Category Archives: #bringbackourgirls

How Did I End Up In Nigeria?

So many questions have been floating around my mind the past few weeks and all of them revolve around how I ended up in Nigeria. I’m really baffled how I ended up in a country so determined to move backwards we actually go out of our way to make sure everyone runs ahead of us.

The last elections gave me so much hope, so much faith and conviction that we were finally getting it right. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I neva esperred all this. Since then, I’ve fallen back into the despair that follows Nigerians like a shadow, temporarily disappearing but always coming back.

Who could I possibly have offended in heaven. Did I steal meat from Abraham’s bosom? Was I making fun of Samson in the gym? 18yjj5

Did I go off key repeatedly during the heavenly hallelujah chorus? 56750415

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Or did I just flunk out of the Angel Micheal Warfare Institute?

Was it in a past life, if those exist at all? Was I a Nazi or something? Was I a slave owner? I don’t know.

Maybe I wasn’t just paying attention when we were lining up to enter the womb tube. Maybe that’s it, I could have just wandered into the wrong line.

But I think I was probably suckered in by the huge potentials that Nigeria had and I just joined the line. But Dear God, if you are reading this, the craziness I’ve seen here in just 21 years wasn’t on the brochure they gave me in heaven. I must have been deceived by angelic 419.

18yk3b

And please don’t even tell me that I was sent here to fix it because I wonder, you that is here with me did your hand spoil? Why can’t you fix it. Maybe if we all just start fixing it from where we are I wouldn’t be writing stuff like this.

Anyway since I’m stuck here, just help my ministry by subscribing to my blog. Thank you. God will bless you with plenty children.

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Numb To The Bomb

Feature image from 123rf.com 
When I was five years old, I returned from school one Tuesday afternoon and I was ecstatic after I realized that my frenemy, NEPA had given us electricity. I turned on the TV for my usual Channels TV afternoon cartoon digest (as I usually did whenever NEPA gave us light). That afternoon there was no cartoon, no kiddies show, there weren’t even Nigerians on the TV. They were showing smoke coming out of gigantic buildings and I wasn’t in the mood for smoke coming out of gigantic buildings, I wanted smoke from Voltron in space not aeroplanes on the earth. I was angry but what could I do. I sat I front of the TV not understanding the impact of what it was I was watching. The fallout of that day would spur the US into a decade long war in the Middle East and open the gates of hell for the entire world. Osama bin Laden had crashed planes into the heart of America and the America wanted his head on a pike and now the movement bin Laden catalysed want all our heads, preferably in tiny bits.  

That was a time when one terror attack slowed down the earths rotation, attacks were fewer and far between but claiming a lot of lives with each strike. Wars were started and many of those wars haven’t ended while some just changed weapons from bullets to ideology. You felt a terror attack like you were a citizen of that country, we were all global citizens then. But the bullets kept spewing out from the chambers, the bombs kept detonating, planes kept falling out of the sky and we keep losing people like its the rapture.

Then Boko Haram came to my home country of Nigeria. We thought we crushed it, we massacred the leadership, showed the carcass on national television, we thought we had won till another bomb went off and we realised we only cut of the snakes tail. Explosion after explosion, gunfight after gunfight, my country men and the brave soldiers in the front lines couldn’t hide it anymore, we were losing. We lost our towns in the north, many of them only need a tumble weed to look like scenes from abandoned Wild West towns in the movies. Now we’re losing the south too, fighting one war on multiple fronts.

I became scared of Christmas bangers, something I had loved as a child. The loud exploding sounds were no longer joyous and my fear grew to dread and now disgust. I hate the sounds of balloons popping and every loud bang has me looking for the nearest table to duck under. I anoint myself every morning before I leave the house, not even because I’m looking for divine favour but just I want to hire Gods private security team. This is normal to me, not as normal as those living in war zones, but it’s something I no longer get surprised by.

Bombs now go off everyday.

