There is this other side of Maiduguri we seem to have forgotten. Let the good times roll again in that great city. I was quite \fascinated when I read this uplifting piece that I stumbled upon online. Enjoy!
Origin and Meaning of Maiduguri:
The name Maiduguri is from the name Maiduwuri, the name Maiduwuri is referring to the present day Old Maiduguri in Jere local government Area of Borno state. So Maiduguri is a combination of two Kanuri words namely “Mai” and “Duwuri”. Mai is a Kanuri word referring to a King or a leader and Duwuri is from the word Duwu which means a thousand ;hence Duwuri is referring to the plural of a thousand which is thousands, ordinarily its like saying something is in the category of thousands (a thousand in ancient time is the peak of counting bc counting in millions was not known then). So literally Maiduguri (Mai+Duwuri) means “Thousand Kings” thus Maiduguri is a land of a “Thousand-Kings”.
Why Maiduguri is called the Land of the Thousand Kings: During the colonial and pre-colonial eras the African societies and even the global community is not as rich as it is today due to the effect of industrial revolution. In those days ordinary citizens apart from the King /ruler and his children or siblings all other people in a kingdom hardly owns more than One Gown cloth (Babban riga/Kuluwu or Malum-Malum) bc they are expensive thus they are not used as regular wears but rather ceremonial`. However contrary to this practices in the neighboring kingdoms to Kanem-Borno of wearing Gowns only on special occasions here in Borno (Old Maiduguri) which was a town with booming economy and having Islamic scholars as its leaders (the Shehu’s/Sheikh) who pays less attentions on their subjects on issues of who wears what made almost all the indigenes of Maiduguri then to be wearing. the traditional Gowns for their daily activities. So for visitors visiting Maiduguri for the first time as at that time normally gets surprise seeing everybody in the city dressed like a King. Therefor they feel that they are in a Land of a thousand Kings. So that is why old Maiduguri is called Maiduguri. To prove this claim just have a look at the Maiduguri society of today where people are still wearing one of the most expensive traditional clothings in the country when compared to their neighbouring counterparts or states. Just imaging how an ordinary man who is not a governor,a minister or even known to the society wearing a Zanna cap along worthing N 50,000 (fifty thousand naira ) or even above.
It is also important to note that the present day Maiduguri is also called Yerwa bc that was its original name before the name Maiduguri.
Why is Maiduguri called Yerwa : Yerwa is a name derived from the Kanuri word “HERWA” or “Herra “which means a promising or a blessed Land. Experts said it is called Herwa in the first place bc of its close proximity to the seasonal Ngadda River that still passes through it. Remember most of the Kanem Borno capitals like Ngazargamu,Kukawa,Monguno and others were either desert or semi desert cities , so water has a prestige in the kingdom in fact it is even a determining factors 4 creating new settlements.
Maiduguri, is still called Yerwa by its locals, is the capital and the largest city of Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria. The city as stated above sits along the seasonal Ngadda River which disappears into the Firki swamps in the areas around Lake Chad. Maiduguri was founded in 1907 as a military outpost by the British and has since grown rapidly in to millions in terms of its population.
A brief history:
The city was actually home to the Kanem-Bornu Empire for centuries. Maiduguri consists of two cities: Yerwa to the West and Old Maiduwuri to the east. Old Maiduguri was selected by the British as their military headquarters while Yerwa was selected at approximately the same time by Shehu Abubakar Garbai of Borno to replace Kukawa as the new traditional capital of the Kanuri people.
Maiduguri is estimated to have a population of 1,197,497 in 2009 as of 2007 and presently 3.3 Million due to the recent past unrest tht pushed the rural population to Maiduguri. Its residents are mostly Muslim including Kanuri, Hausa, Shuwa, Bura, Marghi, and Fulani ethnic groups.
The highest record temperature was 47 °C (117 °F) on 28 May 1983, while the lowest record temperature was 5 °C (41 °F) on 26 December 1979.
The Shehu palace:
The Shehu Palace was built in 1907 by the British. The original setleres who were relocated to build the Shehu’s Palace were the descendants of the former Mais of the Borno Empire including the great -great grandchildren of Mai Idris Alauma, some of them were initially moved to Shehuri North to enable the British create space to build the Palace which still stands at the place today. Construction work of the Palace began in the early 1900’s immediately after the defeat of Rabih az-Zubayr in 1900.
Maiduguri is home to three markets which include an ultra-modern “Monday market” that has a spectacular satellite or Umbrella like image view 4rom the above. It has an ancient museum and is served by the Maiduguri International Airport. The city has one of the best layouts in Nigeria. It is connected by road to the republics of Cameroon, Chad and Niger and from Maiduguri goods and services are transported to as far as Sudan and Bangui in the Central African Republic. There were existing historical records of trade with the North African nations of Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. A survey of property markets in Nigeria (2009) positioned Maiduguri as the third most expensive for buying and renting in the country next to Abuja and Lagos. Maiduguri is the principal trading hub for northeastern Nigeria. Its economy is largely based on services and trade with a small share of manufacturing. The city lies at the end of a railway line connecting Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kafanchan, Kuru, Bauchi, and finally Maiduguri. This rail lines were originally intended by the British to convey Ground nuts as well as Hides and skin to the coast of the Atlantic Ocean for upward transportation to Europe. Even though Nguru town of Borno in the present day Yobe state had its rail system as far back as in the 1930s, but Maiduguri got its own rail lines around the 1960s due to the fact that the elders of ancient Maiduguri prevented the rail lines from reaching Maiduguri deliberately through prayers . Because after their “ISTIHARA” (prayers) regarding the coming of the rail lines to Maiduguri it was said that they saw associated problems coming with the rail lines to the city meaning that it might bring with it associated trouble to the City . So their efforts prevented the rail lines reaching Maiduguri in the 1930s, 1940s and the 1950s. So we can now say that their guess is proved bc in 2009 the unrest that seriously affected the city actually started from the “Railway compound” behind State-Low-cost Housing Estate. I am not an anti-rail line person, but I was amazed with the level of the forecast or thinking of our illiterate Grandfathers as far back as some 70 years ago that manifested now having direct correlation with the sophisticatef modern science of today which has the ability to forecast future weather patterns ahead of time or even day’s b4 they happened using the most sophisticated gadgets and satellites of our modern technological advanced time.
Maiduguri is known to be a center of Islamic and Quran studies for the past 100 years. In fact for Islamic scholars from the Sokoto Caliphat including Sokoto,Gwandu,Kano,Zaria,Katsina,Hadejia and many others that have not come and studies Islam and Quran in Maiduguri they feel that their studies is somehow incomplete.
So it is not a surprise that Maiduguri based Scholars like late Sheikh El-Miskin,Sheikh AbulFathi,Sheikh Abba Aji,Sayinna Alhaji Bashir,Imam Upchama (Ba Liman),Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh,Sheikh Sherriff Tijjani and Mallam Usman Bida remained popular across the country or the entire sub-Saharan African region. In fact this is one of the reasons that made late Sheikh Mahmud Ja’afar keep acknowledging during his life time that he was greatly inspired by the teachings of Sheikh Abba Aji and the same Sheikh Mahmud Ja’afar after visting Sheikh El-Miskin’s library in El-Miskin house also acknowledged that he has never seen a library that has so much unique collections with some of its books not even obtainable in the market or in the other libraries that he has known in fact some of the books looks new to him.
In terms of modern education Maiduguri has one of the best-equipped university and hospitals in Nigeria. The University of Maiduguri attracts foreign students from neighboring countries especially Cameroun ,Chad,Sudan and Niger Republics. The College of medical sciences is amongst the top 5 best medical schools in Nigeria. Other higher institutions include Ramat polytechnic, Elkanemi college of Islamic Theology, Muhammad Goni college of Arabic and Islamic studies, Lake Chad Research Institute, College of agriculture and College of education among others.
As of 2011, the Future Prowess Islamic School provided a free Western and Islamic education to orphans and vulnerable children, was open to both boys and girls, and was free of charge.
Attractions of Maiduguri: Kyarimi Park,University of Maiduguri,Maiduguri Monday Market, the Maiduguri Museum, Shehu’s Palace, Imam Malik Islamic Center,Indimi Mosque,Deribe Mosque,Deribe Palace,Maiduguri International Airport, Maiduguri Sports Center and the Maiduguri International Hotel (Not functioning now).
The Deribe Palace which is considered as the most expensive House in Africa and one of the best in the World is in Maiduguri. Remember this house hosted King Carlos of Spain,Prince Charles and lady Diana as well as the American President @one time.
Maiduguri served as a home and remains a home to many great business men, scholars, military generals, academicians, technocrats and diplomats; Some of the popular names under this category are Sir Kashim Ibrahim, Waziri Ibrahim, Alhaji Mai Deribe ,Sheikh Elmiskin, Babagana Kingibe, Sheikh Aabba Aji, Professor Umaru Shehu, Shehu Mustafa Elkanemi,Alhaji Bukar Mandara,Alhaji Bukar Bolori,General Abba Kyari, General Mamman Shuwa,Major General Yusuf Brutai, Kashim Ibrahim Imam, Mala Kachalah, Sheikh Ibrahim Saleh, Mukaddam Bukhari, Alhaji Zanna Deribe, Muhammad Indimi, Alhaji Zanna Dipcharima, Ba’a liman upchama and Babagna Monguno among many many other great personalities not mentioned here that are either residence or indigenes of the city.
The geographical location of Maiduguri is @ Coordinates: 11°50′N 13°09′E. It occupies an area of 50,778 square kilometers. It remains center of trade, learning, culture, Daaba and home of tourism and history.
There aren’t pinpoint developed or under-developed nations. The difference in development levels of nations are classed according to proximity to the best examples of the two extremes of the stages of development. Thus the term developing is firstly relative to both extremes. The seemingly endless process of developing is still quiet evident at both extremes. This fact is open dispute and debate.
Stagnation in under-developed nations isn’t permanent either, but the term aptly describes the state it appears to be in presently, just as being termed developed doesn’t describe the former. Development isn’t an infrastructural state, principally. Development is mainly attitudinal; a state of a culture and not the process it had under gone to get where it is. Development isn’t a stage a nation is but the state of the circumstances that surround the entirety of the national entity currently, not where it is at. Development isn’t a stage but a process, it isn’t ever finished but dynamic.
Here is a poem by Portia Nelson that might help us see that if we ever want this misconception of what development really is to end, we must do things differently not merely shutting little people up when they crave for true development.
There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost….I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the side walk.
I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I fall in….it’s a habit…but my eyes are open.
I know where I am. It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down a different street.
Most grown men were previously of the opinion that they should always have the major say in their romantic relationships. They realized too late that they had succumbed to female charms unconsciously. Like most people they discovered they aren’t built outwardly as they are inwardly. They lead themselves on with the false hope that they could blunt the sharpness that heralds the things they covet the most, like most women so pitifully do. Majority of men love the attributes of the women they end up with, not the women and that is their undoing.
Women aren’t on the same level playing field with men. A woman yields for the man to thrust himself into her life. When she momentarily refuses to yield and he persists forcibly, that is defined as rape. When she is coerced into giving in unwillingly, it hurts hers and she ensures it would practically displease him too in the long run. The woman wants favours and still wants equality, leaving her man with the vague decisions of what are actually his strengths, choices, rights and his initiated ideas. His admonitions and inclinations are shredded with all the belated unexpected outpouring that follows the subsequent sense of abandonment dimly registering in his complicated thoughts, when she gets her way as always.
Yet she will still hurl varied insults at his person, distorting and trampling facts. When the fragrance of the truth is confronted, it will always smell quite feminine. There are no legal statutes governing the woman’s natural strength sapping and ego violating antecedents, that always ends with a fuming fretted man.
Strenght of a Woman https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/383812
The complete absence of choice is the complete absence of humanity. In the absence of freedom is the absence of choice and in the absence of choice is the absence of reason, which creates the most ideal atmosphere for anarchy.
Suspicion breeds curiosity and inquisitiveness is the keenness kind of knowledge creator. Simple baseless faith tends to cloud reason and render the few designated roles of human senses useless to personalized existence. Choice keeps life bubbling with its common logic. It is after all fear that compels sensible caution the most, manages to preserve all kinds of life forms, irrespective of intelligence. That most naturally reflects choice the most. As surprisingly silly an assertion as it might appear, this facile truth dandled the length and breath of life in all is ramification.
Like the borderless hues of rainbows, chioce is the true reason for change and change is the sole continuum of all life. Choice is fully absent in the peripheries of the most emotionally touching incidences that concludes a life and in the most frequent basic incident that sustains it, but it is everywhere else in all of every lifetime.
Winning ways sought
Speak for their sort.
In their earliest thought
They very often do not.
From many we choose
With lots more to loose
And in all this huge fuss
We thrive more confused.
So with cares of lusts
We live out their costs.
In picking from lots
Best chances are still lost.
INVITATION ONLY By Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson When they come knocking, I take them by the hand that had been a fist moments before and show them something beautiful— a black creek in the woods, a doe’s skull in the field. I lead them just far enough away that they can still see the house, but not […]
Written by Jacob Ibrag She wanted more than he could give her. He asked her to meet him half way. ‘Never, I refuse to settle.’ Walking past her peripheral, he turned back one last time and tried to remember every single detail of their night. Black dress with red trim. ‘Pink lips that I’ll never kiss again.’ Photographer Unknown
Many years ago I wrote “THE MASTER’S BILL”; I concluded my mutterings about the lonesomeness of human existence with wondering on how patient and tolerant the good lord is & reasoned that it is a price He must pay.
How alone can one be?
Looking around, one can only see.
Life is one big school,
Lectures are missed by the fool.
Indeed the friend is in need,
Wisdom in the foe only bid.
The whole world could be wrong
And not hear a word in your song.
For fear hasn’t a say
Where bare hands cut hay.
The master’s wishes are His will
And only He writes down the Bill.
But then man created religion to identify with his style of worship….. And like with everything man starts, there is always some element of competition & the inevitable conflict.
Religious conflict has a perception of sincere truth and righteousness that doesn’t circumvent its warring parties’ hypocritical egocentric desire to be perceived as simply being neighbourly. It instead forcibly and bluntly thrust the reality of the parties’ lustful differences on their pretentious faces, enforcing it on their neighbours in a manner that shows off what each faith wants as against what they claim to profess. It should be obvious that a religion that advocates peace needs to suffer for its submissive principle. It must pay a humiliating price it can’t even humbly mention. When a religion’s ideals and principles aren’t as principally evident as it advocates, it is actually only openly good natured for the sake of achieving its quest to be dominant.
Then it would have to result to violence to stress its misgivings or show off its disliked for other opposing religions that seek to be themselves and exist alongside it. Religions must co-exist because no religion ever exists alone, on its own. A religion that hides under the guise of peaceful co-existence to impose itself is thus quite superficial and only yearning for communal peace ahead of lasting personal inner peace that would ordinarily precede first.
Such a religion has not yet made a wraith of human trans-religious harmony feasible. It has instead rendered the most sacred personality of its loud attitudinal faiths nebulous. It turns each and every one of them to be more of wholesome fact-less histories, that can never be elucidated than the proven faiths that they each aspire to be accepted as. The fact that there is only one shared common principle the two main contesting religions of Islam and Christianity sensibly have in common, makes them ever more incompatible than compatible, and pushes rather than pulls them apart. Their common principle is expressed as a common faith in the existence of a single supreme deity.
Supremacy makes it a contestable divide and not an undeniable bond. The people argue and fight over their diverse beliefs in the archaic fate of a quite varied interpretation of the same original scriptural text and thereby murder the very essence of their religions’ being in doing so. They both miss the very point of having the single attribute they each ironically lay the most loudly admitted claim to.
It is so ludicrous and incongruous that the same dog barking aggressively is actually only chasing after its own tail in circles and not really going anywhere but racing against it own self.
Gone were the days when natives of the African continent were caricatured as red fat-lipped human flesh cooking and eating cannibals. They have only recently started to actualize that picture. They have made the initial label appear like a futuristic fictional work and not the old missionary tale it was. Native Africans have graduated into mean heartless people who chop off their fellow natives limbs, lynch, massacre and burn up the neighbour’s corpses with impunity. They are marauders that kill and roast the corpses of neighbours, in their homes like hunters.
(Excerpts from ‘Sporting Chance’ in ‘Everyone hates the English’)
Vijay had always been quite fond of lawn tennis and he played it sparingly sometimes. Only he was helplessly useless with the racquet in his favorite right hand and even worse with the netted large batting instrument in his naturally less dexterous left hand. His aged tennis instructor would encourage him with poetry.
“I guess if you stick around long enough, nothing ever is but always was.”
Vijay was just horrible with his hands and had always wondered what good is human ingenuity if people had no fingers? Vijay was good with his legs, but then maybe he just had good football instructors and terrible ones for tennis. Vijay never saw the old man win a single game and had since concluded the old man had only managed to be a top seeded player in a grand slam tourney, when the game of tennis was played with eloquent words. But Vijay reserved his fondest interest for female tennis and there were loads of reasons for this. Chief amongst these are firstly, the girls’ rallies lasted longer, making scored points longer in coming. That however is the only technical reason for his preference, though he claims there are other technical reasons, all his other reasons were quite feminine ones. These include the cute umbrella shaped skirts the ladies wore when they played tennis.
As the female tennis server descends from a ballerina toed posture, the lift of her skirt exposes robustly fleshy or firm slim exotic thighs with is swerve, shuffle and swing. This presents the pleasant brief view that makes even keener spectators of most male followers of female tennis. At momentarily inactive rest periods, live spectators get to rest their stiff necks from the prolonged following of the furry small ball across the center net, from player to player. Yet male spectator wolfishly enjoy watching the resting players, sitting in their low stages like actresses, as they mop their skimpy clad bodies with thick towels at some green coloured pool side, seemingly oblivious that they are still a viewing delight for the casual on-lookers.
Then there is the buzz of watching the girls stretch out fully to return difficult low line-edged balls, to save a point. The regular flash of their finely tightened buttocks, which is a generous meaty picture beneath those umbrella shaped skirts doing more of a good job in covering their bellies and lower backs than they do anything lower. Vijay’s ultimate high are the moans, groans and shrill screaming, such that with ears plugged, shut eyed or reading an adult magazine as the ladies play, the sound effect would pass for the next door pervert loudly watching X-rated channels. With little imagination, the athleticism of the playing ladies could easily revert to a high stage performance, with handled vertical fixed stainless pole instead of racquets and with half drunk hooting men, swinging crisp money notes at the entertaining girls, encouragingly them to whack some furry balls.
(Excerpts from ‘Sporting Chance’ in ‘Everyone hates the English’)
All sports are really silly juvenile play in a sense. Partakers and spectators alike, love competitive sports because of its semblance of a life of manageable fun and the larger human drama it samples. It is a sequence of testing controlled effort against visible resistance in established circumstances. The thrilling mysteries in the unending sequence of match ups and the unpredictability of the results of all games, adds to the fun. The fun in sports is not suppose to make sense, all kinds of play shouldn’t. Play is fun because it is illogical and only saddists empathize with the naïve old Indian village Chief who thought he had solved a perennial football problem by comically recommending that the twenty two players on the pitch are given a soccer ball each to end their pointless running around like a herd of mad cows.
The purposeful running around is what Vijay loves the most in football. Vijay is crazy about football, considering it the king of sports with the best all round athletes in every regard. He agrees football is indeed a gentleman’s sport, played by hooligans because it teaches manners and tests character. Rugby truly likens the hooligan’s sport, played by gentlemen because it alters character and in its very physical fashion, it emphasizes brute force ahead of skills and intelligence. Golf is a long walk on the grass, cattle do that. Polo is the kings’ sport and only the horses are really skillful. Horse racing is for servants of kings, with the royals ever present to observe their subjects and domain. It is unfair to call horse racing a sport, unfair to plowing bulls and the slaving peasants whipping their beasts into line, without their fellow impoverished brethren betting and cheering in the trees.
Then there is the similarity of the common footballer to everyone else in the world that wishes to excel in life. Footballers are typical average athletes, they are amongst the world’s most selfish people and their work is just doing yet another of the world’s selfish hypocritical jobs. They are talented and a bio-engineered reality that manifests as a combination of highly skillful performers and acting stunt men. Footballers have to make out they care about the billions of passionate fans who actually do care about them, their physical, emotional and healthy state. At the pinnacle of their careers, footballers are incredibly well paid to do what they would ordinarily do for virtually nothing in return. If they don’t get a penny for doing their jobs, they will still get the same jobs as unpaid players, until they can’t do so.
Like millions of their less fortunate colleagues who don’t get opportunities and fall on the wayside, all footballers still don’t aspire for anything other than a paid job. Vijay always knew he wouldn’t do anything else but play football and when he discovers he finds little fun in playing football then he will get out of it. But the truth is, he wouldn’t truly enjoy doing it if he is not being paid to do it. The thrill of the game is sublime yet as addictive as the gospel to a Jesuit. The referees can go to hell with their calls and the spectators can chew their nails to the quick with tension, but the world of the footballer is his alone, nothing else exists. Families must wait, friends must worship for notice and religion is best handle like underpants, you might have one on or not, it doesn’t matter. Life is the game first.
SPORTS FOR PLAYERS
The Coach isn’t selfless but human too,
He is the person with a plan for everyone.
With abilities as experience all learnt anew;
He is an optimist, patient as sure as the sun.
The Player obeys the norms and urge,
Enjoying the dreamt up living, yet real.
Dancing to all songs with a new surge,
Blinding days are lit with a light to feel.
The Sport is heartless and demanding,
All companies it keeps are envious of it.
Consuming lust filled, never satisfying;
On its sure ride it will keep every bit.
The Game is simple and easy to chase,
Embraced in choices to choose and make.
Stages of gains at every level of the race
Made the whole thing Sports for players’.
(Excerpts from ‘The Assassination of Obasanjo’ in ‘Everyone hates the English’)
“In the popular quest for change Nigerians were yet again willing to forgive the acts of evil committed against them. With this singular act they simply continued their life long legacy of letting thieves, bullies and killers escape justice for their respective acts of stealing, treason and murders. It is little wonder that the Nigerian nation has repeatedly suffered from these many crimes, when the countless perpetrators are always assured of getting off scot-free.
“Strangely though, of the two acts that starts a revolting sequence of prolonged feud, the most damaging is always the second, not the first. The first starts it off and could as easily end it at that, if the second does not see the need to revenge the damage the first act had started. Second act establishes and revitalizes the sequence when it retaliates.”
To some young single girl, married men are ever comfortably understandable, matured and polite in their fair and unforced disposition. However the wanton desires of these young girls never warns them that the intentions of these much older men does not always look as fair as they are always pretentiously justified to be, in their deceptively natured maturity. The woman’s all-embracing monstrous natural need to be overwhelmed by a man, who aim to get the better of her, justifies her consanguineous attachment to her eternal older brother, the man.
The honourable older married man always has the most desire to be secretive in such relationships. While the younger single girl would likely show some pride in her bigger achievement, the setting would hurt him with an odd sort of feeling afresh with old emotions of being an unworthy person. His older and more honourable world would notice his failures, even if it identifies with his expression of it. When he is certainly found out and has to confront his critics, the older married man could simply hold his head high and be proud of his shameful freedom while the world he has conditioned will fall silent snugly, presumable out of interfering in his business, as the public end up secretly more embarrassed than he ought to be.
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
These intimate songs we sing
Blend aged dreams into a ring
That weds our gendered stew
In matrimonial oneness not new.
The simple people are always confronted by the complex ones, who always seeks to tint their simplicity and make it more complicated. It is a tough struggle to remain simple, surrounded by a world of complexities. Personal lives have gone beyond live and breed.
Man works to walk, not walk to work and he inevitably strives to out-walk the next man and the next, again and again.
And in all life, the most shaded lot are the people
THE COLOURED SHEEP
Bah, bah black sheep, they always point you;
Wolf in your clothing or something ever new.
Rainbow and gold pot in your closet is true,
If you’re concerned, skies aren’t ever blue.
The skeletons you cupboard are there for show,
Honeycombed for Bees, your Bearness will shoo!
A nation where the extensive roads are barely wide enough for the huge over loaded and over used trucks of all sizes, where highroads are as narrow as foot paths at the height of the raining season, when tall grasses narrow down highways with every curvy slope. A nation where paved roads are as old as the hills they cut through, where highways cratered like the best hostile fighter pilots deliberately make enemy runways after carpet bombing. In a nation where drinkable water is bought only in flimsy transparent packs, sold because it is a huge favour to retailers and drinkers alike, for there are no safer alternative under these circumstances.A nation where the next fellow lives off the sweat of others.
Time flows like ocean waves. No two waves are alike but they all are of the same nature. Time reaches the shores of the Niger-area like floating dead fish caught on the high tides, crashing on rocky coasts, with the many compromises of the perpetual sick west African republic. The waves hold little promise, yet plenty of scented hope ever fills the air with a smell that never seems to materialize to something the people can see. The people wait for their hopes to become meals but they are not assured dead fish can serve as seedlings. The coastal hard rocks are not the complicated destinations they are made out to be but personalized obstacles the people must surmount to reach their objective of a harmonious federation. The visibly stressed state of the people of the Niger-area renders their hope impotent. Their faith in the daunting prospect is inadequate to lift and aid them towards reaching their most desired place of complete national comfort.
