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  • WHITE and BLACK by Charlesdonald Freeman


    Loose me! Loose me! From the bondage of ignorance and stupidity, from the uncertainty of loosing my identity. Loose me from the case of slavery. Set me free from the chains of inferiority
    Which I'm subject unto by the western world

    I am black and I want to be proud of it, I do not want to be subjected under bondage of not accepting my identity.
    I am black and I hold the key of happiness through entertainment, poetry and innovation.

    Free me from the European mentality. They told me not to marry more than one wife, that is bad but building nuclear weapons and guns is good. They told me to stop taking herbal medicine instead I should take pills. They kill my identity for theirs
    Them ask me girls to cover up all them nakedness so that they can sell all their fabrics and fashion to us in other to build them economy but why did they declare a braless day if what them preach about clothing's are all correct.

    They tell me girls now to put on minis and under wear and call them designers. Them say they can wear it and walk about freely now so to show case what them gat. Why tell them now? before, them show case you asked them to cover up, now you asking them to show case.

    The truth is that they made us forget out fashion and culture, they took it away from us, merchandise it and now they brought it back to us to buy. They ride me girls up and down like they think we all gat no brains.

    Them ask us to chase all our local vigilante away and declare them illegal but they brought their own vigilante to us and tell us their the best, now you can see why police is your friend.

    They discouraged my innovation and gave me theirs and they came back to tell me how bad my economy is and how good theirs is, but the truth is that they made my not sellable and theirs hot cake.

    Where are the fela's, the Martin Luther king's, the Nelson Mandela's, gather together let's pull down this ignorance in the black man's heart

    Never again with they make me feel inferior, when they look at me and call me nig**r, I look at them and call them albino. I can work under the sun without harm but they can't, less their skin burns

    Loose me from the chain of ignorance, for the truth is not longer hidden from me instead I am hiding from it.

    A good man i am, for so Long they put me in awe. My love I forgot, my heart I disown. Suddenly I now remember who I am

    I am black! I am African! I am free!

    ©️ Charlesdonald O Freeman for CfCmovement

  • FUTURE - SHORT STORY by Rosemary Okafor



    FUTURE - SHORT STORY

    Year 2035-Nigchin Province.

    "The street is deserted as I walk down to Ling-yu restaurant".

    This place used to be Abuja many years ago,  now everything has changed, we all have changed.

    No song to sing, no laughter in the street, no funny tricks to play and no more children.

    "to make the country better, we made a part with the emperor of the Asians," they told us

    "poverty will be eradicated, Trade will improve and the economy will be boosted for the good of all of us" their voices rang from our radios

    There was Hope, but few of us were suspicious and afraid of this union.

    We were given new names, chips on our ankles controlled by this new coalition government.

    The change was gradual, just a little pain during the insertion of the chips, we ignored the danger signs, we even applauded it.

    Then came the Asians, first like droplets, then in groups and in droves. Their flying saucers filled the air, darkening our Sun, a new technology we had only seen in the movies, so we didn't mind losing the sun for it.

    I watched as the city was rid of people and replaced with machines.

    "The chips are not just for control, they are taking over our bodies, turning bones into irons, nerves into wires brains into micro cards and eyes into embers".

    These new forms weighed us down, some of us fought them, but they were too strong, we lost our humanity to these machines that eat us up and took over.

    "I am a lucky one, the last of my kind. Though I have the chip, my mind is still human, I still have emotions and feelings, I can still write and recognize the legendary song of "Fela Kuti"

    I used to have a name, a native name, though I can't remember what it was, in this new world, I Am simply referred to as "Hybrid Zero"

    "In this new world? We know no family, no friends no hurt and no fear"

    "Only the command from the Over-Lord. We hear him in our heads whenever the microchips beep".

    Those that have lost their humanity to machines quickly are used for technologies and for War, but for us who still have our humanities flickering in our heads, we are either abandoned to die or used as domestic helps, that is if the machines do not get the job first.

    "Nǐ wǎnle (you are late)" flat buttocks Master Yuan Ji, shouts at me as I walk into the restaurant.

    He owns the place, where Asian elites have teas and make jokes of us.

    Unlike us, they have no chips and can still drink teas and eat noodles. 

    "Duìbùqǐ (I am sorry) " I muttered in Mandarin, I now speak few words in Mandarin, that is the only way "Hybrid Zeros" like us get jobs

    "this wan es useless," Master Yuan Ji says to the lady seated beside him, trying to speak English.

    I walk towards the changing room, the screeching sound from my left leg trails me. My bones are beginning to change to iron, I don't know how long I am going to remain half human half machine, how long I will fight this before I lose the fight

    I look straight to the surveillance camera, I know they are watching me, any wrong move leads to extermination.

    I tap on my pocket, the pictures are still there, they are all I have to remember the past and dream again for a future where we will be humans again.
  • TEMIDIRE ALABI: THE SOCIETY AND TRIBAL MARKS By Yusuf Balogun Gemini.






    The subject matter of tribal marks yet regarded as a cultural onus from the very onset has now been reduced to an object of derogation, degradation, bullying and self victimisation. The infliction of tribal marks has been an age long tradition primordially known unto the Yoruba and even if the present trend and advent of new ideas portray it as being a rather extreme attempt of barbarism, it doesn't stop the fact that the primary intention of those on whom it was afflicted was to further more buttress their beauty. Every single person I have met with tribal marks are undoubtedly beautiful and unique in all ramifications, isn't it even overwhelming that even foreigners take it upon themselves to sustain this act? It's however depressing that freedom more like an illusion in this society and tribal marked individuals are constantly being oppressed for being subjected to victimisation and bullying, especially the female gender hence exposing them to risks be it mental, physical and psychological other wise. I'm particularly impressed by the bold step taken by selected females to flaunt these marks yet stand out gallantly on the threshold of halcyon, talk of Belinda Baidoo (@belindabaidoo), Adetutu Epaz (@adetutuo.j) and much more who have made headlines and hit unexpected spotlight.

    Despite the recent flagging and sky crashing attempts on tribal marks, there are still yet many voices being reduced to tears and regrets because of tribal marks. Such is the case of Temidire Alabi (@irenitemie), a twenty three year old lady who recently found her strength to come out of the dark and her ears still reverberate with the noises in the grove all on the fact that she has tribal marks.

