CRESCENDO


Earth has been all angry again,
Man did upset hers again;
Like he does again and again.

His efforts in controlling has been
Fixed as to betray his weakness seen;
She’s polite, not rash as harsh in between.

But you wonder how long for,
This sea-saw ride will further go?
Calmly, then hard ends a crescendo.

MONEY AND THE MISER


Spend me! You miserable clot,
So I can travel, visit and just be.
Have I not uplifted all your lot
With my coming and swelling sea?

Ha! See what is talking here;
Another creation grown astray.
Has making you collect near
Lost its purpose as any way?

I have existed so long before,
Making many, long before you.
Hadn’t my might sown more
Fright in you than you’ll rue?

My fear of you doesn’t keep,
That is why you I do amass.
How trivial your might heap
Just like any furniture was?

I taste the air men breathe,
Inhaled in its life and gasped.
Hasn’t the ease I could knit
Warm skeletons all trapped?

I don’t lodge or host guests
And don’t burden any to host.
Haven’t I seen your requests
Send errands until they’re lost?

I plunge in a lake all humble,
Help will come and does drown.
Had not man’s urge so trouble
His lust for his own crown?

Then I’ve unraveled your plot,
So with me you’re ever sunk.
I’ll keep man’s own twin clot.
After all, arent you precious junk?

WHERE ARE YOU?



First time I got those three words,
it was a parent checking on me.
Then it was a sibling’s own words,
demanding my attention and me.

Next on the train came a friend,
likewise demanding attention.
And this goes on without end,
because I’m in for an education.

As a stallion, my girl owned me,
every minute her calls are as true.
Mother didn’t as much call me.
Now my pet name is WHERE ARE YOU?

THE SPOUSE

The spouse is the chosen partner;
either by craft, design or choice.
Becoming indeed a legal partner,
regardless of thought or noise.


No other legal relative is such,
not even the adopted children.
For they never share that much,
not in bodily or geno brethren.

Spouses come to a disadvantage,
one that timelessly edges it on.
Success makes it an advantage,
failure casts it good in rusty iron.

Spouse is a lengthy subscription,
one that needs constant renewal.
Spouse is one true legal relation,
in danger of instant withdrawal.


IMMORTALITY

We live on in our children

Every bit of knowledge is new,

at the instant it came into light.

The boldest fact as we all knew,

is time at hand is truest might.

The captain that has his crew,

has his craft in steady flight.

Time spent well is never few,

when it’s gains speaks right.

JUST THIS ONCE


Truthfully none lives all alone,
But dead as alive all has none.

The words we are saying now, found us somewhere we know.

Our thoughts are always near, holding us captive right here.

NIGHT FOR DAY

Thank all the heavens for night time,

where will all mankind be without it?

Clarity praises all the days’ fine,

as all these many beautiful it lit.

Darkness had made procreation this bold,

aiding the naughtiness in all the shy.

Night makes ugliness the child of old;

daylight sculptures the beautiful sky.

REBIRTH

Everything is chaos
that comes to a head.
Like life is not yours,
if it owns you instead.

The parent of logic
is simply knowledge.
What’s certainly tragic,
is all life is in bondage.

IMMORALITY

Time is a precious commodity,


one we cannot create but waste.

How we use every opportunity,

determines our enduring taste.

The fabric of every community,

makes up it’s content and state.

When a people lose their sanity,

old men rule like boys in haste.

BOYS & TOYS

Boys’ll ever be boys!
Even if they’re older,
they like same toys;
only just get bolder!

Men get a lot older,
playing more bolder.
Craving similar toys,
make men still boys.

THE 411 IS 404

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe


All roads might lead to Rome but all dogs are heading for Katsina as the State Government is to expend N300 million on them to secure schools. Who is supplying the dogs? Certainly none of Ejike Mbaka’s “three contractors” nor Eedris Abdulkarim via Festus Keyamo! Anyway, this laudable proposal might however start off dog rustling because some Nigerians particularly from …, ……., ….. and …… would have already started calculating the cumulative length of “Telephone wire” that would be roasted, fried or pepper souped. If you decode the 3, 7, 5 and 6 dots na you sabi! Now that negotiating with bandits has obviously failed are dogs the best way forward?

While canines are wonderful as temporary early warning mechanism they cannot be a permanent preventive measure. Dogs are not bullet proof. Katsina people should rather implore their kinsman in Abuja to wake up on the job to identify and root out the immediate and remote causes of abductions – nationwide.

