The Bathroom Experience

Posted: June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Bathroom Experience

I like having my bath without complaints. It is cool. It is sanity. My great-grandfather had a contrary view though. He had his bath once in a while, when he must have consulted with his fore parents to be sure his spirit would not be washed off. Then he would boil some water in a small kettle, ask me for the bowl, I would give it to him and he would ask me to go outside. He would then close the door which led to the yard and have his bath. I spent my earlier childhood in the village with my great-grandfather but I refused to learn the concept of not having my bath. May he find rest!

So when I visited UNN Dave asked him to come to the hostel. I agreed and he arranged a place for me at the hostel. The hostel is such a place. If you do not die in the hostel you can survive in Kirikiri. The hostel is the reason why Nigerian students excel or turn villains. Yes, after living the harsh condition of the hostel, a student could decide to steal as much money to make sure his children do not stay in the hostel while in school. A lot happens. So on that fateful morning I woke up and requested to have my bath. Mbanefo Hostel is a large building that can pass for a country. When I saw the queue which waited patiently for the trickle water which dropped from the tap I declared in my heart that a Nigerian student is the worst treated in the world.

Walking to the bathroom, I passed through corridors. Those corridors had rooms. As a troublemaker I glanced through the roughly ajar doors to see the life of a Nigeria student. While some student lay on their stomach, thinking of a meal or some mischief, I presume, I heard other retards from a game house, down stairs screaming out their hearts.

When I finally saw the bathroom I gave glory to God. If you do not die as a Nigerian student you can survive anything, even HIV/AIDS. I do not have ideas about bathing. I grew up in the village where we ran to the stream with bare bodies and threw ourselves into the water and drown our lives out. We would swim, play games and sing songs. We admired the birds from our paradise and thereafter go home to a well prepared meal. Life then was a great one. We never thought of growing up. The best we thought of was growing up with money, not the process. We never even thought of school.

Then when I graduated from the village-life to the city I had my bath in buckets. Then we used steel buckets. The neighbours would know you are about to have your bath. The bathing process was the most interesting. When you successfully beat the queue at the bathroom you would squeeze your body into a small room, place your soap and scooping bowl on a bar. Then you can hang your towel in hell or wherever available. We scooped water from the bucket on our heads to the timing of other impatient neighbours who would push us outside at the slightest opportunity.

So there at the bathroom I dodged the pool of water which gathered and placed my bucket and prayed to god for guidance and direction. I had my bath. Salvation is like having a bath. The way the water drips can be likened to sins being washed away. While the water dripped down my face I forgot all my worries and enjoyed the purity of the water.

Water has no enemy. It finds friends in anyone with an open mind. While I walked back to the room I saw no reasons why past leaders who schooled in Nigeria cannot alleviate the pathetic situation of the Nigerian student.

  

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I first read Isaac Attah Ogezi’s online before the print. It was a review of Musdoki, a novel by Ahmed Maiwada.

Maiwada is my friend, a troublesome older friend. Maiwada is a lawyer, a listener, a witty fellow and a poet. Maiwada practices law in Abuja where he also writes from. The controversial Maiwada wrote a critically controversial novel which the book-reviewer and highly opinionated (Pa) Ikhide Ikheloa did not find very impressing. Mr Ogezi did. And he wrote a mouth-watering review of the book. I read the review before the book. I smiled. 

I love reviews; they either save me or kill me. Some reviews push me to buy the books against the plea of my pocket. Maiwada’s description of Lagos will go down to become one of such great works on life in Lagos, before the popular era.

Mr Maidawa is not a boring person. I sat with him once in his Abuja office on one informal afternoon and we discussed writing. I am sure Mr Maiwada did not lead Mr Ogezi into boredom, for in the review there was so much to look forward to in the novel, Musdoki.

I could be the opposite. A writer’s prowess has nothing to do with my opinion, if I like a book I spend my life reading and admiring it. If I hate a book I spend my life cursing the author, invoking the gods to distract the mind which had distracted me from doing something more useful than reading the particular book.