Dead fish is soon bad and will serve no good purpose on the meal table after a short period of neglect. The nationhood suffers neglect and the people hadn’t set out on a good bright day, long in the gone past, to catch the fish but wait ever again for a wet rainy stormy night to pick up the dead fish at their rocky coast lines of difficult politics, laced with nepotism and tribalism, with bias politicized ethnicity, pack full with pessimistic cultists, passed off as traditionalists, academics and religious voices, as they all wait for the predestined future until it fails to arrive.
Separate persons complicate the polity with cynicism that covers up the rough outer wrapping of nationhood with little sincerity that doesn’t give a clue to what negative repulsive selfish intent is packaged within their nature. Their love for their diverse principles consumes them and profusely stinks up their country. This is revealed to the detriment of the same nation they don’t claim to sabotage like they know they are doing. They live a lie they know but will never admit it.
The whole concept of a single national identity was conceived on this disjointed selfishness and that is why the country’s coast is full of bad smelly inedible repugnant fish. That ever burning and ever consuming fire of time has been deployed to destroy all the past good deeds of fellow countrymen by those that come after them. The old memories of the currents successors own moments of cruelty, meted out in reprisals to those of other countrymen, easily forgotten in the midst face serving praise. The people’s general ability to beckon at reciprocal acts of kindness with that interested indifference that hints their want for it, does not expose their pressed, penned up yearning for it. Pretence has shamelessly made the people appear all spent and dried up like the well seasoned dried harden foreign fish the people favour so much. The treated European dead fish they crave.
They are all alike in this regard, in their deficiencies not in their uncommon preference for the well stocked fish but more so for their compared similarity to it. They are well stocked up old common fish, seasoned and rendered lifeless by their dogged preposterous desire to be relevant for ever so long, even if they are aware that they will end up dead, dried and dined by they very own fellow countrymen. The people of the Niger-area are as yet politically useful to all but themselves, with nothing to show for it. The sight of an offensive nature that was lurking within them for so long in their nation-ship isn’t good to see. Since it is the secret of providence that it doesn’t respect destiny, theirs appears more of a tragic shallow experience, as against that of other nations with very similar origins.
The leaders of the Niger-area simply replay the same old music they learned long ago from their colonial masters. The indigenous rulers divide and rule still, like their colonial leaders did. The little bit of success they register or merely claim to have achieved, doesn’t really show that they deserve recognition for those small gains either. The leaders and the led alike, lack the courage to speak up for the good in the face of the bad. The seas were simply filling up with dead fish and it has more to do with the action or inaction of the led than the selfish management of the leadership, because they had built dams to hold back their overflowing rivers of prosperity. The led masses wallow away in the cruel patience of wait, as they pant their tasked calmness, as if they had actually ran a race physically. They wait still and wait and wait still. They are panting their tiredness with the rage of the wait and not the struggle of it that they know nothing about in their lazy comfort.
The people are still holding on to a vibrant confidence that still assures them that they will be richly rewarded and that their perceived cowardice doesn’t flush their struggling resilience, still resisting their final ultimate defeat. They have endured the deception of many of the same kind for long. They have heard and seen each time as yes is maneuvered to mean no with shameless ease, and have come to accept that most times maturity is the diplomatic ability to disguise a lie as the truth. Still they related well when there is no way they could heed the need for caution without requiring to justify their obvious refusal to be sheepishly led and appear unethically rebellious. They have inevitably reached a point where and when every single simple harmless grudge will grow and become a deep set angry ancestral feud. They had witnessed their striped linen of nature so reduced, simply because it had always been taken for granted and it shows in its inadequacy.
“As it is usual when talking with the speech impaired, the three of them ended up mostly loudly exchanging cheap pleasantries than anything else. It is simply hilariously hard to maintain any serious discussion with the old man. Aside from Baba Yafku’s insane love for veering issues towards his affection for nurturing plants and his natural gift for it, conversations with him is always an ever frustrating experience.
“Thomas had little difficulty in understanding Baba Yafku but it is hard for most others to comprehend what the old fellow is trying to say. Even when a discussion is about Baba Yafku’s favoured plants, communicating with him doesn’t get any better for most. Still the former gardener’s limited verbal communicating ability didn’t stop him from doing a great job of representing the interests of Thomas in Badagry. He supervised the delivery of agricultural produce to middlemen in Badagry and collected payments on Thomas’s behalf. The old man made purchases of essential items needed in Samiku and sent them over promptly. It was a brilliant arrangement and Baba Yafku lived up to his part exceptionally well.
“Baba Yafku managed quite well though he is hugely handicapped in speech and conversations. His repertoire of sounds assisted in making himself understood well enough over time. As the persons he dealt with grew increasingly familiar with his humming, clicks, hisses and coughs alongside his elabourate hand gestures as he expressed himself, the old man’s impromtu sign language easily served its intended purpose. Still most times his crude manner of expressing himself does not give him the seriousness and logical effect he requires to make salient points and make himself fully understood as comfortably or as adequately as he wants.
“That night, as Thomas and Sweet talked with Baba Yafku, the old man tried to tell them his pathetic story. He tried to speak of his worries and sufferings but in the frustration of his speech handicap he only struggled to say little that was comprehensible to the couple. He was emotional and it was a lot harder for him to make himself understandable. He told his personal story like he would a parable and the desired immediate impact of his tale was sadly missing, even though it was clear to see that he was hurting. That visible expression of pain plastered on his old wrinkled face soon got him the couple’s undivided attention and it relieved Baba Yafku to see this. He briefly felt a high sense of achievement. This was however marginal and it proved to be short lived because in the exuberance that it ushered, Baba Yafku hurriedly ended his story with a sudden unexpected request.
“The old man implied he wanted to follow the couple back to their hinterlands home in Samiku. The request wasn’t expected by the couple and they reacted to it with what they considered as a moderately civil response. It seemed logical at that point in time for them to be mature and proper. So they did what felt right to them, for the sake of soothing the emotionally hurting man sitting right before them.
“Thomas and Sweet looked at each other before they took turns in speaking. They were subtle in the unintentional nature of the arrogance they exhibited. They gently declined his request and in their shallow understanding of what he tried to tell them, they had merely assessed his importance to them only if he stayed in Badagry to take care of their business and house. They wanted him to maintain his trusted vigilance over their town home and also keep eye on their other interests.
“Baba Yafku’s serious speech defect had failed him in his attempt to tell the couple about the sad events he had experienced. He wasn’t entirely successful in conveying the gravity of his second wife’s recent act of cruel betrayal when she absconded with her younger lover. Fuafa was the first woman to want him, ever. She was almost as old as him but he wasn’t conditioned to be selective. His speech impediment didn’t bother her and Baba Yafku loved her dearly for this. He didn’t mind the stories told about her past, of how she was said to have abondoned her old husband in the village years ago and returned to Badagry to peddle her body to construction workers and fishermen. Fuafa loved him and he loved her.
“He loved her more when in his old age, she gave him a son. She returned from a brief visit to the village with a five years old boy and a glorious story of getting the boy from amongst the countless orphans in her village. Then when their son was twelve she suddenly left with Baba Yafku’s savings. He was hoping she will return when the money runs out but its been a year now and no sign of her. Baba Yafku feared the worst as he has asked around for any news of her. Most people were blunt in telling him to be happy he is rid of her. Still losing Fuafa wasn’t half as painful as the more recent sudden death of his only son in a boat accident. The young boy took a liking to fishing and Baba Yafku thought it is a noble trade. The state of mind of the old fellow wasn’t quite clear to the couple and they were unable to properly identify the true value of his leaving Badagry for good. Leaving with them at that moment of his asking was his remedy to living the rest of his life all alone, in utter anguish for his losses. The thought of staying with Thomas and Sweet in far away Samiku felt like heaven to Baba Yafku. He would grow crops, his dearest passion. He would have a family and two lovely children to live the rest of his life teaching the splendid pleasures of agricultural wonders. It was a dream the couple was denying him.
“The nature of his unfortunate abnormality didn’t help in conveying this to Thomas and Sweet. As such his delivery of the painful loss he felt didn’t give off well and win over the sympathy he craves from them for his patient suffering. He had instead encountered what seemed like unsympathetic faces, devoid of the understanding he sought in his current crippling emotional plight. It was a hapless feeling for him as the couple showed the usual response of humour for his tasked communicating and not the sensitivity they ought to express for his predicament.
“This worsened things for Baba Yafku as he discovered the only people he had any tangible hope of understanding his difficulties weren’t offering him any solace. The couple appeared to hold themselves away from his inner pain by their own personal preference for his selected service. This realization hurt him so much. It hurt him with the rekindled feeling of emptiness, with such heartfelt pain. The old man’s emotions held him penned in, in subconsciously conceived hostility. It was suppressed by a judgmental hatred, the type that reveals in being found to be less agreeable and hospitable to denial and rejection, than being civil.
“Baba Yafku felt betrayed and disliked farther. For someone who grew up in the limelight of little value and had relatively succeeded in his struggles to put some value in his existence in the face of everyone who had belittled him, the old man still wasn’t prepared well in advance for the magnitude of these series of harsh rejections, from a wife he loves, from the death of his only son and from the people he respected the most. All of which came together, at a facet of his elderly life when he thought he was happiest and from the most important people in his life. The wife running off with yet another younger man, reeked of his failings and his bodily inadequacies. His beloved son’s sudden death hinted of fate not being tolerant of his happiness and finally the refusal of companionship from the persons he thought valued him the most farther cemented what everyont thought of him.
“Baba Yafku’s sense of overwhelming disappointment showed as they all went to bed, that uncomfortably night. Thomas and Sweet hoped he will shake off this moody spate by morning but they were unaware that Baba Yafku was determined to explore the only exit he felt was still open to him. The first sign of something is afoot was when there was no sign of Baba Yafku when the small family prepared to leave their small Badary house in the morning. Baba Yafku knew they had to leave early to catch the lorry but he wasn’t around to bid them farewell.
“The severity of the situation appeared out of the blue. It belatedly woke the couple from their revelry of quick early morning departure. Someone unknown to the couple raced down their street, like a serious contender for a sprints medal, to inform them Baba Yafku had hanged himself to death from a tree in the dark grey early hours of that morning. The couple’s shock was absolute. Their old gardener had only the night before confessed his struggles and problems to them. They had seen indications that he was losing grip of himself but dismissed it as merely a bad mood and they did nothing to soothe his worries. They were mainly preoccupied with their own selfish need of him and didn’t really help him. It was not so much the scale of their contribution but the seemingly lack of honest quality to it.
“In the annals of every sort of emotional problem, the inconclusive pages of remedies reveal that no problem is ever completely solved. No chosen solution to emotional problems comes with the most dramatic impact like suicide does. Its impact is everlasting and final. It leaves the successful applicants of its harshness permanently quieted by its unworthy experience and their hapless confidants feeling cheated and betrayed by the selfish worthless imps that thought they knew better. The framework of the human nature enables people to thrive on the unique ability to overcome almost every emotional challenge by just facing up to them.
“The naturally empowered person really has only his speech to make a case. It is certain that free speech always patiently unshackle and vindicate itself verbally. The guidance of common wisdom isn’t as available to the mind as it tends to appear to be in most instances. Hence the most literate and exposed minds will fail in drawing from their wealth of knowledge at times they ordinary should. It isn’t that there are physical or emotional reasons for this, it is simply because human shortcomings manifests in their expressed actions, showing off in their bias nature towards some of their superficial desires. This twists and mangles the unconscious preference not to be objective and with no hiding place for the illogical choices readily available, people are led farther astray on perceived higher adventure for naught. Nothing worthwhile is achieved from their pointless quest in the long run.
“Each passing day seems to constantly remind life of its impending certainty of demise, as it fans the flames of memory with the hopelessness of living an ever ending life. Humanity goes through its troubled times mindful of the unworthiness of its difficult unfortunate struggles. Ashamed that he had lost control of his emotions, which had kept him rational all this long while, Baba Yafku didn’t wish to live any longer. His most bitter thoughts couldn’t farther entertain such tasking times all alone. He couldn’t again recover to stand firm on his feet and keep his already grounded fears aloft, without any assurance of respite subsequently.
“Over the years, in his sustained push and search for respite, he painstakingly concluded that the only true respite is not in his final destination after his physical death, but death itself. Still with suicide, Baba Yafku got it woefully wrong without the slightest option or chance of reversing his bad choice when he subsequently discovers he is wrong after all, if he ever could.
“The crooked manner of suicide never really has truth in its comprehension, hence suicide is quite varied in its assessment. Its invariable judgment is greatly impaired by its mortally inconclusive rationale. The handiwork of this sort of very personal self-accusation, trial, judgment and execution, is unequalled in every other regard. The normally singled out nature of it appears to chart a course that clearly disagrees with the logic of it and its very own emotional compass.
“There isn’t any real difference in every kind of induced unnatural death, because all killers are basically only murderers. In the perspective of the only possible beneficiary of suicide; as sure as something is wrong, so is it right in its wrongness. Obviously this view isn’t shared by most. The essence of any thing wrong is in the absence of what makes it right, as in the presence of what makes it deemed wrong. So it could really get complicated to determine what is right or wrong most times than often. The marinated perspective of that lone suicidal person is excused by his emotional rapacious intelligence. Logic is handicapped at the instance of deciding to commit suicide, that it cannot see its own abnormality.
The simplicity and complications are quite liberally intertwined with the individual’s ego, or a lack of it. Their sense of purpose at that point in time is incapable of taking any other decision. It is more so, for such an important decision with far reaching finality implications. It thus appears incomprehensible from a detached perspective. Baba Yafku was grossly bias in his thinking for himself.
From where comes all this dew,
Delighting thoughts with to chew.
Soothing pressures that boo,
But sound frightfully so lewd.
I grabbed the wind horn I blew,
For I alone do hear it so true.
A loss I think I’ll cause you,
The pains might escape a few.
My swift scheme hardly new,
Like good cheats daring who.
Life is the full pot of new stew
Emotional foot found with its shoe.
Man ever shies away from the good things he needs to do and he knows this well. Vaguely though, it is because people are of the misguided conception that it makes them appear endlessly physically weak and mentally soft by doing so. Yet clearly they acknowledge it isn’t.
People are thus destined to a gloomy life of decayed doom, as proof of the perpetual state of atonement which couples the meanness that reigns supreme in the world of endless restitution they created. But then it is man’s subsequent death, and only his death that has the final erratic say. It is a prevenient reality that reveals itself in a lethargic manner, which ever lacks where it shouldn’t.
Like the story of the little duckling hatched by a hen and grew amongst little chickens
THE HEN’S ODD CHICK
The grass blades shake off droplets
As she led on her mild yellow train.
Her own adorable dozen little pets
Squealing within their own tiny rain,
Before the morning dew finally melts
And all the worms go deep down again.
She beaks a large borrowing worm
And they crowd round her as quick,
Wrestle the struggling stringy form
From her higher and bigger beak.
They pieces it all amongst their sum,
Except again that weird odd chick.
Scratching off the sandy soil top
To pick and feed on the grains sort,
The serious Hen and her low troop;
All except that chick which does not.
Strangely though in a marshy mud top
It walks easily as fed with its beak blunt.
Then it happens like it does always,
Her dozen subtracts after and after.
At the stream where a worm ever plays
Danger is more and always there to alter.
The odd chick water takes in its ways;
Strangely it floats on, to the Hen’s whimper.
Land has always been every man’s very own piece of the earth. What man keeps in store for the after-life is a myth on earth and every other acquisition are orgies that pass with their singular guided devotion, which suit the empathy that is willingly enjoyed at the very moment of their usefulness. But this is not always the case where personal land ownership is concerned and that is why it has a prime attraction. Land is always the first born of many others, no matter its place in the sequence of acquisition and ownership. It has a very distinct place of pride amongst all the other processions. And no matter how long land is owned, it always evokes the very same intense alertness that battles constantly within the spirit of its owner.
Land takes away the all conquering might of death. It blunts the weapons of war and quells the yearning within man for his endless lustful personal acquisitions like nothing does. Land ownership lingers till time ends recent history and starts another. But without the rightness of truth and the correctness in the lawful accords of honest justice, every executed act will disintegrate subsequently; no matter how ancient or how divinely branded it had appeared to be at its onset.
Oddly though, it all amounts to nought. The most precious land amount to nothing if it is not used ideally and like people, it could become utterly wasteful.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
Beyond cure and who understands it.
Cursed is he, who trusts man or his things;
For man depends on flesh and the strength of it.
Man whose heart turns away from Truth,
He will be like a bush in the wastelands.
He sees not prosperity when it comes forth;
Will dwell in parched places of deserted lands.
Dwelling in salty lands where no one lives,
Not like that tree planted by the water
That sends out its roots by the streams it lives
And doesn’t fear; the heat will not matter.
With the Truth, his leaves are always green.
He has no worries in a year of drought.
Never failing to bear fruit in any season,
Not like the wasteland he has made his lot.
“Through eventful years the sticks ever pile,
Hopes with the trunk that vomits emptiness.”
The recent loudly revisited agitation for a Biafran state from Nigeria calls for another look at my poem “Fever” and excerpts from my Fever Series (Books I-V), where I told a somewhat fictional historical tale of the Nigerian state. I am currently rewriting the series and almost done.
Through eventful years the sticks ever pile,
Hopes with the trunk that vomits emptiness.
The mighty broom swept so long a mile,
Still dirt abounds as its proud fruitfulness.
Mourning tears leave this feeling of numbness.
Eras of evolution has not changed the egg,
The needs of man same and ever will be so.
Maybe a broom will kill lizards on a clay keg
And not break it too like the stick did before.
In this concoction only soluble particles’ temperatures soar.
Promise of the lands are all pointing,
Yet the future is hot food in the mouth.
Bodies buried and alive, had and are, waited and waiting,
For the joy in swallowing and satisfaction they sought.
Over hard filled years waiters without appetite rot.
The dogs in this story are the traitorous pigs,
Their patriotism is fake like sweeping grains with a rake.
Locusts that plunder the field leaving tiny dry twigs,
Their determined whispers stir reasoning ideally fake;
These dishonourable gentle heads that ache.
The locusts ate the grains, the rake wasted the rest.
The broom was left so little in its fold.
In this farm, pigs serve dogs for it’s their best.
The egg will likely shatter in hands that shouldn’t hold.
They chest indifferently the agony of the rest in the cold
Excerpts from Fever Series Books I
“Through eventful years the sticks of time ever pile, just like the people, what they represent and what represents them. The people have become a loose fitting collection that isn’t a strapped up and bonded broom, just like their land that is rich and rife with such inspirational promise.
“Nigerians are willing to be bonded up as one unit but they couldn’t possibly give an ear to the assumed wisdom in the words and experiences of their past. The people have since learnt the hard way that the sweets they have are actually sour and the sour taste is soon made bitter by their refusal to swallow their constant rejection of dependence on any sort of bonding.
“Though Nigerians are reflectively one and their historical past the same, the people can only remonstrate together over trivial issues, reminiscent of their ancestors and their quaint past that they endlessly repeat in their infantile present.”
Yet again modern men remain quiet, but quite resolutely still steadfast in the sustenance of that ancient model of their gradual dominance over the women folk. It is not ever fully concealed or nearly abandoned in its impertinence. It recaptures every single edge it lets off and increasingly intimates its younglings with the self esteem of its virtues, before they even fully grasp how to also intimidate with it.
Their expression of this intent is unguardedly simpler when they are young. That is when black and white is blurred into an innocent grey and the earliest gusto of the showmen’s world they are born into cannot fully differentiate immodesty from humility. They tend to hide their shortcoming so poorly then.
Young girls in the male younglings’ presence are made tolerant of the arbitrary interference to the optimistic promise of their natural feminine love as shown manipulatively and reinforced. It is initially pleasing, but it doesn’t eventually gladden as it doesn’t ever exempt a single one of them. Subsequently, all women get to feel fully uprooted and well armed with an arsenal of useless weapons.
In his immediate community, the young boy isn’t ever seen to be criticizing his women folk, instead he is said to be just ever critiquing as he ages into slowly appreciating them. Even as sister resists attempts to belittle their efforts to make her brother her bettered partner, he yet upsets her with the most solemn words of disrespect and embarrasses her best effort to give him a revered distinction. Remarkably, this is most probably a distinction he doesn’t ever show he deserves.
It is the very old: BATTLE OF THE CELLS
Who must comes first,
Males or the females?
This knowledge a thirst
That quenches with cells
If what is common birth
Forms females or males;
Supremacy is their myth,
Caged within each cells.
Still the sole permit she is allowed in corroborating with him is amazingly incompatible in the scheme of things, as it sparks of a series of fixations that he needs countered but doesn’t ever let. He forever masters her identity and its personification. Her lamentation is always in true isolation because he causes it with the continuous surge of his self worth. The strayed debris of her glories is made an eclectic collection of incongruities, meant to suit his pleasures. She is forced to shyly thank him for this same insult to her person over and over again.
She is stopped from worrying about the things he does habitually, those that fix a solemn expression on her gloomy face and eternally ambush her with listless accusations about falsehoods, mindless of her integrity. Her expression of her exhibited feelings is considered improper, even as he insinuates that this same altruism of hers, conflates into her most loved attributes. He shamelessly sees these virtues as ingenious, stimulating and inspiring.
As such she is made his ultimate item of ridicule by his very own instruments of condemnation she still adores.
That is the crux of the STRENGTH OF A WOMAN
Where is the bird that hatched this egg?
Flying above the world, up so very high.
And the monkey the farmer wouldn’t beg?
Laughing up a branch, he threatens not near.
Will they ever marry their ideas, so very big?
As always they steal, flock, eat and do share.
Flying above the world, up so very high,
The bird still returns down to hatch its egg.
Laughing away harmless threats if not near,
The monkey’s hunger for the farm will beg.
Their ideas created their world and it is clear,
That strength of the woman gave marriage a leg.
Victors don’t flourish if their vanquished had perished and death can only lose. If the fear we bear of death doesn’t give death peace of mind, then what has death? Death can’t have us or keep us for he passes on only, going through us for the briefest of moments. Death tends to reveal the two most important lessons in our limited lives and these are firstly; Where there is a life, there are always lies. And secondly; Every road leads to the same place. Death’s power ends where it starts.
Death is always an unexpected familiar guest that steals from all.
Cruel, cruel death
We have never met.
I only just heard
Of the fear in tears you said.
You’ve been about the herd
And oh the wonder you fed.
“The world is full of loud commentators, with deceptive commendations their many willful listeners obviously find aptly admirable and not coy. But I am an exception to the norm, among the few appropriating critics who equate affirmation of evidence with 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. Then the elderly 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 siphoned 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. The long established tedious ways for Africans to legally get into Europe ensured only the best Africa can offer do migrate. The new trend only dumps from the dregs 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 Europe problem, since England is still an old independent island, still on it own while playing to be part of Europe. Still with its currency in place, as the presence of the Queen imprinted on it.” Cyril remained every bit as steadfast in his opinion.
“Good people do bad things for good reasons, my friend.” Mr Bill said.
The desire to right the wrong of another by embarking on the very same quest they had undertaken usually ends with behaving exactly like they did. It may be best not to criticize those who criticize you, instead give yourself less reason to, if you could manage it. Living as best as you can is more than often the most suitable remedy to handling unfair criticism.
But the world is full of lies and people living their lies.
Those who curse the dog’s wet nose,
Let them please cast the first stone.
It can’t wag its tongue mouth close
As they commonly do on their own.
It barks its reason like all of those
Who do but wouldn’t leave it alone.
Women have the dirtiest minds if you ask me. I know because as a young lad I have been in lots of position to eavesdrop on men discussing their women and women discussing their men. While the men are normally conservative in their conversations, giving away little details, women tend to be very vivid, describing even their men sexual prowess like they would an piece of elegant clothing.
If you doubt this then consider this. You can tell a lot about people by how exhibitionist they are in their behaviors. While men find it difficult to look at one another’s private part, even when they ease themselves, women do not think much of stripping down naked in full view of one another to take a bath. (Straight men).
But when it comes down to it, it is really always about who is really more superior;
BATTLE OF THE CELLS
Who must comes first,
Males or the females?
This knowledge a thirst
That quenches with cells.
If what is common birth
Forms females or males;
Supremacy is their myth,
Caged within each cells.
Extracts from “The Man in the Moon” in “Everyone hates the English”
“These classifications of races we use are flawed. They do not identify us like they ought to and are only popular by default. The term Caucasian got redirected to refer to the European race. It was devised as Caucasoid and initially only used to describe the people native to Europe and not North Africa, Asia, North and South America. Caucasoid was originally used for Europeans without regard to their different skin tones. It was used to denote one of the three manufactured classification of human races, the others being Negroids and Mongoloids. These three races are still in use, regardless of inaccuracies.” More pedestrians tarried and stopped to listen. Leroy raised his face and voice.
“The origin of classifying white people as Caucasians came with the discovery of the Georgian skull in the sixteenth century, it was used to hypothesized the origins of Europeans. Caucasian was coined by Christophe Meiners, a German philosopher, and got widely circulated in intellectual circles amidst criticism of its correctness. Meiners proposed only two races; Caucasians and Mongolians.
