The elementary fact about man taken in conjunction with other information, help us to compile a list of his most important needs, we can begin simply enough with the necessities of any sort of life: security from attack, a balanced diet, clothing, light and air, adequate shelter, sleep, freedom of movement, opportunity for mental and physical exertion, stable condition for the upbringing of children. A more basic list it would be hard to imagine yet, as we know, there are millions of human beings, some of them in the most unexpected places from whom even this cannot be guaranteed. Once we move beyond some such list as we are concerned not with survival but with a minimum tolerable quality of existence.
I only stood by the subway
Seeing the river that fed the forest,
Listening to ocean waves rapt it fortress
Then,I made this hurt to shield us
Through the hazy blaze and thrust
And let the pains pull over
Only then can you regain the promise
The ever-enriching feast of mise
For the earth to let you out of pain
Put forth before a new reign
Sleep over to find the vagrant spirit
Hive your throne with sacrifice of merit
Even the wives of my colleagues
Found your renege a hostile league
Fate made time the master
And that is what matters
The first keys were bad
I made no room for the mad
I clinch this blade
Until fear fades
Your mind will find this an adventure
When it fully holds the future.
Now you have a smile
The sweats are mine
On this talking bed we laid night out
And at dawn we gazed at the sprout
At the foot of patient
Within the named stones our transient
This is a paled swamp
My childhood kept better camps
We ate the okro from the stake
The new swamp trend is fake
Only the blades are stale
Then,the wine are staunch ale
Wood hunters bent ude to noth
Poured out our sacred allegiance
If we do weep enough at the forest
It is only that we lost our engress.
There is a sublime effect, likened to the paranormal that glows discreetly at Joy Isi Bewaji’s events. Each is expansive enough to accommodate shades of characters in measureable developmental impact and this esoteric totem seats on the premise that the supernatural is beyond proof or disproof. At the book reading of What Pain May Bring the wind of this rhapsody came again with it numinous artistic shingle spurred by writers of vast cerebral confluence. This episode was sponsored by NASCO Plc and was held at Colonade Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on the 21st of February 2015. We witnessed a critical engagement powered by the spark of Joy’s stories. The events left attendees cultivating vertical relationships with the characters of Joy’s creation.
Yvonne Anoruo anchored the event with her usual effortless, confident and humorous adroitness. She keeps smiling cheeks, eyes flush with happiness and an Esther-like step that wins the kings heart. Olumide Lolu’s spoken word performance rattled us into moments of clinical ecstasy as we engage ourselves on series of thoughts. It foreshadowed the flash of what is to come; an apt rendition exploring the themes of cheat, betrayal and moral reprobation. The piece x-rays the mindless blackmail of modern social life laced with the clandestine avalanche of sex and the secret walls built around it.
Again, Rex Afolabi raided the stage with refine verses, dropping poetic sophistry like the serenades in the Victorian age. Rex’s Oratory pulse is reminiscence of the Greek classics. The poem, “These Are The Lines Of a Young Man’s Wrinkles” came out from his mouth tenderly with the nuances of healing virtues. His inherent articulation of powerful emotions recollects in tranquilities. ‘The Lines of a Youngman’s Wrinkle’ mirrors the propriety of the struggle of man which begins at birth. It was well received as the question a survival forms the fulcrum of the conscious human experience.
The brand manager of NACO Plc Mr Gbolahon shared the vision of the company to the audience stating that the company’s product is all over Lagos and beyond. He implores writers to keep up with the writing profession that NASCO Plc is fully behind creative writers in Nigeria. He added that in future further programme of this nature will equally be sponsored by the company.
The book reading took the center stage after Rex. Funke Tega read gorgeously from What Pain May Bring. Her carriage could put time at reverse gear. It was hard to find the traces of Africanism around her charismatic aura. She’s exquisite, polish and petty. When asked why she took that part of the reading as her favorite in the book. Her response was unconventional. She likes the fact that a woman here, is cheating on a man. Most authors according to her will write on how men cheat but here, the reverse is the case
Fumi read modupe’s story. Modupe’s boss sleeps with her intensively at the office. Fumi likes the story because of its sex scenes. She posits that the whole book revolves around sex and the common human reaction to the very subject. Fumi is blunt and honest. The sex subject was for her a human proclivity that underscores his latent prognosis.
