AND THE MAN OF GOD LIED

“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction” – Criss Jami

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive” – Walter Scott

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” – Charles Spurgeon

 

Christmas was in the air. The town was filled with little kids rocking their Christmas clothes, wrist-watches and other fancy stuffs. Cars were filled with goodies from the last minute shopping across town. Everyone smiled and wished the other a Merry Xmas and Compliments of the Season.

Personally, Christmas is not a phuck-worthy season for me. People kept asking me what I got them as gifts for Xmas. I always had an answer for such people:

Sorry o, my people, but I no longer celebrate Christmas. I am now a member of Ama Jehovah aka Jehovah’s Witness”.

Others asked when I would be going home to spend time with my family. The Amebo woman at the end of the street was more inquisitive with her rather stupid remark: “Ba’Ruu, don’t come back next year without a wife o”. I quickly shouted Amen, and watched her smile sheepishly as she left the premises. Foolish woman! She think say to marry dey easy! If I ask her for money for the bride price now, she would start giving me excuses of how her cash was frozen at Savannah Bank. Or how witches and wizards have been attacking her business. Rubbish! Marriage ko…Marriage ni!

Later in the day, I stared into the mirror and couldn’t recognize myself anymore. It wasn’t just the bumps and rough spots on my face. The beards were massive. I was taking this No-Shave November to a whole ‘nother level. So I decided it was time to have a decent hair cut and a nice shave. And off I went to my barber’s.

When I arrived, I saw a few guys inside the shop. I hailed them and they hailed me back.

“How many men dey before e reach my turn”, I asked.

“Dem no plenty”, the barber replied.

“Bros, tell me the number na. Dem no plenty no be number”, I replied.

“Hahahaha. OK, make I count”. And he pointed fingers at the men inside the shop while counting. Someone reminded him of the guy that went to ease himself.

“Na 5 people dey before you Bros”, he replied after counting.

“OK na, make I kukuma wait for here”, I answered.

I sat down comfortably into a seat beside the door, flipped open a Fashion Magazine on the side table and read. Then I had an epiphany. It was as if I saw a dove descend from the heavens into the room. And then I remembered vividly.

When I walked into the Barber’s shop, I did not see the mad man that usually sleeps calmly beside the mammoth bin along the road. And then I asked the barber what happened to the mad man. He told me that he was healed by a pastor and was no longer mad:

“Bros ehn, this thing happen like film trick o. Just two days ago, one man just come this area, with olive oil and bible, talk say him be pastor and say God send am to heal the mad man. We think say na play o. The man begin dey pray, dey pray, dey pray. All of us just standa dey look am. As him dey pray the prayer so, na e the mad man just begin dey roll for floor. This thing happen for like ten minutes before him come calm down. Everybody come dey shout ‘Praise the Lord’. Some dey snap photo sef, talk say the man of God don heal the mad man. Na him people just dey collect the pastor number, say dem go come him church with their own wahala o”, the barber narrated as he was cutting a customer’s hair.

“So where the mad man come dey na? Him don go him house?” I asked.

“House ke? After that day wey dem heal am, him stop to dey chop dotty, come dey behave like normal person. But just yesterday, the thing start again o. So some people carry am go hospital”, he replied.

And I burst out laughing. People were staring at me as if the spirit of madness had entered me.

Phewww…BULLOCKS!

Pastors and false claims of miracle! In our contemporary times, people have become more gullible than ever. Honestly, I don’t even know what to blame it on. And it gets even more pathetic when one ponders on how easily folks get to believe the so-called men of God on different issues pertaining to their daily lives.

A lot of folks have gotten themselves into deep shit because of the antics of these men of God. Don’t get me wrong! Personally, I believe that people could get healed of their ailment if they possess some form of faith. But faith without work is nonsense. You can’t win the lottery without buying the ticket. It is as simple as that.

One time, I was in a commercial bus going from one part of the city to another. A man wearing a worn-out coat stood up and started preaching the word of God. He was discussing faith and its powers. He cited an example while preaching. He said when he wanted to get married to his wife, he didn’t even bother to do basic laboratory investigations, especially genotype. He said he had faith in God that they wouldn’t have a baby with Sickle Cell disease. And to the glory of God, they didn’t have such a baby. Praise the Lord, he screamed. And some gullible folks in the bus screamed a thunderous Hallelujah.

In all honesty, such sermons are VERY DANGEROUS. There are naïve folks that would listen to such sermons and foolishly hearken to the voice of the con artist pretending to be a man of God. Why in God’s name would someone encourage another person to plunge headlong into an abyss without caution? Whatever happened to common sense?

In this career of mine as a hustling doctor, I’ve encountered folks that were rushed into the hospital with one ailment or another, and a quick history would give a detailed picture of how foolish people could be. A grown man would gladly pour olive oil and other substances down the throat of a convulsing child. What if the child aspirates? Grown folks would gladly pour pepper into the eyes of sick relatives. Men of God encourage women with poor obstetric histories not to book for Antenatal Visits at the hospital; rather, they should come for regular sessions of fasting and prayers at the church and deliver like the Hebrew women. Issorait!

Folks that were taken care of by hardworking health personnel would gladly purchase goats, ram, tubers of yam and other items in preparation for the thanksgiving that would follow. Could you believe that? Dash gifts to man of God wey no even do anything for them! And what do the members of the health team get? ‘Thank You’, ‘God Bless You’, ‘It Shall Be Well With You’…and in a best case scenario, handshakes and hugs. Anyway, my God is watching all of you.

Let us do away with these pointless beliefs. Faith without work is as foolhardy as a witch going to a church filled with prayer warriors to suck blood. We can’t make any meaningful progress as individuals if we continue wallowing in these washed-out attitudes.

Let us purge ourselves of this gullibility that is holding us back and move into the New Year as new creatures, with the old things past away. Capisce!

