Tuesday, 10 September 2019

SAED Is Pathway To Job Creation - SSA To Governor Fayemi Tells Ekiti Corps Members

10 September 0


After ten days training on Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme at the NYSC Ekiti State Permanent Orientation Camp in Ise-Orun/Emure, Ekiti, the 2019 Batch B, Stream "II" corps members in the SAED Inter-platoon Competition and Exhibition, corps members were able to showcase the skills gathered in their various vocational training centers.

The Senior Special Assistance to the Ekiti State Governor on Labour, Chief Oluyemi Esan commended the scheme for being visionary in the creation of the programme as part of the orientation exercise for corps members to partake in during their one year mandatory service.

Chief Esan who chaired the occasion in his address on Friday 6th, Sept. 2019 said that SAED is a pathway to job creation and opportunities.

He stated that youth empowerment is part of the agenda of the Ekiti State Government, led by His Excellency Dr. John Kayode Fayemi. He added that the SAED programme will enhance job creation and will reduce the increasing rate of job seekers in the country.

The NYSC Ekiti State Coordinator, Mrs. Emmanuella Okpongete said that the skills acquisition programme will lead them to job creation and financial independence. She added that said determination and focus is key to overcoming the hurdles of life.

Earlier on in her welcome address she commended the Head of SAED, Mrs Robinson,  Panel of Judges, corps members for their efforts in the skills exhibition and competition and further urged them to partake in the post camp training.

Mr Joseph Akihiloye, the team leader from the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) said that having been trained, the corps members should market their ideas and ensure that their products does not fall below of the standard of SON.

He said that the Government of the day will support the corps members in their journey to entrepreneurship.

He also stated that quality products deliver the intended result, increase economic growth, creates employment, and also promote good health and safety.

He added that to get standard for your goods, go to SON because the government have put in place certain scheme such as the Mandatory Compliance Assessment Product (MCAP), it is a mark of quality.

The event featured an Inter-platoon SAED competition in four areas which was between the cosmetology class ( winner, 1platoon, first runner-up, 2platoon, second runner-up 7platoon ); fashion designing class (winner, one platoon, first runner-up, four platoon, second runner-up, nine platoon ); makeup and gele (winner 6 platoon, first runner-up one platoon, second runner-up seven platoon), and catering class (winner eight platoon, first runner-up two platoon)  class where each of platoons were represented.

Also other vocation centers such as the Beautification, Construction, Agro-Allied, Power & Energy, Automobile, Culture & Tourism, Flim and Photography, ICT and others were on display.

The guests bought items and products displayed by corps members and also supported them with cash gifts.

At the event was the Admin Manager for CIMA Resources Nigeria Limited, Mr. Ajiboye Bolaji ,Camp Director Mrs. Fagbemi H.T, Head SAED, Mrs Robinson Cecilia and other camp officials.

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Thursday, 5 September 2019

Patriotism is Key to Service : NYSC DG urges Ekiti Corps Members

05 September 0


The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has encouraged the 2019 Ekiti state Batch B, Stream "II"  corps members to be an ambassador of the nation by rendering selfless service for national development and transformation.

He made the statement at the NYSC Ekiti State Permanent Orientation Camp, Ise-Orun/Emure-Ekiti on Wednesday 4th Sept., 2019 when he visited the camp.

While congratulating them for the success in their final examinations and opportunity to serve their fatherland, he charged the corps members to pay attention and portray everything learnt in the orientation exercise throughout their service year.

The Director- General also charged the corps members to make it a point of duty to identify the community leaders, security stations in their various Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) and to be security conscious. He added that the corps members should ensure to adhere strictly to the NYSC dress code and wear the uniform to their various Local Government for the Community Development Service activities.

However, Brig-Gen Ibrahim warned the corps members not to embark on unauthorised journeys out of their State of deployment. He added that in recent times corps members have been invoved in motor accidents, therefore it is mandatory to take permission from the appropriate authority before embarking in such journey. Henceforth, he ordered that the keys to the buses of the religious bodies (NCCF, NACC, and MCAN) should be in the care of the State Coordinator so that they can sought the approval before it is used.