After all that is what he was voted into office to do! By the way who will feed and maintain N300 million worth of dogs? I ask because in Katsina “members” are said to be mainly concentrated at the Mammy Market of you know where. Chances are that each time there is salary delay or month far a government owned Bingo or two might end up there! If so it will be just a question of time before man’s best friend starts turning out to be other men’s 404!

LIVING

Living is a trip that keeps going.
Daily it comes, always it’s going.

It is peopled, hectic, never cozy;
Fares as pests all quite naughty,
Only it’s tiny stops are a bit rosy.

Picture from @xinorino

LOVES LOVE

This isn’t the story of our wives;
With each and all we share life,
Parting and bridging as we leave.
Each and all of us is this thief.

We lead with all emotions canal,
Lustily wanting all just temporal.
For we only tell from the external;
Wishing, hoping it is so internal.

Rolled in next is the nature,
The feelings growing to mature.
We regard or discard a culture
To marry dreams, make a future.

The investments yield their sanity,
Our character tests its immunity.
The lucky are in blissful humility,
Off springing, living, fostering humanity.

Measurement elude even more less,
For all other lust is meaningless.
Finally, love rules all the featureless,
Together we die till eternity endless.

January 15, 1966

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

The last official public function of Nigeria’s first and only elected Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the commissioning of the River Niger Bridge linking Asaba with Onitsha. After which;
“On December 19, 1965 he (Balewa) went to the small village of Arondizuogu in Orlu for the commissioning of Dr. Ozumba Mbadiwe’s “Palace of the People” Built by Italian contractors, it was a three-storey affair resplendent with blue terrazzo walls, swimming pool and a fountain, grand conference halls and event rooms, red carpet and gilt chairs. All these in a village where most houses were still born of mud and thatched roofs. Since the first tarred roads were constructed in 1890s in Lagos, and the first dual carriage way in Nigeria – Queen Elizabeth Road – appeared in 1956 in Ibadan, no road in Arondizuogu or in Orlu had ever been graced with bitumen before.

Yet Mbadiwe situated the grand palace there as a source of pride for his people. At the commissioning ceremony, the Eastern Premier, Dr Okpara never saw the project as a white elephant planted by megalomania and watered by corruption, rather he hailed the project as “a great achievement for pragmatic African socialism.” The press placed the value of the house at least half a million pounds. Mbadiwe said it was “at most £40,000.” After the commissioning, Abubakar then proceeded to his farm in Bauchi for his annual leave.”

The Prime Minister was briefly in Kaduna on Tuesday, January 4, 1966 before returning to Lagos.Despite the fact that Sir Balewa was a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire and member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, he was a modest person who had throughout his life led a Spartan and ascetic lifestyle. He owned only 2 private residences in Bauchi and Kaduna and a 50 acre farm near his hometown of Tafawa Balewa.

His personal integrity was unassailable, yet in Lagos as Prime Minister he headed a government that glossed over the proven corrupt practices of its apparatchiks for the sake of political expediency;
“The NCNC parliamentary leader and Minister of Trade, Dr. Ozumba Mbadiwe was caught using his office to divert a government land at Ijora Causeway to his private company Afro Properties and Investment Company since 1961. He then assigned the land lease to Nigerpool in return for a hefty annual profit. The discovery generated another media-exposed corruption scandal.

The Prime Minister met privately with Babatunde Jose, the editor of the powerful Daily Times spearheading the intense campaign to remove the corruption extremist if he declined to resign. Mbadiwe never bothered. Sir Balewa told the editor: “You want me to remove this man? What he did fell below what is proper. Under British standards, he would go, but the NCNC who put him in my original coalition are solidly for him. Its central working committee had just passed a unanimous vote of confidence in him. If they withdraw, since Awolowo can’t join, the [coalition] government will collapse.’”No doubt during the First Republic there were numerous signs and symptoms of rapid democratic decay against the background of massive political corruption.

The bloody events of January 15, 1966 did not just happen in some vacuum. By January 15, 1966 our nation was a disaster waiting to happen as there was a noticeable buildup towards chaos as noted by declassified US diplomatic cables which clearly stated how our nation had got to a level of; “Very complicated African politics, in which tribes, religions and economics all play a part, are involved in the situation. The Northern Premier is at odds with the Eastern Premier in whose region large oil deposits have been discovered. In the heat of the election campaign, there have been threats of secession by the East; threats of violence that would make Congo look like child’s play.”The American cables were about the intense political rivalry at the highest echelons of government;
“Following the controversial Federal Election of December 1964, ceremonial President Azikiwe of the NCNC, refused to invite Prime Minister Balewa of the NPC to form a government and issued orders mobilizing the Army to enforce his authority to suspend the government, annul the elections and appoint a temporary interim administrator to conduct elections.

