I WILL VOTE

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It’s yesterday and I am going to get my PVC today.

Walk in quietly, greet the two ladies and the man in the office with a smile, “I want to get my PVC.”

“Where’s your temporary?”

I hand it over, take the only other available seat and proceed to dig into my phone.

Man shuffles through the stacks and stacks of plastic cards…once, twice. I am counting, spying from beneath lowered eyelids. When he starts a third time, I just know. Even before he says the words, I know…

“Oga, you no get card oh”

“Huh?”

“Your own no dey here,” he says.

Disappointment. First at myself because I have just realized that I expected to be told just that. And at INEC for proving my distrust well-founded.

“Okay,” I stay seated, looking with what I believe is a deadpan expression from one INEC face to the other. “So…” I try, “what’s going to happen now?”

Madam seated at the table seems surprised by my calmness; I can’t quite define the look on her face as surprise…I don’t know what it is but it makes me feel good…proud-good.

“Errr…oya bring his card.” She takes the laminated TVC from perplexed INEC guy and begins to write on an A4 sheet.

I am itching to see what it is she is writing, but I tamp down the urge. I sit still, harassing the touch-screen of my now battery-dead phone.

“Here.”

I stand, slip a lazy foot into one slip-on and take my outstretched TVC.

“Come back in three weeks for your card,” she says with a smile.

Jega postponed for six weeks so three weeks is ample time, I quickly calculate. “Okay thanks.”

I blast one grin at the trio and shuffle out in slow deliberate steps. I caught a glimpse of the A4; she’d written down the details – name, number, address, et al – from my TVC.

I know I’ll feel better coming for my PVC in three weeks than I did coming today.

Chisom

Twenty Fifteen

A brother was telling me just this week about how in Nigeria, we are more about beats, and nada about the lyrics of our music. I agreed with him on a lot of his points, after all how many words of Terry G and even Davido lyrics can I comfortably write down. Yet, I’ll gbedu anytime to ‘Run Mad’ and Davido is fifth on my phone’s ‘Most played’ artistes.

Yet again it pays once in a while to hear something different. And refreshing.

‘Twenty Fifteen’ by Khafeel is one such piece.

You know how recently, the mornings are very unfriendly to go out in, but we have to for daily bread. So you just boarded the bus, the window to your left is blank – no glass, you can’t shut out the biting cold; the lady to your right is F.A.T and as if the Israelites didn’t suffer enough, she balances this humongous basket of cocoyams on her laps; the conductor is eating your ear out about the one thousand naira note you gave him, ‘kosi change oh‘; you stick your ear plugs in your ear and your one prayer is for a track like ‘Twenty Fifteen’.

Made by rather conserved but extremely talented and budding producer, Kinsu, ‘Twenty Fifteen’ by Khafeel is a poetic piece to set the new year on a path of excellence, pomp and ceremony.

Listen here…

http://goo.gl/Vc6J4z

You may find the transcript below. Best enjoy it.

AND SHARE!!!


Twenty Fifteen

May our barns be filled with yam
And the tubers be long and fat.
May our cellars never dry out
Serving newness with the passing of each new day.
May our fields be green
So they can graze, our sheep and cattle.
May we have meat in abundance
Enough to feed even the needy.
May we drink and never thirst
With merry hearts all the days of the year.

Twenty Fifteen.
We call you by your name
From years we’ve seen, we ask you change the game
From whence we’ve been, grant us a new fame
The fat and the lean, let the showers fall on same
All the babes we wean, let them grow and not be lame
Be void of sin, and the wild, we pray you tame
And when finally your light shall dim,
let men not forget that you came.

We bid you to spring forth new waters
From patched lands scorched terrains
Fresh and salty, as the need may arise.

Send the rain and end the pain
As we free our hearts and set our minds
To Conceive the unimaginable
Gather our acts to do the impossible
Tirelessly pronouncing the unpopular
And living life that is void of mediocrity.

Cloth us in apparels of shimmering stone
Emeralds and diamonds, refined to the finest tone
Make us dazzling babies as we savour the late night moan
Grant us the best of wheels, German prides bought not on loan
And tastefully built abodes situated in the world’s choicest zone.

Twenty Fifteen.
Answer by your name
Prosper don’t play safe
Let men their joys resound as we proclaim thee the year of the ornaments.
With trumpets sounding on C
The drums rolling with such ecstasy
The people dancing stamping joyous feet for all to see
A perfect complement to the soft wind blowing over land and sea
Even as tinsels sway and cling to the rhythm of the harmony that we oversee
Giving us a goodly heritage and a perfect legacy.

Twenty Fifteen.
No I’m not eighteen
But yeah I feel like a teen
For love don’t cost a thing.

We pray thee to spread abroad the love that we men need at a time like this
We ask that your arms embrace us, that your lips kiss us, and your warmth enclose us
Giving comfort to all that despair and hope to the ones who cry in silence.

We pray, that your mornings be filled with joy
Exceedingly great, even past the time of noon
And the eve and the morrow shall ever speak of tranquil peace
Economic order and societal bliss.

Twenty Fifteen.
Arise never to fall,
For on your wings we soar unto limitless heights and sights
Strapped and saddled fast and firm
We ride to the place of our victory
Diving into the world’s deepest depths
We uncover treasures locked beneath the floor of the ocean.

Pregnant you are
Midwives we shall be
Walking you safely through timely delivery of the blessings that you have stored up for our use.

