Posted by: zebbook | July 3, 2012

I Am Who I Am – by Dupe Killa

You were so sure I loved you; that I got your back wherever, whenever.
You knew you could go to sleep in the strange places we sometimes got up to knowing I was nearby. You once confided in someone about me; declaring your confidence in me and how you could stake a lot of money on my loyalty.

I Am Who I am.
Always there, never late. Your family initially wary but soon won over. That time you were desperately down. And it was as if I would die. I wouldn’t eat; drink even. All I wanted was to see the smile back on your face. Your cracked lips, moistened.

I Am Who I am.
It was I who organised the surprise parties. It was I who cleaned up after; making sure every minute counted for you. You knew what I was about: I just wanted to show you how much you were worth; at least a fraction of it. It is so easy to love you.

I Am Who I am.
The one who felt the pain of rejection right along with you. Funny how even though you never told the whole story, I knew almost to the instant, when your heart was so savagely crushed. It was I who struggled with you; finding the pieces of you with you. Like a newly disabled learning to walk again, I took baby steps with you in the quest for new love. All the way ensuring you did not sink into that yawning abyss of pain and rejection.

Except That I Am But human.
When you were not looking, I dropped the ball. I slipped and let you down. I got careless; cocky even. Oh how I did. And that heart which I have so jealously guarded against pain, I by my own hands tore. As if possessed, I said to hell… To hell with all these sacrifices, afterall my gain was just sightings of your smiles. It was hollow whilst it lasted let me tell you now, my rebellion. It was hollow then, more so now.

I Am Who I am.
Old habits are hard to break and your forgiveness I dearly crave. Why won’t you forgive me? Does it count for nought, my hitherto ceaseless dedication? Would you not save a soul from Hades if it were in your power? Is it so painful for you to see that I am human, flesh, blood and all frailties in between? Does my lapse remind you of something of you? Something you’d rather not be confronted with? What are you most scared of?

This is Me.
Time is running out.
We have this one life for sure, other assurances but possibilities.
Won’t you let us try again?

I Am Who I am.
The one who knows all your jokes but still find it a laugh.
The one with the quick comeback when your back is against the wall
No more than a friend; yet happy just to have you happy.

But now I am in the wilderness.
Waiting for you to set me free
To be your friend again and …
Be that which I am.

ImageTrue Friendship rarely break into anything other than straight fissures… Totally fixable. Save your friendships…

 

Dupe Killa (July, 2008)

Follow @DupeKilla on twitter

ImageDescribed as Africa’s leading literary award, the 2012 Caine Prize for African Writing has been awarded to Nigerian Rotimi Babatunde for his short story entitled Bombay’s Republic published in the Mirabilia Review.

Chair of the judging panel, Bernardine Evaristo announced Babatunde as the winner of the £10 000 prize at an awards dinner held on the evening of Monday, 2 July 2012, at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Evaristo said, “Bombay’s Republic vividly describes the story of a Nigerian soldier fighting in the Burma campaign of World War Two. It is ambitious, darkly humorous and in soaring, scorching prose exposes the exploitative nature of the colonial project and the psychology of independence.”

Babatunde’s fiction and poems have been published in Africa, Europe and America in journals which include Die Aussenseite des Elementes and Fiction on the Web and in anthologies. He is a winner of the Meridian Tragic Love Story Competition organised by the BBC World Service and his plays have been staged and presented by institutions which include the Halcyon Theatre, Chicago and the Institute for Contemporary Arts. He is currently taking part in a collaboratively produced piece at the Royal Court and the Young Vic as part of World Stages for a World City. Rotimi lives in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Also shortlisted were:

  • Billy Kahora from Kenya for Urban Zoning
  • Stanley Kenani from Malawi for Love on Trial
  • Melissa Tandiwe Myambo from Zimbabwe for La Salle de Départ
  • Constance Myburgh from South Africa for Hunter Emmanuel

Alongside Evaristo on the panel of judges this year included cultural journalist, Maya Jaggi; Zimbabwean poet, songwriter and writer Chirikure Chirikure; associate professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC, Samantha Pinto; and the Sudanese CNN television correspondent, Nima Elbagir.

As the winner, Babatunde will be given the opportunity of taking up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, as a writer-in-residence at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. The award covers all travel and living expenses and will also be invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town in September 2012 and events hosted by the Museum of African Art in New York in November 2012.

Previous winners

Last years’ winner, Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo has subsequently been awarded the highly regarded two-year Stegner Writing Fellowship at Stanford University, in the United States.

Previous winners are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009) and Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010).