 

Now Playing: Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am by Fela Kuti

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

FAMILY OVER-DEPENDENCE ON A SUCCESSFUL RELATIVE

“We don’t want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into complacency and dependence” – Paul Ryan

“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition” – Thomas Jefferson

“It is not inequality which is the real misfortune. It is dependence” – Voltaire

 

A few days before the day Our Lord Jesus was presumed to be born, I went to the market to purchase ingredients to make my favourite Oha soup. I wanted to make a new Oha soup recipe which I read about on a Nigerian Foodie website. This new recipe involved using scent leaves – Nchawu, in addition to the Oha leaves. So I set out to seek the ingredients with which to prepare this hallowed delicacy.

At the market, the smell of fresh dusty harmattan zephyr filled the air as we all struggled to fit into the single line. On either side of the line stood ashy tables on which were placed wares and goods of different varieties. In front of me was a burly woman, probably in her 40s, also struggling to fit into the single line. Thank goodness for the calories I’ve shed over the past couple of months; if not, I would have been in similar predicament, struggling with all the weight amidst the panting and sweating under the scorching sun.

Eventually, I arrived at Mama Nkiru’s shop. I greeted her promptly and quickly said yet another greeting to her neighbor, the tall and slender woman that always wore a red barret and a green coloured bib over her dress. It was obvious she was a member of Our Lord’s Chosen Ministries. She never made a complete statement without uttering the phrase “God bless you”.

“Good morning Ma, Merry Christmas o. How una dey?” I greeted.

“Nwa mu, we are fine o, my son. Kedu? How you dey? You no go travel to see your people”, Mama Nkiru asked me.

“Mba, No. Nobody go dey for hospital if I travel na. And e be like say na for this Christmas season people begin dey sick. Hospital just dey full”, I replied.

“Ehen now, why people no go sick? When they are going from house to house, dey chop anything wey dem give dem. You no know say evil people sabi give poison for Christmas season. Na why I dey tell young men like you; always dey careful anywhere wey you dey go. No collect food from person chop”, she said.

“Yes, yes, I know. I go dey very careful. Abeg, I wan buy Oha leaves, stockfish, Cameroon pepper and dry fish”, I quickly said in a bid to prevent her from dishing out one of her unending boring sermons about evil people.

Then she started getting the items I requested for.

“What of palm oil? You no go buy that one?” she asked.

“No, the one wey I get never finish”, I replied.

All the while, a young woman beside us kept lamenting and was disturbing our peace. She was purchasing fresh fish from the fish seller beside Mama Nkiru’s shop. She was saying her rich brother in-law that just came back from Obodo Oyibo didn’t bring anything for her. It wasn’t just her that was at the receiving end of his wickedness, she lamented. She claimed that all the years he was in abroad, he never sent a gift as flippant as a bottle of perfume. Now that he was back in the country, he still didn’t give them any gifts. She quickly said it shall not be well with her rich brother in-law.

I knew the gods protecting folks at the market would have become tired of her expression of grief, because she was struck with a sudden and unexpected cough that made her cease from lamenting just for a while.

And the young woman is not alone. All over communities in Africa, people have this unwritten rule that any rich and successful relative MUST be responsible for the welfare and upkeep of the members of his/her immediate family. Rich folks that engage in some form of philanthropy are quickly rebuked by the members of the immediate family. They are reminded of the needs of the members of their immediate family and are chided for focusing on people other than them.

And the worse part of the mêlée is that most folks claim it is their RIGHT to be taken care of by the rich and successful members of their family. They expect to be showered with gifts and cash every now and then. Some folks have become lazy overnight and refused to hustle hard to earn a living. I have a rich brother in township that will take care of me, they proclaim. Do these lazy slugs think there is a tree somewhere in township where people go to pluck money from every morning? Or is it not the same hustle that yields the dividends everywhere in the world?

Whenever this issue of family over-dependence on the successful relatives comes to mind, I remember the ruckus between Emmanuel Adebayor and the members of his immediate family. There are a lot of young men struggling to survive in Europe and other continents against all odds. They work under harsh conditions just to put food on the table. And what do they get in return? Their family members would sit their asses down back home, dictating to them how to manage his finances. And these lazy folks are quick to remind them of how many nights they stayed awake to pray that they would get Visa to travel abroad. I prayed the rosary five times in a day just to make sure you traveled abroad safely, they lament. No wahala…clap for yourself, Mister and Madam Prayer Warrior.

Just recently, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced that they would be giving away 99% of their Facebook shares to a charity trust. Other rich folks like Bill Gates contribute a large percentage of their wealth to charity as well. If it is in Africa that a rich person does that, the members of his immediate family would go ballistic. They would even go to the nearest shrine to inquire from the gods whether there is anything wrong with their rich brother. Or the deeply religious ones would organize sessions of fasting and prayer to seek the face of God in that matter.

We are in the Christmas season and it is probably the most convenient period in the year for different people all over the world to visit home. At the same time, a lot of lazy family members back home would be waiting patiently on their relatives in township to come back so they would milk them dry.

It is time for lazy folks to get their asses up and hustle hard. Food would not come down miraculously from heaven in the form of Manna. That stuff doesn’t happen anymore (I am not even sure it ever happened). You either hustle to put food on the table or you wouldn’t have food on the table to eat. It is as simple as any simple arithmetic calculation you could think of. Stop depending on that rich relative in township for your daily bread. Stop demanding cash or gifts as if it your God given right. That brother in township is not under any obligation to shower you with gifts or cash. He would only do it if he so wishes.

Unnecessary begging should stop. Get up, hustle and earn a living!

HUSTLE. REAL. HARD.

 

Now Playing: Unnecessary Begging by Fela Kuti

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

THE THREAT OF TRUTH AND THE DEPTHS OF FEAR

“A marriage is like a long trip in a tiny rowboat; if one passenger starts to rock the boat, the other has to steady it. Otherwise, they will go to the bottom together” – David Reuben

“Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning. Your love paints a beautiful picture of what love really means” – Unknown

“It is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life” – Rita Rudner

 

The day started just like any other day in the life of a brother called Me.