“In comparison to Mongolians, he described Caucasians as more physically attractive, with pale skins and Caucasians as more sensitive and morally virtuous than Mongolians. Christophe Meiners made further distinctions within Caucasians, deducing that his indigenous Germans are the most attractive and virtuous of all, claiming their region to be the epitome for the Caucasian race. His classification is not based on any scientific criteria. The classification was more subjective than objective. Meiners posed that Caucasians had “whitest, most blooming and most delicate skin” and Europeans with darker skin are “dirty whites”, tainted with Mongolians. Skin pigmentation is still regarded as the main difference between the races and Adolf Hitler had borrowed from Meiners’ logic.” The numbers of listeners grew. The black leather jacket steered at the back, his shaven head’s eyes narrowed. Leroy smiled and relished the discomfort he caused.
“Later the expanded human races were spread into five, based on skin colour, justified with scientific coincidences like cranial measurements and facial features. Caucasians the ‘White race’. Mongoloids, ‘Yellow race’. Malayans, ‘Brown race’. Ethiopians, ‘Black race’. Americans, ‘Red race’. Later still, the importance of skin tone was down-graded when it was observed that peasant Caucasians work outside and had darker skins through a lot of sun exposure and darker skins are a natural feature of Europeans around the Mediterranean. Still there was never any scholarly consensus on this findings. However scientists maintain racial categorizations of colour works. In the twentieth century it was increasingly used to justify political policies based on prejudice, like segregation and immigration restrictions.” Around thirty five people now stood in front of the sixty year old migrant from Jamaica, who has worked as a handy man in the same London elementary school for thirty five years. The attraction was swift and they listened with rapt attention, taking in his every word like the mild sunlight shining on them with little warmth.
“Races are presently classified based on colour, skull collections based on cranial features and anthropometric measurements. Caucasian traits are accepted as a narrow nose, a small mouth, thin lips and a balanced facial angle. These features are recognized in contrast to that of others. Caucasians have minimal protrusion of their lower faces with retreating cheekbones, making their face look pointed. Their hair texture vary from straight to curly or wavy, contrasting the Negroid’s springy and the Mongoloid’s coarse and sparsely distributed varieties.”
Leroy tugged at the remnant of his bushy hair as he said ‘Negros’s springy’. In a classroom of six year olds, his hair will make a perfect teaching aid. But these are not kids, just misguided grown ups. Another thought flashed through his mind.
Leroy: People age but remain like six year olds till they die, still learning.
“It is a fascinating tale of a culturally engaged street corner preacher, a usually misunderstood necessary oddity in major metropolises built upon colonial legacy – where the non indigenous culturally marginalized, some of them forcibly brought to build the same thing they, now, are blamed to have polluted. It is, a story said from its characters and supporting onlookers’ perspective, an insightful fiction.
“The character development focused on three actors who kept on yanking the story into motion. It is like a pyramid standing on Leroy – a self-anointed ambassador of a motley group that he himself reveals his estrangement from, depending on its state of affairs – as revealed by his following statement “… I much rather say I am black and proud, than I am a proud African …” Therefore, it is safe to say that Leroy’s sense of belonging, vis-à-vis Africa, is selective, although there is a dose of Garveyism in his preaching that all black people are from Africa. His consciousness, which was supposed to be the key to his inner peace, might very well be considered as the basis of his tragic state of being.
“Then comes Mrs. Gregory, the essential story spinner – a provoker Leroy couldn’t live without, who summarizes the bad and the good, the two sides of the coin, of western civilization – the target of Leroy’s preaching; and then Henry, a dog given a humane characterization, a dog with a mind, caprices, and feeling; he too helped run the story to its destination. As much as they get along, there is a deep-seated love and hate. To me, it seems that Leroy loves Barbara but hates Mrs. Gregory. On his fateful day, he accepted Barbara’s invitation – as Leroy the man, but Mr. Freeborn got ambushed by Mrs. Gregory’ Caucasian embedded anxiety about black men’s motives.
“I knew, and mingled with, some Leroy Freeborns; fascinating people to be with, While perching on their stage – under the bright sun, until it is time to get home, when the sea is done swallowing the sun and the moon’ reminder that it is time now to have an inner preaching with one’s pillow, to say the least, or the time to cuddle and nurture love ones; and then you wonder whether they would prefer that the sun will never set on their day to day reality. He is the man in the moon, while standing on his pedestal, fading into the ghost of his shadow just a step down from his makeshift launching pad.
(Some excerpts from “The Man in the Moon” Everyone hates the English)
“It is not an insult to call me black, it is purely descriptive. Africa is firstly a geographical location, an address. It is a continent with more than one race on it, Negros and Arabs are indigenous to it. Without the slightest risk of sounding the least controversial, you will agree that there are Caucasians native to it, that means Caucasian-Africans. So when you call someone an African-American, you are also referring to Arabs and other Caucasians of African origins. But don’t you only wish to refer to the blacks, when you say African-American?” Leroy shouts at the top of his voice. The opening remarks ought to be delivered loudest, so pedestrians can hear him clearly as they go by. But the words are as important as the volume.
“The origin of the term black for Negros is indefinite. It is easy to guess that Negros were the first to call themselves black. All through history, naturally occurring darkness with daily year round nights in the tropics, has been associated with blackness and it is ideal to use black as a synonym for extreme darkness. The trend remains still, even if black is considered improper. The degraded imagery deduced from the term black can only be expunged by the achievements of those who can not escape it, if they wear it and must live with it. Skin colour can not be removed like some piece of clothing.” Leroy was being just assertive enough to reel in listeners. The first few pedestrians paused and veered closer to hear more.
His next line determines if they stayed. It is imperative to retain the earliest callers, their interest tends to attract others and a steady increase in numbers builds more interests. People are habitual copy cats, they only linger if others do. The material he delivers will do the rest and Leroy Freeborn always has good material.
“The most descriptive term best suited for the Negro’s visibly dark complexion is black, just like white is best suited for Caucasians.” Leroy spoke forcefully, then he repeats a summary of his earliest words, for the immediate benefit of the new arrivals joining the first few who heard him commence his rant for the day.
“Even if a popular law stops the formal use of blacks to identify Negros in its entirety, black will still be used for those purposes it is best suited for. The truth is, Negros are best identified as blacks and the home of all black people is Africa, our proud mother land. But going by the recent expression of freedom in our beloved Africa, I much rather say I am black and proud, than I am a proud African.”
A collective groan from the dozen or so people already listening in front of Leroy’s small raised platform, greeted his last words. As usual, the indefinite insinuation of the shared groan didn’t fully register approval or disapproval.
Twenty five years of standing on the same spot on the broad sidewalk, with the kind permission of the late owner of the nearby toy store, under the blue morning skies of England’s capital city, every Saturday in summer, spring and Autumn has taught the sixty year old native Jamaican the ropes of the demanding talking trade.
Leroy appeals to the intellect of just anyone, from unkempt homeless bums to unemployed graduates, from housewives on shopping runs to tourists, who only speak enough English to understand directions. Leroy can work a crowd into a frenzy and answer reasonable questions or hateful queries hurled at him with the articulate elegance of age and much knowledge. He had regulars, some have heard him for over a decade. A few regulars arrived and increased the growing numbers.
Leroy acknowledges a few nods from familiar faces and continued his tirade. It was going to be an interesting day, the small crowd appeared genuinely interested.
“I own the name Black Man! It is me, I claim it as mine and my proud identity. But who are you sir?” Leroy points at a white man in the front, not one of his regulars. The man smiles back at him, amused. It was a normal response.
“Come on people, don’t be shy. Someone speak to me. Are you white, if I am black?” Leroy looked at yet another white man, a recent regular. Then at another, but still no answer was offered. They were being careful not to walk into a trap. They were there to listen to his harangue and not to engage him in a discussion.
“I am Caucasian,” a male voice from the back said.
Obscured from Leroy’s veiw, the fellow didn’t reveal himself but it was easy to tell the voice belonged to the man in a black leather jacket. His clean shaven head gave him away, not the plain uninterested mien he unsuccessfully tried to pass off.
Vital tip Leroy: Those crazy bald heads don’t keep straight uninterested faces.
Life tends to congregates us in one loving hub of family and friends, wooing us to have and share love for one another, as it educates us with the knowledge of our inevitable end and final separation. But it never empowers us with the secret of bearing its insipid emptiness and harsh betrayal. It is cruel and just not truly fair.
Living is thwarted,
Obscured by its folly.
The mind is hunted,
Impossible even if jolly.
When a bird sings,
It’s because it must.
What any age brings
Speaks for you most.
Age plays the most games with women than it does with men. This is mainly the case because the woman was apparently drawn up into the human picture and plan, to perpetually be the subordinate of the man, with the definite fate of being indefinitely shortchanged, taken for an eternal ride and destined to be cheated by the clearly better edged up man.
The woman would obviously always not be preferred to her brother. She doesn’t get a better deal than her male siblings, as a child. She is bullied by her own mother and all female relatives into becoming like them. She is made only an amiable play thing by most relatives and more so by the sympathetic but guarded and invariably laid back attitude of her male relatives.
She is spanned and toyed with by her male partner like figure, because of her presumed limited capabilities, mummified by the shackles of his marriage and her subsequent motherhood. She is used and reused for her immeasurable, recyclable and incredibly cheap worth. Then eventually buried in and with the intangible praise she lived a lifetime hearing, without experiencing or feeling.
Age would always deceive every single accomplished or failed woman alike. She would live on to recount her worries, those she had since forgotten or gotten quite used to, until they don’t bug her any longer when she is used to them. This is the curse of the woman irrespective of her people or their creed.
Think about this? It is quite human to be greatly annoyed by certain aspects of life, by an individual or group of people. People habitually associate exhibited characteristics with specific persons, people or their orientation.
For centuries the English have dissatisfied the most people across the globe. But as diverse as the reasons why Everyone Hates The English are, the world still respects and simply enjoy the English the most. The tales in this book say as much.
The stories in #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish will capture your imagination and steer your emotions like few other tales of books ever did before now.
Everyone hates something and most people actually think; #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish #EHTE
It is conventional for one group to be dissatisfied with another they regard as different. Usually the displeasure is as a result of other people not conforming to expectations, not necessarily because they are different.
Being irritated or irked by certain persons is predominantly a personal feeling, which then builds over time and grows into the psyche of larger groups that share the same traditions, social and economic orientation and status.
Hating something or someone means being highly peeved and greatly upset by them, such that it causes discontentment and makes one continuously unsatisfied by these things or persons. It is a marginal feeling that builds into an extreme angered state, a perpetual disgruntled condition.
Everyone experiences this disappointed state of unfulfilled expectations for varied emotional, social, economic, political, cultural and religious reasons. As diverse as our reasons for hating others may appear to be, they all share two things in common. The majority of reasons people get offended and angered are personal to others and trivial to them. These are reasons enough to understand and respect others, or simply just to laugh at our reasons for hating others. But not summarily hate others because they are different or because we are just as different too.
Everyone hates something that displeases them. Let us start with understanding and respecting, or simply enjoying the English, while laughing along with the reasons why #EveryoneHatesTheEnglish or think they do.
In SHADES OF BIRDS the English had just lost the American civil war and still managed to win over their best allies ever. In ALTERNATE D-DAY the English lost the second world war and got ready to take over the world, yet again. MRS QUEEN, MISS KING are a few simple letters that appears to speak for the popular English monarchy and its enduring legacy of detached respectability.
Then comes OPTIONAL SLAVERY and the wave of illegal migration from seemingly everywhere to almost anywhere in Europe, but good old England. And in England we meet THE MAN IN THE MOON, yet another economic migrant that is proud of the heritage he escaped from but didn’t really live behind. In the same city THE ASSASSINATION OF OBASANJO took place, the guests of the hospitable English gave them a tastes of life in one of their so many old colonies.
The IMPROPER CONDUCT that culminates in Karachi tells the collective tale of diverse individual offshoots of English legacy across the whole world, over so long a time. With THE THREE VIRGINS the English help merged three major people into yet another United Kingdom without a care for their preferance or indeed their reluctance. Finally a young Indian footballer got a good SPORTING CHANCE to be more English, just when he succeeds in being less English.
It was dangerously late and cold outside. There were signs of an impending thunder storm too. The Call girl was obviously terrified by the prospect of facing those horrendous conditions outside. She hadn’t been lucky and didn’t catch the fancy of any of the male guests the previous night. She was so desperate to earn something that she waited till it was too late for her to leave and it would cost several times more to transport herself home that late and she could afford it. So she hid in a deserted corridor, hoping to stay out of sight until it was dawn and she could leave quietly, pretending to be leaving a guest’s room. The receptionist had discovered her tucked away behind a massive curtain and some decorative floor pots and insisted she left.
The stranded Call girl offered the receptionist a bribe in cash and kind, but the cagy young man wouldn’t play ball. Kengua found that last bit amusing as the Call girl reached out to the receptionist with loving probing hands, pleading with him to assist her. The young lad was adamant, obviously he was more concerned about keeping his job than he was about getting sexual favours. Kengua had to offer the receptionist some cash to let the Call girl stay. The young man agreed and the girl was relieved to be able to stay on within the secured premises of the hotel, until it was bright and safe in the morning. It hasn’t been safe around the entire country of late and the Call girl was more than willing to explain this farther to her rescuer. Kengua had no choice but to listen politely as she went on to tell him things he already knew about.
“There has been spades of night killings of local people, since ire Muslim youths went on a vengeful campaign in retaliation of the multiple bombing incidences, alleged to have been carried out by the local Animists youth in the area,” she reported in very good Hausa.
“The recent spate of violence had started when Animist youth were purported to have used a powerful locally assembled incendiary bomb on a Friday afternoon, at the largest Mosque in the town during mid-Friday prayers. The explosion had killed over five hundred men at once. It was the first bombing in the immediate area but not in the entire country.
“The other bombings of its kind had killed much less victims, but cumulatively the casualty rate was getting so high because the Muslim community doggedly refused to suspended their big Friday prayers, insisting it wasn’t an option. The fanatical local Muslim clerics kept preaching that those who died as a result of the Mosque bombings were headed straight to paradise to parley with the almighty God, his dead prophets and immortal angels for all eternity. So the more the Muslims refused to stop congregating on Fridays for mass prayers, the more the casualties.”
Kengua listened to her without saying a single word in reply.
“I’m not taking any chances,” she concludes.
Kengua deduced she is obviously a Hausa Muslim girl from the region of the country around the capital city where Kengua stays. She was only making a living the best way she could, in the part of her country more hospitable to what she had to do to get by. She was only marginally dressed in a flirtatious fairly large brassier she was passing off for a mini blouse top and in the highest possible white mini skirt. Her bright red panties kept showing in crimson flashes against her dark skin. No matter how hard she tried to keep her underwear hidden and from being seen by others around her, she was always doomed to fail because her skirt was too high up. She kept clasping her thick thighs tightly, crossing and uncrossing her short plump legs to no avail.
There were traces that she had attempted to bleach her dark skin into something lighter in the past but she must have given it up when she couldn’t afford the pricey creams any longer. She now had amber coloured streaks of stretch marks around her very visible thighs that Kengua found nauseating. It was obvious that she didn’t flaunt her thighs in the afternoon, only at night.
She had the most colourfully thick application of cosmetic make up on her face and it made her look more like a Japanese opera actress than a serious prostitute. It was little wonder she got no offers, Kengua thought as he kept his eyes away from looking directly at her. Dressing up and looking like that is simply just a necessity for her trade, in her opinion. She and her sort had been so badly indoctrinated over time and she was particularly too illiterate, to know better.
It is more than a shade easier for a girl to be corrupted sexually, than it is for a boy. A girl is naturally more endowed with the implements to lean back on and conveniently make a living off in the dark, more than her male counterpart. Besides, her clients are naturally conditioned to pour in, in droves. Most times, the girls are culturally pressured to play along when economically tasked. It is a merry go round legacy they inherit and grow up to bequeath to their successors.
Sitting next to the talkative girl most of the night, into the earliest morning hours, Kengua realized how stereotyped his treatment of Laraba affections towards him was. He reflected on the silliness of his assumptions and concluded he had no right to decide for Laraba before he told her his sexual predicament. He wasn’t even in a bad state and she would most probably be delighted by the experience. Meanwhile, there was no stopping the Call girl from talking on.
“I didn’t even know how to say the alphabets until I started this work. The very first teachers I got were actually members of a French NGO. They came to the brothel I worked to educate us on the dangers of HIV/AIDS. They kept making us repeat the letters ABC, which they went on to explain was an acronym for Abstinence, Being faithful to one partner and Condoms. We had lots of fun memorizing it but then they got a rude shock when they discovered we didn’t even know what the original ABC stood for or is used for. So they taught us the basics.”
Kengua learnt the Call girl’s name is Hajo, when she kept repeating her own name in her haphazard story telling. She sometime refers to herself in the third person as she chattered away, completely mindless and uncaring that her sole listener wasn’t contributing or enabling her with nods or even looking her way. She was simply satisfied he was awake and appeared to listen. Out of sight but still in the lobby, the loud snoring receptionist slept soundly on the floor behind the reception raised wooden counter. That also reminded her of yet another story she had to tell.
“The girl snored louder than this young receptionist throughout the night we were locked up in the cramped jail. We had to be locked up with some male criminals in the same tiny cell. It is the only one the police station had and the cops didn’t trust us enough to leave us sitting on our own behind or beside their open duty post, while they slept away their night duty hours.
“I was barely two weeks into this trade then, when we were unfortunate to get caught by the police men on patrol. The police had raided our regular hangout at a local bar to possibly round up criminals and it turned out that the proprietor of the place had fallen behind in his regular security payments to the local police chief. The raid was actually a timely reminder.
“Our fellow work girls who had enough money on them, had summarily paid their bail money up front before they even got arrested and those who had boyfriends amongst the raiding coppers, got off on good behaviour since they had good reliable character witnesses.”
Hajo giggled alone to her witty summation.
“There were twelve harden criminal men in that tiny cell room with just the two of us, off duty Call girls. The criminals waited until it was all quiet outside before they woke us up to the duties they had in mind for us, all night long. They whispered threats and demonstrated how they will snap our frail necks with their massive hands if we dare call out. I was terrified but the other girl dropped her panties and took a missionary pose like she was out to spread the gospel.”
Kengua started to find this story a lot more interesting.
““Hajo,” the other girl called out to me from beneath the first rogue that stepped forward and mounted her. Her name is Mina and she is a veteran from many years of active whoring.
““Just try to sleep.” Mina encouraged me but I was too scared to even look at her any more. It meant six hefty guys a piece and there was no telling they would stop at just one turn each. I just swallowed and braved up the onslaught. It was slow going and I stopped counting at ten. The men just kept taking turns at sampling both of us. They went about it silently and the coppers just a few feets away from us didn’t hint they knew what was going on while we had no choice but to resume work right within the belly of the law, under its protection.” Hajo giggled.
“I was soon very bruised, hurting and bleeding. That must have irritated them because the few that were still up to it, concentrated on Mina onwards and she laid back almost perfectly still. I was worried for her at first, scared she was unconscious. Not until I heard her snoring.
“She actually slept all through the ordeal and when the morning duty sergeant let us go by dawn, Mina simply stood up, yawned like she had a good night sleep and walked out as steady as a reigning queen. She certainly must have handled about thrice my portion without noticing it. I was really hurting afterwards. I walked funny in my anguish and wasn’t the least embarrassed to spread my legs apart with every stride I took, like a big slender crab. The criminals in the cell and the policemen had a big laugh watching me go when we were released in the morning.”
Kengua laughed politely too.
“Though I was bruised and couldn’t walk properly or indeed work for weeks afterwards, I got the last laugh. It became known that most of the guys we were locked up with were part of a notorious armed robbery gang that had killed a number of citizens and policemen in the area, running into a year before they were nabbed. And their case was swift and highly publicized.
“Mina made me go with her to the robbers’ well attended court case . Mina said it would be a therapeutic experience for me to see the men that brutalized my source of livelihood get what they deserve. Mina had become my closest friend after our common police sanctioned gang rape. She had been so nice to me afterwards and practically nursed me back to good health.”
Kengua’s thought briefly veered elsewhere. He was wondering if the priest’s wife had returned to her room. It was just a couple of hours before dawn and Hajo had been talking non-stop for more than two hours. Kengua’s mind returned to Hajo’s narration soon enough.
“The gang’s trial was held in a huge hall at the edge of town, not the regular courtroom. Three federal judges were assigned the case as the government made an exhibition of the trial because it was an election year and the politicians were in a very showy mood. The judges took turns in calling out the years of jail terms they were sentencing each of the criminals. They made it sound like the number of years they were calling out were just hours or even days, not years. Not 365 days or 52 weeks but a staggering 25, 30, 45 and 50 years were called out for each count, and there were as many as 12 counts for each of the twelve defendants.
“Each of the three obese judges seated behind a massive table on the raised stage had alternatively returned to called out the sentencing, until each judge had a fourth turn at it. Then finally the usual concurrent adage to the final sentence of the verdict instantly made amateur mathematicians of everyone in the court room, as a majority of the spectators in the hall tried to work out the number of years each of the criminals would spend in prison.
“Predictably, Mina had erroneously arrived at an incredible 150 years each and voiced her joy out loud but she was greatly disappointed when a elderly man seated nearby explained to us that concurrently meant none of the robbers would be in prison for more than fifty years. I was watching the youngest member of the gang closely. He was almost in tears. I wasn’t sorry for him. He had mounted me too and I especially recollect he was heavily endowed and tore me up. He sat back and counted out his own share of the decades of incarceration in one hand, with his other hand. He went over each of the five fingers repeatedly by briefly holding each finger of the first hand between the forefinger and the thumb of the second hand, touching each finger lightly.
“He starts from the smallest finger and ended at the thumb each time, repeating this six times over. He must have ended up with the same utterly wrong heart wrenching figure of over a hundred years doled out to him because he visibly broke down and wept. I felt sorry for him and it made me reflect that I was no different from him in many ways. We were creations of our last resort and just as he is physically endowed to be brutish, I was also hollowed to be whorish.”
Hajo had conclusively made a very salient point that resonates around what Kengua knew to be true. He felt sorry for her and as if he were paying her for keeping him company, he gave her a generous helping from the thick wad of the very low valued local paper currency he had in his wallet.
She wasn’t pretentious in her surprise when she received the money and offered to quickly give Kengua part of his money’s worth of service right there on the large leather sofa he was seated in. He declined and the disappointment he saw on her face was also quite genuine. She actually pleaded with him to reconsider, assuring him that she was safe and he wouldn’t be disappointed. He was adamant in his refusal. She was ecstatic as they said goodnight, though it almost dawn. She hugged him as he stood up to leave, before he was even remotely aware she might. He was stunned but didn’t cringe or feel repulsed. She needed the sympathetic hug.
The Whore https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/451311 http://okadabooks.com/book/about/8481
The ashamed bitterness that hung in a hidden cloud over Labara’s immediate family for many years had finally dispersed with the birth of a baby boy. It was a long wait that is erroneously recounted as lasting just slightly under half a decade; the number of years between Labara’s immediate younger sister and their parents’ last child. That is a total of four long years, with four miscarriages for their mother.
Sometimes the four earlier tensed up years between Laraba and her immediate younger sister are included or further back still, the swift two years between Laraba and her immediate older sister is added. But in reality the long wait started from that impatiently hurried single lonely year separating Labara’s immediate older sister and the family’s first born. It was from this onset that the despairing clouds started to gather, when their parents’ desire for a son didn’t happen at the very next time of asking, since it didn’t select so do so the first time out.
As inconceivably stupid as it sounds in this more advanced century of Biology, it is still widely entertained that their mother was at fault. As such she had been made to live the silent shame of being termed responsible for that elusive male child’s refusal to grace them with his entrance. It agonizingly took so long that she made sure she doctored the final home stretch to suit her own circumstances.
Laraba claims she wasn’t eavesdropping but it wasn’t ever a tenable fact. However her version clearly reveals that she heard her mother twice talking to their ever fashionable and eternally unmarried aunt, about having the right sex on the very next child she would bring into the world. True enough, after each time she heard them talk about it, there was always an immediate miscarriage afterwards.
Aside from the two instances of note, it was rather odd that of all the four times Labara’s mother had miscarriages, before a boy finally came along to the relief of everyone, her mother’s ageless, unmarried, fashionable younger sister was always around just before it happens. It was too much a coincidence for even a kid. Though a lot of slack wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed Labara’s father in the sphere of general intelligence, but even he couldn’t be that naïve in these days when a fetus’ sex is clearly not its secret alone until it emerges with it.
Laraba is that sort of girl with more intelligence than conscience and her father is the complete reverse. He is that meticulous sort, whose timidity is deemed as stupid because he always uses proper, kind words. To him, it probably was inconsequential that his wife and her sister chose to misrepresent miscarriages to him, and quite rightly naming the circumstances while insinuating they named the procedure. It seemed his mind locked him out of common sense, but he is in fact only happy to let them deceive him, even as he wasn’t compelled to let them know this. He would have been quite prepared to let them go through with it anyway.
The family had latched onto the idea of having its own mini man before it actually did. The fervor of this heighten expectation was not the type to redeem if not realized. The family had been disappointed for so long and it not only rebelled mentally but with sickening good cheer, it admits this quite openly too. Labara’s mother rebelled secretly and did away with as many girls as she kept, making way for the boy she got desperately readied for, by the world she lives in.
As if by the perversion of natural justice, aptly termed as poetic, the alert and readied older sisters of the baby boy soon slumped into the reality of having their lives being lord over by a helpless new father they must cater for jealously. The family openly shifted all its focus to the new born king and this triggered off the demise of a once held indelible dream, which still dazzled them, up till the point when the sisters realized they had become second classed in their very own family. As expected it made them more receptive of the honest truth of their existence as mere women. The reality of the situation dawned on them farther as the boy aged. Hitherto every single one of the family’s four girls was a daily recipient of such wondrous, untarnished affection from both their parents. Then the illumination of the true character of things was ushered in, in the darkness of the ageless sexist periods of old, the red flag went up at the same time as the checkered flag.
