OLA, DANIEL OLAWALE: BEAUTIFUL NONSENSE

Balikis responded unnecessarily cold as she bade her ‘first love’ (as she fondly called him) good bye. Saying ‘good bye’ wasn’t one of the usual; at least; for her. It was as if her ‘tendered’ tender heart practically got pierced into flints. It was indeed ‘tendered’. August 9, 1999 was a date she would never forget pretty soon. She had been waiting for a week for the post office official to bring her much anticipated admission letter. She had long craved to gain admission into the Premier University. It was unusually unsurprising when she left her mother’s hut around 6am to await the arrival of the post man.

The sonorous rhythm of her joyous poem turned sour and she was wholly at tears when she discovered the post man was no longer coming to Iroko Village until the next Monday. It was as if her heaven was closed. She was still soaked in tears when a young charming man walked up to her and effortlessly torn part of his wrapper for her to clean her tears. It was as if she was in a new world. It was no later than 2 days that the whole village felt their escalating love escapade. She was indeed in love with the chief Priest’s son! She gave in almost immediately. Her innocent heart was indeed ‘tendered’ by her.

Their ‘under-the-mango-tree’ love was the trending gist in all nooks and cranny. The absence of the post man was actually a blessing in disguise. The ‘love birds’ were always seen cuddling and staring at one another. She was always checking the admission letter and counting her fingers. September 20, 1999 was practically on her mind and as days were rolling off, she was gradually undoubtedly unsure if she indeed wished to go to the Premier University at the expense of her scintillating ‘heaven-on-earth’ love. The decision was a hard one on her. It was a fist between her thirst for higher education and her ‘ever green’ love. As she was saying good bye, the charming face of Gbade was fast evaporating into the thin ‘smoky’ air as the ‘smoky’ lorry conveying her zoomed off. She wrote Gbade for four weeks consecutively and same letters were correspondingly replied.

Her first week at the Premier University made her rechecked if she was indeed or had ever been the dazzling ‘peacock’ that no eye ever passed without fixing a gaze. She knew she was no match to the ‘premier queens’. She had to move with the happening cliques to change her physical look and stock her wardrobe. It was truly a ‘new dawn’ for Becky. I’m sure you don’t even know, she actually did change her name from Balikis to Becky. She became the expected damsel at every party tagged ‘XXX’ or ‘free for ladies’ at the Koko Dome. It was as if her ‘father cocoa money’ was used in erecting the popular artefact ‘Cocoa House’ which housed the Koko Dome. She practically turned Koko Dome to her sweet abode. She slept with any ‘deep voice’ that bought her a drink or asked her to a dance. She was indeed at her best.

After her stay at the Premier University; even though she bagged B.A in Philosophy; she knew it was high time she changed from her waywardness to loving God. She later got frustrated as no responsive response came from any responsible man. Her marital hope seemed faint and tainted by her unending past. She resorted to waiving at every car once it was a male ‘shadow’ controlling the wheels. Her seemingly love for God automatically turned love for Gold. Money, men, sex and fame were her taste and thirst. She jumped at every imaginary beck that seemed to have these at their abundance and awaited the day the ‘smile of the heaven’ would be directed to her ‘world’ to see her own ‘Adam’.

Events after these rewrote the diary of her life. On one ‘blessed’ evening, a black new model Rolls Royce packed beside her and she knew immediately her wonder land had come. She said in her heart “at last” and had a deep relieve sigh. She was too deep in thought as to the fantastic fantasy of the car and the fortune that God had brought her way that she didn’t even realise what was going on. ‘This is a night I would never forget’, he said and gave her a deep kiss as he dropped her at the T- junction close to the hotel. She rechecked to confirm if the $1,000 was still in her hand bag, said in her heart “this is my year of sudden visitation by God” and took a taxi to her apartment.

It was not long that she got home. It was while on bed that she discovered unease in her body. She was feeling hot and almost immediately cold. She felt like eating and at the same time felt like using the loo. Upon getting to the toilet, she discovered her underwear was soaked with blood and couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw maggots oozing out of her vagina. Her legs became swollen and she began feeling bangs on her head. It was indeed her year of sudden visitation! Her cry was heard by her neighbour who took her to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and subsequently transferred to the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, and finally to Psychiatric Hospital (ARO) at Abeokuta.

It was at that point the doctor knew her ailment wasn’t ordinary and adviced she be taken to ‘one Iroko Village to seek help from the only herbalist there who incidentally is their Chief Priest’. ‘From frying pan to fire’ they say. Balikis is now but a living corpse as she awaits her name being on the mercy list of Gbade who succeeded his father. What a life full of nonsense!!

Daniel tweets from @dkingschamber

OMA NELSON: HADES IN SPRING II- NEW YEAR’S EVE

NEW YEAR’S EVE

Dear diary…,

Happy new year. I haven’t made any entry in a long while. I can’t wait to tell you what I have been up to….I have a date tonight.(I know right?!) I picked out two dresses and three sets of accessories. I can’t pick an adjective for how I feel though. But I do not have butterflies in my tummy like I did 20yrs ago when Charlie and I went to the Ritz on our first date.