Alarm rings by 5 minutes past 5 a.m. and I wake up to peruse through the Holy Book before I get the makeshift mini-gym ready. In spite of my Agnostic beliefs, I still do my best to go through the Holy Book every morning. Not because of the fear of the unknown. Naa, Noo, Neigh! In all honesty, I decided I had to be well versed in some passages of the Holy Book. So that if peradventure I decide to switch careers from a hustling doctor to a flamboyant man of God, the transition would be an easy one.

After getting the makeshift mini-gym ready, I took a quick shit. Well, not so quick sha. Most times, the heavy stuff takes time to get off my behind. I struggle and strain but the stubborn shit still insists to spend some time before letting go of my anal canal. Poor Anus! And when it eventually gets off, the workout commences.

Fourty-five minutes go by and a brother called Me is done with the workout. Then a quick bath. And then I get dressed. And ultimately, off to the clinic to hustle. Now, that’s my kind of normal day.

But on this glorious day, a few days after the full moon receded, I sat on the chair swinging left and right, my literary planets surrounding me and keeping me company. I had just gotten The Weeknd’s Echoes of Silence and was listening to the harmonious notes emanating from my phone. Damn, Adele has nothing on The Weeknd, aswear!

Two hours later, there were no patients yet. Na wa o…is this how the day would be, I asked myself. And then I thought for a second, what if the Almighty decides to cure the world of every single ailment that existed, what would become of hustling doctors and their careers? In all honesty, that would be a tragic situation. Olorun maje! So I said a quick prayer: “Gracious Lord, have mercy on your dear son and send some sick folks to us today”.

And the Lord heard my prayers. A couple of minutes later, a middle aged woman walked into the clinic in the company of her three children, all looking weak and ill. I smile gleefully as I beckoned on them to sit down. Now who said the Lord doesn’t work wonders!

A few minutes later and I am done with them. I tell them they’d be fine when they take the medications. The youngest needed an Incision & Drainage so they would have to wait behind, I said. The middle aged woman nodded in agreement. All of a sudden, I get a call on my Intercom from the female medical ward.

“Please, am I speaking with Dr. Ba’Ruu”, the nurse asked.

I recognized her voice; those soothing tones that caressed my pinnae whenever I walked into the ward. A voice so silky yet ethereal.

“Yeah, Jessica, na Ba’Ruu. Hafa? Any leelee?” I replied.

“OK, gud’afta’noon Sir. Please, your attention is needed urgently at the female ward”, she said.

“OK, I dey show now”. And I left for the ward.

I walked past the receptionist and said a quick ‘Hi”. And then into the alley. The alley looked different today. The receptionist looked different today. Everything looked different today. When I talked to mother in the morning, her voice sounded different over the phone. Well, maybe something different would happen today, I hoped. And it had better be a positive one. Probably my girl would eventually accept my proposal, I wished.

I saw her when I walked into the ward. She was frail and worn-out, like oversized lingerie hung on a clothes line. When she saw me, she struggled so hard to act tough. But her eyes betrayed her [those eyes, Chico, they never lie]. They were sunken and dry and bereft of any tears to shed. Her daughter was beside her, stroking her right hand and reading a passage from the Scriptures for her. It’s been five weeks since the hospital became her temporary abode. But I wasn’t sure she would have the chance to go back to the permanent one she used to live in. A new one was being prepared for her by destiny. Providence has willed her to go. Very soon, she would have to go to an abode six feet below the ground beneath her feet. She knew her fate already. She has accepted it. But secretly, her children hoped for a miracle to happen.

After attending to her immediate medical needs – the pain that ate deep into her – I made to leave. Sporadically, I asked her daughter: “Nne, what about your husband. All the while Mama has been in this hospital, I’ve not seen him at all. Your kids come around to visit. Your siblings and their spouses do come around also. But I’ve never see your Boo. Hope all is well?”

She placed her head deep into the palms of her hands, heaved a sigh of gloom and told me we needed to talk. Not in the ward. Most definitely in my office.

And so there we were, seated in the office. My chair wasn’t rotating anymore, and the literary planets had deserted me. My eyes were fixated on hers as she told a melancholic tale to me; a tale she had never told anyone. I didn’t know why she chose to tell me the sad tale. Maybe, she hoped I could proffer a solution.

She said she was separated from her husband and was working towards getting a divorce. She was fed up with the whole situation. Their romance started off on a lovely note. And progressed over time to marriage. Three years after getting married, she caught her husband with another man in their bedroom, fucking each other. Her close relatives had told her to go back to the husband and beg him to come back. Every marriage has setbacks, they told her. And hers wouldn’t be the first or the last. But she had made up her mind. She would definitely get the divorce.

Over time, there has been an increasing pressure on young women to get married. That Tag ‘Married Woman’ is what many women aim for. It has become the Holy Grail for a lot of women. One is made to realize that she is not complete until she has a man to call her husband. And in a bid to conform to these hackneyed societal dictates, many women get married by any means necessary. And they stick to the marriages, no matter the amount and type of bullshits that are thrown at them.

On the other hand, homosexuality is frowned at in this part of the world. Did I just say frown? C’mon, Ba’Ruu…frown is an understatement. Homosexuality is an anathema and an unforgivable abomination. Folks accused of the so-called crime of homosexuality are humiliated and the unlucky ones, lynched. A couple of months ago, some young boys were rounded up at Asaba and paraded as gays by the Police. What crime did they commit? Did they steal yam meant for Amadioha? Or did they dip hand into the offering meant for Chi Okike Abiama? No, they didn’t. They were prosecuted for having consensual copulation with other consenting adults.

The argument for/against recognizing and legalizing gay unions would forever be debatable in this part of the world. But it is essential we bring a most important creed of humanity on the table while arguing: Do no harm to anyone. Our species has a higher chance of survival if we abide by this humanist creed. Why lynch a man caught with his dick inside another’s behind? Why murder the person in cold blood?