I read from Debbie’s potion of the book. Debbie’s live is a whole lump of shit. But she remains the happiest character in the book. Her snoring boyfriend snoops around and Debbie had “Rotten Sex”. Even though she led a wasteful life she was happy in her self-induced stupor. Emem , committed murder, Jolomo, committed suicide, Caro is not happy, the woman is orange is sad, modupe is stupid and so on. Debbie lives happy!
Joy read the story of the woman in purple; Ziggi’s story. It reveals how rich woman lust over young men. How they lavish them with money and use them lustfully to assuage their insatiable sexual desires. The author thinks this trait is common is cosmopolitan cities like Lagos where the story is set.
The conversation boiled up on a different frequency when Yvonne threw questions at the audience for appraisal. The question was, ‘’what do we make of a society where women are told to get married before they can be regarded as valuable in society”? It is a society that works against itself. It pushes you to take decisions only to reprimand you when the idea crumbles.
Joy thinks the marriage script is overburdened. She added that marriage isn’t really working these days. People who are there are just hanging on. It is gloomy and tragic. Ayo Sogunro pulls us to how historical and colonial influences made the issue what it is today. The colonial authority placed so much emphasis on a woman being marriage and somehow, people got influenced by this appeal, subsequently it developed into a strong tie that society approves as the common standard for human habitations. There were divergent views to Ayo’s postulations. A lady, who opposed the view stated that colonial influence was not responsible for this facade that it was African to act that way because our traditional cultures and the voice of our society wants the woman to stay married.
The question was asked if a lady should walk up to a guy to express her love to him. Ayo Sogunro thinks at such case we should look at gender roles and natural inclination. Some people are reserved while others are brash or extroverted; this inclination should determine who does what, when and how. Conversely, the conversation cart further to the measure of influence society should have on a man. A firm gentleman arrested the conversation by saying women should be a little bit considerate, they may have to think like men sometimes and the men should try to think like women too so that in so doing, both parties will have understood the indices of societal change and build confidence and competence around it. According to him a woman who wants a rich, generous and handsome man should be rest assured that he doesn’t exist
Joy faulted ladies who wants God fearing men because the term itself is ambiguous and the ladies, have no idea what they are talking about. Joy observed that it will shock you the number of ladies who wants exactly what the men want. It goes without saying therefore that the more thing change the more they remain the same. Joy wonders why on wedding days woman are hipped with so much responsibilities. She must make sure the man wakes up, eat well and the likes of it. This is the script that needs proper expurgation as time and social roles have changed
Ayo Sogunro lob out an untested theory to the audience that for a relationship to work, look for someone who shares the same believe with you but who have different characteristics from you.
Above all, research has shown that the change which came with social trend was not, what anthropologies may say, the introduction of a new way of thinking, but the rigorous and exclusive use of an old one, that this has meant enormous alteration in our attitude and our mythology no one would deny but in the broad sense, the social trend has always existed. To collect evidence by observation to generalize from your information and then to test our general pattern by prediction and further observation is not a procedure invested by western man since the renaissance. It is the activity which made all African civilization possible and subjected to change.
I do not wish to see you cry
It’s fermished but I choose to try
Your lumps withering under this strain
And I call you at night at the train
To check on your solitary soul
The parchment that left you whole
When did this happened to us?
Dark years upon us
The cathedral’s intervention is foul
Their clandestine mopping like an owl
Who’s this vagrant vicar that rants?
By celestial propensity he wants
Now,if we call on Nnansu
Let no one call us Osu
We don’t know who brew the semen
But we know it is not of men
You are not a whore
Even the deity had swore
How you giggled under their pangs
Their lustrous erection hanged
Then you gnashed your teeths
To let pains tit
Wollowed at the strains of divinity
And trade the pains of viginity
Perhaps,if the pontus comes
A tribunal will do the flangs and tomes
Was it not the median chest?
That was crest?
