…loading: The Medallion – Found

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A VERY MERRY EASTER TO YOU!

In the build-up to the posting of ‘The Medallion – Found’ episode, take note of the following adjustments.

There has been just one change. The concluding episode for The Medallion will now be posted by 9AM ON EASTER SUNDAY (APRIL 20, 2014), less than nine hours from now.

PRIZE 1:

Be the first to comment on Easter Sunday’s episode titled, ‘The Medallion – Found“.

PRIZE 2:

Predict accurately the location of the Medallion at the first instant Rufus would lay hands on it. Predictions for this prize will be accepted starting now and closing midnight on Saturday, the 19th. (THIS IS EXPIRED; find out who the winner is in Easter Sunday’s episode)

Prize 1 is NGN 1000.00 credit recharge for any telecommunication network within Nigeria.

Prize 2 is NGN 1000.00 credit recharge for any telecommunication network within Nigeria.

 

Rules of Entry

1. You must not be related to Chisom Ojukwu by blood. 

2. For prize 2, you can only vote once. Once a comment bearing your answer has been approved and uploaded, do not send in another.

3. You must fulfill the requirements exactly as stated.

 

All rights are reserved.

BLAME GAME: BLAME WHO?

At about 2pm on the 3rd of April, I alighted from a bus under the Ojuelegba bridge. I came upon another bus parked just by the side of the road, with school children stuffed into it. My use of the word ‘stuffed’ is no accident because these children were not sitting; they were not even standing or ‘lapping’ – they were just stuffed. The phrase, ‘packed like sardine’ immediately came to mind as they were bundling themselves into the bus, stepping on feet and hands and bags, clawing, pulling each other down so as to get on, biting and yelling.

The driver of the bus sat calmly in his seat doing nothing, waiting; the conductor stood a safe distance away from the chaos waiting for them to ‘arrange demsef finish’ and when it looked like the open door wasn’t space enough to let them in, he opened the rear compartment. And of course, some of the uniformed mob broke away and commenced another regime of chaos trying to get into the bus through the boot.

A number of bystanders and passers-by tried yelling at the children to behave themselves and look for another bus but if you have ever seen a starving dog just thrown a bone, you should have an idea of just how much attention the children paid to the rebuke. While I watched, thoroughly harassed on their behalf, a police van cruised past, very slowly. Through the wound down windows and from the rear of the pick-up van, the Nigerian policemen observed the ruckus. Without braking for even the minutest of seconds, the van cruised on by.

It was at this point that I took out my phone and took the pictures below. While I took the pictures, many of the bystanders made cracks; some called me ‘Reporter!’, and one looking like a black Toyin-tomato snickered, “Don’t put us on Facebook oh”

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In that situation, I played no blame games. I did not blame the president or any minister, neither did I blame the policemen – they must have been chasing armed robbers in slow motion. I also did not blame the bystanders or passers-by whose actions could be aptly summarized as an occasional rebuke, snicker, sigh and/or shake of head; what else could they have done?

I did not blame the bus driver or his conductor – it was just business. And I certainly did not blame the children – the bus was clearly charging a subsidized rate and many of them must have had little or no transport fares; those who might have had enough must have been saving it for a roadside treat or the rainy day.

I threw no blames.

On the night of Monday, 14th of April, 107 girls (ages between 15 and 18) were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok, Bornu state. On Wednesday, the military spokesperson at the Defence Headquarters, Major General Chris Olukolade, issued a statement claiming that most of the girls had been rescued, with only eight still missing for whom the search was still on. He also claimed that a member of the Boko Haram sect that participated in the abduction was also nabbed by the military.

Reports from the Principal of the school and Executive governor of the state are however, contradictory. The Principal, Mrs. Asabe Kwambura, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday morning that the military’s claim was false.

“There is nothing in the military statement that is true about our abducted girls,”  Mrs. Kwambura said. “Up till now we are still waiting and praying for the safe return of the students; all I know is that we have only 14 of them, and the security people especially the Vigilante and the well meaning volunteers of Gwoza are still out searching for them.”

Borno state’s Governor Shettima was also quoted by the BBC Hausa service that same Thursday morning faulting the claims of the military.

He reportedly said, “We have recovered 14 of the girls and we have announced a N50 million reward for any credible information that will help us get our girls released and rejoined with their families.”

