#BRING BACK OUR GIRLS #BRING BACK OUR MOTHERLAND !

Published June 17, 2014 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

“God,
the things that are done in your name-
I mean, the things that are undone behind
The flimsy façade of Your name.”
Kobena Eyi Acquah

“keago” as she was fondly called was a woman who loved GOD. Yes, God! That Supreme Being who has been touted to know and see all.
As a childhood friend, I was fortunate to be privy to a lot about her, for little did I know that my friend would fleetingly make the headlines someday. She went about, daily evangelizing the works of the Almighty, through words and deeds, in places where angels feared to tread. Undauntingnly, she bore her cross in the valley of death, which in this case was in YOBE, a state in Nigeria where she had been called to serve.
Keago, like the Queen she was, regally fell to the onslaught of bullets fired from the murderous weapons of the hitherto faceless fanatics. She made the news briefly and was heard no more.
Friends and family were aggrieved, angry youths chimed war songs over social media and strangers expressed the requisite due shock. But what could I do? Armed with naught but my pen, I was helpless. And like the sprinkling of water on a kindled flame, this story, like subsequent tales of this nature was doused away.
IT began with a bloody trail of incessant but muffled protests, persistent killings and selected explosions that we all termed insignificant. Mere firecrackers that snuffed away strangers’ lives, lives we knew and cared nothing about. Its steady growth in murderous intentions was fed by our disbelief and our careless undermining of the beauty of resilience.
And so it was believed to be another “Maitatsine”, the remains of which shall be locked away like those of the legendary protestant. Maitatsine , another koranic scholar who claimed to be another renaissance in the emancipation of the supposedly “lost flock” , whose sad but expected end is merely muttered in hushed tones within the eerie stillness of a cremated glassware in a laboratory!
ALAS! This gory story doesn’t happen to be that of “he” stated above but of the erstwhile faceless ones who seem to have adopted another modus in the redemption of their lost adherents. One characterized by continuous bloodshed and the all too familiar wailings which reverberate our auditory senses.
Hence the questions pour forth continuously as the masses direct their queries to these masked fanatics… what have we done to deserve this?
As a little girl , I was raised to respect the tenets of my religion and for those religions I didn’t know or couldn’t quite fathom, I was made to understand that , as a general rule for the supremacy of peace to prevail, we must tolerate that which we do not understand , for we are consistently being tolerated every day. I was taught as a woman in higher institutions of learning that Religion seeks to be that agent which deters the criminally minded from perpetuating crime. It is that opium craved by the masses which promises tranquility in times of political or social unrest. However, reverse is our case in my Motherland , as Religion is used as a weapon to untimely snuff away lives , persistently delude adherents and adequately ensure the victimization of the masses , all for a precise and selfish cause…POWER!
Ironically, it has been defined as “the opium of the masses”, however it has certainly had no tranquilizing effect on the adherents so far. Day after day , imposing edifices are erected in the guise of institutions of learning and places of worship. Edifices that steal not only our breathe away in awe but also every penny earned by the poor deserving masses.
From the pastor who preaches Prosperity and fails to pay his Tax, to the smoking nuzzle of the religious fanatic’s weapon, the tenet of every religion is mocked.
From the human ritual site at SOCA, in IBADAN, to the endless tabloid stories about the financial indecencies of our churches, the aim of Religion is destroyed.
From the threats made by power thirsty politicians to the kidnap of innocent young girls from their erstwhile safe haven, the weapon of religion is used. From the misguided Idiosyncrasies of the religious fanatics that despise western education, (yet who sadistically utilize the ammunition made from a wealth of western knowledge), to the blood thirsty intentions of the basic criminal, the Nature of Religion is manipulated. And in the throes of this passionate display of Religious Deceit, political unrest and financial corruption. Our MOTHERLAND remains the greatest victim of all.
Every sphere of religion is culpable and none can be exempted . It is however not a lost cause for we may yet fight to regain lost ground . we may yet question disturbing , unhealthy and myopic choices rather than blindly following. We may probe the “overtly righteous” and demand answers to our queries and not answers that may not be queried. We may create a special kind of madness. Kobena Eyi Acquah in his poem , “In the Navel of the Soul” stated
“They say we have gone all out of our mind
If madness nurtures such lucidity
God , make us mad-
Make us even more mad”
Refute these endless ponderings like , When did we miss it? Was it during the brain washed worship or was it when we turned a blind eye?
The solution is merely attitudinal.
Think about it and while you’re at it, I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you!
…In Loving Memory of Eucharia Nwakaego Remmy.

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OUR CONVENTIONAL “GOOD” GIRL

