‘YAS’ are my initials and ‘Niger’ links me to my River Niger origins. I am a male Nigerian writer and poet of Hausa origins, who has been writing unprofessionally for over twenty years prior to publishing. I write quite unconventionally, with a huge preference for simple poetry and philosophical prose, predominantly reflecting on personal experiences in a removed but yet assertive manner. I tend to linger on my African orientation and my substantive views of secular relationships, as they relate to the civilized world in general.
Titles by YAS at Smashwords.com:
STATE OF THE STATE
ROMANCE OF THE REGIONS
BREASTS OF DOOM
WHAT DO YOU TELL A SON
THE OLD WOMAN’S MAID
STRENGTH OF A WOMAN
FOR THE GOOSE, FOR THE GANDER
THE POET IN THE POEM
Connect with YAS Online at:
Smashwords Interview: https://www.smashwords.com/interview/yasniger
Sample of other Smashwords works by YAS:
STATE OF THE STATE
This is the story of two distinctly similar colonies of Ants, conditioned to live together as one colony. They discovered that in their likeness resides a cruel streak of competitiveness that makes them more different than they are alike. Ants and people are more alike than they appear. Ant colonies are varied in sizes, according to species or conditions. Colonies can consist of only a few or as many as millions of insects. Ants flourish in all soil based regions, amongst damp rotting wood, plant litter and diverse niches and habitats, as well as in people’s houses.
Two Ant nests stood close on the grassy green slope, starting as two distinct colonies, on the hillside, with one nest slightly above the other on the steep hillside. The lower nest was further down the slope, closer to the large red crack in the ground beside and beneath the hill. The nests were positioned almost halfway between the base and summit of the considerable descend of the hillside. Both colonies live completely independent of each other, as their nests stood well apart, like two miniature Eiffel towers over looking a long wide reddish ravine beneath their hill, at the base of the same gradient.
A downpour caused both nests to crash into the hill’s base. They had little knowledge of each other prior to this incident and only recollect fighting amongst themselves for scarce food in a shared habitat. The colonies didn’t know themselves well enough to draw hasty conclusions, so they had to choose the easier option of trusting one another to forge a joint living afterwards.
Up high from the skies, where people instinctively select their divinities and deities to be, people would appear like tiny ants down below. Certainly to the respective lofty mythical principalities and mystical personifications of supreme entities humans eternally suck up to, people are indeed like ants in their creative devices as in their appearance.
ROMANCE OF THE REGIONS
This is a Nigerian story that seeks to handle Nigeria’s three major regional identities with forceful bluntness. The unfolding tale takes a detached, yet associated view of the three main characters and its narration lumps up the entire imagery of the three main Nigeria tribes and factions into these three characters. The nature of the intricate romance that plays out shows the appropriate immediate situation in the nation. The unfolding complexities of the relationships of the characters reveal a country in need of the nationhood it spuriously identifies as its own.
Adudu Wa is the pretty, unmarried Yoruba girl, from an educated family. They are of a dominant almost coastal tribe, west of the Niger delta. A highly spirited ancient clan, loud in their presence, proud in their culture and rich in creativity as in wealth, at home as abroad. She is too proud to be belittled. She stoops to take in the fine scenery of personal achievement, not caring about the calm but hapless folly she pointlessly embarks upon for outwards luxury. She would worship any popularly revered deity in more ways than any particular divinity would conventionally approve of, and still contradict the tenets of the same faith without desecrating it. She would cross herself inside a mosque and only pray towards the east inside churches. She wouldn’t leave behind the tiniest string of her hair at her regular hairdresser’s, but repeatedly gives the strangest fetish weirdo tresses of her hair for rituals to fend off bad luck and eternally trap favour for herself, whether it is represented by a guy or some inanimate object.