The black dress makes me look at least two years younger. I might as well take a break from wearing black today. Besides, Paul knows my actual age. Yes. Paul. (Shy smile). I met him three months ago when he moved into Carla’s old house(remember Carla? She’s not modeling now though but at least she’s out of Notting Hill. she and Jonas moved to Manchester to be with her sick mother). And he’s been trying ever since to get me to have dinner with him. Last week he came to borrow a cup of sugar. I couldn’t let him in. No one’s been in d house since “black spring” and I have tried to keep everything the same. It was awkward and somewhat rude to leave him standing in the snow because I was ashamed of the state of the house. We have a lot to talk about, Paul and me. He is a widower. He didn’t get to meet my family and I didn’t get to meet his. We have so many stories. In a way, he’s helping me heal and I am starting to keep the promise I made to my family to keep living. I talk about their lives more than their death.

I cleaned out the house from sheer embarrassment from the awkward sugar episode. So I guess, I do owe him dinner for his efforts and its on him. As I put more blush on my cheeks, I think back on how much I’ve grown in the past two years. I can feel the sting in my eyes. But I’m goin to save the tears for Spring. I should make some new year resolutions. Maybe, Charlie and the kids sent Paul to me…maybe, I have another chance at life. Maybe…I should stop with the “maybe”s.

That’s the sound of the doorbell. Must be Paul. Wish me luck!

OSHO SAMUEL ADETUNJI: ASUU: THE DANCE THE FG MUST DANCE

Strike is the song that has been on the lips of an average worker in Nigeria over the years. It is our new national anthem. These industrial actions stemmed from different problems and difficulties associated with the Nigerian system. It is not far-fetched, if it is the song the workers sing; therefore it is the song the government dances to. During President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime; there were several paralysing nationwide strikes spearheaded by NLC, these strikes were due to the consistent hikes in the pump price of petrol. The state of democracy in Nigeria shows clearly that our leaders seems to be blind, deaf and dumb once they are elected into office, they do not care about the needs of the hapless electorates that gave them the mandate. It is a scenario that is tantamount to helpless refuges begging for food on an unending queue in concentration camps.

The Machiavellian conquistador that is called Federal Government has once again denied the masses the dividends of democracy by depriving the Academic Staff Union of Universities their rights. As a student, I was a victim of the one-hundred and twenty four days strike that was meted out to the students of Federal and State Universities in 2009. I know about the harrowing effects of strikes on students. The strike was formally called off on October 23, 2009, but before it could be called off, the Federal Government under the leadership of late Umaru Musa YarAdua agreed to implement some of the demands of ASUU. Barely two years after an agreement was reached by both parties, majority of these demands were yet to be implemented. On September 26, 2011, the union led by her national president, Ukachukwu Awuzie embarked on a two weeks warning strike to refresh the memory of the sleeping government.

At the end of the warning strike, a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed by the FG with the union, promising the fulfilment of demands by November 22, 2011. Here we are in August 2013; the government is yet to fulfil her promise. This clearly depicts the overwhelming neglect of the government.

Amidst these crises that plague the giant of Africa, what comes to mind is how fast the table turns. This should be the time when the masses should enjoy the fruits of their labour and believe strongly in the vision of the leader (if one exists). Disappointment can be seen on the faces of Nigerians at the character displayed by these literates in the corridor of power. Gone are the days when our leaders were illiterates, majority of our present ministers are first degree and PhD holders from indigenous Universities. INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega was once the President of ASUU. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan bagged his doctorate degree in Zoology from University of Port Harcourt; a member of the gown before venturing into politics in 1998. He was once in the shoes of these lecturers clamouring for their rights. Our Vice President, Namadi Sambo is an architect from Ahmadu Bello University. This depicts the rate at which politics corrupt. If we are ruled by literates, then they should think like literates and treat ASUU like literates.

Today, August 27, 2013 marks day 57 of an indefinite strike embarked upon by ASUU; the ongoing strike by ASUU which started on July 1, 2013 can be described as total and comprehensive. This recent upheaval portrays a breach of contract between the two parties. The strike has caused serious damage albeit the paralysis of academic activities in Federal and State Universities. Is this present pain worth the ‘hypothetical gain’ believed to show up in the future? A saying goes thus: “You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs”. The question that comes to mind is; do we need to break these eggs of time to secure an omelette for the table of posterity? ASUU strongly believes that the answer is YES! The demands of ASUU are feasible, reasonable and they promise to reshape the scope of tertiary education in Nigeria. One of the demands that seem difficult for the government is a plea for progressive increase of yearly budgetary appropriation of 26% between 2009 and 2020 to education. The rest can be achieved by promulgating some laws.

It is disheartening to know that the current allocation of the budget for education in Nigeria (about 170million people) is a meagre 8 precent. An underdeveloped nation that is aiming to be one of the world’s leading economies by 2020 should not have a rotten educational sector. Have you ever visited convocation ceremonies of our Universities? Have you asked the brilliant brains among the graduands about their future? All they will tell you is about their plans to pursue their postgraduate studies abroad and you begin to wonder why not in Nigeria? The reason behind this attitude posed by the graduands is the moribund state of education in the country, the universities characterised by dearth of good facilities that should foster creativity and research in students.

The graduands cannot be blamed since they are looking for greener pastures that will favour them and equip them for the tasks ahead. It is high time the government realised the fact that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. If they want to secure the future of the country, then they should fund education and educate the minds of the youths.