Published March 7, 2014 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

mages

GOOD …”
An impressive term.
One which is sentimentally soddened with the saturated teachings of societal hypocrisy yet aches with a clandestine urge to literally extinguish its almost extinct significance. Ostensible? Philosophy opines that it is not, neither can its value be weighed accurately for the scales of prejudice doth lead us forth …further into the isles of subjectivism.
Since the dawn of time, primal man has crawled… tottered …walked and he may yet fly whilst His discipled mate in the same vein has adhered to Master Nature’s beautifully crafted script and done likewise. This Rite of Passage has been irreversibly altered by Nature’s male generation as the barely disguised urge to initiate a change in the ubiquities of life inhabits the heart of Man. Dreams of soaring the skies with metallic wings troubles his adventurous side, coveted know-how plus the mysteries beyond his knowledge, beckons to his unknown genius. The summons of life’s perks cannot be refuted as it is undeniably a challenge that mustn’t be turned down. Like a Man, he retrieves the baton of continuity and by so doing he interrupts the chain of normalcy. As audaciously shocking as this may seem, he is so permitted by Mother Nature!
In the midst of this change, the female instinctively knows her time is yet to come. She is teleported to a time when humanity’s exceeding applause for her unwavering support to mankind will warm her meek bosom. Hence her never-ending submission to her ordained partner. Her total surrender to his whims are visible through her veil of strength and her sober acceptance of Nature’s cruel dictatorial ritual is a sacrificial game played in a bid to appease the Fates who have threatened to expunge man for his betrayal. This sacrifice thus created the word …GOOD.
Who is a “GOOD” girl ?
The above passage has given an inkling that suggests who can be bestowed with the desired title of a graceful woman.
Religiously,a good female is meek in her ways … a symbol of physical and divine purity. She is a chaste being who snubs the attention of the material world. Most importantly, she is a submissive partner. Thus said, she remains the loyal wife who stays steadfast to “his” ambition to achieve and pays no attention to her secret desire to be just like him, just like a boy would wish to be like his father !
Our ever effusive society has its definition of a good female… she is one who begins her days with gratitude to everyone around her (whether habituating in sheer amity or not!) And she always wears a readymade smile for every pious individual or vampire. She is decent in manners and dressing and by so saying, she stays pleasantly calm despite the unfairness and bias displayed by life‘s obvious favoritism for the male folk. She adorns herself in unattractive robes ,which aim to conceal the luscious tendencies of her innards. Her garbs are sociologically selected from her overfilling societal pretentious wardrobe , thus she is adequately coiffed. She is the ideal female who never has dealings, whether platonic or sexual, with the opposite sex. Yet, she excels in her studies (like she is supposed to do) ,marries the wealthiest bachelor on the planet and somehow manages to please him in bed and out of it… how she does that, we (society), do not CARE!! And To further cap society’s laughable criteria, she is but a mere “normative” partner. Normative, in that, she merely wears her last name to constantly resound and reverberate the presence of her Man and must never be found in a healthy rivalry with him.
Again (which is usual), society fails to understand the workings of the female mind. It shall forever err in continuously stipulating and unrealistically demanding certain forms of behavior for the Woman. Ironically, Science also defaults by merely giving estimated and calculated results of the many needs of the Woman and thus posits peculiar trends associated with the “she-male”.
ALAS!!! The severance of the chain of norms and defaults that characterizes Science and Society’s prediction remains the greatest weapon Feminism has ever produced !
Yes! Gone are the days when we sit at home and rock that lonesome cradle waiting for “papa” to come home. The demure clothings which were worn for us have been trashed and we bid a warm welcome to the influx of lush feminine wears that guarantee a delectable look. Gone is the shame of our innate Sexuality , FOR now we flaunt what was once treated with a look of disdain. Our astounding intellect … once regarded as irrelevant…has saved Humanity ,Science and even Society! No more shall we hide the desire to be “like the man” for we feed the flames that consume his Ego. Together we have altered Mother Nature’s predigested rituals, and like our counterparts , we have been permitted!
I honestly wish this is where the story ends, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. For Feminism hath betrayed her followers. Our strikes against the world for locking us up in their claustrophobic holes have been duly noted and we are partially free. What previously seemed ethically wrong, now attracts the ovation of the crowd, therefore extremities have seeped in.
Therefore to the one who dares the most, the prize is given. For every girl who shuns the apron and the cradle , awards of dexterity and ambition are bestowed. For every woman who struts the streets in a risqué , sometimes, naked apparel, a lecherous and wealthy husband is awarded. For every female who dares challenge the opposite sex, her effeminate self decreases. The biggest losers remain those who stayed glued to that Era when women were known for meekness and submissiveness. Those who refused to call society’s bluff when it was most needed, those women who refused to dare.
Who is our conventional “good” girl? The one who sacrificed her vast potential for her man and got trapped within the walls of her essence… or she who escaped???
Think about it and while you do , I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you.

The “Paid” Piper

Published September 21, 2013 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

