Gone were the days when natives of the African continent were caricatured as red fat-lipped human flesh cooking and eating cannibals. They have only recently started to actualize that picture. They have made the initial label appear like a futuristic fictional work and not the old missionary tale it was. Native Africans have graduated into mean heartless people who chop off their fellow natives limbs, lynch, massacre and burn up the neighbour’s corpses with impunity. They are marauders that kill and roast the corpses of neighbours, in their homes like hunters.
“Through eventful years the sticks ever pile,
Hopes with the trunk that vomits emptiness.”
The recent loudly revisited agitation for a Biafran state from Nigeria calls for another look at my poem “Fever” and excerpts from my Fever Series (Books I-V), where I told a somewhat fictional historical tale of the Nigerian state. I am currently rewriting the series and almost done.
The Poet in the Poem
Through eventful years the sticks ever pile,
Hopes with the trunk that vomits emptiness.
The mighty broom swept so long a mile,
Still dirt abounds as its proud fruitfulness.
Mourning tears leave this feeling of numbness.
Eras of evolution has not changed the egg,
The needs of man same and ever will be so.
Maybe a broom will kill lizards on a clay keg
And not break it too like the stick did before.
In this concoction only soluble particles’ temperatures soar.
Promise of the lands are all pointing,
Yet the future is hot food in the mouth.
Bodies buried and alive, had and are, waited and waiting,
For the joy in swallowing and satisfaction they sought.
Over hard filled years waiters without appetite rot.
The dogs in this story are the traitorous pigs,
Their patriotism is fake like sweeping grains with a rake.
Locusts that plunder the field leaving tiny dry twigs,
Their determined whispers stir reasoning ideally fake;
These dishonourable gentle heads that ache.
The locusts ate the grains, the rake wasted the rest.
The broom was left so little in its fold.
In this farm, pigs serve dogs for it’s their best.
The egg will likely shatter in hands that shouldn’t hold.
They chest indifferently the agony of the rest in the cold
Excerpts from Fever Series Books I
“Through eventful years the sticks of time ever pile, just like the people, what they represent and what represents them. The people have become a loose fitting collection that isn’t a strapped up and bonded broom, just like their land that is rich and rife with such inspirational promise.
“Nigerians are willing to be bonded up as one unit but they couldn’t possibly give an ear to the assumed wisdom in the words and experiences of their past. The people have since learnt the hard way that the sweets they have are actually sour and the sour taste is soon made bitter by their refusal to swallow their constant rejection of dependence on any sort of bonding.
“Though Nigerians are reflectively one and their historical past the same, the people can only remonstrate together over trivial issues, reminiscent of their ancestors and their quaint past that they endlessly repeat in their infantile present.”
Fever: The Origins of Fever (Book I)
Fever: Rising Temperature of Fever (Book II)
Fever: The Appetite of Fever (Book III)
Fever: Gentle Aching Fever (Book IV)
Fever: The Coldness of Fever (Book V)
The desire to right the wrong of another by embarking on the very same quest they had undertaken usually ends with behaving exactly like they did. It may be best not to criticize those who criticize you, instead give yourself less reason to, if you could manage it. Living as best as you can is more than often the most suitable remedy to handling unfair criticism.
But the world is full of lies and people living their lies.
Those who curse the dog’s wet nose,
Let them please cast the first stone.
It can’t wag its tongue mouth close
As they commonly do on their own.
It barks its reason like all of those
Who do but wouldn’t leave it alone.
The poet in the poem
A review by Faye Diabel https://fayediabel.wordpress.com/
Yas Niger’s “The Man in the Moon”
“It is a fascinating tale of a culturally engaged street corner preacher, a usually misunderstood necessary oddity in major metropolises built upon colonial legacy – where the non indigenous culturally marginalized, some of them forcibly brought to build the same thing they, now, are blamed to have polluted. It is, a story said from its characters and supporting onlookers’ perspective, an insightful fiction.
“The character development focused on three actors who kept on yanking the story into motion. It is like a pyramid standing on Leroy – a self-anointed ambassador of a motley group that he himself reveals his estrangement from, depending on its state of affairs – as revealed by his following statement “… I much rather say I am black and proud, than I am a proud African …” Therefore, it is safe to say that Leroy’s sense of belonging, vis-à-vis Africa, is selective, although there is a dose of Garveyism in his preaching that all black people are from Africa. His consciousness, which was supposed to be the key to his inner peace, might very well be considered as the basis of his tragic state of being.
“Then comes Mrs. Gregory, the essential story spinner – a provoker Leroy couldn’t live without, who summarizes the bad and the good, the two sides of the coin, of western civilization – the target of Leroy’s preaching; and then Henry, a dog given a humane characterization, a dog with a mind, caprices, and feeling; he too helped run the story to its destination. As much as they get along, there is a deep-seated love and hate. To me, it seems that Leroy loves Barbara but hates Mrs. Gregory. On his fateful day, he accepted Barbara’s invitation – as Leroy the man, but Mr. Freeborn got ambushed by Mrs. Gregory’ Caucasian embedded anxiety about black men’s motives.
“I knew, and mingled with, some Leroy Freeborns; fascinating people to be with, While perching on their stage – under the bright sun, until it is time to get home, when the sea is done swallowing the sun and the moon’ reminder that it is time now to have an inner preaching with one’s pillow, to say the least, or the time to cuddle and nurture love ones; and then you wonder whether they would prefer that the sun will never set on their day to day reality. He is the man in the moon, while standing on his pedestal, fading into the ghost of his shadow just a step down from his makeshift launching pad.
(Some excerpts from “The Man in the Moon” Everyone hates the English)
“It is not an insult to call me black, it is purely descriptive. Africa is firstly a geographical location, an address. It is a continent with more than one race on it, Negros and Arabs are indigenous to it. Without the slightest risk of sounding the least controversial, you will agree that there are Caucasians native to it, that means Caucasian-Africans. So when you call someone an African-American, you are also referring to Arabs and other Caucasians of African origins. But don’t you only wish to refer to the blacks, when you say African-American?” Leroy shouts at the top of his voice. The opening remarks ought to be delivered loudest, so pedestrians can hear him clearly as they go by. But the words are as important as the volume.
“The origin of the term black for Negros is indefinite. It is easy to guess that Negros were the first to call themselves black. All through history, naturally occurring darkness with daily year round nights in the tropics, has been associated with blackness and it is ideal to use black as a synonym for extreme darkness. The trend remains still, even if black is considered improper. The degraded imagery deduced from the term black can only be expunged by the achievements of those who can not escape it, if they wear it and must live with it. Skin colour can not be removed like some piece of clothing.” Leroy was being just assertive enough to reel in listeners. The first few pedestrians paused and veered closer to hear more.
His next line determines if they stayed. It is imperative to retain the earliest callers, their interest tends to attract others and a steady increase in numbers builds more interests. People are habitual copy cats, they only linger if others do. The material he delivers will do the rest and Leroy Freeborn always has good material.
“The most descriptive term best suited for the Negro’s visibly dark complexion is black, just like white is best suited for Caucasians.” Leroy spoke forcefully, then he repeats a summary of his earliest words, for the immediate benefit of the new arrivals joining the first few who heard him commence his rant for the day.
“Even if a popular law stops the formal use of blacks to identify Negros in its entirety, black will still be used for those purposes it is best suited for. The truth is, Negros are best identified as blacks and the home of all black people is Africa, our proud mother land. But going by the recent expression of freedom in our beloved Africa, I much rather say I am black and proud, than I am a proud African.”
A collective groan from the dozen or so people already listening in front of Leroy’s small raised platform, greeted his last words. As usual, the indefinite insinuation of the shared groan didn’t fully register approval or disapproval.
Twenty five years of standing on the same spot on the broad sidewalk, with the kind permission of the late owner of the nearby toy store, under the blue morning skies of England’s capital city, every Saturday in summer, spring and Autumn has taught the sixty year old native Jamaican the ropes of the demanding talking trade.
Leroy appeals to the intellect of just anyone, from unkempt homeless bums to unemployed graduates, from housewives on shopping runs to tourists, who only speak enough English to understand directions. Leroy can work a crowd into a frenzy and answer reasonable questions or hateful queries hurled at him with the articulate elegance of age and much knowledge. He had regulars, some have heard him for over a decade. A few regulars arrived and increased the growing numbers.
Leroy acknowledges a few nods from familiar faces and continued his tirade. It was going to be an interesting day, the small crowd appeared genuinely interested.
“I own the name Black Man! It is me, I claim it as mine and my proud identity. But who are you sir?” Leroy points at a white man in the front, not one of his regulars. The man smiles back at him, amused. It was a normal response.
“Come on people, don’t be shy. Someone speak to me. Are you white, if I am black?” Leroy looked at yet another white man, a recent regular. Then at another, but still no answer was offered. They were being careful not to walk into a trap. They were there to listen to his harangue and not to engage him in a discussion.
“I am Caucasian,” a male voice from the back said.
Obscured from Leroy’s veiw, the fellow didn’t reveal himself but it was easy to tell the voice belonged to the man in a black leather jacket. His clean shaven head gave him away, not the plain uninterested mien he unsuccessfully tried to pass off.
Vital tip Leroy: Those crazy bald heads don’t keep straight uninterested faces.
It was dangerously late and cold outside. There were signs of an impending thunder storm too. The Call girl was obviously terrified by the prospect of facing those horrendous conditions outside. She hadn’t been lucky and didn’t catch the fancy of any of the male guests the previous night. She was so desperate to earn something that she waited till it was too late for her to leave and it would cost several times more to transport herself home that late and she could afford it. So she hid in a deserted corridor, hoping to stay out of sight until it was dawn and she could leave quietly, pretending to be leaving a guest’s room. The receptionist had discovered her tucked away behind a massive curtain and some decorative floor pots and insisted she left.
