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.


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.

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.

CAN’T WAIT

Can’t wait to be felt and noticed. Can’t wait to be seen and heard;
To be right here acknowledged.

When not if, a certain constant,
As I stand out in this moment.
For what is now is my current.

Picture from @oj_deji

40 YEARS AGO!

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40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴡᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ. ᴛᴏᴅᴀʏ ᴍᴀɴʏ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ᴀʀᴇ ᴀғʀᴀɪᴅ ᴏғ ʜᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ.

……………………………………

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ ʀᴇsᴘᴇᴄᴛᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛs. ɴᴏᴡ ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛs ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇsᴘᴇᴄᴛ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ.

………………………………….

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴍᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴇᴀsʏ ʙᴜᴛ ᴅɪᴠᴏʀᴄᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴅɪғғɪᴄᴜʟᴛ. ɴᴏᴡᴀᴅᴀʏs ɪᴛ ɪs ᴅɪғғɪᴄᴜʟᴛ ᴛᴏ ɢᴇᴛ ᴍᴀʀʀɪᴇᴅ ʙᴜᴛ ᴅɪᴠᴏʀᴄᴇ ɪs sᴏ ᴇᴀsʏ.

…………………………………..

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴡᴇ ɢᴏᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴀʟʟ ᴛʜᴇ ɴᴇɪɢʜʙᴏʀs. ɴᴏᴡ ᴡᴇ ᴀʀᴇ sᴛʀᴀɴɢᴇʀs ᴛᴏ ᴏᴜʀ ɴᴇɪɢʜʙᴏʀs.

…………………………………

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴠɪʟʟᴀɢᴇʀs ᴡᴇʀᴇ ғʟᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄɪᴛʏ ᴛᴏ ғɪɴᴅ ᴊᴏʙs. ɴᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴏᴡɴ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ᴀʀᴇ ғʟᴇᴇɪɴɢ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ CITY ᴛᴏ ғɪɴᴅ ᴘᴇᴀᴄᴇ.

………………………………..

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴡᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ғᴀᴛ ᴛᴏ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ʜᴀᴘᴘʏ. ɴᴏᴡᴀᴅᴀʏs ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴅɪᴇᴛs ᴛᴏ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜʏ.

………………………………….

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ʀɪᴄʜ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ᴘʀᴇᴛᴇɴᴅᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴘᴏᴏʀ. ɴᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴏᴏʀ ᴀʀᴇ ᴘʀᴇᴛᴇɴᴅɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ʀɪᴄʜ.

…………………………………..

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴏɴʟʏ ᴏɴᴇ ᴘᴇʀsᴏɴ ᴡᴏʀᴋᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ sᴜᴘᴘᴏʀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡʜᴏʟᴇ ғᴀᴍɪʟʏ. ɴᴏᴡ ᴀʟʟ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴡᴏʀᴋ ᴛᴏ sᴜᴘᴘᴏʀᴛ ᴏɴᴇ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ.

……………………………………

40 ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴀɢᴏ

ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ʟᴏᴠᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ sᴛᴜᴅʏ & ʀᴇᴀᴅ ʙᴏᴏᴋs. ɴᴏᴡ ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇ ғᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ & ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛsᴀᴘᴘ ᴍᴇssᴀɢᴇs.

40 YEARS AGO WAS 1980,

WHICH SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY!

Hard ғᴀᴄᴛs of ᴛᴏᴅᴀʏ’s ʟɪғᴇ.

The Spy who “Loved” Nigeria

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Sir Hanns Vischer

As they say; “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” Sir Hanns Vischer, was an agent of His Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service in Nigeria. He was referred to as “Dan Hausa” due to his mastery of the Hausa language which he helped in standardizing. He was also prolific in Arabic, Fulfulde and Kanuri in addition to Greek, French and German. Based in Kano from 1907 to 1919, his cover was head of the Education Department.

Gidan Dan Hausa, now a national monument was his official residence. The building had being in existence for about a hundred years before Kano was conquered by the British in 1903. It had previously served as the base of the overseer of the royal farming plantation outside the ancient city walls known as Rumada. Vischer rebuilt it from scratch making improvements in 1907.

The spymaster first came to Nigeria in 1901 and was based in Lokoja before he was reassigned to Maiduguri in 1903. By 1906, he crossed the Sahara Desert. He recounted his journey in a 1911 book entitled; “Across the Sahara from Tripoli to Borno” Another book he wrote is; “Rules for Hausa Spelling” printed in 1912.
Kano was crucial to the British in two aspects. First, in creating an elite that would oppose national independence. Second, it was a crucial cross roads in monitoring Francophone territories and the German colony of Kamerun.

According the historian, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman;
“The Hausa-speaking people, not only do they have dialects, which were barely mutually intelligible, but they have no tradition of a common origin.” Hausa as spoken and written today was therefore a British project. Vischer was one of the arrow heads.

Vischer’s residence also served as a school for sons of emirs from all over the North. With his wife who joined him in 1912, the couple moulded the young aristocrats teaching them how to read and write in English and Ajami (Arabic in Roman script) The school started with 30 pupils in 1909. Their hostel was within the Nasarawa palace of Kano emirate nearby.

Enrollment increased to over 200 princes by 1913 from the 11 provinces of the Northern Protectorate. It produced the first Western educated elites in the North that eventually became the first members of the House of Chiefs and Assembly both in Kaduna. Vischer’s school relocated becoming Katsina College in 1921, which is now Barewa College in Zaria.

The Vischers had two children at Gidan Dan Hausa. Their photographs including that of their house maid still adorn the main living room of the historic house to date.

The British did not come to the colonial contours of what became Nigeria for sightseeing – they came to plunder.
To pull that off they needed to apply “divide et impera” – divide and rule. They ensured no level of national consciousness could develop eventually preparing us for national independence without economic freedom.

The likes of Sir Vischer were instrumental to Pax Britannica. Such people are described as “capax imperii” – capable of ruling an empire by understanding and study of languages;
“One had only to watch him in his daily avocations in those early days to realize how completely at home he was with every class of society—whether he was engaged in grave deliberations with emirs, viziers and other high personages of the ruling hierarchy, or whether he was chaffing the hucksters at the market stalls as he rode through Kano city. No less revealing was it to see him in his own home pick up a native drum and, squatting on the floor, croon local Hausa songs to his own accompaniment. So inimitably did he do it that, if he had been hidden behind a screen, one would have said that an African musician had been engaged to entertain his guests”

At Gidan Dan Hausa, Vischer reorganized traditional Hausa building materials of “Tubali” and “Azara” by creatively using “Chafe” for plaster and “Makuba” for relieve motifs retaining “Zankwaye” (the horns at the top) and “Dakali” (the horizontal platform at the base)
Vischer used local labor sourced within the ancient city of Kano from “Unguwan Gini”

The original inhabitants of Kano are the “Abagawa” of the Nok Civilization. The “Wangara” from present-day Mali conquered and incorporated Kano into the Songhai Empire. Eventually the Habe held sway before the Hausanization process that followed the formation of the Sokoto Caliphate.

It has been the southern entrepôt of the Trans Saharan trade for millennia. Arabs and Tuaregs have been part of Kano’s mosaic for centuries.

It provided the perfect cover for Sir Hanns Vischer, a spymaster par excellence according to Nigel West in; Historical Dictionary of World War I Intelligence (2014)

KILL OR LET DIE!!

On CHRISTMAS MORNING
CHICKEN woke GASPING

Do I PROCEED to SLAUGHTER,
Carry on FEEDING MURDER?

Or helplessly WATCH ON,
TEARED up, sadly MOURN?

Which in clearly MEAN,
What is indeed HUMANE?

Do pls help add an ADVICE
I’m PAINED, feeling not nice!

General Gowon: Too Humbled to be Bundled

Does General Gowon look like somebody who moved to London with half of Nigeria’s Central Bank?

We, the undersigned call upon Hon. Member of Parliament representing Tonbridge and Malling of the United Kingdom, Ted Tugendhat to withdraw his recent statement at Westminster;

“Some people would remember when General Gowon left Nigeria with half of the central bank, or so it was said, and moved to London,”

Mr. Tugendhat, had spoken when E-petition 554150 was being considered at the British Parliament on Monday, November 23, 2020 over a petition seeking sanction against the Nigerian government for alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests.

We are not unmindful that the MP had added “so it was said” to his presumptuous claim. That notwithstanding, Mr. Tugendhat would have availed himself with some basic historical overview on the exact circumstances of how General Gowon ended up dining at the student cafeteria at Warwick University after his overthrow on July 29, 1975 while in Kampala attending a summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now African Union)
Even after 45 years, General Gowon’s statement thereafter remains instructive;

“From all indications a new government had been established in Nigeria. I wish to state that I, on my part, have also accepted the change and pledged my full loyalty to my nation, my country and the new government. Therefore, in the overall interest of the nation and our beloved country, I appeal to all concerned to cooperate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland.

As a Nigerian, I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity, which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and cooperation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon all of you to give the new government of our nation the same support and cooperation in the interest of our beloved country.
Long live one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity.”

The attached images are of General Gowon after he had enrolled as a student at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. Where eventually his Ph.D Thesis focused on The Economic Community of West African States: A study in Political and Economic integration.

It would be recalled after his overthrow from government several investigations were made into corrupt enrichment. The General was neither found complicit nor indicted in any. More ever;

“Many offers of residence came to him in Kampala from various African countries. He notified the new regime in Lagos that he would leave Kampala for Lome in Togo. Since he was financially broke, teary-eyed members of the Nigerian delegation along with staffers at the Nigerian High Commission in Kampala donated 3000 pounds sterling to enable him begin a new life. He was flown to Lome – via Garoua in Cameroon – aboard President Idi Amin’s executive jet.

Part of the flight passed through Nigerian airspace and Gowon took the opportunity to transmit a radio message reaffirming loyalty to and support for Brigadier Muhammed’s new regime. Although offered permanent domicile in Togo he chose to join his family in the United Kingdom. He received an additional 10,000 pounds sterling donation from General Eyadema. Following a telephone call to Brigadier Muhammed, during which he made requests for elementary federal assistance, he left for London.”

Furthermore;
“When he got to London, he was offered official accommodation by the Nigerian government which he, however, turned down for a variety of reasons. After some weeks at the Portman Hotel, he moved into the house of an old friend – Mr. Emmanuel Otti – at 472 Finchley Road, London. The delay was to enable the house to be redecorated by Mr. and Mrs. Otti and Brigadier Sam Ogbemudia (who had been in the UK when the coup took place in Nigeria). Other friends came to the assistance of the family. It was not until September 1975 that he began to get his pension and gratuities as a retired Four-Star General. In the nine years he had been Nigeria’s ruler he had not built himself a single house, inside or outside the country, nor did he expropriate one kobo of government money.

Unlike some of those who served under him, his TOTAL savings throughout his service years as well as his years as Nigeria’s leader was N75,000 – all of which was inside Nigeria. In time to come this would stand in stark contrast to the conduct of and personal fortunes of most of those who conspired to remove him from office – or benefited from it.