pied piper

“GODFATHERISM” as a concept, is relatively notorious in today’s emerging global political comprehension. It connotes a subjectively asinine method of indirect power acquisition which seldom leaves the legitimate ruler with the Mosaic staff of authority to lead an enslaved, puppy-eyed electorate, who massively chime their support for a multi-faceted regent. Ever wondered how our old bed time stories objectively hit the mark in displaying the realities of the modern world and its conventional norms?
Well, occasionally I am compelled to muse about the realistic tendencies of mythical fairytales and the legendary stories of the past. Oftimes I am inclined to proffer that the themes of our seemingly childish stories which are supposedly immersed in farce are in the actual sense of it more “REAL” than we can ever comprehend. Take for instance …CINDERELLA ,there’s no gainsaying the fact that there is a sickening convention (albeit induced by Society )amongst many females ,that the lucky and successful one is the lady who marries a rich and powerful “prince” as the case maybe. SLEEPING BEAUTY…? It certainly pays to have “happy” and influential friends who save us from the hassles created by wicked step mothers, which in this case is, LIFE! Therefore to keep their loyalty, don’t assume martyrdom by telling them the truth…that they are DWARFS!!!
However, this piece attempts to enunciate the erstwhile dim connection between the popular fairy –tale, THE “PIED” PIPER and the “kudos-driven” political ideology of GODFATHERISM. The term “Godfather” has ,without an iota of doubt, come a far distance from what it was originally acclaimed to be (which was: the male sponsor of a baptism or the head of the Mafia). It goes without saying that the only KIND of baptism or Mafioso that these modern political godfathers engage in …is one that irreversibly ensures the transfiguration of the “godchild” from a living being to a puppet!
Once upon an unfortunate period in fairy land, rats were inured as the recalcitrant rulers of Hamelin. These pesky rodents made life virtually impossible for the rightful inhabitants and so the “erstwhile” rulers thought it a sage act to employ the services of a piper to play a special tune which was different from the conventional melodies: one aimed at luring the rats out of their hidden abyss and out of the village. In shocking comparison with the circumstances above, our generation hasn’t fared any better as it has undoubtedly been victimized by the tyranny of her leaders and this is depicted by the vivid fact that the beautiful melody of democracy has been altered by the incidence of “Godfatherism” in politics. The Political Godfather salivates, not merely at the thought of obtaining power, but at the very notion of wielding the staff of office and ripping the regal garments from those who have painstakingly grasped the slippery trust of the electorate. The pipers amongst us who are naturally gifted to surge our nation forward with laudable ideologies are handsomely paid to reel out specific tunes …not to provide harmonious music for our aching ears, but to fulfill an obligation suitable to “he who pays the piper”.
Analogically, the rats are subjectively perceived to be a menace to the rulers majorly because they have wittingly acquired power by taking centre stage, to warn the people of the failure of a government upon whose shoulders they had piously laid their trust!
For the villagers (masses), the rats are a reminder of the unwanted truth that they are helpless against the deteriorating state of their nation. Clearly, the rodents are despised both ways, by the people and their rulers!
To that effect, the masses are inured to permit a commoner like them… in the guise of a PIPER …, whose duty it is to provide melodies: melodies which aim to recant a period of merriment and plenty: melodies which soothe the soul …to divest them of these benefits. The PIPER who ought to be a source of hope and inspiration trades his conscience for the appeasement of his auditory senses and sensory nerves with the clanking of gold coins and the perverse weight of bulging pockets. By that process, he loses out and so do the masses. Only one body remains the sole beneficiary in this plot of thievery and betrayal…OUR GODFATHERS!
These “Fathers of god” are apt to concede that they blaze a trail of infamous deeds, a trail that ought to inevitably lead the arm of the Law into their coven where cauldrons of evil have been left to boil… Despite this “set back”, the unfettered urge to repeatedly remain within the corridors of power stays overwhelmingly strong, hence the need to sponsor a guileless candidate who possesses the support of his people.
However corrupt they are, they certainly aren’t stupid! Therefore, the plan to stage a marionette on strings is created for the puppet-show!
Yes it is a puppet show… our piper who possesses a genuine passion to salvage his people and put a smile on their grim faces is paid to play an eerie dirge that would further enlarge the pockets of our hidden fathers and cause untold injustice worse than the “rat like” infestation of socio-economic breakdown. His life hangs on strings controlled by our “big-daddies” and when the faintest wisp of rebellion is perceived by these powerful, cautious and over –sensitive bunch, the strings are tautly pulled though in warning but sometimes taut enough to snap life‘s essence out of the hapless piper.
Regardless of this melancholic situation, hope shines through yet, for in THE PIED PIPER of HAMELIN , the ruler reneges on his part of the agreement and all hell is let loose as our converted piper plays another tune , not one familiar to the village but one which calls out to the savage , caveman like instinct of the village children . They scurry out in droves as the tune promises a trip to another place better than that which they leave behind. The children of Hamelin follow their new found guide to the Promised Land, leaving behind hopelessness as Hamelin loses her next generation.
Presently, the pipers in every sector of our nation have their hands well oiled and their backs well rubbed, that to lead such a rebellion would be an act of ingratitude to the powers that be! THE AMAZON shall not indulge in the never –ending game of “finger –pointing” and etching culpability on Politics alone. Godfatherism is one trend that is well fixated in every section of society! Brilliant ideas are left to die and the carcasses feasted upon by vultures into non-existence because there is a high “risk” that it would irreversibly hurt the already dented image of the Godfather of such a sponsor!
Writers are warned to desist from using the best weapon known to man…THE PEN, to sensitize the public about a trend that is gradually reducing the fragile comprehension of PATROTISM amongst its ever-willful citizens. We are told , time and time again , that if we must write …if our artists must be heard …if our families must be kept safe from oppression, it must be to put a smile on the asinine faces of authority!!! The PRESS exists no more, for they are wont to reveal the tragic phenomenon of our “OGAs at the Top”
Despite it all, one question gnaws at my inquisitive side…if these are “fathers of god”, who are their ancestors and where are they? Who are their fathers?
The truth is we all share the same paternal custodians, therefore, we are BROTHERS!!! As shocking as that may sound, this view has one undeniable merit… WE ARE EQUALS. If they can opt to pay our trusted piper, we can afford to take up flutes of Positive radicalism!
If we emulate the actions of THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN, we may yet play our tunes in harmony and call out the next generation before they are turned into puppets!!!
And while we ready our flutes, I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you! *winks*

DECADENCE !

