Category: 30 days 30 writers

Vote of thanks Inter Alia.

Finally at the end of this series.

I’d like to use this opportunity to thank all the wonderful writers that took their time to send an entry for this series.

I also want to thank all the readers, you’ve been wonderful, thank you so much.

Finally, I’d like to say, though we might have come to the end of this series but, it’s meaning and essence should not be lost. This series was started to celebrate independence somewhat.My intention was to get writers to fully express their feelings about Nigeria. Thankfully, the most of that has been done, though some in negative light.

I know what it was like sourcing for writers because most people didn’t want to write about Nigeria. Some said they had nothing good to say about Motherland.

Our feelings shouldn’t be this.

I’m pulled to remember that I am one Nigeria out of a million of Nigerians. Nigeria might be facing problems but in my little, tiniest way, what am I doing to help Motherland? Because when it comes down to the end of it, I make up Nigeria, you make up Nigeria, we make up Nigeria.

With this series, I’ve learn’t a lot about Nigeria and the feelings of most youths. But what I’m taking back home, what I’m leaving right here in my heart is, at the end of it all, there is hope.There is hope of better things to come. I’m thankful to a country like Nigeria though she has her problems.

I’m thankful that I’m still alive and well and my family is, and my friends are. Though this might seem selfish in light of what is going on today, kidnaps, boko haram, ebola, you name it. But I believe, once there’s life, there’s is hope.  There is hope that things can be better. I believe that things would be better.

So what’s it gonna be, are we going to have a little faith and hope that our youths would be the change Nigeria needs, or continue with a barrage of criticisms until we are six feet down?

If we are complaining about the drainage systems in our environment, what are we doing to clear the clutter, do we keep disposing our bottles in it?

My house when I’m in school is in the Bariga area and I feel sickened sometimes to see how the roads are and how the drainage systems are. But one day, I found myself offhandedly disposing a bottle of laCasera into the gutter. I found that I was one person contributing to the problem I was complaining of.

But that’s just one example.

So here I am asking you on this independence day, What is it going to be, to be a better Nigerian and help change our environment and society in any little way, or to look for a means of escape?

Whatever decision you make, think about it, ruminate on it.

Thanks so much everyone. If you haven’t participated in the series, there’s always next year. Also, if you want to read all the entries, click this link 30days,30writers and enjoy the wonderful stories and poems, starting with the thirtieth post Shed Rack Me Shack and A bad Negro  up until the first post, Our Girls.

On that note, I leave you to enjoy your independence day!

Happy Independence day and Thank you 🙂

Ope Adedeji.

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SHED RACK, ME SHACK & A BAD NEGRO

#30 

Finally at the end of this series. Yes, the title also had me in stitches. So why don’t you read yourself and find out what it’s about.

Please read, share and enjoy this awesome piece.

shedrack

“Brethren, open your bibles with me to the book of Daniel chapter 1, and I read; In the 3rd year of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it… and he took the vessels… youths without blemish, well favoured in appearance, competent to serve… and the prince of the eunuchs gave them names… Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego…” and my mind trailed off…

SHED RACKS 

Kaene ‘The Cat’ was a proud man, he hailed from a long line of proud men. He himself was renowned for his prowess in the ring; his back had never touched the ground in a wrestling match. He was also an excellent farmer and the barn shed was always stacked racks upon racks of enormous yams. But of all things prideful, his pride could not have been more proud than the pride his pride felt for his son, Ineme. Ineme was stout, Ineme was strong, Ineme was a real boy.

But one day, as they worked in the farm together, Kaene heard the thud of many hooves coming thick and fast, he recognized the chatter and shrieks of the men from across the great Obolo River, he looked and saw a white man galloping with the others. He immediately reached for his cutlass, he had heard the stories, if they wanted him or his son, he would show them that he was Kaene ‘The Cat’! But suddenly, out of thin air, the white drew out a short black stick and without warning the black stick roared. Kaene cried. Ineme screamed. Blood oozed from Kaene like palm oil from leaking calabash, and Kaene’s back touched ground. They had placed the cat before the horse. The last thing The Cat saw was his son being dragged away…and he thought of his yams…racks and racks of yams.

