​SERIOUSLY, I DON’T LIKE YOUR BRAND OF JESUS 

I had a very quiet night unlike some other nights that had been less breezy, stuffy and hot in my room. I had for some time been living a semi-hermit life away from Religion and celebrity gods who are followed by hordes and disciples of compulsive uniformity.

I took a little time where I lay on the floor, allowing the haze of dreams and illusions of the night to vapourize from my head. I wobbled up and headed for my bathroom for some early morning rituals.

I was halfway the daily ceremony when I overheard my neighbour’s wife across the flat, “This worship is wonderful and uplifting. Just that the women never tied Ichafu over their heads”. She retorted over a live broadcast of a worship service on TV.

I was distracted momentarily. I rolled over the words in my mind on the acceptability of worship. Does a head-gear actually validate a worship offering to God as we know from the Holy Scripture?

Would the Lord discard deep reverence one has for Him over a hairy head without Gele? What is so unholy about a bare head, much as it is female, when a man is demanded by same to rid his head of every form of covering in same worship? The New Testament has declared male and female without difference before God in Christ. Gal. 3:28

This brand of Jesus who is so attached to ceremonial appearance over the naked niceties of a sincerely bare and adoring heart is not the original we saw painted walking the shorelines of Galilee.

Believe you me, all these have nothing to do with a spiritual relationship with God. It’s mere human-inspired courtesy. It might be good for teaching reverence to a few, but never comparable to the raw reverence of a truely broken and love-struck heart. 

WE MUST CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK

Every battle is first fought and won/lost from within.

The youth of our country will win and retake the destiny of this country when we realize that we are being subjugated in our minds, primarily.

We have the urgent need to rediscover and redefine our perceptions of ourselves and our homeland.

We say in Igbo that no one points to the direction of his father’s village with the left finger.

We must be ready with the right answer to the question of who we are, our dreams, and our obligations and responsibilities.

Cravings for things foreign, love for the easy life without work, denigration of everything local, blaming everyone but self thereby abdicating responsibility, misplaced esteem for white men and dogs over local breeds, pride in English and Arabic names, and every such distortion and dementia are all mental realities we have nurtured in our minds.

We must begin to think. We must begin to think for ourselves. We must begin to think for our communities. We must begin to think for the common good.

We must begin to reevaluate our values as a people, and begin to extol those things that will uphold care for the weak and increasing opportunity for every dream.

We become the products of our thoughts. And our thoughts animate mostly from the things we watch, the things we listen to, what we read, and who we associate with.

We must entertain with a message. A rediscovered culture built on a better philosophy.

We must take back and take charge of our thought processes.

BONNY BRONZE

31st December, 2015   17:25 

A moan is heard in the Bight of Biafra

A groan along the hilly stretch of Igala land

A piece of bronze shines forth in Bonny

The merchants from Nsukka bid endlessly

Through the moons and the dances

Whiffs of romantic swoons and the prances

Lifted skirts and bulging trousers

Endless impressions to appease the teasers

Lonely moments calling from a deep corner

If only the salty oceans could quench

This ageless endless longing

This time around for a Bonny bite

A moan is heard in the Bonny Bight

A groan along the hilly stretch of Igala height

 

(dedicated to Nimitamunonye)

LONGING FOR BURUNDI

31st December, 2015 13:40

 

East Afrique of beauty

Belt of green and freshness

Bowels of gems and crimson stones

Great genes ingrained with soul melodies

 

East Afrique of beauty

The Dome of damsels

Toast of tourists

Cradle of ancient civilizations

 

Take up a cry O beauty

Nkuruziza akpaala nku ahuhu

Your daughters are slain

Your children suckle on dead breasts

 

Take up a cry against power so fleeting

The arid places encroach

Thy bowels now flow crimson rivers

And for thy melodies, troublesome laments

 

Take up a cry against Hedon so dreary

O Dame of the damned

So alluring but taunt of terror

In one peace is the rest peaceful

 

O East Afrique of beauty

How I long for Burundi

Ecofriendly Basic Education

Education at basic level involving nursery school kids and primary school pupils will prove a formidable tool in this fight for a healthy earth. Healthy habits such as sorting of organic wastes different from non-biodegradable material should be a major bio-objective.