The anticipated arrival of a baby brother came with the true realities they actually were born into. It dawn on them that his belated entry into their sweet world was actually a blessing because it made them recognize clearly their minority status. Inasmuch as the four girls’ parents tried hard to show some equality, it was always clear that their world now revolts around the baby boy.
The sisters just had to hold on, heave and spin their lives around for the boy child. This metaphor is appropriate in this context, because the girls’ demeaned world literally became the boy’s merry-go-round, without a shadow of doubt. The sisters’ basic needs took the back stage of servitude, while they indeed continued to be handled with laced laxity. But that wasn’t really their main worry, as they showered their own honest love for their sole male sibling while concealing the overwhelming debris of their envy for his gloried presence, that brought their own heady days to a labourious close. The boy presented other worries of crucial note.
Labara’s parents found themselves prioritizing every detail in a scale that heightened the value of their sole male child ahead of his four older sisters. They prioritized easily enough because they created these priorities. It was somewhat a belated redemptive measure they couldn’t resist in the tense atmosphere the late arrival of the boy had put them in, one that was pervaded by rumours and the like.
Oddly though, as they blundered along ignoring the innocent suffering of their daughters, their close and careful approach reduced their once quite glorious family into a nervy apparition. They wasted much time on trifles in the self-inspired troubled setting they didn’t have any real control over, as their longings yet grew into the same diseased craze eating deep into them. The family was slowly ravaged and it became a reflection of its once single oneness, bounded in mind and body. It took to functioning as if it was being eaten by a very harmful addiction, copied but not contacted from the world all around it. The parents rudely lost track of what the majority within it really is and the part this majority actually play in the life of the more recent revered existence of the minority amongst them. The parents thus created a young prodigal chap, as their only son turned out to be, making him the subtle arch-enemy of his four sisters.
The parents especially lost track of the uniqueness Laraba represents and her absolute manner of refusing to be subdued by anyone. This is a hugely expensive oversight since it is always Labara’s desire to scrutinize every available detail and employ even the most painstaking method to achieve her quest to establish her absolute authority. She is dogged in this regards, even it if it belittles all others.
There is no grudging the natural fact that the boy initially fitted into the scheme of things like any other new baby would, needing a lot of care. But because he is also a boy, all the possibilities showed through to their fullest potentials with time, as he was weaned, started to walk and talk. His older sisters’ soon reluctantly succumbed to the reality of his present and future assured dominance, though they still wondered why it had to be so. They came to terms with it with time, as all the experienced narratives they heard assured them it will remain so all their lives.
Even as a wee baby, their brother had the status of the dominant stag and the future assured them only the prominence of bereaved female mourners in his funeral cortege, as he will then as surely oppress them in death as he does alive. His ability to crawl into mischief wasn’t much of a worry but his fast increasing ability to speak meant he was able to state his worries and demand privileges, and these were always going to be those he learnt from his parents. His needs were always going to be those that class everybody in his immediate family; other than his father, as his subordinate. His earliest comprehendible utterances had that subtle speech impediment of children, but as he spoke more clearly and properly, the nature of his spoilt personality showed through.
Labara’s baby brother started to openly show his arrogance, it became more evident in how he spoke. He badly copied his father’s masculine manner of speech, only his words were more of scampered phrases and not clear cut sentences, but still they could be understood well enough. To those outside the family, the hastily gabbled words sounded like drowsy murmurings most times. But his parents easily condoned his deliberate rumbling and his older sisters had to adjust to it. The girls couldn’t do anything like hustle him into making an effort to be more comprehendible and God forbid they hit him. The onus was always on them to make the effort to understand him, as he sounded like he was struggling to read out badly written nonsense, which made sense but never makes pleasant hearing.
The sisters repeatedly got a glimpse of the future ahead of them with the little bits of mean things their younger brother arbitrarily does. They debated about ways to curtail his present excesses but there was always that looming reality that hung unseeingly just over the horizon, a burst of reality that assured of the piercing insight of truth in the form of a rising tiny star son that acts like the rising sun.
Everything promised the girls a lifetime of being permanently subordinates to their only brother. The three other girls took it in their strides but Laraba wasn’t done with fighting for her prominence yet. The four sisters would spend their hard gotten time away from their daily chores, to have prolonged chats about the very consequential matter of handling their brother’s excesses. And as he grew older before their eyes, they discussed his future dominance over them. They couldn’t revolt out of respect for their parents, but that only enabled him still.
The sister couldn’t come to a clear cut agreement on how best to handle him discreetly. They tried to avoid doing the numerous unbecoming things they needed to do, choosing not to soil their hands and conscience as they trash out the grey areas they never seem to conclude on. The sisters knew they need to be firm in their resolve but some of the girls actually believed their sole male sibling is messianic, like their parents ardently do. Laraba certainly didn’t, she was instead enraged that her sisters weren’t on the same wave length as she is.
Each time Laraba tries to emphasize her grievance with this blatant regime of inequality they live out, the sisters end up with heated quarrels about a dispute they all actually do believe is stacked against them. Soon she got tired of trying to win over her sisters and assessed the precarious situation on her own. She has had her fill and aim to end their kid brother’s relished humanized God-ship status.
He pretentiously appears and acts a lot frailer than he looks or feels. He became increasingly snobbish, making his many demands known to every one of them in the rudest way possible for a child, a mere six year old. Even the parents were not spared the starkness of his disrespectful excesses. But obviously because the parents were quite tolerant of him in the presumptuous pretext that they only just love him and not worship him, they condoned him needlessly.
The two older sisters grew a lot less preoccupied with their parents’ obsessive affection towards their youngest sibling. But they still limited their expressed disparity, as they were secretly quite vocal about their displeasure. All the sisters equivalently loathe their brother’s ways but their main concerns were still unclear in a fuzzy way, like sight in a dark night. They all cast aspersions they couldn’t defend as they mainly chose to let the uneasy peace reign than tamper with it.
The annoying boy wouldn’t budge from his lofty perch when urged to do so. His refusals were always spiced with the most degrading insults. He repeatedly gets his way since parental rebuke is literally absent or is presented as some form of subtle pampering, scavenged from within the conscience of his parents, empty of the venom it needs but full of contrite promises that indirectly hurt his sisters. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/383812
The indigenes of the region are vastly non-Muslims and Animists. The festival they came for is an annual celebration, when local pagans made merry and feast all day long in honour of their symbols of worship. Kengua and the driver had to make twice the normal effort to find a local who speaks the uncomplicated Hausa they were familiar with. They were lucky and got a lot more than they had hoped for when they stumble into an English speaking fellow, seated alone in an old plastic chair. This fellow was only too happy to answer all their questions.
He is amiable fellow with a loud voice and the befitting cheery nickname of Bantimu. He offered to show them round and be their guide the next day too. Bantimu had gladly offered Kengua and the driver seats beside him. He gave them cold drinks and introduced his beautiful wife when she came over with the drinks. Bantimu and his wife were a delight to watch together. She mocked him for being a baby because he wouldn’t let her burst open a swollen boil on his knee. Kengua especially loved hearing Bantimu translate his wife’s words as she teased her husband incessantly with humorous gaily jibes. His translations got quite the rapturous laughing admiration of his impromptu guests and farther encouraged his wife to pester him some more.
Finally Bantimu succumbed and exposed his leg by raising the lower edge of the long Arabian robe he had on. He revealed a visibly inflated knee, to let his wife attend to the shiny turgid boil dead in the middle of his right knee. Bantimu’s wife sat on the floor in front of him, with a pin and some cotton wool. She pierced the boil and Kengua sort of enjoyed the sight of Bantimu’s brave facial expression as he dealt with the first wave of pain from the pin prick. He was however not as successful with the increased pain of the letting out of the pus from the boil.
“Good boy,” Bantimu’s wife coaxed him in her good mimic of her husband, imitating Bantimu rather than speaking English. She giggled as she stood up, after letting out most of the milky bloody pus trapped inside her husband’s swollen knee. She didn’t apply anything to the deflated boil before leaving the now gashed wound open to heal on its own, naturally.
The quite lyrical beauty of Bantimu’s conversation skills began to show as they sat in the fast aging day, sipping cold drinks and enjoying the view of the busy neighbourhood.
“Everyone’s life is like a swollen boil, isn’t it?” Bantimu started off on his first of many thrilling monologues of the day. “Many years ago, as a child, my friends and I had the misfortune of relying on a braggart older teenage fool to teach us how to swim in our local river. We had no idea he couldn’t swim either but because he was a lot older and taller than we were, we assumed he could. He would walk firmly but gingerly, with his feet touching the muddy slimy bottom of the not so shallow waters. I can’t remember his real name but everyone in our village called him Dada, because he had a natural growth of tightly dreadlocked hair. Well, we all thought it was only natural that a fellow like him should swim like a fish.
“Dada was a very tall fellow for his age and was able to barely keep his chin above the water surface with just marginal difficulty, as he almost effortlessly momentarily leaped and bounced off the rather close water depth for him. The lad simply tiptoed with the long reach of his strong athletic tall legs beneath him and moved with relative ease. He beat his arms through the water surface as he pretended to swim when he was actually just walking on the bottom of the slow flowing river. We couldn’t tell what he was doing because the greenish shade of the water made the rivers depth hazy and we couldn’t see beneath his chest. We merely saw a brave swimmer.
“Many months later, Dada lost his footing and slipped one day. The slight current of the river carried him further into the slightly deeper part of the water. When he got back on his feet, he had a shock. His head stayed submerged even when he leap. We could see his frantic waving hands as he gulped down large mouthfuls of water with each time he tried to call for help.
“Oddly, we had all become more capable learners than he was a reliable teacher and two of his best pupils swam over to his rescue. We pretended to accept his story about his feet being tangled up in some underwater reed and only laughed behind Dada’s back about the incident, more out fear than respect. He was a lot bigger than we were and could beat us silly.”
Kengua wished he had come along with his mini tape recorder, as Bantimu concluded his short story telling with a philosophical flourish.
“Two of us saved Dada’s life that day. If he hadn’t held us up in turns, inside the water almost daily, while we beat our feet and arms in swimming motions as he stood firmly up on the river’s muddy bottom, giving us his bogus lessons on how to swim, he would have drown that afternoon. He invariably saved his own life because he had taught us how to swim.”
Kengua naturally wanted to know if Dada ever learned to swim as they grew older. Bantimu shook his head negatively in reply. It is a common way of answering in the mid-west of Africa.
“He actually never did. Dada was too proud to admit he didn’t know how swim. It became increasingly difficult for him to reveal this as each one of his old students became very strong swimmer. He actually stopped going to the river all together.
It is more than a shade easier for a girl to be corrupted sexually, than it is for a boy. A girl is naturally more endowed with the implements to lean back on and conveniently make a living off in the dark, more than her male counterpart. Besides, her clients are naturally conditioned to pour in, in droves. Most times, the girls are culturally pressured to play along when economically tasked. It is a merry go round legacy they inherit and grow up to bequeath to their successors. When they are hounded out by circumstances, covered and wrapped up in uncertainty’s mist, they avert the gaze of morality and succumb, expectantly. The spurious infallible laws of most customs appear to be in one long corroboration mode with nature to shortchange the woman.
While the woman cannot fathom the unending impertinence to the legality of her fight, she recognizes them easily. To some degree, this dependency of hers is harnessed for her, such that she perceives them as right. She feels as virtuous as compelled. On the other hand, the man’s indignant antecedents are never realigning their reliability. Even when the woman excels and is allowed to glut, she endlessly feels more of a consultant than a senior employee in this living enterprise. It isn’t an issue of semantics or shades, it is purely double standards by nature. It is as simplistic as that. It never ceases, even when possibilities are marginally upped or proclaimed. Even when the possibilities that abound for her are marginally upped or proclaimed and redeemed, they continually humiliate her painstaking efforts still. But the woman is nevertheless passionate in her continuous efforts, never abandoning her tedious trials.
Yet at the peak of her fiercely gotten triumphs, her rich tapestry would still feel like her man’s discarded rags. It feels destined that men will manage to mount the wild cow of the woman’s fears and boldly grab her swaying horns into submission. The irony of it all is, at the right time for her to make a decision to split open his dominance, she never actually does. Instead, obsessed by her peculiarity, she omits to be steadfast, prune her potentials, squint naturally, not wink pretentiously. His sun shines on her eclipsed moon and leaves no traces again. As far as life is concerned, the sole weapon nature endowed her with is submerged within her and confined to her thoughts only. The very core of her difficulty is a theorem nature had solved long ago, which time and man hadn’t yet changed, though they never stop trying.
The man cannot ever emotionally harm himself with pictures of the woman he conjures up in his mind. It is only this folly he might choose to try to cringe from, he is either hooked up or not. His broken heart is misinterpreted to atone nothing and to wrestle away from his dominance, the undercut tactics the woman can resort to and rely on; tends to neglect the fact that it can’t quench the thirst it slakes. The woman remains the smelling monstrous carcass in the man’s dreams. He only needs to wake up every morning and go on with his life. She is only an eye witness to his dreams and cannot step into his living world, unless he decides to enroll her. The turbulence that is her apprehension for some control gathers momentum to be slighted.
The key central delight the woman enjoys the most for all time is her procreation grant, and only because the natural trepidation of time uses her with it. Even then the consternation involved in bringing forth a physical marvel someone else had sired inside her, is apathetic. It is like a badly crippled spider delighting on the spoils provided by another spider’s cobwebs. She endlessly baffles at how easily her active role is truncated. The passive contribution of the man hinders the glory of her pain. Unclouded by the impersonation of her man, in the flurried act of birth, the fierce heat of subtle neglect by tradition always insults her ultimately.
The man ever lives on, strutting along in accepted honour for just being a cameo of sorts. While the woman can merely dramatize her emotions, still only skeptical whether she is honoured or not, abhorred or exalted. She never really knows and can tell quite little.
The diatribe lingers, intruding incessantly on her real position as the harbinger of life and love. She has to rely on this bias acceptance which she is infinitely chastised and castigated for. It is perplexing how the eccentricity of the situation belittles her, when it should celebrate her. But there is an eternal good in all this, granted that this portrayal seduced her. It understandably ought to make her deficient of undying love. It would make anyone else inescapably furious. Being so indulged in this solitary abstraction is quite punitively irritable. Dot on the spot, it scotches logic with tentative and doubtless ease. Still well acquainted with not just insinuated, outrageous accusation of it being a mere tool and not the worker, she remains doggedly devoted.
She exhibits an earnest and distilled shine of love and extraordinary dedication. Trembling with genuine affection she actually reinforces her floundering faith in her man, lavish him with some more of her branded selfless love. The spontaneity of which is not tarnished with any misplaced aggression on her part. The calculated belittling of her is conspicuous. But the conviction of all this natural, as well as artificially crafted cruelty notwithstanding, it triggers of what become a bloom of mild beautiful eruption. Regardless of whether the woman is treasured and receives a big bequest, she is fascinated by her masculine distractor. Her dedication may stumble and still it deepens into an overall vital part of the man’s wellbeing. She delved into living this way fully, only hesitating to sparingly investigate a partner.
Whether she unearths a chunk of coal or a gold nugget, is inconsequential to her. She gives the man his ratcheting room, to make up his mind if he would mug or protect her and her interests. Rather than dawdle about, wondering which kind of person he will be, she decides which kind of person she is.
The priest’s wife knocked on Kengua’s spare room door with his late lunch. Her baby wasn’t on her back this time and she was a lot more relaxed. She returned his salutation with a very slight hint of a smile, balancing the flat tray holding a covered plate of food and cutleries. She left behind the tray on a reading table. Kengua had expected the Revered to look in on him with the food himself because Kengua had heard the very heated exchanges between husband and wife earlier. He feared that might have made his situation more difficult with the wife.
It would appear they fought over everything, they looked like that sort of couple. The priest appears like the type that queries even the side of the table she places his plates of food on. That incidently was the cue this time around. As an ardent lover of the tradition heavy African dishes of succulent molded solids and thickly well spiced vegetable soups, the priest treated his meals at home with such ceremonial panache. As it is traditional, he uses his bare right hand only when he ate and with the full compliments of two deep plates; one for the solid and the other for the rich soup. It is strictly forbidden for anyone to use their left hand to eat, which it is the same hand that wipes excrement. The process of eating requires him to cut an average mouthful size of the solid, dip it in the soup plate to caress some of the richly cooked assortment of ingredients onto the lump before carrying it into his open mouth in a smooth continuous flow. Hence the process usually would be more comfortable if it commences from his right side, move easily to his left and then ends up at his mouth. In this sense he prefers the plate of solids are placed on his right and the soup plate to his left. This means he wouldn’t have to go across his body when he lifts the soup garnished solid to his mouth and risk soiling his clothes in the process.
Somehow the priest’s wife tends to repeatedly mix up his left to hers, when she is facing him and this complication again causes her to confuse the side she places each plate. The priest mumbled complaint had reached Kengua clearly across the thin walls. His wife had ignored his initials angry words at first. The baby had started to cry so she had walked away to soothe the child. The baby was hardly quiet when Kengua heard the priest choke on his food. He must have gobble down the hot food while talking and then noticed she forgot to set aside some drinking water for him. Without any water to calm down the burning pain and agony of the wrongly channeled food, the Revered coughed profusely. The priest’s situation came across clearly to Kengua but his wife didn’t respond, even to the priest’s angrily calls.
The Revered father accused his wife of deliberately doing this, of plotting to kill him. She answered him with equal venom and like two rival cockerel they were soon at it.
“Do you think I am one of your silly alter boys who loaf all around you at mass?”
“What is difficult in just getting me a glass of water while I eat? Don’t you know you could kill me?” They went on like this, asking each other question after question and not answering any but asking more questions instead. They didn’t use any real abusive word, but they were always at the brink of doing so with each statement like question they spat at each other.
The priest said she was lazy and inconsiderate. She said he was snobbish and ungrateful. Given the chance, Kengua thought he would have exchanged the descriptions. So it came to him as a mild surprise that she was more pleasant when she served him his lunch. Maybe being able to vent at her intended original target had eased up the pressure on him somewhat. Instead, it was the priest who looked tensed when he peeped in to remind Kengua of their departure time.
The priest gave Kengua a Christian clergyman’s shirt and the white collar band he was to wear in disguise, as they headed out for their eight hours night long drive to the Niger border. An hour later Kengua had finished eaten, cleaned up and dressed up in his borrowed clergyman’s short-sleeve top-shirt, with the white plastic collar fitted into the flapless collar.
Kengua stepped into the sitting room to meet yet another round of argument between the couple. The priest was dressed like Kengua and the woman was heavily dressed in very thick textured textile material, which she wore in the conventional blouse and wrapper style unique to West African women. Her head-gear was of a completely different leathery fabric and she had it flamboyantly tied on her small head like a loose-fitting turban. There were assortment of shinny bangles on each of her arms and a very thick string of corral beads circled twice around her neck.
“You look like a Christmas tree,” the priest threw at her.
“Thank you.” She replied, indifferently.
“What?” He asked, not sure she had actually agreed.
“I said thank you, sir.”
“It wasn’t a complement.” The Revered giggled and looked at Kengua, hopefully checking to see if he shared the joke too. Kengua made sure he angled his face away from the lady, so she didn’t see the polite smile of agreement he offered the priest. But she sensed he had smiled and had seen the flesh around his jaw twitch as he did. She didn’t say anything but her eyes misted up with sudden rage. She made sure Kengua saw her face and heard her loud hiss of contempt. Kengua cringed from the sound and immediately thought of Laraba.
The priest wouldn’t let it rest at that, he never ever does.
“Why are these our Nigerian women always so overdressed?” He asked no one in particular.
“This is a married woman with a baby, about to go on an eight hours long drive to one of the hottest places on earth and she chooses to dress up like a circus clown on opening night.” He looked at Kengua as he spoke, then decide to addressed his wife directly next.
“With all these many bangles, trinkets and rings you are labouriously adorned with, all these different facial colourings and inches long artificial eyelashes, plastic finger and toe nails set in long curved fang like settings, all brightly painted and matching your bright clothes and wide head-tie, make you look like a masquerade. You look worse than a clown.
“Actually, you look like one of those European weird hippy sorts of old, with their thickly styled starched and braided hair, deliberately disarrayed and in four contrasting loud shades, their belted high heeled boots, leather mini-skirts and matching scanty jackets all well strapped up in some kind of personal harnesses with tens of buckles, all in shining well polished silver. Believe me you look no different right now. You are so coloured up right now in bright and dull like a cross between a badly made up Christmas tree and Santa’s reindeer pulled sledge cart.”
Kengua wasn’t quite successful in fully suppressing his laugher at that last bit about Santa Claus as he watched her pick up the baby and walk out. She walked accompanied with the varied jingling sounds of her bangles and neck beads. Kengua enjoyed the joke and secretly thought of what a hilarious clincher it would have been if the priest had started to sing out loud the words ‘Jiggle bell, jiggle bell, jiggle all the way.’
The priest’s wife’s dressing reminded Kengua of their cleaning lady back at the Lara ken Inc. offices. She is fat old lady with a reddish skin that made her look like a coloured albino, but she was just a normal black woman with a skin colouring impairment. She was overdressed most times and loved it, whatever the occasion. She didn’t care for all the jokes made of her.
With her reddish glow, she looked like an overdressed open injury, a wide bruise over an over laying multiple fold of fattened flesh. Some days the obese lady would be wrapped up in clothes that she would appear to be a wound, still bleeding like an unstitched bleeding slash set in much bandaging that has yet failed to clot and hold back the seeping flow of flesh and blood.
The Whore https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/451311 http://okadabooks.com/book/about/8481
Justice isn’t always what it seems. Justice isn’t always meted or aborted in human terms as local authorities are of the wrongly guided opinion that justice is best served on individuals based on communal terms and not general human ones. But it is reassuring that justice tends to resurrect subsequently and put everything correct again. Justice is enduring and it places destiny in both the hands of the particular individual and still puts fate in the unclear whirl and thrill of luck.
It is thus proper to let certain persons impose and administer their particular version of justice; oriented in a principle reasonable to them in their limited perspective. True justice is within the single individual’s intangible faculties, in their oriented conscience. It is what is said to the mind in the secrecy of the inner self. Once it is equally imperative for everyone to respect it, justice thrives. Justice is not misplaced when ignored, but still quite tenable. Justice can be ignored but its influence is always still very evident, even when it appears to be absent. Justice has an all encompassing grip over a person’s conscience, which can never be missed.
The recent international phobia and fear for justice; where a quick spade of peace is sought without having a thorough redress of the injustices already done, is the main reason why renewed cases of injustice are increasingly repeated. When leaders keep the peace by failing to seek out erring parties and force retribution on them, then they endlessly need to make temporal peace in an increasingly violent, lawless environment, authorizing common folks to take the law into their hands.
The genuine disciple of the law is required to sustain every remote morsel of justice. But because of the sensitivity of good justice, in a society that wants to attract credibility in its leadership by bringing in more pretenders than blunt realists, these best laws are denied the ideal national acknowledgement, respect and recognition they deserve. The society is heavily dependent on a failed system of justice and its civility lives on in a sort of peaceful anarchy as a result of this.
Civility endures the pains of justice when it is denied. It suffers the roughness of its course on a terrain it has no exact control over and must still live in. It is unfair but just, because it appropriately states its case by the kind of prosperity it finally attains. Whatever definition people might choose to accept for civility, it reflects a reference that would do it the justice it requires if different stands give and their perspectives don’t agree in the same society. If the same people remain bias to their oriented principles, principles will always be personalized.
Without compromise, bad laws get repeated over again, most times shuffled at unreasonable discretion, without pity or fairness or justice, with inscrutable considerations. Life would then indulges itself with ill timed prognostications that would remain unwarranted and righteously cruel by any logical standard.
It is amazing how often the common man quite easily gets intrigued by complete rubbish. There is no doubt that well spanned out worded wool of bullshit as easily catches the fancy of the most intelligent people as it does the most gullible ones. But it is a lot easier to deceive the more naïve people on the street that the more learned ones. It usually takes little to exploit their hapless sensitivities, hurt their already dissolved pride and incite their very selfish imagination.
When the people have been unconsciously indoctrinated to accept every action of their leadership as dubious, then it is quite reasonable for them to be suspicious of their leaders. It is after all true that their leaders are from within the people and are products of their community. So when they refuse to be sympathetic towards the difficulties that are apparent in leading the nation, the people refuse to be remotely understanding of the sacrifices the leaders also make.
Occasionally, the odd set of good leaders would appear out of the blue like prehistoric birds soaring up in the bare skies overhead, with the landscape beneath them ravaged by volcanic lava. Everyone looks up to them to provide that elusive succor. The relatively safe animals watch from their trapped tree tops and rock summits. They watch the flow of hot burning lava overwhelm and destroy the unfortunate multitude that could not even afford mere safety. But the safe ones end up in one of those odd states of mind, as they watch others perish.