Mr Ogezi mailed a copy of his latest play, “Under a Darkling Sky” to me. I received the packed book and tore it open like a hungry man who needed to be fed. I read of the author and about his career as a lawyer and writer. Mr Ogezi wrote the said play on Ken Saro-Wiwa; his death and others. He pictured the few last moments before the death and the actual death of the environmentalist. No one had really done such on Mr Wiwa.

I spent my time and read the work carefully. While reading the book a lot of questions arose. I thought about the tone of the playwright, his research and almost quoting Mr Ken, Mr Mitee, Mr Owens and Mrs Ken verbatim. He also did some works on the late four Ogoni elders who were murdered in Giokoo, in Ogoni in 1994, of course the latter shaped the history of the struggle till date.  

A piece of literature on Mr Wiwa or what concerns him could be a problem. Some people do not see the hero in Ken or his acts. Others felt things could have been better. Mr Ogezi’s play chronicled same news the press had fed the people with. I expected him to have come to Ogoni, spent a while so as to get sides to the story and do a fictional historical play without much rancour or at most a fictional story.

Mr Ogezi misspelt some Ogoni names. But he is like a hero who while celebrating kicks the keg of palm wine meant for the celebration. I like his courage to have written the play. I like the fact that he did not go so much to bringing what we are not familiar with in the story. Maybe the latter is a strength or weakness, depending on where you are standing.

I recommend “Under a Darkling Sky” to all play lovers. Pa Ikhide once wrote that you cannot perfectly judge a play until it is staged. I await the play on stage.

Nwilo Goes to Nsukka

Posted: June 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Nwilo Goes to Nsukka

And so I found my wImageay out of Port Harcourt. Nsukka, in Enugu State has a lot of things which makes it outstanding in Nigeria. Its location in the hills is not so special. The Abia State University, Uturu, is surrounded by hills also, so are a few other universities in the East and Western part of the country. But Nsukka, like other parts of Enugu, has coal. Coal may not be so much of mega natural resources now but there were times when it was an economic blast in Nigeria and Africa.

Before I decided on the visit to Nsukka I had told David, my very good friend about it. David is actually a good guy. He is one of my few sane friends. David does not go mad like me. He does not drink and he walks straight without blinking at any lady’s lush backside. He is funny and he schools in Nsukka. Funny and cool people school in Nsukka. Madder people school in the University of Lagos. Desperate people school at the University of Port Harcourt.

David had sent me a disclaimer about the lives of the people in Nsukka, particularly the ladies. I had invited David to the University of Port Harcourt once. David had made his observations and pronounced a judgement; that girls of the University of Port Harcourt were plastic! He said the girls were so fake, even the devil feels like an apprentice liar where they operate. He told me I should visit Nsukka and draw a conclusion. I agreed on the visit and left Port Harcourt.

Peace Mass Transit is the worst transport line in Nigeria. The drivers are mad people. They do not listen. They just act. A driver of Peace’s would jump into a pothole with no regards for the people seated in the vehicle. They do not apologise. Humans are idiots where they are. And if there is a delay no one apologises. Does anyone apologise in Nigeria?

Drawing my sanity I was able to sit through the four (4) hours drive to Nsukka where the driver suffocated me with burial hymns instead of good music. Living people should listen to lively music, like Morocco Maduka’s Asiri, Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain, Asa’s entire albums as well as Nneka’s. Dead people could do dead songs. I tried to talk to him but others who were in the vehicle seemed to be enjoying the songs, so I stayed away. You cannot fight the crowd, alone.

Aside some of Nigeria’s greatest writers, Nsukka has produced a lot of people who are either active in politics or business. Onyeka Nwelue is my favourite. I know him as a role model and a greater retard. Also is Lorenzo Manekaya, a google-wearing radio presenter based in Nsukka. The guy sings well also. I had met him through Onyeka Nwelue few years ago in Yenagoa. I met Lorenzo again at the Jives, a place originally owned by the late Nnamdi Azikiwe. The late President’s wife still lectures in Nsukka, so Manekaya enlightened me. Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, Chimamanda, all these names had a piece of their lives in Nsukka. My good friend, Prof. Unoma Azuah schooled in Nsukka also, same as Obari Gomba the poet.  