Published August 7, 2013 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

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At the risk of projecting pessimism, I fear for my fatherland.
The above view articulately encapsulates the apprehension and distress evidently imprinted in the heart and mind of every patriotic citizen of Nigeria. This fear isn’t necessarily expressed by words at every opportunity; however, it inhabits and reposes luxuriously in a vibrant section of our brains and the hidden vestiges of our hearts. Subconsciously we accommodate this pain, develop it, nurture it, until eventually it reveals itself by our actions… resulting in the decadence we all behold.
“Balanced on Horseback is the only way to view the splendor of the state of Texas, USA.” So goes the famous American cliché. However I have coined it to suit the Nigerian Terrain… “Seated in a DANFO or MOLUE, is the best way to observe the deteriorating state of her territory”. You cannot understand the pain of her people, when you relax in the comfort of your private jet or better still in the sheer affluence of your endless convoy. You cannot relate with the desolate atmosphere which pervades the entire community when you aren’t within her once ample bosom of surplus milk. But I can! Thus, I enjoin you to take a trip with me, I do not promise an easy ride, I guarantee an enlightening one.
DANFO is the title given to the common and often rickety commuter buses which ply STATE roads. Although, it can hardly be termed luxurious however it is essential for the everyday hustle of transporting oneself to the various and desirable ends of the state. From the windows of my habitual “DANFO”, I can vividly behold FILTH in all its glory!!! . “Potholed” streets brimming with endless rows of shanties peaked with rusted corrugated iron roof tops and furnished with bare floors. These shanties are filled with the exuberance of laughing occupants, haggling with customers and chatting at the top of their voices, oblivious to any surreptitious observation from Pries. Not far off, there is a continuous stream of refuse, clogged with the mashed remains of improperly disposed “pure water sachets” and hashed with other condiments of waste, giving off a tantalizing stench to the hapless souls living around the vicinity.
Nearby, overflowing gutters languidly spill forth septic water which seeps into neighboring homes, warmly greeted by the toothless grins of crawling infants who derive so much fun from swimming within its diseased morbid depths… for all too soon, we lose our babies to the epidemic of decay.
As though the murky depth of filth isn’t sufficient disaster, NOISE is an all too familiar nuisance. Its deafening sound is attributed to salient sources like commercial stereos … obviously another gimmick by the vendors of musical CD’s to improve sales. Noise, from loudspeakers belonging to our ever faithful social and religious homes overtly resonates, as the righteous seem to be calling on the supreme to intervene in the societal situation which they are probably benefiting from! Whatever the source of the deafening noise, the inhabitants seem to derive a certain unexplainable joy from the familiar debris surrounding their immediate environs and so they couldn’t care less. Ironically in this despicable environment , I am granted ,by the rusty sheets of the bus’s window, glimpses of political posters of aspiring statesmen, praising themselves for a job “not” done and promising more of the on-slaught if voted in for a second term! I shake my head in despair.
The convulsive jerking of the vehicle disrupts my reverie as I lift up my head just in time to see the driver struggling with the brakes in an attempt to avoid the huge craters on the road. He finally comes to a cough spluttering stop behind another bus. Irate passengers’ rain curses upon the tired looking old man who should have been within the confines of a socially maintained old people’s home, had the authorities been sane enough to provide one. He defends himself by advocating that it is no fault of his that the road is beyond redemption and rather than continuously flogging a dead horse, they should all prepare their buttocks to sit out the traffic jam. Well, that’s one advantage of BAD ROADS, at least it causes such a snail speed traffic which will enable us look out the window once more to see more of the derelict terrain. I turn my concentration outside again and this time around we are on a different street.
This street however seems slightly different, as it exudes a modicum of affluence which is noticeably absent in the previous street visited. One common feature possessed here is the vast array of buildings and undoubted reverence given to the supreme being as it is manifested in letterings boldly written on storey buildings … “GOD IS GOOD”: “IN GOD WE TRUST” however in the midst of this passable wealth and evident reverence of the most high, there still lies traces of POVERTY and “slum like” characters showcased by the poor living amongst the middle class. One can only wonder if there are any brothers’ keepers’ around as instructed by the holy books!
I can’t help but notice that, although arranged in an unconscious manner, there seems to be an orderly assemblage of buildings which earmark the distinctions in the societal classes…for beside every tall, well built structure lies another erection which is laughable in contrast (little wonder it is popularly known as “face me I face you” as it is burdened with pitiable living conditions. The imposing buildings almost always possess high quality security brass gates and tall fences to keep the thieves away while the latter revel in the knowledge that “he that is down needs fear no fall”. It is obvious that the middle class owners of these impressive structures strive to display their wealth, and ironically, it is done in the midst of undeniable penury and such lack, that their efforts seem trivial. This view bespeaks the desire of all and sundry to adopt not just the bank accounts of the Rich, but also their lifestyle …whether it is done in sheer stupidity or total ignorance of the fact that wealth in the midst of poverty is Poverty itself!!! .
Crudely, I am again forced back to the present as there is an atmosphere of heightening excitement in the bus. The High-schoolgirls amongst us giggle excitedly and their pointed fingers direct my roving eyes to the crisis taking place outside. Nothing prepared me for the shock I witnessed as secondary school students like an army of vengeful ants confidently thronged across the express road, violently brandishing weapons and threats at the unfortunate drivers ordering them to stop and forcefully collecting money from them, at the same time other students in various uniforms seem to delight in this rising frenzy as the passengers of the affected buses, including mine rush out, in search of refuge. If not for their uniforms, I would have ultimately assumed them to be the usual MOTOR PARK TOUTS popularly called “agbero” who always harass bus drivers for a certain unexplainable levy. However their demand is usually characterized with screams of ‘owo mi da! Owo mi da!” meaning ‘where is my money , where is my money” which often made me wonder if there was a secret agreement between the drivers and these touts that the drivers would hold or keep money meant for these miscreants! , but upon further investigation done on foot, realization dawns on me that there are no high pitched cries of “owo mi da”, rather the traders around seem unfazed as they relay to me that, this is a normal occurrence and nothing for me to get worried about, as the young students are merely organizing a street carnival soon and they needed funds for it! CARNIVAL???!! CARNIVAL! What? Pray tell, occurs at these silly carnivals that would be beneficial to these youths? …Beneficial enough to cost their lives if such casualty had occurred in the process of getting funds? Has decadence finally arrived at the doorsteps of our educational system or has it already been ushered in…? Methinks the latter has occurred! For what then would obviously result when these “leaders of tomorrow” find themselves idle as they are wont to be, given the endless strikes that disfigure the once buoyant tertiary education system in the country? Again , I shake my head in despair and as is commanded bibilically I shake the dust off my feet as I quickly navigate my way out of this hellhole called a street in search of another danfo to continue my journey…for there are Certainly no brothers’ keepers to be found on this street!
It’s pretty difficult to get another danfo and I have been advised to walk down a straight path before I may be opportuned to join another commuter. Since I’m in no particular hurry, I begin my stroll. On this particular path, lying conspicuously on the mud –streaked ground are miles and miles of snake-like power cables and I am careful to avoid its morbid coil. Looking up, it’s easy to know that these cables have been detached from their countless mother poles by the staff of the power company conventionally called NEPA (even though they have long discarded with that name). As my ever voracious and hungry eyes take in the scenery, the line of cable appears to stop at a certain pole. However, my sigh of relief is cut short as it turns out that, the line doesn’t just end, there is a staff of the company upon that specific pole threatening to continue his business amidst pleadings and overtures from the defaulting consumers of electricity.
“We will pay, we promise , Oga”,they chime. The man in question looks adamant and holds his ground defying the pretentious woe-be-gone expressions. “Na so una they talk”, he replies. His frowning face is suddenly wreathed in smiles as he cunningly “shakes hands” with the people and hurriedly climbs back on the pole, the reason behind his abrupt glee isn’t hard to find as shouts of UP NEPA!! UP NEPA!!! rent the air. No further discussion is needed, no trivial explanation expected, for what has just gone down is the common phenomenon of BRIBERY for services temporarily supplied. Bribery, one cankerworm that has effectively eaten up the thread of society’s clothing, is a menace that prevails in every sector and is pervasive amongst the classes. Illegal road blocks are mounted indiscriminately as money exchange…, swifter than the speed of light, are carried out between drivers and our uniformed officials; illegal contracts are awarded to non meritorious members of the public following another exchange of benefits while our “ogas at the top” snap blind eyes shut and cover already deaf ears!
No one cares to know whether it is a crime or not, it is sufficient if it guarantees a temporary solace. And for those who even care, they are powerless against its ubiquitous fame as Bribery is a common error, one which is often made and has become the norm thus we have embraced its evil tentacles!
But then we may choose to exalt ourselves in the art of tom-foolery and pure deceit by asking each other who really is corrupt amongst us… I mean, I’m not, are you? None of us ever is, yet we reap the fruits of our hand-sown seeds of corruption…,
For every time we lift our eyes and direct our gazes to the people, campaigning for the next sorry political administration as our entertainers are usually paid handsomely to do…;
Every time we falsify state figures to enlarge our lean pockets;
Every time we convince ourselves that we are too weak to fight against the tempting lure of corruption… we ultimately remove the tightly bolted nails in the coffin of DECADENCE, for we may irreversibly resurrect a mummified motherland.
Think about it, and while you’re at it, I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you *winks*