This group would naturally complain less. To them, it is like terrible things only happen to others. But it only makes their own miserable state appear brighter because they humanly thank their good luck it wasn’t happening to them. Their silly grumbling will be a pin prick to the others’ gunshot wounds. Their silence is an act of perseverance as far as they are concerned. But then the sudden appearance of these good looking credible leaders doesn’t always deliver the things it promises. Subsequently all leaders get real lonely indeed on their high perch. They are only surrounded by a lifeless hedge of followers. These people feed them only the praise-singing goodies that will keep them comfortable. This would ensure the leaders dish out chunky helpings of the nation’s wealth to keep their close clique of cronies living in opulence and unimaginable affluence all around them while a huge majority of the rest edge a living in squalors.
Soon the unimaginable happened out of the blue. A swift bloodless military coup d’état brought in prehistoric apparitions out of the annals of the nations old history. In one single elabourate act of mutiny the entire armed forces of the country secured the nation tightly. This enabled members of the civilian styled police force to take into custody the entire executive and legislative arm of the current Nigerian government. It was executed in one swift faultless move, with such meticulous precision that not a single member of the expunged government was missed; both at federal and state levels. And with very little surprise the nation woke up to the announcement that the new imposed civilian Vice president of the Nigerian republic, and chief of all Armed Staff, was the retired military intelligence colonel named Sylvan Inalegwu.
Installed as the President and Commander in chief of the republic, was the former amiable federal minister for finance; Tanimu Lawal. He had only quite recently resigned from his exulted influential position as the man in charge of the nation’s finances to allegedly further his studies abroad. But the popular media had hinted that he was actually secretly forced out of office because his public utterances had painted the government in bad light. There is debating that no single Nigerian is oblivious to the fact that a drastic change was required to put things aright but the victorious feel to this sort of change was lost with the excessiveness of it. The sheer veracity of it ominously infiltrated the measured restraint of the people, such that it numbed their once eager expectation. Emotions cannot always be controlled but deliberate actions can be managed.
The new leaders simply appreciated their condor regardless. This played right into their realigned prominence but didn’t sway their perspective. Those individuals, who before coming into power had viewed all others around them as minions to be belittled, will still see them in the same light when they come into power. The military in whatever guise fits this bill distinctively.
It is this reservation that Laraba and Kengua had jointly put out in a brilliant piece which Matters carried. They had researched and set out facts without recourse to sampling the opinion of the men put in power by the military. They didn’t consider that omission essential but they didn’t feel like they were withholding any vital information. As a result of this they were summarily summoned by the most powerful men in the country. They didn’t panic. They instead treated and approached the summons like they would have their next interview assignments, without dread like any other person would have felt. They were hurried by policemen into meeting the displeased military installed political leaders. There were well positioned black suited men with cotton like plastic stubs stuffed inside an ear each. This had short stringy white cords sneaking from inside these ears and down into their shirt collars, like tiny cream coloured lifeless worms. They appear to whisper to themselves from long distances, with their eyes hidden behind dark sun shade glasses as they looked around their indoor positions. They kept scanning their immediate surroundings like an amateur local thief would, before picking his first pocket.
Kengua and Laraba instantly recognized these men to be secret service operatives. They appear placed more for show than for security. The seemingly spurious drama that usually accompanies these security arrangements prevaricate the actual purpose for it. The domineering stature of the security around these big political persons is so extravagant that it overwhelms all visitors to their presence with unnecessary pressure. It is such that it turns everything upside down in their minds, if they are not focused and thick skinned. They need to be tough breeds.
It gives the impression that most of these hyped up security arrangement is deliberately put there to intimidate and not really secure the big personalities it hedges in. It merely compliments the conspicuous air of superiority that these big persons relish. It is the initial step in formative stages and the appetizer that whet the appetite of the arraigned guest. It is the guests’ first whiff of aroma and first glimpse of the supposedly massively grim presence they are being marched into facing. But Laraba and Kengua couldn’t be made of tougher stock. They were well fitted not only to foresee such plots, but to also expedite their own sublime psychological measures towards surmounting them. Their fervent dedication to a quite demanding professional calling has always been preening them for such moments. Their integrity already had an incalculable value and their distinctive journalistic worth is of clearly superior definitive form.
They were the sort not to be puffed out of words by these lavish fads and their silly childish ploys. They both saw this superficial show of status genitals as mere stupid substitute for sincere comforts and it is more an exception to the rule that the norm it was peddled forcibly as.
They were ushered into a well-furnished massive sitting room, with eight identical huge cream coloured couches set in rich leathery-suede upholstery. President Tanimu Lawal and Vice president Sylvan Inalegwu were already seated comfortably in a couch each, beside one another and exchanging genial chit chats. The two journalists’ hurried entry wasn’t acknowledged by either of the men. It looked like the two eminent men already seated in the huge room, had with that simple act insinuated exculpating the rude trespassing into their momentary time of leisure.
Laraba offered some salutation, just as one of the nine unarmed police officers that had come into the room with them stepped forward. He did so carefully, stooping low in an unsteady tipsy mannered that is supposedly meant to show reverence. Veering to approach the new Vice president from behind, the police officer stopped just short of Inalegwu’s right ear and whispered a curt inaudible sentence to him, then stepped away smartly to joined his fellow police officers in taking up scattered positions at the numerous entries into the big room.
Laraba’s greeting remained unanswered as Inalegwu appeared to repeat the officer’s words to President Lawal in another inaudible whisper. Kengua had remained silent. It was unlike him not to have expressed an opinion already, Laraba was thinking. He was however checking himself and merely being mindful of an overreaction. He was willing to let the whole thing play itself to some point when his hasty words wouldn’t digress from the real purpose for bullying them into this highly unconventional meeting with the President and his deputy.
Laraba was still immersing her thoughts into unraveling why they were summoned like this and what it could all lead to. She wasn’t feeling threatened any longer. Once they had been brought to the presence of these men, her fears abated. Their exulted offices must have treasured their glowing hearts with overt civility, at least within the visible sphere of things. They weren’t going to be caught dead doing their own dirty work themselves, certainly not when it concerns these two high profiled journalists standing before them and not exhibiting any fear.
President Lawal barked an order in Hausa and one of the officer turned on his heels and marched out. His steps registered with continuous squeaks, like he was walking in ankle deep mud, with dirty water oozing up his loose fitting leather boots. Still without acknowledging Laraba and Kengua, who were still standing at one end of the big room, Lawal and Inalegwu simply continued their interrupted discussion. This time their voices were quite audible as they talked about some big shot in their government making some obscure mistake. They had continued conversing in a preachy manner until the officer who had left a few minutes earlier on some errand returned. He reappeared with two others, dressed in plain civilian clothes. The police officer rejoined the rest but the new men sat down together on the couch nearest to the Vice president and looked the way of Kengua and Laraba, without a word. The President and his Vice then suddenly kept quiet, without any notable act prompting them to. The interior of the big room had that air conditioned residue icy odor. The muffled hoot of a refrigerator somewhere in a room nearby continued and added to give the atmosphere in the room an eerie feel.
The entry of the two casually dressed men had squelched any hope of this turning out to be just a simple chatty gathering for Laraba but Kengua wasn’t yet frayed. He instinctively decided to attempt taking some charge of the proceedings before it commenced. He planned to stop it from taking another form but he hasn’t the faintest idea which form it was going to take.
Kengua broke the uneasy silence and he wasn’t stopped or interrupted. He went ahead to say that he felt it was necessary to remind the small gathering that he and his colleague are members of the press. He said they owe it to the general public to report whatever transpired after they were openly dragged off. Laraba got a hint of where he was headed, got her wits about her and contributed. She added that if they were to be bound to some confidentiality oath, then they might as well be exempted before it even commences. But Inalegwu was ready for this.
The Vice president smiled in his usual modest manner and waved the journalists closer, but they didn’t move, remained standing right where they were. One of the police officers behind them stepped forward and physically nudged them forward. He urged them to move nearer to Inalegwu with a combination of his stern mien, a barely audible grunt and sheer gut renting will power. When they were a mere three paces away from where they stood earlier, considerably still farther off from Lawal and Inalegwu, the VP needlessly cleared his throat before speaking.
“Sorry to disappoint you Mr. Hoe, but this gathering is not just some casual meeting. It will soon break up into units, set up to examine both of you and Miss Thomas separately. We plan to cross examine both of you on certain sensitive issues of national security your international magazine has chosen to treat with such carefree laxity in its recent publication.”
“Are you interrogating us?” Laraba almost grasped.
Lawal smiled at her, almost fatherly like, before attempting to clarify.
“Your choice of word is old fashioned, Miss Thomas. I assure you we are only going to ask questions. But we have every intention of using whatever you say against you.”
It wasn’t as reassuring a response as his smile meant it to be. Laraba flinched from the gory thought it made her conjure up in her roving mind. It wasn’t helpful to her discomfort.
“Very well,” Kengua said. The anger in his tone wasn’t disguised. He looked straight back into Inalegwu’s steady stare. Kengua clearly wasn’t scared yet and wasn’t showing he was.
“By all means let us commence this examination.”
Lawal stood up. The grace was absent in his movement but that urgent deftness remained, Laraba thought. The President looked like a man trying to hide he was beyond his depth. Inalegwu was naturally a whole lot more comfortable in his composure as he also stood up to join his standing boss, who was actually increasingly appearing more of a stooge. Kengua toyed with the description of a puppet being stringed erect before the puppeteer emerged. Then the puppet spoke again, in the same poor fatherly impersonation as he attempted a somewhat ill-befitting farewell. He consciously kept his tense gaze away from the journalists’ eyes.
“I will suggest you use your cell phones to call your families before we confiscated them. We wouldn’t want them worrying about you needlessly. Indeed most families worry a lot, for families are synonymous to worries. Worry is synonymous to pain, pain to other conscious feelings. Ultimately, conscious feeling means being alive. So please cooperate with our men.”
President Lawal turned and walked out without another word. Inalegwu stayed and kept his firm gaze on the journalists standing before him, both now visibly uncomfortable. There was a hint of pleading in Laraba’s eyes, she was clearly broken. Kengua’s expression now looked rather unsure, but still doggedly resolute and not scared yet, Inalegwu thought. Inalegwu then made a ditched attempt to ruffle the wits of Kengua before he left it to the casually dressed men still seated beside where Kengua and Laraba stood. It looked all but halfway done.
“Relationships are the heaviest weights we carry, my dear friends. We each have responsibilities to families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow citizens. In your case, it is also to your readers. And in our own case; as a Government, it is also to the entire nation. It so happens that these are the same group of people. We have the ultimate responsibility to ensure they aren’t miss-led away from giving our common efforts their understanding and support.”
Then Inalegwu paused and suddenly, in a different tone.
“Mr. Hoe I understand you are quite the stud.” He smiled and winked at Kengua, who didn’t indulge him with any visible response. Kengua still kept a straight face.
“Well, you must have taken time to consider what we guys put into a romantic relationship. That is the fun part of courtships that intrigues me, quite massively. Surely you do understand what I mean, don’t you, Kengua? I am referring to that uncanny way the guy thinks he is chatting up a girl, while in the actual sense it is the girl that has the upper hand, almost always.
“After that, the manner in which such relationships take their good chummy comfortable time to go up north, it is usually unbelievable how fast most of them tend to go down south in such a short time afterwards. Makes you wonder then if really these couples and their onlookers alike, weren’t just reading the maps of these relationships upside down all along?
“I mean, they could unconsciously be making the South Pole the North Pole, without the slightest clue. This is really the authentic summary of the relationship between the Leadership and the Media on the one hand, and the public on the other hand. We are the couple and the rest are the concerned stake holders and onlookers. They are our families, friends, colleagues, neighbours and fellow citizens. They constitute the entire nation we owe a responsibility too.
“And how do we each handle it? The Leadership moulds its facts to make it commendable and acceptable to the nation, while the media manipulates its own to simply make a profit.”
Kengua’s confusion got the better of his vocal cords.
“Mr. Vice president, I am at a lost as to what is it we are supposed to have done here. Is there any particular thing we had written or printed that your government considers not factual?”
Kengua was pleading now it seems. At least his words were taking on more of that fetching tone, to insinuate so. But still his eyes weren’t hinting fear yet. Inalegwu ditched his attempt and made to walk away too, certain that his operatives would easily tidy up the knotty end he had just undone with subtle dexterity. He was sure he was turning over to them a mentally frizzled and emotionally frustrated pair. Surely even Kengua’s logic was in a state of rancor now and it was a matter of time before budged, buckled and concedes. Laraba was already ready for the picking.
“I’m afraid I must leave you all now; national business awaits me.” Inalegwu concluded. He looked away and walked off with what appears to Kengua and Laraba as the last chance of common sense and their final reasonable appeal to any sense of civility.
“Like his Excellency explicitly instructed earlier, do strictly ensure that they both call their families first, then confiscate all their personal belongings.” Inalegwu addressed his men.
Laraba couldn’t take any more of the subtle torture and oddly enough, that was the last straw for Kengua too. They rather gave in almost simultaneously, as exhibited by their joint call for the departing Inalegwu to tarry a while and let them talk things over. Laraba added a loud please.
They were made to wait alone for three gruesome hours afterwards. Inalegwu had reacted to their plea, and ordered the two still unidentified casually dressed operatives to leave the journalists alone for a while longer. Then Inalegwu sparingly requested that he is allowed time to enable him finish up some other business of state and return, before hearing them out. Laraba and Kengua were kept in separate rooms, away from each other and they were given only a glass of water each. Their personal items weren’t taken away but they couldn’t use the toilet. They were allowed to make any number of phone calls but strictly within the earshot of their guards.
Inalegwu received them alone in the same huge room he and the President had met them earlier in the day. He was more cheery and inquired if they were able to contact their families.
“Your loved ones shouldn’t be left in the dark to pine unnecessarily about your wellbeing. Their feelings speak for the relationship you share. Without feelings, the human mind would simply become a living lifeless vacuum.” Inalegwu clearly enjoyed the apparent displeasure his guests had suffered while they waited alone in the separate rooms they were kept in.
They had suffered that torturous moment more because they had little faith in Inalegwu’s merely insinuated assurance for their safety. They weren’t ignorant of what he is capable of. Ignorance is a symptom of faith and since they knew they were being taken for a ride, they feared the worse. They had lost faith in any hope of being let off easily. They sensed that the President was a shade uncomfortable about all the arrangement concerning them but they were certain he wouldn’t contribute zilch to secure their freedom, if push got to shove. Thus any hope outside the one Inalegwu offered dried up for them. But the bigotry and subtle prejudice represented by Inalegwu snatched away any expectation of honesty in his offer.
Laraba felt a little groggy from the emotional toll of the wait. Clearly it had drained any resolve remaining in her. She had already been more than a little daunted by the earlier meet. The usual arrogant individual within her, who exerts and wields such authority, was completely gone. She now repeatedly nods to every word that came out of the Vice presidents mouth, when he speaks this time around. It was quite obvious it wasn’t by some intellectual decision. She was by now too scared to think straight. But Kengua wasn’t clearly as terrified.
Kengua spoke with a faint stutter this time around. But it was more like he was someone given little choice to make a case for himself, not because he was actually guilt ridden. Someone constrained by the knowledge that he has been found out on some lie he couldn’t wriggle himself out of, no matter how hard he tried. The usual enticing free rein he allows the language of his speech appeared to have suffered a huge change. The gust and vigor of euphemism was entirely missing, in its place was a rather pedantic and finicky disordered logic in his utterances.
Inalegwu had sensed the changes early and set out to capitalize on it. He offered them cold drinks and instructed one of the secret service men to leave for some, even before either of his uncomfortable guests spoke or hinted they wanted any drinks or not. Obviously, he already had a very good firsthand experience of how people responded in such situations. Neither Kengua nor Laraba knew if they wanted drinks or not, and were naturally slow in remotely hinting either.
Inalegwu made an elongated face by pushing his chin down. He looked almost reptilian as he started to speak again, carefully slurring his words with deliberate emphasis.
“It is unpardonable that Matters is painting the honest efforts of our government as fraudulent, with no basis for such a drawn conclusion whatsoever. Your recent publication chose to delve into the sensitivity of this matter without any recourse to giving us a say. Your writing tampered its bias perspective with a complete lack of consideration for us and our concerns.”
Inalegwu looked at both of them expectantly, from Kengua to Laraba and back to Kengua again. Laraba cleared her throat and shifted in the big couch she had seated her petit frame in. This time they had been offered seats by Inalegwu as soon as they rejoined him.
Without any clear distinction, such a person like Inalegwu would have ordinarily been a very boring fellow to hang out with. He is the sort of person who glorified in other people’s misery and revels in making them sweat, relishing their discomfort. Vice president Inalegwu is a brave man and his bravery has been tested countless of times. But he easily recognizes fear only because he has felt fear numerously. He had merely learned not to let his will power fritter away by avoiding fear and instead confronted the reason for his fear head on each time.
How else does one know bravery without first knowing fear? That ought to make sense. By every definition known, for anyone to be termed as brave, they must first be afraid. Thus conquering fear is indeed the indisputable act of bravery.
The drinks arrived just as Laraba offered some sort of general apology for their oversight. Kengua chorused Laraba’s words and echoed her exact thoughts with additional words of his own for clarity. Inalegwu sensed Kengua was merely paraphrasing his female companion’s words with some hidden malicious intent. So he swiftly went on the attack once again.
“Both of you appear to still be persistent about the way you have handled this. You fail to see how damaging you and your magazine’s position have been. It is unfortunate that the damage has been done already and it appears unlikely that there is any way you can convince us that your intentions was ever honourable in this regard.” Inalegwu paused to allow time for his words to sink in. then he shook his head without meeting his guests’ eyes for the first time and as expected, that sent shivers down their spines. Laraba stuttered as she responded.
“You couldn’t be more wrong Mr. Vice president. I assure you sir that our intentions were strictly honourable and I am sure we can make appropriate amends to any damage.”
“Amends, make amends?” Inalegwu almost followed the words with an unconscious spray of spittle because he was just about swallowing when he spoke. He swallowed.
“Yes your Excellency, we could retract.” Kengua offers.
“That is you idea of redress? You want to publicly retract your publication after visiting the Presidential Villa and supposedly threatened by our security operatives to do so? Sorry guys, gone are the days went stupid governments fall for that ploy.
“We will not give you the undue satisfaction of being viewed as glorified heroes for the course of press freedom. That certainly will not happen on my watch! I am too versed in the intricate nature of the free world to fall for that.” Kengua made a mental note that Inalegwu had unconsciously let off that he was giving the instructions. That wasn’t ever in doubt but it felt good to confirm it. Kengua was quickly snapped out of his brief triumph as Inalegwu went on.
“When a free Press puts out its highly opinionated views of sitting governments, with no independent body objectively checking on the media or closely verifying these facts it incessantly puts out, it doesn’t occur to anyone that the Press is wielding such rued power as could be equated to that of any authoritarian government curtailing the freedom of the Press. It is merely two sides of the same coin that cannot be weighed separately.”
The immediate past slip by Inalegwu, which confirmed that he is indeed in charge, had somewhat boasted Kengua’s courage to take on the Vice president. Kengua never chickens out from a hinted intellectual debate, not from a colleague, a mark or even a prosecutor.
“Mr. Vice president, the Press is a merely a medium for information, instruction and examination, then entertainment. It is always at the disposal of government as it is to everyone else. The Press merely gathers all the data it gets its hands on and summarily puts it out there for everyone to use as they deem appropriate. Hence, this is all put out there for any entity, within the same sphere, to utilize for its information, its instruction and its examination.”
“That is merely hypothetical and you know it Kengua.” Inalegwu allowed himself to be dragged into the debate. “But what really happens is that both sides of the divide flex, spar and fight over the sentiments of the general public. And since government isn’t actually set up for that function, it ultimately loses out and the media almost never does.
“Government is at a huge disadvantage on all fronts. It has only a very limited existence against the endlessness of the media’s. Governments function within shackling administrative structures against the media’s impish nature. And then most importantly, governments must be accountable to the general public against the media’s mere moral choice to do so if it pleases it to. It is a NASCAR race between racing dogs and cars, with the dogs caged in one section of the track and the cars free to go round and round; refuel and take breaks and such.”
Kengua didn’t respond, checking himself quickly and reminding himself of the larger picture of the situation he and his colleague found themselves in. His brief outburst of intellectual anger was so short-lived this time that it was comparable to the life of the slowest gnat feasting on the hide of a Monkey. Laraba attentiveness to the debate was a lot shorter. By comparison, her concentration to their brief debate had the entire lifespan of a bug flying too close to an open fire in the wild. She brought the entire session to a final head rather impatiently.
“What do you want us to do to make this right, sir?”
Inalegwu smiled. The scepter of the conquered Monarch has been offered to the victorious invading Army in total submission. Inalegwu was glad the session was being recorded by hidden cameras. When they review the recorded tapes much later, it would certainly be lovely to see the reaction of his much younger ingénue colleague. It was purely for politically reasons that military had seeded the exulted office of President to the far northern region of the nation. This was designed to principally win over the most gullible section of the country and true to the known characteristics of the dominant people in that part of the nation, they had quite readily approved of an imposed regime, mainly because President Lawal is a northern Muslim.
President Lawal had clearly seen the political puddle he was walking into and he had not only stepped into it but stood in it, consciously. He made out to view absentmindedly at any implication that he was merely a stooge. All insinuations to that effect were regarded as cynical shots at the homogeneous stability of the regime. If Kengua and Laraba needed a clear pointer to the fact that Inalegwu was in charge, they were just about to get it, as explicitly possible as it could ever be. But Inalegwu appeared to hesitate first. He seems to have only briefly stopped smiling at a personal joke in his head. His first remark after Laraba’s insinuated submission kind of returned back and around the way they had come with their discussion, rather pointlessly.
“Just yesterday I was convinced I couldn’t get you to work with this government. But now that we are at the verge of coming to an understanding I admonish the awesome healing might of every single new day. Every new day is unique and timeless, isn’t it? That is what is special about today. Tomorrow starts it all over again,” a philosophical Inalegwu offered.
Kengua had picked up the offer first. His expression said he was just waiting to hear more. But Laraba said it out loud as soon as she realized what the Vice president had just said.
“Did you just offer us some sort of a job?” She asked and Inalegwu answered loudly, stressing out his drawn out words like he was talking to a pair of deaf retarded children.
“We. Want. You. To. Work. For. This. Government.”
The look of astonishment on the faces of Laraba and Kengua froze and didn’t relax long after they went through the habitual rituals of looking at each other’s faces. They appear to be repeating what they clearly heard Inalegwu say in their minds. They exhibited that baffling skeptical hope that seems to imply the statement uttered might somehow change itself, if repeated for the speaker.
“In what capacity will you fit us in?” Laraba mused.
“What of our jobs, our magazine and our business?” The clearly much more amused Kengua had quickly added. His light complexioned face further illuminated by the reddened glow of amazement that took hold of its usually more cheery expression. Kengua’s face changes colour with his spades of moods. The change was swift, like the alteration in the hue of diamonds in a moon lit night devoid of any natural light after the slightest flash of artificial lightening. This gives the glassy gem some colouring momentarily, as did the switch in Kengua’s mood.
The vast experience Inalegwu has in this regard has taught him to rely on reading facial expressions on people, not their utterances, so he kept his eyes on the journalists as he spoke.
“I am a business man myself. I am part of a big lucrative private military services partnership, you know that. There hasn’t been any negative change in the fortunes of my business since I became part of this government. Rather, my business has grown steadily and even blossomed remarkably.” Inalegwu recognized the confusion in both faces before him.
“I don’t know, but sometimes this arrangement pans out, sometimes it doesn’t. This is especially true with the latter when there is conflict of interests.” Laraba found her conviction.
“Are you insinuating that it is morally wrong for my military versed business to bring its expertise to bear in the way we have handled the disastrous security challenges of Nigeria?”
“No sir. Clearly only a private set up as yours, with its massive international influence could muster that kind of support. You were able to use this vast infrastructural capability to solve and literally quash the major security threats the nation had prior to you coming on board. Most of us feel we probably wouldn’t have a nation by now if you hadn’t acted as you did.”
Kengua felt the need to butt in and end Labara’s eulogy.
“Sir, what ehm… we are trying to say is, as journalists we are bound to our moral obligation to be seen to be objective in our calling. This we clearly cannot do if we end up reporting for a specific section of the polity, in whatever guise.” It was more of devolution rather than the diplomatic evolution of the crux of the issue at hand. It was too blatant and rushed that Laraba feared Kengua might have just reversed the state of their present case by not letting the general idea of a refusal sink in gradually, like she had set out doing. She wanted it to evolve.
Inalegwu smiled inwardly, allowing himself the pleasure of personal congratulation for insisting Kengua and Laraba weren’t allowed private time to discuss together. They hadn’t the foreknowledge of what they would be confronted with or the time to put their acts together. They were disjointed mortals, in utter dread of the assumed power of a mere phantom of an idea. They could only play along with his plan together or allow the fabric of their union to crumble fully.
“I’m of a contrary opinion and I think I hold not a spoonful but a lake to your mere bucket full of experience in this regard. So hush it!” Inalegwu feint some impatience and totally enjoyed the sight of Kengua and Laraba’s tensed faces secretly.
“I will not kid you with insinuations of some secret plot. I like to be plain. We intent to clearly show the world you are a part of this government. Give you each spelt out offices and portfolios and not play the old pathetic ‘You have a hidden agenda’ game of regimes gone by. So either you join to play your parts in building the nation or we clip your speech and do it alone.”