The stranded Call girl offered the receptionist a bribe in cash and kind, but the cagy young man wouldn’t play ball. Kengua found that last bit amusing as the Call girl reached out to the receptionist with loving probing hands, pleading with him to assist her. The young lad was adamant, obviously he was more concerned about keeping his job than he was about getting sexual favours. Kengua had to offer the receptionist some cash to let the Call girl stay. The young man agreed and the girl was relieved to be able to stay on within the secured premises of the hotel, until it was bright and safe in the morning. It hasn’t been safe around the entire country of late and the Call girl was more than willing to explain this farther to her rescuer. Kengua had no choice but to listen politely as she went on to tell him things he already knew about.
“There has been spades of night killings of local people, since ire Muslim youths went on a vengeful campaign in retaliation of the multiple bombing incidences, alleged to have been carried out by the local Animists youth in the area,” she reported in very good Hausa.
“The recent spate of violence had started when Animist youth were purported to have used a powerful locally assembled incendiary bomb on a Friday afternoon, at the largest Mosque in the town during mid-Friday prayers. The explosion had killed over five hundred men at once. It was the first bombing in the immediate area but not in the entire country.
“The other bombings of its kind had killed much less victims, but cumulatively the casualty rate was getting so high because the Muslim community doggedly refused to suspended their big Friday prayers, insisting it wasn’t an option. The fanatical local Muslim clerics kept preaching that those who died as a result of the Mosque bombings were headed straight to paradise to parley with the almighty God, his dead prophets and immortal angels for all eternity. So the more the Muslims refused to stop congregating on Fridays for mass prayers, the more the casualties.”
Kengua listened to her without saying a single word in reply.
“I’m not taking any chances,” she concludes.
Kengua deduced she is obviously a Hausa Muslim girl from the region of the country around the capital city where Kengua stays. She was only making a living the best way she could, in the part of her country more hospitable to what she had to do to get by. She was only marginally dressed in a flirtatious fairly large brassier she was passing off for a mini blouse top and in the highest possible white mini skirt. Her bright red panties kept showing in crimson flashes against her dark skin. No matter how hard she tried to keep her underwear hidden and from being seen by others around her, she was always doomed to fail because her skirt was too high up. She kept clasping her thick thighs tightly, crossing and uncrossing her short plump legs to no avail.
There were traces that she had attempted to bleach her dark skin into something lighter in the past but she must have given it up when she couldn’t afford the pricey creams any longer. She now had amber coloured streaks of stretch marks around her very visible thighs that Kengua found nauseating. It was obvious that she didn’t flaunt her thighs in the afternoon, only at night.
She had the most colourfully thick application of cosmetic make up on her face and it made her look more like a Japanese opera actress than a serious prostitute. It was little wonder she got no offers, Kengua thought as he kept his eyes away from looking directly at her. Dressing up and looking like that is simply just a necessity for her trade, in her opinion. She and her sort had been so badly indoctrinated over time and she was particularly too illiterate, to know better.
It is more than a shade easier for a girl to be corrupted sexually, than it is for a boy. A girl is naturally more endowed with the implements to lean back on and conveniently make a living off in the dark, more than her male counterpart. Besides, her clients are naturally conditioned to pour in, in droves. Most times, the girls are culturally pressured to play along when economically tasked. It is a merry go round legacy they inherit and grow up to bequeath to their successors.
Sitting next to the talkative girl most of the night, into the earliest morning hours, Kengua realized how stereotyped his treatment of Laraba affections towards him was. He reflected on the silliness of his assumptions and concluded he had no right to decide for Laraba before he told her his sexual predicament. He wasn’t even in a bad state and she would most probably be delighted by the experience. Meanwhile, there was no stopping the Call girl from talking on.
“I didn’t even know how to say the alphabets until I started this work. The very first teachers I got were actually members of a French NGO. They came to the brothel I worked to educate us on the dangers of HIV/AIDS. They kept making us repeat the letters ABC, which they went on to explain was an acronym for Abstinence, Being faithful to one partner and Condoms. We had lots of fun memorizing it but then they got a rude shock when they discovered we didn’t even know what the original ABC stood for or is used for. So they taught us the basics.”
Kengua learnt the Call girl’s name is Hajo, when she kept repeating her own name in her haphazard story telling. She sometime refers to herself in the third person as she chattered away, completely mindless and uncaring that her sole listener wasn’t contributing or enabling her with nods or even looking her way. She was simply satisfied he was awake and appeared to listen. Out of sight but still in the lobby, the loud snoring receptionist slept soundly on the floor behind the reception raised wooden counter. That also reminded her of yet another story she had to tell.
“The girl snored louder than this young receptionist throughout the night we were locked up in the cramped jail. We had to be locked up with some male criminals in the same tiny cell. It is the only one the police station had and the cops didn’t trust us enough to leave us sitting on our own behind or beside their open duty post, while they slept away their night duty hours.
“I was barely two weeks into this trade then, when we were unfortunate to get caught by the police men on patrol. The police had raided our regular hangout at a local bar to possibly round up criminals and it turned out that the proprietor of the place had fallen behind in his regular security payments to the local police chief. The raid was actually a timely reminder.
“Our fellow work girls who had enough money on them, had summarily paid their bail money up front before they even got arrested and those who had boyfriends amongst the raiding coppers, got off on good behaviour since they had good reliable character witnesses.”
Hajo giggled alone to her witty summation.
“There were twelve harden criminal men in that tiny cell room with just the two of us, off duty Call girls. The criminals waited until it was all quiet outside before they woke us up to the duties they had in mind for us, all night long. They whispered threats and demonstrated how they will snap our frail necks with their massive hands if we dare call out. I was terrified but the other girl dropped her panties and took a missionary pose like she was out to spread the gospel.”
Kengua started to find this story a lot more interesting.
““Hajo,” the other girl called out to me from beneath the first rogue that stepped forward and mounted her. Her name is Mina and she is a veteran from many years of active whoring.
““Just try to sleep.” Mina encouraged me but I was too scared to even look at her any more. It meant six hefty guys a piece and there was no telling they would stop at just one turn each. I just swallowed and braved up the onslaught. It was slow going and I stopped counting at ten. The men just kept taking turns at sampling both of us. They went about it silently and the coppers just a few feets away from us didn’t hint they knew what was going on while we had no choice but to resume work right within the belly of the law, under its protection.” Hajo giggled.
“I was soon very bruised, hurting and bleeding. That must have irritated them because the few that were still up to it, concentrated on Mina onwards and she laid back almost perfectly still. I was worried for her at first, scared she was unconscious. Not until I heard her snoring.
“She actually slept all through the ordeal and when the morning duty sergeant let us go by dawn, Mina simply stood up, yawned like she had a good night sleep and walked out as steady as a reigning queen. She certainly must have handled about thrice my portion without noticing it. I was really hurting afterwards. I walked funny in my anguish and wasn’t the least embarrassed to spread my legs apart with every stride I took, like a big slender crab. The criminals in the cell and the policemen had a big laugh watching me go when we were released in the morning.”
Kengua laughed politely too.
“Though I was bruised and couldn’t walk properly or indeed work for weeks afterwards, I got the last laugh. It became known that most of the guys we were locked up with were part of a notorious armed robbery gang that had killed a number of citizens and policemen in the area, running into a year before they were nabbed. And their case was swift and highly publicized.
“Mina made me go with her to the robbers’ well attended court case . Mina said it would be a therapeutic experience for me to see the men that brutalized my source of livelihood get what they deserve. Mina had become my closest friend after our common police sanctioned gang rape. She had been so nice to me afterwards and practically nursed me back to good health.”
Kengua’s thought briefly veered elsewhere. He was wondering if the priest’s wife had returned to her room. It was just a couple of hours before dawn and Hajo had been talking non-stop for more than two hours. Kengua’s mind returned to Hajo’s narration soon enough.
“The gang’s trial was held in a huge hall at the edge of town, not the regular courtroom. Three federal judges were assigned the case as the government made an exhibition of the trial because it was an election year and the politicians were in a very showy mood. The judges took turns in calling out the years of jail terms they were sentencing each of the criminals. They made it sound like the number of years they were calling out were just hours or even days, not years. Not 365 days or 52 weeks but a staggering 25, 30, 45 and 50 years were called out for each count, and there were as many as 12 counts for each of the twelve defendants.
“Each of the three obese judges seated behind a massive table on the raised stage had alternatively returned to called out the sentencing, until each judge had a fourth turn at it. Then finally the usual concurrent adage to the final sentence of the verdict instantly made amateur mathematicians of everyone in the court room, as a majority of the spectators in the hall tried to work out the number of years each of the criminals would spend in prison.
“Predictably, Mina had erroneously arrived at an incredible 150 years each and voiced her joy out loud but she was greatly disappointed when a elderly man seated nearby explained to us that concurrently meant none of the robbers would be in prison for more than fifty years. I was watching the youngest member of the gang closely. He was almost in tears. I wasn’t sorry for him. He had mounted me too and I especially recollect he was heavily endowed and tore me up. He sat back and counted out his own share of the decades of incarceration in one hand, with his other hand. He went over each of the five fingers repeatedly by briefly holding each finger of the first hand between the forefinger and the thumb of the second hand, touching each finger lightly.
“He starts from the smallest finger and ended at the thumb each time, repeating this six times over. He must have ended up with the same utterly wrong heart wrenching figure of over a hundred years doled out to him because he visibly broke down and wept. I felt sorry for him and it made me reflect that I was no different from him in many ways. We were creations of our last resort and just as he is physically endowed to be brutish, I was also hollowed to be whorish.”