Ewu Kwenu is a middle-aged single Igbo man, with wealthy prospects. He is an industrious half literate, culturally bond to his self-belief and emotionally attached to his fast eroding dominance of his region. He gloats in the densely forested eastern lands he thinks he rules. He speaks English commonly but uses his native dialect as a sort of military code. He embodies the spirit of his proud dissident linage, made of strong willed people, incredibly hard to harness but easy to win over. In their customized nature they are mystical, traditional and religious, with a contagious bullish self-worth that made them appear knowledgeable of western lifestyles. Their passable use of the pidgin variety of English always creates this impression. Their preference for being the only real users of their native dialect made them appear cultish in nature, with the sort of coded communication that secludes intentions in their major language, which is least spoken elsewhere. It is almost only spoken outside its origins by their kit and kin. This is their biggest weakness. It only made them industrious guests, meaningfully contributing to host communities, but less hospitable hosts to the contribution of others in their own few domains.
Arabiyu Ab’Arewamaliki is a lot younger in more ways than age. A multiply married Hausa lad with highly opinionated education that is as vast as it is rigid. He is of an obscure clan of commercially gifted tribesmen consisting of traders, artisans and herdsmen, settled in the arid sub-Sahara up north, above the married rivers Niger and Benue. He has enough formal education to call the bluff of western literacy’s perception of his faith’s suppressive rigidity, and act on it. He reveals he isn’t in the habit of being pretentious about the sacredness of his linage. His people are a very rich stew of generations of dedicated heathens, tired of running away from slavers, drought and from their ceaseless petty tribal wars. As the only still oddly fully committed spiritual idealist, they are overwhelmed by a product of doubt and fanaticism. The life he desires and preaches cannot run concurrently without one or two major flaws. His life as a Nigerian opts for the appropriate, as the immediate situation allows. He gets away with it because he truly needs the nationhood more than his fanatical independence. Burdened by an enslaved free spirited reality, he helplessly watches the world educate him.
He gets too knowledgeable in proven world literacy to deny his follies as he desires much more on earth than promised him in paradise, just like everybody else around him, but he never admits. The narrator schooled with Adudu Wa, worked for years as a supervisor in Ewu Kwenu’s metal workshop and befriended Arabiyu Ab’Arewamaliki. Arabiyu met Adudu last and also wanted her for his third wife, before she became Ewu’s first wife.
BREASTS OF DOOM
This is a sad story, with a somewhat touching folded ending. It tells of a nameless newly married village girl, coerced into coming to the city with her husband to do menial work during the dry season. In a quick successive sequence of unending cruel happenings, she is starved by her husband and tricked into being raped by a night watchman. Her husband finds out and beats her, before he mysteriously disappears amidst a bloody civil unrest. Then the watchman is accidentally killed. She is lost in the huge city, begs for alms to feed, sleeps everywhere in the open and became friends with a madman. She discovers she is pregnant and couldn’t return to her village, without her lost husband and visibly pregnant for someone else. Still, she hopes she could return someday. She learns her father disowned her and her mother killed herself rather than live with the shame she had caused.
She painfully lost a helpful couple in an accident and had to live in a whore house because no one else would rent her a room. She got robbed of everything she owns and raped yet again, late into her pregnancy. Right then, she gave birth to a son on her own and had no choice but return to the selfless care of the madman. The madman got beaten to death and she is also beaten up by the same vigilante group. She almost lost her son in a fire that burnt down everything she owns, again. She got badly burnt in the fire and was horribly disfigured. Her son’s first friend was a donkey and it mysteriously vanishes like it appeared.
Amidst such suffering and cruel mockery, she sold wood and her sole objective was caring for her son. He excelled in schooling and moved to a bigger school, staying far away from her love for too long. She went after him and discovered he had fitted into his new prestigious surrounding so well that she embarrasses him. The tale gradually unfolds with chapter opening quotes and apt poetry. It reveals to be more than just the story of a suffering deformed maiden that suffers a lot of ill-fortune, or about how her gifted son grows into being ashamed of her, despite all her travails for him. The tale actually draws parallels with an ailed federation. It handles a flawed state of nationhood and highlights the nation’s own silent relationship with its people, and their disdain for what made them anything special. It hints of their never ending and never ever accomplished ulterior desire to be something else, other than what they really are; mainly a country still forging statehood for itself.