In this situation, I still play no blame games. Because where would one start and where, stop? Does one blame the government – their blame calendar is booked full a whole year in advance, or the military – they are always ‘doing their best’? Or does one blame the parents for letting their children out of their sights, the principal for taking the children in to write their WASSCE, or the girls for not running fast enough away from the abductors?

You could even choose to leave all human elements out of it by blaming the weather. Or a societal system so marred that the value of a child is non-existent. Or if you care, a society where human life battles fashion and food for a position on the scale of preference after crude oil, money, pride and politics.

For me, I still will not be part of the blame game.

Like a local wrestler, I dump all of the blames down in the center of the ring. And I turn around and walk away; he who has the strength, let him pick up and throw.

 

 

 

 

The Medallion – V

Dear readers, see the MEMO just beneath this installment for a very very VERILY important announcement. Expo: Prizes to be won!!!

…continued from The Medallion IV

“Hold it!!!” Rufus bolted up, one hand automatically reaching for his dagger…

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Slowly, he rose into a crouching position and turned around to see who it was.

“Hold it!” the soldier yelled again, “Wait for me!”, as he puffed up the hill. He ran up to join a group of other soldiers who stood in a circle a few meters from the foot of the cross of Jesus. Rufus relaxed as he realized that nobody was paying any attention to their – him, Simon and the lads – general direction. All eyes in the vicinity were on the soldiers as they cast bets over an item which lay on the floor in their midst; eventually, the winner yelled and triumphantly lifted the item he had just won.

Rufus saw that the item was the undergarment of the crucified Jesus. They had cast lots over the sweat-drenched, blood-soaked undergarment of a man whose very life they were stringing along to a tortuous end! Incredible! Even for a thief, such behavior was low. Wretched Roman dogs, Rufus spat.

A few feet away from the raucousness, the same group of women from back in the Praetorium now stood huddled together again at the foot of the cross. There was a young man standing with them, he was fresh and ruddy in the face with a full head of hair and a pencil-thin mustache. Rufus could see Jesus staring down at them, he wondered though how much the man could see seeing as his eyes were both bloody and bulging like the infamous grapes of the Cherudian vines. The crucified man seemed to be talking to the group with sparse and measured movements of his chapped lips, speaking in his state was understandably a Herculean effort.

Mary burst into a fit of sobs and the young man who was standing with the women gathered her into his arms, swaying his body slightly while soothingly stroking her back. Rufus looked away; he had no time to indulge in such sloppy scenes. He needed to concentrate. As he returned to his former sitting position, he observed that his company had all fallen asleep, from Simon who lay against the rock with his head lolling between his drawn knees to Eleazer who lay coiled up just by his father’s feet. He felt the beginnings of weariness grab a hold of him as well but he shook it off.

Mentally, Rufus reviewed the clues: The place of the Skulls, done; but the King of rocks, who was the King of rocks? Mayhaps the hill used to be a royal sepulcher and a king – the King of rocks – could have been buried there with the treasured medallion of Ra. Or maybe Golgotha had been a battlefield and the king had died on it fighting a war, the medallion concealed in his royal ensemble. Perhaps the hill had been forgotten during those many decades of captivity away from home, forgotten with the prized medallion that had been lost on it…until now. Or mayhaps…

E-looooo-i…”

Rufus sprang awake. Even before he turned around, he knew that the yell had come from the man on the cross. It was a blood-curling scream laden with agony and the tell-tale rasp of a life slowly ebbing away.

Rufus was Nazarene by birth and even though, he had never been to his homeland, his father had ensured that he understood and spoke his native Aramaic. Jesus’ call for his father was no surprise, Rufus had seen men at the point of death do a variety of things, from fouling themselves to crying for their mothers like snot-nosed tots. What was surprising however, was the fact that there had been no paternal figure throughout the ordeals the man had undergone; Rufus was sure of it – Simon would have made sure to point such a man out to him. So who was this father, he wondered.

E-loooo-i…” Jesus yelled again, his voice breaking on that last syllable. His head reached as far back as the wood of the cross and the nails that held him suspended could allow and his eyes stayed raised to the skies as Jesus broke into more audible sobs.

