little settlement was extended to cover the 14 clans and soon, Harid was made king. His rule with made the kingdom great and at his death, the kingdom took the name of Hariding.

………………………………………………………

The twin cubs played with their mother in their jungle habitat. It was a hot sunny morning and they had just suckled greatly a tired lioness and now they wanted her to play. She shoved them aside gently as they tugged at her ears and pulled at her legs hoping for some action but she would not oblige them today. They soon lost interest and began to chase butterflies under the lioness’ watchful eyes.

She had nothing to fear especially as the Pride was nearby. The Alpha male was taking a lazy rest with his minions after the heavy feeding of last night. He had conducted the hunt of the Water-Buffalo last night and they had all fed heavily. He was a giant of a lion with an expansive mane and the loudest roar ever that sounded like the battle cry of a million lions. He ruled the Pride with an iron fist and none of the other males would dare him for fear of facing the fate of the last one who tried.

The cubs chased and chased and when they went too far for comfort, the lioness would carry them back gently with her mouth back into their secure confines but as is the case with young cubs unaware of the danger, they strayed quite too often.

On this day however, a human party wandered to their domain and all hell broke lose.

………………………………………………

It was the 34 year old King Azarid and his entourage. Now Azarid was not the regular Harid. He was a flamboyant, notorious drunk who loved the pleasure of many women from which he gathered a growing army of illegitimate children.

His only legitimate son, Aza was no less fortunate as he would not teach him the true ways of the Harid to the disapproval of my parents. They had voiced their concern about this deviation from custom that had kept our position absolute for generations but Azarid would not listen. He never did since the mysterious circumstances that led to the loss of his queen a few years before.

Since the death of his queen, Azarid became a reckless and paranoid man and it was in his time that he enacted the abominable law that the king should not be touched. My parents were amazed by this as they were taught from birth to keep the king safe by all means necessary.

The fact that we were related to king by blood and were all sworn to loyalty till death made it even more confusing especially at the critical time in our history when the Harid no longer had monopoly to wealth. Strong families had grown over the years and had begun to question the right of the Harids to rule.

It wasn’t long before this new law was put to the test.

Azarid, in his quest to sample as many women on earth as possible entertained a party of 300 damsels across the nearby regions. He had been pressured over the years to take a new bride for his queen and many had heard of the wealth and prosperity of Hariding so they jostled for a place as allies as the surest way was by sending in their most beautiful women for Azarid’s sampling pleasure especially as word had got out about his love for women.

Azarid, a great talker in the midst of women entertained them greatly and told them great tales of valour. Azarid had never really seen action in the battle field; not because he was a coward but because he was barred by law. He was raised a true Harid and was a great swordsman. His father Barogo had waged wars and had expanded the kingdom greatly and my father was instrumental in this.

Barogo however, had an addiction. He loved to hunt lions which in my immediate family was viewed as abominable as it was our crest for generations. He killed several in his time and it was in that addiction that he lost his life a day to his 50th birthday.

Azarid continued to entertain his 300 damsels and in a bid to further impress them with his valour, he organized a lion hunt against the advice of my parents. The party arrived upon a pride and carefully skirted the males, focusing on the young lioness and her twin cubs. Azarid’s skill at archery was legendary and with one draw of his bow, the lioness was mortally wounded. She would not stop however as she struggled to take her cubs back to the Pride from where they strayed. Azarid was now focused on getting the cubs, suddenly convinced that lion skin that hung in the king’s chamber would no longer suffice.

My father advised against this as it was unheard of but Azarid would not listen. In a bid to impress, rather than deliver another shot to kill, he decided to strike with his sword. My parents remained at his side as he advanced towards the struggling lioness who was weakened by this time. However, as he drew nearer with my parents bringing in the rear, she abandoned the her cubs and launched one last attack at her assailant. The inebriated Azarid was stunned and could only stare in shock as the lioness leaped to rip him apart.

My father instinctively pulled a rooted Azarid out of the way and crumbled under the attack of the ferocious lioness. It was the spear of my mother that saved my father. Her vicious thrusts ensured that she was not widowed and we not orphaned at that moment. She did not stop until the lioness was dead. When the king came to, he was furious. He had just embarrassed himself before 300 hundred damsels and their chaperones. He ordered my father to go after the cubs who had by this time began to nudge their dead mother.

My father however grabbed the shaken king and took him back to the royal carriage and ordered the carriage back to Hariding. The king however warned him not return without the cubs so he had my mother accompany the king and went after the cubs. When he arrived Hariding, news of the tale preceded him and he was given a hero’s welcome by the commoners. He would not acknowledge this as he was only concerned about his duty to his king. The king was well but ordered that my parents be put to death for violating the law against touching the king.

This is how my twin brother and I became orphans.

Good Night

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Before I submit to the weariness of the day
I shall subject my thoughts to visions of thee
The vivid clarity of the taste of thine supple lips
And the comforting feel of thine bosom upon mine
They shall navigate my soul upon peaceful waters
Where rest awaits earnestly to lock me in its comforting embrace
Sleep tight even as your pretty eyes lights the path through the uncharted waters of darkness

October 22, 2013
10:15pm

Throwback

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It was the exposure
It was the proximity
It was the willing submission
To whims of emotion
That stirred up old passions again
As all senses of stimuli participated
Actively, with a sense of recklessness
The search for the long lost rake
Revived the undead spirit
Willfully buried under layers of aches

Before the mirror image once again
I stood, penitent
Garbed in the armour of chivalry
Offers of supplication
Sacrifice of time
Birthed glorious memories
Though mischief masked noble pursuits
In time, the thin wisp of smoke
Became mass and developed form
Realer than empirical evidence
Provided by all else

The icicle that should have pierced
In blood and gore
Seeped and caressed in altered state
The invisible phantom
Which began with mental intercourse
Wrecked havoc once again
Declaring in a loud voice
“Slave that thou art
Forever bound in love and pain”
You cannot run, you cannot hide
In due time, find you we shall

To Duel With The Pigs.