Education is a form of empowerment that prepares youths for the future, if we are talking about the future of Nigeria, it worth’s the government investing 26% of her budget on them. This sector of education has over the years produced great minds and individuals, the likes of first African Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Professor Chinua Achebe, Professor Ayodele Awojobi and a host of others. The rate at which our best brains are going abroad is quite alarming; everyone wants to be a graduate of Harvard like Okonjo Iweala and Jimoh Ibrahim.

As the drama unfolds and new episodes of the ASUU-FG movie flickers on the screen; few days after the Golden Jubilee (50 days) celebration of the ASUU strike, the strike takes a new twist. After many deliberations and meetings which ended in a deadlock; ASUU has threatened to pull out of the Presidential Committee on the Implementation of the Committee of Needs Assessment of Nigeria (Public) universities, CNANU. In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Implementation of the CNANU report, Gabriel Suswam of Benue State; the aggrieved Union highlighted major unscrupulous acts (distortions) of the Technical Subcommittee of CNANU Implementation Committee.

ASUU stated that only 500billion naira will meet the immediate needs of the universities as stipulated by the funding requirements in the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement and the Jan. 2012 MoU. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, announced at a meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of Public Universities that the FG is ready to pay 100 billion naira for the funding of Universities and N30 billion (as against Okonjo Iweala’s estimated N92billion) to defray the peculiar allowances of ASUU members which had remained outstanding. However ASUU wants the FG to send the monies (N100billion) to the Universities just as it is the practice of TETFund and Capital appropriation. ASUU wants stark transparency.

There is an African proverb which says that; When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled. As ASUU battles the Federal Government; the questions that come to mind are: Who is suffering for the pains inflicted? Whose eggs are broken? Of course, it is the students who bear the brunt of the whole saga. The students are the trampled grass under these two elephants; academic calendars are getting more complicated by the day, majority of students are wasting away at home and the delay in obtaining a degree is obvious. The strike does not stop the salaries of the lecturers and many of them made use of this opportunity to do more research and churn out more publications.

There is a saying that “every cloud has a silver lining” which means that every bad or difficult situation has a positive side. Contained in ASUU’s report are detailed allocations for erection of new infrastructures in the Universities; laboratories, libraries and hostels. ASUU demanded for N1.2 billion each to construct 3000 bedspace hostels to the 10 Category 1 Universities, N1.0billion for 2500 bed space hostel to the 16 category 2 universities, N500 million each to construct 1250 bed space hostels in the 12 category3 universities and N250million each to construct 625 bed space hostels in the 13 category 4 universities. The students should however take syrup of optimism because the strike would soon be over.

If we can have a well-developed educational sector, then we can produce inventors, Nobel laureates and outstanding writers. When you look at the light bulb, you remember the assiduous efforts of Thomas Edison, when you are on Facebook chatting with your pals, the illustrious achievements of Mark Van Zuckerberg comes to memory and when you are on your mobile phone talking with your Dad, you remember with nostalgia the undying works of Graham Bell. It is high time we produced the likes of Archimedes, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates that will write the name of this country in good books. We can only achieve this if the government invests in education and answer the cries of ASUU. The Federal Government should remember the immortal words of Malcolm X that “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it”. If the government remains obstinate and does not see a reason why their promises should be fulfilled, then ASUU should break eggs so that we can make an omelette; and they can as well sing the song FG understands, so that FG can dance to ASUU’s tune.