Let the Almighty fight his wars for himself. He never sanctioned his followers to go on a rampage and start murdering unbelievers. Or did he send bible-wielding zealous mercenaries to drop bombs on the heads of skeptics? Let God fight his wars. There are a thousand and one issues we need to get right. Issues such as interdenominational squabbles are more pertinent than whose anus a gay man sticks his dick in. Or who a lesbian fucks. Heck, you could as well lynch a politician accused of embezzling funds, would you? Of course not!

We should lend support to these victims of this horrible persecution. They should be encouraged to identify themselves and come out of the closet. It would do everyone good in the long run instead of persecuting them to the extent that they are afraid of being who they are. Out of fear, most of these victims go into pretentious marital unions with people they share no feelings for and in turn, cause emotional harm to their heterosexual partners coerced into marrying them because of fear of discrimination.

Let them be free to live their lives without fear of attacks and reprisal.

Do. No. Harm. To. Anyone.

For this is the whole duty of man. Capisce!

 

Now Playing: Equalisation of Trouser and Pant by Fela Kuti

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

OF PHONETICS, OYINBOISM AND NEGLECT OF OUR CULTURE

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” – Marcus Garvey

“A culture is dying, fading like the embers on a cold freezing morning. We neglected our gods, a tradition that held our clans together. We embraced the white man’s religion, and things are no longer the same” – Ba’Ruu

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures” – Cesar Chavez

“All objects, all phases of culture are alive. They have voices. They speak of their history and interrelatedness. And they are all talking at once” – Camille Paglia

 

We were all seated inside the makeshift Obi. The elders were seated amongst us. Kola, drinks and snuff were on the center table. The Ogbu Opi was outside, serenading our guests with his Oja as they walked into the makeshift Obi. They have come for Akunne’s Iku Aka – Introduction ceremony. The groom – Emeka – was smiling delightfully.

For the past couple of months, I’ve decided that I would be attending such traditional events more frequently. The only way I could learn from the elders is by watching them partake in these cultural duties. So that when my time is ripe, and I decide to seek a Nwa Baby to marry – my Tomato Jos, these cultural practices wouldn’t be alien to me. So on this day, I sat amongst the elders and watched keenly to learn from them, as they partook in the traditional ceremony of welcoming our potential in-laws to our clan.

The eldest man proceeded to say the prayers and performed the traditional rite of breaking kola. Afterwards, a young man presented the broken fragments littered on a tray to the visitors to take. We also took ours.

Then they were encouraged to introduce themselves. The first man that stood up was adorned in a kaftan made of cheap satin material. He spoke at length about how important it is for a ‘ripe’ young man to seek a companion when the time comes. When he eventually finished his ‘long sermon on the mount’, he identified himself as the groom’s uncle. Others took turns to introduce themselves.

Kedu Mpa ya – Where is the boy’s father”, Dee Elezie asked. Rumblings and mumblings and hushed whispers were heard after the question was asked. And then the man adorned in a kaftan made of cheap satin material stood up and said thus: “We are sorry, our in-laws. Iwe ewela unu – don’t be angry. It is unfortunate his father cannot be here today. He is a pastor and he had an urgent engagement he wanted to attend to, so he couldn’t make it today. That is why I, and other uncles of his, am here today. Thank you”.

Our elders became furious. Dee Romanus was visibly angry. “Is his religion more important than our traditions”, he thundered. Our elders deliberated for a few minutes and came up with a verdict. “Traditions demand that the groom’s father must be present at an Iku Aka ceremony. The only exception is if the groom’s father is dead. Without the groom’s father being present, nothing would go on as planned”, Dee Elezie said impassively.

Many minutes later, the visitors stood up and left the makeshift Obi. The Iku Aka ceremony couldn’t proceed as planned. Akunne was dejected. Her mother and the other members of umuada consoled her.

Later at night, Akunne told me the truth. She confided in me that the real reason why Emeka’s father didn’t attend the ceremony was because it was against his beliefs. He was worried that the General Overseer of his church would label him a heretic if he went against the church’s ethos by attending the Iku Aka ceremony.

Phewww…TRAGIC!

The neglect of our traditions and culture! Before the white man came, we had cultural tenets that bound us together in our respective communities; beliefs that guided us. Some were out-rightly evil while others were harmless. The white man brought civilization and religion in exchange for the destruction of our beliefs. Some historians insist that some rare and exceptional artifacts were carted away to museums under the guise of destroying idols.

Decades have passed and many moons have ebbed away since these inglorious escapades happened. Presently, we live in a society where the vestiges of the white man’s plunder still abound like stubborn weed amongst corn stalks and scarecrows. Folks that claim to be under the influence of the spirit refuse bluntly to identify with anything that has to do with the African culture. Antiquities and artifacts that could fetch communities revenue via tourism are labeled idols and destroyed by bible-wielding firebrand men of God. In destroying these idols, the pastors that perpetrate these heinous acts aren’t different from the ISIS terrorists that are infamous for destroying World Heritage Sites.

I remembered when one of my Sunday School tutors came to visit us in our house one time when we were young. When he entered the living room, he beheld some wooden artifacts that adorned the living room. Immediately, he started speaking in strange tongues while screaming ‘JESUS’ ‘JESUS’. Obviously, he was compos menti but was kabashing upandan. Subsequently, he encouraged us to convince our father to do away with those ‘evil idols’. According to him, such things could habour evil spirits that would eventually torment us. Did I do what he advised? Hell No! I didn’t because I couldn’t bring myself to tell my father to do away with harmless works of art just because my tutor said so.

Over the years, I persisted in my vexation about the dearth of our culture – an innocent lamb slaughtered on the altar of the white man’s religion and served on the platter of Oyinboism. I still persisted with this notion well into adulthood.

One time, I went to a local arts shop to purchase shamballa bracelets and locally made medallions. As I was perusing their collections, I started hearing voices exchanging insults at the cashier’s desk. The accent of the lady that was shouting was that of an individual that had lived all her life in England. There was a tinge of ‘Victorianesque’ flavor to her accent.