A healthy earth equals an ecofriendly one. A sustainable earth equals an enlightened future for our kids.

| #responsibility

| #change of #attitude

| #accountability

“UNDER THE STARS”

“Here we are under the stars

Heaven is like so far.”

– John Legend

 

As I put down these few words

A feeling of de ja vu surges

But that’s been my life

When I first met you among the wards

I never thought of these urges

But now it’s a personal strife

 

O my love, this is what it feels like

Under the stars gazing away

Rediscovering and dreaming

Under a twinkling blanket

 

Heaven is made worthwhile

While we under the stars

 

Check out @StellaArtois’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/StellaArtois/status/677591808210178048

Day 5: FREEDOM

Birds in cages

Words in pages

Bitter hearts expressed in rage

A vicious cycle as the wage

 

Eyes that grow weary with longing

Hoping for an expected day

World peace almost a mirage

A vicious cycle as the wage

 

Who will break the chain

 

Oppressors they all continue

Brazenly free with an increasing retinue

Through markets and squares for salvation

Some look towards the hill of nations

 

Who will break the chain

 

O feet with chains for breaking

A greater beast claws the soul for feeding

A heart burdened with aching

Such, seek for elevating

 

It comes from the mind

Not from broken chains

MAIDUGURI: THE PRIDE AND THE HOPE

Paradoxically, the crisis in Borno is one reason to be optimistic about its future: so much can be gained by getting just a few things right. Fortunately, talking to Governor Kashim Shettima and his lieutenants is enough to inspire one that they are indeed set to get so much right, and the Land of the Shehus will outlive Boko Haram. Shekau and his godless band have clearly picked the wrong terrain for their murderous adventure.

Unfortunately, once you mention to almost anyone that you are off to Maiduguri the response is often a depressing silence. For many, it is like “What? Are you mad?” Others would pause a while and then anxiously ask what is taking you there, while the rest would look at you with concern, verging on pity. It’s like you have been handed an automatic death sentence, recklessly venturing into Boko Haramistan, without writing your last will and testament.

On my part it was no big deal; my kids go there almost every month, so do many friends and aged relatives, so I was not too apprehensive. Which is not to say I did not have my misgivings; too many reported explosions. Do I really have to go? Yet a promise is a promise, and I was going by air, so I packed a bag and proceeded to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The flight itself was on time, very smooth and quite ordinary. But for a few NGO-types, and several security operatives that you can easily identify by their carriage, all the others were clearly ordinary Borno people, with their colourful head wraps and hand-knitted Zanna Bukars, that beautiful but expensive Kanuri cap made famous by the First Republic minister of the same name.

Being among in-laws, I felt quite at home. Despite speaking no Kanuri I could understand everyone since Hausa is the lingua franca, while the cabin crew spoke English. Kanuri is not very useful outside its enclave.

Looking out of the window, as the plane descends approaching our destination, one cannot help but notice that while the rains have been good there is hardly any cultivation. There were no crops. Most of the inhabitants had fled their villages in fear of Boko Haram.

Maiduguri Airport, though not totally deserted, was clearly free of hustlers, and the security was palpable and reassuring. The town itself was a totally different matter. With almost half the population of the state cramped tightly into such a small space, it was a bustling and bubbling metropolis, just as I remember it, with the one noticeable exception; motorcycles have been banned because of security concerns. These have been replaced by thousands of Keke Napeps, and they seem to outnumber cars almost three-to-one. Otherwise it is just another city in the semi-arid North, and everyone was going about his or her business, until 9.00 pm when, as I was made to understand, the town shuts down.

Although Boko Haram has devastated other parts of the state, and had threaten Maiduguri many times, the combination of our fighting men and the ever-vigilant valiant volunteers of the youthful Civilian JTF have completely secured the city. The people are understandably still very alert, but thanks to the commendable example of the governor, his officials, and many of the elites who refused to run away, they have taken the brave stand of refusing to be chased out from the land of their ancestors.

The children go to school, the women go to the markets, most shops remain open, while the employed (mostly government workers) go to work. Even the refugees in IDP camps keep themselves busy trying to earn a little extra. One cannot fail to be impressed by the apparent normality in these abnormal times. Maiduguri is indeed the land of the valiant. Bravery is after all not the absence of fear: it is the courage to stand and fight when and where necessary.