Speaking about their contribution to their community, he encouraged them to interact with their community, do their primary assignment with due dilligence, identify the challenges faced and see opportunities in it, source for fund and leave it better than they met it.

As regard the use of social media, he said that the corps members should tread with caution. The social media should not be used to propagate disunity in the country, "do not be an evangelist of hate speech," he advised.

Brigadier General Ibrahim, also stated that as nation buiders the corps members should refrain from all forms of criminal activities, such as cyber-crime, robbery, sexual harassment and other negative vices that does not speak well of a nation's ambassador. He added that they should view themselves as role model.

Also present at the event was the Ag. Director Special Duties NDHQ Abuja, Mr Afolayan James, NYSC Ekiti State Coordinator, Mrs, Emmanuella Okpongete, 2019 Batch B Stream II Camp Director, Mrs. Fagbemi H.T, and other key camp officials.

Meanwhile, the Director-General in the company of the State Coordinator and other top officials took an inspection tour to the camp's clinic,kitchen and other camp facilities, before taking his leave. He also had a chat with the NYSC officials and security personnel.

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Tuesday, 2 April 2019

IRENE 2

02 April 1






Both Ehi and Blessing were at Irene's funeral last weekend. Clad in sparkling white knee-length gowns, hands folded across their chest, they stood by her graveside.

Blessing was crying- no- wailing so loudly that Ehi was beginning to feel like her heart was hewn from an igneous rock, especially as her eyes could not shed even a droplet of tears.

Perhaps it was the shock that the reality of a lifeless Irene lying stiff in a casket with wool in her ears and nostrils that left her feeling numb.

Ehi flipped through her writing pad. On the last page was a micro poem, a tribute for Irene. She read it again and again like she did the night before.

"Irene, this would have been an elegy
but many tongues drip dirges already.
This pen is drunk with sorrow & grief
it staggers from the furrows of my fingers
I can't write- I can't write!"

The priest was up and about his business. His robe getting stained with red earth by the lips of Irene's soon-to-be new home. "... God gives and takes. May the souls of the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and even in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

As the pallbearers lowered Irene's remains, her mother let out an ear rupturing wail. Tears rolled down her cheeks, a puddle of mucus had formed on her upper lip. Her wrapper loosened and fell to reveal her long black gown.

"God!!!!!!!!! Take me too." The woman screamed, broke free from the hold of two women and ran towards the grave.

Tears welled up in Ehi's eyes. It was only then that she began to see what pain there was in scooping sand grains with the same hands that nursed a child and feeding it to the child's grave.

"Irene should have taken pity on this woman, the same who death rendered a single parent over a decade ago. She's been everything to her two children, hawking sometimes and doing some unwomanly things.

By now Sam, Irene's only brother and sibling was kneeling before his mum. His gestures seemed to say 'mum, stay here for me, please!!'
His red swollen eyes overflowed again as they both, in a warm embrace wept.

But suicide is not what happens when a man walks into the arms of death- it takes a lot of courage to do so. On some days, death tiptoes into a person's room, becomes another copy of the person, kills him/her and goes away unnoticed. Death does not always make noise!
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Sunday, 31 March 2019

IRENE

31 March 2


-
To hold a pen bearing the world's weight- this is what it takes to be a writer.
-

To easily detect the footprints of tears blurred out with many layers of make-up and see a person's sincere hunger for laughter is a familiar scene in her dreams.


As Ehi laid in bed last night with her petite frame wrapped away in a blanket of gloom, this scene replayed again in her head. She imagined she'd successfully convinced herself to visit Irene two nights ago.


This thought gave way to a soliloquy.


"If I did, I would have talked her outta depression and we won't have lost her! But no, I wanted to be indoor all evening. Listen to country songs, write a poem or two and catch up with my online guitar classes. Ehi..."


She called her name as a tear trekked down her cheek.


"But you cannot give what you don't have, my friend" that was Blessing, she must have been eavesdropping. She always does that.


Ehi did not remember to bolt the door. She didn't even realize when the door creaked and delivered her nosy flatmate.


The two, do not talk often except when they had to clean the apartment or something that required synergy.


"Don't say that Blessing, I replied, "a kerosene lamp illuminates a dark room but it cannot see it's base for its base is enveloped with darkness."