Hajo had conclusively made a very salient point that resonates around what Kengua knew to be true. He felt sorry for her and as if he were paying her for keeping him company, he gave her a generous helping from the thick wad of the very low valued local paper currency he had in his wallet.
She wasn’t pretentious in her surprise when she received the money and offered to quickly give Kengua part of his money’s worth of service right there on the large leather sofa he was seated in. He declined and the disappointment he saw on her face was also quite genuine. She actually pleaded with him to reconsider, assuring him that she was safe and he wouldn’t be disappointed. He was adamant in his refusal. She was ecstatic as they said goodnight, though it almost dawn. She hugged him as he stood up to leave, before he was even remotely aware she might. He was stunned but didn’t cringe or feel repulsed. She needed the sympathetic hug.
The ashamed bitterness that hung in a hidden cloud over Labara’s immediate family for many years had finally dispersed with the birth of a baby boy. It was a long wait that is erroneously recounted as lasting just slightly under half a decade; the number of years between Labara’s immediate younger sister and their parents’ last child. That is a total of four long years, with four miscarriages for their mother.
Sometimes the four earlier tensed up years between Laraba and her immediate younger sister are included or further back still, the swift two years between Laraba and her immediate older sister is added. But in reality the long wait started from that impatiently hurried single lonely year separating Labara’s immediate older sister and the family’s first born. It was from this onset that the despairing clouds started to gather, when their parents’ desire for a son didn’t happen at the very next time of asking, since it didn’t select so do so the first time out.
As inconceivably stupid as it sounds in this more advanced century of Biology, it is still widely entertained that their mother was at fault. As such she had been made to live the silent shame of being termed responsible for that elusive male child’s refusal to grace them with his entrance. It agonizingly took so long that she made sure she doctored the final home stretch to suit her own circumstances.
Laraba claims she wasn’t eavesdropping but it wasn’t ever a tenable fact. However her version clearly reveals that she heard her mother twice talking to their ever fashionable and eternally unmarried aunt, about having the right sex on the very next child she would bring into the world. True enough, after each time she heard them talk about it, there was always an immediate miscarriage afterwards.
Aside from the two instances of note, it was rather odd that of all the four times Labara’s mother had miscarriages, before a boy finally came along to the relief of everyone, her mother’s ageless, unmarried, fashionable younger sister was always around just before it happens. It was too much a coincidence for even a kid. Though a lot of slack wouldn’t ordinarily be allowed Labara’s father in the sphere of general intelligence, but even he couldn’t be that naïve in these days when a fetus’ sex is clearly not its secret alone until it emerges with it.
Laraba is that sort of girl with more intelligence than conscience and her father is the complete reverse. He is that meticulous sort, whose timidity is deemed as stupid because he always uses proper, kind words. To him, it probably was inconsequential that his wife and her sister chose to misrepresent miscarriages to him, and quite rightly naming the circumstances while insinuating they named the procedure. It seemed his mind locked him out of common sense, but he is in fact only happy to let them deceive him, even as he wasn’t compelled to let them know this. He would have been quite prepared to let them go through with it anyway.
The family had latched onto the idea of having its own mini man before it actually did. The fervor of this heighten expectation was not the type to redeem if not realized. The family had been disappointed for so long and it not only rebelled mentally but with sickening good cheer, it admits this quite openly too. Labara’s mother rebelled secretly and did away with as many girls as she kept, making way for the boy she got desperately readied for, by the world she lives in.
As if by the perversion of natural justice, aptly termed as poetic, the alert and readied older sisters of the baby boy soon slumped into the reality of having their lives being lord over by a helpless new father they must cater for jealously. The family openly shifted all its focus to the new born king and this triggered off the demise of a once held indelible dream, which still dazzled them, up till the point when the sisters realized they had become second classed in their very own family. As expected it made them more receptive of the honest truth of their existence as mere women. The reality of the situation dawned on them farther as the boy aged. Hitherto every single one of the family’s four girls was a daily recipient of such wondrous, untarnished affection from both their parents. Then the illumination of the true character of things was ushered in, in the darkness of the ageless sexist periods of old, the red flag went up at the same time as the checkered flag.
The anticipated arrival of a baby brother came with the true realities they actually were born into. It dawn on them that his belated entry into their sweet world was actually a blessing because it made them recognize clearly their minority status. Inasmuch as the four girls’ parents tried hard to show some equality, it was always clear that their world now revolts around the baby boy.
The sisters just had to hold on, heave and spin their lives around for the boy child. This metaphor is appropriate in this context, because the girls’ demeaned world literally became the boy’s merry-go-round, without a shadow of doubt. The sisters’ basic needs took the back stage of servitude, while they indeed continued to be handled with laced laxity. But that wasn’t really their main worry, as they showered their own honest love for their sole male sibling while concealing the overwhelming debris of their envy for his gloried presence, that brought their own heady days to a labourious close. The boy presented other worries of crucial note.
Labara’s parents found themselves prioritizing every detail in a scale that heightened the value of their sole male child ahead of his four older sisters. They prioritized easily enough because they created these priorities. It was somewhat a belated redemptive measure they couldn’t resist in the tense atmosphere the late arrival of the boy had put them in, one that was pervaded by rumours and the like.
Oddly though, as they blundered along ignoring the innocent suffering of their daughters, their close and careful approach reduced their once quite glorious family into a nervy apparition. They wasted much time on trifles in the self-inspired troubled setting they didn’t have any real control over, as their longings yet grew into the same diseased craze eating deep into them. The family was slowly ravaged and it became a reflection of its once single oneness, bounded in mind and body. It took to functioning as if it was being eaten by a very harmful addiction, copied but not contacted from the world all around it. The parents rudely lost track of what the majority within it really is and the part this majority actually play in the life of the more recent revered existence of the minority amongst them. The parents thus created a young prodigal chap, as their only son turned out to be, making him the subtle arch-enemy of his four sisters.
The parents especially lost track of the uniqueness Laraba represents and her absolute manner of refusing to be subdued by anyone. This is a hugely expensive oversight since it is always Labara’s desire to scrutinize every available detail and employ even the most painstaking method to achieve her quest to establish her absolute authority. She is dogged in this regards, even it if it belittles all others.
There is no grudging the natural fact that the boy initially fitted into the scheme of things like any other new baby would, needing a lot of care. But because he is also a boy, all the possibilities showed through to their fullest potentials with time, as he was weaned, started to walk and talk. His older sisters’ soon reluctantly succumbed to the reality of his present and future assured dominance, though they still wondered why it had to be so. They came to terms with it with time, as all the experienced narratives they heard assured them it will remain so all their lives.
Even as a wee baby, their brother had the status of the dominant stag and the future assured them only the prominence of bereaved female mourners in his funeral cortege, as he will then as surely oppress them in death as he does alive. His ability to crawl into mischief wasn’t much of a worry but his fast increasing ability to speak meant he was able to state his worries and demand privileges, and these were always going to be those he learnt from his parents. His needs were always going to be those that class everybody in his immediate family; other than his father, as his subordinate. His earliest comprehendible utterances had that subtle speech impediment of children, but as he spoke more clearly and properly, the nature of his spoilt personality showed through.
Labara’s baby brother started to openly show his arrogance, it became more evident in how he spoke. He badly copied his father’s masculine manner of speech, only his words were more of scampered phrases and not clear cut sentences, but still they could be understood well enough. To those outside the family, the hastily gabbled words sounded like drowsy murmurings most times. But his parents easily condoned his deliberate rumbling and his older sisters had to adjust to it. The girls couldn’t do anything like hustle him into making an effort to be more comprehendible and God forbid they hit him. The onus was always on them to make the effort to understand him, as he sounded like he was struggling to read out badly written nonsense, which made sense but never makes pleasant hearing.
The sisters repeatedly got a glimpse of the future ahead of them with the little bits of mean things their younger brother arbitrarily does. They debated about ways to curtail his present excesses but there was always that looming reality that hung unseeingly just over the horizon, a burst of reality that assured of the piercing insight of truth in the form of a rising tiny star son that acts like the rising sun.
Everything promised the girls a lifetime of being permanently subordinates to their only brother. The three other girls took it in their strides but Laraba wasn’t done with fighting for her prominence yet. The four sisters would spend their hard gotten time away from their daily chores, to have prolonged chats about the very consequential matter of handling their brother’s excesses. And as he grew older before their eyes, they discussed his future dominance over them. They couldn’t revolt out of respect for their parents, but that only enabled him still.
The sister couldn’t come to a clear cut agreement on how best to handle him discreetly. They tried to avoid doing the numerous unbecoming things they needed to do, choosing not to soil their hands and conscience as they trash out the grey areas they never seem to conclude on. The sisters knew they need to be firm in their resolve but some of the girls actually believed their sole male sibling is messianic, like their parents ardently do. Laraba certainly didn’t, she was instead enraged that her sisters weren’t on the same wave length as she is.
Each time Laraba tries to emphasize her grievance with this blatant regime of inequality they live out, the sisters end up with heated quarrels about a dispute they all actually do believe is stacked against them. Soon she got tired of trying to win over her sisters and assessed the precarious situation on her own. She has had her fill and aim to end their kid brother’s relished humanized God-ship status.
He pretentiously appears and acts a lot frailer than he looks or feels. He became increasingly snobbish, making his many demands known to every one of them in the rudest way possible for a child, a mere six year old. Even the parents were not spared the starkness of his disrespectful excesses. But obviously because the parents were quite tolerant of him in the presumptuous pretext that they only just love him and not worship him, they condoned him needlessly.