An inscription of injustice
Only fate noticed
A truck load of faithless beast
Soaked in the vault of malign feast
Of all my sojourn,
To appease these falcon
To braze up in accolade
To take the blade
And open up the gods.
Evans Ufeli 2015.
WHISPERS TO THE WALL
The sands of this racky floor
our minds incarcerated and blurred
And a swift drop of kolanut placates
The ugly corps to vacate
The scrotum itches
Fate,lowering to patches
The repulsive urine stench
You only whisper to the wall fench
god is lost
Faith is foist
No felons inhibits this shame
The rogues had the fame
You only whisper to the wall
If you stand tall
The wall frowns daily
To foes who stare daily
He knew not your innocence
Nor trade with your insolence
On the new space of our imagination
A drop of your apostate intention
A big-breasted diva at the mall
You stare out of the cage hall
You only whisper to the wall
Evans Ufeli 2015
ETUA ARISE (REVOLUTION SERIES)
A SHORT STORY BY EVANS UFELI
The hamattan blows horrendous in Etua and this left the weather hazy. It was those times when you count down to Christmas. Farmers were in the yam harvest season, cassava harvesters do their trade in no particular season, and it was continuous year in, year out. The hunters were rather engrossed chasing games. After the Independence Day celebration is the new yam festival, then the Christmas merriment. It was a busy time for the villagers. The rituals of farming and hunting expedition were heavily felt in Etua at times like this.
The Adofi Street looked deserted and the foot path that led into the bush had emptied the villagers to itself. No lazy man finds his stay in Etua worthwhile he will be mocked until he finds his hands busy or get himself ostracized. The history of Etua was written with sword. She fought wars, conquered territories before it found its stead.
Etua, with its rich myth and mysterious deities implores all pleasant sense of forthrightness towards its choice of food and drinks. Etua forbids two animals, two fishes and two kinds of woods. The reason attributed to this ancient practice is deeply seated on traditional religious shamans drawn from precedents across generations.
If a man’s anger forces him to pick up a matched against his fellow man, a stringent penalty is melted out on him without mercy. The legal writ is unwritten but very effective. It has had it force for a very long period of time. The criminal Jurisprudence is such that, villagers held as sacred. A weighty size goat, ten tubers of yam and wine .Then all its necessary condiments for a savory delicacy or an option of fine are required. These were the cost implication for those who contravenes the law. By the probity of these conditions; men would rather row back their anger and toll the line of peace.
It is out rightly forbidden to pull the matched recklessly, however repulsive the offence of the adverse party was. The gods see into the enforcement of this rather resplendent punitive ordinance and it ensures it is carried out to the latter.
At peace week, no man is allowed to make a noise or trouble the village with sounds of music, squabbles or church talking sounds.
The otu – uge is an age grade and the customary law enforcers. Those who contravene the rules of engagement at the peace week will have to pay for chicken caught by the age grade on their behalf as sanction for the breach of peace.
It was two weeks after the peace week and Ishoma was due for the shedding of her kindred spirit. The ritual was to take place that afternoon; The “Ebo – Obanje”; tracing through spirit realm to get freedom to live among men and marry to a suitor of her choice; Like appeasing Abiku to let her live within the flaking region of existence. She had been costumed that morning, her succulent breast nicely rapped with linen, her waist made of white skirt revealing her sexy navel which gave her radiant soft soothing eyes a magic look. Her hips stood lively and bounce fabulously as she walks around. Her eyes was completely poised out in sex reflective, the eye ball socketing graspingly and possessed with sin. She had trifling intake of alcohol to keep her tipsy. She was extremely beautiful that the debia performing the rituals had his eyes fixed on her breast throughout the exercise.The shadow of death has darkened the peoples’ face to a puzzling proportion. It was amazing that the setting chosen for the rituals is less than five kilo meters away from the scent of death. Ishioma’s suggestive curves showed even in the uniform designed to reduce feminine charm to the bearest minimum. She smiles with the very soul of her youth and the fire in her eyes has settled into a steady glow. The drum beats tickles her stance and she wiggles her hips to follow her kindred spirit. She dug deep into the earth to excavate the substances that will grant her liberty from the obanje dynasty
It was a sojourn into the spirit enclave to correct and appease the force that controls her physical existence. It must be done or else a tragedy of some sort awaits her if she evades the sacrifice. She danced as the spirit drum sound raid the air. Her body responded to the beats and she giggled her waist hysterically with intrigue speculation and wonderment. She performed the dance-rituals appealing to the kindred spirit to show her the spot where her key is buried beneath the earth.