  • SHED To divide, to part with…
  • RACK – A frame on which to hang various items… A device used to torture victims by stretching them    beyond their natural limits.   

ME SHACK

Ineme woke up to the acrid smell of piss and shit, he could feel the strap of the rack against his wrists. He had been under torture for two days now but somehow he felt lucky, the pain was only for about three hours every day and for the rest of the day he got to be alone. Unlike the rest, the rest were lying on top, beside and inside of one another, squeezed together like sardine, men from different parts and tongues, some allies but some enemies, all living together drinking in the smell and taste of each other’s sweat and piss as the little shack swayed beneath them, pulled and shoved by the dancing waves that caused the urine and what not to play hide and seek amongst numb black limbs. He thought to himself, this is life now… this is home… this shack… me shack.

The other side of time, the white man examined a map of the Niger area, his hand laced around a mug of hot, steaming tea. He liked the way the warmth spread from his fingers into his body as his pointed nose captured every wisp of aroma from the mug. His eyes roamed over the Obolo River and the two tribes on either bank, he knew them well from his earlier years of raiding the area, they were big tribes, in native jungle terms of big that is, and they were sworn enemies. Slowly, a conspiratory smile slowly spread across his thin lips a dark mischievous gleam appeared in his cold blue eyes. He picked up a pen and circled the whole area as one tribe, folded the map, placed it in tote bag just as his friend Lugard walked into the room…

  • SHACK – A crude, roughly built hut or cabin… (also) to live with or in       

A BAD NEGRO     

Ineme sat with his back to the pole, his hands shackled together behind him, his back, or what was left of it, peppered him like no man’s business. His master’s words as the whip lashed through the air hurtling towards wounded bone and flesh still rang in his head  “Bad negro, boy! You’re a bad negro!”

They had arrived over six months ago, strangers by birth, now brothers by circumstance, forced into a new and strange existence. They had been sold to their masters and for six months had been trying to escape. But today was the day, he was the distraction. He hoped his brothers remembered his instructions “Go shed rack, carry iron cutter come cut me shack, then run! Run like a bad negro!!”

The other side of time; Bello glanced impatiently at his watch, as he wondered what was taking Chukwubikem so long. There was a zip in the air, everybody was excited, all roads led to the independence square… it was October 1st, they had made it, they had escaped from the grasp of their colonial masters, and they were free! Strangers by birth, now brothers by circumstance, forced into a new and strange coexistence… but they would celebrate it, Oreoluwa his girlfriend was already there waiting for them and Chukwubikem was making them late! He watched as Kaene, his neighbor from across the street entered his okada and drove off… “Chukwubikem Abednego!!!” Bello yelled!

“…and if you follow me down to verse 15 you will see that; ‘…at the end…their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. And the king communed with them and found none like …Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego.’ HALLELUYAH!!!”

Written by Jones Ayuwo

Follow him on twitter: @jones_ayuwo

FOR MY MOTHER NIGERIA.

#29

Because today’s post is late. no introduction. but, alas, the series is coming to an end. Enjoy this poem.

I, son of the soil

Proclaim you great

With your smiling beggars

& frowning leaders

Fucking you over

Like a night stand

With a candle

Ever burning

With the haste of passion

For money and power

I hail thee mama

54 years with a meager

Body count

Muritala Mohammed

Tafawa Balewa

& many true sons of the soil

Who bathe(d) with oil

Crude is the traditional way

Why does the Agbada have a sac?

For love mummy Nigeria

Named by Mrs. Lugard

Out of jealousy

For your bomb pussy.

How is Shekau?