Suicide bombers now sit beside us.

I have grown numb, I’m no longer as grief stricken by the loss of life after terror attacks, I now concern myself with the political fallout and military reaction. What’s that saying, “people die everyday and it’s only when it’s someone close to you that you care”.

I know this is wrong but what can I do, I’d be clinically depressed if I took every terror attack personal, unfortunately sometimes I have to unlook.

I dream of a world were terrorists didn’t mislead people with religion and dogma, where bombs didn’t go off and bullets were not shared like pure water, where people weren’t blown to smithereens or perforated by bullets. But then I wake up, and boy oh boy am I wide awake. But I still pray that my dreams will come true. They have to.

God keeps us all safe.

#BRINGBACKOURGIRLS…please?

I never expected it. Two years after, it’s still some kind of national dream that we all can’t seem to wake up from. Two bloody years!

I don’t even know what I want to say in this post that hasn’t been said, but I felt the need; the pull; the urgency; to let this digital ink flow to the screens to your phones, tablets and laptops.

I am disappointed and sad that it was in my life time that I witnessed one of the most embarrassing national flukes in Nigerian history.

 I can still vividly recall it like it was yesterday. Laying on my bed scrolling through my Twitter timeline and staring in horror at what I was reading, “Over 200 school girls kidnapped.”

I know better than to believe everything I see on Twitter and so I wait for the Federal government of Nigeria to address the issue. I wait for days and weeks and utter radio silence from the hallowed corridors of Aso Rock. The military reports wing my mind back and forth in unparalleled realms of confusion. Channels television is consistent in its reporting, “The Missing Chibok Girls”, Oby Ezekwesili is livid on social media, my Church Pulpit is dead silent and the rumour mill is working overtime.

Then CNN’s Isha Sesay lands in Abuja and heads begin to roll. She begins to ask the questions our local media is either too afraid to ask, to air or have failed to get any answers to. I remember one episode with Doyin Okupe when the only thing left for him to do was to throw her off the balcony that served as their make shift studio in Nigeria. I can still recall yelling my mums name, telling her to leave the kitchen and come see the drama when they practically both start yelling at each other.

They said the #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS movement died down, the reality is it should never have lasted this long
. It shouldn’t have taken us two years, no parent, no one should have to wait that long to have their loved ones to be returned to them.

This isn’t normal! At all! 

It’s been two years. New government, new progress in the fight against Boko haram, new fuel scarcities and economic woes, but the same news surrounding Chibok, the news that rings loud like a standing applause except that it’s silent. Nothing has changed, two years on our girls are still not home.
God help them…God help us all

The Second Dissaperance of The Chibok Girls

  The Second Disappearance of The Chibok GirlsOn April 14 2014, 276 girls were taken out of their dormitory beds in the middle of the night. The next time they were seen was on a Boko Haram propagandist video on YouTube. The government of Nigeria was secretly hoping the national amnesia would kick in and they would be forgotten, so for 4 weeks, they were radio silent. The President was partying and giving centenary awards and it seemed to be just another day in the republic.

  
Then the social media got wind of the story, in part thanks to Michelle Obama. #BringBackOurGirls took over Twitter as if that was why it was invented. Facebook, Instagram, any social media without #BringBackOurGirls was considered a joke. Then international media got wind of the story. The CNN, BBC and Al Jazera satellites turned to Nigeria’s longitude and latitude. Camera, lights, microphones, media coverage rivaled only by the FIFA World Cup.

   
 The local media had to feel among and so AIT and NTA sent out reporters, who were asking all the wrong questions and getting all the wrong answers.

The Newspapers didn’t need to think too hard to get headlines, #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS was all anyone wanted to read. Magazine covers became poor quality YouTube screen grabs of the Chibok girls. If there was ever a time to find them…

  
Days passed, nights crept away, the weeks skipped and the months ran along. The girls weren’t back. Media coverage was wearing off, the world needed something else to keep it going and naturally it gradually began to move on. The Nigerian government was being stingy with its information anyway. The local media on the governments payroll (of course I’m talking about NTA & co) do what they do best- cover visits of politicians and statements of retired politicians not to forget parties (paid for by politicians).