    Making a reference to Temidire's words yet coated with utmost bitterness and dissatisfaction, she explained:
    "My name is Temidire Alabi and I was born in 1995, having a primary connection to forefathers from Eruwa, Oyo who however migrated to Ondo state. My mother nonetheless is a native of Ago Oko, Abeokuta but I was born and bred in Lagos state. While at the very basic level of my education, I have suffered tags and unending rhetorics of insults from class mates as being a pussy cat. No one necessarily want to be friends with a tribal marked girl, it was and is still a representation of a curse".

    Though having concluded her secondary education in 2010, Temidire had to face an abrupt pause in furthering education mostly due to financial incapability and to a large extent, the outright stigmatisation.

    "I once questioned my dad about the necessity of tribal marks and he retorted that the marks were to be given only to his first son and first daughter which he did but probably due to some misconceptions borne out of the legitimacy of the younger children, the marks were bequeathed to all his children", Temidire further more commented.

    Despite the threats posed, she however furthered her journey into catering and hotel management. But regardless of how time fleets, Temidire's agony still remains on the loudest baritone. Tribal marks have been seen as a barrier by the society at large and in the words of Temi, she's determined to break borders and unclip her wings. She's just one of those who are whipped by the society now and then, she's yet another offspring of our disruptive negligence and deliberate body shaming. Temidire is another full moon on a bloody night, she's yet the next glamorous thing to storm the face of time. An advocacy is necessary however, we need to understand that whatsoever is attached to the physical structure of a human does not make them less human. It is in our hands to watch Temidire become another victim of stigmatisation and derogatory stagnancy or give her a push till magic happens... We need to understand that tribal mark is not an allergy. The beautiful ones are already born, we just chose to cast stones at them...

    Written By Yusuf Balogun Gemini.

    Featured and published for the Discovering Africa initiative. 
  • Divisions, What Caused it! By Abdulwahab Adebowale Ashimi



    He chuckled as I choked due to the quantity of pepper I swallowed and he said 'Fake Yoruba'
    'Moron! Is that your Sorry?' My eyes Rolled

    I don't have a Girlfriend, I said and She smiled yoruba demons can't be trusted..

    Generalization saddens everybody..

    Religion separated us they say, but when you see how the pagans, Muslims, Christians, atheists and other feast together in the south western end of the nation(Lagos).
    You would call out on stupidity and stab it.

    Race Disconnected us they say,  but then you watch pilgrims rejoicing together as they migrate the two said holiest lands around the Eastern part Of the world.
    You would call on Stupidity and Pride and Shoot them

    Politics divided us, they say but I still traded with a guy from an opposition party a day ago..
    Call on hatred and Slay it!

    Wealth classified us they say, as if I don't see the way Justice Balami played with the 'mai ruwa boys in his area', eat from their place and be joyful with them, how he often dressed like them..
    Call on Arrogance and tell it to be Humble..

    These are what has separated us, Divided us, disconnected us, Classified some, and Generalized even Some..

    Be Awoken Brothers and Sister..
    Fight the real Evils in you!
    Peace!
    Salaam!
    Namaste!
    Ire ooo.

  • Do You By Emmiasky Ojex


    Do you see us when we cry?
    When we try to hide our faces in the sand?
    have you ever thought it through,
    That these people might be hurt too

    Do we seem like we do not have pain receptors in us?
    Nay, we are born out of bone and blood
    We also feel the same pain you do
    Only that the world sees us as weak
    and your strong when we show it

    Do we seem like goats
    We do not need to be told
    “You are a man, be one”
    Will you tell these words to
    my boy when I am gone?

    Of course, I am a boy! Is that a curse? Can I not feel hurt as well?
    Or will you only notice my tears when I drown in the well

    Please look into my eyes and tell me It’s okay to be a hurt boy.
    From a friend that cares,

  • Shattered (Odium) by Blessing Jaocb

    shattered (odium)

