PUPPY LOVE

puppy love

When I finally gave up, it was because everyone else had given up, everyone else had submitted to long hugs, kisses and affection. I would never have pegged myself as a ninny, changing to suit the crowd but I had become an oddity. A rare object to be showcased in glass and scrutinized. I was not admired, I was inspected over and over again, looked over for faults and flaws. Some declared that they would not have nothing to do with me they thought my uniqueness ugly. Some admitted that I had rare charm, but my charms soon wore off in the face of my resolve not to give up.

Like the rest of my kind, I was born cuddly, lovely to behold with heart melting features, despite the lovable qualities, I was born to be strong, to be fierce, to be steadfast and to guard what was mine! For acceptance and for affection, the rest of my kind shed their stronger features till I was left on the shelf, the lone voice wailing reminders of our other qualities.

The world came to me like they came to Job, “Condemn yourself” they said. “Curse your nature and accept our love” they cried. They said they could not bear to watch my constant rejection, my loneliness. They hated the pain I endured and they couldn’t bear to see me picked and dropped over and over again, cuddled for a while, then left to face long periods of wintry cold.

When I gave up, it was to find acceptance. None of my kind still looked like I did, none of my kind still bore the deep marks we were born with. I gave up to look like the rest of the crowd, I had suffered too much pain for being different. I remember the last time I was picked up, I was admired for a while and I basked in that admiration. I was loved and cherished for an oh so short while. I was dropped when others of my kind came by, all cute, cuddly, adorable and inviting, all the things I was not! My next potential lover did not even pick me up, I never even enjoyed the warmth of his arms, he never stroked, never cuddled, just inspected and rejected!

My heart ached with each rejection, was it any wonder I chose to give up? I gave myself up to the ministrations of an opportunist lover. I was groomed by my lover, decked out and prettied up too. He pampered and oiled my coat, he fed me choicest meat till I was cuddly and chubby, he clipped and filed my claws to blunt smoothness, he put colourful ribbons in my hair too. All through my change, I never barked nor whined, I wanted to be like other puppies.

He offered me up for sale after he had loved me, after he made me lovable, he turned his face to younger puppies just waiting to be molded. I did not mind when he turned his back for I was snatched up the second he dropped me. I looked like the rest, I smelled like the rest and finally, I was loved like the rest!

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SO MANY NIGERIAN WAYS TO GO!

We will all die eventually, no doubt about that. But some of us intend to die when God says its time and for me, it will be time when I am 92years old, with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren surrounding my bedside. Death is inevitable, of course it is, but I refuse to die a Nigerian death. I refuse to die a statistical figure in the pages of a rarely read newspaper. I refuse to die a senseless death, fodder for back and forth name-calling between political opponents hoping to score insignificant points. I will not die a Nigerian death.

There are many ways to go as a Nigerian, none of which is the way I have envisaged my eventual passing. You could die in a bomb blast! If you live in the southern part of Nigeria, this may not be your end (I presently live in the southern part)! If you live in the northern part, then you should be worried. When the bomb goes off and takes your precious life, social media will light up, not in your specific remembrance but in remembrance of a collective figure like 30 and it might read something like this “30 people lost in another blast, God console their families”, then of course there will be all black pictures or a picture of a burning candle to show your collective faces (no individual will get special recognition). 2 to 3 days after, or a week at the very most, you will be totally forgotten and the rest of the country waiting to die either in a Nigerian way or in a normal way will move on.

You could die in a road accident, this is really a very common type of death, with our roads. Many die on our roads, those ones don’t even get any media mention. At the end of every year or at its beginning FRSC will mention your precious life as statistics, “1000 lives lost in road mishaps in 2014” and that’s that for you.