Then the Chibok girls disappeared for the second time. They vanished from our Twitter timelines (save a few). They evaporated from our Facebook feeds and like the filter, they faded out of our Instagram.

    
 The girls no longer made the headlines, they got a few side columns but not really headlines. Magazine covers went back to celebrities with fake accents. They no longer made the chorus of hit songs (FACT CHECK: they never actually made the chorus of hit songs, even though Wizkid and Davido are in the same age bracket with a lot of them).

People got tired of blogging about them, tweeting about them. In fact you were painted as hustling for political appointments if you kept talking about them (just ask Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, who hasn’t stopped looking and coincidentally was still not nominated for a political appointment).

  
They no longer made prayer points at church, and were dematerialized from the pastors sermon.

‘Nobody is missing’ they said, ‘it’s all politics’ said the man in far away Lagos. What should have been the greatest point of unification in our history was reduced to political schisms.

The Chibok girls became a symbol for something bigger than themselves. They represented the millions of youth with a ‘bright future’ paved by dim street lights

They represented all the families that were erased or displaced. Their situation reminded us of everything we don’t want Nigeria to be that it already is.

For the second time the Chibok girls were gone. The national amnesia had kicked in, a little late but kicked in all the same. So we go from day to day not knowing whether the next to disappear would be Maitama or Ikeja, Portharcourt or Calabar. We go on in the famous words of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Suffering and Smiling.

Are You In Love With Nigeria?

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
1 Cor 13:8
I was listening to three people have a conversation some time ago although they were really loud and annoying there wasn’t a need to eavesdrop. 
Two of them talked about how if they became the Nigerian president one day, they would either tell all thier cabinet members to steal as much as they could or they wouldn’t stop them. At this point the third person rejoined the conversation querying the two of them. He told them that what they wanted to do was the reason why this country was not moving forward because everyone wanted to steal money and nobody cared about the ordinary man on the street. I wished I could support the third person, but by the time he was done talking his argument sounded so immature and weak compared to the “lets steal money” argument that I just minded my business. It wasn’t weak because of the way the person spoke but because he was speaking against the norm of society. 
Lest I forget the scripture above and its relation to my story. I think whenever people hear scriptures on love they usually zoom into one of two things either the love for God or the love of God for men everywhere. I believe whenever the bible talks about love it talks about these two things and they are inseparable and equally important. 
There something so powerful about love, it’s not always the mushy, romantic words you tell your spouse, it’s the will to discipline your child becaus you want the best, the sincerity to tell people the honest truth and not lie to their face, it’s the sacrifices we make to keep people happy, love is what we give when we have nothing to give. 
Humanity has known no greater force than love. Love carries out transactions through its subsidiaries like passion. Passionate people or people full of deep love for a cause have repeatedly been the men that changed the world. People like  Maryin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Paul Rusesabangida even Steve Jobs changed the world because of the love they had, they couldn’t be stopped even in death. 
Love a weapon a powerful tool of governance. You can’t govern a people you don’t have an emotional connection with. You can’t keep a job or lead an organization you don’t have passion for. We need someone who sees Nigeria as an extension of his or her family and will take national issues personal. 
We need a man or woman that loves this country. Someone that will give Nigerians some good loving. We need an actual Nigerian, not someone bound by ethnic and religious shackles but someone that is first and foremost a Nigerian. We need someone more interested in the 170 million Nigerians than him or herself. 
We need some Love, some real good loving. 
So I ask Mst, Mr, Mrs. Or Miss, are you in love with Nigeria?