    (Prepations in the Adeola's)
    Mrs Tayo Adeola;  joy,celebration, merrying is taking place downstairs in honor of your father's victory and you're here,locked behind your room doors??
    Oluwanifemi; mom please... I can't go down there pretending I'm happy,when heaven knows I'm not .And besides that, mom I have something very important to tell you..
    Mrs Adeola; Nifemi there's nothing more important than the party going on downstairs..I am sorry but I do not have time for your nonsense...
    Oluwanifemi; but mom....
    Mrs Adeola; go get dressed and get down now,before I beat the hell out of you!!!
    Oluwanifemi; mom if I should leave this room just bear it mind that I'm going out there to poison everyone!!!
    Mrs Adeola; (slap's Nifemi)go get dressed and get down now!!!
    (Minutes later)
    Mr Awodu; ahhhh Nifemi (he exclaims smiling) you have grown soo big and pretty, my dear do not allow all those small_small boys deceive and take advantage of you, your dad is now a big man."Chief Adeola Balogun Ekehinde himself "
    Mr Akinyele; omo mi,Ife mi (my baby,my love he called Nifemi smilling)your name should have been Ibuku,in fact your name is Ibuku..(Ibuku means Blessing)
    (Nifemi hisses and walked straight to her room)...
    Mrs Adeola; Nifemi!!! Nifemi!!! Oluwanifemi Testimony Bolaji!!!(Mrs Adeola called angrily and slapped her)who is teaching you to be this disrespectful?                                                                      You want to kill me before my time abii??                                                                                                Do you want to destroy your father's life and reputation??
    Oluwanifemi;  well yes mom!! Yes I want to destroy his life, I will even kill him if possible, I will kill that mr Awodu,and that big headed dirty pot_belled Mr Akinyele!!!                                                                              And I hate you mom...I hate you!! All because you want to be called the wife of a chief you're turning a blind eye to the truth...
    Mrs Adeola; what truth?? What truth ehhnnnn Nifemi?? The only truth here is that you have become sooo disrespectful and evil. I will kill you,before you kill me ooo!!
    Nifemi; you have killed me already mom...all of you have,and if I don't kill dad or you don't kill me physically, I'll kill myself!!!
    Mrs Adeola;kill yourself, kill yourself you fool!!                                                                                                    You have really changed Bolaji...I will get back to you after the party,better stay in your room before you cause more commotion, I Mrs Tayo Adeola,wife of "Chief Adeola Balogun Ekehinde " will not let you ruin my mood..ehnnn Nifemi,hope my make-up is still good and my gele too??
    (Nifemi cast's her face away)....
    Mrs Adeola; ahhhhh ehennnnnn mtchewwww...(exclaims and hisses)I will get back to you...                    
    (Hours later)...
    Maid; Jesus Christ!!!
    (Maid scream continuously running downstairs)...
    Mrs Adeola; what is it you stupid girl?? Why are you shouting, can't you see we have guests???
    Maid;  Nifemi!! Nifemi!! Nifemi!! madam Nifemi (she said crying)
    Mrs Adeola; why are you crying and why are you calling my daughter's name?? What about Nifemi??
    Maid; she's dead....
    (Nifemi was confirmed dead after consuming an dosage of Fentanyl,people were left perplexed on why a 15 year old girl with everything would commit suicide. Mrs Adeola was left in a state of turmoil while Mr Adeola was perturbed. An investigation was carried out and while the investigation was going on, a video tape was found in Nifemi's phone)
    Content of the video tape; "i was soo happy,just two weeks left to the big day,my dad's installation as Chief, mom was soo excited and happy that she had already travelled  to Lagos,to get items for the party.
    Ifemi, Omo mi ( my love,my baby)my dad called as usual... Yes daddy I answered rushing down happily to his room..there I met Mr Awodu my dad's friend and Mr Akinyele my Godfather and dad's best friend,I greeted them warmly and as usual gave my Godfather a big hug but then I noticed his hands on my breast, I quickly pushed him away and looked at my dad,but he casted his face away.
    " Adeola come let us do this thing jhorr or you don't want to be Chief again?"
     Said Mr Akinyele..
    Do what? I screamed...looking at my dad in his eyes
    "Your dad has to lay with you to complete the process of being a Chief ,or don't you know he has rivalries??
    Said Mr Awodu...
    Dad,daddy !!!... I know you'll not do it,right??  You know we do not need this chieftaincy we're are already rich...daddy I called this time with tears in my eyes,but he didn't answer...
     I tried walking out of his room but,was forcefully pulled back by Mr Akinyele. The door was shut and my clothes ripped off forcefully by both Mr Akinyele and Mr Awodu,my tit were left open,I tried screaming but then Mr Akinyele was already in my mouth... I thought I was hallucinating but it fell down on me that I wasn't when I saw my dad forcing his pintle into my chaste self,he kept stroking in and out of my broken hymen and blood flowing vagina..
    Ohhh death take me!!  Please take me!! Take me please... I cried and begged within me and paused,but then I could still hear my heart beat,I then guessed he was out there taking people's lives that did not want him. my eyes closed slowly like a curtain in the theatre as they continued taking turns on a 15 year old.
    My name's Oluwanifemi Testimony Bolaji Adeola Balogun Ekehinde, daughter of "Chief Adeola Balogun Ekehinde"...
    Yes I was raped and yes by my dad and his friends, to complete a ritual process of him winning a chieftaincy chair. I love you mom,but you should have listened to me,some minutes of your time would have saved your daughter's life. Enjoy living as a "chief's wife" ,have a good life Chief  Adeola (dad?) You traded your daughter's life for a chieftaincy seat... Mr Awodu and Mr Akinyele...my blood is on you two...
    Chief Adeola was arrested alongside his accomplices,Mrs Tayo Adeola ran mad,out of abashment and regrets maybe.
    if she only she'd listened to her daughter, if only this,if only that...but it was too late right??(THE END)
    NOTE; what is killing or traumatising most rape victims in African and world at large is not having someone that understands them...people tend to judge them..
    The victim is never at fault..!!!
    And suicide is never the answer speak up!!!
    ~Actor and director Tyler Perry was raped by the mother of a childhood friend...
    ~Rapper and actress Queen Latifah was sexually abused by a babysitter as a child..
    ~Actress Grabrielle union was raped at age 19,at a store were she worked..
    ~Talk show host Oprah Winfrey was raped by a relative when she was just 9 years old..
    ~world famous Lady gaga was also raped at age 19 by her producer...
    They all shared their stories to urge victims,to stop being victims but survivors...
    If you let people see you as a victim or you keep seeing yourself as a victim,you will be stocked in your past..you won't be able to move on...
    What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger...
    To our African parents: sex education is not a bad idea,it is not immoral to give your children (the girl child especially) the sex education they need...most  girls have been abused by their school teachers, lesson teachers,neighbors and even relatives..because they most times lack the orientation about sex and thier from their mothers, who see it as an immoral act.. And please African parents be nice to your children, get to know them,be their friends...
    where there is fear,there is no friendship..teach them how to respect you and not fear you ...so they can open up to you .
    And also,millions of men around the world have had rape experiences too,the fact that it is not very common in African,I feel traumatises And stigmatises most African men that have had these experiences..
    Imagine what it feels like to be raped,now imagine being raped as a man by two men... Sickening right?
    Yes it happens,some men might have had worst experiences of rape...you also have the right to speak up..

    Support services for sexual abuse in Nigeria;
    1)08155770000_08176275695 (The mirable center)
    2)08008008001_07007007001(The cee yara foundation)
    3)08023331036_08058207164(Media concern initiative)
    4)*6820#_08137960048(Lagos state domestic and sexual violence response team)

    Helplines for suicide in Nigeria:
    08062106493
    08092106493
    HIGHLY INSPIRED BY FALZ; CHILD OF THE WORLD..