The two older sisters grew a lot less preoccupied with their parents’ obsessive affection towards their youngest sibling. But they still limited their expressed disparity, as they were secretly quite vocal about their displeasure. All the sisters equivalently loathe their brother’s ways but their main concerns were still unclear in a fuzzy way, like sight in a dark night. They all cast aspersions they couldn’t defend as they mainly chose to let the uneasy peace reign than tamper with it.
The annoying boy wouldn’t budge from his lofty perch when urged to do so. His refusals were always spiced with the most degrading insults. He repeatedly gets his way since parental rebuke is literally absent or is presented as some form of subtle pampering, scavenged from within the conscience of his parents, empty of the venom it needs but full of contrite promises that indirectly hurt his sisters.
Man envies other fauna’s
So ordered chauvinism;
Governing sexes’ manners,
Which he lost to pessimism.
His most domesticated flora
Flowers in care and abuses,
Beyond its feminine aura;
Winning just as he looses.
The good old Goose
Lost her lone Gander.
Proudless of her loss,
Matured beyond order.
Living with only them,
By the hedges they grew.
For that edge over them,
He still says, ‘Grâce â Dieu!’
Good for the goose
The indigenes of the region are vastly non-Muslims and Animists. The festival they came for is an annual celebration, when local pagans made merry and feast all day long in honour of their symbols of worship. Kengua and the driver had to make twice the normal effort to find a local who speaks the uncomplicated Hausa they were familiar with. They were lucky and got a lot more than they had hoped for when they stumble into an English speaking fellow, seated alone in an old plastic chair. This fellow was only too happy to answer all their questions.
He is amiable fellow with a loud voice and the befitting cheery nickname of Bantimu. He offered to show them round and be their guide the next day too. Bantimu had gladly offered Kengua and the driver seats beside him. He gave them cold drinks and introduced his beautiful wife when she came over with the drinks. Bantimu and his wife were a delight to watch together. She mocked him for being a baby because he wouldn’t let her burst open a swollen boil on his knee. Kengua especially loved hearing Bantimu translate his wife’s words as she teased her husband incessantly with humorous gaily jibes. His translations got quite the rapturous laughing admiration of his impromptu guests and farther encouraged his wife to pester him some more.
Finally Bantimu succumbed and exposed his leg by raising the lower edge of the long Arabian robe he had on. He revealed a visibly inflated knee, to let his wife attend to the shiny turgid boil dead in the middle of his right knee. Bantimu’s wife sat on the floor in front of him, with a pin and some cotton wool. She pierced the boil and Kengua sort of enjoyed the sight of Bantimu’s brave facial expression as he dealt with the first wave of pain from the pin prick. He was however not as successful with the increased pain of the letting out of the pus from the boil.
“Good boy,” Bantimu’s wife coaxed him in her good mimic of her husband, imitating Bantimu rather than speaking English. She giggled as she stood up, after letting out most of the milky bloody pus trapped inside her husband’s swollen knee. She didn’t apply anything to the deflated boil before leaving the now gashed wound open to heal on its own, naturally.
The quite lyrical beauty of Bantimu’s conversation skills began to show as they sat in the fast aging day, sipping cold drinks and enjoying the view of the busy neighbourhood.
“Everyone’s life is like a swollen boil, isn’t it?” Bantimu started off on his first of many thrilling monologues of the day. “Many years ago, as a child, my friends and I had the misfortune of relying on a braggart older teenage fool to teach us how to swim in our local river. We had no idea he couldn’t swim either but because he was a lot older and taller than we were, we assumed he could. He would walk firmly but gingerly, with his feet touching the muddy slimy bottom of the not so shallow waters. I can’t remember his real name but everyone in our village called him Dada, because he had a natural growth of tightly dreadlocked hair. Well, we all thought it was only natural that a fellow like him should swim like a fish.
“Dada was a very tall fellow for his age and was able to barely keep his chin above the water surface with just marginal difficulty, as he almost effortlessly momentarily leaped and bounced off the rather close water depth for him. The lad simply tiptoed with the long reach of his strong athletic tall legs beneath him and moved with relative ease. He beat his arms through the water surface as he pretended to swim when he was actually just walking on the bottom of the slow flowing river. We couldn’t tell what he was doing because the greenish shade of the water made the rivers depth hazy and we couldn’t see beneath his chest. We merely saw a brave swimmer.
“Many months later, Dada lost his footing and slipped one day. The slight current of the river carried him further into the slightly deeper part of the water. When he got back on his feet, he had a shock. His head stayed submerged even when he leap. We could see his frantic waving hands as he gulped down large mouthfuls of water with each time he tried to call for help.
“Oddly, we had all become more capable learners than he was a reliable teacher and two of his best pupils swam over to his rescue. We pretended to accept his story about his feet being tangled up in some underwater reed and only laughed behind Dada’s back about the incident, more out fear than respect. He was a lot bigger than we were and could beat us silly.”
Kengua wished he had come along with his mini tape recorder, as Bantimu concluded his short story telling with a philosophical flourish.
“Two of us saved Dada’s life that day. If he hadn’t held us up in turns, inside the water almost daily, while we beat our feet and arms in swimming motions as he stood firmly up on the river’s muddy bottom, giving us his bogus lessons on how to swim, he would have drown that afternoon. He invariably saved his own life because he had taught us how to swim.”
Kengua naturally wanted to know if Dada ever learned to swim as they grew older. Bantimu shook his head negatively in reply. It is a common way of answering in the mid-west of Africa.
“He actually never did. Dada was too proud to admit he didn’t know how swim. It became increasingly difficult for him to reveal this as each one of his old students became very strong swimmer. He actually stopped going to the river all together.
“Dada’s life story likens my boil, doesn’t it?” Bantimu concluded. The philosophical end to the story’s message wasn’t much, but it was sort of worth the short wait, the smiling Kengua reflected. They stayed with Bantimu until early in the evening, when they returned to their hotel.
This is a tribute to the over two hundred girls abducted by Boko Haram from the north eastern Nigeria a year ago. You might find the following excerpt rather unsettling, but be advised that though the deductions are based on actual facts, what you are about to read is a work of fiction. #BringBackOurGirls #ChibokGirls
“But what message do you have for the Nigerian people and the rest of the world who were hopeful that they were rid of Boko Haram?”
“This is the calm before the storm. The long dormant seed of Boko Haram has germinated and grown into a massive oak tree that can not be uprooted with mere hands of the Nigerian Armed forces. The Western world must recognize this fact.”
“Boko Haram abducted more than two hundred Nigerian school girls that have not been heard of as a whole again. Do you know what has become of them?”
“That is a very funny incident for me personally.” “Funny?” The black reporter asked in amazement. The Sheik was sweating profusely as the reporter gasped.
“Yes funny, because it wasn’t made an issue that these girls had actually been gathered together by elements in the Nigerian Western Educational system; with the approval and sponsorship of their parents and guardians. They hid them away from the Nigerian authorities so they can secretly carry out their acts of gross examination practices. This is a very common practice in Nigeria. While the Nigerian authorities claim they weren’t aware of this, Boko Haram didn’t and took the initiative to put and end to it. They took away the girls and gave them more meaningful lives to live.” The reporter had no idea his mouth had stayed open.
“Incredible! So the innocent school girls were saved by their abduction?”
“Yes and like I told you earlier, the concept of ‘Innocent Victims’ it too vague. In this case will you call these girls, their parents or their school management or educational authorities innocent victims? They were all complacent and actually exposed in the act of defrauding their very own sick Western educational system.”
“But are the girls all alive and living somewhere else presently?”
“No, many of them are not. Some got the most glorious martyr death of suicide bombers. Some escaped, some were killed by the bombing of the Nigerian Armed forces over the Boko Haram positions. Some are with their good Muslim husbands around the world, enjoying their lives as good faithful obedient Muslim wives.”
“They were sold as slave wives?” the reporter asked and the Sheik laughed.
“If you like. In your view all dowries are payments for female slaves then?” The reporter didn’t recognize the ingenuity in the first and only joke they shared.
“I also found this so called abduction of the school girls funny for another reason,” the Sheik continued. “For centuries disgruntle militant fighters have abducted massive numbers of young innocent school boys as their main source of recruits and over hundreds of years forcibly turned them into ruthless fighters who terrorized local communities with relative ease. But there has never been such a worldwide out roar or a whole scale international effort to rescue them.
“Maybe if the militants had instead been taking young school girls in such huge numbers, there would have been genuine efforts to end it all. The abduction of young boys by militants actually pose more danger than the abduction of young girls because the boys instantly get directly involved with the fighting, becoming future militants themselves. Western values has lots of misplaced priorities, some of them out-rightly illogical. I remember reading about how decades ago the Jewish inventors of suicide bombing had bombed and killed lots of Germans. This was about a decade after the holocaust. But the Germans just wouldn’t retaliate.
“”Because we are Germans and they are Jews.” That is the reason a German federal minister gave when asked why they weren’t retaliating. That is stupid! The elimination of millions of Jews in the holocaust is the single most laudable act of the Western world and it should have been continued with equal zeal and craft.”
“Don’t you feel there are consequences for all actions, especially killing men?”
“It is because we will eventually face the consequences of all our actions that every one of our action must be as Allah wills it, for we exist for His pleasure. Gladly this concept is acceptable to all Abrahamic religions, only Muslims act on it.” The reporter succumbed to the urge to say something in defense of liberality.
“Still you must admit that the common truth about your kind of people is they are predominantly Muslims. What is it about your brand of Islam that makes you think it is justified to use deadly force and kill people, to make a point? One will think there is a distinct teaching in all Islam that encourages this sort of it?”
Still on those upcoming explanations from government officials about their stewardship, this time I reflect on how most African nationals truly view their experience of military rule as against democratic rule. What are the gains or the loses in each regard? Where nations better off under oppressive military junta or under the governance of corrupt politicians?The glory seeking elite in most cases, are still evident whatever the governments. But in which case do the people gained the most? The promises are never fulfilled in most cases, but in which case are the common people actually better off?