WHAT DO YOU TELL A SON
A young shepherd boy in his early teens ran up a very high mountain on self exile. He sought to escape being punished for some mishap and ridiculed for his natural incapacities. He founded a self sustaining primitive village up on the mountain top and aimed to avenge the injustice he perceived he had suffered. The rarity in this completely isolated, hidden mountain top community and the circumstances that accommodate its continued existence gave their inherited rash quest to be forcibly acknowledged a strange familiarity. The struggles of a young maiden in these circumstances despite her popular natural good looks, made her appreciate that physical attributes doesn’t speak best of all. This very distant descendant of the founding father of the mountain top village had sets about imparting this and other laudable lessons to her son.
Her recounted tale of a journey through time and it myth, relating with people that constitute the wholesome story of the entire region, brought her face to face with the same experiences she had only heard of in tales. She encounters the difference in diverse people and their clashing believes. She learns dominance is allowed and influence deliberate, and growth flourishes only in hospitable settings. Her narration proves that literacy comes with harsh discernment and this can subsequently hurt the knowledgeable candidate. This makes a simple favour become cruel, it makes good food poisonous and culture archaically crude in its established nature.
The intricacies of faith emerges from her experiences. She discovers that the blindness that the strict diligence to these faiths produces only spawns selfishness and not civility. Religion prospers when it is unflinching, steady and sure. The stupidities of illiterate disciplines feed its course and develops it to an enviable height. She learns that resisted change still has a considerable foreful impact, since change naturally behaves like physical pressure, which steadily alters the state of all the elements outside its immediate presence. Pressure sucks all elements in or out of its place of domain, inevitably scattering the particles of all other elements.
She sees life thriving on relationships and how wealth, health and peace spell dominance, and are the faces of the war that ensued on the lands beneath her mountain top village. Her situation highlights that she is wrong to expect anything in life and right to expect anything too. This is because people will only strife for their own good always and can be unfair if it doesn’t concern them. People struggle over trivial issues they never ever fully accomplish and this continues as the sun declares hope is about yet again, as it rotates every single short night away.
She saw life as a promise, a loan and the meaning for it. Life is announced and recede back into the void it emerged from when the loan is paid, to the abyss it returns to, to reconcile with the good and evil it speculates with. She learnt evil would be punished, no matter how long it takes and nothing is truly free, since nothing goes for nothing. Everything must always be purchased and bought. Someone pays a price, tangible or not, knowingly or otherwise. Not even freedom is completely free. And finally, not all things noble are sensible or every sacrifice reasonable to all. The choices and options not made or picked are missed out forever.
THE OLD WOMAN’S MAID
This is mainly the narration of the maid of an ailed old woman. The maid tells of how the feeble old woman made her way through life with very little help, how she had started rather late but managed on her very own. The old woman’s maid tells the story as a privileged listener eavesdrops, and it is this disguised listener’s narration of the maid’s story, combined with his own personal experiences that makes up the multiple narrations. It unfolds into one conundrum of life’s complexities and the thrill of its continuous struggles.
Stories are teachers, they are molded to have an impact on lives. They register morals that impart on character and norms. If they give off a trace of the forbidden in fair light, then culture and its future may suffer for it. As the young grow, their paws seek everything. Their teeth playfully bite the soft or the hard with innocence and very little comprehension. They attempt to caress fire until it burns them. Everything is attractive to their naïve and simple curiosity. They grow into the seasons that equip them with experience.
Seasons come and seasons go. None is first and none is last, for they come and go in their mild and in their harsh, as a loose fitting circle, which is reflective of the daily striving continuous spiral spin that rotates round and round. The timeless survey of natural logic doesn’t give it stature, even if it identifies a form for it, because no single day start a season or indeed end one. no matter how melodramatic it turns out to be.
Every season builds gradually into what it must be and this story leads to the subsequent finality the suspense and emptiness of all life unravels into in the absence of perfection and the strangeness of wonders that surrounds living. One conscious intelligent life form disappears mystically and a brutish life form acts with the utmost intelligence. 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. This tale brings to fore this subtle living cruelty.
The narration touches on the pretense in religious probity and tells of the travails of a majority of women. It is a tale that comfortably touches on the controversy in proper romance, when convenience is substituted for affection purely because it is deemed proper. It tells of the cumbersome disguise of the chauvinistic African custom amidst these unstable and unchanging times, as people seek for what is their idea of heaven. But most of all, it is loosely the story of man’s failed stewardship as the perpetual maid of the ailing old woman his planet of permanent residence truly is.