    Written by; Blessing Jacob
  • Incomplete by Dexter Joseph

    —INCOMPLETE

    She walked into the office. He was seated down waiting for her. She made way for her seat, sat and pulled her glasses down. She watched his face, to see if she'd notice any anxiety on him. He was just sixteen, and as she thought, he had many of it.
     She'd met him two weeks earlier through an agent, and wanted her publishing company to take publishing rights over his manuscript. He'd been very eager, then excited when she'd told him she'd review his story. Indeed, he had never been so excited.
     Now, she was done with it, half of it anyway. He was not aware of what she had in store for him but he was there to hear the fate of his book.
     "Well, for someone who's sixteen, your writing prowess is like that of a forty-year-old," She said, watched his face brighten, a weak smile replacing his usual timid and withdrawn face. Too bad, she thought, then continued, "Nze, your story might be promising but to be honest, your main character is unlikable, annoying, egocentric, and so not relatable."
     The countenance on him changed, he squinted, and even his rising sad mood was all over the room. This was her job, to break hearts with the truth.
     "This book 'Incomplete', is nothing like the genre you said it was. It's so dark, and not anything close to a young adult novel. It's too voluminous, has so many senseless kills and bloodshed... And like the name implies, it's incomplete. Looks complete, maybe. Yet has some vacuum I can't explain,
     "To be frank with you, stuff like this shouldn't be in a shelf." She ended.
     His head fell, fixed on his fingers. He muttered, "That was harsh..."
     She sighed, rolled her eyes. This to her was typical of young writers. They wanted everything all easy and smooth. All with tender hearts and constantly fleeing from reality, from the undiluted truth, the perfect criticism meant to shape them into what they aspire to be; prolifically renowned writers. Soft skins had always been one thing she found repulsive about young writers.
     "Piece of advice, this might come off as harsh but if you can't put your work in order, then maybe this, writing, might not be your thing..."
     She watched. He exhaled, shut his eyes for a second. When he opened it, his gaze moved back to her. Broken was the least feeling on his face. Sad, maybe, but it didn't go that deep to him as she'd thought it would. That, or he was good at keeping his emotions bottled up good. For someone his age, that would be impressive, but then again she had seen his work, and while she disliked and had just rejected it, she admitted his pen was near perfect, for his age. Of course, she was not going to let him know that part.
     He sniffed, "Ma...I never said he was written in there to be likeable. He moves the story along. Leave him and focus on the story. It was not exactly meant to appeal to your butterfly emotions,
     "Secondly, you didn't finish the story. It's obvious," He pouted, on reflex. "I never said he was my main character either, neither did the manuscript imply it. Having the POV doesn't make him my main character. For all it's worth, he could die anytime, if I want him to,
     "Thirdly, that character died at the end. He, however, was inspired by the last publisher whom I met. Since you rejected it, maybe you're right, it's not complete. It's incomplete."
     Stunned. She was stunned for a second, her words choked into the surprise which rode the lines of lungs. What insolence...had he really just said that?
     "What did you just say?" She said, her voice raised, still laced in surprise.
     "Sorry..." He muttered.
     The sad look rose into his face as he stood to his feet. His eyes avoided hers, to hide the sadness which then had made a haven on his young smoothed face. Like he had issues with a steady emotion. He picked his backpack and made a walk through the door.
     She grumbled gallingly. Who was he to explain anything to her? She picked the laptop, located his manuscript, clicked on the delete button. He was useless anyway.

     He got home, locked his doors and wrapped himself into a depressed wallow. He didn't want to cry, and it never came. And once the time clocked nine by night, he put on the lamp, sat over the table, his book before him. On its cover was its title; 'Incomplete', and his name written on it. He flipped open to the last page, where he had marked 'The End' with his pencil. With an eraser he wiped it off, and started a new paragraph on it;

     'She wiped her hands clean at the sink, turned the faucet off and headed back out of the bathroom, all the way down the stairs, headed back to her office. Walking down elegantly, her phone buzzed, she reached for it, flipped the lock open and read through her SMS. It was from the bank. Her eyes widened in instant shock and her mouth ajar at what she'd read. Frank, her fiancé, had just withdrawn two million in cash from her account. She'd been debited.
     Shock ridden she hastened her step down the stairs, gasped as she missed a step and toppled over. The fall was short, but she lay a second later at the foot of the stair, blood in her mouth, eyes wide open, her phone lying by the side, and her neck broken...'

     He marked 'The End' below the last line, closed the book, yawned, turned the lights off and crawled to his bed, going back to sleep. At least the story was complete now.

     *
     Nine o'clock in the morning, at the Narva Publishing Firm, two police cars and an ambulance stood outside. On the inside, murmurs from employees hung abound. A dead body has been found some minutes earlier and the spot of the incident now taped. Two officers squatted next to the body, one taking notes, the other reading through a file he had on him. A third officer stood outside the taped scene, taking pictures of the body.
     "That must have been some fall," The female officer nodded, stretching her gloved hand over to touch the dead body's neck. "Neck seems broken."
     "The stair isn't even that high," The male officer sighed, then read through the log clip on his hand, "Name's Matilda Harrison, aged thirty-six. Owns this publishing house...what the hell is taking the ambulance long to get here?" He grumbled.
     The third officer turned, watched two litter-bearers hurry towards the scene with a stretcher. He turned to the officer, "They're here..."
     "Has her people been contacted by anyone yet?" The female cop said, rising to her feet as the litter-bearers got in and pulled the body into the stretcher.
     The second cop shrugged, handed the log clip to the third officer, "A few, all living afar off. Closest here in town is her fiancé. They got engaged three weeks ago. Name's Frank Ituma or something."
     "That, is a shame..." The female officer said, shaking her head as they watched the litter-bearers push the stretcher away, "A terrible shame."
     The second officer exhaled, "Tell me about it."

  • BOOK REVIEW OF THE GENERAL'S ORDERLY: A TRUE MASTERPIECE By Emelda Ochuba


     The true life story began in Nigeria from when he
    was seven. Having been born into a polygamous Ehugbo family stock that
    practices a matrilineal system of inheritance, the ambitious Igbo boy
    left home for Southern Cameroun with a maternal uncle in search for a
    greener pasture. This search would finally see him dwelling in various
    settings and across many seas far from home.

    The story bespoke of major prophecies that came to pass to shape the
    boy’s life. It spoke of Africa and of Europe, of several languages,
    cultures, religions, politics and isms. It told of reincarnation,
    metaphysics and the history of the boy’s people including the abuses
    suffered by him until his conscription as a barely armed, poorly
    trained child soldier fighting on the frontlines of the Nigeria-Biafra
    civil war. It spoke of the remote and immediate causes of that war and
    its long term consequences on the people and gave exciting accounts of
    the experience: the fight, the escapes, and an eventual surrender.