Samuel tweets from @inisamosho

TIMEYIN ADEGBEYE: THE PROMISCUOUS Nature of Grace: The COZA Scandal

Pretty much every Nigerian in cyber-space has heard of the Ese Walter/Biodun Fatoyimbo debacle. Many waited to hear/see what the popular pastor’s response would be, and many, myself inclusive, were disappointed with what appeared to be silent ratification by the church of his behavior, because things went on as usual. He preached this morning. And neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. We cried foul. I cried foul. Then I got a lesson. In grace. ‘I will show you levels of grace you don’t understand.’ I am not a theologian, but I have a few (potentially controversial) thoughts to share, based on this lesson that I received. 1. God does not pander to the human sense of justice (because it is flawed). Most people want to see Pastor Biodun either vindicated or punished, depending on his guilt. That is not on God’s agenda at all. What God wants is what advances the gospel, not what makes us feel angry or pacified. At the end of the day, the opinion of the multitude is irrelevant to God’s agenda because the multitude is rarely Godly. God deals with us all on a personal basis. Let me show you. The Woman Caught in Adultery. The crowd wanted justice. ‘Stone her!’ (Also the crowd wanted to catch Jesus in a violation of Mosaic law, but that’s another story). What she did was wrong; unlike Pastor Biodun, she was caught in the act. Naked. Standing before a screaming, bloodthirsty mob, guilty as sin. Jesus’ first reaction? Silence. He did not respond to the crowd. The crowd was enraged, but they did not believe in him. Bringing her to be judged by him was an act of rebellion: ‘We have always doubted your divinity, now we will use this adulterer to catch you in a misstep.’ How many gleeful church-bashers got a kick out of this scandal? The most popular reaction was ‘Ehen! I knew these Pentecostal pastors were all self-seeking hypocrites!’ God is under no obligation to address people who hate him. ‘..Let them that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.The Lord knoweth those that are his..’ His next reaction? ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ God does not deal with us as a multitude. In the dispensation of grace, God handles our sins as individuals. Jesus pointed the crowd’s spotlight at their own hearts, and based on their own sins, they could no longer stand in judgment over another. We clamor for justice based on the (definite possibility) that Pastor Biodun has committed a sin. By so doing, we are indirectly calling for the same treatment of our sins. Asking God for justice is not wrong in itself, but can we ask for the same treatment for ourselves? If we are honest with ourselves, our personal wrongdoing becomes the bigger priority than the sins of another man, no matter how grievous or scandalous. What do you care of another man’s standing with God when your own is precarious? Then, ‘woman, where are you accusers?’ In light of your personal sins, hidden and forgiven alike, can you stand in judgment over another man? If you have not confessed them, they will convict you. If you have, they will remind you that your righteousness is simply a function of the same grace that has been so mocked in the last couple of days. 2. ‘Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God (alone!) forbid!’ Grace is God saying ‘I have factored in your past, present and future, and I will always relate with you from the perspective of the possibilities of your future.’ Man says ‘look at his past! look at his present!’ And God replies, ‘I’m looking at his future.’ The present and past have been resolved by the death of Christ on the cross; as long as a man has a future, he is entitled to grace. That is why God’s judgment comes after you have died. God’s judgment and his mercy are two sides of the same coin, so insist on divine judgment, and you are by default insisting on God’s mercy. You can scream and shout about a man being a sinner. But God’s grace is infinite to the living. ‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is his faithfulness.’ Look at Sodom and Gomorrah. God and Abraham, judgment and mercy. ‘If my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and heal their land.’ Grace cannot exist outside the context of sin. After Jesus sent away the multitude to deal with their own individual issues, he dealt with the adulterous woman’s sin. She had sinned, there was no question of it, and the wages of sin is still death. But the gift of God is still eternal life, and Jesus knew he would die for her and pay for her sins, so he was the only one qualified to judge her, and in the process, give her a chance at eternal life. So he said ‘Woman, where are your accusers? Do they not condemn you? Even so, I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.’ 3. God does not owe the public an explanation. The kingdom of God is not a democracy; it is a theocracy. There is only one King of Kings, and his word is final. Children of God are kings on the Earth, and the King of Kings will never subject his kings to the judgment of sons of men. This is a hard truth, but it is the truth. It is God’s truth. God was not elected into office. To what electorate then does he owe anything? David and Bathsheba are a favorite line of defense when issues like this come up. And my question is, at what point did David apologise to Israel? To his army? To anyone other than God Himself? God sent a prophet to convict David, not a screaming mob of irate Israelites. The truth of the matter is, guilty or not, we may never hear anything of what Pastor Biodun does about this situation. And this is because he came to Christ as an individual, and his relationship with God is personal. He owes us nothing. Someone might say ‘but he has caused other men to sin!’ because there will be people who will leave the church, people who will take the stance of ‘if pastor can do it, so can I.’ But the honest truth is others influence our choices, yes, but our choices remain ours. And that is the basis upon which God will judge each and every one of us; as single, independent agents who exercised free will. If Ese herself could come to a deeper knowledge of God because of this experience, who are you then to say it has caused you to sin? Am I sanctioning Pastor Biodun’s behavior? Far from it. I am just sharing what I understand to be the position of God. Ese Walter shared that the episode caused her to find God’s truth personally. What that means is if she were to stand before God in judgment, she would not be a slut, she would not be an attention-seeker, she would be a child of God, your opinion notwithstanding. If Pastor Biodun is not guilty of this offence, He remains a child of God. If he is guilty and he repents and avails himself of the grace of God, he is restored as a child of God. The only other person in this equation is you, standing in judgment over these children of God. What footing are you standing on? Both Ese and Pastor Biodun can take advantage of the shameless, annoying (to those seeking ‘justice’), all-inclusive grace of God. But can you? Are you a child of God? That is the only question that really matters. Timeyin blogs at http://theloulette.blogspot.com/