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Fuck the police!

I say it again, FUCK THE POLICE!!

I’m not Dr. Dre. I’m not Ice Cube or Tupac Shakur. Neither I am negatively influenced by rap music. I’m just a simple guy, a law abiding citizen of Nigeria who got caught in an unfortunate situation.

My name is Ben. 13th of October marks the second anniversary of the day I lost my friend at the hands of the corrupt and incompetent lot we call the Nigerian Police Force, and in order to commemorate it, I have decided to tell my story.

I have kept the ordeal I faced at the hands of these trigger-happy buffoons within me this long because I’m still in shock when I realize just how close I got to joining my ancestors in the afterlife.

Two years ago, I was just a regular graduate, self-employed and trying to eke out a living for myself in the harsh economic climate of Nigeria. I was not a Yahoo-boy, neither was I an armed robber or a kidnapper. I was just a web designer; a skill I learned which was totally outside my course of study considering the fact that I studied Political Science.

Business was good. In fact, at the time it was so good that I had just managed to buy a car after a series of jobs that paid well. I bought a Toyota Camry to convey me from place to place as the demand for my skill was high. Things were looking so good that I decided that perhaps, I didn’t need to be employed by anybody. All I just needed to do was form my own company.

I digress.

My fellow compadres in the struggle were glad about my new acquisition and in our usual manner as guys, we were going to “wash” it. We picked one of the popular open bars in Benin where I resided at the time. We could have gone to somewhere classier but the typical Benin-bred boy loves to hold such outings in places where beer is sold at “pump-price”.

And so the drinking began. It was just me, Efe, Tobore and Anthony. We were all graduates of the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and no, we were not cultists! Efe was a Second Class Upper graduate of Electrical Engineering, a real intelligent fellow and one who had high hopes about a Shell interview he just did. Tobore was a straight-up “Waffi” boy. He had been a street hustler all his life and who can blame him? His parents died at a very young age and he practically sponsored himself through university.

Anthony on the other hand, was the “butti” amongst us. His parents and siblings were all based in the United States of America and only came into Nigeria twice in a year. None of us ever understood why he stubbornly insisted on staying in Nigeria. He successfully managed his father’s water factory and was making good money.

We drank long into the night as we all had great stamina in our alcohol consumption; something that took years to build. When it became obvious to me that the money I had earmarked for the night wasn’t going to “cripple” the “barrels” I had as friends, I decided to quit while I was still ahead.

Anthony wanted us to continue at his expense but by unanimous decision, we decided it was time we head home since we had a wedding to attend in the morning. That was the beginning of our misfortune. No one could ever have guessed that was going to be our last outing as a complete crew.

We hit the road at about 1:30am. It was a Friday night and the road was free and I couldn’t resist the temptation to not speed, within reasonable limits of course, as we were all in high spirits and the virgin engine virtually begged to be “flogged”.

We had just got to the intersection at Five Junction when we noticed that the car that had been trailing us for quite a while had picked up speed and was gaining on us. We thought these were robbers or kidnappers as it was quite a phenomenon at the time so I decided to drive to a densely populated place and by this time, the only logical place was Iyaro. When we got there, we parked by the road side and came down from the vehicle as we all badly needed to take a piss.

The next thing I heard was a screech and I turned in horror to see the fender of my new car crumple before my very eyes. I was stark raving mad! The assailant car was actually a battered blue Toyota Hilux truck. As we hurriedly ended our synchronized urinating session to give these idiots a piece of our mind, we saw three men dressed in black trousers and vests on which was written ‘POLICE’ jump out with guns.

Naturally, we chilled in our demeanor but advanced towards them nonetheless expecting an explanation for this madness.

“Oga, why una bash my…” I never completed the statement as the black ugly face I was approaching in the flash of an eye, crashed the butt of his gun on my face. I was in the process of falling to the floor and blacking out when I saw that my compadres were facing almost the same treatment.

Darkness.

I awoke a few hours later in a dark, slimy, smelly cell, stripped to my boxers and singlet. The smell was an unholy cocktail of ammonia and unwashed bodies that hung in the air like a thick layer of smoke and almost choked the life out of me. My head throbbed seriously and that was when I remembered the butt of the gun crashing on my forehead. My hand instinctively went there as it made contact with the foreign bump, I felt pain that I had never felt before. It was like a sledge hammer had just crashed on my skull. I winced in pain still totally confused as to how I got there. My face was filled with caked blood.

I looked around as my eyes got used to the dimly lit cell. There were about 12 inmates in here. Some were curled in fetal positions, fast asleep while other talked in hushed tones. I saw a guy with sparkling white singlet that had several blood stains sitting on the floor with his back against the wall. As I looked closer, I realized it was Tony. I heaved a sigh of relief as I ignored the crushing pain in my head and crawled towards him.

He seemed lost in thought and didn’t even notice as I crawled towards him until I called his name.

“Tony!” My voice was hoarse and sounded more like a croak in my ears but it got his attention. He looked at me with a certain dullness I had never seen before. His nose was still bleeding but other than that, he looked fine.

He didn’t respond. He just continued to stare at me blankly.

“Where are the others?” I asked in a whisper as I joined him and rested my back against the wall.

He still didn’t respond as he continued to look straight ahead.

“Tony.” I whispered again. “Where is Efe?”

It was then that I saw the tears streaming from his eyes. I had never seen him cry before. As I saw him cry, the hopelessness of our situation suddenly dawned on me and like a baby, I began to cry too.