As I turned around, I saw a fly chic adorned in a bohemian dress. She had long dark flowing hair that sat comfortably over her shoulders. I couldn’t see her face so I walked closer. Damn, she had a phat booty. All the while, she was still exchanging abusive words with the cashier. When I reached the cashier’s table, I quickly dropped the shamballa bracelets I had collected. At that instant, the Victorian lady turned and I beheld her face.

It took me just a fleeting second to recognize her. Lo and behold, it was Azunna, Mama Azunna’s daughter. She sold petrol at a filling station somewhere in the outskirts of the small town. But there she was, at a local arts shop, all different and speaking phonee. Which day did she go to oversea, I asked myself. I remember vividly that I saw her sometime last week when I went to purchase petrol for my ‘I-Big-Pass-My-Neighbor’ generator. Maybe she went to yankee in her dreams, I guess.

Such people abound on a daily – folks that have decided to live lives that are alien to the reality that beckons glaringly in their face every day. They are the hoi polloi; folks that have sworn to keep wallowing in brazen pretentious lifestyles. Does switching to oyinboism and phonetics guarantee that the individual would be more accepted in the society? Who played these mind tricks on these folks? Others have chosen not to give a shit about their culture and traditions.

In all honesty, I choose to be communally and socially incorrect. If it makes me different, so be it. If I get ostracized from this forlorn land of deception, I’d go away in peace.

It is time for folks to go back to motherland – our root – and seek the essence of our existence. As much as we can, let us embrace those good tenets that bound us together in the past. We could start by encouraging the learning of our indigenous languages and cultures in our schools. Let the kids be taught in their local languages. The era of oyinboism and phonetics should be obliterated and a fresh era born; an era when Africans would be proud of whom they are. It is no crime to share a glass of palmwine with the elders at a village square or during the Igba Nkwu festival. It is not a crime to watch the theatrical displays of the masquerades – Ojionu and Agaba – at the market square during the Ichu Afo festival. It is not an abomination to partake in the Iri Ji festival with a traditional medicine-man beside you, adorned in Nzu and Omu leaves. Just because the preacher says it is evil doesn’t make it evil.

If we choose to murder whatever is left of our culture, no wahala – fair enough. But just be rest assured that there would be no imperialist to mourn with us during the funeral.

Preservation of our culture should be non-negotiable. The time has come and is now, when the true custodians of our culture would preserve the culture in spirit and in truth.

 

Now Playing: Africa by Toto

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

PEOPLE FEAR WHAT THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain” – Frank Herbert (Dune Chronicles)

“Fear cuts deeper than swords” – George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire)

 

I think I saw a ghost.

I was on the veranda, staring at the green shrubs and thinking about nothing really.  It was on a Sunday afternoon, a few minutes after the breeze blew the hat off my head. I was staring at the green shrubs while munching on a medium carrot when I beheld the ghost. The sound that heralded its appearance wasn’t the normal swishy sounds that I hear in movies. There were no visual effects that preceded its appearance.

The image of the ghost had a blurry outline.

It wasn’t the ghost of the young woman that died at our center last week. I was partaking in a rural medical outreach when she was brought in dead by some young men, with a bunch of wailing women behind them. She bled after delivering her baby, one of the young men had told me. He blamed it on ndi ufu anya that were after the woman. As for me, I knew what caused her death. And it wasn’t ndi ufu anya that caused it.

The image of the ghost appeared near the place the GeePee tank stood.

It was a wailing ghost.

It wasn’t the ghost of my father – The Kind Joe. It couldn’t be, I said to myself. He must be resting in peace and wouldn’t want to bother me. Seven years had passed since he had gone to rest.

I stood up and stared some more at the image of the ghost. As I made to walk towards where it stood, my phone rang. Grrgh, Grrgh, Grrgh. I picked the phone and stared at the screen. An unknown number. This is strange, I thought. Besides, I knew I changed the ringtone about a week ago. Katy Perry’s Dark Horse was the new ringtone. As I turned, the ghost was no more. And then I felt a hand tap me on my shoulders. Grudgingly, I opened my eyes.

Nwoke m, wake up jor. I been dey call your name since. What is wrong? Wetin dey paa? You been don dey sleep since one in the afternoon. Now evening don reach. The malaria still dey worry you? Do quick quick, the others dey wait for us outside”, Lasso said and started fiddling with the book on the table. Nena was laughing all the while beside the door.

I stood up and rushed to the bathroom. Water on my face, CHECK. Brush my teeth, CHECK. Body Spray on my flesh, CHECK. Fancy shorts over the boxers, CHECK. A tee-shirt over my torso, CHECK. Gym gloves, a pair of trainers and headphones inside the knapsack, CHECK.

And then we left.

On the corner of the street, we saw a large crowd gathered. I took care not to hit anyone. Fela’s Confusion was playing on the car stereo, so I couldn’t hear CJ shouting from the lane on the other side. Nena tapped my shoulder and pointed towards CJ’s direction. I lowered the volume of the song emanating from the stereo and wound down the glass.

Oga Baruu, gud’ev’nin Sir. Where all of una dey go this cool evening?” he asked.

O boy, we dey head for Gym o. Make these muscles comot wella. You suppose know na”, I replied.

Hahahaha…e be like you wan resemble bouncer. You wan add extra muscle on top the one wey you get before. I been think say na beer parlor una dey go sef”, he said.

Noo, no na Gym we dey go. Wetin dey happen for area? Why many people gather for this place?” I asked.

Na one man like that o. Him been thief person manhood. Na e people come arrange am, beat am well well, make him return the manhood”, he said.

Manhood? Which kain story be dat? Person thief another person manhood? Wetin him use thief am?” I asked.

Oga Baruu, you know say you no dey believe all these kain story. Na spiritual somethin’. Dat one pass you. The man dey lucky sef say dem no burn am. Na police people wey come just save am”, CJ replied.