“Oy! Someone get Elijah! The king of the Jews here would like a private audience!” one soldier taunted and the crowd bawled their amusement. One overzealous youthful soldier stood and ran off down the hill, apparently on his way to raise Elijah to answer the call. His antics tickled the crowd’s amusement even more; Rufus itched to rap some sense into the fool’s skull.

Eloi…” Jesus rasped, his tone much mellower, “lama sabachthani!

Rufus felt something in his chest crack; he batted his eyelids furiously, denying room of flow to the tears that pressed from behind his eyes. The combination of Jesus speaking in his native tongue and his looking as forsaken and dejected as his cry portrayed, was just too much for Rufus to bear. So he dragged his eyes away, focusing instead on the crowd and people gather at the foot of the cross and around.

Jesus’ mother, Mary broke down in loud sobs from where she knelt at the foot of the cross; the young man Rufus had seen with them earlier stood bent over by her side doing his best to console her. The rest of the women wailed uncontrollably. The soldiers around continued to make fun of him. The fool who had run off earlier returned holding a stick which had on its end, a sponge soaked in something that was dripping onto the floor as he ran.

“Elijah will soon be along,” he announced, “he only has to dust off his bones” Chuckles and laughter. “He however, presents the king with some wine to soothe his thirst” The youth was really enjoying the attention of the crowd. After executing a mocking courtesy, he pushed the soaking sponge into the face of Jesus who eagerly opened his dry mouth for some liquid respite. No sooner had he made contact with it than he drew his head back, sputtering and spitting. The young soldier doubled over in laughter, the sponge-bearing piece of wood forgotten on the sand; the other soldiers and crowd roared their approval.

Rufus felt his eyes drawn back to the forlorn figure on the cross. No longer spitting, Jesus was crying profusely; with each sob, his ribs strained against the skin of his abdomen. A few moments passed and his sobs lessened, his breaths coming in longer gasps.

He raised his eyes to the heavens again. “Father,” Rufus heard him say, “forgive them” What?! Rufus was livid, unbelieving of what he had just heard. Jesus was mad, he knew it. First, it was unthinkable that he had a father with enough power to reside in the skies but couldn’t do anything to save his son. Secondly, who forgave such blood-thirsty enemies as the Roman soldiers? The same flesh-eating dogs who were responsible for the slow and tortuous death you were nearing? Futuo! Rufus swore; the man was mad.

As if on cue, Jesus turned and his eyes – red, blubbery and nearly shut – met with Rufus’. The look was dripping with pity, affection and some plea; it elicited some tingling in the base of his spine. What? Rufus challenged the stare, albeit mutely. Don’t look at me, he fumed, you’re the one on the cross.

The message must have gotten through because Jesus looked away, but the tingling did not stop.

In a loud voice – one too loud for a man on the brink of death – Jesus cried out, “It is finished” And hung his head, his body sagging, lifeless.

The crowd shut up, mouths suspended in mid-roars and hands in mid-air, even the birds and the wind uttered not a single sound. There was resounding silence over the entire hilltop. And then, the earth beneath Rufus shook with a distinct intensity. Before his eyes, rocks split and fell away into crevices that widened in the ground from the force of the quake. Pandemonium broke out; people started yelling and running, some back towards the city, others farther away from it. The group at the foot of the cross huddled closer together, clutching on to it while the soldiers with their swords and spears, dug into the ground and held fast.

Total darkness enveloped the entire land, a darkness so black that Rufus couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. Someone lit a torch and with a wet poof!, it was instantly extinguished. Rufus hunkered down on the ground, felt for Eleazer and drew the boy to him. Blindly dragging Eleazer, Rufus crawled till he could feel Simon and the boys; he threw his body over them and shut his eyes.

After what felt like ages, Rufus opened first one eye, then the other. The light had been restored; raising his head, he was astounded to see that everything was just as it had been. There were no splitting rocks, no gaping crevices in the ground with people tumbling down into their dark depths, no screams. But for the rock-solid conviction within him of what he had seen he might have doubted that there had just been an earthquake.

“You look like you have seen a ghost, my friend” He spun around to face a now-awake Simon who sat rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Rufus felt like he had seen a ghost; he said nothing.

