Thursday, 26 March 2015

On The Dangers Of Loving A Politician Too Much: Vote, Not Fight

I wanted to remember his nose. I remember everything else.


I remember how looking into his eyes was like looking into a body of softly flowing water. I remember how he would sleep with the pillow placed under his belly rather than under his head, how he would wake up at intervals to urinate. I remember how on the eve of the elections, he could not sleep, not even for a second: how he left the television set on throughout the night disturbing me. That night, I woke up twice. The first time around one in the morning, to his screams of ‘Yes’ ‘Yes’ ‘Yes’ to the television, to the candidate on the screen that was ordering the masses ‘to make sure they protect their votes.’ To make sure ‘they do not allow the thieves hijack the results.’ The second time around four in the morning, he woke me up to tell me to search for my voter card because I was also going to vote, because ‘every vote counts.’

He had been consumed by the elections, he had been consumed by his love for these politicians who did not even have the slightest clue regarding his existence; these politicians who were known to be liars, people for whom lying was not only an action but also a job description.

During the weeks that lead to the elections, he would spend the money that we barely had making banners and stickers. He would go from one neighbor’s house to another, he would knock on their doors and when they opened, he would offer them a sticker and a small flag of the party and have a conversation on the immense importance of voting in the candidate he was preaching. He would use words that began with: our party promises to… and this is our party’s resolve… our party this and our party that, as if the party belonged to him, too, as if somehow he had overtook the conceiving of the party.
‘I am four weeks pregnant.’ I told him as we lay on the bed to sleep, a few days to the elections.
He was happy. ‘My first child; I will name him Restoration, our party’s slogan.’
I was disappointed. I shook my head and turned the other side.

When the day of the elections came, he dressed himself in Agbada, the colours of the party, the exact way his candidate dressed on the day he came to campaign in our state and told us that he was the answer that we had been looking for, that it was God Himself who had ordained him on this mandate, as though God cared for politics. He made me come with him, he kept going on and on about how everyone’s vote counted, he used the words ‘exercise’ and ‘franchise’ and ‘disenfranchise’ a lot.
After we voted, he told me to go home and pound yam to celebrate ‘their’ victory. He said he had to stay to ‘protect our votes by fire or by force’ but that he would be home as soon as the votes were counted.

I was anticipating his return; it was about a quarter past six when I got the call from the police. They said after the results were counted and his candidate did not win, he began to ‘foment trouble.’
Typical! I thought; of course he did. I knew he did not have it in him to peacefully accept a negative result. I knew it. I was glad that the police were there to pick him up. I concluded that I would let him sleep in jail for a couple of days before I go to bail him. 
‘It quickly degenerated into a very chaotic situation. A few people were injured. He broke a few bottles and stabbed a couple of people. One of them is in a critical condition at the General Hospital.’
‘Oh my God,’ I said. ‘Look, let him stay there in jail until further notice.’
‘That’s what I am trying to explain to you, madam.’ The policeman said, for the first time, I noticed the nervousness in his voice. ‘Madam, your husband is not here in the cell. We wanted to subdue him because he was on the rampage. We were afraid he was going to hurt more people.’
‘What are you saying?’ I asked. The nervousness had now transferred from his voice to mine. I could not think. The air in the house had suddenly become too heavy to be breathed. The fan kept rolling its blades but provided no breeze; I had begun to sweat profusely, more than profusely. Large stones had gathered in my throat- I could not swallow. ‘What are you saying?’ I repeated.
‘Madam, we only meant to subdue him; we did not mean to shoot to kill.’


I wanted to remember his nose. I remember everything else.

#VoteNotFight #NoViolence

Thursday, 19 March 2015


You could not possibly love her. She was not your type. You did not tell her this because telling people things like that hurt their feelings and you would much rather have her believe, falsely, that you were into her than hurt her feelings. The day she asked you about marriage and at what age you intended to get married, you had had a conversation with your friend who had found a pretty girl and was waiting for her parent’s green light to go ahead with the introduction, you had told him you hardly knew what the big deal was about marriage and why everybody took it like the most important thing life had to offer. You said you would marry only when you had become successful enough to be living in your personal house and have at least two cars. You told her, because you knew that was what she wanted to hear, that you would get married whenever the right girl came along. You knew you were lying but it felt like the right thing to do in the situation.

You asked her to be your girlfriend because you had already formulated a masterpiece breakup plan and once she said yes you would start working towards the plan. She did not say yes though, which surprised you, it almost bothered you even, but you were glad that the whole shenanigan was over. You thought it was finished. It was not finished, at least not to her. She kept up appearances and said things like ‘we are still best friends.’ And ‘the fact that I did not say yes now does not mean I would not say yes later.’ Your heart broke, but, of course you acted like the happiest man in the world.
‘So I still have a chance,’ you inquired.
‘Maybe,’ she replied with a smiley face.
Your heart broke some more. Your masterpiece plan was still required. You mostly disliked fakeness and fake people but it did not seem like you were being artificial with her, it seemed like you were doing the right thing. You really did not want to break her heart or hurt her feelings. You kept up with the long telephone conversations that ended, each time, with ‘I love you.’ You kept up with the texts before she woke up telling her sweeter things than the previous night. It was exhausting and frustrating. You wanted to stop, you were desperately looking for ways to get out of the windowless, airless suffocation chamber that you had locked yourself in. Perhaps she noticed that you were exhausted and that was why she told you that she loved you, too and that she never thought she would find someone like you. That you were the best thing that had ever happened to her and she could not even withstand the mere thought of life without you. She told you to promise that you would treat her right and that you would never change and that you would be different from the rest of them. You were going to, but your words got entangled inside your throat when you realized that when they came, they would be lies. Your face assumed an expression of sadness, fear and hate for yourself all at the same time, all she saw, however, was love. To her, you loved her so much, you were so shocked at her ‘yes,’ response and so you wanted to cry. She hugged you. She kissed you. She smiled. She said, ‘I love you more than life. I am crazy in love with you. I would die without you.’