However, the oath of allegiance of the officer corps was not only to the Commander in Chief but also to the government of Nigeria. The Army Act (#26 of 1960) and the Navy Act (#9 of 1960) were also clear on lines of authority and control.While the Army and Navy were “under the general authority” of the Defence Minister in matters of “command, discipline and administration”, the authority for operational use and control was vested in the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister. President Azikiwe and the service chiefs were so advised by the Chief Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.

Thus the Navy Commander, Commodore Wey politely told the President that the Navy (under him), the Army (under Major General Welby-Everard) and the Police (under Louis Edet) had decided to refuse his orders. After a week of cliff hanging tension, in which the military stood aside, a political compromise was eventually reached and a government of “national unity” formed under Prime Minister Balewa.” Was Dr. Azikiwe privy to the January 15, 1966 coup?There was also the political collateral damage of;
“Operation Banker’, a joint Army-Police operation in the Western region, led by then CO, 4th battalion, Lt. Col. Maimalari, allegedly at the behest of the pro-NPC regional Premier (Akintola) culminating in the declaration of a state of emergency in May 1962 after a fracas in the House of Assembly and the appointment of an administrator.

Interestingly, the General Staff Officer at the Army HQ in charge of Intelligence was none other than Captain Patrick Chukwuma Nzeogwu who, as a Major, was later to play a key role in the coup of January 1966 in which Maimalari lost his life.”This politicization of the military led to; “The arrest on September 22, 1962 and subsequent imprisonment of the opposition leader, Chief Awolowo, on suspicion of planning a civilian overthrow of the government. It was alleged that 300 volunteers were sent to Ghana for 3 weeks militia training.”
Interestingly; “The last interview granted to the magazine ‘West Africa’, by the late Prime Minister Balewa on January 14, a few hours to his death, went like this:
Question: Do you see the solution as taking the form of a coalition government in the West?

Balewa: Yes, it would have to be that …The Action Group has accepted my mediation, but the NNDP has asked for more time. If I use real force in the West – and make no mistake about it, I haven’t yet – then I could bring the people to their knees. But I don’t want to use force like that. Force can’ t bring peace to people’s hearts.
Question: Would you consider the release of Chief Awolowo as part of a political solution of the West’s troubles?

Balewa: I think that might be part of it; yes, obviously we would have to see.
This interview was not published until January 29, 1966.”
Little did Sir Balewa know that the political end game of the January 15, 1966 mutineers was to release then opposition leader, Chief Awolowo from Calabar prison and install him as head of a national unity government. Chief Awolowo has never confessed to being privy of the coup attempt though the official documents containing the details of what actually happened and how 54 years ago are still classified.May the souls of Sir Balewa and that of all those that lost their lives on January 15, 1966 continue to rest in peace.

WOE MAN

Place of the woman is spent;
through timely cratered vent.
She’s raging in her eruptions;
in her hair raising formations.

Still her place further reduces;
within every gain she chooses.
She’s the lesser man as before,
her sex ever breeds a new woe.

#poetry
#poem

Picture from @msniffe

LIKE IT OR NOT

To avoid being quite sorry,
it’s always prudent to worry.
Not just for the tiny bit thing,
but to also laugh, cry or sing.

Good are also ugly and bad;
and can turn fair moods sad.
Most friends’re opportunistic,
indeed their needs are mystic.

CLOUDLY HEIGHTS

Like thoughts form an opinion,

or tears weep to peeled onion,

desire gives dream their sights;

like clouds, time is once upon,

and grows aspirations’ heights.