DECADENCE !

Published August 7, 2013 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

At the risk of projecting pessimism, I fear for my fatherland.
The above view articulately encapsulates the apprehension and distress evidently imprinted in the heart and mind of every patriotic citizen of Nigeria. This fear isn’t necessarily expressed by words at every opportunity; however, it inhabits and reposes luxuriously in a vibrant section of our brains and the hidden vestiges of our hearts. Subconsciously we accommodate this pain, develop it, nurture it, until eventually it reveals itself by our actions… resulting in the decadence we all behold.
“Balanced on Horseback is the only way to view the splendor of the state of Texas, USA.” So goes the famous American cliché. However I have coined it to suit the Nigerian Terrain… “Seated in a DANFO or MOLUE, is the best way to observe the deteriorating state of her territory”. You cannot understand the pain of her people, when you relax in the comfort of your private jet or better still in the sheer affluence of your endless convoy. You cannot relate with the desolate atmosphere which pervades the entire community when you aren’t within her once ample bosom of surplus milk. But I can! Thus, I enjoin you to take a trip with me, I do not promise an easy ride, I guarantee an enlightening one.
DANFO is the title given to the common and often rickety commuter buses which ply STATE roads. Although, it can hardly be termed luxurious however it is essential for the everyday hustle of transporting oneself to the various and desirable ends of the state. From the windows of my habitual “DANFO”, I can vividly behold FILTH in all its glory!!! . “Potholed” streets brimming with endless rows of shanties peaked with rusted corrugated iron roof tops and furnished with bare floors. These shanties are filled with the exuberance of laughing occupants, haggling with customers and chatting at the top of their voices, oblivious to any surreptitious observation from Pries. Not far off, there is a continuous stream of refuse, clogged with the mashed remains of improperly disposed “pure water sachets” and hashed with other condiments of waste, giving off a tantalizing stench to the hapless souls living around the vicinity.
Nearby, overflowing gutters languidly spill forth septic water which seeps into neighboring homes, warmly greeted by the toothless grins of crawling infants who derive so much fun from swimming within its diseased morbid depths… for all too soon, we lose our babies to the epidemic of decay.
As though the murky depth of filth isn’t sufficient disaster, NOISE is an all too familiar nuisance. Its deafening sound is attributed to salient sources like commercial stereos … obviously another gimmick by the vendors of musical CD’s to improve sales. Noise, from loudspeakers belonging to our ever faithful social and religious homes overtly resonates, as the righteous seem to be calling on the supreme to intervene in the societal situation which they are probably benefiting from! Whatever the source of the deafening noise, the inhabitants seem to derive a certain unexplainable joy from the familiar debris surrounding their immediate environs and so they couldn’t care less. Ironically in this despicable environment , I am granted ,by the rusty sheets of the bus’s window, glimpses of political posters of aspiring statesmen, praising themselves for a job “not” done and promising more of the on-slaught if voted in for a second term! I shake my head in despair.
The convulsive jerking of the vehicle disrupts my reverie as I lift up my head just in time to see the driver struggling with the brakes in an attempt to avoid the huge craters on the road. He finally comes to a cough spluttering stop behind another bus. Irate passengers’ rain curses upon the tired looking old man who should have been within the confines of a socially maintained old people’s home, had the authorities been sane enough to provide one. He defends himself by advocating that it is no fault of his that the road is beyond redemption and rather than continuously flogging a dead horse, they should all prepare their buttocks to sit out the traffic jam. Well, that’s one advantage of BAD ROADS, at least it causes such a snail speed traffic which will enable us look out the window once more to see more of the derelict terrain. I turn my concentration outside again and this time around we are on a different street.
This street however seems slightly different, as it exudes a modicum of affluence which is noticeably absent in the previous street visited. One common feature possessed here is the vast array of buildings and undoubted reverence given to the supreme being as it is manifested in letterings boldly written on storey buildings … “GOD IS GOOD”: “IN GOD WE TRUST” however in the midst of this passable wealth and evident reverence of the most high, there still lies traces of POVERTY and “slum like” characters showcased by the poor living amongst the middle class. One can only wonder if there are any brothers’ keepers’ around as instructed by the holy books!
I can’t help but notice that, although arranged in an unconscious manner, there seems to be an orderly assemblage of buildings which earmark the distinctions in the societal classes…for beside every tall, well built structure lies another erection which is laughable in contrast (little wonder it is popularly known as “face me I face you” as it is burdened with pitiable living conditions. The imposing buildings almost always possess high quality security brass gates and tall fences to keep the thieves away while the latter revel in the knowledge that “he that is down needs fear no fall”. It is obvious that the middle class owners of these impressive structures strive to display their wealth, and ironically, it is done in the midst of undeniable penury and such lack, that their efforts seem trivial. This view bespeaks the desire of all and sundry to adopt not just the bank accounts of the Rich, but also their lifestyle …whether it is done in sheer stupidity or total ignorance of the fact that wealth in the midst of poverty is Poverty itself!!! .