Simon sat up and stretched, looking much better with most of the color back in his cheeks. “Let’s have another look at that parchment” he said, hand outstretched. Rufus started; he had actually forgotten about his quest. What was happening to him?!

His movement rigid with self indignation, he reached into his his inner pockets for the scroll. The moment the tips of his fingers felt it, he knew he had found the missing link. Rufus had solved the riddle.

The king of rocks, it had said, not the King of rocks. He already knew which was the king – the largest – of all the rocks on the grounds of Golgotha but just to make double sure, he took a quick look around. He was right; the biggest rock was the same one which now supported the cross from which Jesus hung.

“I have it” he told Simon, his delight evident in his excited grin. When Simon’s expression remained quizzical, Rufus read the second line of the clue aloud – lies beneath the king of rocks, and pointed at the said rock. Simon followed his finger then as realization dawned on him, his mouth formed a small ‘O’. Rufus felt a familiar tingle course through his muscles ending in the tips of his fingers, a heist was near. Together, they turned their attention back to the cross. Rufus’ mind was was racing, trying out different schemes to retrieve The Medallion whose location they now knew. As if they had sensed his scheming, the soldiers gathered around the cross. They looked guarded, wary as if they expected an army to come and steal it.

While Rufus and Simon looked on, two men arrived and walked up to the centurion. Their gold and white linen robes gave these newcomers away as noble men of good living.

“That’s Nichodemus” Simon said, pointing to the one who sported a bushier beard and did less of the talking. “It is rumored that he secretly was a follower of Jesus. The other one doing most of the talking is Joseph, the wealthiest man in Arimathea and a good man by all standards.”

Rufus was glad to have his ‘tour-guide’ back but he was stuck on a word Simon had said.

“Follower?” Rufus asked. “What do you mean ‘follower’ of Jesus?”

“Oh, Nichodemus?” Rufus nodded.

“Well, he was a supporter of the gospel Jesus preached” Simon went off, “but he was also a wealthy member of council so…”

“Wait,” Rufus interrupted yet again, his heightening confusion evident in his expression. “Supporter of the gospel? What was this Jesus? A priest?”

“You do not know who Jesus is?” Simon asked incredulously, piercing Rufus with a look that cast no doubts as to exactly what he thought of him. With an exaggerated sigh, Simon launched his attack: “He is Jesus, the Christ. A prophet. He was born to Joseph, the Carpenter and Mary and for the past three years, he has…”

Rufus silenced him with a raised hand, his attention held by the unfolding results of whatever discussions the two noble men were having with the centurion. Two soldiers mounted ladders on the arms of the cross of Jesus to free the nails while a third freed the nail that held his feet. As they took the body down, Mary who still stood there gestured for it to be handed to her. She then sank to the ground under the weight of her son’s corpse. She cradled it in her arms like a newborn child cooing to it in an agonized, sob-racked voice. She rained kisses all over the corpse’s battered face, ran her hands over the wounds on his hands, feet, side, back; it looked like she was performing some sort of post-mortem healing. Raising her face to the skies in seeming surrender, Mary held her dead son to her bosom and rocked it slowly. Rufus heard Simon sniffle beside him; he felt something warm slide down his left cheek but he quickly swiped it away – thieves never cried.

One of the women started to gather soil around the foot of the cross into a little white handkerchief. She was taking care to scrape up the sections of the soil which had been drenched by the blood of Jesus. Rufus wondered if they would go all the way back into the city for more of blood-drenched soil, especially to the Praetorium where Jesus had been scourged. He was still pondering the futility of the task when the glint of something caught his eye. The rays of the sun from behind him had fallen on something shiny in a clump of soil the woman had gathered. Oblivious of anything abnormal, she dumped the clump of soil in the handkerchief and turned back to scrape some more. Rufus looked again to be sure and there, a lustrous brilliance from amongst the dark soil winked at him. He darted an enquiring look at Simon, his companion nodded, his face resembling the Midian owls with the eyes so wide in them.

They had found it; they had found The Medallion.

…to be continued

 

MEMO

Hi esteemed readers,

As most of you must have already guessed, we’re nearing the end of The Medallion series; infact, we have just one episode to go (who’s yelling Yaayyy?!) That episode will be posted by noon on Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014).