Download Rotimi Babatunde’s short story, Bombay’s Republic, here

So he finally proposed. I didn’t say yes and I think I know why

ImageJide and I met over two years ago; we were introduced by Zino my soyoyo friend. I call her Soyoyo partly because of her very fair skin and the fact that you will find her at any of the happening spots in Lagos, when you open complete fashion or any other fashion magazine or blog you are sure to find her in the pages for ‘’who wore what to which party’’. I on the other hand happen to be a very reserved person who wouldn’t go to a party unless it was my family’s or a very close friend’s party. The day I met Jide, I had been planning to spend the whole day at Genesis Cinemas, and when I told Zino, she had joked that I was the only one she knew who goes to the Cinema and spends the whole day there seeing movie after movie. She however told me to drop her at our Tailor’s place before I leave for my marathon movies. She was going to another party that afternoon and only wanted to collect the dress she was wearing for the party.

So we got there and I decided to drop in so I could say hello to Sope our Tailor. Immediately we entered Zino screamed and hugged this guy that was standing at the window so tight. I was straining my neck to see who it was that my friend was showering such attention on but Zino had completely obscured my view, finally she let go and literarily dragged the guy to where I was standing at the entrance.

‘Salewa meet Jide my sure paddy’ she said

So I shook his outstretched hand and said hello while checking him out. I liked what I saw completely, he was just my kind of guy, tall, a little bit fair, and with a perfect set of teeth and to cap it all a lovely smile. I couldn’t help noticing his shoulders, it was so obvious that he visits the gym regularly; the muscles were so sexy that inwardly I licked my lips. Wow I said before I could stop myself

‘’Hi’’ he replied still holding my hand he said ‘’so what is wowing you’’, he asked with a mischievous grin.

‘’Never mind’’ I replied hastily withdrawing my hand

So Zino cuts in, Jide was my very good friend in school then o, but he just ‘fashied’ me and left for the UK without even telling me. Sope is his cousin anyway and I met her through him.

So how are you doing she said dragging him inside the shop, I however coughed to get Zino’s attention I said I was leaving and said goodbye to Jide. Zino however laughed in that throaty way of hers and said

‘Jide you would think she had a business appointment with the way she was rushing right? Na lie o, she is actually going to spend some miserable time alone at the Cinema’.

Jide however smiled and said ‘that’s great, it means we can actually go together, I have been meaning to see a movie myself today’.

So we went to the movies together and that was how we started the relationship.

But now, more than two years later he just proposed this afternoon. What was so shocking is that I hadn’t told him yes, instead I said I needed some time alone, he had looked confused and that look had made me angrier and I had walked out on him leaving him on his knees at the arrival lounge of MMIA. He just returned from visiting his mum and siblings in the UK and I had gone to the airport to pick him. He had only gone for three weeks but I had missed him so badly, I couldn’t wait to spend some time alone with him giving him the entire gist I couldn’t relay over the phone. Jide and I had such a wonderful relationship and I could say that in the two years we have been together we have never had a major fight, He is so calm, matured, and attentive and had never given me any reason to doubt his faithfulness. So as I sighted him, I ran towards him and just as I was giving him my trademark hug- the one where I press my body firmly to his, take his hands and bring it just above my bum and at the same time tip-toeing to give him a kiss on the cheeks he went down on one knee and held out the ring. I remember I had felt shock, a rush of happiness and also bitterness at the same time, ‘’it’s so beautiful’’ I said as I burst into tears but I then said I needed some few minutes to clear my head and left him there on his knee at the airport.

Looking back now, I think I know why I did that. I had gone through so much emotional torture in the past year waiting, wishing and willing him to propose, almost all my friends were married; even Zino had gotten married two months ago. He tells me he loves me all the time, he checks with me before he makes any plans about his future, he even told his mum about me and had given her my number but all these were not enough to reassure me because I didn’t have the ring on my finger yet. That was very important for me, I needed to post that ‘’OMG’’ look holding my finger in front of me on my BB profile and facebook, I needed to read all those ‘’çongrats girl’’ comments from jealous single friends and more importantly I needed it for security it signifies but Jide had refused to do this. I lost count of how many times I typed the letters (waiting for him to propose) on Google, the web pages I read weren’t encouraging either, they all hinted that if he is not proposing despite every indices for marriage being okay you should get out of the relationship.

I believe Jide was aware of how desperate I was, I even summoned enough courage to bring it up a couple of times and both times it had been disastrous. I remember the time I went to visit him and after serving him Poundo Yam and steaming hot Ogbono soup garnished with Shaki, Gizzard, Stock Fish, Liver, Pomo, Kidney…name it. I had laid my head quietly on his chest consciously avoiding his stomach since I had just overfed him. He had started rubbing my shoulders as was characteristic of him and I had said softly.

‘Babajide, I want to talk to you’.

‘I am listening’ he had said sounding so alert and I could already sense he knew whatever I was going to say was serious for me to have called his full name.

So I said, ‘’When are you going to come see my parents’’? 

That was my subtle way of saying I wanted him to take it to the next level.