As a guest of “The Engineer”, I was privileged to visit the Farm Centre and see for myself, along with some USAID officials, the green houses (for seeds development) under construction, and hundreds of tractors, harvesters, planters and other implements procured for the crops, vegetables and fodder programmes in the offing, along with the machinery for oil and rice mills waiting for the insurgency to be over so that they could be moved to the rural areas. I also sat through many briefings on the current and future plans being developed and implemented.

While my visit was unexpectantly cut short (my host had to rush out to Abuja on his way to China) I flew out with the satisfaction that even within this crisis, which has engulfed Maiduguri and the rest of Borno State, one can still discern some seeds of hope, starting with the issue of seeds themselves. While Boko Haram has virtually put an end to all farming activity in most places, and have stolen all the harvest forcing people to eat up their reserves (and even the seeds for next seasons planting), the scarcity of seeds itself may offer an good opportunity for progress. Most of the traditional seeds are low-yielding, and have little resistant to drought, pests and weeds anyway. This is why the State Government is embarking on a big multiplication program for the appropriate seeds farmers would require for the coming planting seasons. This should improve yields and incomes.

Also, with many able-bodied men killed or displaced, labour will be scarce so there is an extensive agric-mechanisation work in the offing.

The Civilian JTF experiment also means that the youth have already been mobilised. Once the insurgency is over they would need education especially of the vocational and technical type. Many have matured quickly and are the bread-winners in their families. They will be the foci for modern agriculture and SMEs.

My impression is that many of the older refugees and widows with several small children would not leave Maiduguri any time soon. Suddenly used to three free meals a day (including meat and chicken), clean portable water, some electricity, and even free clothing in the IDP camps many would be reluctant to go back to their villages. One traditional barber was overheard saying he makes about N1,500 a day just shaving four or five people, and he is not about to go back to collecting 40 to 50 Naira per head in a village, often having to even wait for days before being paid.

The villages themselves have been mostly razed to the ground and perhaps they should be left as they are. Many are too small, too scattered and unviable. They cannot all be provided with schools, clinics, portable water or lights. Their unfortunate destruction could still be an opportunity to re-locate and re-group them for more viable provision of social services and rural infrastructure.

Borno is large, mostly fertile and sparsely populated, just like the rest of the insurgency-ravaged Northeast. With Kashim Shettima’s plans for grazing reserves, cattle routes, fodder development and water for cattle, along with modern ranches, Borno may even offer hope for the future of cattle-rearing, helping to ease the current conflicts being experienced due to resource-use conflict elsewhere. But don’t tell a Fulani man that his future may lie in the hands of the Kanuri!

Conflicts often offer opportunities for rebirth. Frankly, so much appears to be going on in Borno and I can’t wait to get back and learn, and hopefully see the future unfolding. Your prayers for a safe return, yes; but don’t cry for me just because you hear that I am on my way back to the battle ground of the El-Kanemis, of Rabeh and now for some misguided bunch, whose time would soon end, called Boko Haram. There is no doubt that Mega-Chad is going to be important for our future.

By the way, anybody out there in the know regarding Buhari’s plans for the Northeast? Please let me into the secret.

(published by Sanusi Abubakar in Daily Trust Newspapers of 2nd November, 2015) 

WHEN JERKS ARE GIVEN THE UNIFORM

IMG_20151130_070001

Is this breast enforcement or what? We are getting complacent as our own people torment and rape us.

Every evening, at various points, just like yesterday evening, they pressed on the Keke driver to part with “settle us” with just 2 passengers at #50 each. Petrol selling at not less than #160 per litre.

Anger is rising everywhere but they fail to see it. Or choose to trust their guns.

If it’s ever a profession, many, if not most, are beginning to see each police personnel as an enemy in uniform. We are getting to a point where we won’t have any of our friends become “police” nor make friends with a policeman. We see one dying and we will ignore him and walk on.

My deepest pity goes to the few who choose to walk righteously but appear unfit to match the forces of corruption in the Force.

https://youtu.be/tdyMYGdXIAQ