And there it was, clearly put by the man who held all the cards and owned the tables. All of Inalegwu cards were on the table, very blunt and plain. Inalegwu looked away as soon as he finished speaking and beckoned the nearest aide to him. As he whispered agitatedly into the security man’s ear, clearing maintaining the impatient act, Laraba and Kengua looked into each other’s faces. They were mentally comparing their own held cards to what was before them. They had the next move and it was by now apparent that they have already lost this game.
Kengua realized they had to slip into damage control mode. Laraba opened her mouth and made to speak, as she looked for some sign from Kengua. Inalegwu was looking in the direction of Laraba because she had motioned to speak and thus missed, as did everyone else in the huge room, the spilt second wink Kengua directed in her direction.
So many years of working together had taught Laraba to trust the instinctive judgment of Kengua. She has since learned Kengua is never wrong when he gets one of his sudden brain waves in tight situations. Laraba didn’t speak, instead Kengua cleared his throat. As all faces turned towards him, he played their cards but in a rather inscrutable manner. He appeared to have also rather cunningly suspended the game at the apparent end of it.
“Believe me Colonel when I say the last thing I want to do is set your government down for some back biting plot.” Kengua had started out with his expression taking on the serious confident dim Inalegwu had long ago sparingly identified with his sincerest state of mind.
Kengua wasn’t putting up an act either. He has since also learnt from his past brief association with Colonel Inalegwu that the retired officer’s intelligence is not to be meddled with. He must be treated and handled with the utmost respect.
“The exigencies of our work will not allow us the luxury of hypocrisy. That is the stock in trade of politicians.” Laraba’s heart skipped a beat when Kengua uttered the last word.
Inalegwu only grinned and allowed Kengua to finish.
“Please don’t misconstrue this to be some abnegation of your offer. Pardon the soliloquy but I see loose ends that need tightening up. It is necessary to ameliorate things or else such an arrangement is porous and dies from avoidable maladies.” The use of big words is conscious.
The smug smile that now spread across Inalegwu’s face said he was even a lot surer of himself now than he was earlier in his drive to recruit the two high profile journalists seated with him. It was quite obvious Kengua, like a massive majority of career press people, didn’t like the disconcerting idea of even aligning with a serving government, talk less of working for it.
Their agitations for a steady lifetime of incessantly finding faults and not actually correcting them, is expressed covertly in their persistently subdued worded mutiny. This is constantly a contentious issue between their perceived sense of patriotism and the nonconformity to this by fragrant rebuke of the efforts of the representatives of government to exhibit theirs.
Inalegwu wanted to show he was on the same page with Kengua. To reflect this and to reveal he fully understood that Kengua’s inhibition is a perspective considerably clear to him, he offered a vaguely appropriate Shakespearian quote not quite familiar.
““Poor and contended is rich and rich enough.””
“William Shakespeare?” Laraba deciphered.
Inalegwu nodded with a smile and allowed Kengua to finish up. Kengua continued to speak with a strange kind of stutter. It wasn’t deliberately respectful as before, but it seemed to have resurfaced and strained the confidence in his words.
“We need other people’s opinions to define our own. We need their thoughts to align ours and their feelings to distinguish ours. Just like we need to see our reflection at least once, to know what we even look like. It urges us on by clearing out our excesses. This enables us to boldly assess government sincerely. If it is any other way, it is a sham and tilts credibility.”
“My dear friend, people like you tend to always underestimate the massive capacity of the human mind to accommodate all sorts of changes. Even after repeatedly experiencing the gross dynamism in the capability of people to adapt to change, you not only still doubt it, but you pretend it isn’t there entirely.” Inalegwu had jumped in after he has had heard enough.
“Well the ravages of time tore up your worries over this your Cowboys and Indians, Police and Robbers approach to the Media and Government relationship. It certainly hasn’t made either of our roles any more proficient than it ever was and hasn’t made us serve our nation any better.
“Both the leaders and led are bored of this endless war between those who are physically doing something to better our livelihood and those who say they know how it ought to be done but would not step up to the wild rodeo bull and do it. And we all agree that to be boring is the privilege of those advanced in age or status or both, because they can afford it but the masses aren’t ever able to. So we must join hands together. This is what we offer and refusing is clearly an act of hostility in your case. It is that simple. What will it be, finally?”
Inalegwu moved in his seat impatiently, Laraba and Kengua looked at each other yet again.
Kengua smiled and Laraba’s confidence returned into her eyes. She knew he has got this and something in her heart told her this was a special occasion. The odd sense of exhilaration her nerves suddenly felt revealed as much to her, hence her renewed confidence. They withstood the mental out lash, as the VP aired his perceived good views and emotionally tasked them all afternoon. It had initially taken a heavy toll them but it looks like it was their turn to turn the table around, letting him hug the source of his worries at his peril. He had called this on himself.
Through eventful years the sticks ever pile,
Hopes with the trunk that vomits emptiness.
The mighty broom swept so long a mile,
Still dirt abounds as its proud fruitfulness.
Mourning tears leave this feeling of numbness.
Eras of evolution has not changed the egg,
The needs of man same and ever will be so.
Maybe a broom will kill lizards on a clay keg
And not break it too like the stick did before.
In this concoction only soluble particles’ temperatures soar.
Promise of the lands are all pointing,
Yet the future is hot food in the mouth.
Bodies buried and alive, had and are, waited and waiting,
For the joy in swallowing and satisfaction they sought.
Over hard filled years waiters without appetite rot.
The dogs in this story are the traitorous pigs,
Their patriotism is fake like sweeping grains with a rake.
Locusts that plunder the field leaving tiny dry twigs,
Their determined whispers stir reasoning ideally fake;
These dishonourable gentle heads that ache.
The locusts ate the grains, the rake wasted the rest.
The broom was left so little in its fold.
In this farm, pigs serve dogs for it’s their best.
The egg will likely shatter in hands that shouldn’t hold.
They chest indifferently the agony of the rest in the cold.
Imagination is the gift of an improved common mental talent, quite unlike the perceived useless dream which is uncontrollably pointless. If a choice is allowed to differentiate between the two, when analyzed individually, the distinct trait quite common to both dreams and imaginations, glares back with only one similarity; they are both activities of the mind. However that is as far as their resemblance reaches, since the ever spectacular dream is the sprinkled effortless unconscious resultant of the pressures put on the mind that are never vouchsafed.
Imagination on the other hand is the controlled reflexive expression of the active mind, resulting from the conscious response of the lucid mind to pressures applied to it. Dreams are a series of haphazard mental images played inside sleeping minds. They appear involuntarily inside the mind when it is unconscious, in a vague mixture of real and unreal personalities, items, places and incidences. The keyword of note here is Involuntary; thus it is an unconscious activity.
Imagination is summed up as the ability to visualize series of sequential mental images and ideas that have most likely never been experienced previously by the mind that composes them, in any earlier physical form. Their fullest potential have a reputation not deserved as actually earned. Imagination is the conscious creative expression of the mind. It is a revelation of its mystical resourcefulness, with which it fashions out a simple non-physical uncomplicated semblance of reality.
It samples life with continuous practice as it embarks on entertaining itself, creating varied lineaments of its desired character or simply unraveling issues confronting it. Some of the most intelligent minds around had become geniuses because they had polished and harnessed the art of imagination. Good imagination repeatedly added vital bits of information and given an unexpected heads up to deserving people. Imagination has become an art and is used to very good effect.
Strenght of a woman: Available at the following links
Still on those upcoming explanations from government officials about their stewardship, this time I reflect on how most African nationals truly view their experience of military rule as against democratic rule. What are the gains or the loses in each regard? Where nations better off under oppressive military junta or under the governance of corrupt politicians?The glory seeking elite in most cases, are still evident whatever the governments. But in which case do the people gained the most? The promises are never fulfilled in most cases, but in which case are the common people actually better off?
Once more I urge you to enjoy the following fictitious interview with an ex-military man, with political interests. Remember Governor Fashola of Lagos State Nigeria once had an ‘incident’ with a military officer on the streets of Lagos? Well, you might want to read this interview for that reason too
(excerpts from The Whore; Chapter 6)
He had come into public limelight as the intelligence Colonel that supposedly slapped the influential executive Governor of the nation’s most economically viable state and prematurely retired from the Army just for popularly infamous insolent act. The Governor had just got nominated as the running mate of the presidential candidate of the ruling party. He brought in tow with him a massively popular following from his regional and tribal section of the country.
As the leading presidential candidate of the third largest party in the nation, he already had a laudable track record as a state Governor. A fishy deal was struck with the largest party in the land producing a joint ticket between his sectionalized party and the ruling party. The ruling party’s presidential candidate was the serving vice president, who was always billed to take over the mantle of leadership after the constitutional expiration of the second of two terms of his boss.
The Governor had accosted the highly decorated full Colonel, aiming to make a publicized unconventional citizen’s arrest. The setting was just perfect to boast the public appeal and dutiful credentials of the politician but it was by pure accident that the senior military intelligence officer had fallen victim of this publicized showmanship. It was purely coincidental.
Kengua had met the once disgraced officer at a private function in the United Kingdom a number of year later. Kengua had been invited there to supposedly meet a group of notable Nigerians in the diaspora. The Colonel was quite aware that he was talking to a high profiled Nigerian journalist and it seemed he felt it was his turn to tell his own side of the story. Kengua was immediately taken to his simplicity and decided he ought to make him look good.
It naturally felt right to start at the incident that had unfairly made Nigerians aware of the military intelligence Colonel’s existence. The now retired highly decorated secret operative officer is Colonel Sylvan Inalegwu Samuel, with the catchy pronounceable initials of SIS.
Kengua had set about telling the story like he initially heard and read it but the retired Colonel’s filling up the gaps sufficed into him telling his side of it. The piece Kengua had in mind wasn’t going to linger on that matter. Not on the injustice or not, of the manner it was handled into making this special officer look bad while making the Governor a near living saint.
It had all started on a very ordinary Saturday morning, the last one in the month. Those Saturdays were set aside but a pronvincial government edict, making it compulsory for the general public in that state to clean up their immediate environment. Movements of vehicles were strictly restricted for the three morning hours of seven to ten. Only vehicles on essential official services were allowed on the street during these official monthly sanitation hours.
Colonel Inalegwu was to be the honoured best man at his colleague’s church wedding, to be held that same morning, in the same commercial city. He had barely made it into the city in the very early hours of that morning, from yet another top secret mission for the Army. It was his fifty-sixth operation in a quite glorious military career spanning twenty very eventful years. That is not including six gruesome African sub-regional wars and nine peace keeping campaigns for the African Union and three for United Nations. He was just forty-three then and the most decorated infantry officer ever in his rank, worldwide. Little did he know that he had just concluded what was destined to be his last mission for that Army, but not his last ever.
Dressed in full Army ceremonial regalia and driving the official staff car of his commanding officer, which the General had borrowed him for the day, it was assumed he had to be on official essential duty and naturally waved through every checkpoint. He had an hour’s drive ahead of him and left his quarters in a rush, hoping to beat the dense city center traffic that would be unleashed as soon as the sanitation hours were over. He kept looking sideways frantically, looking for any sign of a tailoring shop or a hint of a boutique, praying he will find one open.
He had discovered his unused ceremonial sword belt was loose-fitting across his jacket. He hoped he could convince a willing clothes’ merchant to sell him a safety pin to fasten the sword belt with. With the corner of his eye, he saw a tailor’s signpost as he sped by deserted streets, without a single public or private transport on the quiet roads and very few pedestrians.
He stopped and reversed the staff car. Sure enough, there was someone sweeping inside the closed glass doors of a tailor’s shop. So he parked on the paved road side, at the very edge of the curb. He then walked across a wooded single plank bridge, over an open blackish green slime filled gutter, knocked on the shop’s glass door and an elderly lady let him in. She was very helpful and it took a lot of persuading before she accepted any payment for the single safety pin. The Colonel also bought a pack of hair clips for girls, she said her granddaughter makes.
He was about leaving when he heard a commotion in the street behind him, near his parked staff car. Two men of roughly his age, dressed in the official bright lemon-green loose vests tops of the designated municipal sanitation workers, were standing next to the military staff car he had parked on the street, shouting angrily and hitting the car severally with their open palms.
The audacity of the picture is unheard of, the oddity of the scene extraordinarily difficult to fathom at first sight. It is completely unimaginable that a mere city municipal sanitary worker will muster enough courage to hit a clearly identifiable senior Army officer’s staff car. They also had the guts to continue shouting obscenities at the approaching fully dressed Army officer in his highly decorated outfit, with the full accomplishments of his tags and numerous medals.
Colonel Inalegwu was furious and shouted back worded thunder before he got to the car and a brief shouting match ensued. Inalegwu threatened, as also did the two men in sanitary workers’ vest tops. They were incredibly querying the Army officer for parking on the marked out lane designated for public transport only. He pointed out that he was there only briefly and after all, there were no public transport about yet. He didn’t see the need to go on wasting his time with these suicidal maniacs. He made out to get into the borrowed staff car to leave the scene, when suddenly the slightly older and well-spoken one of these unusually bold Nigerian civilians, said he was going to make a citizen’s arrest, insinuating he would detain the Colonel for violating municipal traffic laws. It was so unusual sounding, almost out of a Hollywood comedy.
The military officer smiled at the obvious joke of it and leaned on the parked car good-naturedly, looking subdued and less menacing. He intended to humour these efficient men, who were clearly over enthusiastic about doing their menial work but obviously quite confused about their personal status and his far reaching immunity to certain aspects of state laws. Inalegwu noticed their little heated banter was beginning to attract the attention of bystanders, so he opened the driver’s door and stepped back to enter the car. That is when the less articulated man did the unthinkable. He pushed the well-dressed Colonel back against his borrowed staff car.
The collective sigh of utter amazement from the gathered spectators nearby, was quite audible from where they stood. It was such an unimaginable travesty to behold. The officer turned around in a flash, reacting with the coordinated physiological speed of years of military training and action. The soldier lashed out, swung a swift open right handed venomous slap at the face of the idiotic common civilian that dared to blind side him and shove him against the car. But before the Colonel’s slap had traveled the two feet between him and his retreating target, the other more articulate man had made it halfway into the gap between the slap and its intended target and accidently took in some of the force in the swing, with the back of his head.
The slap had continued to hit home squarely though. Incidentally, both the actual intended vengeful slap and the uncharacteristically siphoned residue force of it, had managed to quite effectively achieve the most impact possible. Both the bashful sanitary officer; the pushing brute that was the intended target, and his articulate arresting colleague; who unfortunately stepped in the way, were instantaneously knocked off their feet and sprawled in undignified postures on the asphalt ground like they were overnight drunks who spent the night on the street.
It turned out that the articulated and slightly older man, who intended to make a citizen’s arrest, was the serving State Governor. He was out on a covert mission to inspect the public’s adherence to the state’s sanitation laws. So the Executive Governor unfortunately got accidently knocked down. He was hit as he came between the angered law breaking military officer and the imprudently rash senior city municipal worker accompanying him on his official escapade.
Kengua loved the detailed description of the incident so much that he decided to print it separately as a different article. It was be the opening piece that ushered readers into the world of Retired Colonel Sylvan Inalegwu Samuel. The way that incident was handled by the Governor’s publicists and the favourable press the Governor ordinarily got as a result of his tagged unselfish dedication to duty, had made Colonel Inalegwu look really bad. Set against the already quite unsympathetic perspective of a majority of the public towards military officers, Inalegwu was always at a huge disadvantage. Nobody really wanted to even hear his own version of the story.
“Did you ever get to that wedding?” Kengua asked.
The retired officer laughed heartily, finding it funny that it is the first time anyone bothered to ask him that question, so many years later.
“I had a full plate already and wasn’t any longer looking forward to the wedding reception as soon as I realized I had just hit the man going to be my next vice-commander-in-chief.”
Kengua laughed along this time. That light-hearted remark simply set the tone for the interview. They progressed into the other areas of life Inalegwu had ventured into later on, following his premature discharge from the Army. But before then, it was only fair to allow the man to vent about how badly he felt he was treated, following that unfortunate incident with the Governor. It had unjustly painted him in bad light and changed the remaining of his life.
“Normally, this sort of thing is not heard of. The soldier is protected by the Army and dealt with within the workings of the military. His identity is not revealed. However, a generality of these cases never involves one of the most favoured political candidates in the history of the country. Even my colleagues were wary not to be seen to be sympathetic to my position.”
“And what was your position.”
“Well, I almost had none. I just waited silently like a good soldier. I obeyed orders and didn’t complain. The little I could do to make immediate amends for what happened, I did. I tried to undo the damage I had done. I did that on the spot, on that day.
“I did what any other soldier would have done; recruit, NCO, junior or senior officer alike. Any other smart officer would do the same. My reaction in the form of instant multiple salutes and repeated apologies to the Governor did me good in the eyes of my mates and superiors by all regards. It seemed good enough initially as the Governor appeared to let it pass and had let me go on my way. Then pictures emerged in the press later and it became such a huge mess.
“So I became the identified pampered senior Army officer who habitually parked a tax payers’ given staff car inside a restricted public transport lane, specifically persevered for the use of only the poor masses, which they weren’t even allowed to use when I parked on it for just five minutes, while breaking a state edict by not staying at home to watch my Army orderly clean up my house, within a federal military barrack where state laws are completely useless.”
Kengua then contributed to Inalegwu’s summary.
“That is as it concerns the law, but then you are the officer who punched the Executive state Governor and slapped a senior member of his staff with one stroke of your deadly lethal, military trained arm. The same arm you had killed thousands of people with while fighting wars all over the world. Then you merely said a casual sorry and drove away like a maniac to a wedding.”
They both laughed again. Then Inalegwu took a brief moment to further expand the humour and sarcasm intended by Kengua with some serious reflection on the whole incident.
“That was the exciting thing about the incident for the media. The possibilities for scandalizing every twist and turn of it were boundless. They hoard bits of truth, told some, altered others and strangely fabricated some other aspects to fit into the easily recognizable picture of the top military guys thinking they are untouchable and can get away with anything.
“They didn’t even point out their own contradictions. I was the highly decorated and very rich killer officer that is above the law versus the celebrated public serving politician.
“To the press I wasn’t the Nigerian civil war orphan, the only child of a killed federal infantry soldier and a subsequently crippled mother, who was as a consequence forced to be a rural dwelling peasant subsistent farmer, until she worked herself to death putting me through school. I wouldn’t have, against all odds, strived to incredibly get into the very prestigious military officers’ academy on pure merit, if I had another choice.
“Without any ready and clear willing sponsorship for a tertiary education; which I was more than adequately qualified for with an exceptional national record equaling college result, the officer training academy was the best option if I wanted to excel. But to the media, the Governor isn’t the ninth son of a very wealthy polygamous traditional high chief, who had conveniently publicized his conversion to Islam from traditional occultism because it served his immediate business interests and political future, for his seven wives and thirty-six children.”
Kengua quickly came to the Governor’s defense because he is not the type to have any one’s public image tarnished for reasons that had nothing to do with the individuals own actions or utterances. Kengua has always felt that it transcended from the fair to sheer irrelevance, when opponents unfairly deploy the strongest criticism, manifesting as mere sprouts out of their targets’ early origins. He takes a steadfast position of complete disregard and disinterest for such defamatory degrading details. He firmly believes that when the later emergence of purely old superficial vials of uncontrollable natural occurrences are encouraged to create an atmosphere of credibility doubts, then the rational assessment of a subject is compromised. Subjective untruths wade in, get a foothold and slow down progressively fair objective logic.
Kengua also abhors blame being apportioned for just unlucky mishaps that are humanly extraordinarily difficult to avoid. He doesn’t query them because they just emerge like hiccups, unplanned and not as a result of conscious deeds or a deliberate neglect of knowledgeable action. The truth prevails when contemporary cliquishness is ignored and the relevant essentials are made more prominent, as it concerns every issue.
“What has the Governor’s father got to do with this?” Kengua fired. “It isn’t his fault his father was the way he was.”
“Indeed. But he is clearly an offspring of the massively influential old money of his family. It ensured he never went hungry for a day in his life and ensured he got the best possible education in prestigious local and European schools. It secured financial security for him above the average comfortable standard and established a good political platform for him. It put at his disposal a huge background of subjective followers to enable him have an almost wondrous rise to political and administrative fame. My critics didn’t see it fit to draw this lopsided parallel?”
“I honestly don’t see why they should either.” Kengua bluntly offered and it must have sent a disconcerting tingle down Inalegwu’s spine but still Inalegwu continued to disagree.
“But I feel that exception wasn’t deliberate. That ought to be evident to a man of your reputation. The media just chose to buttress his advantages over me and ignored mine over his.”
Kengua pondered that Inalegwu just might have a point there, but still it is manipulatively natural that the professionally proactive and very well paid Governor’s political machinery had seized the opportunity that particular incident provided to booster their candidates public image. The Colonel was just doomed from the very moment the mischievous roaming state Governor stumbled into the parked Army staff car on that sanitation Saturday morning.
At the Governor’s incessant prompting, Inalegwu was simply unstrung by the senior military hierarchy. Even they had to be seen to be favourable toward the serving political bigwigs. The Army left Inalegwu all alone, to dry on his own, publicizing his erstwhile top secret activities, without any hesitation. His Generals merely chose to spite their noses to save their faces.
For the sake of their plumb jobs, careers and ambitions, the head of the most decorated professional young senior officer is worth sacrificing, by their reckoning. Military loyalty is not an edifice like most civilians assume, it is ineffectually an invisible ruse. Most top military brasses simply absorb more of the hypocritical civilian characteristics they must function around. Thus they metamorphose into gruff aged men whose years of coy administrative and political meanderings make them a lot more crotchety and brusque than liberal and honourable.
Inalegwu’s recall of his ceremonious betrayal brought a flushed look upon his light brown face, which he momentarily supplemented with what he thought will appear as expressionless. But a slight tremble of confidence still showed through, even as he continued to speak. He was wounded by the way the media had hounded his previously very private life, once the license to do so was insinuated. Everyday a new damning detail emerged about his indiscretion. With time he ceased being shocked by the daily emerging bad news in the press about his incredibly manufactured abusive wryly remarks concerning the state Governor’s sacrificial deed.
He became disillusioned by the incredulity of it all as every side he turned, he felt both berated and humiliated. When he attempts to put right this seemingly inexhaustible barrage of lies, he was so easily misinterpreted. As he was increasingly depicted as woeful, the public barely reacted with any surprise when he was kicked out of the Army with eloquent prejudice.
This conformed to a pattern which had its origin years back, when an equally highly talented and decorated Air force officer was summarily executed by a firing squad for allegedly joining a rogue mutinous band in the armed forces. That renowned fighter pilot had lost his life despite the best attempts of numerous desperate top grade military forces from all over the developed world. Their offers of handsome compensations to the then Nigerian Military Government to secure the condemned man’s services and spare his life were rejected. This time around similar foreign interests just waited to gain from the Nigerian authorities’ conscious wasteful loss. And true to character, the Nigerian Army sought to act in tune with what they considered as locally popular.
The Army bigwigs made their priorities apparent with the rather hasty decision to dispense with the services of the phenomenal Colonel. Then the interview easily veered into the area Kengua wanted it to, because the talented Colonel had gone onto much bigger things.
“So being dumped by the Nigerian Army became a guile blessing in disguise, it turned out.” Kengua fished.
“Like they say; ‘Hasty actions err the most.’ The Nigerian Army made the mistake of not only losing my services but most importantly, my impeccable knowledge of its entire functions”. Inalegwu’s doubts, that were initially almost tangible with caged in expectancy in the booming sound of his voice, abated. He revealed how hurt he was in those long passed days of such pain. That feeling was completely gone and replaced by the supremely wondrous confidence of that euphoria of being the most sought after man in the military world, all of a sudden.
This is a man who thought the unduly imposed fervor of guilt that was crushing his existence was going to kill him. But he ended up being amazed by how well he adjusted and lived with it. It frightened him to learn the potentials he had. This had led him into living a life he had only dreamed of previously. The exuberance of this switch was quite intriguing.
His light complexioned face was flushed as his excited facial expression unscrewed the tensed worry that was pasted on it just minutes before. On a black person’s face, a blush is not registered with a change in the shade of skin colour. The lining of the brows are not quite helpful either, hence the commonly popular deduction that a Negro does not ever blush.
A tingle of anticipation came over Kengua as he readied himself for the real juicy stuff to come as he replaced the almost filled up tiny tape in the mini recorder with an empty one.
“It must have been like a pathetic excuse for an apology when the Nigerian authorities conferred a National award on you, recently. One you are yet to accept or reject.” Kengua had started this phase of the interview with the most recent twist in Inalegwu’s long tale. He merely hinted where he was headed. Colonel Inalegwu’s choice to dispense with instantly answering the question Kengua had just asked him, hinted of more to this interview than met the eye.
Inalegwu’s choice propounded a vista Kengua had not envisaged. The panorama suddenly had dynamism of its very own. Ultimately, the main question to be answered turns out to be that of Kengua to tackle on his own. Was he being used by the Colonel to get back at the current second term Nigerian Vice President? They already had a very well documented history together, when the VP was the highly influential State Governor and the Colonel was at his mercy.
It turned out that the retired Colonel had literally become the most influential intelligence operative on the African continent. He now has all the right intelligence contacts to throw spanners in the political works of the VP, who was paused to commence conversing for the Nigerian presidential seat in a few months. Clearly the VP had gotten the wiser of it and put out his reconciliatory hand, with the government’s suddenly conferring a highly exulted national merit award on a previously disgraced and discharged senior military officer. The ambitious Vice President wasn’t leaving anything to chance as he made his move upwards, yet again.