I was just with Rufus (y’all know he’s a Bollywood actor, right?) the other day and he was really touched by the many fans he has gotten on this series. He mentioned that he had always argued with Eli over who was sexier, and the readers’ obvious preference for him will definitely help his case henceforth; because truth be told he isn’t much of a looker (okay, I added that last part).

Anyhow, in appreciation of that and in the spirit of the Easter celebrations, he has put up two prizes to be won by the faithful followers of this centuries-old tale. To win either of the prizes, you only have to fulfill the following requirements:

PRIZE 1:

Be the first to comment on Easter Sunday’s episode titled, ‘The Medallion – Found“.

PRIZE 2:

Predict accurately the location of the Medallion at the first instant Rufus would lay hands on it. Predictions for this prize will be accepted starting now and closing midnight on Saturday, the 19th.

Prize 1 is NGN 1000.00 credit recharge for any telecommunication network within Nigeria.

Prize 2 is NGN 1000.00 credit recharge for any telecommunication network within Nigeria.

 

Rules of Entry

1. You must not be related to Chisom Ojukwu by blood. (Dubem, you’re included, but not the rest of the family. Hehehehe, sorry loves…we’ll soon, hopefully, have a Family Special Edition)

2. For prize 2, you can only vote once. Once a comment bearing your answer has been approved and uploaded, do not send in another.

3. You must fulfill the requirements exactly as stated.

 

By 6pm on Easter Sunday, we should already have our winners.

Let the ‘treasure hunt’ begin!!! See ya in three/four days…

 

All rights are reserved.

MAYBE LOVE HEALS ALL THINGS

I was sitting brooding, over the Nyanya bombing and the kidnap of the girls all in one day, and it was such a drowning feeling of profound sadness. Over the years since our graduation from university, my former course-mates and I have built up a very filial friendship which has kept us together. So, naturally, I took my grouse to our family meeting chat room, perhaps a tad too abrasively.

So there I was bemoaning the status quo and hoping to stir up some equally abrasive reactions when somehow, the story changed, the carpet swept out from under me. They (or rather, Jedi, one of us) started sharing stories of Jane’s (she was our course rep back in the day) wedding which had held early this month; I hadn’t been able to attend.

Eventually I got over being peeved, no in fact, I was dragged out of my pissed mood by the enticing tale and the art with which Jedi spun it. It was a tale of bobo-baby campus love that matured despite societal and stereotypical odds into, in the words of the bride herself, “a match made in heaven and celebrated by men on earth”.

Truth be told, the story soothed my pain.

Often we hear that love heals all things – hold on, I do not intend to force that message down your throat. At least, not just yet. You, my reader, perhaps would be more amenable, at the moment, to these words of Iris Murdoch,

“Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real”

It didn’t make much meaning to me at first either, but when it eventually did in the light of recent mishaps, it brought me some peace. Love is sacrifice, it is facing up to reality coated as it is with dust and mire,it is determining to face all the travails down with courage…and love!

While we pray and do our individual little bests to save this cranky shambled country of ours, I daresay that those of us who still live must learn to appreciate the love and peace that exists in every other second life affords us.

And I hope that this story brings you, like it did me, some healing, peace, love and – yes, I am stretching it here – joy.

 

Oya enough mushy mushy. Presenting to you, in scraggly rants (thank you, Jedi), the marriage ceremony of university sweethearts,

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Engr. Egart, Faithful and Engr. Mrs. Egart, Nnebuogo Jane Faithful (nee Ejezie).

 

THE VOWS

‘…as the vows were read, Jane eye no comot for Faithful face, one can only imagine what she was thinking then oh.

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Una see im face? She fit don they reason, “Is this real? This fitn’t be happening?” OR “Kai, see as my bobo dey shine, ewooo!” OR “Olowori mi, yekpa!”’

 

THE FUN, THE LAUGHTER

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“…At the reception, I ceased to concentrate on the couple for two reasons: One, we were all hyped up, friends (my Chemical family) from school sitting together gisting and laughing; Two, item 7 was on the entire time. Drinks were flowing across the table, lots and lots of it – juice, wine, soda, name it! Little pieces of wrapped cake too and all those ajebo ‘small chops’ dem. Then, the buffet commenced. Me I no gree form oh! I downed correct veggie soup with eba! Nnaa, see meat! Apparently Jane learnt a few owambe tricks from Yoruba land.