Blessing had by now pulled a chair and made herself comfortable. She didn't say one more word after my illustration. That meant only one thing- affirmation.


They both knew Irene. The girl would visit them with packs of home made vegetables with plenty of fish and pomo. She'd ask us to make eba and have us eat with her.


After which Irene and Blessing would talk movies and fashion while Ehi was lost in an anthology of poems. But she always knew that the glow of Irene's light skin and the smiles which sprout on her full lips did not have a taproot. Somehow she felt that even a not-so-strong wind would root it out completely. Yet Ehi did not go out of her way to help.


Irene asked her to her place on the same night, what seemed like minutes before she gulped the contents of a bottle of snipper and perhaps writhed in pain till she passed out. But Ehi was quick to make an excuse,
"Irene, I have a deadline to beat tonight." She lied.


Irene replied with a cold 'okay' and hung up.


The next day, her phone rang and it was Irene again. Ehi hissed and cussed in pidgin "this girl noh know say mouth dey heavy me? Which kan' early mor' mor' call be this?"


"Hello" She said with a feigned warmth when she answered the phone.
But it was a man on the other side. A familiar voice that was, perhaps Peter's, Irene's next door neighbor.

"Yes... Good morning Ehi"

"Where is this Irene of a girl?" She asked.


Then silence hit her. She took her phone from her ear and checked to see whether the call had ended.


"Ehi," Peter said softly, "Irene is gone"


"Jesus!!!" Ehi screamed and immediately went silent.




To be continued.
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Monday, 25 March 2019

THE FLAME HAS LOST HER LIMBS

25 March 7


The moon in your eyes,
I remember how it glowed
Before the winds came
& put out its flame


The fireplace in your heart,
I remember the warmth
Before its coals became ice.
The way the fire crackled,
Resonating with the music
in my heart,


I remember, I remember everything,
But love is like sweetened gall,
An alloy of pain & pleasure,
& a reminder that poisons
Are not always bitter!
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Thursday, 21 March 2019

For Poetry & All The Things It Is To A Poet (World Poetry Day)

21 March 1


Tonight, I recall those nights when poetry sat with me in a dark room and whispered in my ear; "darkness is a song- dawn is its last note."


Tonight, I recall the cold mornings when poetry served me a steaming cup of tea, sweetened with rhythm and imageries.


Tonight, I recall the days when poetry mobilized metaphors to tow my worries away on the wheels of lines and verses.


Tonight, I recall the cavern rooms I found in poetry when termites ate my home and left me to roam homeless.


Tonight, I recall when an allegory ferried me away from the shores of vulnerability and delivered me on the island of imagination.


Tonight, I recall the days when poetry became my lift and took me to the 7th floor of fulfillment.


I recall, tonight, all the things poetry has been to me and I am thankful.

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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

THE FLICKERING RAY BECAME A BEAM

05 February 0


Chi is wedged between a wooden table and a leather chair close to the window of her self-con apartment, down the ever-quiet Engineer Kitchener’s Street. Raymond, her boyfriend was keen on getting her an apartment on this street because he knew the serenity would mean a lot to his hyper-introverted sweetheart.


This Saturday, like all others in the last five months- since she began working on her debut novel- she is clad in a loose fitting blouse and a pair of shorts. Her hair is neatly wound up and held in place with a ribbon as she nods to Christina Perri’s “I don’t wanna break”- a song which found its way to the top of her playlist since she met Raymond, about a year ago. The chorus not only mirrored what she wanted with Ray, as she fondly called him, she seemed to connect more with the lyrics each time she listened, because Christina Perri, didn’t tuck in the rough edges of love like many contemporary singers do.


But as she gradually came to the end of her story, each tap on the keys of her laptop brought a degree of anxiety. She thought, “Am I writing a story that has already been written by someone?” Then she paused to cross examine all her characters- beginning with little Ezinne who was a reincarnate of her paternal gran and had such powers as could stop her father, Okey from hitting Vero, her mum.


Chi thought of how many goats a grateful Vero sacrificed to the goddess of fertility while on the flipside was widowed Uloma, who did not let a day pass without begging the same goddess not to bother with returning her to this earth, except barren. Uloma just couldn’t get over the fact that her own son could slit his father’s throat and drag her to widowhood.