The VP simply reprioritized his activities once more, trying to make a friendly corner stone out of an old stepping stone. It was now obvious to Kengua that this interview is too timely to be anything but vengeful. It reeked of those Biblical Jewish mothers’ dispute, King Solomon had arbitrated. Just this time, the bereaved mother who killed her child, also embarks on smothering her mate’s to death, rather than steal and claim it. The creative imagination of vengeance almost always appears to fall short, compared to the initial act it is meant to be a reprisal for. But as an intelligence officer, the Colonel was obviously out to show how versed he is in plotting revenge.
Long ago, the opportune boldness of the state governor was met with the instant repentant submission of the erring Army officer. But it didn’t end there and the ambitious governor had sought to score cheap points in his engineered favorable press review of the incident. He also used his strong political connection to get helpful credits in the powerful eyes of the military, thereby influencing the handling of the matter by them. The VP’s actions discredited Inalegwu without any regard for what he is, a senior military officer in the most influential branch of the armed forces in a huge third world country. There are different facets to his experience.
As a full colonel, Inalegwu is like a teacher in the hierarchy of any school, not a pupil certainly. He had the equivalent of an honorary national award to the majority of his fellow citizens’ mere national identity cards. He was directly responsible for loads of vital national security stuff and international secrets that a whooping ninety-nine percent of the rest of the country’s people don’t even know exists. And for such a person to have been embittered by being treated in that way, it is natural that Inalegwu would want his pound of flesh.
Inalegwu naturally felt he shouldn’t have been so casually belittled by persons who haven’t ever risked their lives for their country in the slightest. It may be his poorly paid job to risk his life for his country, but that ought to come with the privilege of some respect. That is why the constitution allows him a separate court, as long as he remains in the military. He has a license to kill identified enemies of his nation as directed by his commander-in-chief without being prosecuted for it, no one else in the whole country does. He belonged to a tiny clique of citizens that can legally be accusers, judges & executioners, all in one instant, with no qualms.
But because society connives to favour some privileged member of its political class rather than him, it becomes his duty to also make this same belligerent quarrelsome and confrontational nation, change its exaggeration of wrong priorities. He has held different viewpoints from a lot of his people for so long. It is time he shows how right he was by making those who wronged him look silly. Kengua readied this preemptive conclusion. He had to be ahead of the game if he wanted to know what this highly experienced intelligence operative was on about.
The question Kengua had asked Inalegwu earlier on would be simple enough to answer, but the Colonel is no ignorant fool. His answers wouldn’t say as much as Kengua will want to hear. Inalegwu knows the industrious journalist is always fishing for more than others are willing to reveal. All press men naturally get to learn a simple fact in due course. They learn that the real important answers never get heard, they have to be deduced like they are insinuated.
“Tell me Colonel, what happened to you and what have you been really doing all these many years since you were forcibly retired from the service of the Nigerian Army?”
Inalegwu just smiled, and then curtly asked, not answer.
“What do retired military men do after being retired?”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe join other ex-service men in the private security sector and start off where they all left off?” Inalegwu chuckled and vaguely answered the next question.
“You were then sought after by the armed forces of the United States, Canada, Great Britain and South Africa. That much wasn’t a secret. But you didn’t join any of them, or did you do so secretly and opted for one of their secret services?” Kengua had asked.
“Yes that’s right; I didn’t join up with any of them,” Inalegwu answered.
“You didn’t join one secretly and just won’t say so because no right thinking intelligence operative says he is one.” Inalegwu laughed briefly but actually tried to explain.
“Offers did come in fast and quick, fat and thick too. But because virtually all of the very lucrative packages these foreign armed forces were offering me were practically for positions in their military training schools, I concluded that I could still do all of that, collect the big pay packages they proposed, and still do my own thing on the side without all the unnecessary pressure of being fastened to the shackles of their military administrative hassles.”
“So you taught in military schools?”
“Yes I did! Virtually all the important military schools in the western world have used and are still using my expertise on sub-Saharan warfare.” Inalegwu said quite proudly.
“And you don’t do anything more than just teach?”
“I did nothing more.”
The two men maintained their stares silently for three more seconds before Inalegwu emphasized his answer more firmly.
Indeed, the real important answers never get heard, they have to be deduced like they are insinuated, Kengua thought to himself.
“Then you started a military consulting firm?”
“That is in partnership with a retired US marine general, an interesting Texan. That is the guy who infamously made a near exact replica of the renowned World War II Nazi wrought iron archway entrance into its Human Extermination Camps; HEC. The infamous Death Camps.
“His own replica of the sign still hangs over the entrance into his huge farm at the edge of the South American Amazonian jungle. It was made as a publicity gimmick and it works rather well too; not only for the farm and its turnover, but for him and his popularity. He had copied the design from an internet printout and included the exact three German words too, in full. Only he had defaced the middle word with a boldly white painted metallic X, crossing out the still legible middle word. It was done in such a way that the original words were still fully readable.
“The original German words were ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’; meaning ‘Work Makes Free’. Thus the defaced replica sign the Texan had made would read in English as; ‘Work — Free’”.
Both men laughed at the seeming idiocy of it.
“It took a while for it to catch on but it caught on soon enough, once the larger local community got the gist of it. They embraced the lopsided morale the unorthodox coinage had advanced with its somewhat cynical but still eye-catching symbolism. It was such a huge hit. It was such that not only was the farm identified as ‘Work-free’, the new phrase in due course aptly became the Texan’s alias. It even attracted tourists and was hugely popular with all who saw it. His friends tried using the initials but abandoned the attempt because W. F. was such a mouthful and did not serve the abridged purpose it was meant to. So they were stuck with Work-free.”
Kengua further learnt the Texan’s Amazonian farm had since served as the official headquarters of their military consulting partnership. All the covert training of Special Forces is done on the farm’s ideal grounds. Then Inalegwu digressed to offer a personal insight.
“You know in a strange sort of way, these multiple tried ‘Work Makes Free’ ideologies suffer very natural deaths at the persistent steps of the belittled ‘Work-Free’ ideologies. When they are handled and borrowed metaphorically, they actually symbolize the ideological struggles of the entire civilized world, over its very long period of regulating economic systems. It is the reoccurring extended victories of the freest minds over the most coerced minds in the world.”
“That is human wisdom set against human intuition; the natural need to dominate versus the spurious compromise of allowing unprivileged people an equal opportunity to empower themselves so that they can in turn not do the same to you.” Kengua offered.
“I couldn’t have put it any better myself. Take the freest nation in the world for instance. It is only natural that the American state should turn out the way it did. It is in every sense of the term primarily; and still considerably for all intent, a migrant state. So its national conscience is still very much that of the typical average migrant; which is excusable for the fundamental reasons that make migrants what they are in the first place.
“These are simply revivification and the ramifications of the opportunist, escapist, rebel and adventurer. Americans thus reveal to be daring, brave, determined, hardworking, patient and tenaciously vengeful. They are all of these sorts and the likes of it, all comprehensively such; in that passively or actively and positive or negative qualities, respectively.”
“You mean when their highly principled thoughts are contrasted, they actually reveal to be more at a continuous state of being at Crossroads, than being on the free highway.”
“It is unfortunately the Double-edge sword of truth most liberals do not even like contemplating more less discoursing. The inoperative logic dimly entertained here being that by empowering the right kind of person with the wrong natural tendency to tenaciously survive by dominating everybody else, they are simply directly being reinforced to do the very same thing they were being reoriented not to do, not to dominate. Consider a perfect example, the dangerous logic behind the rather idiotic ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’. Only the human covetous nature could possibly make it tenable for world peace to be actually balanced on this razor sharp edge.”
“I couldn’t agree more. I guess the acronym says it all, doesn’t it? It is indeed unarguably and quite pointedly MAD!”
They paused for refreshed drinks. It was now clear the rest of the gathering had no intention of disturbing their open side attraction, which was actually the reason for the whole meet. Kengua has been emboldened into steering the interview into those sensitive insinuations concerning the huge amount of international influence Inalegwu now has at his disposal. It must be considerable, if the current Nigerian government would all of a sudden publicly announce it is conferring a big national merit award to the Colonel. It is obvious this is a very pregnant move.
“Before we go any further Colonel, how did you become aware of the conferring of the national award on you?”
“Like you must have, I suppose. I heard it in the news.”
“You mean you weren’t given an advance notice of what was in the offering? One would have thought they would let you know in advance, at least try to win you over to their thinking, get your thoughts about the award, know if you would accept or not?”
“No they didn’t say or do diddly-squat and I don’t think they would be interested in any foreknowledge of what my reaction will be either. The way I see it; it might as well be ramblings in the tabloids, since I’m yet to get official word from the Government.”
“I assure you sir, that you have been listed in the official website of the Nigerian federal government as one of the latest nominated recipients of a National merit award.”
“I don’t dispute that, but I haven’t been invited to accept or decline such a nomination; if that is what it is. I also haven’t been invited to collect such an award. When I am, then I will have a response ready of course; via the very same channels.”
Kengua smiled his comprehension. It was clear that his interview is meant to be Inalegwu’s express response to the current Nigerian government and especially its main candidate for the next presidential elections in a few months. It is Kengua’s duty to see this clearly.
“Feel free to make any deduction you wish from my remarks, just as it is the government’s prerogative to do same.” Colonel Inalegwu quickly added with that wryly grin of his.
“Do you have issues with the way Nigeria is being led presently? I notice you virtually never comment on this topic.”
It was time again to rally round his other sentiments, to make the cagy Colonel slip up into criticizing the current Nigerian leadership. Kengua felt he just might get lucky.
“Leadership is always a difficult thing. People easily get sensitively bias about how they interpret governmental policies. I guess the sort of impact the policies have on the people is the major determinant in this matters.” Kengua was fishing but Inalegwu wasn’t biting.
“Nigerians think their government is totalitarian in it policy making. The way our democracy works, with the dominant class making all the policies being mainly of the same privileged and corrupt sort, nothing that is beneficial to the masses ever comes through and is accepted as law. This is because aside from these people being evidently the dominant influential factor in every political party, they also dominate the civil service, the judiciary and the legislature. Therefore, the so called three arms is indeed just one trunk.” Kengua proffered.
“In Nigeria, there is the all too powerful fourth arm of government my friend; the civil service. This is massive in the structural hierarchy of the totalitarianism we are all querying.”
“You do agree then.” Kengua boosters the momentum of what is likely a glimmer of criticism from the cagy Colonel.
“The totalitarianism of policies actually does make them unsustainable. Capitalism has always made money and wealth supreme, fascism makes the state supreme, Nazism made the race supreme and Communism made an ideology supreme. A measure of most has to be balanced to carry everyone along.” With that bit the brief glimmer of criticism dimmed.
“Your Texan partner is very influential politically in the US, isn’t he? He is quite chummy with the ruling Democrats that there is talk of him being too Democratic to be a Republican.”
Inalegwu laughs at the now quite familiar joke about the retired US marine general he is in business partnership with, a very vocal cowboy rancher with questionable racial favoritism.
“He is a very controversial one, that one. It was he who brokered the deal between the very conservative Republicans and the very liberal Democrats years ago. That deal had successfully ushered in a setting where either a first black president or a first female president is swept into that exulted office in one bold history making move. The outcome is history now.
“The Republicans just had their worst ever presidency prior to that. Popularity and business boasting wars had turned unpopular and economically unsustainable. The world economy was at the brink of complete chaos. A huge change was inevitable and Americans looked elsewhere.
“Democrats represented obvious change. But they had to have an unusual leader in every physical ramification, someone easily identified with by the rest of the world now leaving inside the US. From what I understand, the idea was this; since the US was passionately hated across a huge section of the world, more than it is loved across another shrinking section, it became paramount to position one of these firsts to ease that tension. So the Republicans fielded their worst presidential candidate ever and gladly made a good show of famously losing to change.”
“Would you say it worked?”
“Maybe internationally, but it only brought forth the true nature of the American people and divided the nation along the line of the so-called Conservatives and so-called Liberals.”
“Are you with the Liberals?”
“I’m of the opinion that American Conservatism is just a necessity in the world right now. I’m not a republican, in the sense of full party allegiance. But really, you can’t help but understand that the ideals of the founding fathers of America and the true values of the American state are best represented by the Republicans. So I rather deal with a person that is a lot more true to his ideology than some self-styled ‘Liberal’ who is in essence, just a subtle charlatan in the guise of a Democrat.” It was quite the analytical response.
“This is the ‘Pretentious trading places’ you had termed as Crossroads earlier, I suppose?”
“Not quite so. I had aptly forwarded earlier that their highly principled thoughts are confused when they get compared with those of their founding fathers. Contrasting issues abound, as clearly insinuated in the close allegiance to Christianity for one.
“In ‘God we trust’ they say and not show it. There is the Same-Sex issue and the massive war like nature. When these Liberals try to adhere to these precepts then they actually reveal to be at a continuous Crossroads than actually being decisive.”
“Most liberals will disagree and argue that it is this kind of thinking that made America quite unpopular and hated.”
“It actually made America great. It is the big deviation from it that made America weak and common, note that fact. The Liberals refuse to see it this way. Their logic doesn’t even remotely entertain a simple fact. By empowering the right kind of person with the tendency and communal orientation to tenaciously survive by dominating everybody else, they in fact simply directly reinforce their natural rivals, and I dare say; enemies too. They let them do the very same things they keep reorienting themselves not to, becoming weak and dominated.”
“Maybe that is just the soldier in you talking, Colonel.” Kengua summed up. In response, Inalegwu chuckled and repeatedly shook his head sideways, in disagreement.
“That’s far from it, I assure you. I just understand how the Conservative American thinks. Don’t talk of peace to these Americans. They are after all from very violent stock and so obviously they are of the violent sort. Are you familiar with the words of their national anthem? They probably are amongst a trio or so of modern nations that still clasp their healthy beating well-nourished chest, look up a flag pole and proudly sing of ‘perilous fight; rocket’s red glare; and bombs bursting in the air’ and with very patriotic tears in their beaming eyes.”
Inalegwu meant every single word he said and Kengua wasn’t surprised in the least, surely you will expect no less conviction from a Texan’s business partner.
“But America is changing,” Kengua made a last ditched effort.
“No it is the people inside America that are changing, not America. That wouldn’t happen till hell freezes over.”
“But Americans are America.”
“That may be so in the past, but certainly not the case in the present day USA. In the past, the migrants that constituted the people that created and made the US what it became were driven by different things from those now partaking from their creation today. Economic interests are of course constant, they always are. But the ideological principle has greatly changed. You now have people actually coming into the US or being born in it merely to change and destroy what it represents and not because they admonish and advocate what it signifies.”
The last thing Kengua wanted was to get into a debate with the retired military officer seated across from him. But he had to point out his own convictions, if only to hear Inalegwu’s.
“As the world changes so does the US. Civility has now become synonymous with democracy. The people in the world are coming to terms with true freedom and demanding it.”
“You think?” The Colonel deferred in opinion clearly and he when ahead to expalin.
“Civility is really diminishing steadily. Old democracies would experience a surge of selfish demands on them, demands that will not readily seat over tea and talk things over endlessly. The countless innocent peaceful marches carried out by citizens of the west, to garner support for their diverse courses of interests, will suffer from violent changes as people accept negative outcomes of their popular choices. Majorities will successfully elect democracies and yet electoral victories will not provide succor. Continuous flow of migrants from other systems with democratic defective orientations, sired by bashful ways, will forcibly task the civility in these old democracies. Inevitable chaos is afoot and the only recipe for order is being neglected.”
“It is inevitable that these western societies are losing the way of life they are always defending. But it can’t be helped because the world is now a global village and must feel like it.”
“I always wonder how easily we accept the single merit of that term ‘Global Village’, without actually acknowledging the numerous damning demerits that comes with it also. The world as we once accepted it has been narrowed down to a simple information unit like it is in an ordinary village. It became that single interconnected forum as made by the World Wide Web. The Global village is thus an apt internet expression. But otherwise, the backward rudiments evident in a village like barbaric uncivilized jungle justice, cruel autocratic leadership, clan and clique favouritism, and selfish pettiness all crept into the picture as civility slowly leaves it.”
“That is a humongous misconception and you know it.”
“Is it now?”
“Yes it is!”
Both men’s demeanors paused for an argument. Kengua wasn’t about to let anyone shake his conviction and the man he was interviewing appeared to be on a course to not only sell his archaic and outlandish ideology to Kengua’s readers through him, but also to alter Kengua’s very own believes as well, while he is at it. Kengua set about changing the interview’s direction, determined not to be thrown off course once again. It seems that tiny stumble in temperament had exuded a burst of self-control into him and once more he became thankfully focused.
“Colonel, you talk of the US like the whole nation isn’t constituted of migrants. Every single one of these Americans is an illegal emigrant of sorts. Did the indigenous Indians of the American continent give any original pioneer even a tourist visa?”
“Then we shouldn’t recognize the American state for that reason. It in effect, has a worse case for its legality than the Jewish state because Israel can point to scriptural documents.”
“I’m not saying that.”
“Of course you’re not. Look my friend, let us bring this to a head. Going back in history to justify any action that has now led to an established form, entity or pattern, only digs up dirt of injustice and the most uncivilized behaviour ever. The world has always had and will ever need these big busy-bodies to check the excesses of others like them and those beneath them as well. It has to be so in the bullies’ hierarchy of survival of the fittest or else utter chaos will reign.
“Bully nations are like the large carnivores of prehistoric times. Their effect on the food chain maintains order in that cruel uncivilized harsh but naturally quite necessary manner. If they are unchecked well up on the food chain, there wouldn’t ever be enough to go round, not only for them but also any layer beneath them in due course. It is a fact of nature.”
Kengua went over Inalegwu’s short early civilian past in his head. The young lad’s entire childhood was spent in the sparse bushes surrounding his midland Nigerian village. He had to hunt almost every meat he ate and bush rats consisted of the main game available. There couldn’t be a better orientation for a soldier and a pro-gun trotting buff. He grew up like a pre-American civil war Texan. So his perspective is quite natural to him. Inalegwu also lost the last of his remaining close family members in the brutish civil riots of northern Nigerian. His only aunt’s entire family was murdered in the outskirts of Kaduna, in a particular suburban area called Rigasa. The entire non-Muslim residents there were evicted out of their homes for good.
Inalegwu had tried to look for survivors from amongst his aunt’s family. He searched the entire metropolis and combed all the military barracks, rummaging amongst all the refugees, but found none of them. Finally, he saw his aunt’s names in a compiled list of the dead but he never found any of the others. He was devastated for a long time. He had held the most extreme political views ever since. Life in the military had made him curtail them, but what made him political wasn’t as much that. Driving to work through slums daily, he rationalized that any child growing up in such neglected pig infested suburban area would be politicized too.
In the endlessly developing third world countries, the suburban areas are actually the ghettos. They don’t host posh rich people like in developed countries. It is in these places that the less privileged citizens have learned to live according to their faiths. They have surrendered what remains of their belief in the state protecting them and taken up basic arms to defend themselves. Oddly though, once the entire unsettled metropolis has wholly surrendered to living like this, relative tranquility became more sustainable. It became a way of life in no time.
Life in these cities became like the middle-east setting in Palestine and Israel. The common places were banks, markets and offices, where a kind of respite for foraging a living takes place. Once a riot starts, the rabbit and the ferret comes into play as the scrapple for safety commences. Christians dressed up like Muslims on Fridays and head for the safety of their homes before mid-Muslim prayers. Later, Muslims avoided Christian communities on Sundays too. Those who got caught out in the wrong side of town during civil riots are almost certainly lynched and killed.
After years of holding back his secret thoughts as a loyal soldier, Inalegwu doesn’t need to hide his controversial opinions any longer. He had it all clear in his head now who are is friends and who are his foes. He made his move and it was now his long time enemy’s turn to play his hand. The Nigerian government will have to work out if Inalegwu will accept their offer or not. The Vice president needs to have the influential Colonel to stand down and not secretly work against his aspiration for the ultimate prize of the presidency, even if he would not openly support him. A lot stood in the balance when Matters carried the Inalegwu interview and story.
It is always interesting to hear how government officials answer questions about their stewardship, before they get into power and after they leave it. Reflecting on how Nigerians will for the very first time experience what it is like to have a democratically unseated government explain how it failed to deliver, I pondered on the novelty of the experience that awaits us. This time around there will be no group of inheriting stooges in the incoming government to cover for the past government. Instead there will be a pack of roving glory seekers very eager to point out the past governments countless shortcoming as well as edging to make a notable difference of their own. Some of the promises the in-coming government made during its campaign sounded juvenile and naïve, now is the time to explain those away and substantiate the change they promised, while emphasizing the difference they will make. The major difference this time around is that a majority of Nigerian had a say in who does what explaining and all the politicians, across political divide know that the people have to like all their weighty explanation.
While we wait for the first of these explainations, enjoy the following ficticious one.
(excerpts from The Whore; Chapter 5)
“The infantile joke in the citizenry’s attitude towards very essential measures taken by government is appallingly so naïve most time,” said the government’s minister for finance.
Laraba was momentarily stunt, wondering what the guy was up to. She didn’t ask him to repeat himself or clarify what he actually meant. Doing so would give him an opportunity to either correct himself or attempt to soften the blow of the blunt and rather unguarded remark he had just made. She already had her mini tape recorder rolling away and had the vital advantage of being able to review what she knew she had just heard, again. The mere thought of the magnitude of this potentially damning bashful blunder and the silly rashness of the minister’s openness was elating. Laraba had already started toying with the limitless possibilities of this single statement, made only two question into the proposed two hours long interview.
Her concentration seemed to waver and his gaze pierced into her thought fruitlessly, as he contemplates clarifying what he had just said. It didn’t feel quite right and with the tactful use of a combination of coy reasoning and logic, he could tactically withdraw the remark. She sensed this and didn’t give him the chance by clearly pretending not to have registered the remark. She deviated into another aspect, dear to the boastful minister. She almost beseeched him to again briefly explain for the umpteenth time, how he had effortlessly got the nation such a massive foreign debt reprieve for a full decade. He fell for it like a winter starved Bear to catching jumping salmon slowed at a cliff edge waterfall, on their seasonal breeding trip up stream.
Tanimu Lawal was the Nigerian minister for finance and he has always thought the world of his looks, mainly because he appeared to attract a lot of interested stares when he walked around or spoke publicly. Clearly he needed to be reminded that badly dressed ugly people do attract even more looks from appalled spectators, than well-dressed, physically attractive people would ordinarily do. He wasn’t just qualified for his plumb job, but as a third generation professional international banker, one whose influential northern Nigerian family is continuously represented at the very top echelon of the federal government, he already had enough training and experience in international monetary dealings for his present job, before his early thirties. So that elegant mannerism of handling a simply press interview comes naturally to him, almost like a shaven coiffure to a balding young man. His rich folks gave him a lot more than life, they also gave him the kind of life to live as well. His family’s historical position gave him a living to live life with.
Laraba let him indulge himself, going over details that were not quite important to her, since the whole financial world had certified them as laudable and massively beneficial to the country. She waited patiently, making the right noises to both encourage him and put him at ease for what was to come. This interview was slated to be Kengua’s, but honourable Tanimu Lawal had insisted she handled it instead, he was that sure of himself. It was always going to be a duel between them and they both knew it. She had resisted doing the interview. Kengua didn’t mind in the least and Lawal was increasingly persistent she did it, even as she resisted further.
Finally she had cunningly made out she had only accepted to take the interview reluctantly, but she had actually just made the minister less ready for their duel. She hid away the advantage she had and made him feel comfortable, with the wrong impression. If he was under the illusion he would stroll through their two hours session because he is the darling of the financial world, he had goofed. As the latest wiz-kid on the block, he was to know better soon enough, she thought. Laraba is a butcher and fattened cows only come to the butcher for one reason only.
Lawal looked into Laraba’s eyes & smiled.
“My will is cast in hope re-enforced prayer,” he said. “Hope for my nation to flourish with a viable economy that will be envied the world over.” He had quickly added.
Laraba nodded, sensing he was about done with blowing his shiny trumpet. Lawal became uncomfortable, the interview was going too smoothly for his expectations. Even he knew reputations are not mere hand bills but solid structures that command space and respect.
“I merely did my little bit,” Tanimu Lawal concludes and waited expectantly for the fiery salvo he knew was certainly coming his way. Laraba didn’t waste any more time.
“Surely Mister honourable Minister Lawal sir, you don’t think most Nigerians are stupid, do you?” The glint in her eyes and the brief twitch on the right side of her lips is her tell, when she sets about ruffling up some one. But he didn’t know and had no way of telling.
Lawal curtly responded with an unqualified, uncertain Yes!
His answer hung there on its own, un-accompanied with more expansive elabourate clarification for an uncomfortable brief while, a couple of nervy heart beats too long. It wasn’t really a reply like it ought to be and Lawal looked unsure but Laraba though it was vague enough to be ideal for this purpose. When words get in the way of expressing real thoughts and feelings, unlike how they quite expertly express fake ones, they serve some real purpose all the same, as deceptive tools. He moved uncomfortably in the cozy armchair he was seated in, inside his huge office. He reached out his right hand for the glass of water on the transparent clear glass stool.