His response had been shocking

‘’What’s that he said’’? Without removing his hand from my shoulders

Are you the one that would teach me what to do? He continued

‘’Do you mean I am not man enough to make decisions? So you have to make them for me’’ he continued in a very calm and controlled manner

‘’Besides are you the one that will propose to me or I will propose to you’’ he added

I remained there in his arms with my head still on his chest not saying a word but I was furious, although I tried not to let him sense my anger.

‘Sora e o Salewa’ he said on a final note signalling that the discussion had ended. We had moved on as if it didn’t happen that night but his reaction had hurt me deeply.

That however hadn’t stopped me from trying a second time, this time around it had been through a text message I sent to his phone and throughout that day he didn’t call me and never picked my calls, then the next day he had called me to say he intentionally didn’t pick my calls because the text I sent annoyed him,  that was the last time I mentioned it but I didn’t stop hoping or wishing, I was so tired of being single and was under a lot of pressure from family and friends, it was mostly uncalled for anyway considering I am only 26, but my parents believed since I was working that was the next thing to do. The fact that every girl in my age bracket and in my social circle was either wearing an engagement ring or a wedding band did not also help matters. I believe I even got to a point where I was getting depressed and angry. I tried so much to rid myself of this because I knew it just wasn’t healthy. It got so bad that when I see a girl spotting an engagement ring, I actually hiss inside and wish her boyfriend was a very horrible person who will beat her when they are married.

 

There were also many times when I thought Babajide was going to do it. There was the time he told me we should spend a weekend in Dubai, I was so sure this was it and was even dancing ‘’Azonto’’ in my mind. The fact that it had been a surprise also made me very confident that this was the proposal trip. I had gone to his place to spend the weekend with him and he had brought out the tickets saying

Shales (his pet name for me) ‘’let’s go spend the weekend in Dubai’’

‘’Yes’’! I exclaimed almost immediately, I wasn’t even going to pretend to be a prudent girlfriend on this one, my brain was already buzzing on just how he was going to propose and what kind of stone will be on the ring.

So we went, he had picked the window seat for me and we were even in first class, I was going crazy with anticipation and almost died from expectant joy when after the plane took off he had dipped his hand into his pocket, brought out something and said;

Shales, ‘’close your eyes and open your mouth for me”

In my mind I was thinking OMG, my baby is so ingenious

When he slipped his fingers into my mouth I frowned immediately and slowly removed the object from my mouth, there on my palm was a bar of Snickers, my favourite chocolate but at that moment I wasn’t happy to see it. My first impulse was to stone him with it but I managed to smile instead.

‘Thought you will love to have it, why are you looking sad?’ he asked

‘Nothing’ I replied, ‘it just wasn’t what I was expecting.’

He had smiled then and said ‘what were you expecting? The key to Central bank vault?’

 And we had both laughed.

My spirit had been so down but I held out hope that maybe it was going to happen during our stay in Dubai. I even told myself that maybe he was planning to buy the ring in Dubai since that was a Gold haven. But it hadn’t happened during our stay, while on the return flight I was still hoping that it would happen before we landed, but it never happened. That was over six months ago and today when I least expected it and at a time I was already preaching patience to myself it happened.

Interestingly, exactly four weeks ago I decided to find peace in the word of God and started coming to terms with my situation, I concluded that it was only a matter of time and that Jide was a wonderful, caring and thoughtful man and so he must have his own reasons for  waiting this long. That’s why although I knew why I treated Jide the way I did this afternoon, it was a very unchristian thing to do. I wouldn’t have walked out on him, I just needed to clear my head but the confused look on his face had annoyed me, the look was like ’’isn’t this what you have always wanted “and that is annoying and wicked because It tells me he knew I had been suffering all this while but he decided to allow me to go through all the pain.

Anyway, as soon as I finish writing this I am calling him, he has been calling me since that time and had even sent some messages to my phone, he had expressed his confusion about my behaviour and how he was sorry if it was something he had done. I love Jide madly and there is no other man I want to be with, besides the ring is so damn gorgeous. So I am dialling his number now, I want my ring. Interestingly I won’t post it on social media, I will wait for my friends to see it and go like “’oh whoa, when did it happen? And I will flash them this uninterested look of ‘’what’s the big deal, I always knew he was going to marry me”.

 

P.S Why do guys think women cry when they propose? Contrary to what you think it’s not because she is excited that this wonderful guy is going to be hers, it’s mainly because she is thinking.  ‘’Why oh why did it take you so long, why did you make me go through all those sleepless nights, I actually feared you were never going to ask’’.