Once more I urge you to enjoy the following fictitious interview with an ex-military man, with political interests. Remember Governor Fashola of Lagos State Nigeria once had an ‘incident’ with a military officer on the streets of Lagos? Well, you might want to read this interview for that reason too
(excerpts from The Whore; Chapter 6)
He had come into public limelight as the intelligence Colonel that supposedly slapped the influential executive Governor of the nation’s most economically viable state and prematurely retired from the Army just for popularly infamous insolent act. The Governor had just got nominated as the running mate of the presidential candidate of the ruling party. He brought in tow with him a massively popular following from his regional and tribal section of the country.
As the leading presidential candidate of the third largest party in the nation, he already had a laudable track record as a state Governor. A fishy deal was struck with the largest party in the land producing a joint ticket between his sectionalized party and the ruling party. The ruling party’s presidential candidate was the serving vice president, who was always billed to take over the mantle of leadership after the constitutional expiration of the second of two terms of his boss.
The Governor had accosted the highly decorated full Colonel, aiming to make a publicized unconventional citizen’s arrest. The setting was just perfect to boast the public appeal and dutiful credentials of the politician but it was by pure accident that the senior military intelligence officer had fallen victim of this publicized showmanship. It was purely coincidental.
Kengua had met the once disgraced officer at a private function in the United Kingdom a number of year later. Kengua had been invited there to supposedly meet a group of notable Nigerians in the diaspora. The Colonel was quite aware that he was talking to a high profiled Nigerian journalist and it seemed he felt it was his turn to tell his own side of the story. Kengua was immediately taken to his simplicity and decided he ought to make him look good.
It naturally felt right to start at the incident that had unfairly made Nigerians aware of the military intelligence Colonel’s existence. The now retired highly decorated secret operative officer is Colonel Sylvan Inalegwu Samuel, with the catchy pronounceable initials of SIS.
Kengua had set about telling the story like he initially heard and read it but the retired Colonel’s filling up the gaps sufficed into him telling his side of it. The piece Kengua had in mind wasn’t going to linger on that matter. Not on the injustice or not, of the manner it was handled into making this special officer look bad while making the Governor a near living saint.
It had all started on a very ordinary Saturday morning, the last one in the month. Those Saturdays were set aside but a pronvincial government edict, making it compulsory for the general public in that state to clean up their immediate environment. Movements of vehicles were strictly restricted for the three morning hours of seven to ten. Only vehicles on essential official services were allowed on the street during these official monthly sanitation hours.
Colonel Inalegwu was to be the honoured best man at his colleague’s church wedding, to be held that same morning, in the same commercial city. He had barely made it into the city in the very early hours of that morning, from yet another top secret mission for the Army. It was his fifty-sixth operation in a quite glorious military career spanning twenty very eventful years. That is not including six gruesome African sub-regional wars and nine peace keeping campaigns for the African Union and three for United Nations. He was just forty-three then and the most decorated infantry officer ever in his rank, worldwide. Little did he know that he had just concluded what was destined to be his last mission for that Army, but not his last ever.
Dressed in full Army ceremonial regalia and driving the official staff car of his commanding officer, which the General had borrowed him for the day, it was assumed he had to be on official essential duty and naturally waved through every checkpoint. He had an hour’s drive ahead of him and left his quarters in a rush, hoping to beat the dense city center traffic that would be unleashed as soon as the sanitation hours were over. He kept looking sideways frantically, looking for any sign of a tailoring shop or a hint of a boutique, praying he will find one open.
He had discovered his unused ceremonial sword belt was loose-fitting across his jacket. He hoped he could convince a willing clothes’ merchant to sell him a safety pin to fasten the sword belt with. With the corner of his eye, he saw a tailor’s signpost as he sped by deserted streets, without a single public or private transport on the quiet roads and very few pedestrians.
He stopped and reversed the staff car. Sure enough, there was someone sweeping inside the closed glass doors of a tailor’s shop. So he parked on the paved road side, at the very edge of the curb. He then walked across a wooded single plank bridge, over an open blackish green slime filled gutter, knocked on the shop’s glass door and an elderly lady let him in. She was very helpful and it took a lot of persuading before she accepted any payment for the single safety pin. The Colonel also bought a pack of hair clips for girls, she said her granddaughter makes.
He was about leaving when he heard a commotion in the street behind him, near his parked staff car. Two men of roughly his age, dressed in the official bright lemon-green loose vests tops of the designated municipal sanitation workers, were standing next to the military staff car he had parked on the street, shouting angrily and hitting the car severally with their open palms.
The audacity of the picture is unheard of, the oddity of the scene extraordinarily difficult to fathom at first sight. It is completely unimaginable that a mere city municipal sanitary worker will muster enough courage to hit a clearly identifiable senior Army officer’s staff car. They also had the guts to continue shouting obscenities at the approaching fully dressed Army officer in his highly decorated outfit, with the full accomplishments of his tags and numerous medals.
Colonel Inalegwu was furious and shouted back worded thunder before he got to the car and a brief shouting match ensued. Inalegwu threatened, as also did the two men in sanitary workers’ vest tops. They were incredibly querying the Army officer for parking on the marked out lane designated for public transport only. He pointed out that he was there only briefly and after all, there were no public transport about yet. He didn’t see the need to go on wasting his time with these suicidal maniacs. He made out to get into the borrowed staff car to leave the scene, when suddenly the slightly older and well-spoken one of these unusually bold Nigerian civilians, said he was going to make a citizen’s arrest, insinuating he would detain the Colonel for violating municipal traffic laws. It was so unusual sounding, almost out of a Hollywood comedy.
The military officer smiled at the obvious joke of it and leaned on the parked car good-naturedly, looking subdued and less menacing. He intended to humour these efficient men, who were clearly over enthusiastic about doing their menial work but obviously quite confused about their personal status and his far reaching immunity to certain aspects of state laws. Inalegwu noticed their little heated banter was beginning to attract the attention of bystanders, so he opened the driver’s door and stepped back to enter the car. That is when the less articulated man did the unthinkable. He pushed the well-dressed Colonel back against his borrowed staff car.
The collective sigh of utter amazement from the gathered spectators nearby, was quite audible from where they stood. It was such an unimaginable travesty to behold. The officer turned around in a flash, reacting with the coordinated physiological speed of years of military training and action. The soldier lashed out, swung a swift open right handed venomous slap at the face of the idiotic common civilian that dared to blind side him and shove him against the car. But before the Colonel’s slap had traveled the two feet between him and his retreating target, the other more articulate man had made it halfway into the gap between the slap and its intended target and accidently took in some of the force in the swing, with the back of his head.
The slap had continued to hit home squarely though. Incidentally, both the actual intended vengeful slap and the uncharacteristically siphoned residue force of it, had managed to quite effectively achieve the most impact possible. Both the bashful sanitary officer; the pushing brute that was the intended target, and his articulate arresting colleague; who unfortunately stepped in the way, were instantaneously knocked off their feet and sprawled in undignified postures on the asphalt ground like they were overnight drunks who spent the night on the street.
It turned out that the articulated and slightly older man, who intended to make a citizen’s arrest, was the serving State Governor. He was out on a covert mission to inspect the public’s adherence to the state’s sanitation laws. So the Executive Governor unfortunately got accidently knocked down. He was hit as he came between the angered law breaking military officer and the imprudently rash senior city municipal worker accompanying him on his official escapade.
Kengua loved the detailed description of the incident so much that he decided to print it separately as a different article. It was be the opening piece that ushered readers into the world of Retired Colonel Sylvan Inalegwu Samuel. The way that incident was handled by the Governor’s publicists and the favourable press the Governor ordinarily got as a result of his tagged unselfish dedication to duty, had made Colonel Inalegwu look really bad. Set against the already quite unsympathetic perspective of a majority of the public towards military officers, Inalegwu was always at a huge disadvantage. Nobody really wanted to even hear his own version of the story.
“Did you ever get to that wedding?” Kengua asked.
The retired officer laughed heartily, finding it funny that it is the first time anyone bothered to ask him that question, so many years later.
“I had a full plate already and wasn’t any longer looking forward to the wedding reception as soon as I realized I had just hit the man going to be my next vice-commander-in-chief.”
Kengua laughed along this time. That light-hearted remark simply set the tone for the interview. They progressed into the other areas of life Inalegwu had ventured into later on, following his premature discharge from the Army. But before then, it was only fair to allow the man to vent about how badly he felt he was treated, following that unfortunate incident with the Governor. It had unjustly painted him in bad light and changed the remaining of his life.
“Normally, this sort of thing is not heard of. The soldier is protected by the Army and dealt with within the workings of the military. His identity is not revealed. However, a generality of these cases never involves one of the most favoured political candidates in the history of the country. Even my colleagues were wary not to be seen to be sympathetic to my position.”
“And what was your position.”
“Well, I almost had none. I just waited silently like a good soldier. I obeyed orders and didn’t complain. The little I could do to make immediate amends for what happened, I did. I tried to undo the damage I had done. I did that on the spot, on that day.
“I did what any other soldier would have done; recruit, NCO, junior or senior officer alike. Any other smart officer would do the same. My reaction in the form of instant multiple salutes and repeated apologies to the Governor did me good in the eyes of my mates and superiors by all regards. It seemed good enough initially as the Governor appeared to let it pass and had let me go on my way. Then pictures emerged in the press later and it became such a huge mess.