Picture from @Nxdif

Kano, my beloved Kano (1)

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

What is the modern history of Kano without mention of its famous Groundnut Pyramids? Saul Raccah (1895-1970), a Jew that arrived Kano in 1914 laid the ground work. He would marry Hannah from the Levantine, Joseph Abdallah family. Their sons George and Rex would in partnership with the Northern Region government under Sir Ahmadu Bello since 1957 entrench Kano as an industrial hub in Nigeria. Today, a sprawling neighborhood has grown around his tomb known as “Kabarin Raccah” along the Airport Road axis. This same groundnut trade attracted Alhassan Dantata to Kano from Gonja in Northern Ghana.
By 1910, Kano emerged as the main terminus of the railway linking the Northern and Southern Protectorates. It opened up large scale commercial activities to unprecedented levels. The legendary hospitality of the Kanawa not only boosted trade and commerce but served as a huge magnet for diverse economic opportunities. Prior to that epoch the famous Kurmi Market within ancient city walls of Kano, a onetime vassal of Songhai Empire elevated to prominence by Wangara immigrants from present-day Mali was the main entrepôt of the Trans Saharan trade routes for centuries before the British conquest of 1903.

The railway system fundamentally changed that historical dominance as imported and foreign goods now came through seaports instead of across the Sahara. With significant south-north migrations in Nigeria, and many southern Nigerian immigrants settling in Kano more than anywhere else in the North, a new lexicon was introduced – “strangers”.
Predictably, the Sabongari market upstaged Kurmi as “strangers” gained more commercial dominance in Kano. Soon Fagge, the Arab/Tuareg quarters sandwiched between “Birni” the ancient city and Sabongari, strangers quarters began to lose prominence. Ethnic and religious fault lines soon surfaced. A perfect storm started forming which culminated into the first inter ethnic/religious riot in Nigeria that took place between May 15 and 18 in 1953. Based on official records 36 died and 241 were wounded.

“After the 1953 riot in Kano, the NPC government adopted a Northernization policy by which many southern Nigerians in the northern public service were retrenched and replaced by northern Nigerians. By 1957, there were specific instructions requiring the northern Nigerian Public Service Commission not to employ a non-northern Nigerian if a qualified northern Nigerian or an expatriate was available for such an appointment. Such non-northern Nigerians as were employed were also only offered contract appointment. Private companies operating in northern Nigeria were expected to comply with the terms of the Northernization policy.”

That notwithstanding Kano was the historical pioneer of an open door policy to all settlers in the North as replicated in Sokoto, Zaria, Maiduguri and so on. There is no where then in Nigeria that any person could freely settle, buy land and expand holdings like Kano. No harrasment, no intimidation, no taxation to “sons of the soil” nor “borrowing of land”. Was the same courtesy extended to Southerners in Kano replicated to Northerners in general in the South?
Perhaps why an angry Sir Ahmadu Bello thundered;
“We do not want to go to Lake Chad and meet strangers catching our fish in the water, and taking them away to leave us with nothing. We do not want to go to Sokoto and find a carpenter who is a stranger nailing our houses. I do not want to go to the Sabon-Gari in Kano and find strangers making the body of a lorry, or to go to the market and see butchers who are not Northerners.”
See details in House of Chiefs Debates, 19 March 1965, p. 55 (mimeo)

Little wonder the official biographer of Sir Ahmadu Bello Prof. John Paden notes in Communal Competition, Conflict and Violence in Kano (1971);
“By 1965, economic activities in the settler controlled Sabon Gari market in Kano town had surpassed that of the indigene controlled Kurmi market in terms of number of traders, in value of turnover, and average profit per trader”

On some the dramatic social changes that Kano has undergone, Douglas Schneider an American resident in Kano in the 1970s puts it;
“I lived in Kano, deep in the heart of the Muslim section of Nigeria. Kano was the site of the largest pig farm in the world. It puzzled me why a huge pig farm would be located where most of the people never eat pork. Then I realized: the pig farm did not have to worry about livestock disappearing. It only hired Muslims and no Muslim employee would ever sneak a pig out of the farm to take home. The pigs were shipped 450 miles by railroad to be slaughtered and processed in the Christian section of Nigeria.
So, when a beer brewery was built in Kano, there was a similar logic: hire Muslim employees because they would not sneak bottles of beer out of the brewery.
The new brewery used the same advertising approach as American breweries: drink our beer and attractive females will flock to you. This new beer was named Double Crown – double your pleasure!

The brewery hired a brewmaster named Dieter from Germany. Dieter noticed that Kano had the largest pig farm in the world and, being German, turned part of the brewery into a small sausage making facility. This was the only sausage within 450 miles.
When Dieter heard that I gave evening Hausa lessons for foreigners who wanted to learn the local language, he started coming to my lessons. I was hoping that my friendship with Dieter would pay off some day. I was hoping to get invited to the legendary Friday Beer Evaluations at the Double Crown Brewery.”
See details in Puppy Out of Breath: True Life Stories (2012)