As the dialogues replayed in Chi’s mind, she tried to run away from the voices in her head. She stood up, removed her glasses, placed it on the table and went to fetch herself a chilled drink from the refrigerator. She poured out one full glass and began to sip it all-so slowly, as she walked to the window, where she leaned and stared at the trees with huge branches, entwined like two lovers- like her and Ray- dancing to the slow music of the evening breeze. She smiled.


She liked the thought. She wished it could last long enough to help her escape the guilt of killing Ezinne, the character who held her story from the beginning and pulled it to the end, the same way a tow-van takes a badly damaged vehicle from an accident scene for repairs. Chi could not help but feel that she had bitten the finger which fed her and her eyes soon began to well with up with tears.


While she stood there trying to make up reasons why Ezinne had to go, her phone rang. She rushed to pick it. She had left it on her bed to avoid distractions but when she saw that it was Ray, her face beamed with a smile. She wiped her tears, cleaned the accumulating mucus in her nostrils with a tissue paper, cleared her throat and answered the phone with the plumiest accent ever

“Hello Ray”
“Are you Chi?” Blared a throaty voice from the other side of the phone.
“Yes… Chi” She stammered
“I’m sorry,” said the man “the man who owns this phone was involved in an accident and…”
“Where are you? I meant, just tell me where is he?” She yelled. Anxiety had licked up her last drop of courtesy.
“Gyado Junction, but we are…”


She didn’t let the man finish before she dropped the call, got a change of clothes and ran off to the main road to find a commercial cyclist. As they rode to the accident scene she cried bitterly. “Was her Ray going to get amputated or worse still, die?” “Would she begin again to nurse another love wound?” “Would her fragile heart be able to endure another crack?” So many questions and sadly she didn’t have answers to any.


As she approached Gyado Junction, she saw a small crowd hovering around Ray’s deep blue Camry and her heart sank deeper in despair. “This is no joke” She thought, “Can life get any more unfair?” Tears rolled down her cheeks as she alighted and walked towards the crowd as fast as her feet would let her.


“Chi Chi”
She heard her name behind her. It seemed to be Ray’s, the unmistakable baritone voice and the unique rhythm in the tone with which he usually called her name sold him out. She tried to walk even faster but her feet froze with fright on the thought that it may be Ray’s ghost.


When the sullen look on the faces of the crowd began to give way to smiles, Chi became suspicious and mustered the courage to turn around. And there, just a few yards away, was her Ray, on one knee, holding out a beautiful ring.
“Marry me, Chi.
Chi, be my chi,
The shrine is ready, the priest too,
Please be my goddess”

Chi was sandwiched between excitement and astonishment. She didn’t see it coming. A tear trickled down her left cheek as she said a faint “Yes” accompanied by a nod. Ray, immediately placed the ring on her finger, kissed her and gathered her into a warm embrace while his friends and onlookers captured the moment.


chi- (Igbo) a personal god
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Friday, 1 February 2019

TELL PAPA

01 February 0



Ujunwa, have they told papa that
I am a story wrapped in a parcel,
Held in place by a colorful ribbon of tears?


Did papa believe them when they told him,
That I am the ashes of burnt dreams,
Waiting to be whisked away by wandering winds,
From the fireplace of broken ambitions?


I know Uju, I know that I am the shadow
Of a lost wonder, tiptoeing through
The thick forests of fears,
Without a map to guide me home.
But I hope this secret has not leaked from
The lips of the gossiping evening winds-
That's sits by the window of papa's thoughts
Idling until the break of an unbroken day.