You could be kidnapped, if you live in the southern part of Nigeria you are at high risk of being kidnapped and you might be killed whether you pay the ransom or not. The media will light up for you, security agencies will struggle to get media mentions acting like they are doing something to get you back, if you are just a little bit popular you might get out, if you aren’t popular you will most likely die and we will not hear about it. Your family will not announce the cause of your death too publicly either (they have to guard against presenting themselves as a target for future attacks.) Now, if you are kidnapped in the north, you have just a little bit of hope, Oby and Josephine won’t rest, they will try their best to get you back but mark my words, you will still be a statistical figure “234 chibok girls still missing after 200 days”. Then the political giants will engage each other over you “Missing girls: APC accuses PDP of negligence”. “Chibok girls: They only want us out of government – PDP Chieftain”. Will you be found? I am not too confident but at least some noise will be made.

You could die looking for a job, I understand your frustration, you have to feed yourself, you have to clothe yourself, you have to exist and exist well! If you have a degree chances are that you will be searching for gainful employment as hard as I am. Then the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) would invite you for an exam or more likely the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would (2015 is around the corner, hands are needed). You and about 1 million other people will turn up at a 1000 capacity hall and (a.) fight to squeeze in. (b.) fight for question papers (c.) fight to submit. (d.) fight to squeeze out. In the midst of all the fight, you could be among the numbers who slump and die! You will definitely make the news, your friends would say they warned you not to go. The INEC chairman would blame you for animalistic behaviour and still hold his office very arrogantly, your people could receive compensation and of course let’s not forget the media headings “20 die in INEC examination stampede!”. A week or so later, you will be forgotten, another statistical Nigerian death.

It could be sickness and I am not talking Ebola, serious affairs like Ebola which can creep into all levels of society will be fought to a standstill! The government would do all in its power to stop it. The world would help too #worldhealthorganization, they have our interests at heart. Viruses like Ebola will be contained abeg, before it wipes the entire nation or worse still wipes big people in government. Business will continue as usual after we contain the virus and heroes of the virus war will be forgotten after the government mutters platitudes. Now back to the sickness that can really kill you, it could be malaria, just simple malaria that we get periodically. You would be down with a fever, you wouldn’t have a private hospital access card or funds to pay consultancy. The Doctors would be on strike protesting something and the government would fire the resident doctors so no public hospital for you. You would probably go to a pharmacy (not any big one o), a local one where a barely educated chemist will put a few multi-coloured drugs in white paper for you. The fever could get worse and you would die. There is a slim chance that you will make the news, it will read “Thousands still die of malaria in Africa, WE NEED NETS!” Heaven forbid you get diagnosed with a major illness, you know those kinds that require surgery or advanced treatment outside the country, then would be the time to put your house in order, you would surely die, not because our doctors don’t know what to do but because they don’t have the equipment or because there are long queues waiting in lines at one or two private and public hospitals to benefit from that particular machinery.

There are many ways to die a Nigerian death, I can’t list them all but I do not intend to go in any of those ways. I will die very old with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren scattered everywhere in the world. By then I would have been published, I would have practised my communication for development too, I would have commented on several issues bothering the country and hopefully, seen giant strides in the country’s progress. By then, I would have insisted that hunger in the nation be alleviated, that poverty be combated. By then I would have loved passionately and lived very fully. By then I would be very fulfilled. I will die a biblical death, the kind where you bless your children lying down and then close your eyes to rest. I will get media mentions, full paged obituaries by friends and family. Well written eulogies from colleagues and the government of that day. A long list of survivors on every media announcement and an even longer list of gratitude from my family after the funeral rites.

Too many Nigerian ways to die, we who won’t die in any of those ways salute you!

IF YOU WERE KIDNAPPED

If you were kidnapped, yes you, gi nwa onye m bu n’obi, gi nwa bu ezi oyi m, if you were kidnapped

I would be very pained

I would be bothered and be downright uncomfortable

Tears would spring to my eyes and spill down my cheeks at the thought of your torment

I would worry endlessly about you, I would wonder if you had been harmed,

If you were in pain or if you had been tortured

Situations would revolve in my mind and I would picture you in them all

 

If I heard you were kidnapped, I would ask, why, who and what for?!

If I was told boko haram took you, I would shake my head and wear a straight face

I would shout, mba! Nkea akali go!