Crudely, I am again forced back to the present as there is an atmosphere of heightening excitement in the bus. The High-schoolgirls amongst us giggle excitedly and their pointed fingers direct my roving eyes to the crisis taking place outside. Nothing prepared me for the shock I witnessed as secondary school students like an army of vengeful ants confidently thronged across the express road, violently brandishing weapons and threats at the unfortunate drivers ordering them to stop and forcefully collecting money from them, at the same time other students in various uniforms seem to delight in this rising frenzy as the passengers of the affected buses, including mine rush out, in search of refuge. If not for their uniforms, I would have ultimately assumed them to be the usual MOTOR PARK TOUTS popularly called “agbero” who always harass bus drivers for a certain unexplainable levy. However their demand is usually characterized with screams of ‘owo mi da! Owo mi da!” meaning ‘where is my money , where is my money” which often made me wonder if there was a secret agreement between the drivers and these touts that the drivers would hold or keep money meant for these miscreants! , but upon further investigation done on foot, realization dawns on me that there are no high pitched cries of “owo mi da”, rather the traders around seem unfazed as they relay to me that, this is a normal occurrence and nothing for me to get worried about, as the young students are merely organizing a street carnival soon and they needed funds for it! CARNIVAL???!! CARNIVAL! What? Pray tell, occurs at these silly carnivals that would be beneficial to these youths? …Beneficial enough to cost their lives if such casualty had occurred in the process of getting funds? Has decadence finally arrived at the doorsteps of our educational system or has it already been ushered in…? Methinks the latter has occurred! For what then would obviously result when these “leaders of tomorrow” find themselves idle as they are wont to be, given the endless strikes that disfigure the once buoyant tertiary education system in the country? Again , I shake my head in despair and as is commanded bibilically I shake the dust off my feet as I quickly navigate my way out of this hellhole called a street in search of another danfo to continue my journey…for there are Certainly no brothers’ keepers to be found on this street!
It’s pretty difficult to get another danfo and I have been advised to walk down a straight path before I may be opportuned to join another commuter. Since I’m in no particular hurry, I begin my stroll. On this particular path, lying conspicuously on the mud –streaked ground are miles and miles of snake-like power cables and I am careful to avoid its morbid coil. Looking up, it’s easy to know that these cables have been detached from their countless mother poles by the staff of the power company conventionally called NEPA (even though they have long discarded with that name). As my ever voracious and hungry eyes take in the scenery, the line of cable appears to stop at a certain pole. However, my sigh of relief is cut short as it turns out that, the line doesn’t just end, there is a staff of the company upon that specific pole threatening to continue his business amidst pleadings and overtures from the defaulting consumers of electricity.
“We will pay, we promise , Oga”,they chime. The man in question looks adamant and holds his ground defying the pretentious woe-be-gone expressions. “Na so una they talk”, he replies. His frowning face is suddenly wreathed in smiles as he cunningly “shakes hands” with the people and hurriedly climbs back on the pole, the reason behind his abrupt glee isn’t hard to find as shouts of UP NEPA!! UP NEPA!!! rent the air. No further discussion is needed, no trivial explanation expected, for what has just gone down is the common phenomenon of BRIBERY for services temporarily supplied. Bribery, one cankerworm that has effectively eaten up the thread of society’s clothing, is a menace that prevails in every sector and is pervasive amongst the classes. Illegal road blocks are mounted indiscriminately as money exchange…, swifter than the speed of light, are carried out between drivers and our uniformed officials; illegal contracts are awarded to non meritorious members of the public following another exchange of benefits while our “ogas at the top” snap blind eyes shut and cover already deaf ears!
No one cares to know whether it is a crime or not, it is sufficient if it guarantees a temporary solace. And for those who even care, they are powerless against its ubiquitous fame as Bribery is a common error, one which is often made and has become the norm thus we have embraced its evil tentacles!
But then we may choose to exalt ourselves in the art of tom-foolery and pure deceit by asking each other who really is corrupt amongst us… I mean, I’m not, are you? None of us ever is, yet we reap the fruits of our hand-sown seeds of corruption…,
For every time we lift our eyes and direct our gazes to the people, campaigning for the next sorry political administration as our entertainers are usually paid handsomely to do…;
Every time we falsify state figures to enlarge our lean pockets;
Every time we convince ourselves that we are too weak to fight against the tempting lure of corruption… we ultimately remove the tightly bolted nails in the coffin of DECADENCE, for we may irreversibly resurrect a mummified motherland.
Think about it, and while you’re at it, I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you *winks*