Her body swung luxuriantly as she quivered through the spot that pleased her kindred spirit. She slipped and stood up staggering, and then she went on her knee. The debia poured libation on her, then on the earth to appease the custodians of her destiny. The crowd cheered her; men with ravenous eyes watched her body dribbling.
“Bring me the wine jar” the debia shouted. His boys hurriedly brought the wine; he poured a large size into a calabash, chanting incantations. He gave it to Ishioma who drank the content. She staggered helplessly and went no her knee, her lips muttering incomprehensive lyrics, her well sculptured face now wore a new look. There were stripes of white chalks and mud all over her body. Her thigh blistering and voice hoaxed.
Now the spirits has taken possession of her soul. She cat walked to the digging spot and sat down there and began to dig the earth. The heaven broke loose and the rain came down in torrent as she digs the spot. Her friends stood by her and watched precociously. They were all engrossed at her displays. Ebere wept. She’s Ishioma’s childhood friend and they had their fears on the rigors of a day like this. Others girls stood speechless imagining the callousness of the spirits-beings who have chosen not to let the living stay without chains.
Ishioma slept that night and dreamt, she woke up furious and panting. Her spirit husbands want to have their usual turns on her but the bounds appeared broken. So they only chased her in the dream, striped her naked but before they came on she woke up. One last sacrifice and she will be free from the virile libido of spirit men.
Her eyes stayed wide opened, she prayed, her legs and hands kept shaking side splittingly. She was pressed. While staggering to the toilet, her sleepy eyes brought some horrible images to her. Men like monsters chased her demanding for sex and ownership of her of her innocent waist.
* * *
Onwubegbu; a politician with the ruling party had been elected as the chairman of the Local Government Area in time past. Now he is a member of the state house of assembly. He will not give up the ambition of marrying Ishoma. The youth wing of the community detested such ambition given that he had done nothing for the community since his adventure into politics. Igwebike; the youth leader made it clear that they will not let him have Ishioma because of his insensitivity to the plight of the community.
Ishioma was ripe and ready for marriage. Now she has broken loose from the clutches of the spirit world but she is indifferent at the choice of marrying Onwubegbu given the overwhelming rejection of the union by both the old and young in Etua. Igwebike is Ishoma’s cousine. She has so much respect for him, because at some point,he saw Ishoma through school and the family ties that bind them together should not be traded for a malignant politician whose greed is repulsive to the Etua Community.
Onwubegbu is an orator, a sugar-coated wordsmith who can convince anyone to bend to his side of every debate and exchange.
“A community should not decide for you who your daughter marries. That is should be a family decision, it is not in their place to intrude into your privacy, and it is an insult to you. It is to say the least, most unfortunate’’
. Onwubegbu said, as he discussed with Ishoma’s parent at their sitting room; Mr. and Mrs. Ossai Eke.
Ossai Eke is a gentle man who is exposed to community development and the workings of government. He knew Onwubegbu had done so poorly for the community and he wants his daughter happy. He does not want to choose for his daughter a husband. She will have to make her choice. He looked at Onwubegbu right into his two eyes and spoke.
“You have not done well for Etua. The grievances of the youth wing of this community have risen to the high heavens. The gods have heard them cry. You were voted into office to make a change but you have brought us impoverishment. I will speak the truth in this matter, I will speak for the youths but I won’t speak for my daughter concerning you. She will decide on her own without interference whether she will marry you or not. You will have to meet her on that. I have spoken”.