STRENGTH OF A WOMAN
Laraba is a gorgeously shaped bossy girl in her early teens, with highly developed bodily curves beyond her tender age and an ever present beautiful smile on an ugly face. Her nose is an extension of her forehead and her large ears are too visible from the front that they appear to be on her thin cheeks. She is the third child of four daughter, with a single brother rather belatedly bringing the rear of five siblings. Laraba was born on a Wednesday and unofficially named after the day she came into the world, like it is fashionable amongst Hausa speaking people.
With her stunning figure and wise ways, she is always a handful. She smartly rode on the immature silliness of all her companions, who mainly fumbled around her in their naïve good natured mannerisms, ever terrified of what she seemed to represent to them as a bully.
Laraba grew into her teens as a truly intelligent girl and for long periods at a time she always had her small following of friends, who look up to her in more ways than their own respective parents, relatives and other friends consider remotely sensible or safe. Her earliest years are littered with troublesome revelations of her huge imaginative potentials. Adults had lots of reasons to dread the mere harmless sight of her, for she is every inch the subtle menace.
Laraba’s choices seemed to her neither less nor more than is required to concurrently free her feminine worries of their plight of emotional suppression. This is her story of overcoming this plight, represented in her case by her six year old little brother, a man like all men.
Men loved and partnered by women still simultaneously pour physical scorn on an age old farce of chauvinistic doctrines which have favoured tradition over common logic for too long a time. Too many women over centuries, have merely put on a brave face that only sufficiently hinted the futility of their expressed agitations for true equality. Laraba’s travails reveal that yet again modern societies and its men remain quiet, but quite resolutely still steadfast in the sustenance of that ancient model of the gradual dominance over their 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 young men with the self esteem of its virtues, before they even fully grasp how to also intimidate with it when they are older.
Young girls in young males’ 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 her sole brother, Laraba realizes that in their immediate community, the young boy isn’t ever seen to be criticizing the women folk. Instead he is said to be just ever critiquing as he ages into slowly appreciating them, even as his sisters resist attempts to belittle their efforts to make him their better partner. The boys upsets the girls with the most solemn words of disrespect and embarrass their best efforts to give them a revered distinction. This is most probably a distinction men do not ever think women deserve. Still the sole permit a woman is allowed in corroborating with a man is amazingly incompatible in the scheme of things, as it sparks of a series of fixations that men need countered but doesn’t ever let.
The man forever master the woman’s identity and personification of it. 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 eternally ambush her with listless accusations, mindless of her integrity, 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.
Laraba would not be restored to have faith in the same simple things that have always failed her, just as her sisters are increasingly being persuaded to accept. The girls had since equally lost their urge to kneel and gaze into the mind of God and plead their case. It seemed rather odd to obtain some slack from the same deity that scripturally put them in their situation as eternal subordinates. As men stained the heavens and tattooed the abyss with intimate convictions, people generally get increasingly tangled up, even when they are collaborating easily. They ostracize the sociopath and still emulate him. They love their spouses and yet blackmail them. They will scorn their beliefs and still preach them. They will befriend their dogs and still eat them. It is the ultimate reflection of the double standard methodology people apply to living their daily lives. This tale of juvenile delinquency with a mature outlook, captures the feel of this ruse.
FOR THE GOOSE, FOR THE GANDER
This is a play written for radio but would suitably serve as a staged play. It sets to highlight the subtle new trend that is recently becoming evident amongst educated couples in emerging developing economies. The previously traditional conservative chauvinistic denial that had husbands out-rightly refusing to let their spouses pursue every twist and turn in their preferred public careers, has been unnoticeably replaced with a highly misconstrued make-believe cooperation. It presents the modern wife with hopes that are still quite limited by her very own, age old self-shackling desire to be the good wife/mother firstly, and not practically her spouse’s economic and intellectual inability to dictate to her. He is limited to exploiting her only by relying solely on this one over-powering desire of hers.