THE MYTH OF OUR ACCESSORIES

Published July 18, 2013 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

THE MYTH OF OUR ACCESSORIES…!
Feminity has undoubtedly been assailed by a myriad of societal cartridges, the onslaught of which has left womanhood in an effigal state…a state which, if extremities are exceeded, will create a nature short of enslavement! The divergent aspects of Feminity have consistently withstood numerous attacks from the opinionated public. One of such aspects is the world of FASHION. “Unique” is a word that elucidates in a thorough, most encompassing and absolute way, the nature of every woman’s sense of style. Almost extinct in its application, it aptly describes every lady’s choice in a host of subjects. This piece is centered on the “unique” ACCESSORY of every lady out there.
Some weeks ago, I decided to re-enact my stubborn streak by obstinately wearing an ankle chain on my left ankle to class. To my somewhat bemused horror, two close male colleagues of mine chose to do me a great “service” by lifting up the “obscene” foot and jointly wrenching the forbidden ornament from its ankle, all the while ignoring my protests. Bemusement however turned to stark ire when they based their ridiculous actions on the narrow chauvinistic view that conventionally such accessories were worn by women of easy virtue!
This pique of mine gradually escalated to a maddening inferno after I witnessed the wedding of a friend who was adorned in nothing but her “natural beauty” (which consisted of a noticeable lack of ornaments save her wedding ring) plus of course a plain inappropriate “gown” (or so it was called). However this wasn’t the reason for my anger, rather it was induced by my visual senses, as I couldn’t help but applaud the groom’s outfit. He was resplendently decked out in perfectly tailored slacks (and of course, had the smile of a man who cockily knew he looked good)!!! Thus this piece was birthed.
“You are addressed the way you are dressed” goes the famous cliché. Oftimes, I have been made to wonder though, if society isn’t exceeding the boundaries of this saying. There seems to be some ounce of bias regarding the standard of decency in female fashion, though this is of no surprise to me since at the helm of the jury is society itself that never hesitates to frown at the “littlest” action of the female folk. Society apparently gives no mind to most male eccentric fashion statements, sadly the “fillies” aren’t so fortunate as many of their fashion statements beginning from face make-up down to even the pants they wear has been overtly criticized in social and religious circles especially in Africa. Yes, the African woman is beautiful and thus needs not reveal so much skin to be appealing, she also certainly deserves additional adornments to enhance that gift that Mother Nature has been so kind to bestow. So why the restraint?
If our arms look beautiful with lovely well-bronzed amulets, why the restraint?
If our lips become tempting and succulent with DELICIOUS lipsticks, SOCIETY, why the scorn?
If our steps and movement become so fluid due to “Manish” pants and thus guarantee convenience and aid escape from lecherous men, why curtail this victory? If earrings and other jewelleries further enunciate our priceless value, why rob us?
The use of the word “if” is a condition which has been fulfilled, in the sense that, YES! Our arms do look more beautiful with the amulets on. Yes, our accessories aren’t merely aesthetic in nature, they may even be life –saving! However, society has failed to adequately reply our queries, therefore this jury lacks merit.
The conservative nature bestowed upon us by convention, seeks a leeway for escape, as women occasionally choose to call society’s bluff by adorning themselves with some ornaments of beauty which has been known to create unfavorable opinions in the minds of the faceless community of serfs. Women permit themselves the svelte pleasure of skinny ankles with the aid of “ankle chains”, whether dignifying or not! The AMAZONs amongst us permit ourselves to wear earrings or shiny stones that might obviate a tawdry appearance regardless of endless campaigns about such act being of the devil.
Jezebel hath betrayed us so much so that most religious sects have persistently frowned at the use of many of her ostracized accessories! But was that the origin of the overt hatred for many female adornments? I think not! Some sects uphold the belief that these ornaments were used in the ancient times to identify slaves, even if that were to be true, is it logical to be guided by past acts or do we seek to develop the future by trudging onwards?
Again, others opine that biblically, adorning a man’s apparel was considered risqué and thus sinful. Although this discourse isn’t aimed at creating a sectarian argument, one can’t help but ponder on what exactly was meant, when the holy book spoke of a “man’s apparel”. Research has proven that amongst the early users, trousers are believed to have been worn by both sexes , but even if this isn’t true, WHO…pray tell, sat in his mental alcove and decided to make this division of human clothing (which favours men) , if not society itself??? YES, a society dominated by chauvinists did!
At this point, there is a strong need to stress that THE AMAZON isn’t encouraging obscene dressing amongst our ladies, she is merely advocating for women’s rights to adorn societally forbidden accessories, since the same chauvinists who make up the voice of the public(that forbids these ornaments) ,do not have many of their ornaments scandalized!
So there you have it , the interesting homo-sapiens specie can be likened to a story painted on an artist’s easel… with the females being the story painted (as we have no say regarding the plot) , while you my dear reader can undeniably name the artist…
…and while you’re at it, I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you *winks*