Once settled in with his family, the General, who was offered several Masters Degree programs, signed up for undergraduate studies in Political Science at Warwick University. Newspapers in Nigeria later carried news items and photographs depicting the former Nigerian leader carrying trays in a student cafeteria in the UK.
The Muhammed regime was embarrassed and therefore dispatched Brigadier TY Danjuma (who, took Kano born Col. Wali along) to ask Gowon adopt a supposedly more dignified stance. Gowon rejected the overture and reassured his “embarrassed sympathizers” that he was comfortable with his situation. (Conceivably nothing could have been more embarrassing than to be overthrown while attending an OAU summit). He made friends among the Nigerian students at Warwick, including a family friend of mine, Desmond Guobadia, now a legal practitioner in Lagos. Meanwhile his spouse, the former First Lady, Mrs. Victoria Gowon (who was a nurse) registered as a catering student at a University College in London.”
See details in; Military Rebellion of July 29, 1975 – Epilogue: From Kampala to Lome to London and back to Nigeria by Nowa Omoigui

Therefore, we the undersigned call upon all Nigerians of goodwill and indeed the members of the international community at large to ignore the insinuations of Mr. Tugendhat. In turn, by this signed clarification we call upon the MP to be appropriately corrected and to do the needful by withdrawing his statement on General Gowon.

Signed;

Abdallah Baikie.

Ahmed Yahaya Joe.

Lived Once, Buried Twice

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After succumbing to a fever of some sort in 1705, Irish woman Margorie McCall was hastily buried to prevent the spread of whatever had done her in. Margorie was buried with a valuable ring, which her husband had been unable to remove due to swelling. This made her an even better target for body snatchers, who could cash in on both the corpse and the ring.

The evening after Margorie was buried, before the soil had even settled, the grave-robbers showed up and started digging. Unable to pry the ring off the finger, they decided to cut the finger off. As soon as blood was drawn, Margorie awoke from her coma, sat straight up and screamed.

The fate of the grave-robbers remains unknown. One story says the men dropped dead on the spot, while another claims they fled and never returned to their chosen profession.

Margorie climbed out of the hole and made her way back to her home.

Her husband John, a doctor, was at home with the children when he heard a knock at the door. He told the children, “If your mother were still alive, I’d swear that was her knock.”

When he opened the door to find his wife standing there, dressed in her burial clothes, blood dripping from her finger but very much alive, he dropped dead to the floor. He was buried in the plot Margorie had vacated.

Margorie went on to re-marry and have several children. When she did finally die, she was returned to Shankill Cemetery in Lurgan, Ireland, where her gravestone still stands. It bears the inscription “Lived Once, Buried Twice.”

#HistoryVille 😱😱😱

#EndSARS: THE FALLEN UNARMED PEACEFUL NIGERIAN PROTESTER

By Taiwo Sanni

Tell my mother I was unarmed.

Tell my father I had the flag in my hands when I was shot.

Tell the unborn Generation that I died singing the national anthem.

Tell the cowards who shot me that my spirit lives on in the life of every good Nigerian youth.

Tell the government that they shot my body but not my spirit.

Tell the world I died for freedom like many good people before me.

I regret nothing, for I have done what my father’s, mother’s, uncle’s and aunt’s couldn’t do out of fear. Let God judge me, I am only sorry for the pain of leaving you this early.

My prints will forever remain in the sands of history for I have done my time based on the path I chose freely & willingly.

Now that my torment in Nigeria is over, please lay me to rest on mother earth where you all will join me in due time, take my voice and hand it over to the next good youth whom I hope by Gods Almighty grace will benefit a better Nation.

For I know that freedom is coming, yes freedom will come tomorrow.

Good bye…

WHY ME? A Beautiful Message

By Arthur Ashe.

Arthur Ashe was the legendary Wimbledon Tennis Player who was dying of AIDS, which he got due to Infected Blood he received during a Heart Surgery in 1983!

As he lay sick, he received letters from his fans, one of which asked:

“Why did God have to select you for such a bad disease?”

To this Arthur Ashe replied:

50 Million children started playing Tennis,

5 Million learnt to play Tennis,

500 000 learnt Professional Tennis,

50 Thousand came to Circuit,

5 Thousand reached Grand Slam,

50 reached Wimbledon,

4 reached the Semifinals,

2 reached the Finals and

when, I , was holding the winner’s cup in my hand, I never asked God

“Why Me?”

So now that I’m in pain how can I ask God

“Why Me?”

Happiness keeps you Sweet!

Trials keep you Strong!

Sorrows keep you Human!

Failure keeps you Humble!

Success keeps you Glowing!

But only, Faith keeps you Going!

Sometimes you are not satisfied with your life, while many people in this world are dreaming of living your life.

A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead dreams of flying. but, a pilot on the plane sees the farmhouse & dreams of returning home.

That’s life!

Enjoy yours… If wealth is the secret to happiness, then the rich should be dancing on the streets.

But only poor kids do that.

If power ensures security, then VIPs should walk unguarded.
But those who live simply, sleep soundly.

If beauty and fame bring ideal relationships, then celebrities should have the best marriages.

Live simply, be happy! Walk humbly before God and men, and love genuinely, for God our father is LOVE!

WHY ME?

A Beautiful Message not just to read and forward to others, but to apply practically in our personal lives.
Good day, folks!

Please take time to share the pieces above.

Blessings.

God is Not a Christian

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

The construction of Hagia Sophia church with its characteristic pendative dome was completed in the year 537. The project started in the year 360. Hagia Sophia which means – Holy Wisdom in Greek was the Constantinople seat of Byzantine Orthodoxy which had severed relationship with Roman Catholicism. When the ancient city where Hagia Sophia is located was captured by the Papacy during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 the church was converted to Rome.

In 1261, the Byzantines recaptured their city and church. Constantinople was named after Constantine the Great (227-337 AD) the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. However by 1453 the city became Istanbul and Hagia Sophia, a mosque under the Ottoman Turk, Mehmed the Conqueror. That was when its minarets were added and the crosses, icons removed with the images within plastered over with various Arabesque features.

In 1923, the historic edifice was converted into a secular museum by the founder of modern Turkey, General Kemal Atatürk. Most of its original imagery were then restored. The United Nations would eventually declare it as a World Heritage Site.
By July 24, 2020, Hagia Sophia would revert back to a mosque again. The Turkish presidential order has already been signed. Many in Christendom are worried, others concerned. I am neither for 2 main reasons. First,

I totally subscribe to the Solomonic axiom – “The race is not for the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to the men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all” Second, I remain an acolyte of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who told the story n 1989; “of a drunk who crossed the street and accosted a pedestrian, asking him, “I shay, which ish the other shide of the shtreet?” The pedestrian, somewhat nonplussed, replied, “That side, of course!” The drunk said, “Shtrange. When I wash on that shide, they shaid it wash thish shide.”

His Grace Tutu went on; “Where the other side of the street is depends on where we are. Our perspective differs with our context, the things that have helped to form us; and religion is one of the most potent of these formative influences, helping to determine how and what we apprehend of reality and how we operate in our own specific context.” The Nobel laureate eventually rested his argument; “My first point seems overwhelmingly simple: that the accidents of birth and geography determine to a very large extent to what faith we belong. The chances are very great that if you were born in Pakistan you are a Muslim, or a Hindu if you happened to be born in India, or a Shintoist if it is Japan, and a Christian if you were born in Italy. I don’t know what significant fact can be drawn from this — perhaps that we should not succumb too easily to the temptation to exclusiveness and dogmatic claims to a monopoly of the truth of our particular faith. You could so easily have been an adherent of the faith that you are now denigrating, but for the fact that you were born here rather than there.

My second point is this: not to insult the adherents of other faiths by suggesting, as sometimes has happened, that for instance when you are a Christian the adherents of other faiths are really Christians without knowing it. We must acknowledge them for who they are in all their integrity, with their conscientiously held beliefs; we must welcome them and respect them as who they are and walk reverently on what is their holy ground, taking off our shoes, metaphorically and literally. We must hold to our particular and peculiar beliefs tenaciously, not pretending that all religions are the same, for they are patently not the same. We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.”

Tutu concluded; “God is not a Christian, Nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu…: God Dwells with Us, in Us, Around Us, as Us”

In the 1567 year history of the existence of Hagia Sophia it has withstood massive earthquakes in years 553, 558, 869 and 1344. This UN World Heritage Site has outlived wars, famines, plagues and indeed dictators, emperors and kings including presidents. It has been a constantly recurring decimal in the politicization of religion in Constantinople, now Istanbul at that crucial junction in modern-day Turkey where Europe meets the Middle East. Simply put the issue is beyond religion, it is another chess game in the “Clash of Civilizations”
Hagia Sophia will therefore outlive President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and return to its origin status as a church one day. Whether or not it happens during our lifetime is beside the point. So why bother? As the ancients wisely put it; “Only 3 things cannot remain hidden for long, the Sun, the Moon and the Truth”

Tick, tock, tick, tock…………

Just begin

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A very inspiring tale to encourage you.

Just after I received my fee structure from Moi University for my PhD, totalling N850,000 in 2012, I met my dad, Alhaji Abubakar at Cooperative bank in Kaduna.

I explained to him that I had the admission letter and he smiled.

I told him however, “Baba, there is a problem. They need N850,000.”

He held my hands, then slowly but reassuringly, said, “Just begin, my son.”

To ensure his point went home, he got into his account and gave me N14,000 in an account that had N20,000.

I was touched.

I added N16000 and paid N30,000 into the account, and my journey to PhD began.

Today, having reached the dream, I remember the words of my father.

In everything you do, always remember, JUST BEGIN.

Just begin, no matter how difficult it seems to be.

It appeared to be difficult, but as time lapsed, I realised dad was right.

At some point after my defence, I gave up.

I still had a solid N300,000 to pay and they wouldn’t give me a chance for my final defence.

Then came a very unlikely help.

I had supported a gentleman to undertake a project evaluation two times in the year.

I received his call cautiously asking me to meet him.

He was carrying a brown envelop in his hand.

He began, “Aliyu, you will forgive me if you find my action inappropriate. For two consecutive times you have given me a job without asking for a Cent. This is very unusual with many people. I did not know how to approach you, but I am deep with gratitude. Please accept my small gift.”

I quickly peered into the envelope and saw they were two bundles, likely in hundreds.

He confirmed that it was N200,000.

I told him, “I have helped so many people, many known to me, some were my school mates who never returned a Cent. God bless you. Please don’t give it to me. Pay it straight into the university account.”

I couldn’t believe it.

The words of my father, “My son, just begin” came to mind.

Don’t worry how it will end.

Just begin.

If you are building a house, just begin.

If you are planning to buy land, just begin.

If you want to continue with your education, just begin.

If you want to pay dowry, just begin.

Nothing is more powerful than that advice.

We just need to begin.

And I have revised this philosophy.

Whenever someone is doing something, I always encourage them to just keep trying.

When things get thick, I always say, keep walking.

When things are intimidating, ignore.

Let’s keep trying.

Don’t give up on life just because your challenges appear to be insurmountable.

Do not be defeated before you begin.

Whatever looks like a mountain will soon become an anthill…but only if you begin.

Not long ago, someone asked me, “Aliyu, are we going to manage to build the office we want?”