 

Toyin Fabunmi

Follow @toyinfab on twitter

Posted by: zebbook | July 2, 2012

The Village Boy (Poetry) by Henry Chybuzor

The Village Boy (Poetry) by Henry Chybuzor
(1) My People and I have a rich, long history.
My people ar’ endowed, ours’ a bless’d land,
Long before I was born, foreigners ruled our village;
They were very light-skinned, I was told.
They were around for sometime, then passed the baton and left;
After which my People ruled, and ruled for plenty years.
There ar’ a myriad of reports that my people mismanaged,
Misappropriated funds an’ left for the foreigners’.
Their wives and kids were there already,
Waiting patiently for them to round off in Office and relocate,
So they could feast and make merry at will.
They wore pricey jackets, their wives dripped with gold.
I am not bother’d much. They ar’ from the other end,
The part o’ our village that deems power birthright,
I was somewhat younger when they ruled;
…not much knowledge o’ the running of our place,
Bu’ I am told they put the village in ruins, then left.
The daring ones stuck around…without shame or remorse,
And ask’d for ‘nother chance,
A tenure to rule again;
a time to “change” our village for good.
Maybe this time Cars would drive on water,
And we would walk in the sky,
Maybe we would have Porsches run as taxis;
And power would be stable, and jobs will abound.
Empty promises, ar’ these?
(2) I live with my old Parents, near a riv’r,

Our roof is bad so we share a room at night;
I attended Secondary School on scholarship,
It didn’t change much, I dropp’d out anyway.
The Anglican Church adjacent to my School came off,
The renegades in our community struck again;
Apostates who relished in recurrent decimations.
Well, the bomb struck on a Friday ev’ning, killed some three score and five,
Injured eight dozen adults an’ kids,
Detonated major areas o’ my School, razed three buildings nearby;
…a major Bank was caught in the mix.
We graduat’d abruptly and ill qualified too.
It’s a Government School, six months deep, we are;
No reconstructions, not one word from him,
…no SSCE, I had to hustle, pockets full o’ hope, no naira.
Papa served the Railway Corporation earnestly, nothin’ to show,
Thirty five years; gratuities, pensions – zero.
Should I vent? Should I lose it?
I am bother’d much, particularly as my Uncle is in charge now.
I don’t get how he gets to govern our Village and ther’ isn’t much change.
He is no strang’r to poverty, he walked on bare foot, he says;
Now he feeds on a billion in twelve months,
Globe-trotting on private jets: palpable affluence.
As for clothes and shoes; Versace, D&G, Cesare Pacioti and co are a phone call away.
Yet we languish…we ask but he answers not.
First, he asks that we exercise patience.
Then he asks us to sacrifice (subsidy), I wonder how;
Since we have nothing, maybe he means with our blood, maybe.
I’m tryin’ with effort not to offend him,
But we hav’ been acutely impinged upon, we have.
I don’t wan’ him upset though b’cause I fear he might take back the “palliatives”,
The “breath of fresh air” that he’s brought,
And the 1100 buses that convey us since we haven’t found moving around too easy in the wake of his New Year Gift.
Henry Chybuzor Chuck
Follow @Chybuzor1 on twitter
Posted by: zebbook | July 2, 2012

We will not go easily (Poetry) – by Dada Olusegun

This is not your land alone
The sacred hill where the gods of air and water live
The flight of the bird on the wing,
Shimmer of the sun on the water
They do not belong to you.
They never did.
Your machines of corruption and killings
Would rip the heart out of our land,
Rip the old gods from their hills and forests.
Your greed fuels your machines
Your uniformed minions, with guns in their hands
Your uniformed minions who after all are only men
As we are men, and women
Earth’s Children, we.
Your greed would make an end to everything we have
Everything we live for
But this is not your land alone
And we will not pay the price for your greed
And we will not go away.
No.
We will not go easily, no, we will not go easily.
We will not go easily, into the dreadful night.
This is not your land alone, no this is not your land alone
Our ancestors have lived here
The old gods have lived here
Since before the days when the hills were young.
Yet you want what is not yours
You try to take what is not yours
And death is all you offer us
And death is something we understand.
No, we will not go easily
Though you do what you will
Offer us your platitudes, feed us with
Words.
Your words
Your words are like your promises
Empty.
Empty like the eyes of the skull on the dry rock
Empty as the scars on the earth
Empty like the bellies of our children
When your corrupt machines have moved on.
But when we pick up the gun
The gun is not empty.
Our forests, our villages
Our land, our gods
Our world, not empty.
Call us what you will
Detractors, dissidents, losers
Call us what you will, but
Our world is not empty.
We will pay with our blood
Yes we will pay with our blood
We will water the land with our blood
And it will be our land safe from you and your ilks.
Our words, our promises
Are not empty.
For we will not go easily.
We will not go easily
For we know you don’t give a damn.
We will not go easily, for we give a damn.

 

Dada Olusegun

Follow @DOlusegun on twitter

Posted by: zebbook | July 2, 2012

Our Ministries, Our Misery – by Nicholas Osagiede

Our Ministries, Our Misery – by Nicholas Osagiede

ImageI’d skip intros to hit the nail on the head. Our Aviation Ministry since 2005 has been a joke! It’s been the same, just like old wine in new kegs, different toilets, and same poo-poo.