…TO PLEASE THE WORLD

Published May 19, 2013 by EMMANUELLA ODUM

Who am I?
Whispers of a zillion replies from visible phantom beings, attempting to hide their faces, beguile my already confused mind. It’s another day in my world where Rent is paid on a daily basis to ILLEGITIMATE landowners, who possess no faces but have their varying opinions as their identity.
Sadly, these whispers seem to lure me further away from the only personal sound I can dimly connect with … but hearkening to that familiar yet lone some voice promises the rejection of the world filled with these voices, thus I conform!
Conformity seems to be a word, a few overtly agree to be identified with. Perhaps those few are the only persons who seem to grudgingly admit that there is really no human who remains undiluted by the opinions of others. In the wake of our persistent quest for social acceptance and renowned fame, lies the silhouette of our personal thoughts… thoughts and opinions, which made us stand out, thoughts, which made us Unique. Sadly, uniqueness, by its very nature is a rare quality… Need I say more?
The notion that “it’s better (and a lot easier) to join them than beat them” has been given unmerited acknowledgement by all and sundry in every aspect of our society and no other section enjoys it more than the POLITICAL ARENA. The superfluous “agbadas” and plastic smiles of those who adorn them is merely the resultant image of persons who have ultimately realized that ,in order to eventually lead a people and sit at the “table of men” , one must conform to the dictates of the ever-present God fathers…thus they conform!
They have obviously forgotten that the greatest leaders the world has ever produced are those who stood their ground in the face of adversity. True freedom fighters whose definition of leadership is act of sacrificially guiding people of knowledge to firmer knowledge.
Our people have severely complained of bad leadership, yet in our endeavors we display the same corrupt practices. We steal to stay rich, we rig to win trivial elections and we embezzle meager funds when the mockery of such an opportunity is presented … a difference between our attitude and that of those at the helm of affairs is my search… a difference, I fail to see!
At this juncture, it is apt to bring to mind the words of Martin Luther King;
“The hottest part of hell is reserved for those
who remain neutral in times of moral conflict.”

So “MR James” thinks, that just maybe, if he stays detached in times of moral decadence and passes no verdict to correct a wrong, lest people hate him for revealing the truth, he remains a non-conformist even though the hidden intent is to ensure that enemies are not made, rather, he remains loved by all and the seat of power and wealth would await “his” arrival. ALAS! The warm and “too – friendly” arms of CONFORMITY embraces him and his thinly veiled deceit… because he still conforms!

FEMINISM isn’t altogether unaffected. The FEMINIST movement has faced various undignifying threats and her followers have been unduly mocked and scorned, yet their admirable resilience shines through this hailstorm of society’s disgust. In the midst of this battle however, lie renegades who possess the highest tendency to conform to society’s dictates!
Every passing day, I meet with young industrious women who clearly possess an enviable, ambitious streak to become women of substance, who one day will turn the tables around to the shame of chauvinism! Sadly, every now and then, I see them renege on this promise to their fellow comrades. With a heavy heart, I watch such vibrancy dissipate into a mist of nothingness as society makes another soldier of feminism die a conformist’s death…As she also conforms…!

The moral lesson of the story?
We all conform! Yes, you and I do.
We have no say in our lives as we often deceive ourselves that we do. We gladly fulfill the dreams of society, worship the opinions of every “tom, dick and sule” and cast our opinions to the flames of yesterday. Invariably the embers of this inferno is merely a reminder of our personal views that shall no more see the light of day than we shall find ourselves…
Think about it and while you’re at it, I remain THE AMAZON and my amazing quill loves you *winks*

NB:- Big shout out to my supportive FRIENDS , thanks for loving the non-conformist that I strive to be.