I would scream for your return

I would petition the government and security agencies to demand action

I would call on all human rights groups to fight for your rescue

 

If you were kidnapped, I would understand the pain your parents would feel

I would feel their heartache, their sorrow and their loss

I would feel their confusion, their hurt and their despair at their sad lot

I would feel their pain as keenly as if they were my own parents searching for me

I would call up your parents, sit with them, cry with them, say words to make them feel better

 

 

If you, my friend, were kidnapped, I would never forget

I love you, you are a part of me, I wouldn’t take your loss kindly

I would do all in my power to get you back

To make sure that memories of you never fade

I would always listen for news of you

I would attempt anything and everything to get you back

Your memory will never be lost, not to my other interests, not to epidemics, not to other cares and worries

 

If you were kidnapped, I would want you back

I would want you back because you are precious, because you are priceless, because you are an important piece of me

 

I would do all these for you my good friend,

If some females in some obscure part of the country were kidnapped

I would not be bothered, of what use are they to me pray tell?

My passion to bring back missing people only extends to people whose loss affects me!

Any other person, I will forget!

 

 

Note: “Gi nwa onye m bu n’obi” – “You that is dear to my heart”. “Gi nwa bu ezi oyi m” – “You that is my good friend”. “Mba, nkea akali go” – “No, this is too much”

 

 

A MARBLE TO OUR GIRLS

by

moi

Weeks have turned to months and I do not think we are getting our girls back, do you? I mean, the frenzy to bring them home has died down like a raging fire fizzling out for lack of fuel and air. Of course embers from that fire glow and a few unnoticed bursts of fire spring to life and die a quick death in the face of many wet coals doused by our waning interest. We have started to forget them like we forget many other things. We are a people under siege, constantly faced with fresh battles, each worse than the last. We grow weary struggling to keep up with the challenges so we fight new battles without evaluating the last.

Our girls are gone from our minds, the battle for them was battles ago even before the Emab Plaza battle. They slowly evolve into history and become stories that we tell and retell when we gather round in the evenings to recount past events in a bid to forget new ones. Only a few of us remember them, people like Oby. When we discuss, we wonder if Oby has an agenda separate from our own, we wonder why she is always dressed up in red, consistently screaming about girls we have all obviously started to forget. She, like her fellow lone voices, sounds like an echo from the past, a nagging, pesky voice consistently reminding us of fading history, she irritates us!

The hue and cry to bring back our girls has died down, our media have forgotten. In fairness to them, their attention did last long considering the many events they have to bring to the fore. These events unfold like scenes from a drama in our daily lives and focus on the girls dim a little more with each new scene that unfolds. All that remains of our girls in the play is a tiny print at the top of every new script reminding us of the number of days they have been gone and inadvertently asking us to give up.

Our celebrities have forgotten too. It is no more “cool” to tweet hashtags and take beautiful pictures requesting politely and creatively for our girls. The virtual register set up for hashtags and cute pictures has been closed. In the thunderous days of #bringbackourgirls, celebrities world over campaigned with us, a known model even went completely naked to request for the girls.

The politicians, they never really remembered the girls, they only thought of them because the fire to bring them back raged and ignited them. They burned along with the rest of us because we burned, they even burned brighter; when we cooled, they cooled even faster and moved on to other things.

I don’t think the girls are coming home, we have lost the passion to bring them back. Indeed we cannot honestly relate with the horror of their situation, the modern slavery that has become their lives, we do not imagine the bone cutting scars that they will suffer beyond captivity if they come home, the despair they must feel at our fickleness, we do not think of them.

Our girls are lost to us, they are lost were it matters most – our hearts. It is now time to do for them what we do for history, what we do in remembrance of the long lost and the dead. It is time to do what we do when we cannot be bothered to genuinely remember everyday, it is time to raise a marble to our girls, a monument of our failure as a nation, a sign of the inhumanity of millions of people who do not fight for their own.

Am thinking a location close to the unity fountain will be just right. We could have sculptures of two hundred and something girls on a raised marble platform with the words “we will never forget”, the words on the sculpture will fall off scant years from its unveiling and will not be replaced, screaming testimonies to the fact that we have truly forgotten!