My answer, “Let’s just begin.”

I believe in the power of starting.

No one loses a race until they respond to the sound of the gun and begin.

The secret lies in beginning.

Overtime, God has seen me through a number of projects because of this philosophy.

I have parcels of land that I acquired by simply paying N50,000…and, overtime, these have multiplied.

I persuade you this day never to allow yourself to be threatened by the size of your problem.

Begin in a small way to do something about it.

If it is lack of money do something small to get something for yourself.

If it is a marital issue, look for a way to solve it.

In whatever you face, just begin.

Even those with big debts can do something about it.

Just begin and it will shrink each day.

I was not a millionaire, but sometime ago, I wanted to have a feeling of being one.

I drew a plan of how to hold a million in my account, at least for a few days.

After some months of beginning, I discovered it was possible.

Three years and half of savings later, I got my first ever million.

Even though I used it later on investments and expenses, it felt so good.

Let’s all begin.

Let’s ignore naysayers and prophets of doom that believe we can’t do it.

JUST BEGIN!

MY SECRET SIN

Anonymous author

That Friday night, I was supposed to be in the vigil leading the worship song but there I was in Fred’s bed moaning in painful pleasure as he cuddled and caressed me.

Being the choir mistress, I was the one to take the worship songs that night but I manoeuvred my way to his home.

“Can we go another round?” Fred asked teasingly.

“You don’t get tired? Oliver Twist,” I said staring at the wall clock. It was few minutes before 1 a.m.

“I need to join them in the church,” I said uncovering myself from the bedsheets and hurriedly picked up my dress from the floor.

“It’s already late and dangerous out there. Just pass the night here again please.”

“Akuna! It’s better late than never. Don’t forget, I’m the one taking the worship.”

“Do you want to get raped out there? The one I gave you is not enough for you, right?” he asked mockingly as he sat upright on his bed placing a pillow on his laps to hide his erected stuff.

“I won’t get raped because we are going together. Dress up please.”

“Have you gone insane?” he giggled. “I just finished feasting with the devil and you expect me to go to the presence of God? Come on babe, I still have conscience.”

“What are you insinuating? Are you saying I don’t have conscience? Thank you for reminding me that I’m Jezebel.” I said trying to ease the guilt.

I hurriedly picked my Bible and my scarf from the floor and dashed out of the room.

“Onyeche, wait let me see you off,” I heard his voice from a distance.

That was not the first night I spent in his house in the name of vigil, neither was it the second nor third.

You may think that was the worst thing I have done. No, I did worse than that. I aborted two babies for Fred, the assistant prayer band leader who was always leading the prayer section.

My father who was a well thought of elder in the church was glad that her daughter was burning for God.

I was not just deceiving my father, I was deceiving the members of the church, I was deceiving the pastor whose favourite I was.

Never had he ministered without me acting as the backup singer. He trusted and believed so much in me. And above all, I was deceiving myself as my self-worth was dwindling.

When I got to the church, Agnes was still leading the praise section.

It seemed she was stylishly waiting for my arrival to take the worship section as I was considered to be the most fire-branded member of the church.

As the choir mistress, I was supposed to be seated at the front seat, but I sat behind so that my incoming would not be noticed.

I glanced through the pulpit, the pastor’s gaze was on me and I trembled within as he signaled an invitation.

“Onyeche, what happened?” he asked affectionately.

“Daddy I slept off,” I lied kneeling beside him without any iota of the fear of God.
“I wanted to rest before time but when I woke up, it was already very late. I told myself that it’s better late than never.”

“I know you ‘ll come regardless what. Thank you,” he said smiling and patting me on my shoulder. “Hope you are prepared.”
“I’m always prepared daddy.”

Right at the pulpit I was confidently lying to the man of God. Yet, unlike the days of Peter, there was no discernment, I would have fallen dead like Ananias and Sapphira but there, I was being praised.

Like the pastor’s praise was not enough, when I climbed the podium, I was welcomed with a standing ovation by the congregation. They yelled and shouted my name. Others jumped to their feet shouting and clapping. My head was becoming larger like I was sharing the glory of God with him, that’s if I did not steal it all. Had they known that I just left Delilah’s lap, or maybe I was even the Delilah. Had they known I just left the dungeon of sin, just like the lady of Magdalene, they would have picked up stone.

I struck the mic with a finger and the sound was pleasant to my hearing.

“Alleluuuuuuuia!” I shouted into the mic, stressing my word and the crowd yelled even louder.

“Can we just compose ourselves as we worship the El shaddai, the Elohim, The King of kings, the Lord of lords, the I am that I am, mandalekatushaldaba,” I burst into tongue. “The Bible says, God is a Spirit and they that must worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

As I was trying to elate the crowd, I saw Fred enter the church. Well built, muscular and light in complexion. Like the Biblical Joseph, very handsome and good to behold. I still doubt if I were the only one in the church he was having an affair with. Many of those young girls flopped around him calling him papa and M.O.G.

He was also very much adored and loved in the church because of his activeness yet, my partner in sin.

“Close your eyes and lift up your hands unto the Lord as we worship him.”

As I began to sing deeper, those emotional tears began to pour from my eyes.

Some of the people were also singing and crying while others were blasting in tongues.

I glanced at Fred, with hands akimbo, he was shaking and nodding his head in all direction as though he was translated to another realm.

His voice was louder than every other person. It seemed he was trying to tell them that he prayed in tongue more than any of them as he seldom pray in the language of men.

It may surprise you to know that Fred was not the only person I was sleeping with.

I did those abominable acts outside the church too. I was scared that my evil deeds would one day be exposed if I involve other members. So, whenever those decent boys in my church asked my out, even for a serious relationship, I will politely turn them down preaching the gospel to them. Telling them how it’s going to affect our relationship with God but there was never a no from me to the outsiders: the fallen brethren as they will never be in my church to see me pray or sing.

You see eh! You would want to blame me for this hypocrisy of the highest order. Go ahead. Judge me, condemn me. Cast the first stone but remember, you didn’t die for me. It is Christ that died. Yes, it is God that justifies.

You may think I did not feel sad for myself. You may think I loved what I was doing.

No, to me, it was also disgusting. It made me look so dirty like a pig. It made feel like I did not belong to the family of the true children of Jesus Christ.

I have judged myself enough, so you don’t have to judge me again. If there’s anything to do, it’s to pray for me because secretly, I was dying.

Just like the church of Sardis, I had the reputation of being alive but I was dead. Yes, I had the reputation of being vibrant and burning for God but I was on my way to hell.

You may think I was not born again. Well, I was genuinely born again.

I spoke in the tongues of angels, I’ve received the gift of the Holy Spirit, yet, I was swimming in sin.

On Facebook and other social media, I was an apostle of holiness as I never ceased preaching and posting scriptures on my wall. My WhatsApp status was always preaching Christ but my lifestyle was contrary to the faith.

Apostle Paul said that he’s the worst of all sinners. I don’t want to drag that position with Elder Paul but one thing is certain, nobody can drag the second slot with me.

My situation became critical when I became addicted to sex. Sex became my driving force.

I was always happy during weekly fellowship as it was the only opportunity to visit Fred before heading to church together.

After fellowship, we’d return to his home for more fun before he would see me off.

When I could not make it to Fred’s home, I resorted to masturbation.

There was no single day passed by without me masturbating as I began to find it more pleasurable than sex.

Even on Sunday morning, before service, I would masturbate at home before handling the microphone on the pulpit to lead the praise and worship.

Don’t think I ever felt comfortable at the pulpit.

I hated myself for what I was doing. I only needed a way out of my predicament.

I was always kneeling at the front of the altar for every altar call. But that same evening, I would be in my room thrusting myself with cucumber.

I have gone days without food and water in the name of fasting but to no avail.

You see! Haven’t I tried?

You that want to judge me, how many days have you gone fasting and praying for your own secret sin? Or do you want to tell me that you’re not battling with any private sin?

Man may not be watching you but God watches everything that happens even in the most secret place.

So, please don’t judge me. I understand hypocrisy already. Or have you not read that you should get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye?

Oh young minister, put yourself right with God first and then we can sit down and talk judgment.

There was this day I rounded off my seven days fasting and prayer. I made up my mind never to see Fred again, never to masturbate again and never to see any guy again.

My determination worked perfectly well for weeks but after a month, I found myself in Fred’s bed again.

Pathetic, right? Very pathetic indeed. Fred shouted at me with rage and almost hit me for keeping him for a whole month without sex.

He threatened to quit the relationship but I begged with tears. The only thing that calmed him down was when I promised to spend the night with him instead of going to the vigil.

When it was dawn, I carried my Bible and went home. I did not just return to Fred, I returned to my old way of life.

For years, I continued living such a wayward and bitter life until one particular night.

After satisfying my inordinate desire, I picked up my Bible as usual and began to flip through its pages just to fulfill all righteousness and ease the guilt I was feeling.

I read several pages randomly. The urge to study that night was stronger than the urge for masturbation, even stronger than the urge for sex.

I continued reading carelessly until I came across Psalm 145:18-19.

I read it over and over, then over and over and over and over. For more than a dozen time, I was reading just these two verses.

I read it until it sank so deeply to my innermost being.

As I continued reading, tears began to well up in my eyes.

These were not the emotional tears I used to shed at the pulpit. These were tears I even tried to control but couldn’t.

When my Bible was getting soaked, I closed it and dropped it on my bed.

The next thing that happened was mysterious. I found myself on the floor, rolling, crying and praying.
“Lord, it’s either now or never. I die here tonight.

“Tonight, I bring into captivity every thought and fleshly pleasure to the obedience of Christ.

“My strength, my ability, my will, my wisdom, everything has failed me. It’s just you now oh Lord.

“Lord, may I never see the rising of the sun again until I’m delivered from every devourer.

“Lord Jesus, except you want me to die in my sin, you will deliver me tonight.”

I knew I was disturbing my parents and probably, neighbours but my problem was bigger than one sleepless night.

I thought I was disturbing my parents, but it didn’t take much time before I heard them blasting in tongues from their room.

That night, I didn’t sleep. Even when I wanted to sleep, I could not. I prayed till dawn then slept off.

When I woke up, it was around 9 a.m. I switched on my phone and it was Fred’s message that came in.

Gud mrning lov,
D tot of U cudn’t allow
me sleep last 9t.
I mesmerized ova ur
beauty & ur magical
touch till dawn.
Wherever U ar is
exactly where I wnt 2 b
I’ve wasted too much
time already.
I dnt wnt 2 waste
anoda single day
without U & I’m ready 2
make it up 4 d lost
time.
Baby do U mind
comin ova later in d
day?
I no U wudnt mind.
I love U. Expecting U
dear, kisses.

I stared at my phone a bit confused if to reply or not. After a second thought, I pulled off my sim card and broke it into pieces.

“I’m starting afresh,” I murmured. And as if pushed by an external force, I opened my drawer. I stared at the cucumbers and the toys I bought and shame overwhelmed me. Slowly, I began to break everything. “I’m done with you,” I spoke to the toy as though it could hear. “I’m done with sin,” I continued talking to myself.

As I searched my room thoroughly for all the instruments of sin, a song came to my lips.