Your beloved son,

The fire

Burning your loins

Like gonorrhoea

Mami Nigeria

This is a song of praise

Like hymns sung

By your preachers

We’ll pay for prayers

To your health

& hope Jets take

Our offerings

To heaven.

Written by Lanre.

Follow him on Twitter: @blaqknyght

read more of his work: blaqknyght.wordpress.com

Tables Turn

#28

Nigeria:
The giant of Africa. A land flowing with milk and hon… haha, i cant even write that down with a straight face. From the stories of a military President who took years of state budgets and stuffed it in his account(s) in Switzerland, to the guy in Yaba who is being beaten black and blue by market people, and bystanders, and people, who don’t know whats going on, but they will beat you anyways, because he stole a Blackberry Curve 2 (really fam? who steals a curve 2 in 2014, what is wrong with you?) …to the woman in a thick forest, looking into a mirror, calling someone’s name and tying their destiny to a stick(or chicken feet, i don’teven know again) .. to the missing 289 girls abducted in their school (yes, 289 girls. kidnapped. all at once. them kidnappers must be some bad motherfuckers, having invisible tech and shit for them to carry 289 HUMAN BEINGS WITHOUT BEING NOTICED) .. down to the man who dropped off his kid in school, pecked her on the forehead and said “I love you princess, i’ll come pick you when school closes. Be good.” she never did see him again beacause he was blown to oblivion on his way back to the bus park in the country’s capital by BokoHaram (isn’t the capital of a country meant to be the most guarded of all states or??)  .. I mean, lets all be serious. Techinacally this country shouldn’t still be on the map.

But then, it is. Its still here, standing. I could give you a book and tell you to write about things you hate about this country, and you would begin to write, for years, and you would ask me for another book to continue, i would give you and while continuing with where you left off you would get pissed, burn the book, kill me, for giving you this idea and then you would kill yourself because you wont be able to fully fathom where it all went wrong with ‘Our Father Land’

 Nigeria
Nigeria would be known for nothing,
never will anybody say,
we were the peak of mankind.
that is wrong, the truth is
our country was a failure.
thinking that
we actually succeeded
is a waste. and we know
living only for money and power
is the way to go.
being loving, thinking about others and being kind
is a dumb thing to do.
forgetting about that time
will not be easy, but we will try.
changing our country for the better
is something we never did.
Giving up/stealing
is how we handled our problems.
working hard
was a joke.
we knew that
people thought we wouldn’t come back
that might be true,
unless we turn things around


(Now read from bottom to top)

Nigeria , good people … Great Nation

Written by Alan Olisa

Follow him on twitter @alanolisa_

Read more of his work: http://t.co/5nI9x3u8DB

Square Pegs

#27

This piece really touched me. So much honesty.

Read and enjoy this short piece.

Don’t do just that, think and ruminate over it.

square peg

I am me

I am unique

I am a square peg

Who has been conformed to fit into a round hole.

We are all square pegs

We are Nigerians who try to fit into the round hole of the the English man.

We all strive to speak the Queen’s language impeccably without even flourishing in our mother’s tongue.

We are square pegs who try to fit into round pegs of the style of the English man and casting our dear beautiful culture into oblivion.

We think theirs is better and ours is outdated.

We are all square pegs,

Unique in our own way if we explore our own resources and not try to incorporate others and losing our essence.

We are square pegs who are richly black and beautiful and can never fit into the round hole of becoming English.(no matter how much we try).

Now that we know we are square pegs. Let’s try to explore our uniqueness and fit perfectly in square holes.

I am me

I am Nigerian

I am a square peg who fits perfectly in a square hole.

Written by Olubi Olusola

Follow her on twitter: @olubiolusola

Poverty

#26

Today’s post is late and sincerely, I’m sorry. But I believe, it is worth the wait because once you read this, I’m sure you’ll be asking for more.