OLA, DANIEL OLAWALE: MY SOLD SELLING POINT

Not again! He just left the kids and i without even uttering a word as to his where about. Most probably, a third party would have thought he vexingly left the house due to his perpetual complaint of ‘it’s better not to add salt! Is your hand salty?!!’ He forcefully smashed the door of his car and drove angrily without minding the wailing cute chick being crushed by his car with its blood and intestine irritatingly on the cemented ground. July 7, 2007 was indeed a day to remember. I personally call it the ‘7th’ or better still the ‘perfection’. We had been dating for 6 faithful years and that special day made it the 7th year. Can you now see how special that day was? It was indeed a ‘sweet’ day, at least for me. I hurriedly packed some of my newest outfits and I was sure I didn’t forget my sexy spaghetti dress. I was sure I was going to ‘give it to him hot’. I had always been keeping ‘it’ for so many years and I had concluded I was going to give my ‘husband’ the next second after my wedding ceremony. But this time around, i was sure the old cherished vow was broken in my heart even before I left my house that day. The thought of ‘how would it be, would i enjoy it?’ was anxiously in my head throughout the journey. That night, i was more than happy i gave my body to the ‘love of my life’; at least he was my husband-to-be. He had always been demanding for it; so that night, it was a golden jackpot for him. But for me, it was a sweet sensational experience! The relationship became sweeter and fulfilling as he was always fond of being around me; wouldn’t know if it was a show of greater degree of his love for me, or because we always end up sweating on one another. We were never concerned if the love was genuine or not, but we were sure the affection was vividly overwhelming and we wanted nothing but to walk majestically to the exalted altar. Was the altar really exalted or we were the one exalted? Five months after our ‘heaven-on-earth’ wedding, my sweet home turned sour and I could only imagine if I were a destitute in my own home. He makes great details of minute deeds and harshly reacts as if I were a slave in his ‘kingdom’. When I cook, instead of receiving a romantic peck, I get pecked as if he were a vulture. He shuns every avenue for us to have deep talks and only visits my ‘world’ whenever his mood doesn’t give way to throwing some cash at any of his numerous whores. I became a relegated slave and a ‘nonentity’ entity in my own home. He suspects every of my moves and checks my phones on daily basis to see if there is any ‘advance’ from guys. The most annoying was when he came from his office on a certain Friday. I already planned to make sure he smiles at me that day. I set the dinner table with different delicious cuisine; arranged his wardrobe; laid the bed, arranged his shelf and of course worn my sexy night gown. As i was moving close to give him a warm hug, i received the hottest slap of my life and i felt like peeing inside my sexy night gown. He pushed me and shouted ‘You are shameless! You’ve been having sexual affairs with Saka!!’ Please don’t tell me you are thinking it is Saka of the MTN I don port advert? He said. I was stunningly surprised with my mouth agape. I’m sure you don’t still understand what was going on. Saka is our…our…Saka is our ‘mallam’ Gate man! I was mad at hearing this allegation, but i was feeling too demeaned to even utter a word. I couldn’t hold it any more when he said ‘you have no value!’. I wondered for days to get the conceptual analysis and deep meaning of the words ‘no value’. Two weeks later, uncle Akin visited and i hurriedly dashed into the kitchen to prepare the breakfast. I was about coming to the living room when I noticed a quick change in their topic of discussion. ‘Did I just hear my name’? I had to hide behind the door to get a flint what was going on. Uncle Akin inquired why my husband treats me ‘that way’ and he whisperingly replied, ‘uncle, that woman gave herself too cheap to me before our wedding. If she could give herself to me without waiting until we were married, then she can be giving it out to anybody that cares to taste it’. I realised he lost trust in me the moment I gave my virginity to him before our wedding. It was then it dawned on me the beautiful nonsense i did. I thought I did him good, but 7th July, 2007 took away my real joy. I wish he is still begging to have my virginity! I have no choice than to live in perpetual damnation and boredom, consciously awaiting my earthly grave. This writer tweets from @dkingschamber

MAKINDE SINMILOLUWA: MY NAME IS ALABA

From childhood, Sikira has been the love of my life. Our love grew more fierce like a wild fire to the point that I had to marry her in ‘isu’ and in ‘oka’. Everything she needed, I provided even if I had to steal. Though I could have sent her packing for cheating on me, I choose to Love her. If I dont love her, who else would do with all the lion nails she has on her face that people call tribal marks? Though I could have chosen not for forgive Luku, my childhood friend not only for sleeping with Sikira, my love since childhood but also for absconding with the money he asked me to lend him, I choose to forgive him because if I dont, what would I stand to gain? I’ve faced enough situations that have threatened my spirit, soul and body; days of soaking gaari without groundnut nor sugar, days of labouring under the scorching sun…but I choose to be strong because if I’m not, then I’m less a man. Since Luku has swindled me, my life has gone down the drain which sometimes makes me wonder the difference between the life I live and hell because to me, there’s no difference (okay, I haven’t been there so I cant say). I’ve had to look for job and even endure insults from children not up to the last born of our family. But in spite of the insults, I choose not to give up because if I do, what story will I share with me children? Since everything went AWOL that even to eat once a day is a herculian task, a lot of counsels have been coming from people pitying my predicament, the height of which was to use my 11 (Eleven) months old big headed last child “Saka” for rituals explaining that the bigger the head is, the bigger the money. I was tempted to (don’t blame me o) but I chose to ignore devlish counsels, pick up myself and fight my way to the top again. Amidst all the uncertainties surrounding me, I choose to hope because if I don’t, then life is not worth living. *gba gba gba at around 6:30am* ‘you must pay my money today, shameless fool. #200 from the past 6 months. Today na today…’ gaari woman continued screaming. ‘God’ I muttered silently, ‘I must pass today’s interview’. Before I knew it, my shoe already passed the backyard and jumped through the fence. That’s what I do everyday when people come to collect the money I owe them. Well, today’s another day, time to open creditors’ attendance at my house. Sinmi blogs at http://thepenworkshop.wordpress.com and tweets from @sinmimakinde