Pheewww…TRAGIC! In this 21st century, a grown adult with a fully functional brain would believe that another would ‘mysteriously’ steal another person’s penis. This scenario reminded me of a similar case I read on the blogosphere. An Indian man was given the beating of his life after he was accused of stealing an okada man’s private part in Lagos.

In all honesty, it is a pity that in our contemporary African society, folks still attribute events to ‘mysterious’ powers. And it keeps getting worse as the days go by. It is as if folks in this part of the world have made a covenant with stupidity.

One time, a colleague told me an infamous story. He was on call and an elderly man was rushed into the emergency room. When he came to examine him, he recognized the man: he was a patient of his who was on management for a chronic ailment. But then, this patient was always notorious for not being compliant with his medications. He examined the man and realized he was gone. So he calmly told one of his sons that his father is no more. The guy let off a heavy scream. He told the others that they would go quickly to accost the man that ‘finished’ their father. According to him, their father had an argument with a member of their umunna and that member of the umunna promised to deal with their father. But personally, I believed (and still believe) that what killed the man was the uncontrolled chronic ailment he had.

People fear what they don’t understand. And with every new generation of folks that arise, these same inglorious cultural dictates are transferred to them. No one is making any attempt to free himself from its shackles. Religious institutions are not even helping matters. It is these same men of God that would advice a member of their congregation not to heed the doctor’s advice on an issue. But when shit hits the fan, they’d promptly blame it on God’s will. Is it his will that we continue to wallow in ignorance and suffer?

Females accused of witchcraft are stripped and lynched and afterwards, their carcasses are burnt. And the perpetrators of these acts are educated folks that would commit these ignoble acts as well as circulate the videos while ministers of the Lord stay by the side, encouraging them while chanting “suffer not the witch to live”. Tell me – are we any different from the barbarians in the medieval times? Are we different from the blood-thirsty folks of the dark ages?

Grown men believe that a ‘witch’ could stare continuously at a person and all of a sudden, steal the person’s heart away. Adults would gladly pour pepper into the eyes of a convulsing child. Folks actually believe individuals could turn to bats, owls and cats and proceed to attack others while they sleep. In all honesty, I don’t even know what to blame this dim-witted trend on. Maybe, there is an unknown genome (yet to be discovered) lurking somewhere in the Negro that succeeds in twisting the mentality of the African race. The religion that was brought to our society to foster unity has been used to perpetrate evil worse than the ones it fought. Florence Nightingale would be rolling over in her tomb in sorrowful agony.

Ridding ourselves of these pointless beliefs would do us more harm than good. The more we wallow in these beliefs, the more we push ourselves back by many centuries. Some might label me a confused folk ignorant of the ploys of devils and demons. But I’d willingly continue in my perceived spiritual ignorance than lynch my fellow man for allegedly stealing another man’s manhood. Capisce!

 

Now Playing: El Manana by Gorillaz

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

THE RISE OF THE CHILD-PHUCKERS: Of Pedophiles and Shamelessness!

“Young girls are like helpless children in the hands of amorous men; whatever is said to them is true and whatever manipulation on their bodies seems like love to them. Sooner or later, they come back to their senses, but the scars are not dead inasmuch as her spoiler lives” – Michael Bassey Johnson

“Religion has the capacity to silence critical thinking and create blindness in entire groups of people. It can infect the minds of followers so completely as to allow the most egregious sexual acts against children and others to go unchallenged for centuries” – Darrel Ray

“Research on child abuse suggests that religious beliefs can foster, encourage and justify the abuse of children. When contempt for sex underlies teachings, this creates a breeding ground for abuse” – Mary Garden

 

The day started just like any other normal day for yours truly. First of, I woke up panting while drenched in a sea of my sweat. A couple of blood-sucking mosquitoes were beside me, making those irritating sounds: buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz. They must be frustrated that their victim had awoken sooner than expected. Bloody Sucktards! I looked at the clock hanging on the wall; it was 2 a.m. Phewww! I had a couple more hours before the final awakening. Going back to sleep wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t want to see that gory face tormenting me in my sleep anymore; the same face I’ve been seeing for the past few days. Back in the days, I would have commenced fasting and prayers and kabashing, to pursue the evil spirits of bad dreams. Nowadays, I simply check my temperature and afterwards take a few pills and feel good. Now that was how my day started!

The day continued just like any other normal day for yours truly. Second of, I didn’t go to the clinic in the morning because it was my turn to be on call during the week. Therefore, I had to wait for 4 p.m. So I stayed back at the quarters, rolled some joint and poured me some crimson wine into a glass. I kept the open bottle beside one of the dumbbells littered on the floor and got everything ready. Soon, two of my home boys walked into the room, reeking of cheap brandy and SK. I hailed them and they hailed me back. Everyone brought out their stake and kept on the tiled floor. They poured themselves some wine too. And then rolled some joint. It was time for the FIFA 15 tournie to begin. Now that was how my day continued!

We were on the 13th game when I received a call on the intercom. Grrgh, Grrgh, Grrgh, Grrgh! The same familiar sound that always haunts me at night whenever an ill patient was rushed into the hospital premises. But it wasn’t yet night time. It wasn’t even 4 p.m. when my call was meant to commence. I still had about 90 more minutes before I started work for the day.

Grudgingly, I picked the receiver.

Hello, Doc Ba’Ruu, please your attention is urgently needed at the emergency room”, the nurse at the other end said. Her voice betrayed her; it was shaky from a languid fear. A fear unknown to me but already known to her. What this fear could be, I didn’t know.

See ehn, Nkechi, you people keep disturbing someone. It is not yet time for me to start working nah. Haba…is there no doctor around”, I replied.

Doc, no vex. The other new doctor been go bank. And Kenny dey labour room dey attend to one pregnant woman wey no gree born since last night. Abeg, come quick quick. Na one small girl wey dey bleed from her toto. Person rape am”, Nkechi replied.