“So I became the identified pampered senior Army officer who habitually parked a tax payers’ given staff car inside a restricted public transport lane, specifically persevered for the use of only the poor masses, which they weren’t even allowed to use when I parked on it for just five minutes, while breaking a state edict by not staying at home to watch my Army orderly clean up my house, within a federal military barrack where state laws are completely useless.”
Kengua then contributed to Inalegwu’s summary.
“That is as it concerns the law, but then you are the officer who punched the Executive state Governor and slapped a senior member of his staff with one stroke of your deadly lethal, military trained arm. The same arm you had killed thousands of people with while fighting wars all over the world. Then you merely said a casual sorry and drove away like a maniac to a wedding.”
They both laughed again. Then Inalegwu took a brief moment to further expand the humour and sarcasm intended by Kengua with some serious reflection on the whole incident.
“That was the exciting thing about the incident for the media. The possibilities for scandalizing every twist and turn of it were boundless. They hoard bits of truth, told some, altered others and strangely fabricated some other aspects to fit into the easily recognizable picture of the top military guys thinking they are untouchable and can get away with anything.
“They didn’t even point out their own contradictions. I was the highly decorated and very rich killer officer that is above the law versus the celebrated public serving politician.
“To the press I wasn’t the Nigerian civil war orphan, the only child of a killed federal infantry soldier and a subsequently crippled mother, who was as a consequence forced to be a rural dwelling peasant subsistent farmer, until she worked herself to death putting me through school. I wouldn’t have, against all odds, strived to incredibly get into the very prestigious military officers’ academy on pure merit, if I had another choice.
“Without any ready and clear willing sponsorship for a tertiary education; which I was more than adequately qualified for with an exceptional national record equaling college result, the officer training academy was the best option if I wanted to excel. But to the media, the Governor isn’t the ninth son of a very wealthy polygamous traditional high chief, who had conveniently publicized his conversion to Islam from traditional occultism because it served his immediate business interests and political future, for his seven wives and thirty-six children.”
Kengua quickly came to the Governor’s defense because he is not the type to have any one’s public image tarnished for reasons that had nothing to do with the individuals own actions or utterances. Kengua has always felt that it transcended from the fair to sheer irrelevance, when opponents unfairly deploy the strongest criticism, manifesting as mere sprouts out of their targets’ early origins. He takes a steadfast position of complete disregard and disinterest for such defamatory degrading details. He firmly believes that when the later emergence of purely old superficial vials of uncontrollable natural occurrences are encouraged to create an atmosphere of credibility doubts, then the rational assessment of a subject is compromised. Subjective untruths wade in, get a foothold and slow down progressively fair objective logic.
Kengua also abhors blame being apportioned for just unlucky mishaps that are humanly extraordinarily difficult to avoid. He doesn’t query them because they just emerge like hiccups, unplanned and not as a result of conscious deeds or a deliberate neglect of knowledgeable action. The truth prevails when contemporary cliquishness is ignored and the relevant essentials are made more prominent, as it concerns every issue.
“What has the Governor’s father got to do with this?” Kengua fired. “It isn’t his fault his father was the way he was.”
“Indeed. But he is clearly an offspring of the massively influential old money of his family. It ensured he never went hungry for a day in his life and ensured he got the best possible education in prestigious local and European schools. It secured financial security for him above the average comfortable standard and established a good political platform for him. It put at his disposal a huge background of subjective followers to enable him have an almost wondrous rise to political and administrative fame. My critics didn’t see it fit to draw this lopsided parallel?”
“I honestly don’t see why they should either.” Kengua bluntly offered and it must have sent a disconcerting tingle down Inalegwu’s spine but still Inalegwu continued to disagree.
“But I feel that exception wasn’t deliberate. That ought to be evident to a man of your reputation. The media just chose to buttress his advantages over me and ignored mine over his.”
Kengua pondered that Inalegwu just might have a point there, but still it is manipulatively natural that the professionally proactive and very well paid Governor’s political machinery had seized the opportunity that particular incident provided to booster their candidates public image. The Colonel was just doomed from the very moment the mischievous roaming state Governor stumbled into the parked Army staff car on that sanitation Saturday morning.
At the Governor’s incessant prompting, Inalegwu was simply unstrung by the senior military hierarchy. Even they had to be seen to be favourable toward the serving political bigwigs. The Army left Inalegwu all alone, to dry on his own, publicizing his erstwhile top secret activities, without any hesitation. His Generals merely chose to spite their noses to save their faces.
For the sake of their plumb jobs, careers and ambitions, the head of the most decorated professional young senior officer is worth sacrificing, by their reckoning. Military loyalty is not an edifice like most civilians assume, it is ineffectually an invisible ruse. Most top military brasses simply absorb more of the hypocritical civilian characteristics they must function around. Thus they metamorphose into gruff aged men whose years of coy administrative and political meanderings make them a lot more crotchety and brusque than liberal and honourable.
Inalegwu’s recall of his ceremonious betrayal brought a flushed look upon his light brown face, which he momentarily supplemented with what he thought will appear as expressionless. But a slight tremble of confidence still showed through, even as he continued to speak. He was wounded by the way the media had hounded his previously very private life, once the license to do so was insinuated. Everyday a new damning detail emerged about his indiscretion. With time he ceased being shocked by the daily emerging bad news in the press about his incredibly manufactured abusive wryly remarks concerning the state Governor’s sacrificial deed.
He became disillusioned by the incredulity of it all as every side he turned, he felt both berated and humiliated. When he attempts to put right this seemingly inexhaustible barrage of lies, he was so easily misinterpreted. As he was increasingly depicted as woeful, the public barely reacted with any surprise when he was kicked out of the Army with eloquent prejudice.
This conformed to a pattern which had its origin years back, when an equally highly talented and decorated Air force officer was summarily executed by a firing squad for allegedly joining a rogue mutinous band in the armed forces. That renowned fighter pilot had lost his life despite the best attempts of numerous desperate top grade military forces from all over the developed world. Their offers of handsome compensations to the then Nigerian Military Government to secure the condemned man’s services and spare his life were rejected. This time around similar foreign interests just waited to gain from the Nigerian authorities’ conscious wasteful loss. And true to character, the Nigerian Army sought to act in tune with what they considered as locally popular.
The Army bigwigs made their priorities apparent with the rather hasty decision to dispense with the services of the phenomenal Colonel. Then the interview easily veered into the area Kengua wanted it to, because the talented Colonel had gone onto much bigger things.
“So being dumped by the Nigerian Army became a guile blessing in disguise, it turned out.” Kengua fished.
“Like they say; ‘Hasty actions err the most.’ The Nigerian Army made the mistake of not only losing my services but most importantly, my impeccable knowledge of its entire functions”. Inalegwu’s doubts, that were initially almost tangible with caged in expectancy in the booming sound of his voice, abated. He revealed how hurt he was in those long passed days of such pain. That feeling was completely gone and replaced by the supremely wondrous confidence of that euphoria of being the most sought after man in the military world, all of a sudden.
This is a man who thought the unduly imposed fervor of guilt that was crushing his existence was going to kill him. But he ended up being amazed by how well he adjusted and lived with it. It frightened him to learn the potentials he had. This had led him into living a life he had only dreamed of previously. The exuberance of this switch was quite intriguing.
His light complexioned face was flushed as his excited facial expression unscrewed the tensed worry that was pasted on it just minutes before. On a black person’s face, a blush is not registered with a change in the shade of skin colour. The lining of the brows are not quite helpful either, hence the commonly popular deduction that a Negro does not ever blush.
A tingle of anticipation came over Kengua as he readied himself for the real juicy stuff to come as he replaced the almost filled up tiny tape in the mini recorder with an empty one.
“It must have been like a pathetic excuse for an apology when the Nigerian authorities conferred a National award on you, recently. One you are yet to accept or reject.” Kengua had started this phase of the interview with the most recent twist in Inalegwu’s long tale. He merely hinted where he was headed. Colonel Inalegwu’s choice to dispense with instantly answering the question Kengua had just asked him, hinted of more to this interview than met the eye.
Inalegwu’s choice propounded a vista Kengua had not envisaged. The panorama suddenly had dynamism of its very own. Ultimately, the main question to be answered turns out to be that of Kengua to tackle on his own. Was he being used by the Colonel to get back at the current second term Nigerian Vice President? They already had a very well documented history together, when the VP was the highly influential State Governor and the Colonel was at his mercy.
It turned out that the retired Colonel had literally become the most influential intelligence operative on the African continent. He now has all the right intelligence contacts to throw spanners in the political works of the VP, who was paused to commence conversing for the Nigerian presidential seat in a few months. Clearly the VP had gotten the wiser of it and put out his reconciliatory hand, with the government’s suddenly conferring a highly exulted national merit award on a previously disgraced and discharged senior military officer. The ambitious Vice President wasn’t leaving anything to chance as he made his move upwards, yet again.
The VP simply reprioritized his activities once more, trying to make a friendly corner stone out of an old stepping stone. It was now obvious to Kengua that this interview is too timely to be anything but vengeful. It reeked of those Biblical Jewish mothers’ dispute, King Solomon had arbitrated. Just this time, the bereaved mother who killed her child, also embarks on smothering her mate’s to death, rather than steal and claim it. The creative imagination of vengeance almost always appears to fall short, compared to the initial act it is meant to be a reprisal for. But as an intelligence officer, the Colonel was obviously out to show how versed he is in plotting revenge.
Long ago, the opportune boldness of the state governor was met with the instant repentant submission of the erring Army officer. But it didn’t end there and the ambitious governor had sought to score cheap points in his engineered favorable press review of the incident. He also used his strong political connection to get helpful credits in the powerful eyes of the military, thereby influencing the handling of the matter by them. The VP’s actions discredited Inalegwu without any regard for what he is, a senior military officer in the most influential branch of the armed forces in a huge third world country. There are different facets to his experience.