We cried for quite a while until the tears could come no more. That was when he finally spoke.

“They killed him.” He wailed.

“Killed who?!” I asked in shock, barely believing my ears.

“They shot Efe.”

It was like my heart stop beating for five seconds as it felt like an anchor just dropped on my chest. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t say a word. I just lost track of time.

“Where is Tobore?” I asked after about an hour in my estimation.

“He must have escaped somehow.” Tony said in between sniffs.

I rested my head on the wall and a kind of fatigue overwhelmed me that I fell asleep.

I woke up with a start to see that everywhere had become bright. I saw dirt and the dirty inmates clearly now. Tony was tapping me gently and telling me to wake up. A woman was at the counter yelling at the policemen on duty.

“That’s my Aunty Gertrude!” He said excitedly. “She’ll get us out of here!”

I ignored the pain and rushed to the iron bars to see for myself. I saw the grey haired woman dressed in a long blue native gown ranting and cursing at the top of her voice.

“I want to see my son!” She screamed.

Finally, they allowed her come through.

“Ah Osasere!” She wailed mournfully. “See what they have done to you!”

“They killed my friend!” Tony cried, and somewhere in the recess of my mind, I thought it was a bad dream. I burst into tears realizing that Efe was truly dead.

Some of the inmates rushed to the bar smearing us with their stink as they begged Aunty Getrude for money to buy bread.

“Mummy abeg na. We never chop for five days.” They chorused.

I could tell that Aunty Gertrude was taken aback by the stench emanating from these unwashed bodies. She quickly pulled out a thousand Naira note and gingerly gave it to one of the numerous outstretched hands.

“For all of you.” She said, but they didn’t hear her as a mini riot broke out as everyone of the inmates wanted a piece of that one note. I looked on in amazement until three officers came to the bar and shouted at them.

“Uncle Joe is on his way to the Commissioner’s house as we speak. You will soon be out.” She said, trying to placate us.

My hope soared and suddenly, I couldn’t wait to get out of here. We heard noise at the counter and there and then, I saw my brother, my cousin, seven combat-ready soldiers and Tobore.

“Peter!” I yelled. I have never been happier seeing my elder brother. We haven’t talked for months because of a mild disagreement we had but yet, he was here.

“That’s my brother there!” He shouted angrily, pushing aside the policeman that stood in his way so forcefully that he fell. He was dressed in shorts and a white t-shirt but by his clean shave, I’m sure they could tell that he was a military officer. His military escorts were already doing a good job of pulverizing anything that wore a police uniform. It was total chaos as the inmates suddenly began to cheer as their ‘oppressors’ were given a taste of their own medicine.

The keys to the cell that the policemen had earlier said was with their oga who wouldn’t be back till monday materialized mysteriously and we were free. My brother was so incensed when he saw my face that he took four of the police officers on duty as hostages until they brought the men responsible for our detention and the death of Efe.

I don’t know what became of the brutes who attacked us as I left for Lagos the next day with Efe’s body for his funeral and have never returned. Neither did Tony; he left for America a few weeks after Efe’s burial and I don’t think he’ll ever return. Tobore is now based in Abuja and is doing quite well.

My web design company is doing well too but I’m more interested in politics now which is rather strange. I love the study of Political Science but I’ve never wanted to go anywhere near Nigerian politics as it is a very dirty game; but after deep thoughts as to why things are the way they are in this country, who will duel with the pig if nobody wants to get stained by the mud?

Since a revolution is highly unlikely in this country, the only way to sanitize the system is for young people like me and you who are positively driven to get into government and effect the changes we sorely need since the punks at the helm of affairs are comfortable with the status quo.

Come 2015, I’m going to contest for a seat in my State’s House of Assembly. Tobore and Tony are in full support and have pledged to fund my campaign even if it means liquidating their assets.

Its the least we can do for our friend.

Rest in peace Efe.

*This is a work of fiction.

Malcolm O. Ifi is on twitter @saymalcolm

The Woman In The Red Dress

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lady in red

It was an ordinary day, a Thursday. It started no different from any other working day. I woke up by 5 and went through the motions of preparing for work, half-asleep until I had my bath. Then began the bus wait with my fellow regular early-rising commuters, the lone bus that arrived and the mad rush that ensued, the traffic as it gathered momentum, the relief at making the journey half-way and finally alighting at the final stop.

My mind at that moment was blank…ok, not totally blank but occupied with the usual unmemorable fly-by-the-moment-stuff. It could be said that at that point, my mind was blank and nothing prepared me for the image that would haunt me for the rest of the day.

It had to be the red dress that made her stand-out from afar. I had taken the really long route to the office because the short-cut to the office could be a dangerous place when it rained, especially when you wear shoes that does not have enough grip and the path becomes a slippery slope strewn with pointy rocks and is bordered by a stream of putrid, dark-coloured water with the occasional bubbles…the much touted Victoria Island.

It definitely was the red dress. My short-sightedness picked out the colour amidst the sea of people as they filed out successfully out of the death-trap which I staunchly refused to pass on this day because of the mild shower of the morning. The first thought that crossed my mind was why a girl dressed like that would pass that dangerous path on this wet morning. Was she a really brave woman or was I a very cautious man?

As I drew closer, I noticed the figure…she was all curves. Naturally, this peaked my interest because I still couldn’t see her face clearly. I subconsciously decided to break the distance between us to see if the face matched that really hot body.

She was walking ahead of me and she looked back. The closest thing behind her was me and I was at least fifteen paces behind. The trajectory of her glance suggested that she was looking in my direction, and then she turned away. My heart skipped a beat when almost immediately, she looked back again. I was certain this time that she was looking at me.