At that instant, I knew why her voice was shaky. Voices don’t have tremors but hers did. I told her I would soon be there. I dropped the receiver and cursed the devil. I looked at the TV Screen. The score was 2 – nil; I was in a winning position with 23 minutes left in the second half. I put on a Tee Shirt and a pair of beach shorts, told the two folks I’d soon be back and rushed out of the house. I remembered the smell of SK would betray me, so I rushed back to use some gulps of Listerine Mouth Wash. And then I left for good.

At the entrance to the emergency room, people were gathered – a mixture of folks in different age brackets. The old ones were represented by a few people; the younger generation had more representatives amongst the crowd gathered. When I walked in, I beheld a middle aged woman sobbing silently while holding a young girl of not more than six. The woman was cursing at an unseen person, saying it would not be well with him and his children.

Then I started taking a quick history. I learnt that the little kid was sent to go and purchase detergent at a nearby shop. A couple of minutes passed and she wasn’t back. This got her mother worried and as she was about to step out of the house to go look for her kid, there she was crying profusely while holding her crotch. Her undies were soaked with blood. The woman confirmed her worst fears that her child had just been molested.

The so-called ‘Uncle’ and another man in the shop took turns to rape the child before sending her away. It turned out she went to the shop she was asked to go to but because the person didn’t have what she was told to buy, she was directed to another shop where these godless beasts molested her. TRAGIC!

Almost every day, stories of sexual abuse of minors abound. On social media, print media, any kind of media…these stories abound on a daily. It seems these stories are even becoming more common place in our society. And the culprits are not just relatives of the victims. They come in different types: old shriveled folks, young middle aged good-for-nothing folks, rich successful pedophiles and so on. And every time such an act is committed, the same pertinent question is asked: WHO IS TO BE BLAMED? The Victims, The Culprits or The Ancient Serpent – The Devil?

Sometimes I wonder what goes on in the twisted minds of these child sexual offenders. What would make a grown man decide to phuck a minor? Are there no other willing consenting adults to copulate with? C’mon, konji can’t take the blame nah. When most of these offenders are caught, they’d easily blame the devil. I pity the devil because he has taken the blame for all the freaking evil humanity has committed. One time, I saw a sexual offender on TV blaming the victim for the act. The confused psycho said the victim wore an outfit that stimulated his slinging gun and made him to start thinking with his penis. Phewww! Craze has no better definition than this.

Rape is not the only form of Child Sexual Abuse. Child marriage is one of the main forms of child sexual abuse and UNICEF has stated that child marriage “represents the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls”. This could lead to further victimization in adulthood, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. You don’t have to stick your dick inside a child’s poonanie before it is termed assault or abuse; any form of sexual stimulation is termed assault or molestation.

Some mothers are also to blame. There are countless cases of mothers that witness molestation of their daughters by the shameless men they call husbands and instead of seeking help, their priority is to prevent the breakup of their marriages by keeping silent. They complain to their wards and spiritual fathers and those ones even worsen the situation by encouraging them to keep silent but take up their cases to the Lord. Is the Lord going to come down from above and prosecute these shameless men? Or is the Lord going to send his angels to padlock the dicks of these shameless men?

Some of these pedophiles have perfected another scheme – hiding behind the veil of polygamy to take home young fresh children as wives. Getting a good education doesn’t seem to inhibit their testosterone-laden desires. Religion doesn’t also seem to inhibit such. The church is notorious for continually failing to bring pedophile priests to book but would rather cover up their asses. Some misguided Muslims are even worse in this regard – they commit these acts and then blame the victims for seducing them. And what happens afterwards? The girls get punished while the perpetrator gets away easily.

Even great literary minds such as Richard Dawkins have come out openly to defend mild pedophilia. Fine…clap for the literary psycho! Maybe he should also defend ‘mild’ armed robbery or ‘mild’ murder. That is the kind of society we find ourselves in, where folks have decided that they would bury the truth, and rather keep wallowing in deception and blatant duplicity!

It is a pity there are few/no laws at all to punish the offenders. It is a hypocritical situation because many of the lawmakers are also sexual offenders hiding behind the cloaks of religion and the almighty patriarchal backbone of the contemporary African society. Our society is a patriarchal one. And patriarchy on its own is a horrible scheme. Now add religion/bigotry to it and what do you get? A Time Bomb waiting to explode in our faces!

It is time to stand for what is right. The protection of the girl child should be non-negotiable. They deserve better instead of getting molested and abused. In our own small way, we have to learn to not just speak against such evil but take an extra help in helping a victim while identifying a culprit or two. And parents should learn to do more to protect their kids from scheming pedophiles lurking around, seeking for little kids to devour. And in time, everything good would come!

 

Now Playing: Buzzcut Season by Lorde

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!

ARE WE THE LAST OF A DYING BREED?

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them” – Ray Bradbury

“Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe go hand in hand with it – will be dead as well” – Margaret Atwood

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” – Joseph Addison

“I never feel lonely if I’ve got a book – they’re like old friends. Even if you’re not reading them over and over again, you know they are there. And they’re part of your history. They sort of tell a story about your journey through life” – Emilia Fox

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one” – George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire)

 

The Re-Up

At precisely six weeks, eight days, fourteen hours, twenty-three minutes and eleven seconds ago, I got sick and tired of life in township. The hustle and bustle and sweat and blood with little cash to show for it are simply exhausting and pitiable. My goodness…Can I Live? Sure, I Can!

The voices in my head kept telling me it was time to pack my belongings and commence an exodus to the village. Life over there would be much better, they told me. I wouldn’t pay for water and power supply. There would be no noisy generators disturbing my sleep and waking me up from my usual comical dreams. Last night, I was about to get a handshake from Fidel Castro and suddenly woke up to the heavy sounds emanating from the generator house.

