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Monday, 30 May 2016

I WOKE UP LIKE THIS


"What happened to the black people of sumer?" The traveller ask the old man. "For ancient records has it that the people of sumer were black. What happened to them?"

"Ah" the old man sighed. They lost their history, and so they died".


No doubt, Nigeria despite the unflowered state, has its own romance. How do you make fine soup of nationhood without the ingredient of history? How did we kick it out of our schools? Did all its teachers retire? Or did the students stop wanting it? Why is the university the only place history heard? Faintly even! it is funny because our fathers,  who now claims we have failed never taught us about our past but expect us to respect, love it and move on. Well, it's clearer now than ever, we need a firm and an unbiased grip of history; family and nation. How did we get here? What have we tried? How have we failed? The easiest way to ruin a people is to make sure they don't tell their stories or to tell only part of it. To rise from this pit, we must tell all. Write all. Read all.

To all you visionaries who believe that to start afresh we must forget our history and also to everyone who thinks that the best shot at a perfect future is to deny the past; you are in the wrong. If you don't know what led to this moment, you will remain in it. Running from the glaring truth of the past is like a black lady applying blush; it's futile. We are who we are. Until we are courageous enough to learn about our history, we are not ready for the future. One chief factor why we as Nigerians can't effectively tackle trials is a thriving ignorance of the past. It is not enough to cram dates of obvious events and names of prominent forefathers. It is not okay to possess a detached knowledge of your root. How did all you've come to  crammed come about? And why?

I think sincerely that one reason we don't tell about our history is because we don't have it. As a people, we have a very outdated manner of storing information. A terrible habit. We admit too much things to memory and chance. A historic happening is often undocumented  and is left to the sparse mercy of hearsay. So, all the time, the truth of history is lost or often modified to suit the faction of the teller. It is almost always not correct. People forget, they die, they lie. Ben Murray-Bruce (the "I just want to make common sense" crooner) in his book A Common Sense Revolution wrote, "Nigerians may be surprised to note that if you want to get accurate records of Nigeria Civil War, of supreme military council activities, of leaders that were deposed (e.g Buhari first regime), of defining moments of Nigeria's history, you have to go to either the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC or the British ITV". Can you imagine! Those melancholic evenings were we sat at Baba's feet and laid on mama's chest while a a single-edged stories were shoved down our throat were surreal. But it's no longer enough.  There whole truth should be told and so, should be properly documented.

History can have its own weight, but ignorance is worse…it could tear us into unimaginable bits. We all seem to know who to blame, but how would that help?  In a few years, you'd become an ancestor. Then, someone would blame you. And the rat race continues. No more should blames can be bought and sold. We woke up like this. Let's bother enough to understand the past before changing it. Let's tell our story. Paint our it on walls our primary school instead of Scooby doo and Barney. How is a borrowed English language more important than our native History? Adamu Adamu , please wake our schools. Our children should know that our fathers did not only marry many wives and practiced subsistence farming, they also carved, painted and built empires. Take history back to our schools.

All over the universe, histories are the same! It contains a fair divide of both loathsomeness and loveliness. You must first embrace and understand it, then try to prune. Give yourself a gift this Democracy Day celebration, go buy yourself a bowl of interest on national history. Teach the young. Tell others to do the same.

....

Happy Democracy Day celebration Nigeria and Happy birthday Bridget.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

OF WHY WE CANNOT WAIT

I disagree with you.
There is good still flowing the vessels of our thoughts.
I beg you to buy courage to rethink your resolve.
Don't drown in this ephemeron flood
Save your kith too.
Can anything good come out of this Nazareth?
Well, you did!

There are no ropes…no boundaries
No doubt,
As soon as you're born, you are old enough to grow.
Be mindful of what you settle for,
Cos' that's what you'll give.
Your competition is as global as love.
The earth was flat until the someone cared
Dust your brain and willpower
We are going to the lab.

Don't let character go on holiday.
Ceaselessly Polish the wheel of TRUTH
Like a pestle in war, it cannot fail.
But after every triumph, sharpen your sword.
It is laudable if you wanna' win from here.
But You've lost if you win only here.
Progress is not up for debate
Like money, it must be made.
To heal record we must play
To die well we must live.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

LOVE IS NOT RED

The day will come when, after harnessing space , the winds , the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire"

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

On valentine's day, my school is always turned into a bloody colour by 'lovers'. If you don't have any touch of red, you are either too young to grasp love or too old to feel it. If you don't have a lover, you didn't exist that day. Uncle Matthew said about love, "It is the kind of feeling you feel when you feel the kind of feeling you've never felt before". Is love that reliable rising sun that never fails to come every morning or that denting black spot on your knee that stays after a fall?  Maybe my school was correct, love have some colour to it. Maybe uncle Matthew was right, love is indeed a feeling. Maybe love is really meant for lovers. But is that all love is about?

Some say love dampens the senses and so, should never come. Others suggest that if it did come, it should never stay for It comes with too much bother. Society (you and I) have tenaciously misconstrued the science of love. It's not always sex. It's does not always gain. It is not the light in your eyes when you see Felicia or the lump in your throat when you hug Dápo. It is not about who you can love and when it's convenient. It' s not moi-moi, it should not be rationed. Love is not religious, tribal or racial. Love is not blind. Love does cost a thing. Love is not that dripping red heart picture on your gallery. No! Love is not red. What did they say about journalist…they consistently repeat a lie with the hope that it will become true. No amount of clothe we wear love can change how it looks. It is either love or not. No semi-love or fake love.