    The book described many successes and of an exceptionally gifted child
    who loved education and excelled in all he did. A boy saved from
    perilous war circumstances to become orderly to a General, the
    second-in-command of Biafra. A lucky boy; winner of lotteries,
    opportunities and support that saw him through life itself and its
    many hurdles.

    The story came with fantasy and romance; detailing a childish romance
    with Rose Mukete in Cameroun; the youthful meeting and falling in love
    with Grace Jombo, and of the inter-racial marriage in Bulgaria to
    Vanya Dimitrova and of the family they built together.

    The boy soon became a man and achieved a career in the academics and
    in the private sector. He became a community leader on many fronts: in
    activism and in politics. The story also brought to light the many
    rots in the ivory tower, and the spiritual powers inherent in man.

    Not only was I engrossed with “The General’s Orderly … An
    Autobiography of a Biafran Soldier” by Arua Okereke, I found myself
    out rightly seduced by the way the gifted writer played with words in
    the 436-page, 17-chapter book published by LifeRich; and how he
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    ‘Patrick’ Okereke must have brought in his keen eye for art and
    specific details to birth a beautiful book that is not just worth
    reading but captivating to the very last page. You can order a copy
    from amazon.com like I did.

  • Heroine by Isaac Somto (a story of princess inikpi). An African short story.


    This is how she became the title of stories creatures whose heads brings forth silver hairs gather the youthful ones to tell under the peeping moon. This is the story of why thousands of generations sings her name even as her lips sings forever silence.
    Located in the eastern part of the river Niger and Benue confluence, reaching out across the Niger in Lokoja, Kogi state of Nigeria, lies the homeland of her people.
    Her land, the land of the Igalas was eclipsed in the past weeks, looking so quiet that not even the voice of children were heard in its neighbourhood except the murmuring of scared women clothed with a wrapper beautified with yellow and black colors. The Igalas were shaken and held hostage by a strange phenomenon called fear.
    The rivers that supplied them the liquid of life, water, was poisoned that anyone who drank from it kicked the sacred bucket of life.
    She was named after the beautiful goddess Ikpi. Her neck was adorned with expensive beads and ornaments of gold. Her hands were amazingly ornamented with the costliest of beads which glistened like a glowing velvet. Her face radiated a royal beauty that is rich in nobility and dependability. She hid her nakedness from men with a wrapper beautifully designed with yellow and black colors, her wrapper was tied above her spongy breasts which were pointed like nail.
    Princess Inikpi beauty was an eternal credit to the master porter. She was a master piece.

    She sat on a stool discussing the predicament that has befallen the land with her closest companion, Abenelu.
    “My princess, the great Attah, your father has refused to let food find its way into his mouth” Obaje the Attah personal guard said making his presence known
    “Again? Did you make it known to him that it was i, his jewel who made the food?" her voice rang like Vatican a bell as she stood looking confused
    “Yes my princess.” Obaje Replied
    “Abenelu, i want to see my father in his chambers” with this she dashed out of her hut.
    The impetus in which hurried towards her father's hut made her pendulous breasts resonate like a resonating tunning fork.
    Attah Ayegba Oma Idoko sat down on a bed made with piles of straws and animal dried skin, then covered with royal garments. On his neck hung a light weighted yellow wrapper which rested on his melanin skin alongside expensive beads. He tied a black wrapper around his waist leaving his protruding stomach for the world to see.
    Attah Ayegba has carved a niche for himself within a short spate of time an enviable niche that qualified him to the clan of great achievers. A man of honesty he was.
    He was lost in a land called thought before his jewel of inestimable value dashed in to his royal hut.
    “the great Attah Ayegba my father. I greet you!” She made her presence known
    Attah Ayegba still wandered in his thoughts as he paid no attention to her. Seeing this, she made a move and placed her hands on his shoulders, taking him away from the land he plunged himself into.
    “My father, why have you refused to let food find its way into your mouth. For good seven days you sit mute thinking. Here is Ijobu and Ogidigbo prepared by me” she said pointing to the clay plates on top of a stool before the Attah.
    “My daughter as you know, our entire people are on the brink of annihilation. The Bini warriors are coming to destroy us, They have poisoned our waters. It's known that the Bini warriors have the nose of the hyena, and the appetite of the vulture. Who can withstand the might of crazy Bini warriors?" Attah Ayegba said looking into empty space.
    “I am aware of all this, i thought you summoned the eyes of Ikpakachi to offer a solution. What was given?"
    “yeeeess, there is a solution.” Attah Ayegba stammered as he replied immediately.
    “A solution that seeks to destroy me. A solution in form of a problem. A solution with hands to take away my joy and happiness. a head for hundreds of heads.” He continued
    “you now speak in a manner i cannot comprehend." She had confusion written all over her face as she said
    “I know no mortal can fathom the depth of gods wisdom. They see what is hidden beyond mortal sight. They say a particular head is needed for hundreds of head." He paused cupping his jaw with his right hand.
    “Reveal the owner of the head the gods seek. Your entire people are on the brink of annihilation. Shall they perish while under your reign?” Inikpi asked like one ready to fulfil to will of Ikpakachi at any cost.
    “Even as my heart bleeds, i promise to conceal nothing, reserve nothing in exposing the solution... In exposing the head needed. You are the solution.” Attah Ayegba said, now staring at her.
    She shifted a bit from her father to welcome what just made its way into her ears. To be sure, she asked. “I am the solution? Does that mean my head is needed.?” her lips and body vibrated as it danced to the beat of fear, confusion and pain.
    “Yes my daughter, i am not going to force you it's your head, your choice. I will respect your choice.” The Attah replied. Looking at his face one could tell he was helpless. The great Attah of Igala land was helpless.
    On hearing this she dashed out of her father's hut wearing on her face the garment of frustration. She ran towards the entrance to the palace. The palace guards looked surprised and confused not knowing what had happened or was happening. As she got to the gate made with dried palm fronds. She heard a loud shout: “Prinncess! Where are you leaving with your royal entourage? ” it was Obaje's voice. As simple as the question sounded it was complex within her thoughts...
    “where am i leaving to? ” she asked to no one but herself... “should i run or dance to the beat fate plays.”
    She turned her back and rushed into the store room like a woman whose only child was about dying and the antidote to save her child lies in the hut. Few seconds later, Inikpi dashed out of the hut with a hoe in her hands. She continued her race towards the entrance of the palace, this time the palace guards made a move to stop her until a weak voice sounded, weak but posses authority.
    “Leave her... She has chosen her choice” it was her father, Attah Ayegba Idoko.
    It was already late, the trees were howling, the lullaby of the owls rend the sky in shreds. Inikpi found herself on the path leading to the river. Dead and dried leaves let out a small cry as her foot step on them.
    She finally got to the river bank.