OLUWATOSIN FATOYINBO: THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET

The complex state of Nigeria takes a new dimension on a daily basis, spurring countless discussions and debates. One cannot but be baffled at the way supposed intellectuals reason and debate. We need to understand that it is not necessary to participate in a debate unless you believe you have tangible and intelligible addition to a conversation. It is very easy to take matters personally and out of context; I have been guilty of this many times and even recently. On this basis, I will like to pass a few comments on recent developments on social networking site Twitter especially as it relates to Nigeria. I am a Twitter rookie; in fact I only clocked a thousand tweets recently and have less than 200 followers but I have noticed certain things that I sincerely believe should be addressed. I doubt if Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey knows the extent to which his idea is being used for nation building and to some extent; nation destruction. In describing the origin of Twitter, Dorsey had this to say “…we came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.” Twitter was designed to be the Short Message Service (SMS) of the Internet and it has indeed been as it has seen a mass porting of users of Facebook. However, Jack Dorsey and his associates created a platform which exceeds just social chatter and blabbing to one that engenders national discourse, surveys and even Internet friendships brought to the physical realm. As with every Internet platform, Twitter has been abused in certain ways. It is only proper that we look at a few of them: 1. Every person has the right to express themselves in whatever form they like. It is a fundamental Human Right enshrined in section 39. (1) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN 1999 as amended) thus: ‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference’. This right is recognised by almost all the nations of the Earth with slander and libel as major exceptions to that right. I believe it also applies to Twitter. I have the right to say what I want, when I want and how I want. However, it must be said that the rules of public morality discourages certain words or statements from being uttered in the public; it will do us good to keep to this rule and show some respect for followers. This as well is essential because Twitter is an Internet platform accessible to all, whatever tweets violates the rules of public morality goes viral in few minutes. 2. Based on the above, note that you cannot ask me not to tweet whatever I want to inasmuch I am not committing libel, slander or misrepresenting facts. If you have issues with that, Twitter has an unfollow button, you may kindly use when necessary. There’s absolutely no need to engage in a conversation on Twitter if the only thing you do is throw vituperations. If I cannot tolerate arguments or dissenting opinion, then I don’t need to resort to insulting the other person. This is gradually becoming the trend on Twitter: too many people are committing the fallacy of Argumentum ad hominem (fallacy against the person). Rather than engage you on the issue at stake, they prefer to attack your personality and this always ends in what has come to be known as a ‘tweet fight’. Recent examples include Chief Femi Fani Kayode v. Dr (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili, Reno Omokri v. Dr Ezekwesili, @oddy4real, @one9jaboi et al. v. @omojuwa, @nedunaija v. Chief Femi Fani Kayode etc. We need to put an end to this trend; it is getting us nowhere. 3. You should not claim that your account has been hacked whenever your tweet generates controversy. Be mature and sincere enough to apologise if absolutely necessary when you discover that you were in the wrong. I see no reason why someone like Chief Femi Fani Kayode should tell his followers that his account was hacked whenever he posts a much criticised tweet. Although verified accounts can as well be hacked but it is more secured and followers are sure that the accounts are opened by the personalities themselves or by their authorised proxies. 4. Finally, I believe the rule ‘think before you talk’ should apply to Twitter and should be taken as ‘think before you tweet’ or why tweet a thing and then delete it later. Again Chief Fani-Kayode has been guilty of this severally. The Chief will do well to take this seriously so he will not continually stay in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. I might have being guilty of some of the above though. I am not a Twit-saint. Enough said. Follow this writer on twitter: @tosinfat SOURCE: http://thescoo

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OMA NELSON: HADES IN SPRING

Dear diary, Its 8am. I am awake unusually early today. I do not know what day it is, but it feels like a Tuesday and I am sure it’s beautiful outside. It always is, here in Notting Hill. Everything’s the same. It’s like time stopped. Mr Noel’s almost always excited dogs, Carla and her husband bickering about moving to a new neighbourhood (they have been having that argument since they moved here 10 years ago) and old man Frankie cursing as he takes his usual stroll. Dante’s garage is open and Mary’s yelling at her children as they leave for school. I should have stayed back in bed. It’s weird how you get to see things differently where you’re the observer. You see, I used to be part of all this activity. In fact a major contribution to this early morning spring rhythm. I do not know what to do today. Last year, I had a full calendar. I had to change wardrobes for the season. Tina loved spring time. One thing’s certain though; I’ll visit their graves. I think about them every day and I remember that day like it happened thirty minutes ago. This morning, it is even closer. So I might as well tell you for the first time. It was on a Tuesday, my favourite day of the week because I do not have to resume at work until noon. My husband Charlie had called in sick at work. Our children Michael and Mitchell were arguing about hockey and Tina was spending half of the morning in front of the mirror. We had a huge breakfast and the kitchen was filled with noise and laughter. We had made plans to go to the cinema that evening and a visit to Charleston during the weekend. We all had morning chores; Mitch and mike helped take out the garbage and Tina helped me with the dirty dishes while we went on and on about the weird girls in her class that did not share her love for horror movies and boys who did not have a clue. My Tina had the most beautiful laugh and wild green eyes that blinked rapidly when she smiled. When she turned up with red hair at birth, we thought my grandma Betty was back. By her last birthday, her hair was a brilliant shade of brown. We never could tell whether she was brunette or red haired but she was pure joy. I hate that I have to use the past tense…… When the kitchen was clean, I went out to remind the boys that they’ll be late for school. As I stood in the doorway, watching the boys fumble on the grass, I thought of how blessed I was. Mickey and Mitch were a sitting image of their father. Charlie had meaningful grey eyes and thin blond hair. We used to joke that there were three clones in our house. I envied the bond they shared. But then I thought to myself “Carla envies me” Carla lives across the street from our house with her husband Jonas and is about my age (thirty-two) and childless. The couple argued over the same thing every morning. Carla wanted to continue modelling and that could not happen in Notting Hill. They never got around to moving and although she tried to save her figure for future modelling gigs, she envied my family. Who wouldn’t? The children got ready, Charlie kissed me goodbye and they took turns to give me hugs and they were on their way to school waving until they were out of sight. You never can tell which goodbyes are final. The rest of the day comes to me in bits and flashes. I cleaned the rest of the house, picked out recipes for the women’s monthly picnic and waited around lazily for Charlie to return so I could head for work at noon. Sometime before 11am, I called the school after leaving tons of messages on his phone. They had not seen my family. I panicked. Then I thought the doorbell rang. I got the door and the “there you are….” froze on my lips. There were two uniformed men at my door step. It was the first time I knew real fear. Raising my kids was not all rosy but thankfully, so far, I’d recorded few casualties and none of them included police officers. I did not have the strength to recall the moments that passed afterwards or what the officers had said to me until after the funeral. Charlie had taken the shortcut to the children’s school and stopped to get school supplies. He had parked at his usual spot at the bank close to the store, and was in the store for less than three minutes. He had walked out just in time to see the armed robbers try to escape from the bank and they tried to borrow our car. Mitch yelled for help and in panic, the robbers shot at my family. “If it’s any consolation, none of the gun men escaped” the taller of the two uniformed men had informed me. Obviously, he had never had to give the news of the death of someone’s family. There is no consolation. My world had crumbled and it took less than ten minutes for that to happen. The months after that are still a blur to me. We could have got those school supplies on Monday. What kinds of idiot robbers enter a bank without a back up escape plan? Why did it have to happen on a Tuesday when I was not in the car with them? Why did my wonderful husband have to go? He had so much to accomplish and he would never hurt a fly. Why were the lives of my precious babies cut short? Does the world realize what she lost when all four of them left? My mother and sister came to stay a while. I cannot remember now, how long they were here. And visitors came and left and then it was quiet again. I just wanted to stop breathing. There is so much pain in my heart I can’t feel. Oh yes, suicide was part of the plan. i tried it so many times, my sister should be paid for suicide watch. A different kind of silence engulfed me. I didn’t want to see the sun. And after my failed attempts at joining my family, I resigned to listening to the loud silence of death around me. Every day I woke up, and felt the emptiness around and inside me and it is as good as new. One thing’s for sure though, I’ve outgrown the feeling that one morning I’ll wake up and Charlie would be cleaning the garage and Mitch and Mikey would be running down the stairs making so much noise and Tina would be laughing at my jokes. They are not coming back. I carry them in my heart as they carry me in theirs always. I must get out of bed now and get ready or I’ll postpone my visit to the cemetery again. And maybe I’ll do my laundry while at it. I add another maybe to my list. Maybe today’s the day that I’ll make them proud. It’s started raining. Ha! Spring! Wish me luck.