Onwubegbu, stood there confused, regrets written all over his face. Ossai Eke called Ishioma and she came out that afternoon parading with splendid smiles that lighten up the sober mood that pervaded the living room, she wore a long gown that transparently reveals her radiant skin. Ossai Eke excused the duo. Onwubegbu spoke softly and persuasively and Ishoma listened. He shared his feelings and how he loves her and made lofty promises to her as he did during his political campaigns. He asked her to marry him.
“I know you must have heard what people are saying about me and how I have disappointed this community. But you must know that governance is not as easy as many people think. There are so many forces that are beyond our control. We are at the mercies of some powerful top bosses. They won’t let us be”.
Ishoma looked self-possessed and irritated.
“You should have done something, just one thing!
Our villagers travel to other places and they have seen what is going on in other places, you didn’t do well at all, I must say the truth”.
“Yes I know ‘’
‘’But I need a second chance to right this wrongs. Marry me and together we will build a great community”.
“Before I say anything, go and meet the youth wing, let them know you are sorry, and then I will marry you”
Onwubegbu was happy to hear her say she will marry him.
“I want to marry you for a reason I cannot explain, but for the sake of our land. I will be with you only on the condition that this community must get what belongs to her by right”.
* * *
The Etua Ukpo road was blocked. Traffic hold up!
It was Ishoma wedding. And all the politicians in Ndokwa land were present. The roads were utterly bad. The politicians reeled on their jeeps splashing mud on pedestrians. They were not remorseful at the conditions of the people. It was time for merriment and that is all that matters now. Villagers came out of their mud houses, with faces wrinkled at the pangs of poverty and hardship. Some cheered the politicians in their exotic cars occupied with fat butt women from other clans which they lavish the community money on. As twitness how Ishoma’s hand will be given out in marriage. The master of the ceremony made wonderful remarks about Onwubebgu as an illustrious son of Etua Land. He sang his praises and everyone nodded in jubilation. There was food, drinks, meat and water .There was a heavy supply of goodies so they feasted. The youth wing had arrived with their leader Igwebike. He was smiling his way to his seat when the bridegroom beckoned on him with pleasantries and he ordered the waitress to serve him food and drinks. The sonorous voice of Ubulu raids the air into the stratosphere.
“Olu ekwo eku iyin ezuwe .Ayin Kwo te eku ayin, ana” Aha, olu ekwo eku iyin ezuwe … Bia ni ka yin dozi, ni obodo eyin.
Ossai Eke nodded at the apt rendition of Ubulu. The villagers danced, the women swing their waist, breast dangling flippantly at the rhythm of excitement. The men cheered the politicians. The governor of Delta State was amazed at the joy the people shared with their own man in power. The security operatives drank to stupor. Ishioma was lead out and the crowds hailed her. They lifted her up in joy and jubilation. Then Ossai Eke was called out as traditions demands, to hand over his daughter to the bridegroom, Onwubegbu. After his speech he called on Onwubegbu holding his daughter by the right hand. Onwubegbu stepped forward.
“Today before my people of Etua Kingdom and before the gods I hand over my daughter Ishioma Eke to you Onwubegbu and I pronounce you man and …”
Ossai Eke was cut-shot.
Igwebike, shouted the youth wing hailed him.
“We will take it from there. We welcome you politicians to our community, I am impressed at your turn out today. We like to thank you for your good works. As you can see you came in through a nice road and you have meet people that are well fed; the people you represent, you did not only disappoint us you have also come to mock us with your big cars and big bottom women. You are welcome”
The whole place became quiet and the politicians stared at one another and shivered at what will come out of this. Igwebike resumed.
“Now, Etua Kwe eke! Etua Kwe eke! Etua Kwe eke!!!
All the youths picked up stones.
“Pick up your stones Etua”
Igwebike shouted, so they began to stone the politicians. The youth took Ishioma away, they stoned the politicians to the point that some broke their legs, some kill and a few escaped into the bush with scars all over their bodies. The governor ran and Etua mobilized her people to beat the politicians until they all lost their voices. Stones were used to re-write the history of Etua. Not too long from then change came to Etua land.
P.S. Ishioma is a symbol of you and I. In 2015 let us be the metaphor that will obviate the norm and change the status quo. They cannot come and take you all the time, let them pay now. NOW IS THE TIME!