    “Ikpakachi, I'm in your presence
    the great gods of the rivers
    Clean without stain
    The clean spirits that sees beyond the crevices of darkness
    I'm before you to fulfil my destiny
    Please accept this offering"
    With this she bent down and started digging a hole, she wanted to shed tears but this time around she didn't know how to cry. She heard the sounds of a being coming and stood up to see who it was. It was Akoji, the eyes of the gods. A man in his seventies, a man who has seen and heard stories that made even men shed tears like babies but what he witnessed today made goose pimples build around his already aging skin.

    Akoji walked towards where she dug a hole, he said : “My daughter, you are indeed brave.”
    Inikpi paid no attention knowing his words will be the last to pass into her ears. She finally finished digging, she fitted herself in the hole she dug and gave Akoji a sign to cover it up... Tears finally found its way out of her eyes and ran down her soft royal cheeks.... Akoji sealed her fate.

    It was morning, the caressing rustling breeze lavishly drummed for the gyrating leaves. The Bini warriors attacked the Igala land but saw nothing but an empty and already destroyed land, it was an illusion. Inikpi blood already paid the price.

    Hundreds of Igalas gathered at the village square to sing songs of praises to Inikpi, their savior, their heroine. Even till today her statue stands in the palace of the Attah of Igala.
  • Gbagyi : The Unsung Tribe (history of the Gbagyi people, original owners of Abuja) by Isaac Somto


    Located in the geographical center of Nigeria, exists a landlocked area surrounded by Kogi, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Niger state called Abuja. In Abuja dwelled the Gbagyi people before the then military government came up with a brilliant idea. This brilliant idea made the Gbagyis give up their lands.

    In 1976, the then military government under General Murtala Mohammed came up with a brilliant plan to look for an area where none of the major tribes of Nigeria (Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa ) occupied (or where a lesser tribe resided) in the geographic centre of the nation, which no one could make a case for, and a territory in which Nigerians could join under and then Abuja was chosen.
    But the thing here is, Abuja wasn't a “no man's land”. Abuja, a geographical area surrounded by Kogi, Kaduna, Nassarawa and Niger state. Was the dwelling place for the Gbagyi people most times called “Gwari”.
    The military government knew this fact that the geographical area which has been planned to be the new capital city of Nigeria housed a small ethnic group. Since the Gbagyi people were few, the military government underestimated them and drove them away to make way for plans they had for the geographical area. This act led to the displacement of the Gbagyi people, few of the Gbagyis stayed in transit camps for some time before looking for a new location to settle down. The military government also made a plan to compensate the Gbagyi people for giving up their land to become capital of Nigeria, but as usual, the tight fists of corruption made sure compensations never left it's hands to the “weak” hands of the Agbagyi(plural of Gbagyi).

    Seconds rolled into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days, days into months, months into years and it's exactly twenty-seven (27) years since the ethnic group were chased out of their lands and they still feel betrayed, cheated and deprived of their heritage.

    Anyways, i wrote this to “sing with my pen" the rich history and culture of the Gbagyi people. I took a trip to some parts of Abuja / Niger state dominated by the Gbagyi people to know more about them. I will share the story and experience of this trip in this article.

    Brief History Of The Gbagyi Tribe

    The Gbagyi (most times called Gwari or Gbari) are known to be peaceful (a saying in Hausa language says “muyi shi Gwari Gwari” which when translated to English means “let’s do it like the Gbagyi” or “in the Gbagyi way”. Proving their love for peace), transparent, artistic and agriculturists who dwell in the North-Central geo-political zone of Nigeria.
    The word "Gwari" is a name of a popular yam grown by the Gbagyi people of Abuja.
    It is claimed that the Gbagyi people migrated from Borno to reside in Abuja due to the series of clash and disagreement with the Kanuri people. Also, most people (mostly researchers) feels the Gbagyi originated from Egypt due to their habitual acquaintance with the lapis lazuli stone.
    The first dweller in Abuja was a hunter who went to hunt in a land called Paikokun, a thick forest in Abuja. He inhabited in Paikokun mountains because he believed it was safe.
    At first, the Gbagyi people dwelled on mountain tops because of the same reason their ancestor dwelled there. Later on after the westerners came with their sweetened wine called “civilisation” the Gbagyis left the top of mountains to dwell at the bottom.
    In the year 1890, the Gbagyi community migrated from the foot of the mountains to their present settlement. As time grew, the population of the Gbagyis dwelling in Abuja grew, this lead to the Suleja Emirate creating three districts which form part of the six local government councils in Abuja, these three districts are called Bwari, Kuje and Kwali. In these districts now known as local governments you can find indigenous Gbagyi people.
    There are two main groups of the Gbagyi people. The eastern and the western group. The former are called Gbagyi-Ngenge or Gbagyi-Matai and they are more dense in population than the later. The later are called Gbagyi-Nkwa or Gbagyi-Yamma. The two groups speak different languages, and within them exists sub-groups and dialects.


    The Gbagyi Religion

    The Gbagyi main traditional religion is called Knunu. They worship a god called Shekwoi, which they believe shields them from the evil that exist in the community. They also worship other gods like maigro, etc
    The Agbagyi (Gbagyi people) serves their god by offering fowl and beer as a sacrifice to a special tree found deep in the forest ( called kurmi).
    After the Fulani Jihad initiated by Usman Dan Fodio, most Gbagyi people (Agbagyi) were converted to Islam without choice, the Jihad made sure they had only two options which were be Muslim or be dead.
    Years later Christianity came into the Gbagyi land through SIM (Sudan Interior Mission also known as Evangelical Church of Africa).
    Most Gbagyis couldn't bear the restrictions Christianity brought so they stuck with Islam since some of it's practices where like that of their traditional religion. Practises like polygamy, amulets and so on.