I’m no longer a slave
To sin (fear),
I am a child of God.

I sang only the chorus for hours reminding myself who I’ve become.

Days rolled into weeks and weeks into months, I did not go to Fred’s home neither did I do anything stupid.

I thought of Fred several times and the urge came powerfully sometimes. Of course, I’m human.

The urge was there but the power and grace to overcome was stronger.

I would stare at the mirror and applaud myself for not going back to the way it used to be.

I would use my right hand to shake my left hand in jubilation congratulating myself.

I still remember when I took myself out on a date. Funny, isn’t it? That’s what we called self-crush.

You may think I over acted. I don’t really mind.

You will never know what it is like to be free until you have found freedom in Christ Jesus. I am sure you will celebrate more than I did.

One of the mistakes the devil made was that he still allowed me to fellowship with the brethren even in my sin.

He still allowed me to pray and study even after committing those evil acts.

If he was wise, he would have cut me off from the gathering of the brethren.

Had he known, he would have sealed my lips from praying to God who was actually waiting for me to call upon Him.

And because he was not all knowing, he couldn’t stop me from praying and he couldn’t have ever stopped God from answering my prayer.

After three months, I found myself in Fred’s house again.

I was surprised too because I thought I’d never go there again but it’s like I was compelled.

No! It’s not what you are thinking. Haba na! I did not go alone. I went with the Most High. I went to offer him Christ.

I stood at the door feeling reluctant to knock. After a while, I did.

He opened the door and was surprised to see me. He stood at the door confused whether to let me in or not. We stood in total silence staring at each other.

After awhile, I broke the silence, “Fred, I’m….”

“No! No! No!” he cut in. “You don’t need to be sorry,” he said emphatically. I should be the one apologising.

“Onyeche, I’m sorry, it’s over between us.”
“Over?” I asked faking the surprise just to hear more.

“Please forgive me Onyeche, you’re now my past.”

“Fred, what happened? Did I do anything wrong?” The woman in me wouldn’t tell him the reason I visited. I wanted to feed my curiosity.

“No Onye, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that I have found true love.”

“Fred will never change,” I chuckled. “Is that why you couldn’t even welcome me in? Is she inside?”

“Nobody is in,” he said paving the curtain to give me a better view of the room.

“You mean your love for me was never true? Where did I get it wrong Fred?” I enquired just to hear his opinion because from onset, I knew we were into an illicit love affair that will lead to nowhere except hell.

“Onyeche, I must confess, you were not my first love. I left my first love for you. I thought I could hold on to both of you at a time but it’s never possible. I’ve decided to return and start all over again with my first love.”

“Hmm! Who could that be Fred? You told me you love me and promised never to let me go.”

“This love is different from what I felt for you then,” he said confidently exuding great joy.

“This love is genuine. This love is pure. This love doesn’t fail. This love has covered my past and given a future. This love is shed abroad in my heart.” He was nodding his head as he spoke with total peace.

“Onyeche,” he called placing his hands on my shoulders. “I HAVE FOUND TRUE LOVE IN CHRIST JESUS. I have returned to my first love. Onyeche, there is no better love than the love of Christ. There is no love outside Christ. What have we gained from the sin we called love? What has fornication added to our lives? Why not give this love a chance to find its expression in your life?”

The joy I felt in my spirit knew no bounds when I heard those words from Fred.

“Fred, this love is what brought me here. This love found me some months back. I came here just to offer you this love but I’m overwhelmed with joy to know that this love has found you too. This is miraculous.”

“It is the Lord’s doing,” he said. “Do you mind coming in?” he added leading the way.

“No, I don’t mind,” I replied as I followed from behind.

This time around, I was not on his bed. We knelt beside his bed in prayer thanking God for His unfailing love, amazing grace and His undeserved mercy.

I was dead, and now alive again; I was lost, and found.

I am Onyeche, I only exist in
#Adogasimagination.

DEDICATION
To all those in the church of God but still struggling with one sin or the other.

Don’t just relax in that sin. Hold on to Christ for a little while.

He is more interested in helping you than you are interested in helpinghelping yourself. Just one more prayer and you will see the handiwork of God.

Remain blessed. See a good follow up to that choir mistress story. Thank God that she repented, anyway.

We can speak in tongues and miss heaven.
We can win souls and miss heaven.
We can see vision and miss heaven.
We can prophesy and still miss heaven.
We can cast out devil and miss heaven.
We can perform miracles and still miss heaven.
We can read the whole Bible and miss heaven.
We can attend all church services, fellowship activities and camp meetings and miss heaven.
We can have anointing and miss heaven.
We can have all spiritual gifts and miss heaven.
We can be rich, prosperous and wealthy and still miss heaven.
We can give and sow seeds and still miss heaven.
We can wield power and be influential and still miss heaven.
We can have a powerful voice to sing and miss heaven.
we can also have fame and popularity and miss heaven.
•••But we cannot LIVE A HOLY LIFE and miss heaven•••
HOLINESS IS THE REAL DEAL!
Without holiness through salvation in Christ, one will not make heaven.

Forwarding this is Evangelism.
Let us win a soul for Christ.

*COPIED*

THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS

*Copied from a whatsapp post

A young man saw his primary school teacher on a wedding.
He went to greet him with all the respect and admiration.
He said to him:
“Do you remember me, Teacher?”
The teacher said: “No, introduce yourself.”
The student said: “I was your student in the 3rd Grade, I am the one who stole the watch of a child in the classroom. I will remind you but I am sure you remember the story.”

One of the boys in my class had a beautiful watch, so I decided to steal it.
He came to you crying that someone had stolen his watch.
You asked us to stand so as to search our pockets.
I realized that my action would be exposed in front of the Students and Teachers.
I will be called a thief, a liar and my character will be shattered forever.

You asked us to stand and face the wall and close our eyes completely.
You went searching from pocket to pocket, and when you reached my pocket you pulled the watch out of my pocket, and you continued until you searched the last student.

After you finished you asked us to open our eyes and to sit on our chairs.
I was afraid you will expose me in front of the students.

You showed the watch to the class, and gave it back to the boy, and you never mentioned the name of the one who stole the watch.
You never said a word to me, and you never mentioned the story to anyone.

Throughout my school life, none of the teachers nor the students talked about me stealing the watch.
I thought to myself you saved my dignity that day.

Do you remember me?
How can you not remember me, Teacher?
I was your student and I am sure you remember the story, that I stole the watch and you did not want to embarrass me. This story is unforgettable.

The teacher said: “I can’t remember who stole the watch that day, because I searched the pockets of all of you while my eyes were also closed.”

Education needs wisdom. We should be able to be such Teachers, such Parents, such Leaders and be able to be for people in such circumstances.
We should always calculate the consequences of our actions.

☺💙Have a pleasant day

An Economic Sermon

By Kalu Aja

In the Bible, we read an interesting story of Spiritualism, Economics and Trade.

God speaks to Egyptian President by giving him a strange dream of lean cows eating fat cows.

Alarmed the Egyptian President summoned his Intelligence Agencies, his Cabinet and Special Assistants on Religious Affairs, all his top Advisers, but noone could decipher the message in the dream.

Then an Adviser previously in EFCC custody remembered a former inmate who was very good in analysis of data. He tells Mr President who summons Joseph. Joseph shaves, wears a nice suit and goes before the President. Joseph hears the data from the President, & responds;

A. There will be an oil boom that will increase the wealth of the Egyptian Government. The Government will make a lot of money for 7 years.

B. Then after 7 years, the oil boom will end and the world will enter a recession.

At this point, Joseph is now giving his own advise to the President.

Joseph tells the President;

“Set up a Sovereign Wealth Fund, save 25% of the oil wealth for those 7 boom years. Look for a man, discrete & wise to act as Chief Economic Adviser to implement the plan”

What Joseph did here was to identify the problem, give a solution, and then offer himself a pathway to becoming a man “discrete and wise” to implement the solution he advised.

Pharaoh agreed, made Joseph Chief Economic Adviser of the Federation. As recession swept across the world, Egypt became the center of the world, all nations came to Egypt to trade, Egypt became richer, Joseph became a Super Minister

The End

What is the lesson of this story?

1. President: You’re only as good as the Advisers your surround yourself with.

2. Pastors, its not enough to give prophesies, if God revels something to you, He will also give you an interpretation with clear dates & solutions, Prophecy without direction is useless.

3. Entrepreneur, referrals will make or break your business. Joseph was referred to the President by a client he “traded” with when he just a startup, treat your early customers like kings.

4. As a Person, Educate yourself. Joseph gave the “Spiritual”, but then followed up with the “Economic”. keep learning.

5. The Economy; every economic boom is followed by a recession, every recession creates opportunities for people that prepared during the recession.

In the Universe; there is no such thing as luck in wealth generation. it’s always planned. noone is lucky.

Egypt became wealthy because they stored grain for 7 years and became a trading post.

Dubai, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Singapore are today’s Egypt.

x

@FinPlanKaluAja1

Girls at War: A Review

This a personal & non-academic review of Chinua Achebe’s Short story ‘Girls at War’. Originally done for a Whatsapp book discussion group but which I’ve been encouraged to share far & wide. The Short Story ‘Girls at War’ is from the collection of Nigerian civil war time short stories of the same title by Chinua Achebe.

Let’s start with the title, I have always had thing for titles.

Have you ever seen teenage girls fight? Well, if you have then simply multiply the confused, abusive, scratchy, revealing spectacle a few times over & you have ‘Girls at War’. Girls play dirty & fight crazy. Maturity & civility goes out the window. Fairness remains a distant past, order is lost completely, wisdom a mirage & a ‘strip tease’ a strong possibility, very much expected by amused bystanders, who watch with keen selfish interest.

Even those who step in to separate the Waring ladies will have their motives questioned, especially if they are male. (And in these modern days, even female ‘referees’ get their sexual preferences scrutinized also).

Who to grab, where to hold, what to say, to laugh or not, how to behave, self preservation, (dangerously essential for guys with their two very fragile natural passengers to worry about).

Now if you’re the poor fellow the warring girls are in battle over, you’re not on your own for nobody minds their business anymore. Everyone is in your face nowadays. Blaming everyone & you, for the ‘hurt’ girl is always right by default these days.

‘Who rules the world?’, don’t ask Beyonce, just read the tabloids. “That time done pass. Now everybody want (their say). They call it (free speech). You put your number six; I put my number six.
Everything (is) all right.”

Nigeria was at war with Biafra, is the setting of the story & Biafra was doing quite badly. War is the art of survival. Which of the the two sexes is most dexterous in the practicalities of survival? Girls are at War, perpetually.

The manipulation in daily living is survival, one that is sired in us from that maiden race down a ‘penish’ tube, as we aim to win the fertilization laurel & indirectly cause the demise of millions of our first ‘spermy’ peers.

This a story of changing priorities, of changing times & changing people surprising themselves & but not really altering stereotypes & established perceptions.

The first hint of romance is carried through, ’till death do them part’. The young Gladys clad in khaki, searching cars at a roadblock in the early days of the war, changed into a reluctant battle field for troops to ‘not march in’. The privileged intellectualism of Reginald Nwankwo of the Biafran Ministry of Justice is reduced to the pettiness of the pursuit of luxuries everywhere, that will end with ‘drilling his troops’ in Gladys’ ‘battle field’.