The concept of recycling is to make trash anew but the same recycling concept is clearly not in play in our system of governance.  We practice the garbage in, garbage out system. The awkwardness of our polity has made us believe resigning is a crime and admission of failure a cowardly act. It has made us believe a graduate regardless of his/her educational specification can work anywhere in the government. It has made us embrace the idea of putting square pegs in round holes as a means of getting the job done. Without disrespect, some ministries are totally needless and unimportant to begin with as most perform the same or almost similar functions and scrapping some off seems the logical thing to do. There are even professional bodies that could within themselves, recommend suitable people for Ministerial posts. In a situation where a Graduate of Political Science or related social sciences discipline, is made a minister for works and housing or where an Engineer or a graduate of related discipline, is made the Minister for Finance, simply means moving our nation forward is close to impossible!

Some ministries can stand on their own regardless of the qualification of the leader, but with parastatals that involve Health, Safety and Security, Professionals, Tested and qualified candidates are necessary. (4give my digressing, it’s just like the current Spain squad at the EURO 2012, playing most games with a “fake” Striker, everyone can see that they are not at their best.)

 The Aviation Ministry has been a portfolio of “patch-patch”, a position given to unqualified government-of-the-day loyalists to compensate them. It has been a ministry of go-try-your-luck. It has been one in which most of the Ministers that are clueless, corrupt and unconcerned people with a license and mandate to loot! Without disputing peoples talents, a special skill or talent honed in accordance with professional discipline simply make such person stand out. A person with a talent in music, who goes on to study music would most definitely stand out amongst his/her peers. So, why can’t we tow this line?

Without mincing words, our Aviation Ministerial appointments have always been an accident waiting to happen! Like onlookers in a zoological laboratory, unsure of their safety but awed by the presence of a new specie, the ministry has been the most rubbished in the country. Let’s go back to the year 2005, the year of the ‘FREEFALLS’ under the Leadership of Prof Babalola Borishade. Some months before Christmas in 2005, a Bellview aircraft, a boeing 737, crashed and obliterated the lives of all its occupants on board .we witnessed for the very first time carnage as over 117 persons were dead without body parts gathered to make even a single body ! . Yeah, excavations works started on the site of the crash 3 weeks after and of course, the Airline was grounded, some people lost jobs but bot the Aviation minister he went ahead to give a speech , saying no plane would ever crash again. Till today, the Blackbox for the plane is nowhere to be found, the cause of the crash, unknown. Investigations were initiated to know the cause of the crash but like our usual Nigerian way, it was simply hushed up. Case closed. The Minister wasn’t sacked, nor did he resign. Barely a month after, another crash happened, A Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 crashed in port Harcourt killing all 103 on board including more than 60 secondary school students traveling home  for xmas. An ADC Airlines flight 53 in October 2006 crashed again. It was another Boeing 737 aircraft and over 104 people, lost their lives.  The causes of these crashes are still sketchy and unknown; an investigation as usual was initiated with the outcome as usual, unknown. All this happened within the space of 2months in the same year under the same leader. No resignation by the minister who was occupying his 3rd Ministerial office. After pressure was piled on the then President Obasanjo, Borishade still wasn’t sacked. He was simply “recycled” to another ministry.

Let’s look at our aviation ministers from 2005 till date. Babalola Borishade, earned a B.Sc in Electronics. He, before being the Minister for Aviation had served as Minister of Education, AND Minister of Power and steel. Femi fani kayode is an established lawyer; He was minster for culture and tourism before he swapped positions with Borishade.  Fidelia Njeze, was Minister of State Agriculture and Water Resources and later, the Minister for Defense. She is a Pharmacist.  Felix Hyatt, you all know the story. The incumbent, Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi is an Msc holder in Accounting and Business administration.  Babatunde Omotoba was a structural Engineer. Now, can you send a carpenter to do a Doctor’s job?   Can we send an accountant to build a bridge? Can you make an Engineer the Minister of Justice?  Professionalism, is one thing, academic qualifications is another.  No one was born with experience in leadership; it was garnered on the job. So why must we recycle dead brains from ministry to ministry when we have younger, fresher and energetic ones to do a better job at an even cheaper cost?  We have professional bodies in almost every course available in the country, why can’t they be solicited the way the NBA is solicited before appointing a chief Judge?

Appointments are based on party loyalty and sentiments, the lives of millions are always at risk because of an ill-advised and clueless leader. Better, experienced and qualified Nigerians, driven with passion for the job are not considered, only those who have been beneficial to the government of the day end up being chosen. In 2009 ALONE, WE HAD 3 AVAITION MINISTERS, 3 unqualified people! Femi Fani-Kayode claims there is a blood sucking cult responsible for all these airline crashes. He should have said that when he was Minister for Aviation. He was indicted in a 19.5 billion naira Aviation Intervention Fund misappropriation claims during his tenure with his predecessor, Babalola Borishade. The incumbent Stella Oduah has already been fingered in another corruption scam, why won’t we have this when they have absolutely no idea of the portfolio they are handling? When Bababtunde Omotoba took over, one could see the changes in the ministry. He brought structural engineering experience to the foray and it work because he studied and practiced something related to the ministry he was handling.