So I hearkened to those inglorious voices and decided it was time to leave. Not for good, of course. But I just had to go back to my roots. Motherland – where my forefathers trotted upon the ground beneath their feet as they warded off marauding infidels. Motherland – where the smell of fresh okazi leaves (dancing wobbly inside the cooking pot) serenaded my nostrils as I sip from my palmwine gourd. Motherland – where the crickets would speak to me in the silence engulfing the night, as I gaze at the tiny stars littered on the dark sky above my head. Motherland, here I come!

 

Motherland

I traveled to my hometown – Owerre Nkwoji – a couple of days after I made up my mind to do so. I decided I would partake in cultivating the yams and cassava during my stay there. The New Yam festival had gone; a new one would soon be born. I hope the gods would have mercy on the barren ground by quenching its thirst with the colorless liquid from above.

I greeted the elders when I walked into the compound. Nno…welcome our son, they told me. Everywhere looked different. Everyone seemed to be aging so fast. They inquired about life in township. Township is fine, I told them while handing over some loaves of bread and bottles of brandy to the eldest of them all.

It’s been ages since I set foot on this soil. May the ancestors not frown on me for staying away too long! I would make up with them, I promised. Before I sip frothy palmwine with the elders, I would pour some on the soil for the ancestors to take a sip. Before I eat kola while watching the theatrical display of the local dancers at Nkwo Oji market square, I would break it into half and drop some for them to eat. I hope Amadioha smiles wryly as the nuts fall on bare floor? And before I wash my feet at Mmiri Oji stream, I would………Well, I’d have to think about what the ancestors would like on that occasion.

 

The Retrospection

Later in the evening, I walked into Pop’s library and beheld all the books staring in my face. The dusty rectangular objects lined neatly on the shelves. These books raised me. Back then, I would be made to read them and write essays on each chapter. My worst nightmares while growing up were these objects looking me right in the iris! These books I was staring at reminded me of the ones lined neatly in rows and columns at the Children Center library in Nsukka Campus. How time flies…racing at the speed of sound!

Back then, we were children of the literary age. But all of a sudden, we’ve transitioned to the children of a technological age, when social media has replaced the libraries. An age when quick messages submerged in a stream of typos have replaced letters filled with literary anecdotes lined on a platter of figures of speech. In this age, we’ve found streamlined ways of doing much of our habitual work; pictorials have replaced words. Our words are no longer our weapons.

 

The Come-Up

It is not uncommon to find young people unwilling to read long literary articles. These same folks would gladly read a quick celebrity gossip not more than a handful of meager aggregation of vowels and consonants, along with scandalous images.

According to Bruce Wexler in Poetry Is Dead: Does Anybody Really Care, he lamented that society was gradually changing in a way that did not favour the reading of poetry (and by extension, other forms of literature). A child who comes from a background where the parents or other close relatives don’t read would likely not read. It is as simple as that! These days, people don’t value the written word anymore.

What is the importance of writing books for people that wouldn’t read them? It is just like a call girl going to market her services at the Vatican. When great authors die, people spend time lamenting and wailing. The eulogies flow like crimson tides. When Achebe died, mourners gathered around and in hushed whispers, they mourned the death of a literary giant. But in the silence that engulfed their abodes, they quickly forgot what the man stood for. How many of those mourners have read any of his books? This lackadaisical attitude would only hasten the dearth of the reading culture in our society.

 

The Wailing Wailer

Are we the last of a dying breed? Are we the last living souls inhabiting this floating island about to be erased soon? A painful obliteration that would pierce sharply into our already wounded hearts! This modern languid approach towards reading would only succeed in breeding a new generation of confused folks with little knowledge in fields other than the ones they find themselves in. What does that make us? Ignorant Zombies!

Maybe this is as a result of the society we find ourselves in. In a nation filled with suffering and dejection, it would be uncommon for folks to substitute the time spent on hustling and listening to pointless gossips for time spent on reading. Or in a best case scenario, they’d rather read a holy book or a pamphlet by some man of God. These ones would bring spiritual solutions to their dejection and misery, they hope.

But I am glad that there is some hope for literature and the reading culture. Parents gradually understand the importance of reading and are doing their best to encourage their kids to do so once more.

 

The Touchdown

One time, I was at a car park trying to board a bus when I beheld a young hustler selling books at the park. I suddenly remembered I had to stock up my library with contemporary African literature. So I called him and perused the collections he had. I saw Sefi Atta’s Everything Good Will Come and bought a copy. All of a sudden, another hustler ran towards the window with wraps of plantain chips, beckoning on me to buy. I told him I couldn’t because I was watching my weight. We all laughed at the joke. He saw the book I was holding, smiled and told me it was a good one. I enjoyed it when I read it, he said.

Now if I told you I wasn’t puzzled, it would make me the son of the devil, the father of all lies. My goodness! There I was at the car park, book in hand and a young hustler beside me, momentarily separated by the door of the car, listening to him give me a quick summary of the book. At that instant, I became glad and my joy knew no bounds. I realized the reading culture in Nigeria wasn’t dead after all. If a hustler selling plantain chips could make out time and read a book, then there is no excuse for anyone not to do same.

 

An Extempore Exit

So I flipped the last book I was holding – Victor Hugo’s Tailors of the Sea – and dropped it beside other dusty books on the shelf. I had to leave for the village square before the men start gathering with their trophies from the forest. Aneke promised to bring ele for me. I would eat it with Ukachukwu’s special palmwine when I reach the village square.

As I left the house and walked past the Ama – the entrance to the clan’s Obi, I suddenly beheld Nkechi bringing in the clothes hanging on the clothes line. She was wearing a spaghetti top and a short brown skirt enclosed her pelvis down to the midsection of her thighs. Her boobs were calling out for a willing mouth to munch on them. She winks at me and I do same. I will have to hurry up and hope to make it back on time before she changes her mind. I prayed to the gods that the ele and the palmwine I was going to have would act as aphrodisiac so that I will finish work when I come back home to Nkechi’s bosom.

I hope the gods would hear my humble request.

 

Now Playing: Lithium by Evanescence

Word to Mutha: This work is STRICTLY the opinion of the writer. No Love Lost; No Love Found…It is what it is!