Love could be petalous as well as thorny. Love is commitment. Believe me, love is the smile on your face when you see your imperfect self in a mirror. It was the pain in mummy's voice when she bore you. It was the necessity in daddy's gait as he spank your mischievous bum bum. Love was the hurried steps your play mates made into the bush to fetch Awolowo leaf to tend your scratched knee. It was the silence Uzor shared with you when words failed. It was in those things we shared and gave when it was all we had. It was in those voices that prayed and cheered us on when we couldn't find strength. It was in the kiss on the altar when you remembered how long Bamikole waited to deserve you. Love was when you trusted Isoken with your heart. Love is simple. It cannot be caged, but given wings. Love is the only debt that can't be paid in full.

Love is when you let yourself live.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

OBSEQUIES.

Do we let any wind carry us or we pick the one we follow? There's a girlie thing about 'naso them dey do am' (tradition), its attractiveness is as nippy as an office pin near a giant magnet. Like most things, it has a dark side and some colour to it. As per colour, there is this 'here-we-respect-our-elders' credit it possesses. The way it also permits us to fetch personhood from the tap our past to water our 'now' into a green future. Then, there's the dark region. The part that èpà don't chronicle stories about, Akowè won't scribble about, Osayomore dare not play flute about. Even auntie Ewaen has never gossiped about. That part we rather leave untouched because…we know little or nothing about it.

There are those who argue that we jettison the entirety of 'how they did it' and go for new ways. Well, I disagree. I think we should bring it forward and edit it. We don't need a sword to either protect or cut off the status quo. What we need is a brush and a pair of scissors to sometimes polish or at other times cut ties with it. Believe me, When you understand the science of progress, a lot of kpalava is resolved.

I asked Alama (not real name) why we so much break out pockets and safes for funeras. She looked into space as one looking at the multicoloured poster of 'Ikenna; the blind warrior' for what seem like a minute. Then she abruptly replied, "it's how we pay last respect here".  Well, our last respect is a little too expensive don't you think? If the dead could act, they'd slap us out of our burial-celebratory-mode into the mourning-realizing-that-we-are-dust-mode.

Now, every thursday, you would hear screeching of tires as though formula 4 is next door. But you'd find out that a family is trying to bury a loved one and so, thought it frugal enough that neighbours do not have peace. Well, the neighbours don't mind as long as the noise births take-away packs, beverages and souvenirs. A lot of return-from-mortuary gyration have led to accident that led to death that will later led to another gyration. Note here that gyration is like appetizer to the main course-OBITO. Burial is business now as families sell Ankara as though it's kilishi. It's common nowadays to here things like "Epa, My elder brother don die, dis nah the second cloth wey we carry for the burial. The party nah Saturday" How about the owambe and obito rockers who now take burials as food fare and saturdays as a lucky day.

Iye no khua died 5 months ago of what the doctors described as heart failure. We all know what killed IYe…neglect! Her remains has since been the deposited in Gods Care Mortuary, while the family prepare for breathtaking burial. The afore disjointed family has been forced into halfhearted cooperation…for Iye's sake. Osakpamwan, the first son and second child has since issued order from Netherland (backed with some Euro of course) that what is now left of the sagging building that was once the residence of Iye be renovated and painted white. 'They need to know that Iyè's children are well off' he said.

Iye's first daughter, Imatitikua was the picture D'banj had in mind when he said 'importer, exporter, cocoa water!'. She had prayed two years earlier when Iye first fell sick that God should keep her alive. Not out of love as you would naturally want to think, but because her Dubai business just started off. The business was too young to survive a burial. But now, Iye died at the right time, "I can now give my mother a befitting burial" she boasted.

The other six children soon arrived from different parts of the country. The budget for the burial was 3.5 million Naira. This, of course includes the list from the oka-egbe (the head of the extended family) who see burial as a form of seasonal employment opportunity to sift as much goodies as possible. After splitting the budget, Imatitikua being the eldest took the highest. Only her and Osakpamwan could afford their share, the other 6 had to borrow to make up and look good.

The burial ceremony surpassed their expectation, all 31 canopies where filled up with many more standing. This confirmed what Felix the last born said a day before, "make we only invite those wey fit spray oh, the rest go somehow come". 3 band played. Everyone ate, drank, gossiped, fought and took away. Everybody applauded them. " This burial tough pass that Pa. John Ode own last week o" a 'professional burial analyst' commented. The burial was done, everybody was smiling, Iye's was gone, the children were indebted, life continued.

Iye's death had brought crocodile tears, new Ankara, artificial unity and longterm debt.

But how could Iye's children have done differently?  Was that not the way everybody does it? You see, I get the whole 'last respect part'. But, whatever happened to burial ceremony being solemn? It should be a time where we see the remains of our loved ones remind that we share the like fate. I believe we didn't start out like this. Even if we did, maybe it is time we stopped.
If you have been saving for any OBITO, just go and invest in a business and stop disturbing the dead and living with this craze. 

Enough! Burial is not an investment opportunity, it is a time of mourning and reflection.