She stopped at a little shop on the road side to buy something. This afforded me some time to catch up and finally feed my curiosity. As I got close to the shop, my legs guided me in the direction of the shop to where she stood even before my head even thought to go there.

Finally just a few breaths away, my eyes scanned her body intently and my head decided that I was, on this so-suddenly-beautiful-morning beholding a classic work of art. She wore black flat shoes on shapely feet and well-structured legs that had the complexion of freshly carved wood and the smoothness of fine sculpture.

The red dress was just above her knees. It was an absolute perfect fit; not ridiculously tight but fitted enough to accentuate the sharp curves that connected her slim waist to her fleshy back side. I was aware of her looking back as I approached the shop. Her face was beautiful and at that moment, I felt fulfilled. There’s nothing more disappointing than seeing a great body matched with a face that ought to be on something else…or somebody else.

Hey eyes were bold; those kinds of bold pretty eyes that reminded me often of pretty little “ajebutta” kids, cute and calm. She had a light make-up on; understandably so considering it was still quite early but it looked perfect on her.

We must have assessed each other for not more than five seconds when she turned her attention back to the Mallam. She was selecting from a wide assortment of sweets he had put on a flat plate when one of the ones she picked fell to the ground and finally settled right where I stood. I swiftly picked it up and handed it over to her.

“Thank you.” She said with a musical voice and a smile that could have powered the planet.

Our hands touched as she took the fallen sweet from my hand and the electric current that passed through from her to me was instantaneous and shocking. I merely nodded and kept a straight face.

She finished her purchase and continued on her way as I continued to admire her. She must have felt my roving eyes caressing her body because she looked back again and smiled at me. I smiled back and turned my attention to the Mallam who had been patiently waiting for me to tell him what I wanted to buy. I hurriedly made a purchase and decided to catch up with her.

My office building was just a stone throw away and I was quite sure that hers was somewhere nearby. I was going to find out.

To my utter dismay, I saw her enter the gates of my office building. I doubled my footsteps and by the time I made it through to the gate and the door and the reception, she was nowhere to be found. I cursed.

I figured that she worked on one of the floors of the office building. If not, she would still have been at the reception filling her name on the Visitor’s Register

The clang of the elevator made me realize that it had just stopped. It was on the fourth floor.

Hmmm, fourth floor.

I took the other elevator to the fourth floor instead of the third. As the elevator doors swung open, I took a peep and there she was, resplendent in her red speaking softly into the phone. She turned and our eyes met again. Her face registered her surprised as much as my heart skipped a beat. I was surprised because I didn’t expect to see her there considering the time that had gone by and somehow, something in me hoped that I wouldn’t.

As I rode a step down, I considered the events that led up to this moment. Normally, a serious chase would have been in effect but time and experience has made me lose a lot of my usual spontaneity and thread more cautiously. Besides, there’s a thing about red that is sexy, yet dangerous. I don’t need danger now – no sir, I don’t! I decided to leave it all to chance. If we ever ran into each other again, the universe would have set the ball rolling for me to get on her case.

Still, after all said and done, the day was well lit by the smile of the beautiful woman in the red dress.

Follow the writer on twitter @saymalcolm

The Can

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The illusion of the familiar is a strong one
It has been the norm for years
Completely obscuring the truth
Or any semblance of it
The path is what it is said to be
And like kids and the ice cream truck
We join the never ending queue
Patiently waiting for our turn
That may never come

The carrot dangles in its crunchy juiciness
Hardly can we resist the temptation
For we have been groomed to need it
Like the children of Hamelin
We dance into the rat race
While passion,skill and desire
Slowly gravitates into oblivion
As time flies, the disillusionment is complete
The prison sentence fully operational
Lulled by the false sense of security
Dreams die, risk is buried
Subjugation and captivity is complete

The can is not made of steel bars
Neither is it made of brick walls
It is a state of mind
An invisible blockade in the mind’s eye
That leaves no room to wonder
About the road not taken
It is the beginning and end of aspiration
For a life time of adjustments
Where satisfaction becomes a mirage

Be Nice. Be Polite.

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“Get up from my seat.” The addressed who sat alone quietly nursing a bottle of Guiness stout looked up to see who his addressee was. It was a tall but lanky fellow clad in the usual white tee-shirt, shorts, socks and canvass which was the standard parade outfit for NYSC members.

“How is this your seat? It was empty when I got here.” Dennis replied.

“Guy, arrange yourself! I was here before. Stand up before I burst bottle for your head!” He said roughly and confidently as two of his friends stood behind him.

Dennis was a quiet and reflective fellow with a mentality unlike that of any of his peers. It would be accurate to describe him as way beyond his years because from a young age, he behaved like an adult.  However, he didn’t like threats and never cowed to it.

He rose up from the seat in a semi-menacing manner despite his diminutive stature and asked with all seriousness.

“You will do what?”

The tall lanky fellow wasn’t expecting that so he backed away a bit but seemed to remember that his crew was behind him and once again, stood his ground.

“I go burst bottle for your head!” He said again.
Dennis considered the consequences should things escalate and decided it wasn’t worth it.

He smiled at the lanky young man and his body guards and strolled away, leaving behind a half drunk bottle of beer. As he strolled away, he overheard them as they asked themselves,
“You know who the guy be?” One of them asked.

“Forget am. No level!” The lanky one’s voice responded clearly.

Dennis shook his head as he continued to stroll.

A few weeks later…

“We need somebody who is tall to fill in for Majemite in the defense line-up. His roommates say he’s at the health center.” Sergeant Okoro said, his face filled with animation. It was the penultimate day of the NYSC orientation camp and a soccer competition was organized to commemorate the passing out parade. As the platoon commandant, his team were favorites to win and he was taking no chances.

“Any ideas Dennis? You’re the team captain.”