The war efforts had commenced with enthusiast children ‘who marched up and down the streets at the time drilling with sticks and wearing their mothers’ soup bowls for steel helmets.’ Alongside them was the jest of the likes of ‘the contingent of girls from a local secondary school marching behind a banner: WE ARE IMPREGNABLE!’

By the time Gladys & Reginald crossed paths for a third & final time, eighteen months of ‘Death and starvation’ had long
chased out the headiness of the early days.’

Amidst the lackness in
blank suicidal resignation of multitudes, Reginald towed Gladys along to a party with the better-off few feeding off the war. Those ‘who had no other desire than whatever good things were still going and to enjoy themselves to the limit. ‘But unlike these strange lot, normalcy had not returned to the rest of the world. ‘Girls became girls once more and boys boys,’ only in the parties of these priviledges few, as the world around them ‘was a tight, blockaded and desperate world.’

Living in these war days made
heads of stockfish & tinned meat a very privileged luxury and the likes of ‘the dreadful American stuff called Formula Two’ heaped on the populace by international relief bringers. Reginald’s contacts kept him within easy reach of a variety of relief stuffs like ‘rice, beans and that excellent cereal commonly called Gabon gari.’ He has an official car & a driver to ferry him through the land & a bomb shelter within reach of his home to weather the horrific fear of air-raids.

Reginald Nwankwo is fortunate and not one of ‘the starved scarecrow crowd of rags and floating ribs’, reduced ‘by the independent accusation of their wasted bodies and sunken eyes’ as they perpetually hung around relief centres, making crude, ungracious remarks like “War Can Continue!”

Reginald did the best he could to keep the clutches of kwashiokor out of the reach of his driver’s (Johnson) home by making sure that whenever he got sizeable supplies he gave some to Johnson, for his wife and six or
seven kids.

At one pound per cigarette cup in the market, Gari might as well be caviar for most ordinary folks. Something has to give & always did. Priorities changed & things like respect & sympathy lowered in standard, so much that only pretty girls get rides in staff cars, not begging old women.

When gentleman say to a pretty girl, ‘I broke my rule today to give you a lift. I never give lifts these
days”, it’s not love or fondness, it is good old sweaty panting lust. When a girl braves bomb raids on the road to a major city during a war & tells you ;“I am going to visit my girlfriend,” it’s good old fashioned survival hunting.

Gladys got the bush meat she came out for in a comfy bed, party fun, good food & scarce money. Reginald got the ‘match’ he wanted to win for a looooooooong time.

“But your family is not there with you?” “No,” he said. “Nobody has his family there. We like to say it is because of air-raids but I can assure you there is more to it. Owerri is a real swinging town and we live the life of gay bachelors.” “That is what I have heard.” Gladys heard the hunting is good in the Owerri metropolitan bush and she came to get lucky.

In a real swinging party hosted by a Lieutenant-Colonel, in the real fun of the moment, she saw someone better than Reginald and fell in-love with what she saw in a man for the first time in Owerri & as it turned out, for the last time. While Reginald was ashamed of himself, hating the parties and frivolities to which his friends clung like drowning men, Gladys found her mojo.

Still it was always about taking a girl home for the classy dude & Reginald was always a classic guy who wants to get the babe. ‘And this particular girl too, who had once had such beautiful faith in the struggle and was betrayed (no doubt about it) by some man like him out for a good time.’

This personified the entire story for me. Gladys is the ‘Girl at War’ with the circumstances she has found herself in & setting out to make the best of it. Just like a young controversial nation at war with the circumstances it found itselt & making a whole mess of it. And five decades later, that region of the nation is still making a mess of the politics of it, playing the blame game still.

Their last morning together, Reginald felt better as he saw Gladys as ‘a mirror reflecting a society that had gone completely rotten and maggoty at the centre. The mirror itself was intact; a lot of smudge but no more. All that was needed was a clean duster.’ One that is still being awaited over fifty years later. And like the bold Biafran experience, Gladys ventured to be bold & heroic at the moment that called for it. Like Biafra, she ended her in a monumental crash of her world in a charred, smoking and entangled remains of the girl and that didn’t what ‘troops to match’ in her insides.

Sadly, the story is a comical but romantic take on how wrong it could be when it feels so right, like fighting a war to regain the peace the war shattered.

Yas Niger

Kaduna, Nigeria

Sculptor of God

By an Anonymous Writer

Enjoy & meditate on it….

“A German once visited a temple under
construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God.

Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, “Do you need two statues of the same idol?”
“No,” said the sculptor
without looking up, “We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage.”

The gentleman
examined the idol and found no apparent damage.
“Where is the damage?” he asked.
“There is a scratch on the nose of the idol,” said the sculptor, still
busy with his work.

“Where are you going to install the idol?”
The sculptor replied that it would be
installed on a
pillar twenty feet high.

“If the idol is that far who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?” The gentleman asked.

The sculptor stopped work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, “I will know it.”

The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not.

“Excellence” is a
drive from inside, not outside. Excellence is not for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction and efficiency.

Don’t Climb a Mountain with an Intention that the World Should See You,
Climb the Mountain with the Intention to See the World.

CELESTIAL ASS

Copied from facebook

The Pastor entered his donkey in a race and
it won.
The Pastor was so pleased with the donkey
that he entered it in the race again and it won again.
The local paper read:
PASTOR’S ASS OUT FRONT.

The Bishop was so upset with this kind of
publicity that he ordered the Pastor not to enter the donkey in another race.
The next day the local paper headline read:
BISHOP SCRATCHES
PASTOR’S ASS.

This was too much for the Bishop so he
ordered the Pastor to get
rid of the donkey.
The Pastor decided to give it to a Nun in a
nearby convent.
The local paper, hearing of the news, posted
the following headline the next day:
NUN HAS BEST ASS IN TOWN.

The Bishop fainted.
He informed the Nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey so she sold it to a farm for $10.
The next day the paper read:
NUN SELLS ASS FOR $10

This was too much for the Bishop so he
ordered the Nun to buy back
the donkey and lead it to the plains where
it could run wild.
The next day the headlines read:
NUN ANNOUNCES HER ASS IS WILD AND FREE.

The Bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is . . . being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery . . . even shorten your life.
So be yourself and enjoy life.
Stop worrying about everyone else’s ass
and just cover your own !!!
You’ll be a lot happier and live longer!

Have a great week guys & dolls ♥️

OPTIONAL  SLAVERY (2)

Second part of the series from the collection of short stories…

Everyone Hates The English

Check it out on amazon or Smashwords https://www.amazon.com/Friendly-Foes-Sentiments-Yas-Niger/dp/1530486718?qid=1538349815&refinements=p_27%3AYas+Niger&s=Books&sr=1-18&text=Yas+Niger&ref=mp_s_a_1_18

Enjoy!!!

OPTIONAL SLAVERY

Joe is the last born and just belatedly finished secondary school at twenty. He didn’t look his age and appears to be age mates with Thomas, his fourteen year old nephew and Mammy’s first child. Most people assume they are both Mama Cyril’s final twins and the family gives its tacit approval to that innocent mistake.
Joe is glad to hear credentials wouldn’t be needed for the trip because he has none. He had accidently burnt his birth and basic school certificates with old
magazines after a general house clean up two years back. When the call to leave all documents with Mama comes, he plans to lie that he had misplaced his somewhere in the house. He didn’t sit for his final secondary school exams just a month earlier.

He chose to buy a new iPhone with the registration fee Mama gave him instead. As such, there wouldn’t be a new certificate for him in a couple of weeks either and all hell will break loose when Mama Cyril learns this too, after a futile search for his older certificates. Being far away in Europe when she discovers will be a life saver.

The planned trip to Europe is God sent for Rueben also, he is the third boy and second to the last child. He is the most industrious of the seven, works at almost
everything, everywhere and for anyone. He is hardworking and gifted. He kept getting all sorts of training from various people on diverse technical disciplines.
Rueben is never idle and always involved in something to earn a buck. He also contributes to the upkeep of the large house hold from his meager earnings without
batting an eye. Mama Cyril could always depend on Rueben to do his best for himself and for everyone else. Rueben had worked his way through his five
gruesome years in a federal tertiary technical institute, graduating with distinction.
It is a marvel that Rueben has been unable to secure stable decent employment.

Rueben has big dreams of making it abroad. He has enough talent, ingenuity, training and drive to make it under the dedicated and selfless guidance of those
knowledgeable white men, where his abilities and capabilities will be properly rewarded. That hasn’t been the case back here, where he needs to know someone well placed to get employed. Everyone in the family knows Rueben has the best chance of making it in Europe. If Mama Cyril will have two of her children stay behind to assist her, it will include Rueben. But none were more deserving of the trip than Rueben and his older sister Monica, the only other graduate in the family.

Monica is Mama Cyril’s second daughter and third child over all, her favourite and the brain behind Mama Cyril’s business success. None of Monica’s advices
ever goes wrong, she is Mama Cyril’s right hand and that explains why Mama Cyril refuses to let Monica marry the man she claims to love. The chap seemed
decent enough, with a steady job. But Mama Cyril always found something wrong with him to jibe at. The chap’s effort in chipping in his bit to assist with Monica’s
schooling was of no consequence.

Mama Cyril claims he comes from the wrong tribe and cultural background. She insists he is destined for no good because of his name, Shawulu. That is Saul, the devious man who killed decent folks in the Bible.
Shawulu ‘s eyes were either too large or he squints a lot when he stares at folks, resembling a thief surveying his next target. Shawulu comes to the store too often and disturbs Monica in her duties. Shawulu stays till late when he visits Monica at home, no decent man does that. Shawulu doesn’t even bow when he greets Baba Cyril. Then there was the most unforgiveable act of all. Two years after Monica graduated with a degree in Business management, Shawulu intentionally got her pregnant to force the difficult Mama Cyril’s hand into consenting to the marriage between Monica and the hateful Shawulu. Thus Mama Cyril summarily refused to
entertain any more talk of their marriage when she finally got her best excuse.

There was no reasoning with her from that point on and the sole child Monica added to the house hold was the only grandchild Mama Cyril celebrated with an
official naming and church Christening fanfare, all in aid of wrestling Monica from
the affectionate clutches of Shawulu. The incessant visits by Shawulu’s people to placate Mama Cyril and make amends for their son’s shameful act was unaccepted. Baba Cyril benefited from these many visits because the delegations always
came bearing gifts, which didn’t interest Mama Cyril in the slightest and the crafty old man did as he pleased with, after they leave. Monica respects her mother to a fault and kept appealing to Shawulu to wait and be patient.

Shawulu will wait forever, if Mama Cyril got her way. This trip will seal Shawulu’s fate, that is that. A quick run down on the progress so far reveals that Monica was excited about
the trip, yet not entirely sold on the idea. Not telling her beloved Shawulu about it was going to be exceptionally hard but Mama Cyril will always have her way with Monica, that much is certain. So Daniel, Mammy, Joe, Rueben and Monica were all in. Rose is still work in progress but if many men, mostly with the intelligence
quotient of day old chicks, could persuaded her into bedding them, surely making Rose catch a boat to Europe wouldn’t be as hard as tackling an algebra equation.