    The Gbagyi Festivals

    The Agbagyi (Gbagyi people) have to main festivals namely:
    •The Zhibaje Festival and the
    •The Agbamaya Festival
    The Gbagyi people (Agbagyi) celebrates the Zhibaje Festival during the Christmas period. While the Agbamaya festival is celebrated by the Gbagyi people during the beginning of rainy season to welcome the rain.

    The Gbagyi Indigenous Food


    The Gbagyi people enjoy eating a meal known as Wyizhe. Wyizhe is made from Guinean corn and it is also used to make Zhepwo, a special drink the Gbagyi people loves to drink. The Gbagyi people also enjoy drinking a special soup known as Knadolo made from locust beans.

    The Gbagyi People Occupation


    Agbagyi are very talented and skilled. Years ago before now, the Gbagyi people practiced wood fetching, farming, pottery, and blacksmithing. But after the federal government took over their lands they resorted to only farming. You can hardly see a Gbagyi blacksmith. The Gbagyi people attach a unique importance to farming. They grow yam and grains.

    The Gbagyi People Traditional Clothing

    The Gbagyi people have a special clothing they call Ajeside which is made from local cotton and is traditionally woven. This clothing dyed by special traditional dressmakers.

    "Shoulder Carriers"



    One unique thing about the Gbagyi people (especially the Gbagyi women) is how they tend to carry goods on their shoulders and not on their heads. They call this place traditionally Bwapa. The Gbagyi people believe that the head shouldn't be bothered or disturbed with anything.


    The Gbagyi people are one of the most populated tribes in Nigeria(a country with over 300 tribes and 520 languages). The Gbagyi people can be found in : Kaduna state: Kagarko, northwest Kachia, Kanuru, Igabi, Soba, Giwa, Birnin-Gwari, and Chikun LGAs, Kaduna City; Niger state: Rafi, Chanchaga, Shiroro, Suleija LGAs; Nassarawa state: Keffi, Nasarawa LGAs; Abuja: Bwari, Kwali, Kuje, Abuja Municipal Area Council LGAs; Kogi state: Kogi LGA.

    and yes, about my trip to some indigenous Gbagyi communities, it'll be shared later.

     This article was written for the Discovering Africa initiative. 
    Written by : Isaac Somto 

  • Dumebi By Manuel Francis

    Dumebi.

    The Ugbokolo stream is just a stone throw from the house- anyone walking down to the stream from the house would term it the easiest thing to do but the hardest part is when you are walking up, especially with a pot of clay-coloured water on your head. Climbing those hills on a normal day would make you tired for the rest of the day.

    I pushed the short wooden door that's barely above my knee and got into the compound. Fire flames were making their way up the sky. Mama is up already. That imagination alone sent chills down my spine. My legs certainly became too heavy for me to lift. I walked slowly to the bigger pot at the edge of the wall. It was situated there so when it rains, drops of water from the sky that's settling in the old tatterd zinc would manage to assemble inside the pot. It's late November and it has stopped raining. I have to go to the stream to fetch water to fill the bigger pot for the use of the household. The season made no much difference- even when it's raining I still visit the stream

    Gently, I tried emptying the water without any form of noise but 'Ezioha' the gods of luck and wishes were clearly against me. The moment I turned to leave I heard her call out to me.

    "Dumebi!!!!!" I stood there that moment thinking of what wrong I have done that morning- the only time Mama calls me 'Dumebi' Is when she's about to scold me which is almost everytime. I am almost on the verge of forgetting my name is Chimamanda, she only mention that when I do something right, which is an occurrence that happens rarely. Maybe one's in a year.

    "Mirh?" I answered rushing towards the back yard with the pot of water I was holding. She was seating on the smaller chair. I could barely see her face because of the flames from the fire she was making. The flames were heading up, some settling at the top of the building while some leaves through the openings.

    She stood up, took off the wrapper and threw it to the other end- that particular wrapper is the one she tie when she's in the kitchen, since I started visiting that kitchen, I have never seen Mama wash the wrapper. She uses it in bringing pots down. If she puts 'Ogili' in the pot, she wipes off her hand in the wrapper. When things kept close to the fire catches fire, she uses the wrapper in putting off the fire.

    I was shivering where I stood.

    "Why didn't you wash this pot?" She asked calmly pointing at the pot beside the fire.

    "Mirh?" I heard what she said clearly. Someone far away would even hear what she said but I had no answer as at then. Even if I do, since she already started by taking off her wrapper, it was clear I would recieve the beating of my life.

    "Ina echi nti? Are you deaf? I said why didn't you wash this pot?" She was coming closer. I stepped backwards. "Don't move an inch again" she already left the spot where  the flames were settling, I could see her angry face now.

    "I washed it...." I managed to say. Then came the most thunderous slap I have ever received from Mama.

    "And the back is like that? Ina etinye nri n'ike?"

    "We would use it in...." I managed to speak and I was embraced with another slap. This time more thunderous than the first one.

    "Go in there, make sure that pot is clean before I return here" she ordered in Igbo.

    I held my cheek, went into  the smoked filled kitchen. I picked the pot and packed large quantity of ash beside the fire into a white bowl we use in packing ash. Sluggishly I went over the the other end of the compound, bent over a bowl of water, poured a small quantity of sand on the back of the pot, added the ash I brought from the kitchen and then a little water. I wiped it round the back of the pot adding water and Ash and sand at interval to make sure the black smokes disappears entirely from the back of the pot.

    I asked for tears to roll down my cheeks. I wanted to cry. At times I get scared that the lachrymation in my body could no longer produce body fluids.
    Ogochukwu said the reason I no longer cry over the maltreatment from Mama is because I have gotten used to it. I didn't understand that, how can one get used to hardship? How does one get used to feeling abandoned and dejected? The only time I have peace of mind is when I go for adult classes during the day. Seating amidst those old women in my class while they tell stories about their children and family takes me off my actual world.