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I Don’t Believe In State Of Origin 

A few weeks ago, an organization I belong to held her annual elections. They do it constantly to keep reinvigorating the leadership even though the organization has been grossly ineffective in doing anything at all. After the elections one of the candidates walks past me and I greet her because there is a level of aquaintancy between us. I go further to congratulate her on her victory  because she ran unopposed and surely must have won.
“Thank you”, she says, “Did you vote for me?” She continues. I smile and tell her no but before I can finish my “you ran unopposed and so there was no point” explanation, she looks at me dead in the eye and says “It’s people like you we don’t need in his country, I hope they kill you.” I smile as she walks away, half trying not to stand up and beat the devil out of her because that would be wrong. Normally, I would have let those words slip through but someone telling me…telling an Igbo person right of the heels of the Oba of Lagos lagoon loading threat, she was just callous. 
There are an estimated 170 million Nigerians divided along really stupid ethnic lines. Lines that I still cannot mentally understand. The idea is that My Dad said he was from Imo therefore I am from Imo even though I’ve hardly ever been there and cannot affiliate myself in any capacity to the state or the tribe for that matter. 
The other night, I had to explain to my friend from Akwa Ibom what my mothers village in Abia state looks like, how the village roads have never been tarred and how it would take enormous amounts of money to do so across all of rural south-eastern Nigeria, by the time I was through the explanation with my half baked knowledge, he looked at me and said “you guys are suffering.”
But who are the “you guys” he was referring to? 
Me? 
Who hasn’t spent up to 3 months out of 20 years in that South-eastern Nigeria, or my ‘Yoruba’ friend who has spent the bulk of her life floating inbetween Imo, Abia and Enugu? I wonder between my Yoruba friend and I, who is more Igbo? But of course I am, because my Name is Ugochukwu and hers has Ade inside. 
It’s because of reasons like this that many Nigerians have problems identifying with the Boko Haram atrocities committed in Northern Nigeria, that’s why we cannot relate to parents of 219 kidnapped girls and that’s why we wanted to drawn ‘Igbos’ for voting because all though we are all Nigerians, they are not one of us, they are Igbo Hausa and Yoruba. 
Again I say, get rid of state of origin in this country, it’s outlived its usefulness. Replace it with state of residence or whatever is truly unity promoting. 

I’m Dear Akpo, Let’s All Be Tribalist

In this letter, I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 
Sometimes I think black people are cause so much trouble in the world, that maybe it would be better off without them. But I remember I’m black, world wars were stated by white folks and black folks couldn’t cause as much damage as white folks even if we tried. So I delete the thought.
Other times, I think Hausa’s are dragging this country behind, after all they have all the population, they’ve been in leadership more times than any tribe and their elite still have more influence. I would like to think that they are just the beggars and Malams on the streets and nothing more. Then I remember my friends Hadassah, Mibwala, Julia and Aliyu who are some of the smartest, selfless and creative people I know. Then I think “Hausa’s aren’t half bad”. I remember the Jega’s of this world and I remember the saying that nothing beats an educated Hausa man. So I delete the thought. 
I most definitely think Yoruba’s are superficial, too loud, and don’t have courage to back up their words. I also must have thought that they are dirty. But I remember my friends Winner, who is perhaps the most organized, deep and quiet person I know, I think of Tosin who despite being a girl is one of the most courageous people in words and deed (you don’t want to cross Tosin on her day) as well as Seunla and My best friend Tolu and I question my sanity for even thinking that in the first place. So I delete the thought. Yoruba’s can’t be bad. 
Of course I’ve been told Igbos are stingy and money inclined they are and that they like to own everywhere. Then I remember how un-money inclined I am, my firends like Princess desperately trying to avoid starting her own business, I think of people like Oby Ezekwesili who have spent the last year almost singlehandedly mounting pressure on the government to find missing Hausa girls that are not Igbos and may never probably marry Igbos. 
And yes My other best friend, Arinze loves businesses, and yes I have Yoruba friends who are really loud and superficial, but I also have that aren’t all these stereotypes that some people in our ancestry developed for what they felt where the needs of the their time.
But let’s all be Tribalist’s shall we. Let’s listen to the Oba a and drown the Igbos if Ambide losses, let’s listen to Kunle Afolayan and blame all piracy problems on Igbos, or listen to Dame Pateonce and sit back and pray Hausa’s throw “their pikin away.”
Or we could just call this for what it really is, stupidity in high realms and move on. 
Do what you want Akpo, I’m getting tired of all this. 