A month passed and she had started to get on your nerves. Her voice had become infuriating, her calls started lasting too long, and she had become the ugliest creature you had ever laid eyes upon: her nose was way too large and it covered her face like a stamp would cover a signature. Her kisses had become too wet and sex with her had become just about as romantic as standing on a long queue in a banking hall and listening to shitty jazz music. Most annoyingly, she talked of nothing else but marriage: how her wedding gown and stiletto shoes would look, the twenty five carat diamond rings that would each be encrusted with your initials, the colour of the tuxedo you would wear and the length of her the bridal train, how many storey the pink and purple wedding cake would have. She talked of the people she would not invite because they annoyed her way back in primary school. You listened, you listened. Then on one harmattan drenched Friday morning as you were about to go for a job interview, you sat her down and told her you had been pretending all the while, that you had never felt anything close to love for her. You told her that you said the things you said because you imagined that those were the exact things she wanted to hear. You said that you were not going to be ready for marriage until you owned a house and two cars, ‘cars,’ you said, ‘not vehicles.’ You said, frankly, you had problems with people that married too early, you thought they were the stupidest creatures that ever existed.

She laughed. Most of her wanted to assume that you were joking, playing with her; making her laugh as usual, a little part of her, however, saw seriousness and truthfulness in your eyes. It was that little part of her that began to cry before all of her joined in. You told her you were sorry, you begged her to forgive you and then before you left, you asked her to drop the keys with your neighbor whenever she was ready to leave.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Of Marriage and Society

This post promises to be short. Hi everyone, it’s been too long. I am sorry. I have been hustling. Publishing a good book is hard.

Now, it is alarming how much young people are talking about marriage these days. It is amazing how society confuses us, puts into our brain that there has always been and will always be statuesque. And that you are not a person until you follow that statuesque to the latter: First, go to school. School is important, school is very important, I cannot deny that fact, but are we learning the things we should be learning? especially with the Nigerian system of education. What the ‘Nigerian’ school (I haven’t been in any other school) does is it affixes your mind on the prospect of working for someone else, building the dreams of someone else. But today is not for the school argument; it’s for the marriage argument. After school, society congratulates us, ‘You’re a graduate now, well-done and congratulations. Now wear a suit, carry your credentials, preferably in a beige envelope, and seat on that couch with the gazillion other graduates and wait for a job interview. You will probably not get the job, but wait, still.’ But today is not for the unemployment argument; it is for the marriage argument. After you’re done with the job hunt and let’s say you get lucky and you are one out of the gazillion that gets the job, you know what society tells you next? Go, find a woman if you are a man or a man if you are a woman and marry him or marry her. This, ladies, gentlemen, is today’s argument.

Society does not consider it necessary to ask you if you are ready to be married. To observe you a while and find out if you have the maturity that is needed to embark on such a colossal journey as marriage. Society does not give a drop of damn what happens after you get married. All society knows is once there is a job and or a steady source of income, next comes ‘settling down’, they call it ‘settling down’ so simplistic a name, as if all you need to do is buy a mat and head with your spouse to Millennium Park and ‘settle down’ for a picnic. It is ridiculous. Society does not consider that you may be financially ready but not mentally ready, not physically ready. Marriage is not only about money, even though I say, every time I get the chance, that money is as important as any other thing, but you do not just have to be rich to be ready for marriage, you have to be many other things: patient, mature, meek, humble, FAITHFUL, PATIENT, kind, very kind. Remember, young people, even though society never tells you these things, in time, it will not be just you and the woman/man you married. Young minions, tiny things that have two-centimeter feet and three inch legs will come into the picture.
Society tells you how God wants you to leave your father and your mother and join some man yidi yada, it does not tell you it is sinful to bring children you are not mature enough to take care of into this world. Children whom you are not interested in monitoring their progress because you have to have a few bottles of beer with the boys in the club. Society does not care about these truths. All it cares about is you being married. Children are probably the most important pictures in this marriage argument. The worst people in the world today are those people who had faulty upbringings. Consider the serial killers, the serial rapists, the serial thieves and serial everything bad, when caught, if caught, they mostly heap blames and of course curses on their parents for raising them like cattle and not children. Consider that carefully, do you want to be remembered by your children as a hero, or as a villain that deserves the blame for… say a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people because you were a bad parent who was forced into marriage by society before you achieved optimum readiness? Think wisely, young people of marrying age, it is not society’s decision when you get married, it is YOUR OWN decision. Think wisely, society has caused enough damage already.

This post was somewhat inspired by a conversation I had with a friend. She asked 'when I wanted' to get married, as if marriage is a journey from Lokoja to Abuja that you can just 'take' whenever you 'want'. I told her I'd be ready in less than three years. LOL! The surprising yet incredibly unfortunate thing was that she believed me. SMH!

Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!