As a full colonel, Inalegwu is like a teacher in the hierarchy of any school, not a pupil certainly. He had the equivalent of an honorary national award to the majority of his fellow citizens’ mere national identity cards. He was directly responsible for loads of vital national security stuff and international secrets that a whooping ninety-nine percent of the rest of the country’s people don’t even know exists. And for such a person to have been embittered by being treated in that way, it is natural that Inalegwu would want his pound of flesh.
Inalegwu naturally felt he shouldn’t have been so casually belittled by persons who haven’t ever risked their lives for their country in the slightest. It may be his poorly paid job to risk his life for his country, but that ought to come with the privilege of some respect. That is why the constitution allows him a separate court, as long as he remains in the military. He has a license to kill identified enemies of his nation as directed by his commander-in-chief without being prosecuted for it, no one else in the whole country does. He belonged to a tiny clique of citizens that can legally be accusers, judges & executioners, all in one instant, with no qualms.
But because society connives to favour some privileged member of its political class rather than him, it becomes his duty to also make this same belligerent quarrelsome and confrontational nation, change its exaggeration of wrong priorities. He has held different viewpoints from a lot of his people for so long. It is time he shows how right he was by making those who wronged him look silly. Kengua readied this preemptive conclusion. He had to be ahead of the game if he wanted to know what this highly experienced intelligence operative was on about.
The question Kengua had asked Inalegwu earlier on would be simple enough to answer, but the Colonel is no ignorant fool. His answers wouldn’t say as much as Kengua will want to hear. Inalegwu knows the industrious journalist is always fishing for more than others are willing to reveal. All press men naturally get to learn a simple fact in due course. They learn that the real important answers never get heard, they have to be deduced like they are insinuated.
“Tell me Colonel, what happened to you and what have you been really doing all these many years since you were forcibly retired from the service of the Nigerian Army?”
Inalegwu just smiled, and then curtly asked, not answer.
“What do retired military men do after being retired?”
“Oh I don’t know, maybe join other ex-service men in the private security sector and start off where they all left off?” Inalegwu chuckled and vaguely answered the next question.
“You were then sought after by the armed forces of the United States, Canada, Great Britain and South Africa. That much wasn’t a secret. But you didn’t join any of them, or did you do so secretly and opted for one of their secret services?” Kengua had asked.
“Yes that’s right; I didn’t join up with any of them,” Inalegwu answered.
“You didn’t join one secretly and just won’t say so because no right thinking intelligence operative says he is one.” Inalegwu laughed briefly but actually tried to explain.
“Offers did come in fast and quick, fat and thick too. But because virtually all of the very lucrative packages these foreign armed forces were offering me were practically for positions in their military training schools, I concluded that I could still do all of that, collect the big pay packages they proposed, and still do my own thing on the side without all the unnecessary pressure of being fastened to the shackles of their military administrative hassles.”
“So you taught in military schools?”
“Yes I did! Virtually all the important military schools in the western world have used and are still using my expertise on sub-Saharan warfare.” Inalegwu said quite proudly.
“And you don’t do anything more than just teach?”
“I did nothing more.”
The two men maintained their stares silently for three more seconds before Inalegwu emphasized his answer more firmly.
Indeed, the real important answers never get heard, they have to be deduced like they are insinuated, Kengua thought to himself.
“Then you started a military consulting firm?”
“That is in partnership with a retired US marine general, an interesting Texan. That is the guy who infamously made a near exact replica of the renowned World War II Nazi wrought iron archway entrance into its Human Extermination Camps; HEC. The infamous Death Camps.
“His own replica of the sign still hangs over the entrance into his huge farm at the edge of the South American Amazonian jungle. It was made as a publicity gimmick and it works rather well too; not only for the farm and its turnover, but for him and his popularity. He had copied the design from an internet printout and included the exact three German words too, in full. Only he had defaced the middle word with a boldly white painted metallic X, crossing out the still legible middle word. It was done in such a way that the original words were still fully readable.
“The original German words were ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’; meaning ‘Work Makes Free’. Thus the defaced replica sign the Texan had made would read in English as; ‘Work — Free’”.
Both men laughed at the seeming idiocy of it.
“It took a while for it to catch on but it caught on soon enough, once the larger local community got the gist of it. They embraced the lopsided morale the unorthodox coinage had advanced with its somewhat cynical but still eye-catching symbolism. It was such a huge hit. It was such that not only was the farm identified as ‘Work-free’, the new phrase in due course aptly became the Texan’s alias. It even attracted tourists and was hugely popular with all who saw it. His friends tried using the initials but abandoned the attempt because W. F. was such a mouthful and did not serve the abridged purpose it was meant to. So they were stuck with Work-free.”
Kengua further learnt the Texan’s Amazonian farm had since served as the official headquarters of their military consulting partnership. All the covert training of Special Forces is done on the farm’s ideal grounds. Then Inalegwu digressed to offer a personal insight.
“You know in a strange sort of way, these multiple tried ‘Work Makes Free’ ideologies suffer very natural deaths at the persistent steps of the belittled ‘Work-Free’ ideologies. When they are handled and borrowed metaphorically, they actually symbolize the ideological struggles of the entire civilized world, over its very long period of regulating economic systems. It is the reoccurring extended victories of the freest minds over the most coerced minds in the world.”
“That is human wisdom set against human intuition; the natural need to dominate versus the spurious compromise of allowing unprivileged people an equal opportunity to empower themselves so that they can in turn not do the same to you.” Kengua offered.
“I couldn’t have put it any better myself. Take the freest nation in the world for instance. It is only natural that the American state should turn out the way it did. It is in every sense of the term primarily; and still considerably for all intent, a migrant state. So its national conscience is still very much that of the typical average migrant; which is excusable for the fundamental reasons that make migrants what they are in the first place.
“These are simply revivification and the ramifications of the opportunist, escapist, rebel and adventurer. Americans thus reveal to be daring, brave, determined, hardworking, patient and tenaciously vengeful. They are all of these sorts and the likes of it, all comprehensively such; in that passively or actively and positive or negative qualities, respectively.”
“You mean when their highly principled thoughts are contrasted, they actually reveal to be more at a continuous state of being at Crossroads, than being on the free highway.”
“It is unfortunately the Double-edge sword of truth most liberals do not even like contemplating more less discoursing. The inoperative logic dimly entertained here being that by empowering the right kind of person with the wrong natural tendency to tenaciously survive by dominating everybody else, they are simply directly being reinforced to do the very same thing they were being reoriented not to do, not to dominate. Consider a perfect example, the dangerous logic behind the rather idiotic ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’. Only the human covetous nature could possibly make it tenable for world peace to be actually balanced on this razor sharp edge.”
“I couldn’t agree more. I guess the acronym says it all, doesn’t it? It is indeed unarguably and quite pointedly MAD!”
They paused for refreshed drinks. It was now clear the rest of the gathering had no intention of disturbing their open side attraction, which was actually the reason for the whole meet. Kengua has been emboldened into steering the interview into those sensitive insinuations concerning the huge amount of international influence Inalegwu now has at his disposal. It must be considerable, if the current Nigerian government would all of a sudden publicly announce it is conferring a big national merit award to the Colonel. It is obvious this is a very pregnant move.
“Before we go any further Colonel, how did you become aware of the conferring of the national award on you?”
“Like you must have, I suppose. I heard it in the news.”
“You mean you weren’t given an advance notice of what was in the offering? One would have thought they would let you know in advance, at least try to win you over to their thinking, get your thoughts about the award, know if you would accept or not?”
“No they didn’t say or do diddly-squat and I don’t think they would be interested in any foreknowledge of what my reaction will be either. The way I see it; it might as well be ramblings in the tabloids, since I’m yet to get official word from the Government.”
“I assure you sir, that you have been listed in the official website of the Nigerian federal government as one of the latest nominated recipients of a National merit award.”
“I don’t dispute that, but I haven’t been invited to accept or decline such a nomination; if that is what it is. I also haven’t been invited to collect such an award. When I am, then I will have a response ready of course; via the very same channels.”
Kengua smiled his comprehension. It was clear that his interview is meant to be Inalegwu’s express response to the current Nigerian government and especially its main candidate for the next presidential elections in a few months. It is Kengua’s duty to see this clearly.
“Feel free to make any deduction you wish from my remarks, just as it is the government’s prerogative to do same.” Colonel Inalegwu quickly added with that wryly grin of his.
“Do you have issues with the way Nigeria is being led presently? I notice you virtually never comment on this topic.”
It was time again to rally round his other sentiments, to make the cagy Colonel slip up into criticizing the current Nigerian leadership. Kengua felt he just might get lucky.
“Leadership is always a difficult thing. People easily get sensitively bias about how they interpret governmental policies. I guess the sort of impact the policies have on the people is the major determinant in this matters.” Kengua was fishing but Inalegwu wasn’t biting.
“Nigerians think their government is totalitarian in it policy making. The way our democracy works, with the dominant class making all the policies being mainly of the same privileged and corrupt sort, nothing that is beneficial to the masses ever comes through and is accepted as law. This is because aside from these people being evidently the dominant influential factor in every political party, they also dominate the civil service, the judiciary and the legislature. Therefore, the so called three arms is indeed just one trunk.” Kengua proffered.
“In Nigeria, there is the all too powerful fourth arm of government my friend; the civil service. This is massive in the structural hierarchy of the totalitarianism we are all querying.”
“You do agree then.” Kengua boosters the momentum of what is likely a glimmer of criticism from the cagy Colonel.
“The totalitarianism of policies actually does make them unsustainable. Capitalism has always made money and wealth supreme, fascism makes the state supreme, Nazism made the race supreme and Communism made an ideology supreme. A measure of most has to be balanced to carry everyone along.” With that bit the brief glimmer of criticism dimmed.