Dennis look around the eager faces and spotted a familiar one who was jumping about eagerly.

“Segun can defend very well.” One of the team members volunteered, pushing the familiar face forward.

“You can defend?” Sergeant Okoro asked.

“Yes. Very well.” Segun replied, stepping forward. The platoon commandant turned to Dennis.

“He never partook in any of our training sessions.” Dennis said quietly.

“And so? Haven’t we been jogging since the orientation camp began?” Segun asked arrogantly.

“You still haven’t learned any manners, have you?” Dennis asked looking up at him with unflinching eyes. Segun made to push him away but Sergeant Okoro stepped in.

“This is not the time to measure dick sizes here.” He said impatiently.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” Dennis asked. “Are you still planning to “burst my head’?” Dennis asked, smiling again.

Segun was taken aback. He suddenly remembered the face of the diminutive fellow he threatened a few weeks back.

“I don’t have time for this shit!” He said disgusted and walked away.

“You! Come back here!!” Sergeant Okoro bellowed. Segun retraced his step quickly. The platoon commandant was as friendly as it could get but he was greatly feared by his platoon…and loved.

“What’s the matter between you two?” He asked Segun and Dennis.

“Nothing sir. Just a minor misunderstanding.” Dennis replied. “We have a replacement already.”

Three years later…

“The tax people are here to see you sir.” His secretary called.

“Tax people?” He asked.

“Yes sir.” She replied

“What do they want? We don’t owe them anything.” He said, more to himself than to his secretary. “State or federal?” He asked.

“State.” There was a little commotion over the phone before she added. “Its Mr. Osamuyi.”

He considered the amount of work on his desk. He was friends with the state tax man who happened to be a fellow tribesman. He decided to see him.

“Send them in.” He said.

Mr. Esosa Osamuyi was an easy going fellow with an extremely loud voice and a rotund stomach which Dennis understood to be the outcome of regular intake of Gulder lager beer. They had met on numerous occasions outside the work environments and had even had drinks together on a few occasions.

“My able chairman!” His loud voiced boomed before he entered the office.

“Esosa, how are you? Long time.” Dennis said, rising up to grasp the outstretched hand for a shake.

“Yes indeed. I’ve been on leave. I just resumed yesterday and I was in the neighbourhood so I thought I’d stop by with my boys and say hello.” He said in his usual good-natured manner reserved for tax-paying citizens. He turned and saw that his companions were huddled close to the door.

“You boys should come inside and greet chairman.” He bawled impatiently.

The two men came in and greeted Dennis timidly, profusely and respectfully. Dennis waved them to take the sofa. No sooner had he done this did he recognise the taller of the two of them.

“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” He asked pointing at the taller one who had just taken a seat.

“I don’t believe we’ve met sir.” He responded respectfully.

“I thought we had. He looks like someone I know.” Dennis said off-handedly to Esosa and they both laughed. After a little small talk, Esosa rose to leave with his junior colleagues, it struck Dennis.

“Segun…your name is Segun.” He said with conviction.

“Yes sir, that’s my name.” Segun responded with a smile that revealed his surprise.

“So you have met chairman.” Esosa said, more of a statement than a question and was just as surprised.

“You did your NYSC in Lagos, right?” Dennis asked, very sure now.

“Yes…” Segun replied hesitantly, still not sure where he had met this man.

Dennis smiled and shook his head.

“What a small world.”

Based on a true story.
………………………………………………….

Never judge a man by his size, what he wears or even his status. There is a great difference between appearance and reality.

Never look down on any person except you possess the prophetic insight of Nostradamus. A slave today can be a king tomorrow and vice versa. The uncertainty of life makes it one of the biggest risks ever.

It costs nothing to be polite or nice so be polite and nice. It can etch your face in heart of a person for a life time.

Finally, its very easy to forget about the people you stepped on their toes. As easy as you forget is how easy they remember and God help you if they remember and are in a much better position to take their pound of flesh.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

Rodent Tales: Judgment Day

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Vincent on deathrow

Vincent on deathrow

When I last wrote about my fears of the what the war veteran Little Victor, planned to do after escaping a glue-laden paper board set up by me to put an end to his nefarious activities in my bedroom, I seriously wanted to…no, NEEDED to believe that my mind was being overactive. Well, if the mind can conceive it, then it is very possible.

Since that time, I have had more “roomies”; little speedsters I’ve christened Vincent and Greg. How can I differentiate? I’ll tell you.

Victor, as you all know is the bold survivor. His fresh hairy skin was marred by the little glue battle of some days ago. He’s the only rat who constantly has the guts to come and stare at me while I’m in the john. I suspect he knows what I’m doing and how at that point in time, I can’t make any life-threatening moves. I’m serious considering adopting him for a pet. He’s too damn smart.

Vincent is the newest guy. At first, I thought it was Victor still sauntering all over the place whenever he pleased but I noticed the difference in size. Vincent is a lot smaller but just as fast.

Then there’s Greg. Greg is the one I like to call Kimbus Magista or king of food. This rotund rodent first caught my attention two days after Victor’s close shave with death. From the first time I began to take note of Greg, he chose the kitchen as his base of operations. His size never made me wonder why. Whenever I reached for my carton of Indomie, half-bag of rice or any other food item that managed to reside in my scanty kitchen, I would seem him scuttling away with difficulty.

There’s been one good thing about Victor’s experience though. Since he narrowly escaped the jaws of death, my room has been rodent free. Victor must have spread word to his cohorts to avoid the room at all costs except they wanted to their life expectancy to be cut short and they heeded his warning.

However, my kitchen has become crowded of late. I can’t have three rats running around every time I step into the kitchen. It never worried me much because I seldom stock the kitchen with food items apart from the minimum standard requirement of every bachelor kitchen.