The problems we are facing in the country have been about leadership. That same problem has been the reason our airspace isn’t safe. It has been the reason why safety standards and measures are not adhered to.  It has been the reason why we continue having crashes and plane related accidents. It has been the reason why the aviation ministry has never fully blossomed. I mean, the best airport in the country is the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos! Incredulous! That airport is a ghost of its former self and its design is outdated.  Planes have crashed and we haven’t a clue as to what happened, albeit guess. How on earth can we avert another?  How can we make progress? Is it when cows are seen strolling on our runways? Is it when our watchtowers are unresponsive? Is it when there are no lights?

Dana crashed and bang, they were put out of business. Who are we deceiving? We also know that Dana ain’t the only aircrafts with maintenance and old age issues… a routine check of all the commercial airplanes by the Ministry isn’t a bad idea at all but what do we get? All the planes in Dana’s assembly would simply be bought over by another company, and BAAM, a new airline is born, registered and granted operational license with the same “dead” planes! They are newly painted with stunning insignia’s of the companies, to also hide their rustiness and lack of maintenance. So, in reality, the same “economically disempowered” planes are thrown right back into circulation. No inspections, even the ones that happen are closely followed with ‘egunje’. You and I know that most of the aircrafts that ply our airways are flying coffins, outdated and poorly maintained. Most are just like the Ministers themselves, an accident waiting to happen.

It’s Stella Oduah’s turn to “try her luck” and already, Dana has put her on the frontline for worst Aviation Minister ever! As usual, we will never see her resign, no sir, for someone with something to offer to take her place. Instead, she and her boss would come on air and shed crocodile tears for the victims of the crash and then go right back to their same ineptitude. Some would say the times of the people that lost their lives due to the plane crashes have come. However, some people catalyzed their deaths starting with the maintenance officers who had the responsibility of declaring the plane fit to fly down to the Management of the aircraft who are only after profits and nothing else, the Aviation minister who could have rejected the appointment into a ministry she had no idea about and of course our ‘Aso Rockers’ under whose leadership Nigeria has decayed.

We have said so much, we have cried, we have cursed, we have lost and we have buried…In the words of Antony Jay, “ You can judge a leader by the size of problem he tackles, other people can cope with the waves but it’s his job to watch the tide”. May GOD guide our paths.

 

Nicholas Osagiede

Follow @nykelodeon on twitter

 

ImageIt’s the eve of my 25th birthday, and the fact that I am that young, or that old, is a surprise to many depending on how I have portrayed myself to them. Through different social media platforms, I relate and interact with people of different cultures, languages, religions and status and I have come to realize that while we know so much about one another, depending on how open each has decided to be, there’s still so much we don’t know about the person at the other end of the connection.

So I decided to take time out, using the occasion of my 25th birthday as an excuse, to write about 25 things my friends, especially those I know through social networks, probably  do not know about me. They are random, and they are trivial, or maybe not…….

1.  My full name is Ogunyemi Olaitan Bukola Akande, I was born on July 1st, 1987.

2. I wasn’t born in a hospital; I was born in a church! Mum had her ante-natal at Jericho Hospital, Ibadan but when time came for her to deliver she didn’t have the N6 that the hospital usually bills for deliveries. So she went to CAC Oke-Iyanu, aka CAC Obadare at Sango, Ibadan, and put to bed there.

3. I walked at 9 months. My hair was unusually long at birth that our neighbours nicknamed me ‘Joshua’. I look very feminine, even till now, especially when I let my hair grow long.

4. I was very stingy as a child and cried a lot. Only my mum and my eldest brother could back or pet me. I cried so much as a child our landlord then nicknamed me ‘keroro’.

5. I speak and write Yoruba almost as well as I do English, and I dislike, passionately, people who can’t write and or speak their local language, especially if they grew up in their locality.

6. I wasn’t given any Christian name, none at all. So I adopted one: ZERUBBABEL. Why Zerubbabel?

7. I hawked for about 7 years (1993 – 2000), whatever you can think of: iced water, fairly used clothes, bags, shoes, food…..

8. Hawking taught me so much about life, endurance, sacrifice and survival. I have fond memories of those years; I had fun and learnt so much, I got exposed to and related with different people. Walking all over town for several hours everyday with loads on my head brought out the resilience in me that has helped me cope with life’s challenges.