One amazing thing about Nsukka like any Eastern hub in Nigeria is the lingua franca. If you are a stranger learn to speak the Igbo language before considering a visit. It will do you a lot of help. I sat at a table at Jives shortly after I arrived and ordered a drink as to communicate with the oracles of Nsukka. The bartender lady I met responded well without words. I admired her curves insisted she spoke to me. She spoke Igbo, not once but repeatedly. I looked into her eyes like a retard, nodded as I showed her an empty bottle of Heineken as what I wanted. I seriously could not figure out what she was saying in response to what I was saying but I know I let her be.

I think I like Nsukka, seriously, more than other universities. I have my reasons. A lot of the people I admire schooled at the university. The school is large with greens and it has all that enables learning. I do not know about the hospitality of the people. The friends who welcomed me may not welcome any other person. And I have friends too who would not visit Nsukka any time sooner even when they have graduated from the school.

About the beauty of the women in Nsukka, I think the people, especially the ladies are more natural, maybe it is because Mary Kay’s shops are far from the school.

I must not forget Joyce’s Afang soup. Joyce cooks so well. She could convert a sinner with her meal. Joyce is my friend’s girlfriend.  She is a great cook. If I should describe how I felt after the meal from her I would have issues with my girlfriend. But I am grateful for what she offered. All men should marry women who can cook. It is an amazing thing.

Happy Father’s Day to Me!

Posted: June 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

Happy Father’s Day to Me!

Father’s Day is around the corner. I am glad for the fathers; those who have actually toiled through the years to see the children grow into responsible adults, and those who are toiling, as well as those who are preparing to make the toil. In Nigeria being a father could be the worst job any man would wish for.  The fear is not in the sexual intercourse, no, Nigerian men do not consider that a problem. In short no man considers that a problem. Being a father is far more than watching a woman being delivered of a child but care and provisions as long as that child lives. I would have been a father if the unnumbered girlfriends I have had had considered leaving me with a baby. But who would? Who is that Nigerian lady who would consider a retard of a scribbler like me for a father, am I 2Face Idibia?

Father’s Day has really gone religious. Fathers who are in churches would be celebrated, maybe with a special sermon on fatherhood. The preacher would doctor those who have neglected the responsibility of a father. “No man should abandon a child for a woman alone. Children should be a mutual responsibility of both parents.” The church should be thanked for the luxury of keeping up the practice in Nigeria.

Cultures are dying and so are celebrations. Most festivals in our local tribes have given ways to church practices. Mothers are celebrated everyday, but fathers, no. Men are insignificant, at least that how it seems. A man would sit in his armchair reading a bloody newspaper which he probably has no interest in but for the opportunity of time, then the children would troop in with bags and gifts. They would rush around their mother and hug life into her. Then they would throw a couple of glances and greetings at the old man who would adjust his glasses to see if his wife was either being mobbed to death or just some rascal of children repeating child-jokes. At the end of the day the man would get a miserable necktie as a gift, even when the man had never worn a necktie in his entire life. Any man who gets a necktie should be thankful. Some other men get the gifts of handkerchief or anything less attractive.

I have never really celebrated Father’s Day. I am not used to such luxury of mapping out a day to sit in front of my father and observe how age is telling on him and his wrinkled face. I do not get such precious time to go to a shop to get him a gift wrapped in one of those designers’ bags. Men suffer a lot. I think men are like teachers – their rewards are in heaven.

I had my formative years in the city but I was never use to city life. Periodically I travelled to my hometown. The cultures and the people I met in those few days I travelled erased every idea of city life and courtesy from my head.

I wish to be a better father someday, receives gifts from my children, but I am afraid; karma could be such uselessly jobless lady. She looks for what to throw at you even when it is sure situation were not suitable.