The sun’s one red eye looked down at me mercilessly, reminding me of a hungry policeman’s stare, caressing my back with red-hot fingers through the threadbare formerly-grey-now-off-white shirt that could not protect me from the gentlest of it. I wanted to get out of the heat, duck somewhere; most preferably a joint where extra-cold drinks were served, and just knock back about two bottles of Udeme. Ironically, I had walked past about three of the spots I was describing earlier. All the people who sat in there, under the cool shade, laughing noisily as they guzzled cold beer and ogled the young women who strutted up and down the street as if the weather was cooler on their side of the road.

Which it probably was.

But; even more than the intense heat, I was painfully aware of the lightness of my pocket. All I had in there were three polymer notes; that would be sixty naira, and one particularly crisp ten naira note. As little as it was, those notes represented hope to me; hope that I could afford at least one pure water, hope that I would still get home today.

It was not easy.

As I walked I thought about what had brought me to this side of the Island from my Alagbado home; about why my feet had chosen to turn into this particular street. I thought about the bundle of certificates I carried in a transparent manila folder with me, and I wondered if I had known all six years in the university would amount to eventually was this; walking all over Lagos searching for a job after two years of finishing Youth service.

What was the point?

The folder protected my head from the worst of the sunshine, but my back was unprotected and sweat had made the shirt sticky and had plastered it to my back. The earlier I got water…

But then I remember that drinking water in such extreme heat was just like fetching water into a basket; I would sweat it all out faster than I could drink it. I decided to walk some more, and then look for a place I could have a drink in a shade and not feel inferior to people who were drinking beer so early in the morning. As I thought of those sweating bottles of alcohol, I swallowed and winced. My throat was terrible dry.

Deciding immediately, I walked into the next joint in sight. It was a canteen that sold Igbo food and the sight of the eba and draw soup and dried fish just made my stomach growl, reminding of the fact that I had not had breakfast.

I shrugged. “Pure water, abeg.” I told the girl who came to ask me what I wanted. As she went to get it I looked around at the establishment. It wasn’t much, but it was very neat. A middle-aged man sat about two seats away from me, gobbling up draw soup as if his very life depended on how fast he could consume the soup. Another man sat on the other side, reclining in his seat and lazily picking his teeth with a broomstick. A couple other guys sat outside, drinking Harp and Stout.

My stomach rumbled noisily in reaction to the lively aroma of cooking food, but all I could I do was grit my teeth and pray.

God, I thought, please help me be able to get something before the close of today. Please, if not for my sake, for the sake of my mama who was selling roast corn and coconuts on the road. For the sake of my sister who is studying hard for her WAEC exams. I don’t want her to become desperate enough to begin considering selling herself for a few naira. Dear Lord…

“Na im be dis, oga. You no chop?” The service girl spoke from my elbow.

“Thank you. No.” I smiled at her as I collected the very cold water which she had placed in a small plate. She nodded and left.

It was very cool in there, and as I sipped the water slowly, trying as much as possible to conserve as much moisture as I could and not just sweat it all out, thoughts of life; my life kept running through my head. Things just had not been the same after papa left us. Sure, it was a story you saw everyday on Lagos streets; the pure water boys, the Gala hawkers, the credit sales people – there were such cases everywhere. Even Nollywood kept rehashing that particular story with several casts, or as my kid sister would say, same script, different cast. Come to think of it, we were even lucky.

Bad as e be, I was a graduate of Accounting from Ife. That was not beans. At first it had been rough, but my mother had her family and they rallied around her. They promised that at least, they would do their best, and that I would finish my university education. They had kept their word, after all they did not owe us anything, and they also had their own burdens to carry. But God bless them, they had really tried hard, especially Uncle Gbenga. He made it a point to always add a little extra after my fees were paid and books were bought. He was the one who always took me along to building sites he worked on so I could earn a little bread for myself. And he taught me survival.

But now I was my own man, and more importantly, I was the man of the house, with a mother and young sister to take care of. And I would not be able to care for them, sitting on my behind as it were. I rose to my feet and carried the last of the water in the sachet with me as I walked from the shop.