Uju, tell papa that I am the wandering smile
He sought in the wilderness of frowns.
Tell papa that I am the 'female son' who will
Mop the distasteful stare that trails a man
Who has nothing but daughters



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Monday, 28 January 2019

LET US BE ONE POEM

28 January 2


I know my soul is a complex of ballads & odes,
A barn where harvested poems are stacked,
But let me stare into your eyes, my fair one,
For there are sonnets scribbled therein,
Written in verses of infernous passion
& if only you'd affix your hands in mine,
We'd become an anthology of poems,
To be read by our estranged lovers-
The ones who promised to be rainbows
To scare away our flood of gloom,
But left when clouds gathered in our eyes.
The curvy figure(s) of speech may become amoebic,
For I have seen metaphors melt like candle
& oxymoron, made morons of poets;
But if we superimpose & become one poem,
then we need not fear when arguments tear us apart & break us into lines,
For even after enjambments have tried in vain to keep us together,
My fair one, we will surely be reunited by verses.
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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

I Could Have Raised the Walls But I'm Out of Bricks

22 January 0



How many more shots of you will I need to drink before I am drunk enough
To stagger from side to side and crumble in  a heap by the sidewalk of love?
Tell me, when this tipsy-ness would mature into a war in my bowels
And make me puke all the hurt and hate in the depths my soul




Will I stare long enough at your curly hair
Before the walls around my heart
Melt like candle wax and erode the memory of the man
Who planted tears in my eyes and left shrieks on my lips?




I have tasted the sweetness of your soft
whispers,
I have read the love notes in your eyes
But why is it written in the handwriting of my ex?





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Friday, 18 January 2019

A Letter to Dawn

18 January 10

As soon as mama weaned me
Papa stood by the corners of my mouth
With a gourd, full of wisdom
And told me; "Drink, my child, drink!
For life is a journey through a desert
Where there are no oases."



My feet are dusty with age
And soon my ghost would sit
On the lips of my grave;
But a man as me, who at boyhood
chewed the smoke from his father's pipe
should not go down, bland and unripe



I am writing you from the fireplace of nostalgia
Where memories melt me into tears
For our friendship with the rain is severed-
The same lightening which aforetime,
Guides a lost boy into the bosom of his home
Invites thunder to rain lethal blows of death
On the same.
Dead are the days when the shrine was
but a post office where each man
with stamps of libations, sent letters to nature
and received correspondences from the same



As the sickle of time bares my head
I am become a mirror of experience
For the young to stop, stare
And see how well they have adorned
Themselves to meet their future,
But will haste let them?



It is true that many an old man’s mind
Is a street littered with carcasses of
Decaying dreams (a dance floor for maggots)
But it is not true that they all look forward
To nothing but death, ‘cause tonight,
I and my walking stick will keep a vigil
To receive you, dear Dawn



Not even the sore throat of the cock
whose crow announces daybreak
Must stop you, ‘cause you are
The help our stuttering meteorologist needs.
For like a talking drum, you bite not your tongue
When you remind us that nature is roaring
And soon she'd shoot bullets of earthquakes
From her nozzle-less riffle of disasters.
Then the smile of rivers will melt into a laughter
Of floods and epidemics will mock us
When our own ridges produce tubers of death
That’d make our hair drop, strand after strand
Like a deciduous tree sheds its leaves



By then, men will hold guns for boys to pull triggers
And we will begin afresh to sing dirges
For still-birthed crayons and dead pens,
Like we did when Okigbo’s thighs,
Were as grilled chicken, laid on the plates
Of peace for the chewing pleasure of the war


Dear Dawn, you’re paraphernalia
For our masquerades; your bare chest is
The divining tray on which we must throw cowries;
You are the town crier of the future,
Please when you arrive the village square,
Halt the loud music of urbanization, at once!
And tell the people not to wrestle with shrubs
And break the necks of trees,
Tell them not to spit refuse on the face of our rivers,
Tell them that the sun in the eyes of the star is dimming
And a corrosive tear trickles down the cheeks of our sky
Tell them…



Dawn, I implore you to drive carefully,
For our road(s) is a bait on the hook of death
And a reckless driver, its sinker!



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Friday, 11 January 2019

How Girls Become Butterflies

11 January 3



In between gloom and bloom

-

A girl is afraid to keep the flower she picked today,
She thinks it would wither
Like the last one she picked-
Because,
She remembers the way its petals
curled inwards and browned into
a dry ugly hate which stunk so badly
that the memory of its fragrance died
almost immediately.



So she enters into herself,
Becomes a larvae of silence.
She doesn't stop there.
Pain pushes her further
And she crawls into a cocoon of solitude,
grows wings, becomes a butterfly.