Twenty Fifteen.
With arms stretched all out
And smiles that melt the heart of the broken.
We bid you a grand welcome.

Chisom

PQ

Hi hi hi 🙂 Yes I missed you more, thank you.

Flavour’s ‘Golibe’ and Solid Star’s ‘Oluchi’ were on repeat on both my phone and laptop through the entire holidays. If you know wassup that should hint you on the state of my heart affairs. And you – yes, you – are a major reason for that joy. For reading, liking, sharing, and commenting on my posts as epileptic as they were, I couldn’t possible thank you enough. An entire epistle could be written but it still wouldn’t adequately capture how thankful I am. So I’ll keep doing this – writing – and hope you outdo yourself in reading, liking, commenting on and sharing my posts going forward.  

This year, our WAW experience shoots off with this short piece which both is and is not a personal experience. There’s a lesson buried somewhere in it and I hope you find it. ‘The Lectern’ continues tomorrow for the fifth month running, and standing at the lectern will be Emma Akaeze, an especially gifted young man who I am honoured to say, is a good friend and brother. You want to read what Emma has to write, I assure you. 

In this week too, we’ll be starting off on a short series with Uche Anichebe, you know the sweet lawyer babe from here. What do you know, turns out she writes fiction too, very good fiction. I have struggled to find the words to qualify that story, but all I can come up with is this: it is a story that could only have been so told by a female, a deep feeling female.

You dey feel my ginger this new year abi? 🙂 See ehn, even if this my IGG (initial gragra) will eventually fizzle out mid-year, make we start first. At all at all na im be winch.

And on that note, I present the first WAW post for 2015 – PQ.

Enjoy, like, share and don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments section. Fantastic new year ahead!


PQ

mad woman03

It’s weird how you always wake just before your alarm starts to beep. Every morning. This one is no different. As you disentangle your frame from the sheets, you wonder – like you do every morning – why you ever bought the damn thing. You’re done bathing in ten minutes, dressed in another ten and out the door in five; breakfast became history since NYSC days.

She is right there when you turn the corner. Today, her skirt is a ‘glowing’ white; its wooly shroud hangs on by a bare string woven through its waistline, and it billows around her, grabbing at her stockinged ankles again and again, like williwilli. Her blouse is a different shade of white – more cream than white really – and it hangs on her scrawny frame like every other piece of clothing you have seen her wear, loose and wrinkled.

PQ is what everyone calls her – Prophet Queen – and she is bellowing into the ‘microphone’ held in one hand.

“Sinners! Sinners all of you! Bad people. Maaad people.” She spits. “You better go home now. Go back home and pray for yourself. Pray for your mother too, she brought you into this evil place!”

You remember that you didn’t say your morning prayers. Well you heard PQ, go home and pray. You chuckle to yourself, but very carefully so that there is no sign of amusement on your face. Right after she lambasted a neighbor who had dared, by reeling out yards and yards of his private stories for everyone to hear, the whole estate had learnt never to laugh when PQ was ‘ministering’.

Meanwhile PQ continues: “Lamentations Chapter two to six, I am the Lord, your God…think not what I can do for you; think what you can do for me”

Then she made that whining sound that always preceded a pirouette, and that in turn always preceded a series of jerks which apparently was the Almighty leaving her body. But only for a while, she would quickly remind everybody.

“It is me Queen,” she announces her return to her body, “Queen of the ghost! And you have heard my words of extortion.”

Somebody really needed to tell her, you think, that it’s exhorta- not extor-, and coast not ghost, and that most importantly, it was bad for business to be queen of the coast in these environs. But who would tell? Certainly not you.

“Look at you people,” she is still yelling into the dead piece of wood that is her mouthpiece. “Where do you think you are going? Is it not the same work you went to yesterday? And day before yesterday? And day before day before yesterday?”

She lets out a raucous laughter. “Stop fooling yourself! Let me tell you, you are rushing to hell. Hell fayyaaaaaa! So better come here and confess your sins.”

She moves a few steps backwards, and perches her bum on the stump of what used to be a street lamp. Then she waits.

People are passing by, a lot of them still in a hurry, pretending she isn’t there. But PQ doesn’t mind; from her throne of mercy she has raised her staff in the air. Her lips are moving at rapid-fire speed, the words inaudible. Her staff repeatedly slashes the air, bestowing signs of the cross upon every passerby.

You stop and drop a crinkly hundred naira note into the bag that is open in front of her station. You have always wanted to do that but you never have change to spare in the mornings. You are glad you have spare change today because besides pebbles and some other oddities, yours is the bag’s only content. PQ acknowledges you with a sign of the cross and moves on to the next rushing passerby.

You are hurt. You alone after all stopped to give her money; surely she could have done more than one cross? An extra sign of the cross maybe, or a nod, or even a special word of benediction can’t be too much to ask?

You want to bend and retrieve your money, but you advice yourself appropriately on second thoughts. The vex never reach to enter craze. Onye ara, you curse under your breath as you shuffle away. Mad woman.

You are nearly past the estate gate when the words of her inaudible incantations flow, carried by the winds, into your ears. She says them over and over again;

There are two black birds

Sitting on the wall

One named Tunde, one named Paul

Fly away Tunde, fly away Paul

Come back Tunde, come back Paul

Oh come back birds and sit on the wall…

A smile splits your face in two as you step up to the road and hail a keke.

Your name is Tunde.

Chisom