That leaves out Cyril, first born of the house. Mama intentionally left him for last because he could easily scuffle the whole thing before it even started off, if he
so desired. It was her plan to hear all the others before Cyril. He was the only one she earlier told why she wanted to speak with everyone that late at night. She asked him to keep his thoughts to himself, until he hears all the others. Cyril will keep his word, if he can be convinced to give it. She convinced him and now it is his turn. Mama Cyril had already decided that if Cyril isn’t going, he will have to deal with not being able to stop the others from going. There is never telling before
hand what Cyril will like or will not like, he is that unpredictable, even to his mum.

Cyril is not a social retard, he is just simply too blunt. His mind and mouth had merged into the same cognitive organ and he quite innocently doesn’t think things
through before he speaks. Words just come gushing out his mouth like piss as soon his lips part, just as he would when he opens his fly to ease his bladder. He doesn’t
consider the implication before making a statement, even for the briefest second. Cyril is well aware of this shortcoming of his for years and he had simply come to one conclusion about it, without making the slightest attempt to change it.

Cyril concluded that he can not lie and get away with it. As a direct result of this, he actually doesn’t lie casually. It soon became so obvious that he didn’t lie as
often as those around him. Everyone needs to steer other minds wrongly once in a while, to deflect hostile reactions at least. Cyril struggled to socially relate with the people around him. But for someone who is considered a social nerd of sorts, he is still relied on to be sincere in all his dealings. Everyone listened to him keenly.

“Don’t you all see the news?” Cyril started. “People are dying every day in the Mediterranean sea, that is if they make it that far.” Mama Cyril was ready for that.
“That is if you rely on smugglers and we are not,” Mama Cyril returned.
“Besides it a risk worth taking,” Daniel quickly added.
“Risk our lives and die in a strange land, like wild animals? You call that risk
worth taking?” Cyril returned, but Daniel didn’t answer. Unlike Daniel’s carefree attitude towards life as a whole, Cyril’s approach to life is much less mechanical.
He trusts the human nature to disappoint and this is solidly based on his proven notion that human beings will only bend their nature as far as their joints allow.
“Mama, I suggest you forget this plan. Use the considerable amount you plan to spend to either improve on your business or build the house you have planned.”

Cyril had said his honest mind and that was good enough for his mother, who ignored the audible snicker from Baba Cyril. She was well aware why her husband
chose that moment to insinuate his disapproval. The man couldn’t stand the thought of all that money saved in the bank, out of his reach to squander away on hard liquor drinking and frivolous gambling. To hell with him, Mama Cyril thought.
“Are you contented being the long serving Head master of a private primary school with a rarely paid salary? You are not paid on school holidays, that is a quarter of the year. You can hardly meet just your own personal needs. You have worked there for ten years, with nothing to show for it. You are thirty years old, still with only a lowly teacher’s diploma and still living with your parents. You are unmarried, you can’t save or improve your education, can not get another job and fully dependent on your family for your needs because you earn close to nothing.”

Joe had only meant to sum things up nicely for Cyril but he had by extension touched the minds of all the other too. It had hit home to the others that what was different about Europe was they could have a fighting chance at making their lives better. Cyril knows better than to stand in the way of their dreams, if he was not going to do something about his. He didn’t have to say it, they just all knew he was not going to be difficult, if all the others were decided on leaving for Europe. Though Mama Cyril couldn’t predict her first son, she maneuvered those she
could predict into shackling his unpredictability, such that it is of no consequence if he reveals to be difficult. The simple truth might not ever change, but it can be
ideally shaded. Mama Cyril was spot on in her assessment and reeled in her catch.

Rose was still undecided, she is not sure she will get as much attention from white men like she is getting from black men. She couldn’t possibly compete with
those elegant looking European women out there, with their classy clothes, delicate make up, sophisticated way of walking and sexy way of talking.
“They may not even take us to England and Europeans only speak English in
England,” the stupid Rose was telling herself. She was terrified she wouldn’t be able to cope in Europe and was getting increasingly worried that her siblings will not let her off. Rose didn’t like the uncertainty that came with life in Europe, not to
mention the dangerous difficulty of getting there. Daniel intently watched Rose stiffen her back, without relaxing her stomach
muscles. Rose always has this expressively suggestive manner of carrying her elegant body. Her emotions are clearly revealed in her body language. Initially
Daniel couldn’t appropriately decipher her exact thoughts, then he figured out she was planning on not going with them. But Daniel wanted Rose to come along more than any of the others and for a good reason too.

A month or so earlier the elastic string holding Rose’s under pants suddenly snapped beneath her flowing gown, just as they started the long walk back home from church. With nothing to keep her panties from falling down to her ankles, the silly girl had tried to hold her loose panties in place without using her hands. As a
result, she had to walk with her thighs clamped up. Daniel had noticed something was wrong, inquired and Rose told him of her predicament. He offered her the use of his belt and had to wear his trousers up just that once, in her honour. Every male eye trailed her every move that day too. She had dropped four children already and yet every man still drooled over her. She had to come along with them to Europe.
They will need her out there. The others don’t know it yet but Rose might just hold the keys to their success in Europe. Rose is suited for the role Daniel had in mind, more than the cagy Monica with her proper ways or the aging Mammy, who looked every inch a mummy. Rose could quite easily sustain the lot of them in
their earliest days in Europe, until they can settle in later. She only needs to bat her eyes or wiggle her fanny a couple of times. If they are lucky, she could bloom into a fruit for some unsuspecting rich white dude and settle two thirds of their worries.

As if on cue, Rose batted those thick eyelashes of hers and looked straight at Daniel with eyes like glittering dark brown gems set in white marble. He smiled
and winked at her, urging her with a nod. She smiled back, like some strange inter-galactic alien in a beautiful female human disguise. Rose is his favourite sister by far and she is most fond of him too. He knows how to play her and get favours off her. He was certain she will play this ball and many others too, later in Europe.

It was very late, Baba Cyril yawned and shifted in his seat. They weren’t asking for his consent as usual but he realized he could still get paid if he played his cards right. He only needs to insinuate some subtle threat that could throw spanners in their works. He is not as stupid as his wife makes out. So without minding that his sudden contribution doesn’t relate to the discussion, Baba Cyril shuffled his cards.

“Davido is expecting payment from me tomorrow,” he disclosed.
“Who cares?” Mama Cyril returned and glared at him. Baba Cyril’s stare didn’t waver. His wife knows him very well, he can be cheap when his silly threats are
nipped in the bud. But when ignored and not appeased early enough, he could cause enough stink to attract unnecessary attention. With this important plan for a mass European trip, it is better not to risk it in calling his bluff. The stakes were too
high and he just might do something stupid. Just telling Shawulu before hand will
be distraction enough. Baba Cyril had to be settled and Mama Cyril backed down.

She nodded at Monica and the smart girl responded appropriately. The best
leaders never reveal when they concede, subordinates do it for them so they will never appear weak. Mama Cyril is never weak, rather it is her forte to feed on other people’s weakness and Baba Cyril represents a steady promising field for her most
influence. Once his meals are on time and his daily gulp of medicinal gin is within reach, he rarely makes trouble at home. But the most quarrels the couple have is over his weekly heavy drinking and gambling at a local shack, ran by the respectful Davido. The sly Davido sells locally brewed gin and also doubles as a bookie.
Baba Cyril will run one silly scheme after another around the house and in the community, to fund his weekly evenings at Davido’s. But when there is nothing to be had, Davido is willing to extend some credit to the elderly fellow because he is
confident one of Mammy, Rueben and Monica will always pay up.

Mama Cyril never does, she would rather die, like she repeatedly says at the top of her voice. This is just his latest scheme and a highly lucrative one at that. Monica left the sitting room briefly and returned with a number of crisp money notes of the highest
denomination. Baba Cyril never had it this good. As soon as he received the money from Monica, in full view of everyone, he inspected the notes in the faint candle light. Satisfied with the illuminated imprint of the inserted hidden silvery security
components, he put the money in his pocket and grinned. A metal picture of Judas Iscariot receiving payment for his kiss of betrayal flashed across Cyril’s mind, but
not even the devil would dare to wrestle this hand-out from Baba Cyril now. He will be contended for a couple of weeks and if this hyped European trip is still pending after then, who will deny the old man’s right to have another go at the golden goose. But this night he played along as expected, sang the tune paid for.
He nodded and retire for the night with a spared parting good word to aid his wife.

“You children listen to your mother, she only means well for all of you.” Cyril willingly accompanied his eager mother to the hotel this time around. It
was unanimously agreed by everyone that Cyril should get fully involved in every aspect of the arrangement from then onward. His good eye for probity will come into very decent use to ensure there is no foul play or the family is not taken for a ride by dubious fraudsters. The elderly white man Mama Cyril had met the first time, instantly recognized her the moment she entered the hotel room with Cyril in tow.

When they exchanged greetings, Cyril got his first of two pleasant surprises of the night. In Mama Cyril’s narration to the family about the details she got from her
earlier visit, she said Mimi had called the elderly white man in charge, Mr. Bill.

Cyril already had established suspicions of the whole arrangement, so he had
expected to meet some bossy north African, a sort of middle man for his Arab brothers, taking full advantage of the confusion in their nation to make a fast buck
by smuggling sub-Saharan Africans into Europe. But there was no chance of a mistake in identifying where Mr. Bill is from, he looked it and his accent said it.
“You are English?!” Cyril’s querying remark was laced with his surprise.
“Who did you expect to meet, some ancient Roman?” Mr. Bill responded with a smug grin.

Cyril didn’t acknowledge the joke but he looked more relaxed as Mr.Bill offered them seats. Once seated in one of the two armchairs in the sparsely
furnished hotel room, Cyril faced their elderly European host sitting on the side of the only bed and started off his questioning, with Mama Cyril quietly looking on.
“What is the country of entry?”
“Depends on where the boats arrive or where the intercepting joint European Naval forces take migrant boats to. It is likely Italy or Greece,” Mr. Bill explains.
“You’re sure about this?”
“Nothing is certain in this business but nine out of ten times, the task force is involved and take the boats to Italy or Greece, where the migrants are processed as
legal refugees. But surely you know that once you enter one European country, you can enter all the others?” Mr. Bill fished, hopeful Cyril doesn’t just look educated.
“I do,” Cyril replied but clearly he was not done yet. “And the safety of the trip across to Libya, is that guaranteed?” Cyril asked.
“Yes it is, as well as accommodation and security, up till the point of departure
from the Libyan coast. That is what you will be paying for. Extensive arrangement
that involves seasoned transporters, senior border posts officials, top military brass and government officials in all the nations involved, is in place. I came here after setting it up and I assure you it is working faultlessly and I can prove it now.”