Maybe someday I shall buy a gold wristwatch for my father, for those days he held my hand after school, for those meals he provided when there were no jobs. My dad had once taken me to work on a Sunday when it was obvious nothing was available in the house. I climbed the roof of a house he had gone to repair with him. We sat there on the roof and admired the more beautiful roofs we saw.

My best for dad gift would be to make that dream of a comfortable lush home a reality. Until then Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Fathers day to Mr Lucky Nee-Bari Nwilo, my father, and to all those who have played fatherly roles in my life, some of you are younger, all same, I am grateful.

 

Nwilo Bura-Bari Vincent

The Pathetic Africa in Hollywood

One lazy Wednesday evening I went to visit a friend. Mr Kay, who lives in same city as me is like an elder brother. A ride to his place clears my head of junks. The reason is the rigour I undergo finding vehicles to his place. It is like working-out, straining my muscles. Aside jumping taxis and the buses I get to sit and watch everyday people talk about a failed government, the renaming of a federal university as well as other stupid governmental projects. I listen to the invocation of the wrath of gods on these daft politicians.

When I am bored and feeling useless I go to visit Kay, for some talks and it sometimes help. Anything conversation helps, especially when arguing on a filled stomach. There is usually a great time with Kay, he is brilliant and could be sentimental when you least expect. During my stay at Kay’s place that day, after the usual chattering on political matters I decided to go through his movie shelve. On it were collections of movies; drama and action. I saw one with a popular actor, Gerard Butler, holding an AK-47 rifle while defending a war ravished African child. Hopefully, Gerard would be saving the entire African children with his rifle. I chose the movie for its cover picture had a sublime message; be white, get a rifle and save Africans.   

I requested to watch the movie so to see how this one man would be saving an entire continent of dying children with a rifle. Pictures of African children with probably running nose or flies around their mouth, skinny legs, and large stomachs sell in Europe. It sells a cause to save Africa. It sells the movies. And if toothpick were to be sold with such pictures it would turn in billions. Africa is such a continent. The black in complexion, scared child behind Butler on the movie cover must have compelled more people to buy and watch how a wise white man had come to the Sudan to save the children.  

After the movie I felt so enthused and concluded that Europe should be awarded for telling African stories to the world with such energy and technology.

Bringing the story of a war ravished African country to the big screen cost big money. These Hollywood guys are geniuses. They invest their monies in alleviating the African suffering and wipe its ass of shit. Tell of an African state and its dilapidated structures; forget how the leaders run a deal with European leaders. That would earn you a death threat or lost of your job so forget it. Stories in this perspective may get you an Oscar. Hotel Rwanda did very well out there. Be sure yours would also. But Africans are probably lazy, too lazy to tell their own stories or they are too concerned with the things that keep body and soul together, to care for bomb explosion victims and lots more. Nollywood is probably selling pornography to tell her stories.

The West does know how to tell an African story, ask anyone, especially Binyavanga Wainaina, he wrote an essay titled “How To Write About Africa” and many writers learned. Wainaina should be demoted for letting out such vital secrets to the West and the African cohorts.

A lot of people from the West have been trained to do great jobs with African stories. Generations after generations have won the Pulitzer, telling these same stories. Get a camera, some ideas in your head about you being the super man, jumping into Africa – the vast land of mess, and then saving the people. But what is this African story? Is it the telecast of youngsters in Egypt ousting Mubarak or Nigerian youths demonstrating dissatisfaction over the hasty removal of government’s so called fuel subsidy? It can be anything, from slave trade to war torn African countries. It could be a love tale. Or maybe it is the portrayal of Africans and the African values as the West sees Africa; that country of majority black idiots, against the continent it is with diverse humans, of over 900 million people with 54 independent countries. So one day you can see an American going through the Atlas and exclaiming “That’s it. I found it. I am going to Africa!” And he picks his bag, his money, hopefully grants and flies to Ghana or Nigeria. When he returns, he turns a missionary or an activist or writer, telling an all African story. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are sincere people from the West who think African children deserve more mosquito-nets against bad treatments from sick political ‘rulers’ who rehearse nothing but lies to the people when it is election.