OLA, DANIEL OLAWALE: LYRICS TO THE NIGHTINGALE

After rendering the first session of the romantic melody, with her gloved hands skilfully manning the giant melodeon, I was more than convinced she is indeed nothing but the “melodist”. As she began the second session, her choice of “romance” songs meddled with piercing tone of satire was the magic that made her the “chosen”, and automatically the best hand for this job or better still; the job……Cool melodious music is indeed propeller of great thoughts. The Mr Hope of the nation is in perpetual perpetrated damnation. The solid pillars of the country are nothing but shams. The concrete fundamental orientation of Mr Administrator is to make sure “my Swiss account is made robust” with the taxes of the robots working restlessly and restively without walking as kings. Mrs First Lady is fond of creating preponderance of positions and titles for herself, forgetting in a twinkle of an eye that “he who forcefully put a hot silver spoon in his mouth would alone dance to the un-rhythmic rhythm of the aftermath of the burn”. Mr Country is the perfect example of tournament games. Mr ‘Every individual’ wishes to be a politician. Mr ‘Politicians’ practically ‘politics’ with “pandemonium” in the States and at the same time feed on the honey of the Nation. They care less about the wrinkles on our faces and the ‘pot holes’ at the basement of our necks. They are truly the game masters. They blindly feed on the honey, but foolishly forget the obvious fact that behind every sweet honey, there is the king Bee. A good friend of mine once jokingly affirmed we live in a country where majorly Mr Poor makes sure the people at the lower cadre remain pauper and desolate. Mr Poor they say shall remain poor, while Mr Rich get richer. Mr Poor is being used as political bull dog, and after biting incessantly at “their” target, he still remains malnourished. Mr Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) takes enjoyable pleasure at sapping the intellectual acumen of young lawyers, culminating into big sacks full of currency of ‘your choice’ but at the end of each month puts crumbs into their expectant pockets. He boastfully donates millions of Naira at Public Lectures, and flies to his abode of relaxation and leave the young lawyers to crack the hard nuts and yet pays them ₦10,000 (ten thousand naira)…oh sorry, some now pay ₦20,000 (twenty thousand naira). I hope when the young lawyers leave your ‘Robust Chambers’, you would not be left with a “One-Man” chamber, and be forced to carrying your case files to courts on your head yourself. A word they say is for the W… Oh! She is almost done. I will definitely send these lyrics to her. I sincerely hope she would voice my heart to her subsequent audience and my humble but heart-felt request be wholesomely considered as I send these LYRICS TO THE NIGHTINGALE. This writer tweets from @dkingschamber