9. I dropped out of school for a year due to lack of funds (2001/2002).

10. During that drop-out year I read the complete works of Williams Shakespeare (the original archaic English version) all his plays and poems, EVERYTHING.

11. Also during that drop-out year, I wrote my first book (unpublished and lost): an adaptation of Late Wale Ogunyemi’s play, Obaluaye.

12. I have read at least 2/3 of all books published under Chinua Achebe’s African Writer’s Series initiative. I read most of them during my Junior Secondary School days and I would tell my friends about South Africa, Kenya, Ghana etc as if I had been there.

13. The first time I entered a proper library, I was 15 (2002). My eldest brother took me to Osun State Library, Oshogbo. I asked him if anyone had read all the books in the world, he said it’s impossible for anyone to do that, so I decided I’d be the first person to read ALL the books in the world.

14. I started using the internet in 2002. That’s pretty early for someone who grew up in Oshogbo; I was the first person in my school to have an email address.

15. I studied Biochemistry, not Medicine, not History, not English and no, not Literature.

16. Sometime in 1997 out of boredom, I took my mums Yoruba bible and read it from Genesis to Revelation before the end of that year. I read the English bible in 2006 from start to finish. I read the book of Proverbs every month.

17. I have written to Barack Obama 8 times, I am yet to get a reply.

18. I was shortlisted for Shell Scholarship in my First Year at the University (2005) alongside about 9000 other Nigerian students. We were asked to write an aptitude test to determine those that’ll finally be given the scholarship. My centre was a school at VI, Lagos, and that was my first time of going to Lagos! On the exam day,  a Saturday, before the exam started I saw a group of UNILAG students treating GMAT questions so I joined them, I didn’t even know what GMAT was, I had never heard of it. I had one of the highest sores in that test. Check Guardian, Punch and Comet of July 4th, 5th and 6th 2006 respectively.

19. I used to read in my sleep. During my First and Second year at the University, I had a reading partner, I confided in her but she didn’t believe. That time I usually wake up knowing two to three pages that I haven’t read in my textbook, it’s almost as if someone reads them to me in my sleep. I have since lost the gift.

20. I have written an average of 500 words per day between January 2012 and now.

21. I am not a nerd. I AM NOT A NERD OKAY!! I know Kanye West is going out with Kim K, and I think Beyonce is sexy. I am very reserved but I am not nerdy, and some people won’t even agree with the reserved part, so I guess it’s all about perspective. Did I tell you I won’t be fulfilled until I watch Man United play at Old Trafford?

22. My aim in life is to influence lives, as many as possible, towards positive possibilities.

23. I used to be a very good, very good dancer. I could do all those Sunny Ade dance moves back then and later started miming Michael Jackson. Now I can’t dance to save my life.

24. The greatest influence in my life, apart from God, is my eldest brother.

25. Have you read The Gospel According To Saint Farouk? Here’s the gist: I had it up in my head on Monday, 4th June and I wanted to type it the following day, but I travelled to Ife on DanaCrashAction assignment and was too tired to type when I got back. So I typed it between 8am and 9am on Wednesday, 6th June and went back to sleep. I woke up at 10am, feeling depressed, posted it on omojuwa.com at a few minutes past 10, read it and saw some typos and grammatical errors, so I trashed the blogpost in anger and deleted the file on my desktop. I went back to sleep, woke around 12 noon and something told me the piece wasn’t as bad as I thought, so I retrieved it from the recycle bin and reposted it on omojuwa.com some minutes after 12. It went viral the following day and I gained over 1000 followers before Friday.

Ogunyemi Bukola (@zebbook)

Posted by: zebbook | June 30, 2012

Who dares? by @segunomojola

Who dares? by Segun Omojola

ImageDo you hear? Her tormentors shouted at the top of their voices as they descended on her, over and over again.  They were all over her. They were from her past and in her now. They struck, they hit. They pummeled and they pounded. They prodded and they probed with all manner of tools. They dragged and they scratched and as they did all this, they boasted.

She took it all silently. Well not really silently. As every cell in her body could define the pain she felt and they did a good job of articulating it. She was never unaware of her pain. She had, had it since forever because she had been under bondage even since before her independence. Successively she had suffered all manner of atrocities to her person.

At first, it was the outsiders. Now, it’s closer home. It got worse with time. The torment never seized rather, it graduated, became magnified. Her suffering multiplied with the years. How can that be possible? Yet she did nothing. Well not as if she did nothing. She tried, but her future mocks her effort. They mock her feeble attempt at freedom. Her future feels the pains more than she does. Her future is scarred already and therefore scared. And yet, her tormentors never seize. She kept hearing their boasts. She kept feeling the impact of their heartlessness in her deepest being. I will rape you. I will molest you. I will assault you. I will harass you. I will drag you all over the land from the tip of your tiny toe. You can’t do anything about it they shout.