Enter rat-glue again!

I noticed that the headquarters was someplace behind the fridge so I positioned the rat-glue at the back of the fridge.

Dear friends, it was an instant hit! Vincent fell prey. I came back from work to find poor Vincent wallowing face-down in glue. The thick puddle indicated a lot of struggle and for once, I was sure there was no escaping this one. Still, I decided to take no prisoners.

I carried my trap and its prize and headed down stairs immediately. The moment I lifted the trap, Vincent began to scream loudly as his struggle intensified like a prisoner on deathrow just about to get the chair. I was surprised because some how, I felt he could read my mind and the two words in capital letters – NO MERCY.

“Bros, abeg na…I nor go do again…I will never come into your house again. In fact, na me go do road block for your house. No rat go near your house again..” I imagined Vincent pleading but I don’t understand ratty.

The terrified screams turned to helpless whimpers as I got a little stick to pry him off the glue board. By the time, I succeeded in prying him off, there was no hope for him. The glue had contorted his whole little body structure. There was no need to harm him further as the glue had done a thorough job. To be sure that he could never boast of scars of war, I cast him into the filth of one of Surulere’s gutters, never to be seen or heard of again!

One down, two to go!

Malcolm O. Ifi.

Ese Walter: Confessions Of A Heartbroken Woman

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The noise on twitter over a supposed rape by the pastor of a popular church got me worried as is always the case when I hear stories of “men of God” who fell from grace and got caught. The few people I tried to interact with on the topic didn’t give me much so I decided to ask for the link itself which I got.

Knowing the way misinformation spreads on social media, I wasn’t surprised to find that what actually happened was much different. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Whether the story is true or not is another matter, though it certainly has a familiar ring to it knowing the kind of country we live in. Ese Walter’s confession is a microcosm of what actually happens in many religious organizations. Things are that bad now.

However, the tone of her writing had not an iota of remorse but stinks of bitterness; the bitterness of a woman who feels used, not abused. There was something very carefree and vindictive about her confession that raises serious doubts as to the motive she declared. I saw a woman who’s heart was torn to shreds and so desperately wanted to get her pound of flesh back that she didn’t give a fuck about anything again – pardon my french.

Before I continue, I know someone is already saying, “Here’s a COZA voltron!”. Wrong! I’m not a member of COZA, neither am I defending Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. Didn’t even know what the COZA acronym stood for till this evening. The name Fatoyinbo rang a bell but I knew nothing about him so I visited google. I don’t even know what he looks like but I’ve heard of COZA because I was impressed by one of their worship centers I happened to pass by when I visited Abuja.

In fact, those who know me well know that I have never hidden my distaste for all these “funky” new generation churches that believe the Bible has become too old fashioned and needs to be modernized to suit the needs of the newer generation…

Back to my analysis of Ese Walter’s confession.
I noticed in Ese, a similar trend of what I’ve always complained about in many Christian worshippers in Nigeria. How people transmute an unseen God into the form and image of the pastor has forever baffled me. A testament of what I call “god-objectification”. It is peculiar to christians who learn to accept whatever their preacher preaches to be the gospel truth, even when the Holy Bible says otherwise.
If this confession was written by someone who had no knowledge of good or evil, a status I can only ascribe to a baby, I would have believed her motives to be noble. However, she stated she was already doing a Masters program in the UK when this supposed “abuse” began which would mean she is was way above 21 age wise. How someone in today’s world can claim not to know “her left from her right” at that age is mind-boggling to say the least!

A person her age ought to have known that having an affair with a MARRIED MAN is like sailing through uncharted waters; the possibility of a ship wreck is 99 out of 100. This is even more so when the man you are having an affair with is your spiritual counselor. You just can’t claim that you were “rolling under the sheets” consensually with a man and say you were afraid or even suggest that you may have been in a trance-like state while you both had sex DAILY for over a week. Its absurd! She wasn’t kidnapped or forced to visit or stay in his hotel room. If she really had a conscience attack, she would have fled after the first bout and never returned. This is where I break it to you all that read her confession that she ENJOYED every bit of the encounter.

Her story brings to mind a video that went viral on social media early this year, the “power-enter” video. If she’s as educated as she would have the world believe, then she couldn’t have fallen for his charms if she didn’t want to. Her confession tells me something, she’s a dumb bimbo. #MonicaLewinsky alert!

The aim of this rejoinder of sorts is not to attack her person of course. Its just to point out what a good story it is…too good to be taken in its entirety as the truth. One thing I know is that you can never decide until you’ve heard both sides. Unfortunately, the possibility of hearing Pastor Fatoyinbo’s side of the story appears to be slim. If he indeed had an affair with Ese Walters, the honourable thing to do would be to own up to his mistakes and probably bar himself from representing himself as a minister of God.

Ese Walter’s allegation that he misled her is watery and not to be taken seriously because she misled herself. What any rational woman worth her salt would do after such advances have been made to her by a “man of God” would be to flee the man and his church. She wasn’t rational which leads me to only one conclusion; she was in love with him.

That being said, it is instructive to mention an observation. I have noticed that is not uncommon to have male student pastors in University Campus Fellowships flocked by women of easy virtue who claim to be in need of one form of counseling or the other. These supposed counseling sessions usually end up in another dimension when the threshold of self-restraint and discipline breaks. This unfortunate occurrence now seems to have solidified itself as rumours of pastors having sexual trysts with their members are rife.

The world is filled with all sorts of charlatans in frocks and collars. Salvation is personal and even more so especially as the guide book to a true relationship with God, the Holy Bible is still very much accessible. The truth about God does not lie in the actions or doctrine of any pastor or religious institution. Its in the Bible for you to see. As long as you are mature enough to know the difference between good and evil, you WILL NOT give in to any ridiculous doctrine peddled by swindlers in cassocks or more recently, suits except you want to, or you are too weak to resist them.