In a modern African cosmopolitan suburb reside two couples, who are very close flat neighbours. The younger couple is a newly married pair, while the much older couple already has teenage children. Though both men are gainfully employed, their equally well educated spouses are uncomfortably unemployed housewives.
The articulated relationship the middle-aged couple had willingly shared with a highly principled civil society worker culminated in a genuine praxis that jarred both couples’ older and newer marriages with a reasonably honest intellectual quake of sincerity. The experience is a rude awakening for both sets of couples and becomes a basis for the supposedly superior masculine gender to learn first hand that indeed what is good enough for the goose is good enough for the gander. The play is about only two of these couples’ normally quiet mornings.
This is both a play and a continuous poem. It is a tragedy with only two visible characters in its entirety. There is NE, a young disposed prince out to reclaim his family’s seized throne, and BI; his much younger sister and only sibling, who got tangled up in NE’s struggles. The pair’s dialogue unfolds the age old tale of belittled feminism and the over-hyped masculinity of the world that habitually swallows up all the laudable efforts of the women folk.
The story emerges from their fast paced rhythmic exchanges within a small portion of a single day. Shrouded therein is the mischievous hypocritical malice of the many ordinary people surrounding the few notables ones and it all comes out as though it is true for everyone else, notable and ordinary folks alike. The struggles of people on the spot appears endless as everyone around them seems to wait to hear about their travails, desirous of finding out if they win their battles or not, if their wars can be classed as successful or disasters.
People simply relish jeering at others when they fail and leer at them when they are triumphant. This is a tale that seemingly reassures that justice tends to resurrect subsequently, and put everything correct again. It is a poem that places destiny in both the hands of the particular individual and still puts fate in the unclear whirl and thrill of luck.
Set in the embattled order of seemingly medieval times, when life ironically felt less secured despite being certainly very sure, the play asks more of the right questions than it gives the wrong answers. The siblings’ revealed experiences in the play, by extension hints of how everyone else appears to be at the mercy of chance, and yet living out a predestined order of events. Life feels unsafe because sometimes it turns out to vaguely be one instead of the assumed another or the expected other. It is odious to manage the simplest things and people can not really mend the silly holes of doubt they endlessly tend. Dubious questions appear to be posed for readied answers and answers altered to snugly suit unassailable queries as people continuously seek to even the odds life naturally throws at them. These answers appear to lurk in some exact and obscure faith, either or neither conventional or unorthodox. Still the logic of it does not fill the rational gaps that abound in ordinary human life, they simply confuse it farther.
THE POET IN THE POEM
This is a collection of over 250 poems that altogether seeks to reflect man as both the poet and the actor who handles the helm of his own affairs, on a timed cruise, down his very own banked personal river. Using his abilities to compose and steer his poetic story, faring only as suitably as his capabilities and fate enables him.
The essence of poetry is in its use of eloquent apt words to convey the poet’s exact thoughts, as they are felt or experienced by him. Like it is the actor’s ability to apply specific skills to portray a scripted character reveals a story, it is likewise the poet’s grant to create the content and set the beauty of the words.
If the soul is scripted, if the mind can think, if the heart does feel and the body is specific; then every individual distinctively roams on a course throughout their lives that can be manipulated to fit their own different experience, but not actually change it. For the poet mans the helm, and the cruise is his composed poem.
This is the story Kengua, a transsexual journalist, and Laraba,(STRENGTH OF A WOMAN) his female colleague and suitor who refuses to be evaded by him. They are both impressive reporters and this is the story they both live in their race for a culled national prestige.
The tale tells of their chase for an emotional comfort with or without each other, in the intrigues of a demanding society and the diverse people traversing it. Their story takes a haphazard order, seemingly in the future but in a distorted lingering present, but still in a past not ended distinctly. This is their romantic tale, that of the aromatic irrepressible choking political complexities of the Nigeria they inhabit, the civility it borrows but doesn’t keep or practices.
The story is particularly styled to challenge the accepted logical world patterns and its deliberately numbed obvious contradictions.Their demand for objectivity in every possible regard is swallowed up with their own parochial subjective nature as unconventional characters and controversial individuals. This is elabourately ordered to accommodate the magical realism in the bluntness of its entire encompassing exposition.