Pinpricks of pain opened up all over my back on my entrance into the street again, but this time I think I was better prepared. I walked a few metres, and then emptied the pure water sachet over my head and shoulders, sighing in pleasure as the soothing cold washed over my shoulders. I knew it was a temporary victory; knew I could not walk into any office looking as I did right then, but I did not care. At least not then. I was just thankful for being alive, thankful I could at least still enjoy a simple pleasure like cold water on my hot back. I felt better.

Even the gravel had stopped burning the soles of my feet through the thin soles of my shoes, which were the best thing in my entire appearance. They weren’t much, but they were genuine leather shoes, a gift from my cousin Banke when I finished service. She was one who made it a habit to always call me and encourage me whenever I seemed down or rapidly giving up. I was grateful for her.

I could see people around me walking about their own businesses, some of them dressed in suits and looking really neat, hurrying back and forth in the hot midday sunshine. I could see some of the abokis who sold confectionaries walking back and forth…as they had gotten to their station for the day. I could see ladies wearing short skirts and tight blouses with their creamy breasts almost bursting free, and I felt a little cold clamminess in my tummy. I smiled to myself. Maybe I am not so hungry, I thought; if I can still appreciate the curves of a woman in this state. I kept walking.

Just as I began wondering how many more streets I would have to walk, or how many offices I would have just burst into before something happened, I rounded a bend on this particular street and came face to face with a construction site. It looked like someone was building a plaza of office buildings, and they had gone as far as the fourth floor up on the main building. They evidently were building the frames first, because there were no walls, just pillars and floors. There were men everywhere, walking back and forth, carrying blocks, bags and bags of cement, offloading trucks of sand and gravel, fetching water and so on.

Till today, as I sit to type you this story, I do not know what possessed me to bend my steps into the site, but almost of their own volition (like they did when bringing me into this street) they just turned and there I was, walking up the gangplank placed across the ditch into the compound. I hadn’t even had time for rational thought. I just approached the first man I saw, a Hausa man who was carrying a back of cement unto his shoulder.

“Well done o. Abeg, na who be the foreman here?” I asked him politely. He silently pointed to a burly man in a crash helmet who was directing the flow of activity. I had a second of actual rational thought. It occurred to me that I was stupid; crazy, to think I could just walk in here and get a job. I told my feet to turn and carry me back the way I had come, but as I said before they just seemed to have developed a mind of their own, and carried me towards the foreman.

Before I had even gotten close to him at all, he spied me from the distance and scowled in my direction.

“Why are you just coming? Do you think I have all day?!”

I was surprised to say the least. He had obviously mistaken me for someone he was expecting. I stopped in front of him and attempted to stammer an explanation.

“Sir…I am not…” He cut me short.

“I know. Anyway, are you ready to work or not?”

I only had one chance and I took it. I promptly answered, “Yes sir!”

Pointing to a small room on the ground floor of the building (the first two floors actually had walls), he grunted, “Get in there and change, and then join the men at in the water team. Any questions?”

I was already halfway towards the building, afraid he might have a change of heart; afraid he might realise I was not the one he was waiting for after all so I just threw a “No sir!” over my shoulder and kept moving till I entered the room he had indicated. It was obviously the workmen’s shanty; I could see a pile of clothes and shoes in a corner. Some tools also lay around and on the table. I quickly stripped down to my undershirt and boxers, folded my clothes carefully, placed them on my folder and in the corner with the rest, and then looked around for something I could wear to help me look less inconspicuous. I found a tattered pair of jeans hanging on a nail, with dried cement crusted all over it. It looked like it had not been worn in a while, so I scrapped off the cement and put it on inside out. I quickly rushed out and looked for the direction in which the water men were coming from, and then I headed there. They were coming from behind the building; I guessed that was where the pump was located and moved quickly in that direction.