If you worship in a church where a watered down version of the gospel is preached, jump ship immediately. After all, variety is one thing we do not lack when it comes to churches in Nigeria. Don’t blame your excesses or weaknesses on the pastor who “betrayed” you because God gave you a brain to think, so use it! On the last day, everybody go answer e papa name. Pastor will not shoulder the blame for your sins because like you, he will stand before God to be judged accordingly.

Do not be deceived. God is not mocked.

Oh, yeah “cheers to the freaking weekend”. I’ll drink to that!

Malcolm O. Ifi.

To read Ese Walter’s confession, click the link below.

http://esewalter.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/my-affair-with-pastor-biodun-fatoyinbo-of-coza/

The Triumph Of Little Victor

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My first encounter with Little Victor happened almost three weeks ago. I had just moved into a new place in Surulere and was still in the process of unpacking. I had a large stack of empty cartons in my room which previously housed all sorts of appliances and because of my really hectic schedule, I still hadn’t had the chance to do a proper clean up. If you are a worker in Lagos, you know what I mean.

Anyway, I think it was the first night I spent in the room. It was dark…because I put the lights out. The only sound was the quiet hum of the air-conditioner and the distant rumble of faraway generators in the neighborhood. PHCN was gracious to me that night.

I was supposed to be asleep because it was quite late and I had to be at work the next day but as is often the case with me, I tossed and turned for quite a while in a bid to seduce sleep but she wouldn’t oblige me so in silent frustration, I decided to head to the sitting room to watch some tv.

The moment I switched on the lights in my room, I saw a black flash on the rug. At first, I thought that was my eye adjusting to the sudden illumination from the sixty-watt bulb that hung in the middle of the ceiling. I let it slide but as I was about to head out of the room, I saw the black flash again and this time, I realized that I had a trespassing roommate.

Now here’s the thing about me; I hate creepy crawlies. I am yet to be convinced why creatures like roaches and the likes exist. I have been told that they all in their own way, contribute to maintain balance in the ecosystem but I’m of a different view. I think they were put on this earth to trouble my soul because they creep the hell out of me. Ok, maybe I don’t really have a problem with their existence, I just don’t want them to exist around my personal space.

Rodents are another matter. As a child, I had heard of this particular breed of smelly mice or skunk if you will, with a pointed mouth referred to in Igbo language as “Onu Nkapi”. It was a popular breed mostly found in boarding school dormitories and village tales because of its intelligence – let me explain: Legend has it that a favorite pastime of the rat was to nibble at the feet of humans while they slept and when signs of discomfort began to show, they would pause and blow air at the spot of the feet they feasted to soothe the pain and prevent discovery. The unsuspecting victim would wake up and feel shock and pain when the nibbled part of the foot touched the ground. Ever since that tale, I have added rodents to my list of odious creatures.

I digress. I was greatly disturbed to find that I had a rodent as a roomie. The fear of the legend of “Onu Nkapi” which was notorious for the spread of lassa fever made me convert the sitting room to a temporary bedroom while I pondered on how to arrest the situation. Little Victor, as I christened him, always made it a point of duty to remind me that we both had equal rights in the occupancy of my room.

Whenever I went into the room to retrieve something, there he was staring at me…taunting me, daring me. Any thought of giving him a chase never crossed my mind as I knew it would be a futile exercise because he was almost as fast as the speed of light. If he were human, I would have suspected Wally West’s hand…or other appendage in Little Victor’s parentage.

After deep thought and sufficient investigation into its effectiveness, I bought the popular rat trap usually hawked by the road side whenever I headed home in the customary Lagos traffic. I was convinced that I had found a way to effectively dispose of my unwanted roomie so I decided to do a wholesome clean-up of my room on Saturday.

Suprisingly, Little Victor was nowhere to be found that day and the better part of Sunday which struck me as odd. I wondered if he had turned a new leaf and had decided to leave me and MY ROOM the hell alone. Just as a precaution, I opened the rat trap which consisted of a thick layer of glue on a paper board and placed it by the side of the wall which was his favoured route.  

I stepped into my room late yesterday evening. The power was out so it was dark but I heard struggling movements and when I beamed my beloved torch light Nokia on the spot I placed the trap, I was elated to see the trap had caught its prize. There was Little Victor in a thick puddle of glue struggling to get out.

I grinned evilly. I thought of a million ways to send Little Victor to his ancestors and none seemed right at the moment. I drew nearer for a closer look and there was this look of determination in his eyes that I found intriguing. I think I saw fear when I peered into his black, watery-looking eyes that suddenly screamed innocence. I felt the evil intent in me relent and I decided to let him wear himself out. Besides, I had no energy to deal with it at that moment especially as power was out. I closed the door and headed to the sitting room to sleep.

I was hurriedly preparing for work this morning when I remembered and decided to check on Little Victor to see how he had fared during the night and I was amazed to find that he had escaped! On closer investigation, I discovered it was quite a struggle. Little Victor also succeeded in smearing my shoes in glue; a pointer to the fact that he was still very much in the room. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he chomped on my shoe in retaliation!

I was astonished – I never knew that rodents could be so vindictive!

As I type this brief story now, I realise that the battle for who inhabits MY ROOM between Little Victor and I just got started. I am surprised at how he managed to survive the ordeal. Most rats as small as he is usually die from the exhaustion of such prolonged struggle.

If the little bugger eventually dies in my room, I’ll have to wait till weekend to be able to clear my room once again and by that time, rigor mortis would have set in, making the room practically inhabitable for a time. If he doesn’t die, I imagine him showing off his welts of war, addressing a congregation of motivated little rats determined to make my life miserable by exacting some form of revenge.