Mr. Bill reached for his cell phone and called a line. From their seats, Mama Cyril and her eldest son could hear the other line ring and a female voice answer.
“Mimi, how are doing?” Mr. Bill spoke into the cell phone resting on his right cheek. Mama Cyril smiled at her son and her eyes almost said: ‘I told you so.’
They already knew Mimi left just three days earlier and hearing it had rushed things for their family. Mr. Bill handed the phone to Cyril, electing to satisfy the son’s more pronounced doubt ahead of his already convinced mother’s.
Cyril accepted the phone, placed in on his right ear and spoke. It was certainly the excited voice of Mimi. No doubt it was Mama James’s little girl at the other end of the line. The notable delay in their exchanges was further prove that Mimi was indeed in a very distant place. She had only good things to say about the efficacy
of the whole arrangement. Mimi said her boat trip has been paid for and she will be heading across the calm Mediterranean waters very early the next morning.
Mama Cyril had her turn. She incredibly managed to scream out enough pleasantries, prayers and information in a single minute to last the girl’s lifetime before reluctantly handing back the phone to Mr. Bill. She withdrew her chubby arm, which looked rather like an enlarged midget’s sinewy arm. The fold of fatty
flesh casing sort of shrunk her arms and completely hid her elbows from view.

What stood out for Cyril was that Mimi still had her phone, but he didn’t say it out loud. He reasoned that after money, phones are the first items lost or taken away from persons either held against their wishes or in any kind of difficulty.
Mama Cyril was elated to see her son’s nod of approval and the rest was routine, handled by Mama Cyril and Mr. Bill. Cyril watched his mother make full cash payments for six places on the next available vehicle leaving for Libya. Mr. Bill apologized that the next four buses leaving the next day were already full, but he assured Mama Cyril her children will leave in a couple of days.
Mr. Bill emphasized the need for urgency because the situation wouldn’t be the same for much longer. Once the puerile panic that greeted this rapid unprecedented flow of predominantly economic migrants into Europe has subsided, the European nations will most certainly device some expedient international law to revert to the status quo. Mr. Bill stood up to see them out, paused to reassure the silent Cyril that he and his siblings will safely be in Europe before next week.

It was Mr. Bill’s turn to be surprised. He was stunned to learn Cyril is not traveling with the others.
“Why?” Mr. Bill asked.

“The world is full of loud commentators, with deceptive commendations their many willful listeners obviously find admirable and not coy. But I am an exception to the general norm, among the few appropriating critics who equate affirmation of
evidence and the clearly advertised ruse with serious concern,” Cyril started.
“You and I know that getting into Europe is the easy part. But living in Europe, in the most sub-standard conditions, a far cry from illusions perceived, assumed, created and forwarded, is the real tough part. Africans integrating into evidently
hostile economic and social European societies that segregate against foreigners, as they increasing learn to abhor migrants for clogging their systems and worsening
their already precarious situations, is the reality of things. I will rather accept the fair situation I can manage right here, than pursue an elusive pot of gold at the end of some European rainbow.” Cyril was assertive and Mr. Bill was impressed.

A fellow intellect, the English man thought. The elderly white man tarried at the door to explain further. He felt Cyril has earned the right to understand why it
is only fair that Africans escaping war torn regions or economic difficulties or simply seeking to better their lot, must get a chance to pursue a life anywhere they
desire without any hindrance from those who seek to make choices for them, yet
again.
“I am not doing this for the money,” Mr. Bill said. “I am doing it because it is the right thing to do. For centuries European slave merchants own Africans and
traded them across continents as they pleased. Everywhere they took them, the prosperity that was gotten through their unpaid work for centuries funneled into
making these European nations the model economic and social communities they are today. Then there was colonialism, when European nations arbitrary syphoned the wealth of African nations for free and incessantly bullied them with the same
effect, which resulted in making large economic powers of European countries.

“A lot of people consider the abolition of slavery and subsequent independence
of the African nations as an act of charity, a favour granted the most belittled and unjustly treated people in all history. No it is not and any thing that remotely offers
a whiff of reparations should be encouraged and milked till it is drained. What do you think the world’s racial history will be if the black man was styled as the clear
antagonist? Just consider that before you write off your siblings.” Mr. Bill ended.
“You should consider that most of those going over will end up as liabilities.”
“Then it is only fair that they do.”
“It is fair to unsettle the living standards and security of Europe?”
“Certainly! Centuries back it was the superior Europeans that felt they had the God given right to come to Africa for economic reasons. Now it is only fair that
the African have their civilized right to come to Europe for economic reasons too.”
“The long established tedious ways for Africans to legally get into Europe ensured only the best Africa has to offer do migrate. The new trend only dumps from the dreg of the continent. At this rate Europe will be full of the sort of people that it needs the least. It is like allowing locusts to rest on your farm because they
also have a living right to feed. But maybe the English do not really care and it is a continental European problem, since England is still an old independent island, still on it own and just playing to be part of Europe. Still with its own currency in place, as the presence of a Queen imprinted on it.” Cyril remained every bit as steadfast.
“Good people do bad things for good reasons, my friend.” Mr. Bill appeared offended at the insinuation that he is just being more malicious to his European
brethren than helpful to Africans.

Mr. Bill looked the way of Mama Cyril before continuing. She was already near the stairs and screaming into her phone, eagerly
informing Monica of the good news about their trip to Europe in a couple of days.
“It is the least honourable thing I can do to follow in my ancestor’s foot-steps.

An Englishman was instrumental to ending the brutal carting away of Africans from their homes and it is only ideal that another Englishman is instrumental in the
civilized migration of Africans to Europe as an act of reparation. I should have properly introduced myself. My name is William Wilberforce, the Sixth.”
A stunned Cyril gawked with renewed respect as he assimilated this second pleasant surprise. He accepted the grinning white man’s farewell hand shake and watched as the Englishman shut the hotel door behind him, before hurrying to meet his bulky mother, breathless at the foot of the stairs. She had ended her phone call
and was singing her favourite church hymn out loud, in the most jolly of moods.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me,” the aged woman hollered at the top of her happy voice, with a spring in her step. “I once
was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see. Was blind but now I see!”
Mama Cyril sang as she led her eldest son through the hotel parking lot that passes for a bar and also the launching pad for yet another compelled economic
migration from Africa to Europe. Cyril only had thoughts for yet another symbolism. He smiled at the irony of one William Wilberforce ending the old
compulsory slavery and yet another William Wilberforce fueling the new optional slavery. It is somewhat fitting and quite English in its concept, Cyril thought to himself as he resisted the urge to hum along to the tune of his mother’s singing.
Like the song, the general mood is infectious, spitefully civilized and English.

THE END OF THIS SHORT STORY

READ MORE FROM THE FULL COLLECTION

Diverse Factors on the Plateau

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe.

I personally took the attached photograph on the Plateau earlier this year in June on my way from Kaduna to Jos through Manchok via Vom. I was awed by the engineering genius in the road construction. Barely a week later that same road reportedly had become a killing fields of sorts particularly for delegates returning back to the North East from the APC national convention held in Abuja. That is how precarious that axis of Nigeria despite that many of us are still pretending that the nation is not dangerously sitting on a time bomb following latest events on the Plateau.

Call them potato chips or French fries you can’t have any without the Berom just as you can’t traduce the Fulani and still enjoy your Suya or Cow tail pepper soup anywhere in Nigeria. We are therefore all involved on the Plateau. That nevertheless it would be an act of deliberate mischief and reckless presumptuousness to box the Berom into a genocidal corner despite the circumstantial evidence recently found at a pond in Du District.

This is simply because an alleged crime scene is very much different from a suspected dump site. No doubt there is probable cause for complicity that however does not translate into credible evidence against the entire Berom. Truth is General Alkali and other hapless Nigerians suspected to be victims in the vicinity of Du are actually collateral damage of a longstanding proxy war of historic elite dynamics on the Plateau. That notwithstanding the suspected perpetuators of whatever led to Alkali’s car been found at the bottom of a Du pond must be fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law. Permit me to reemphasize that the rule of law must prevail. While that would bring some semblance of justice and temporary succor for the nation at large what of the fundamental issues that created the enabling environment for the dumpsite to exist in the first place?

The fire on the mountain currently on the Plateau is all part of the symptoms of a deeper malaise caused by the stubborn virus of religion. Merely treating its symptoms without ridding the underlying virus will continuously be an exercise of futility for the nation. If so what then are the fundamental issues bedeviling the Plateau? Jos is a Green Line of sorts which makes it the Nigerian version of Jerusalem. Jos is the home of the Izala sect founded by Samaila Idris a religiously controversial army officer that was forcibly retired in 1978 who hails from Bauchi’s Jahun Fulani clan. He set of up JIBWIS that his one-time teacher Abubakar Gumi became the Grand Patron of. The Sunni Izala is essentially Wahabbist and anti-Sufi. Their openly confrontational stand to all others that don’t subscribe to their teachings does not need further elaboration here.

Meanwhile Jos is also the home base of the Sudan United Mission that was the arrow head of missionary activities in the non-emirate areas of the North. That is one aspect. The other is Jos is the capital city of Middle Belt consciousness making the Plateau a perfect storm waiting to happen in the political North. Under such circumstances the truth and level headedness are normally the first casualties. With Jos being hotly contested historically between the Berom “Gwash” narrative and the Hausa-Fulani “Jas” counter narrative the battle lines are therefore well entrenched and rest is now living history. As the say in the Middle East if the talking stops the shooting starts.

The Northern Muslim intelligentsia and North’s Christian must find common ground in Jos or there will be much more General Alkalis which an endless number of Zaki Biams or even Odis can never stop. History has a curious way of repeating itself. First as tragedy then as farce.

The Nigerian Army on 15th January 1966 lost its present day equivalent of Chief of Administration then known as Adjutant General in person of Lt Col James Pam. He hailed from Du and his body was never found after he was abducted by mutinous troops loyal to the infamous “5 Majors” from his Ikoyi residence. 52 years later the same institution has lost another Admin chief in Du District under the same circumstances of inter-communal violence as one section of the Nigerian polity angrily raises up against another. Both chiefs have somehow become victims of the inherent contradictions of our nation building process.

Have we not learnt anything in 5 decades? Back then drums of war were beaten right now drums of war are still beaten. Back then also there was anger and revulsion in segments of Nigeria. Right now there is still that same kind of anger and revulsion. What historical inferences can we draw from the unfortunate incidences of 1966 than could serve for us as useful signposts in 2018? That should be the topic of conversation.

Every issue in Nigeria no matter how complicated has a big picture and a small one. In any case apart from its infamous pond what else is Du known for? Du is the home district of Lt Col James Pam, DIG Victor Pam and Air Cmdr Jonah Jang. The senior Pam was the 4th most senior Northerner in the army when the unfortunate events of 15th January 1966 unfolded. His esteemed seniors Maimalari, Kur, Largema also lost their lives alongside his good self.

He was the Adjutant General having taken over that office from his bosom friend Yakubu Gowon who had to proceed to Staff College in the UK. The police Pam was billed to by seniority succeed Gambo Jimeta as IGP but was seconded to the National Guard instead. He would later be Gbong Gwom of Jos in 2004. A tough cop he met the Maitasine sect eyeball to eyeball in Kano, Bulunkutu, Gombe and Jimeta. He also set up the Mopol school in Gwoza.

Many political pundits have put it that if his Mopol hardware ordered from abroad had arrived earlier the coup to topple Shehu Shagari would have failed. As the monarch of Jos he criminalized selling of any Berom land to non-Christians and any Christian parents whose daughter converted thrown out of the Church a source put it to me. He also attempted ridding Berom land of its famed Burkutu small scale industry. He woefully failed.