“Then there was this live band, wow! For a moment, I thought they were playing an MP3; they were that good, singing songs of Nigerian artistes almost better than the original singers!

“After the speech of the Chairman, our own Dr. Ibe (one of the few student-likable lecturers from uni days), the occasion continued.

“At some point when it was announced that the couple were both FUTO engineers, a guy (apparently Faithful’s classmate) hailed “Greatest Futoite!” We all responded “Great!” For the first time since after our matric over six years ago, we were proud to be associated with FUTO. People fit don dey envy us that time not knowing the horrible hell wey we been experience for the kain school.

“The height of it was when Ichie (another former course-mate of ours) volunteered as an observer during the cutting of the cake. He was asked to introduce himself and he did so as ‘Ukoha O.O’. Every ever FUTO-linked person in the room burst into laughter…unfortunately for the people wey never reach FUTO, it was one inside joke they could never understand.”

 

THE LOVE, THE ROMANCE

“…Jane no gree hear word oh, see dance! We even thought her bobo was a shy dancer until he showed his own skills. They were just so happy together, just dey laugh like small pikin wey person dey totori.

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“Then there came the part when they had to feed each other…when it got to Jane’s turn to do the feeding, she sat on Faithful’s lap to do it. After that there was some alignment of lips in motion here and there unto say dem dey feel like married grown-up wey fit kiss for public for their Baale and Maale front!

Mscheww! I just dey hol myself make I no just try gather morale from them go kiss my wife for my Momsi front on my wedding day. Na beta igbati I go first chop before I go start to pick-pin near her table.

I can just hear her voice: ‘Jedijedi, if you try stand from there ehn, egosi m gi na oo mu muru gi. See this boy oh! Doing IMMORALITY in my very before!’

For my own wedding oh”

 

THE BEGINNING, THE END – GOD

“…Closing prayer was by Jane’s dad, omo the man turn am to crusade oh! We been think say as im package finish with suit and mkpara as guy-man, say im go don forget say im be Pastor. But for where? See prayer! When I know say we don enter one-chance na when im first start with praise and worship”

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“Summarily: Jane’s wedding was perfect. No crowd of people wey no people know, just family and a good chunk of awesome friends; there were no complaints, just joy and good cheer, oh and plenty, plenty drinks and food; did I mention I had a second round on the veggie soup? It must have been Iya basira-made because I am (oh well, was) watching my weight.

“It was the ideal wedding”

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(Above, a few members of my Chemical family with the couple)

MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, IF WE GAVE IT A CHANCE…LOVE MIGHT HEAL ALL THINGS.

 

P.S: If you tried not to enjoyed this, then feel free to reach me here, or on facebook, twitter and the streets to relay your high-fives. But if you happen to have any grievances, or you dey find head to break, kindly seek out Jedi, na im talk am. I’m just ‘a pencil (abi keyboard) in the hand of the Creator’

 

NOTE:

All rights for messing up the syntax and semantic holies of English language; heartless bastardization of pidgin English and any other indigenous languages; exaggeration; cracking of incomprehensible ‘insider’ jokes; invasion and evasion and erosion of privacy; abuse of alma mater; and out-flat misfiring are hereby reserved.

ON TOP D MATTER – Week IV, NATIONAL CONFAB

This post is not late; it has only bowed to the significantly greater need of prayers and work with respect to the recent Boko Haram insanity. They struck again this morning, the devils, in Chibok, Bornu state. They visited a school, according to BBC reports and abducted over 200 female students. We will do well to remember that this has happened before…tsk tsk tsk.

Still ON TOP D MATTER however, I found this interesting piece that is a worthy summary of the fourth week and into into the fifth week of the National Conference.

 

The Opportunity Cost Of The National Geriatric Conference – Engage Offor Honest

 

Don’t ever say talk is cheap, except off course you consider 12 million Naira, a sum to be paid each delegate of the Abuja talk shop, a small amount of money. For the stupendously rich political elites, 12 million Naira may just mean a weekend getaway to Dubai for some amorous rendezvous with a coterie of their girlfriends and even boyfriends, but for the average civil servant with a paltry minimum wage of 18,000 Naira, that sum certainly means a lifetime of savings. Now that the live feeds we are getting from Abuja are pictures of grey haired men dozing absent mindedly and another playing scrabble on his laptop as if nothing was at stake, I think we may start counting the opportunity cost of sending some delegates that are nearly as old as the nation itself to discuss the future of the youths and children.