A LIFE OF WORDS

by

moi

images

I see the world in words, the beauty of clear pictures brought alive by words strung together to evoke vivid imagination

I am seduced with words and by words, flowery speeches of passion I return to read over and over.

Beautiful writing beclouding my senses softly and certainly like no bright picture ever will

 It is in words I see emotion, the description of dirty bitter green jealousy, the vibrant red of hot pulsating life, the disgusting dull brown of greed, pettiness and slime, the stench of decay obvious in yellows and greens dotted with black.

It is in words I see most clearly

I tell my stories in words, the beauty of family, the light hearted freedom of friendship, the warmth of humanity, the pain and joys of living

I love in words. Passion, desire and deep yearning expressed from the depths of my heart. Me, giving the best of my gifts for the one that holds my heart

I hurt in words too, shouts of pain and tears from my soul expressed in the words I write. Angry outbursts of disappointment, disgust and disdain, I spew them all

It is in words I grow, knowledge is best expressed in words, in the things I have deeply felt enough to write for others to read, in the things others have written too and in the words of instructors who circle my life

It is in silence I will die, the clear pictures formed by words totally fading away in the face of sealed lips shut in death. The eyes that send appreciation to my lips tightly shut, the hands that pour my passion finally stilled.

It is in words I live my life, silence for me, is death!

 

FIRM THIGHS… an SMC experience!

by

Moi

My thighs are firm now, they haven’t always been. They tightened after my 10 month experience at the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University Lagos. I applied to the school to study for a Master’s degree and actual schoolwork commenced August 2013. My hips were full then, full and fleshy. My thighs were round then, round, meaty and appealing. My cheeks were chubby, I looked well fed, polished with no stress markers on my face. Don’t misunderstand me, my life before SMC was not stress free but at least I was paid for my worries. At the SMC, I paid a healthy fee to be worried.

My thighs are firm now, my facilitators made sure of that, Dr. Ike with his endless assignments, perfectly structured criticisms and heavily veiled sarcasm, he drove me to extreme worry, Dr. M’s stare that always galvanized me to action or froze me on the spot, then there was Dr. N, my mentor who you just had to please to get pleasant marks and pleasing her unfortunately involved pages of serious writing, interlinking ideas and analyzing issues, you could get a whole 3½ marks out of 5 marks for pleasing her, 4 was possible in very extreme cases. My facilitators really put fire under my feet and I flew around trying to satisfy all.

My chubby cheeks were the first casualties, they melted away under the strain of gritting my teeth through Dr. Otu’s lectures and laughing uproariously at Doghudje’s blunt depth, I still believe gritting my teeth melted the cheeks faster. I wore a new face, a slimmer, pinched face, fashionable but unlike me. My new face was slim enough to distort effectively in horror over statistics and all those figures and formulas I never thought I would see again. I wasn’t getting enough sleep either I had too many assignments to sleep easy at night, I made up for the lack of sleep though, I made up during Communication research classes, apologies to Dr. IM the research guru, but I really wasn’t interested in disproving theories and identifying some communication reinforced phenomena.

My hips melted away next, in their days of full prominence, eyes strayed to them before those eyes grudgingly and very slowly made their way up to my face. The walk from the bus stop to school took care of those hips, the constant race to beat the 9:00am timeline also took its toll on the hips. Then those endless walks I took around V.I mourning another low score or mulling over a tough assignment didn’t help either.  They also probably shrunk under the strain of so many class presentations when I stood long minutes addressing a class just waiting to launch their attack sorry make their contributions. I look at my hips now, a pale reflection of their original glory and I wonder how studying can so physically alter a person.

My thighs firmed up, those meaty chunks that would have made any cannibal’s entire year firmed up. The endless races did it, all that running wearing high heels firmed my thighs like nothing else would. I remember the race to submit topical seminar thesis, it was my last race and I ran it with my heart in my mouth. There was the everyday race to get into the cafeteria before 1:00pm, I shed the calories I would have ingested even before I ate the food.

I wear a new look now, my new look is far nicer than my original look am told. After 10 months at the SMC my mind is far sharper, my stand is firmer too. I look new and different because I am new and different. My new image is a true reflection of a better me.

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survivors