I’m Tired Of Nigerian Politics. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I am fatigued, exasperated and quite frankly flabbergasted by the political sphere. It looks like something out of the script of an AY Live show. If Fayose is not prophesying Buhari’s death in National Newspapers, he is getting in touch with all Buhari’s doctors to tell them how much longer before he drops dead. Funny thing is he is never correct. Then walks in FFK, with his vocal cords vibrating in a way that is gradually becoming a lot faster than his minds ability to process information. 
Then you have his excellency the executive president of Niger Delta Mr./Chief/whatever his title  is Asari Dokubo. Who is most definitely running his own country because it’s funny how someone as verbally unskilled as himself has not been locked up for treasonable utterances or at least taken back to school to learn the fundamentals of Patriotism & Nationalism. 
Lest I forget our INEC President who the presidency plans to remove before the plan leaked. Who also appears to be dancing to hs own fiddle (which is normally a good thing but it’s not so good in Nigeria). Did I mention that the way PVC’s are being distributed and misdistributed whoever losses this election may loose because his voters didn’t get their PVC’s. 
Of course there is a rumored APC agenda for Osibanjo to hand over to Tinubu, as if having a 72 year old wasn’t bad enough (I mean in what developed with a vibrant youth state will that happen) we will now have two elder states man reemerge to lead this country. It’s kind of like qualifying for World Cup and asking Okocha and Kanu to come out of retirement and play…(they will be pipes of such a celestial degree). 
If I were given an opportunity to manage Jonathan’s Campaign for a week, my first port of call would be to sack Doyin Okupe and Reno Omokri, I’m sure I can do their jobs a lot better than them, they are horrible, it’s either that or they are actually working for Buhari to make sure Jonathan looses in which case they would be geniuses. 
But let me draw your attention to the most important news in this country that hardly makes the headlines on Radio or TV. 
In less than a month, it would be a year that the Chibok girls where taken. I had assumed a year ago, that by now this children would have been back, but I was wrong. A lot could have happened to those kids in a year, things that only Hod could rehabilitate them from and it all happened under the sober gaze of Mr. President. It also happened under my gaze and your gaze. So I want to apologize to the parents for not doing everything I could to help, for forgetting them on social media and in conversations in real life, for forgetting to put them in my prayers while I was praying for stupid stuff. I pray they come back and soon too. 

Header Via Okechukwu Ofili

The Christainization Of Nigeria

In July 1968, there was a little boy who carjoled his parents to allow him go to church. He had discovered God even though his parents weren’t religious. One day this little boy comes across an issue of Life Magaizne that has on its cover a picture of children starving 12,737Km away in West Africa. This boy works into the church on Sunday, outraged with God and turns to his pastor for explanations. His pastor has no answer as to why God would allow these children suffer. This young boy would leave this church and never return to Christainity. By 2010, this small boy would have founded the worlds most valuable company. A company from who’s device I write this post. His name was Steve Jobs. 

“The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it.” 
-Steve Jobs

Permit me to say as a Christain that perhaps the Kingdom of God lost such great potential, skill and talent like Steve Jobs because two very CHRISTAIN leaders in Nigeria and Biafra were tearing themselves limb from limb. 

That aside, I sat in a class a few weeks ago and listened as the lecturer argued for the class to vote for Jonathan because he is a nominal Christain while Buhari is a Muslim. Honestly, I wanted to stone his head with my pen, but less I get in trouble with the school authority, I refrained. 