MICAH STEPHEN BABARINDE:THE EXACT STATE OF OUR EXERTING STATE

At this point in our national odyssey, in reality an experiment of a nation, the most cerebral of philosophers even when gathered would still be aghast as to how a group of individuals have learnt the art of rudderless travel and indirection not to talk of their political and economic marauders who delight in making sure that nothing works, if their pocket must work. But beyond the state of the union, what is the state of the Nigerian in the midst of this misadventure? His hopes, aspirations, spirit and expectations; Tatalo alamu, the witty articulator extraordinaire once waxed lyrical about how the people of Koma are in coma as to why they decided to be the national of the Nigerian nation instead of Cameroon. The people of koma need not disturb their tender skull, the exerting state of the Nigerian state needs a different art of frustration, definitely it is not whining. The act of surviving in Nigeria is an art. It goes beyond your muscles and even your brains, you must just learn it. The exact picturesque of Nigeria could be well illustrated by a road trip from Oshogbo to Ibadan. While inside the commercial bus, you will behold a perfect state of our national experiment. The state of Osun is a new construct of the ogbeni. It is currently going under reconstructive demolition. Houses and Shops that characterised the meagre economy of the state are been reduced to the floor. “But they just dualised this road not more than 5 years ago, why is he demolishing structures”, a haggard looking woman asked, “I don’t know why. He is demolishing structures because he wants to plant “igi-iye” as the trees we have in the state are not good enough for the “iye” Ogbeni wants to provide. There are even rumours, Fakunle comprehensive high school will be demolished for a shopping mall. I don’t know where all these people would go” replied a bard headed man. In the midst of this discussion was the report in a national daily that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (affectionately called ASUU by their admirers) had another series of negotiations with the FG ending with no agreement as “Mr Deadlock” attended the meeting. The hope of the Nigerian students became filled with infinite and acute hopelessness. In Nigeria, the hope of the hopeless is hopelessness. Do not let the words of Martin Luther king sway you, it is never a good thing to dream in the Niger area, it is always ending in eternal nightmare. As the bus staggered off in the way reminiscent of the defeated Tyson when he met his waterloo when he met the poison fisted Holyfield Evander, clearly in need of repairs, came the shout of a dazzling masquerade, sorry, young lady who screamed about the fact that the driver was speeding at a very high rate, her heavy make-up adding rhythm to the scream. After all, we might complain about Nigeria, but complain only makes sense to the living, never to a man in a sepulchre. The driver clearly wanted to make more money and that was impossible if he does not get to Ibadan early for a return trip to Oshogbo. So not letting the gub of saliva stuck in his throat deter him from releasing his venom, he retorted that the damsel can get down if she wanted. Karl Marx in his classic, Communist Manifesto, talked about the contest between the bourgeois and the proletariat and that the state is a product of the ruling class who perpetually dominate the members of the lower class. Maybe he is right; after all, we saw the billboards of All Progressive Congress (APC) lining up the sides of the roads instead of street lights congratulating Nigerians because their victory for registration was a victory to the common man. What is the relationship between the party’s registration and the state of the Nigerian masses? Are we to suddenly vote you in because you have been registered? Do you have an antidote to the ailing Nigerian state than the ‘transformation agenda’ of the PDP? Are you even a better option to the non performing ruling party? Wait, are you not formed just to chase the ruling party with no concrete plan of how to develop the state? But the party still has the familiar faces of the Fani-kayodes, the Masaris, the El-Rufais et al who once belonged to the ruling party. Are we to accept them simply because they are now in ‘People’s congress? we seemed confused. In the exerting Nigerian state, there is nothing like political transformation, all we have is political revolt. Who will bear this brunt? The people of course; so how is your party the People’s party after all even the PDP has a ‘people’ in its name. Back to Marx, he should be forgiven for thinking that the bourgeoisies would always be the ones alienating the proletariat. Marx forgot that humans are not mathematical figures. He clearly did not see Nigeria coming. The driver had shouted the girl down, a woman was preaching the gospel to us and after the ‘word of God’ we had to pay for the word. So we were implored to pay for the onward progress of evangelism. We were still in the process of this consideration, when we met another bus coming from a convention, pleading with the ‘vulcanizer’ to help their aging tyres as they were returning from a powerful crusade. He had to skyrocket the price to an unimaginable price. In Nigeria, it is not just the top against the lower class; it is sometimes the poor against the poor. The lower stratum is going gaga; too many people are swimming in poverty. For consolation, the people turned to religion to confirm the assertion of Marx that religion is the opium of the masses. God is never the first good option, but always the best last option. By the time we reached Ibadan, I had seen enough. A one eyed beggar running away from the club of a policeman, a well-dressed man begging for 100 naira as he was “stranded”, a boy jaywalking on the road with a bag of sachet waters. What I saw was confusion, all the way except at the top where there is evident clarity. The manner of political formations, the propaganda, and the political visits points to one thing: 2015. When was the last time any Governor talked about the number of jobs he wants to create, the economic blueprint of the states, the number of investments they are expecting in the state by 2015, the number of research facilities they would have established. When was the last time the Governor’s Forum came together to talk about the acuteness of unemployment, the power situation in Nigeria etc. these are the questions we are to ask. But we have turned twitter into our new boxing ring, where we queue behind the Fani-kayodes, Ezekwesilis and even the Omojuwas to take side about who has the best prowess in calibration of political blows. But the state of the Nigerian union remains pathetic. We have forgotten that the state of the union depends on the union of the state. Until Nigerians set themselves free of the intellectual subordination, and start asking fundamental national questions, current national indirection and political subjugation will continue, beyond 2015 and further than 2055, no matter the political party we pitch our tent with. A word is definitely enough for the thoughtful. Stephen tweets from @micahesq