It gave him some time to think. Laraba had kept her eyes on him all along, as he refilled the already half empty glass with water from a half full jug. She enjoyed his effort to hide his visible discomfort and wondered if she wasn’t even thirstier than he was at that instant; thirstier for his famous prestigious blood. As both their gathering thoughts collect, hers permeates her mental notes for a better way to home in on him for the ultimate clincher. His thought sought to cathartically expunge the impurity in his earlier seemingly damning statement. Their separate motives were apart and ill-aligned to be anything but opposites. Their movements were only destined to be perpendicular and the interview was ever going to end with some dissatisfaction.
But it was yet early to tell still. Lawal filled up his glass and seemed to have received the misty glass with his eyes before he picked up the obviously cold drink. He swallowed nervously before downing the liquid content with visible relish. Being interviewed by Laraba is a hot proposition any day. He still had the half full glass in his hand but was just leaning forward to put it back on the glass stool when she asked the same question with completely different words.
“Isn’t naivety stupidity in this context?”
He instantly saw the opportunity for a rebound and she knew she had just unconsciously handed him a good strong life line. One he could use to either pull himself out onto solid ground or hang himself up with. But Lawal merely elabourated further.
“No, it is actually impatience, rather,” he answered and swallowed.
“If we say we will stop flaring up gas, they cheer us up. If we say we will burn up the gas in huge motored furnaces to generate electricity for the general public’s use, they jeer angrily. If we say we will stop using the gas and sell it, they cheer us up yet again.
“When the electricity they get is expensive, because we cannot use the cheap gas easily available to us, they jeer at us yet again. They cheer us, they jeer at us, then they cheer and again jeer, repeatedly like babies.” He had hung himself, but he had clearly made sense in doing so.
Was he taking a bullet for a sitting President because it is in his job description? Or was he being bold because he had such faith in the bulletproof vest of laudable financial achievements he had on? It was clear from the way he developed his argument that he meant well though, but Laraba has her own job description, which is satisfying her readers and upholding her reputation.
He waved eloquently in his argument, confident that his rational reasoning was clearly not as flawed as his critics make them out to be. Mentioning contrary views to his appear to have caused him plenty of aggravation. He would emphatically condemn these perspectives as; “Unfathomable logic, clearly biased to selfish sentiments, devoid of common sense and made by persons who have not acquainted themselves with recent world economic and social trends.”
Laraba instantly realized the amiable federal minister was on self-destruct mode. She only needs to let him talk freely and he will spill the beans. He is clearly the sort that truly means well but has to dishonourably befriend all the neighborhood’s meanest bullies with presents of stolen sweets. This allows him to do the little good he can, like save trapped kittens and rescue weaklings from severe trashing. She toyed with him, preparing him with ideological niceties.
“Maybe there is no such thing as a common good or even common bad. Maybe just from some perspective it exists, but not in any general real term. I mean it is either good or bad to some and bad or good to the other, not all good or all bad across the board. What is your take?”
He hesitated and sized her up.
Clearly he was trying to figure out her approach, but true to his character, he did let fly.
“I disagree. Certain things are commonly good, others commonly bad. Maybe perspectives will see them as mainly good or mainly bad. It really comes down to the context it is viewed in; No rain and a drought, too much and a flood, that kind of thing.”
Mild conscious start, Laraba thought.
Then almost out of nothing Lawal fired out.
“It is quite silly, really. All the harsh criticism we get is unfounded most times and you wonder sometimes if some of these grown up Nigerians actually know what they want”.
“You do mean, ‘What they need’ don’t you?”
“No, I do mean what they want!”
She realized once more she didn’t need to interrupt him, he wants to talk.
“Nations are like individuals. Where its citizens fail to successfully establish their core financial independence, nations will most certainly fail socially too. The merit and demerits of microeconomics are like those of macroeconomics. Parameters must be set in key areas of the economy to let it blossom on its own naturally. The whole Nigerian economy had really grown when it was finally decided to massively subsidize the steady input into electricity production and make power available, alongside all agricultural inputs; disregarding the western world’s threat not let Nigeria to do so. Then government removed all subsidies.
“The government removed subsidies on commercialized fossil fuel derivatives and produced electric power; disregarding all the politicized selfish local agitations not to do so. Luxury items and personal incomes were meticulously taxed but simultaneously, all basic modern living essentials were untaxed. These key steps were so unpopular with large sections that consider them inimical to their preference. We lost some foreign trade because of agricultural subsidies.”
“But the cost of living then doubled with the withdrawal of fuel and power subsidies.” Laraba pointed out quickly. Lawal shook his head, disagreeing with her.
“Actually we later gained twice the foreign trade we lost. The big economies shunned us but the smaller economies trooped in because we could offer stuffs at lesser prices. Then investors tripled as did employment and domestic income, all around.”
“Things didn’t get any better for the ordinary man still.” Laraba insisted.
“It’s just the lingering indefinite recession, so to speak.”
“So to speak, you do not consider this a recession?”
“I do. Just it is best described as a financial meltdown. Don’t you wonder why almost all the nations in the world are in debt and where all the money has gone to?”
Lawal started to explain further.
“As elementary as the answer might sound, it is indeed true that all the public funds have manage to go private. That is why there are more seriously rich people and corporations now than ever before. There is this massive accumulation of money stashed away for rainy days. It isn’t rendering the services most required now or creating nearly as much jobs as needed now.”
It was Laraba’s turn to reach for her glass of water, he just continued without breaking off.
“Also this breakdown in world finances was inevitable. No one continues to spend what they don’t make without the utopian fanfare ending abruptly at some time.” He just went on.
“‘Adache’ is a northern Nigerian close community thrift arrangement. It always ends after a very brief spell and it runs for only a short while at a time, repeatedly. People get to spend more than they are worth at a particular point in time, but not more than they can guarantee they can pay back within the specified period of the thrift’s session and repeatedly.
“It all depends on the slot beneficiaries fit into in the agreed sequence of collection. Some participants could literally be taking short, completely interest free loans from their group friends or colleagues. While others might just as well be saving up in a free fixed deposit bank account, with no access to it until the specified time elapses. It is very simple and very effective.
“Compare this to something only recently researched here; activities of an old failed arrangement in southern Nigeria decades back, where a smart banker ran a loose thrift set up.”
Laraba nodded, recollecting the particular reference.
“He duped a lot of people of millions in accumulated personal funds, I recollect.”
“That’s right. The smart banker had duped deserving gullible greedy people, if you ask me. His fraudulent bank; or something like that, was actually paying one hundred percent interest rates on any investment made within a year. Incredible as it sounds, the chap actually paid up for a couple of years. It was apparently a very huge success for a number of years and naturally, all went burst. That’s your world financial meltdown presently, and I am not exaggerating.”
Laraba saw the need to steer him away from his comfortable topic of world finance and let the bragging federal minister throw some more stones at the Nigerians he serves.
“You once said, ‘There is little good in most Nigerians.”
“That was taken out of context.”
“Then what did you actually say then?”
“I said just that, only I referred to most Nigerians who readily seize opportunities to paint government in bad light when they either didn’t do better when they were in government or don’t even remotely proffer better solutions or forward any constructive ideas to the problems they are arbitrarily bad mouthing so freely, regardless of the many successes they see being achieved.”
“So it is not possible for such criticism to mean well?”
“I am of the strong belief that all reasonable and logical virtues can be applied by or revealed simultaneously in one individual. As such their actions will speak as loud as their words. If they meant well and do mean well, it will show through. It doesn’t in these cases.”
“But these are very important people with loads of national and international experience in governing this country and international agencies, that you’re not giving any credence.”
“What they have is priority grades for their own selfish requests and attention. They are your VIPs; Very Important People. IPs: Improper Professionals. SPs: Special People. VSPs: Very Special Persons. These are all glossy personifications of corruption.”
Laraba scribbled down her first notes since the interview started.
She reassured herself that her mini recorder was still rolling and smiled at the thought of the material she already has.
Lawal had more creative quotes for her.
“It has been written once: There is bedlam and delirium and felicity for all. That is our Nigeria and the typical Nigerian.
“This country has it all wrong in its logic, sentiments and tastes across the board.”
There was no end to the controversial quotes he kept giving her.
“Nigeria may probably be the only country in the world where coins will never again be used, not ever again. And it has nothing to do with government policies.”
She simply led him on.
“Bankers always wanted a cash less economy, right?”
He chuckled at her joke. She joined in for good measure. Then Laraba tried to generalize.
“That is true indeed, but the entire world also has its logic all over the place. We have made water a commercialized commodity like we made conditioned air much earlier. Already all food kinds have been patented. Ultimately breathing would be branded as well, thus completely licensing life altogether. Is this the rise of the corporate world you envisage?”
“You make it sound like it truly isn’t and you know it. The world is changing and priorities are confused. But the Nigerian state has polished its bad and silenced it good.”
“Corruption, it is always corruption.”
“You have a country full of the best praise singers and the meanest critics. The irony of it is that these quite diverse functions are jointly exhibited, practiced and directed at only individuals of some perceived lofty economic and political standings, and oddly by the very same individuals of questionably coy repute, repeatedly. It is endlessly practiced by all and sundry across the length and width of the land. Its perverse tempo only heightens or reduces, depending on the occasion and place. Praise singing is a real national public pastime, which is mainly used to win favours from those pointedly praised and criticized inversely.”
“Are you insinuating that corruption; praise singing as you also tag it, is encouraged nationwide by Nigerians?”
“Most Nigerians will never readily admit this, but corruption is too widespread. Praise singing is the most visible form of corruption. Honest criticism is mainly undertaken in the private domain, when only obviously dependent relatives, harmless friends and domestic pets can discreetly hear and nod in fearful agreement, just like the good praise singers they also are.
“It is a cultural thing, I guess. The worst thing about the covetous need for this sort of hypocrisy is the lack of any real coercion. No one really needs to be so agreeable with thieves if they are not in harm’s way. This hypocrisy is purely a reflection of the internal corruption that encourages ‘praise for gain’. This is all towards gaining undue advantage cheaply, rather than to criticize appropriately or be ostracized and left ‘on your own’.”
Clearly, Lawal was on a roll and earning Laraba’s miserly given respect as he went along. She could see it now, all that privileged cozy upbringing he had, amidst the very gripping harsh improvised reality in the vastly visible suffering around him, must have pricked his conscience. It tugged at his literate sense of self efficiency in reasoning. It had made him question this disharmony, lack of moral uniformity and blatant fiendish wickedness so easily condoned.
The abrasive and rude concordance of this society had ingrained his self-promoting faculties with torrents of enmity for the system. There is also doubt in his capacity to effect genuine change without corrupting himself in the process. And because it didn’t ever take him far enough in doing the right thing sincerely and quite honestly, he made up for his groundless deficiencies by mating flawed affiliations. In order to impose his own laudable set of norms, evil entreaties won, making him responsibly responsive to what he considers as improper. Thus ultimately, Lawal had collaborated with the ploy of unassailable bad, only because by doing so, he continued to fester in his own imaginary world, in which he represents some good.
Laraba is familiar with the disposition of anchored fear and deep seated worries. The buzz of it reveals as an enticement disguising itself amidst the haunting shortcomings of energized good intent. It apprehensively proclaims itself, inside that solely unhappily insatiable and gloomy individual who surrounds self with the proudly rewarded dregs of society. The very same he is in defiant response with, but is still largely forsaken by them.
In this setting, whether they are in or out of government, the honest critic who speaks out and pushes for honest change, is all alone and on his own. He gets only verbal solidarity and nothing solid in his hour of need. Instead he is more flurried than frenzied into being a bitter person if he refuses to rest on his oars. He really only has his conscience to battle against, and all is covered with the must staggering unswerving disloyalty. Even the people he ought to trust assail him with overriding demands to lay back to let the status quo be and also belong. His renewed and refreshed perspective is cheered openly but chided for being a cynical attitude in the closet, as the entire world seems to come together to form bodies in protest.
Lawal was a revelation. He had seriously set out to and had jarred some usually unrevealed emotions. The anxiety his flippant remarks causes certainly will mostly attract the fiercest opposition in the most secret quarters. Laraba was sure even before the interview got published, that it will dwell and linger in the news scene for a long time. He had most definitely interposed.
His devastating bluntness presents a clash in the interest of the same clique he is criticizing but one he quite clearly belongs to.
A critique which they now cannot deny isn’t true, one they can’t put off but must deal with instantly. The anxiety his cronies would nurse will show through their worries. It would bother them mightily that Lawal loudly listed his worries like core dislikes and not principled opinions. This only fostered a continuous hesitancy in policy making, on the side of government. The direction of his critique assure of a tremendous impact. There surely wouldn’t be any retraction. This sort of interview always began a new adventure for both the personality and the journalist. They were both bound to get busy after it comes out and they weren’t set to be bored by the continuous petition for their comments afterwards.
What is more interesting about it all is the personality Lawal presents is bold and daring, almost beguilingly like a badly voiced over cartoon character. He looked implacable with a straight faced expression that doesn’t look any way like one with diverted attention. Yet his voice and utterances are those of the famished man whose perspective is increasingly fickle and unreliable. His eyes darted continually, only momentarily concentrating on something else other than the ball of huge responsibility he held as the federal minister of finance.
He attacked both the leaders and the led, with no distinction. It is after all quite natural to show interest in other people, that is what classifies all higher intellect animal as social animals, with people being fore mostly classed as the most advanced of the whole lot. Lawal states his views in a manner that sounds almost like they are some sort of divine manifesto of an ancient mythical deity. He looks to voice them out like they had no frailties of their own. But though they come out strong minded, they are actually weary calls for some justification.
They say they are not righteous alright, yet they are good. They are like the bold loud encouragement shouted out to a young healthy promising sprinter, by a spent old timer who has atrophied leg muscles for not exercising. He puts himself out as someone who had squandered his chance once and appears to be saying that his productive age has passed on for good. He envisages a new approach to fraternizing with the evil characters that abound everywhere, being doggedly above board in clear transparency, watching out for the needy. There is no stopping him as he unraveled what will probably be the new benchmark for the government he served.
“Look, let’s stop this lying to ourselves and face things the way they look. Nigerians are corrupt by their orientation and they will most probably always be corrupt. Kick out the entire heralded ruling class in governance, in one swift move if you like and replace every single one of them ten times over again with fresh Nigerians with untarnished credible images publicly. You will still have something not very different from the present lot.”
Laraba had to speak out in some form of defense.
“Are you saying most Nigerians are corrupt?”
“Yes indeed I am.”
“Isn’t that deeply harsh and an unfair generalization?”
“But is it?”
Lawal knew he could make something out of all this and he readied himself for such attempts to dissuade him from his rather extreme views.
He is aware that once this comes out, it would fully identify his true person finally. There will never be a lull in the clamoring chatter over the scandal that will ensue.
“The system simply churns out corruption and corrupt people successively.”
He allows a brief pause for effect.
“Not just singularly corrupt persons but in a vast majority of multitudes in every recognizable facet of life. Our great grandparents were less openly corrupt and more bias in their sentiments, they ushered the whole trend. Our grandparents and parents were corrupt, we are more corrupt than they were and without being in danger of exaggerating, our children have only naturally made corruption a way of life for they also know no better too.”
Laraba smiled back a tacit agreement as he went on.
“There is no aspect of our polity that isn’t tainted to a sooty dark screen of falsehood by corruption. No Nigerian; I repeat no Nigerian, is completely capable of being fully steadfast to a belief in the Nigerian project any longer. At least not without being unduly biased to their own personalized aspiration for the nation. If that isn’t corruption, then what is? This is the worst form of corruption because everyone simply transmits any sort of remote privilege they have into being subjective to issues that favour their very own orientation, ethnicity and religious leanings.
“Thus every Nigerian is corrupted by these constituted psyche of his person that he is taught to hold dear and use as a yardstick to measure his relationship with all other Nigerians.”
Laraba starts to worry Lawal would contemplate a possible doubt and ultimately some future denial of at least parts of what he has already said. But there is no hold on him big enough to dull the moment. He seems to know no bounds at the moment.
“This is however a very optimistic assessment and not a shut out pessimistic one, because Nigerians are mainly barking up the wrong tree when they tag this elite customized corruption as the main reason for their woes. They are choosing not to rightly blame their commonly diverse personalized inhibitions for their self-induced worries. It is a big contradiction of logic.”
It seemed he had completely forgotten that he was talking to possibly the most outlandishly cruel journalist in the country. Laraba is one journalist who wouldn’t break a sweat to make his subtle bad pronunciation appear like some blundering insult deliberately direct at her specific faceless readers. It completely baffled her why he was being so loose with his words. Clearly he wasn’t terrified of what she represented any longer. Apparently he has passed over that early fear of her huge reputation. Without being remotely scared of her as a very influential person, he continued to make his snide remarks, unperturbed.
“Historically, Nigerians have since time immemorial attached importance to social status, revering and respecting all forms of symbolic power and wealth.”
Lawal simply went on, not minding her perception. He was making the most of this opportunity to say it like he thinks it. He hinted treachery without evident dishonesty.
“Nigerians make every effort to get undue advantage from everyone; their siblings, parents, relatives, peers and their religious intermediaries and elders. They grew learning to solicit favours with physical gifts, paid homage or some other showy expressive behaviour, either in the simple act of greeting or pretentious show of allegiance. Even the Nigerian child now recognizes those who have and those who have not. The youngest Nigerian soon learns that the latter are fair game, while the former are noble hunters of the latter’s comforts and murderers of their rights.”
There wasn’t any need for more questions, any longer.
“Every chance I get, I tell even my relatives and closest friends that virtually all Nigerians must accept this fact about their nature. Accepting this fact about a majority of Nigerians is like agreeing that there is a God without requiring a regal booming heavenly bass voice calling down a damning sentence for every act of disobedience from the skies every morning.
“If the nation wishes to correct this wholesome abnormality unique to it and not wrest away advantage from one sect and hand it over to yet another, then Nigerians must have a system that immediately accommodates the real fact about the naturalized state of its corruption, quickly!
“To even start doing something about this problem entails being completely truthful about the hybrid culture of pretense and corruption created in the typical Nigerian’s gene.”
“Surely he was rounding up now,” she thought.
“Right now, what is happening is one set of thieves are lining up to take over from those thieves currently in power.”
“That means your set of ‘Thieves’ is the former?”
She couldn’t resist capitalizing on the glaring opening he offers and she even inserted the inverted commas with both her hands. But he was ready for her and matched her easily.
“Yes”, he agreed and smiled confidently.
This definitely has to be the clincher. The current federal minister of finance just branded the collection of persons that constitute the entire federal government he serves in, as a ‘Set of Thieves’. Even he couldn’t possibly surpass or out-do that!
“This is a fact and includes the long multiplied line of like-minded Nigerians, all the way down to the babies in their parents’ arms now. It is a fact Nigerians deny at their detriment.
“The Nigerian community must stop this charade about fighting corruption with witch hunting. This is only another way to give undue advantage to one thief against another.”
Laraba made a mental note to look up an authorized definition of the word ‘Thief’.
It would certainly prove to be essential.
“The nation is indeed represented in its legislature by its likeness. Look at those that deliberate on Nigerians’ behalf in the law making houses right now. Are they Nigerians? Oh yes they are in every sense of the identity. These are the most imminent Nigerians!”
“Who do you want them replaced with, you?”
“If our legislature is flawed, what or who replaces it?”
“Not the system; it is the people in the system that are flawed.”
“They are also ‘Thieves’?”
Again she gestured the inverted commas and for a brief while here, Lawal appeared to express some hesitation. But his subsequent words showed it was impatience.
“Please Miss Thomas, don’t bother discussing this with anyone but yourself. Right now inside your mind, will you honestly admit that you would only turn out to be a shade different? That is hardly ideal as you seat here in front of me.”
“I would expect I will fare better.”
“I thought so.”
“And your point is?”
“If we all think it, expect it from all and still are failed by all, what makes me, you or anyone else any different then?”
“It is a common problem everywhere, trust?”
“But here it is not just some bad apples in the barrel. It is the whole orchard that is infected and that is where we all fail, in admitting we are all ‘The Problem’; not just some part of it.”
It was his turn to insert inverted commas in the chill air. It brought a toothy smile to Laraba’s face as she acknowledged Lawal’s ingenious use of sarcasm.
“We are only victims to one aspect of the problem, while we actually victimized others.”
This wasn’t the inescapably mean individual with the self-made supreme air of importance Laraba was used to, neither is he without blemish. He is indignant to his enthralling version of the grim picture he paints vividly. He didn’t look or sound remotely like the sort to desert friends when he is needed. Clearly he didn’t see it like letting his friends down for he was never amidst friends. The penned up frustration he existed under had kept building up and now vents out. He was now letting off steam. He bore a grudge for so long with the echoing disservice that the polity had become so very accustomed to. Amidst the general loss that had become irreparable, the citizenry were alienated and estranged from the truth unsteadily dawning on everyone.
The system is rotten beyond the system. The sanctity of facts lost its sting in this country and all the leading proponents of truth lost out in their battles for the supremacy of sincerity.
A variety of plots, schemes and plans can easily turn a spurious manipulation into the God spoken truth. It isn’t a paradox to unravel from the mystery that encapsulates it. But the question is, was honorable Lawal merely depositing his versioned truth on her?
“This is where you offer a solution, in theory at least,” Laraba mused and Lawal giggled mildly. There was a quick glint on the worn out tiny silvery Alma Mata coat pin on his jacket collar flap, as it caught sunlight from the open window. His stomach is visibly flat and taut.
He wasn’t the type to be saddened because it is clearly insinuated that he is just ranting. Maybe if he was convinced that his solutions were not tenable, he would have been.
She busied her eyes with pretending to read her notes but her thoughts were momentarily engaged elsewhere. The outpour of words from the frail looking man before her demanded her close listening. She definitely represented a sure way for him to either lose plenty or gain more of the public affection he obviously craves for. She reasoned, why else would he want this interview and use it to lay out quite astonishing, blundering blandishments that she could easily use to bury him? There is no covert unanimity in their plain and simple arrangement to have this two hours long interview. The length of it was an indication of how extensive it was meant to be.
She was however free to use all the material she got from the interview like she pleases.
So she sat in front of him, a petite lady, with small hands and fitting tiny fingers, dressed in a rather tight fitting dark green gown, which looked exquisite despite the dull colour of it. This is because of the expensive suede fabric it was made from. She appeared well poised to either make yet another high profile person either dislike her a lot less or much more, it is always a present and imminent dual possibility with her, one she subtly threatened.
“You asked for my theoretical solution? It is simple. I said this is an optimistic assessment didn’t I? Hence the ultimate solution is in accepting the wholesomeness of the localized Nigerian corruption, then we can start to solve it. Now that is where the solution is, right there.”
Her gaze rose to penetrate him. Their countenance each conveyed their instant thought. There is by now no barrier to their discourse to gloat over. He wasn’t apparently saddened by how the process is going because he is now convinced he had been successful in leading the interview in the direction he wanted. Laraba’s guidance has been genuinely curious, with no ulterior intent left in it, once she realized she had a real talker.
After many years of handling so many controversial issues, Laraba has since learnt that a certain criterion repeatedly resurfaces in the most outlandish form in such matters. There are two of them. Firstly, all real possibilities of trashing the speakers’ so radically defined performance goes out the window from the very early stage of the interview itself. And secondly, definitely any likely bias fragmentation of the manner in which the entire interview turns out to be crafted by the writer is as a result also dashed, for the temporal permit for innovation is also lost.
There is always something that stretches credulity in these sorts of interviews. A kind of comradeship bounding grows out of it, as both speaker and writer lean on each other for good measure. Laraba recollects she once did a piece on an expatriate medical practitioner from an impoverished Asian country. He was doing brisk business within Nigeria, providing the most qualitative advanced medical services, which is completely not available in his own struggling tiny island nation of origin. He honestly admitted it was because his people couldn’t afford it.
Laraba was naturally shocked with this unforgivable insensitivity to the plight of the poor. She was also surprised to a mouth gaping stupor when she learnt that it was during that interview, he realized that Penicillin is not yet a century old. Laraba’s thoughts were visible in her awe filled eyes as the almost cream complexioned elderly man had wondered out loud, what on earth was used as antibiotics only a century ago. She didn’t break a sweat in making that interview huge and Lawal’s was billed to be a whole lot easier, by a wide margin.
“Nigeria is presently irredeemably corrupt and most Nigerians of virtually all ages are too. In their bashful nature, all Nigerians want what is due to them and most will not really mind shortchanging other Nigerians in their pursuit of it.” Lawal knew he couldn’t possibly achieve anymore from this interview than he already had. But the unbothered way he went on to make one blunt statement after another that could literally end his public life, made Laraba cringe.
She was likely writing his public resignation, so Laraba decided to improve on usual rule of sending hard copies of the transcripts and copies of the tapes to her subject a few days after the interview session. This is to reassure them only what they said will be in the published piece. For Lawal, she also sent the finished article too, days before it was published. She wanted to hear this guy try to take back some of the things he said. Not that it will matter any way.
Every reader will make their own mind about him, like she did. It seemed he was dying on the spot he spoke from as he talked like he was achieving more at that moment than ever in his entire privileged life. Laraba made sure he same last words concluded her piece on him, it was befitting in more ways than she could have ever made up herself. It was his moment and he had picked the words that spoke volumes for him and what he represents.
“Let us not pretend to treat one another with a sort of fake sincerity. Being true to ourselves is the way out. We don’t live in harmony now, all of us. Let us just make it official and actually start singing Nigeria we hail thee when we stop pretending to mime Arise O compatriots!”