These days, she is the garden
inhaling fragrances
And getting drunk on nectars-
she'd stagger from one flower
To the other,
But one, two flaps and her wings
Returns her to where she started-
In between gloom and bloom.


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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Death is Not Another Color of Light

02 January 2

                                     


Do not tell me that death is an anaerobic sleep,
And like the whale which swallowed Jonah,
It'd spew my son at the tideless shore of bliss,
Just  to muffle my mournful wail!



If you must, let your coffin first sail on a sea of dirges,
And you, with the blade of curiosity,
Have slit open the belly of graves;
Then you can wag your hope-coated tongue
For on my bed, lies unclad grief and death- seductively becks
And I hang on, because you speak of a nightmare,
Awaiting folks who by the lullaby of suicide, slumber sweetly.



Wait till we regurgitate your last words and of its cud, chew, 

Wait till you have watched the barren black night, birth light,

And confirmed that the grave is a footpath to eternal delight;

Until then, do not tell me that death is a luminous darkness.


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Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Come Watch Me Dance Naked

26 December 15


Jaachi, I am the tree which died in the seedlings you refused to tend. I am a memory you cannot drown in a keg of palm-wine, for like a feather, I will float upon the rivers of your thoughts till you recall and regret the night when you abandoned a broken flute at the village square, for I am that flute and wholeness found me in the hands of a drummer boy who lost his drumsticks.


They say the pen is the only wingless hen which shields chicks from preys, but your lines were baits on the hook of heartbreak.  It was from you that I saw that love could be conceived by virgin words, delivered in a manger of lines, wrapped away in swaddling clothes of stanzas in a place where muzzled emotions bleat noiselessly in furred imageries and poetic devices. Jaachi, all there was to your love was poetry!


So each time a man strolls into my daughter’s mind, turns his heart into a scroll and writes a verse with his tongue, I take her by the hand and lead her to the small room on the tip of my tongue. There I melt into a calabash of soliloquy:
“Child, the currents of the heart is not measured in ohms, maybe in pain, too vast to be calibrated. Every wrong I did is a wrung on the ladder of my counsels. If you climb them, you will not elope with the moon like I did, only to see the sun crawl out of the clouds with all the brightness I’ve always wanted. I realized too late that darkness is an egg, when placed in the incubator of patience, hatches into a bright light.”


Jaachi, come to the village square tonight and watch me dance naked and unashamed of the bliss which became blisters, for they have become painless scars. Come, Jaachi come and nod your head to the music of my waist-beads for this is the ritual  a woman must perform to escape being burnt by the smokeless fire in her nostrils.


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Saturday, 15 December 2018

WE WILL WALK THIS CONTINENT AGAIN, WITH PRIDE

15 December 0




The fire crackling in my eyes has a rhythm,


which resonates with the storms we wrestled,


before we lost our paddle & before our boat,


broke into pieces. Tighten your grip, my kinsmen,


on this flaxy wind. Let every man ask his chi to


place him in the hollow of our ancestors’ skulls,


Let us all plead with the gods to make for us,


another paddle from their bones, for we must


get home, even if home is a land trapped in


the closed eyes of the dream which sat beside


papa’s bamboo bed when he told us about


the two rivers on nnem’s forehead, from which


we will never again harvest fishes, fattened by


flesh bits of a Benue boy, who chewed a plate


of bullets for late dinner. My kinsmen, let us


glide thru’ these waters. Swim we must, sail we will,


but sink we shan’t! For we must get home, even if home


is a dream, the blur dream of a famished lad whose eyes


were invited for a salad in Aso Rock while his drooling


mouth is tucked away in a blanket of darkness, as he


spends another moonless night under the Lagos bridge.


Please lift your heads above these ebbs & read the words


on my tongue, for it is Ala’s scroll & Agwu‘s map, 


both will lead us home, to the land where the rain of love


will fall on our fathers’ backs & erode the scars of the


Biafran War & make the lushness of our lawn to return with


all its elegance, till we walk this continent again with pride.




nnem- my mother


Ala- an Igbo deity of the earth, fertility, creativity and morality


Agwu – an Igbo deity of health and divination, and one who explains good or bad.




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