Then I ask myself if a Mr. President is really a Christain? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but he hasn’t stood by the dictates of the Christain faith. He has shown no love or empathy for his people, after all, he was always on a campaign trail or at one National social event or another during or immediately after virtually every major Boko Haram attack of 2014. He has little or no intergrity after causing, exasperating or covering scandal after scandal since 2011 whether it’s missing money or keeping questionable ministers.  I ask myself how Christain is Mr. President. Need I remind you that Chibok is a Christain community.

I like Your Christ but not your Christains, your Christains are so Unlike your Christ.
-Mahatma Ghandi.

I’m not endorsing Buhari because I have personal reservations against him, but at least none of them are based on his religion. At least he is Muslim true and true. He might be questionable in other areas but he at least he is principled and consistent to a cause (or at the very least more of a Muslim than Mr. President is a Christain, after all if he wasn’t, there wouldn’t be talk about Islamizing Nigeria).

My question is this, why Vote for a leader based on his claims on Religion? If you want Mr. President to continue in office, vote because you believe his anticidents supersede Buhari’s and not because there is a “Muslim conspiracy” to Islamize Nigeria. After all all the slander of PDP are spewed from the mouths of fellow Christain brethren as APC’s is done from both religionus camps. 

I do believe God has a chosen path for Nigeria, and if Jonathan is to lead us to that path I don’t think it will be because Buhari is a Muslim. Afterall Ghandi wasn’t a Christain and Joseph Khnoe was. 

Let us not be zealous without Knowledge, be prayerful while keeping an open heart.

P.S. I NEVER ATTEMPTED TO INCINUATE THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO VOTE FOR BUHARI OR JONATHAN, THAT IS UP TO YOU. JUST DONT MAKE THE CHOICE BASED ON RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION.

the Nigeria great grandfather told me about!

I remember a story my great grandfather told me
It was the day my mum gave birth to me
He held me with a big smile on his face and he started talking
He told me the story of a rich land
“Not money rich but people rich”
He said to me trying to make me understand the difference even though he was not sure I could hear him
He said the land had different groups of people with peculiar cultures
Each group, respected by the whole society because of their contribution to the society
It was always exciting to see people from other ethnic groups
It meant new experiences and learning different skills
The diversity of the land; its first identity
A land of Brave men and women who kept their differences aside whenever they wanted to choose a leader
They will choose someone who is willing to contribute fully and selflessly to the community
A leader was judged based on his love for the community
The only wars fought were against a common enemy
They also had a rich soil
Fertile enough for crops and blessed with abundant mineral resources
He said;
“Diversity, soil and people are the greatest assets of the land.
Assets that can build it or destroy it”
He said this is the land I was born into
As little as i was and even though I had still not opened my eyes
I fell in love with this land and I could not wait to grow up in it

But as I grow

I see a different land
I see a land full of bitterness
Diversity is a weapon, a means of judgment
The different groups I see are lovers of themselves
People who see each ethnic group for its weakness
I cannot find any brave men and women in this land
The decisions are not about the community or the qualities of the leader
It’s about which group or religion the leader belongs to or what the leader stands to gain
The people are biased
In fact they say that it is best if the land is divided and they go their separate ways
There are many conflicts and crisis in this land,
Claiming the lives of innocent children and people don’t just care if it does not affect them directly
I try to think that this is not the land my great grandfather was talking about
But this is it
He was telling me the dreams and goals his generation had for this land when their grandfathers fought for independence
They saw the diversity, people and soil as an asset
That will make this land great
Now I just feel sad as I look
Because the assets are destroying the land
We chose the destruction path
And I close my eyes everyday wishing in my dreams for the land he told me about to eventually come
That one day I will find it

and that this is not it
But then I always wake up from my dream
And realize that this is the land
And what my great grandfather told me was just a story