I sincerely hope this is the rambling of an over-active mind.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

Bus Tales

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It was a happy day for me. I had just concluded a small business deal that afforded me the money to buy the latest mobile phone in vogue at that time; a Nokia 6630. I was particularly feeling generous that day too so I called up my girl friend…well, she’s an ex now – and took her out on a splurge.

After a totally fun day, I decided to escort her home as was the practice. Now when I use the word “escort”, you’d probably say “Oh, she lived in the neighbourhood”. No she didn’t. I lived in Surulere at that time, while she at Ikeja. Looking back now, I have to laugh. The crazy things we do for love!

Anyway, no sooner than we stepped out of my apartment, this annoying rain started right out of nowhere. We had to run to the bus stop which unfortunately had no shade to hide under. All thoughts of flagging down a cab vanished as we saw this Danfo heading to Ojuelegba.

It was a mad rush to secure seats but with enough ‘gra gra’, I was able to secure two for my girl and I even in the midst of the struggling multitude. We got the two middle seats in the back and my girl sat on my left with my arm as her head rest. We settled down for what was a very short ride as we were engaged in a very interesting conversation.

However, the dude on my right was determined to infect me with some form of virus or bacteria, whatever he was spreading that day. He coughed and coughed and coughed! The kind of cough that comes from inside and rocks your body and that of anyone in close proximity and believe me, sardines in a can had more space than we had in the bus.

Its terrible being in a closed space where you are unsure of its sanitary conditions with a person coughing but its worse when the person won’t close his damned mouth while he’s at it!

I must have collected a fair share of bacterium that day and decided to suspend the interesting conversation with my girl and hold my breath for as long as I could. As the dude continued to cough, echoes of “ekpele oh” spilled from the mouths of other passengers in sympathy.

Honestly, I was mildly irritated by his incessant coughing and the obvious discomfort it caused me that I forgot to show sympathy for his condition. I reprimanded myself for not doing that.

“Sorry oh. This your cough is quite serious. Try and take drugs when you get home.” I said sympathetically.

He nodded as the coughing continued. I had done my bit, I said to myself. So from then on, I ignored him.

As soon as we got to Ojuelegba, he hurried out of the bus still coughing and disappeared into the crowd. I really felt sorry for the guy…until I discovered what really happened.

Here’s the part where I admit that at that time, I was a JJC in Lagos. When I usually hear people say that their pocket got picked in the bus, I’m always hard on them saying things like, “You weren’t vigilant”, “You are not security conscious” – that kind of thing. Words I learnt from my dad who is over-security conscious.

On that particular day, I wore jeans trousers. Jeans afford extra security because of their thick nature. I always believed my pocket could never get picked while I wore jeans. My left pocket housed my Blackberry phone – Cool down! It was probably the first model ever made, black and white display, a gift from my aunt and course, not activated – and my RIGHT pocket housed my few hours old Nokia 6630.

You should have seen me at Ojuelegba that day; I was mad! I had just spent about 35grand to get that phone and now it was gone. I abandoned my girlfriend and searched for that coughing rogue but he was nowhere to be found. I called the number and it rang but the guy cut the call almost immediately. I sent him a stinker text message and he switched off the phone.

At that point, I knew it was over. I put my girl in a bus and went home a very sad man.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

*This short story is my contribution to the series Bus Tales by @newnaija on http://isaacolanewnaija.wordpress.com

Something called hope

I have had my share of misfortune in this world. At a time, things were so bad that I wondered what grievious sin I had committed. Many times I felt trapped in an air-tight container, gagged and bound with the thought that my misery would be my end.

But then came rescue!

Rescue however was shortlived as I became a prisoner to my past. Yes, I was physically free but emotionally scarred with a seemingly unbreakable bond to my experience that made me a cynic of the worst kind.

Then you came along…

The numbness that seemed to define my existence gave way and for the first time in a long while, I heaved a sigh of relief. How marvelous it was that what I  needed to came to me. It was like a more than adequate compensation for the bad times. It was like a drop of the most nutritious and purest of waters descended upon me in drought and the withered leaf of hope came alive and blossomed into the most beautiful thing ever.

And my heart came alive!

Renewed, resuscitated, rejuvenated. I suddenly realized that my adventure in search of what should be had always been. It was the master stroke of fate to bring us together, in close proximity for the first time for the seeds of magic to come alive. I have been in awe ever since.

What does the future hold?

I don’t know but what I do know is there is no one I would rather walk with other than you; under the rain or in the sun. Through the thunderous sea storms, the ice bergs and the killer sharks, the mast of our love boat shall remain upright sailing to that sure destination because I have faith in you as you have in me. With our hands clasped in togetherness and oneness of purpose, the goal is sure.

Battered and bruised we may be, but never beaten. Victorious we shall emerge through life’s storms because we share something precious, something priceless, something powerful.

Something called hope.

For Lolah.

Love always.

Malcolm.

Ebola: What’s Really Going On?!

Originally posted on I Am XAri, Therefore I Think...:

ebola

This Ebola outbreak is far more serious than the masses know, far more severe than our government appreciates. Truth is there are many different perspectives from which it can be perceived, but none will give you any respite from the reality that we have come to be a part of. From the conspiracy theories of how it is a bio-strategy initiated by the western world to reestablish its hold on Africa to the complementary depopulation theory of control and 21st century (re)colonization, to the belief of biblical prophesies coming to the fore and so on and so forth…!

I read earlier of some classified research which was declassified in 2009 about ebola and a cure. Apparently the US Defense department declassified that research which has surprisingly been suppressed today even at the wake of the ebola outbreak. Then I have also read about research studies that say ebola is somewhat…

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