These foreign visitors or story tellers paint a myopic picture of Africa. They can spend a night at a prestigious hotel in Port Harcourt and write so perfectly about the people of the creeks of Luubara. That’s what I mean. We are poor and pathetic and lazy to write our stories objectively so these guys do a better job. Paint a grotesque picture and label it Africa. Any European child can learn how to say words with “Let’s save Africa! Those baboons are dying.”

The Kenyan Writer, Binyanvanga Wainaina did justice, ironically, telling in his essay “How To Write About Africa”. Europeans know Africans better than God. They took free men from Africa and turned them into slaves. They are God, our God. They know everything. A stupid scripter writer goes on Youtube and types a keyword like “Africa”, thanks to the famous Google, he gets all the links and feeds of grotesque fiction and evil deeds by thieving African ‘rulers’ on their subjects. He sees Sudan and Nigeria, and feels compelled to write a story of how a white drug lord finds his way to Africa and saves the day. The movie then makes a billion dollar at the box office. Wow.

African writers, those whose asses are black do same. They paint all the lyrical pictures of Africa and then smuggle it abroad and they get an apartment and a job at some wretched university, funded by idiotic African leaders who siphon funds, just to have a hall or classroom named after them.

Salute to Bori

Part 1
O Gbene Bori,
When I see thee a tear run down my cheek
I see thee and thy widely spread arms, so meek
Thy face is painted with histories
Of minerals and victories
I like thee for thou hath likeness
I would marry thee for thou art a princess

Part 2
Beautiful Bori,
Thy kindness is awesome,
Thou hath soft spots and hot spots,
When I watch cool breeze from creeks toss thy hair,
I find laughter
For thy beauty is divine
Oracles must love thee so much

Part 3
Dearest Bori
When no one wants me
Thy grace calls me
When no one sees me
Thy sights penetrates my soul
Thou art a perfect woman
Thy fragrance reeks above political dirt

Part 4
O Bori,
Call my name like the waters
Names on thy colourless tongue is a fine meal
Bori, who is greater than thee,
Thy kitchen hath cooked meals for Abuja
But thy skin is dry and unattractive like a loser’s
Mother Bori, I know thee
Thy tomorrow would glow

Part 5a
Promising Bori,
Thy children shall return
From cities around the world,
From Paris in France
To Moscow in Russia
They shall fly from Morocco
And Bamako to thy shelter

Part 5b
When that day comes
There would be the colours of rainbow in thy tent
And thy neighbours would envy thy bliss

Part 6
O Bori,
Thy waters tasted better
Until the cruel crude came
Thy fishes were fatter
Until the wicked spills spilled
O Bori, thy glory is lost
Thy barn has no tubers

Part 7a
Bori, Gbene Bori
Thy heart is beautiful
Like the rising sun, I adore thee
But thy thighs hath lost flesh
O Bori, my heart cries for thee

Part 7b
When no oracle brings dream, I stay put
I am neither moved by the wind or its wings
Bori,
Thou art my mother and father
Thou hath given me milk and water
Thou hath given me loving and shelter
O Bori, the green Bori, I love thee!

And Next Died
(Ode to 234Next, the newspaper)

When she appeared on my computer screen
I knew a love had come
To a reader and writer;
Her reports stood out
And opinions flowed

Next brought Victor, Tolu and Ikhide;
My all time best
She brought arts and crafts
She brought films
And dreams also

But Next Died
Not to ailments I know of
But the silence I fear
Who speaks your daring truth
And funny fictions

Your grave would be filled
With flowers thrown in by your enemies
You created many
And they’ve laughed you to it

O Next, you were special
Your Sunday prints, I never missed
Your large format prints made me happy
You lived life sluty, but worthy. Adieu.