Little wonder before joining the police in 1958 he trained as a priest at the famous TCNN in Bukuru. Jang on the other hand if it would be recalled was Military Administrator of the former Gongola and Benue respectively under IBB. Shortly earning his first star he was appointed head of air force logistics then almost immediately retired. He is still bitter which trickled down to the rest of the Berom.

IBB ever the Maradona would then appoint Lamba Gwom a former Navy paymaster to replace Domkat Bali on the FEC to water down Berom anger. Worthy of mention is the “Langtang Mafia” that apparently came into ascendancy as the Berom star was dimming. They were AFRC members when Jos South and Bukuru LGs separately created to diffuse Jos North. That is why I had earlier mentioned elite dynamics and its overall effect on what is playing on the Plateau.

Without understanding the context and background of this multitude of diverse factors how can a veritable solution ever be crafted out on the Plateau? God bless Nigeria.

Optional Slavery ( 1 )

Today I start a series from the collection of short stories…

Everyone Hates The English

Check it out on amazon or Smashwords https://www.amazon.com/Friendly-Foes-Sentiments-Yas-Niger/dp/1530486718?qid=1538349815&refinements=p_27%3AYas+Niger&s=Books&sr=1-18&text=Yas+Niger&ref=mp_s_a_1_18

Enjoy!!!

OPTIONAL SLAVERY

“GET INTO EUROPE NOW!”
That is the bold catchy caption on the face of the small sky blue complimentary card, with those unmistakable loose cluster of tiny white stars of the European Union logo at the top right edge of it. A closer look at the card reveals it also has a specific time and hotel address printed on it, with a room number inscribed on it as well. But that is all, no name or anything more, just the all important promise for a better life, where even African cattle know the grass is surely greener.

Each person that receives the card or merely sees it and can memorize the easy to remember address printed on it, could go over for more details. The time on the card is nine in the evening, well after working hours. Anyone can go and everyone who has considered going to Europe did, that is almost everyone. Even the bulky Mama Cyril, a middle aged mother of seven mostly jobless children and the added responsibility of providing for the nine grandchildren they gave her, wanted to know more. She had intentionally closed her shop late one evening so she could look in on her way home. She liked all she has heard so far and sought more information.

The hotel premises was full and busy. The open air bar shared the parking lot but there were no cars in it. It was packed full with all sorts of people, young and old, looking healthy and well fed, many of them looked obese and rather well off.

They sat everywhere and chatted purposefully. If only the rich drive cars, then some here had deliberately left theirs at home before coming, Mama Cyril thought.

Those wicked rich sorts always want more at the cheapest rates and Mama Cyril was certain they were here too, set on depriving the poor of this God sent charity.

Only a few were drinking and everyone seemed to be talking to someone else.

Mama Cyril ignored them, snuck round the back and up a short flight of stairs.

Good elderly Christian women like her shouldn’t be seen in ungodly places at dark hours. Idle gossipers will love to give Baba Cyril a new excuse to start yet another fight. The old fool loves entertaining neighbours with his drunken wrestling shows. Allegations of sleeping around will be an effective excuse for her husband of over thirty years, Mama Cyril concedes. So far the two decades long jobless buffoon
relies on claims of being disrespected as the head of the family to ignite quarrels.

The door into the specified hotel room was ajar and surprisingly, there was no queue outside it like she had expected. Mama Cyril looked in and was encouraged
with what she saw. Seated on the side of the bed, attending to two young girls, was an elderly white man. That was a huge relief for Mama Cyril because everyone
knows white people are honest and do not need to cheat poor black folks like rich black people do. Mama Cyril recognized one of the girls as Mimi, the pencil thin
Mama James’s youngest child in their Church choir. Mimi curtsied and greeted Mama Cyril properly and from then on it was simple really. The details Mama Cyril sought came in fast waves and she was soon contented. An hour later, she was hurrying home, singing her favorite Church hymn.

She was happy she came and thankful for Mimi’s assistance in understanding the white man’s explanations. Mimi has always been a smart girl, a very sharp girl. She is the youngest girl to
graduated from the university in these parts and only returned from her mandatory year of national youth service last month. Now little Mimi is soon going away to Europe. If Mama James’s smallest baby goes to Europe, no one will hear the last of
it in the whole community. That shapeless old stick will brag about it forever. Mama Cyril strongly believes wicked angels in God’s heavenly court had conspired to curse her with the worst possible litter of puppies, with most of them inheriting their useless father’s beastly moronic genes. She doesn’t ever heed her own advise on cursing her children.

She only remembers not to, after she does and then forgets to bless them often enough to neutralize the curses. But God knows her thoughts and forgives her words, regardless of their effect. She is reassured.

Her three girls are only good at repeatedly opening their knees to conceive and retrieve off springs for the worst possible fools, while her four boys are a bad mix of gain less dreamers and doers. Half of her children are too selfish to care about anything other than their stomachs and their appearances. It is a nightmare to get most of them to do anything constructive for themselves, let alone somebody else.

This once it looked like the odds were stacked well in Mama Cyril’s favour to get them all to do her bidding. But she could only hope and pray they even listen. Mimi had already paid for her trip to Europe, if anyone in his right mind can call the amount involved payment. The entire cost is incredibly low by all known
reckoning. It costs ordinary folks an arm and leg to travel to Europe properly and the remaining limbs too, if it is legal. Then every bit of pride and dignity goes with
staying on in the white man’s land. This all inclusive offer is as cheap as God’s air.

Candidates don’t need to be educated or have travel documents and if they have
international passports or are graduates, they are advised to leave their certificates behind. They could easily lose them on the long tedious trip to get into Europe. They can always send for the credentials later, when they are safely inside Europe.

Relatives can easily send them over by registered post, when addresses are gotten. The middle aged white man had explained that the low charges only covers
transportation for the long land trip through Niger and Mali, into Libya and onto the Mediterranean coast. Travellers are expected to hold fares for their boat rides
across the sea, which is nothing much. Accommodation in Libya is guaranteed, where the travellers are known as pilgrims. The pilgrims are kept safe in Libya
until their ride across to Italy or Greece is arranged within a week after arrival.

The Libyans play a key role, ensuring Europeans get the impression they hold back the
pilgrims. But they simply keep them safe while they wait for their paid boat rides.

Then what happens next is completely legal and facilitated by the Europeans themselves. Once the boats are halfway across the Mediterranean, the European
patrol boats must rescue them and help them all into Europe. If the pilgrims’ boats make it near the European shores they are advised to disable their motor boats or puncture their rubber dinghies and wait to be rescued. It is essential they are rescued so that they get treated with more compassion. All the pilgrims are simply welcomed with warm clothes, food and medicine. The cutest Europeans girls welcome them with flowers and hugs at the ports. European governments will give them official documents to classify them as refugees and no one will reject them or deport them because it is against international law to send refugees away. The timing is just right and the public opinion in Europe is still favourable towards the
pilgrims. The world is in turmoil and an opportunity is there to take advantage of.

Mimi helped the much older white man explain things to Mama Cyril. It has never been this easy, cheap or legal for Africans to get into Europe, not since the
abolition of slave trade many centuries ago. With the estimated amount needed by each person, Mama Cyril could easily afford to send all seven of her children, and
she is just a poor trader in the local market. Praise God for all his bounties. She just needs to secure the hefty loan she is eligible for, from her market thrift
and credit cooperative society, which she had been putting off.

She had originally planned to access the credit, combine it with the money she has been saving and buy a plot of land to build a house for her large family. But sending her children to Europe is a bigger and better investment, multiplied into seven places.

For thirty years the family had rented cheap accommodations and a few more years of doing so will make no difference, when a huge mansion, to be financed
with funds from this European trip is assured. Since Mama Cyril started her grains wholesales business just under two decades ago, the quality of life had improved for her family. They paid their bills and live rather well by local standards. Rent is paid, no one went hungry, every school fees and every hospital bill settled. All her seven children still live at home, with their collective nine children added to the
family’s sum. Yet the family is poor because it lacks the official world average and the plenty they see flaunted around them. There is no crime in wanting much more.

“Who will take care of my children if I go to Europe?” That was Rose’s very first query. Her visibly angered mother eyed her with disgust and contempt.
“Shut up,” Mama Cyril snarled. “Who is taking care of them now?”
Rose hissed and looked away, a usual response in her case. Rose ever struggles to talk to her mother. She is the third girl and fifth child, with attractive looks that didn’t help her much. Rose appears to blossom with a new child every spring. Her good looks tripled the amount of romantic advances she gets, with the appending material favours from men of all ages and calling. Rose is not smart, with her intelligence well below average. Coupled with her inability to exercise restraint in romantic settings once she was of age, Rose had popped out four kids in six years. Baba Cyril’s niece called him with news of the last of Rose’s four pregnancies.
He had laughed and asked her to call his wife instead, to tell her directly.

The long banter over Rose’s fourth pregnancy at home went on for months and hasn’t ended over a year later. Mama Cyril had to put her foot down, the trend simply got out of hand and that is the last child yet. No doubt all four girls had their mother’s fertility
rate. Mama Cyril had seven children in ten years and a doctor had to surgically end her ordeal when everything else didn’t help.

Baba Cyril wasn’t consulted, as usual. Rose turned her attention back to her expensive iPhone, same type the female federal minister of finance has. Baba Cyril saw the badly dressed minister caress hers when she came to make more unfulfilled promises to retrenched employees of the defunct government owned telecommunication company after twenty years of not paying their benefits. Baba Cyril couldn’t make sense of why Rose found it ……… or anywhere really. It never makes sense why children are named in this manner, when their names wouldn’t be optimally used. Mama Cyril expectedly turned to Mammy next. Mammy shrugged and looked down at her well chewed finger nails. Mothers always have the most expectations for their first daughters and the shy
Mammy never met those Mama Cyril had set for her. Mammy was the pioneer, she had the first of Mama Cyril’s nine grandchildren and that was considered her first
of many failings to follow.

Pregnant at sixteen and the favourite child of her father,
the roof rose to heavenly hell and back down again. Back then it felt like the worst possible disgrace for a teenage daughter to have a child in her parents’ house. Then
Mammy’s parents incredibly relived the same scenario over again repeatedly, eight more times over. Now it is the expected norm for the girls in the family.
“I will go with Steve,” submitted Mammy. Steve is just two, Mammy’s second
and last contribution to the haul of grandchildren Mama Cyril caters for, alongside her seven children and their hopeless father. Steve has autism and is a handful.

Mama Cyril nodded, proud to see that Mammy is finally living up to her expectation. Mama Cyril hastily interpreted Mammy’s decision to mean she is actually thinking about the difficulty Mama Cyril will have with Steve and it is not just the act of a loving mother towards her challenged child. Mammy always had her uses as the family’s somewhat junior mother. She earns some money and contributes to the family’s upkeep. She fries beans cakes and sweet potatoes at the
top of the street, did so every evening for a decade, except Sundays. Mammy will make a wonderful wife yet for some strange reason none of the her numerous courting male customers ever comes forward for her hand in marriage.

* To be continued …