Well, they did woo her. Could this be what their wooing meant? No expense was spared when they wooed her and even more effort is now being spent on her nonstop exploitation and torture. Her latest husbands are even worse than her past husbands. She had never been this terrorized since the time her former military husbands were alive. It’s not that she has never tried to free herself. In fact, she had felt liberated when her military husbands gave up the ghost. She felt she will finally experience that breath of fresh air. But here she is, her lungs heaving, seriously starved of air.

Her current husbands seem to combine the evil of a million demons in their hearts. It’s not that she didn’t try. But deep in her heart, she is confused. Could she be enjoying the pain? Did she really want it to stop? She shuddered like a 7.0 magnitude earthquake as she felt the searing pain of another probe buried into her. She is devastated. This particular probe in her fuels her pain like never before. Yet, she loves her husbands. Is this how love should be? Who will free her from all of this? Yet she knows what to do to be free. Her future mocks, hating her more for her lethargy. And yet, she docilely lies back as the battering continues. Her future dares her to do something. Deep inside her lies the truth yet she dares not……… who dares???

 

Segun Omojola

eseegun.blogspot.com

Follow @segunomojola on twitter

Posted by: zebbook | June 27, 2012

Crookluck sings Psalms unto the Cabal

Crookluck sings Psalms unto the Cabal – by Ogunyemi Bukola

(1) The bribe is the cabals’ and the kickbacks thereof; the loot and they that share therein. For he hath founded it upon the subsidy allocation, and expended it upon election campaigns.

(2) Who shall ascend into the house of the cabal? Or who shall sit in his Maitama mansion? He that hath wide pockets, and a big cap; who hath not lifted up his hand to collect mere Naira.

(3) He shall receive the dollars from the cabal, and protection from the umbrella of his party of allegiance. These are the politicians that seek thy face O dollars.

(4) Lift up your caps, O ye crooks, and be ye opened wide ye ever yielding pockets, that the wads of dollars may come in. Who is this ‘donor’ of dollars? The cabal strong and mighty; the cabal mighty in bribery.

(5) Lo, bribes are a heritage of the crook, and the kickbacks from the cabal are his reward. As N20s are in the hands of a policeman, so are dollars in the hands of a good crook.

(6) Happy is the crook that hath his cap full of them; he shall not be arrested, but shall speak with the police in a merry-go-round.

(7) He that dwelleth in the subsidy loot of the cabal shall abide under the shadow of corruption. I will say of the cabal, he is my refuge and my fortress; my loot in it will I trust.

(8) Surely he shall deliver me from the probe of the legislooters, and from the indictment of the subsidy panel.

(9) If it had not been for the cabal who was on our side, now may the crooks say: if it had not been the cabal who was on our side, when the subsidy panel rose up against us; then had they indicted us gravely, when the people’s wrath was kindled against us.

(10) Blessed be the cabal who hath not given us a prey unto their anger. Our loot is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the probe; the report is compromised and we are escaped.

(11) Our help is in the bribe of the cabal, who made the crooks and the thieves.

(12) Except the cabal forsakes a crook, they labour in vain that prosecute him, except the cabal exposes a scam; the EFCC searcheth but in vain.

(13) They that trust in the cabal shall be as Crookluck, which cannot be impeached,but abideth forever. As the looters are round about Aso Rock, so the cabal is round about his crooks from henceforth, even forever.

(14) For the indictment of the subsidy panel shall not rest upon the loot of the crooks, lest the crooks put forth their hands into the foreign reserve.

(15) Give bribes O cabal unto those that they trust, and to them that probe us in their committees. When the cabal turned out the report of the subsidy panel, we were like them that dream.

(16) The was our mouth filled with beer, and our teeth with suya; then said they among the masses, the cabal hath done great things for them. The cabal hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

(17) Turn out the Malabu scam report O cabal, as you did the subsidy report, that they that loot in fear shall enjoy it with courage.

(18) O cabal in thee do I put my trust, save me from all them that prosecute me, and deliver me.

 

Ogunyemi Bukola

Follow @zebbook on twitter

Posted by: zebbook | June 27, 2012

I-DON’T-GIVE-A-DAMN MR PRESIDENT!

Originally posted on A New Nigeria:

I have said it before, I will again: Mr President has the best opportunity presented by any circumstance or situation to disarm the most hardened of critics in the history of Nigeria but his actions continuously prove he’s unaware of the true luck he has been presented with. Being an accidental President, he has inherited many crises, which on handling well, could have presented and showed to Nigerians a Strong, decisive and understanding leader. But can you give what you don’t have?

Where do i start from: Mr President’s time has brought to the fore an unprecedented level of corruption in the system (take the Pension scam, and fuel subsidy as instances) and his subtle attempt at sweeping them under the carpet through several tactical provisions is amazing. Removing Oniwon and his team hasn’t solved it too, the fundamental problem still remains intact and the same. Removing the fuel subsidy…

View original 610 more words

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