    When I got back into the kitchen, Mama was busy starring the 'Abacha' she was preparing in the creamy substance she made with oil, Ugba, Pepper and ogili.

    "Mama, I have washed the pot" I said gently. Keeping my distance.

    "Eheen? Should I eat it? I'm asking you if I will eat the pot? Come and drop it on my head! Drop it on my head Dumebi! Since you don't know where they keep pot again abi? Obialu gbo ama ala. Ibu onye obia. You are a visitor"  she thundered.

    On my way down the stream, I keep thinking about my existence- Is this how people go through hell? Was Good partial during creation? Father Ukachukwu said God has a reason for everything- does his plans include this too? Earlier I thought it was the sins of my forefathers that has been my back bench all this while- I sneak out of the home on occasions to attend cathecism just so I can be baptized. Ogochukwu said that I need to be washed off my original sins.
    "Ime baptism, ekpochapu gi njo ekeluwa. When you are baptized, you would be stripped off your original sins and you will become new"

    That morning I was in church with the white gown I borrowed from the cathechist wife who happens to be our neighbour, with my feet designed at the back with charchoal. The moment we were asked to come over to the alter, that was when Mama saw me. I knew I was in trouble but somehow I proceeded with Ogochukwu's Aunt- who birthed me in baptism- "once father annoints me with those holy water, all my predicaments would be a thing of the past. Mama won't beat me again" I told myself but I was wrong. I fainted twice from Mama's beating after we left the church. I couldn't return the white gown to 'Nwunye Cathi' because Mama tore them and used it in making fire that afternoon. Later that evening she went over to Ogochukwu's house with her kerosene lamp and her wrapper tied round her waist with me running behind her crying and begging her that I was the one that made Aunty Uju do what she did.

    It was more like the world war was replayed that night. What mama didn't say to Aunty uju was the ones she didn't remember.

    ***
    The stream was calm. It was always like that at that time of the day- you only find people who either came to wash or to look after their cassava.

    I sat down with my legs floating inside the water.
    Why would mama make me wash back of pots that would obviously still get darkened by smokes from the firewood we use in cooking?
    Why would Mama ask me to pour the water that gets into the pot through the rain and ask me to go fetch water from the stream even when it's raining?
    Why would Mama make me stay hungry all day when there are lots of farm produce at home?

    I think through this things and I tell myself I want to just leave home for  few days. I just want to go somewhere else and see if this is really how they live.

    I keep thinking of a route to escape the torture.

    I had all this in mind while I wait for Ogochukwu over at the 'Ukwu Akpu' where we meet before going to St Mary's for classes.

    We were there when Mazzi came driving by with his long John bycicle. He was the new elementary five teacher.

    I was still thinking about an escape route when he came down and lay he bycicle to the ground.
    I was still rapping my head around my life when he told me how beautiful I was.
    That was something I have never gotten from someone. He told me how special I was. He has been admiring me since he came to the school.
    Ogochukwu gave me signs not to listen to him but I was bent on doing whatever it takes to leave Mama's house.

    "Why don't you help me get some herbal leaf inside the bush before we head to school?"

    "Okay sir. We can"

    "I think your friend should head to school so she won't be late" he suggested. I gave ogochukwu sign to go along.

    I didn't even think about it when he asked I let him see my underwears.
    I didn't think about it when he carefully lay plaintain leafs on the floor and asked me to lie on my back.

    All I could think of then was his reassuring words to make me his wife.
    Finally, to me that was an opportunity to leave Mama's house. Maybe this is God's way of lifting the burdens off me.

    It continued. Became a daily routine. We do it almost everywhere- close to the stream. The bushes around my house. The market square after I get done selling "Ugba" for Mama at eke Ugbokolo.

    Ogochukwu wouldn't stop asking me what's been happening.
    I didn't tell her. I never planned telling her anything. I only did the month I didn't see my monthly visitor. For years that I started flowing, I never had it delayed.. I felt pains in my breast when I was bathing that morning. I started having late evening cold. Getting weak every now and then. Mama noticed. She said if I get pregnant in her house, she would kill me and the unborn child. I Rejected it. Threw my fingers over my head and snapped them to the floor. "Tufiakwa"

    Even though I rebuked those words, they registered in my brain. That afternoon when I got to know I was pregnant I ran out of the house to Mazzi's house through the directions of our school member's. There I met his wife and four kids. I felt lost. The tears I have been asking for poured down the moment I ran out of his gate like the heavy rain that fell last week.

    Ogochukwu suggested we go to Ubuntu's place. According to her, he has herbs that would make me get rid of whatever it is that's growing inside me.

    Three days into taking the herbs Ubuntu gave me. It was more like the herbs gave birthday to scorpions inside my tummy and they were bitting me everywhere to find a way out.

    The only thing I heard after hours was Ubuntu's voice telling Mama I must have had food poisoning and it's likely I won't make it. I wanted to speak up. To say something at least. I heard Mama asking ogochukwu where we went to from school for the past days. Ogochukwu told her we haven't seen in weeks now.

    I lay there asking God to make it easier for me. Rev Father Ukachukwu said there is rest in heaven and the only way one gets there is when they die. I should just die and go get the rest.

    The last thing I heard Mama say is her asking me to better stand up there and come continue my chores. She tapped me every now and then asking me who would fetch her water if she needs. She kept asking me who would go to the farm when it's time for farming.

    I made a wish. That I stop breathing and go have some rest- I thought it was like one of my million wishes that God has never granted. He granted me this. I left the troubles in the world.

    Written By Manuel Francis


  • Victoria By Abdulwahab Adebowale Ashimi

    Victoria

    Clayed out of the remains of a demi-goddess?.

    The sure does looks like an amazon queen.

    If this is a confession of my love then let it blind the world's eye.

    This are figments of love binded by words born from the deep of my loner heart.

    Gold corrats in the color of your skin,
    I possess not neither diamonds as fadeless as your beauty

    But my love for you is as endless as how the astronauts speak of the universe,

    I wish I could count the amount of sands in the Sahara and tell you my love is twice of that.


    Victoria

    The damsel whose sparking eyes always flashes the screen of my mind
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