“Your Texan partner is very influential politically in the US, isn’t he? He is quite chummy with the ruling Democrats that there is talk of him being too Democratic to be a Republican.”
Inalegwu laughs at the now quite familiar joke about the retired US marine general he is in business partnership with, a very vocal cowboy rancher with questionable racial favoritism.
“He is a very controversial one, that one. It was he who brokered the deal between the very conservative Republicans and the very liberal Democrats years ago. That deal had successfully ushered in a setting where either a first black president or a first female president is swept into that exulted office in one bold history making move. The outcome is history now.
“The Republicans just had their worst ever presidency prior to that. Popularity and business boasting wars had turned unpopular and economically unsustainable. The world economy was at the brink of complete chaos. A huge change was inevitable and Americans looked elsewhere.
“Democrats represented obvious change. But they had to have an unusual leader in every physical ramification, someone easily identified with by the rest of the world now leaving inside the US. From what I understand, the idea was this; since the US was passionately hated across a huge section of the world, more than it is loved across another shrinking section, it became paramount to position one of these firsts to ease that tension. So the Republicans fielded their worst presidential candidate ever and gladly made a good show of famously losing to change.”
“Would you say it worked?”
“Maybe internationally, but it only brought forth the true nature of the American people and divided the nation along the line of the so-called Conservatives and so-called Liberals.”
“Are you with the Liberals?”
“I’m of the opinion that American Conservatism is just a necessity in the world right now. I’m not a republican, in the sense of full party allegiance. But really, you can’t help but understand that the ideals of the founding fathers of America and the true values of the American state are best represented by the Republicans. So I rather deal with a person that is a lot more true to his ideology than some self-styled ‘Liberal’ who is in essence, just a subtle charlatan in the guise of a Democrat.” It was quite the analytical response.
“This is the ‘Pretentious trading places’ you had termed as Crossroads earlier, I suppose?”
“Not quite so. I had aptly forwarded earlier that their highly principled thoughts are confused when they get compared with those of their founding fathers. Contrasting issues abound, as clearly insinuated in the close allegiance to Christianity for one.
“In ‘God we trust’ they say and not show it. There is the Same-Sex issue and the massive war like nature. When these Liberals try to adhere to these precepts then they actually reveal to be at a continuous Crossroads than actually being decisive.”
“Most liberals will disagree and argue that it is this kind of thinking that made America quite unpopular and hated.”
“It actually made America great. It is the big deviation from it that made America weak and common, note that fact. The Liberals refuse to see it this way. Their logic doesn’t even remotely entertain a simple fact. By empowering the right kind of person with the tendency and communal orientation to tenaciously survive by dominating everybody else, they in fact simply directly reinforce their natural rivals, and I dare say; enemies too. They let them do the very same things they keep reorienting themselves not to, becoming weak and dominated.”
“Maybe that is just the soldier in you talking, Colonel.” Kengua summed up. In response, Inalegwu chuckled and repeatedly shook his head sideways, in disagreement.
“That’s far from it, I assure you. I just understand how the Conservative American thinks. Don’t talk of peace to these Americans. They are after all from very violent stock and so obviously they are of the violent sort. Are you familiar with the words of their national anthem? They probably are amongst a trio or so of modern nations that still clasp their healthy beating well-nourished chest, look up a flag pole and proudly sing of ‘perilous fight; rocket’s red glare; and bombs bursting in the air’ and with very patriotic tears in their beaming eyes.”
Inalegwu meant every single word he said and Kengua wasn’t surprised in the least, surely you will expect no less conviction from a Texan’s business partner.
“But America is changing,” Kengua made a last ditched effort.
“No it is the people inside America that are changing, not America. That wouldn’t happen till hell freezes over.”
“But Americans are America.”
“That may be so in the past, but certainly not the case in the present day USA. In the past, the migrants that constituted the people that created and made the US what it became were driven by different things from those now partaking from their creation today. Economic interests are of course constant, they always are. But the ideological principle has greatly changed. You now have people actually coming into the US or being born in it merely to change and destroy what it represents and not because they admonish and advocate what it signifies.”
The last thing Kengua wanted was to get into a debate with the retired military officer seated across from him. But he had to point out his own convictions, if only to hear Inalegwu’s.
“As the world changes so does the US. Civility has now become synonymous with democracy. The people in the world are coming to terms with true freedom and demanding it.”
“You think?” The Colonel deferred in opinion clearly and he when ahead to expalin.
“Civility is really diminishing steadily. Old democracies would experience a surge of selfish demands on them, demands that will not readily seat over tea and talk things over endlessly. The countless innocent peaceful marches carried out by citizens of the west, to garner support for their diverse courses of interests, will suffer from violent changes as people accept negative outcomes of their popular choices. Majorities will successfully elect democracies and yet electoral victories will not provide succor. Continuous flow of migrants from other systems with democratic defective orientations, sired by bashful ways, will forcibly task the civility in these old democracies. Inevitable chaos is afoot and the only recipe for order is being neglected.”
“It is inevitable that these western societies are losing the way of life they are always defending. But it can’t be helped because the world is now a global village and must feel like it.”
“I always wonder how easily we accept the single merit of that term ‘Global Village’, without actually acknowledging the numerous damning demerits that comes with it also. The world as we once accepted it has been narrowed down to a simple information unit like it is in an ordinary village. It became that single interconnected forum as made by the World Wide Web. The Global village is thus an apt internet expression. But otherwise, the backward rudiments evident in a village like barbaric uncivilized jungle justice, cruel autocratic leadership, clan and clique favouritism, and selfish pettiness all crept into the picture as civility slowly leaves it.”
“That is a humongous misconception and you know it.”
“Is it now?”
“Yes it is!”
Both men’s demeanors paused for an argument. Kengua wasn’t about to let anyone shake his conviction and the man he was interviewing appeared to be on a course to not only sell his archaic and outlandish ideology to Kengua’s readers through him, but also to alter Kengua’s very own believes as well, while he is at it. Kengua set about changing the interview’s direction, determined not to be thrown off course once again. It seems that tiny stumble in temperament had exuded a burst of self-control into him and once more he became thankfully focused.
“Colonel, you talk of the US like the whole nation isn’t constituted of migrants. Every single one of these Americans is an illegal emigrant of sorts. Did the indigenous Indians of the American continent give any original pioneer even a tourist visa?”
“Then we shouldn’t recognize the American state for that reason. It in effect, has a worse case for its legality than the Jewish state because Israel can point to scriptural documents.”
“I’m not saying that.”
“Of course you’re not. Look my friend, let us bring this to a head. Going back in history to justify any action that has now led to an established form, entity or pattern, only digs up dirt of injustice and the most uncivilized behaviour ever. The world has always had and will ever need these big busy-bodies to check the excesses of others like them and those beneath them as well. It has to be so in the bullies’ hierarchy of survival of the fittest or else utter chaos will reign.
“Bully nations are like the large carnivores of prehistoric times. Their effect on the food chain maintains order in that cruel uncivilized harsh but naturally quite necessary manner. If they are unchecked well up on the food chain, there wouldn’t ever be enough to go round, not only for them but also any layer beneath them in due course. It is a fact of nature.”
Kengua went over Inalegwu’s short early civilian past in his head. The young lad’s entire childhood was spent in the sparse bushes surrounding his midland Nigerian village. He had to hunt almost every meat he ate and bush rats consisted of the main game available. There couldn’t be a better orientation for a soldier and a pro-gun trotting buff. He grew up like a pre-American civil war Texan. So his perspective is quite natural to him. Inalegwu also lost the last of his remaining close family members in the brutish civil riots of northern Nigerian. His only aunt’s entire family was murdered in the outskirts of Kaduna, in a particular suburban area called Rigasa. The entire non-Muslim residents there were evicted out of their homes for good.
Inalegwu had tried to look for survivors from amongst his aunt’s family. He searched the entire metropolis and combed all the military barracks, rummaging amongst all the refugees, but found none of them. Finally, he saw his aunt’s names in a compiled list of the dead but he never found any of the others. He was devastated for a long time. He had held the most extreme political views ever since. Life in the military had made him curtail them, but what made him political wasn’t as much that. Driving to work through slums daily, he rationalized that any child growing up in such neglected pig infested suburban area would be politicized too.
In the endlessly developing third world countries, the suburban areas are actually the ghettos. They don’t host posh rich people like in developed countries. It is in these places that the less privileged citizens have learned to live according to their faiths. They have surrendered what remains of their belief in the state protecting them and taken up basic arms to defend themselves. Oddly though, once the entire unsettled metropolis has wholly surrendered to living like this, relative tranquility became more sustainable. It became a way of life in no time.
Life in these cities became like the middle-east setting in Palestine and Israel. The common places were banks, markets and offices, where a kind of respite for foraging a living takes place. Once a riot starts, the rabbit and the ferret comes into play as the scrapple for safety commences. Christians dressed up like Muslims on Fridays and head for the safety of their homes before mid-Muslim prayers. Later, Muslims avoided Christian communities on Sundays too. Those who got caught out in the wrong side of town during civil riots are almost certainly lynched and killed.
After years of holding back his secret thoughts as a loyal soldier, Inalegwu doesn’t need to hide his controversial opinions any longer. He had it all clear in his head now who are is friends and who are his foes. He made his move and it was now his long time enemy’s turn to play his hand. The Nigerian government will have to work out if Inalegwu will accept their offer or not. The Vice president needs to have the influential Colonel to stand down and not secretly work against his aspiration for the ultimate prize of the presidency, even if he would not openly support him. A lot stood in the balance when Matters carried the Inalegwu interview and story.