There was another man standing beside the tap, tall slim and fair. He was dressed in workmen’s jeans and a helmet like the foreman was wearing, holding a writing pan and frowning at the men as they carried two large paint buckets each. He brightened up when he saw me.

“Another one? Good. Lord knows we’re seriously short-handed here today.” As I stopped in front of him, he asked me for my age.

“28 years, sir.” I told him.

He looked me over carefully, and then said “You started work quite late so you get a thousand naira at the end of today, that’s six pm. Is that okay?”

I wanted to cry. A thousand naira!

As it was, I could only nod. He looked at me again, and then pointed to a pile of buckets and said “Get to work.”

I did not care about whether I was a graduate. At that point, it did not interest me whether I had a second-class upper degree in Accounting. It did not interest me that I had become a common laborer for around thirty thousand naira a month. I had even forgotten that I had not eaten breakfast.

I was just grateful that I was taking money home to my family that day. I picked up two buckets, strength in my shoulders, a song of thanks in my heart.

Written by: Seun Odukoya

Seun Odukoya is a graduate of Educational Psychology, the award-winning author of the e-book For Days and A Night, e-comic Songs About AIDS and the online series Saving Dapo. He’s working on a full-length novel and two short story compilations at the moment. His writings can be found at www.seunodukoya.wordpress.com and he tweets as @seunodukoya.

Okay Everyone, as Seun Odukoya’s stalker 🙂 I’m proud to present to you, his upcoming novel Saving Dapo ( Drum roll).  If you know Seun, you’ll know that for a while, he was (and probably still is) referred to as Saving Dapo. I read this captivating series on his blog and I advice you to look out for it 🙂

Saving Dapo Director's Cut

Pen to Paper.

#25

Today’s writer has written an introduction to his awesome poetry. Please enjoy.

There is a certain amount of person’s you need to fuck up before you hit gold. For my country,that is 160million and that itself is a huge achievement for a country that gold isn’t its main export. A sequel longer than the game of thrones series won’t even be enough for me to start to describe the different ethnic groups lest start about religious hate. A country so diverse, you could create two other countries from; well, some people did try. The dream had been an ideal black nation, but reality is a bitch. The leaders corrupt, their actions as if constructed to contradict the line from the anthem that says ‘the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain’. Once upon a time, the only problem we had was not knowing how to spend our money. Now, the only problem we have is that we have too many problems. The mood is dark, like the liquid that brought the curse, like the streets at night, like the hearts of the people it has suffered. Our nation is not bound in freedom, and peace and justice definitely doesn’t reign.

pen to paper

Pen to paper

Let me scribble

But, my thoughts are unformed

Like babies unborn

When the mind is pregnant with ideas but can’t deliver

What medical condition do we then term that?

When laziness surpasses literary prowess

What social condition do we also term it?

What new jargon will Mr president term this?

When people are corrupt before they come into power

Do we still then foolishly say ‘power corrupts’?

When your country attempts to kill you

What shall we name this treason?

Who then punishes the punisher?

A country with hero’s,

only in the national anthem

A country with so many missing zero’s,

Well, a trillion or so isn’t too much to ask for public service

A country where there is no poverty,

Only on instagram.

A country with dreamers and hopers

A country with blind patriots,

Nonchalant idiots,

Hopeless romantics,

Prayer warriors,

Missing funds,

Missing girls

A country that has eaten the proverbial ‘tomorrow’s yam’

A country on the brink of self destruction

Tick, tock, tick, tock

All is not lost yet,

If only this can be seen as our crucible

The necessary evil

The life changing accident

The change that changes us

It begins with the blind patriot,

The nonchalant idiot,

It begins with Nigerians; not Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa

It begins with us

They say I am a foolish boy in a too wise world.

Who am I to say otherwise?

So, let my ink flow

Go slow.

Pen to paper, I still want to scribble.

Written by Hassan Yahaya Taiwo

Follow him on twitter @hassytee

Read his blog: writtenwhisperz.wordpress.com