Some of the delegates themselves are part of the problem we are trying albeit unsuccessfully to tackle, one of them even remarked rather impudently that the military has no apology for its years of locust and desecration of our national values. Since the government of the day has suddenly realized the imperative of convening a national conference or whatever name they call it, at a whooping sum of 7 billion Naira, one would have thought that this attempt will be a clear departure from the norm where the same old faces are recycled to find solutions to the problems they created.

We cannot stop a tired old man from taking a nap, but we sure could’ve left them to sleep in their country home than at a conference where solutions are needed to solve a 100 year old problem. Is it that we lack competent young men with fresh ideas and unadulterated loyalty to the Nigerian project, that we resorted to sending a former minister under Sir Tafawa Belewa’s era, a former minister of finance some 39 years ago and some bunch of thieving politicians that should be serving jail terms behind bars, as our best hands for a conference of such national magnitude. As it is, we can only watch and pray that the wisdom of Methuselah has not become obsolete for the challenges of today.

I am hoping that this conference will find possible solution to the problems facing our fractious union. The war in the north is stilling raging unabatedly, corruption has assumed a devilish proportion, the educational sector is dying slowly, and our federalism is skewed in favor of the federal government which is stifling the growth and development of the component states, the number of employed youths can equal the population of a whole country, poverty has pitched its tent in our country as a recent world bank survey shows that the 26th largest economy in the world is home to millions of people living in absolute poverty. I wonder how someone whose task is to find solution to these problems and many more, can afford to sleep.

7 billion naira can solve few of our problems, so if we are to forgo other needs and sacrifice that large an amount for just talking, then talk they must! They must do whatever it will take them to stay awake and discuss our problems exhaustively. We demand nothing but wholesale value for the hefty allowances we are paying each delegate. This may be our only and last chance to save this union from imploding.

Engage Offor Honest on twitter @honest4change’

 

P.S: the controversial picture which has been circulating the Nigerian mediasphere is fictitious. It is not a National Confab delegate playing e-scrabble during deliberations, it is those ‘vultures’ we mentioned last week (see who they are here) attempting to smear mud on the honest efforts of a few people to make a positive difference. I therefore, refuse to give it any more credence by pasting it here. Odeeshi!!

Nigeria

NYANYA BOMB BLAST

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Fellow Nigerians,

The Boko boys hit again, early this morning while men, women and children milled around the bus park in Nyanya, eyes still gritty from sleep. What can I say?

Eternal rest grant them, O Lord.

And for us who watch from the sidelines,

shamelessly commenting and taking pictures

writing poems and being grateful ‘they’ are not our family or friends

yet…

Please, have mercy.

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Signed,

Chisom Ojukwu,

shameless Nigerian.

P.S: I hope you enjoy the poem or maybe the pictures enough to drop a comment. The more infuriated it sounds, the better…we’re really good at that stuff.

 

 

CRIES OF THE MOON

FUll moon

At night the celestials are watching
As the sun goes down and the tides are falling
The shouting and honking subside
And the troubles of the day put aside
Slowly but surely the darkness appears
Bringing solace to some but to others fear

The night brings with it a certain chill
While all appear calm and tranquil
Alas a certain sound is again heard this time
The muffled cry of man as he witnesses crime
Watching the puddles turn crimson
And the blood-soiled earth glisten

The lady that once walked with pride
Now has tears filled in her eyes
For her pride has been taken
And she will face shame when others awaken
The vehicles are out on the street again
But their owners are not in them
The offenders drive off in the open lanes
To open-secret abodes that are their dens

The celestials see the events that happen
And provide for man a safe haven
The sad moon starts to waste
As the outlaws start in haste
They care less for the nocturnal iniquities
And summarize their nefarious activities

But all of these come at a cost
Their rewards are not at all lost
Even as they leave rubbles behind and take flight

They know the victims will never dread any like the night

EMMANUEL OKAFOR is a Nigerian poet. Follow him on twitter @chelsea_emma95