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Okparaolu Chris

Okparaolu Chris

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Why he likes the Geckos.

He is subscribed to a library that caters for all night readings. From 6:00pm through to the next morning. Last week he didn’t miss a day. She too didn’t. That he didn’t know her name does not mean he would deny she is cute – tall, chocolate skined, and shaped like he has always desired.

But she wouldn’t spare a time off books, she comes to the read room, heavy with big books- anatomy, physiology, biochemistry etc- that gave her away as a medical student.

Diligence and consistency have earned her a particular spot at the library, and as she sits on her seat, so does her attention sit on her books, up until twelve midnight – that’s her leave time.

she stones the book at the back of her car and zooms off. He doesn’t even know where she lives or who she lives with- parents, lover or alone. “Where does she zoom to?” “How far?” “How near?” “This un-holy hour?”

A lot about her isn’t certain but he was certain she is still single.
There are certain things about some strangers you just know! She isn’t married, he assured himself again.

In the first place, using the library was necessary because he has got lots of writings to do, more paper houses wants him to maintain space in their sheets and now after many years of foot-dragging he has started to blog.
He had to feed his blog weekly and for him quality was without compromise.

His work load was heavy, but she too wasn’t easy.

So library wasn’t just for books anymore, he never really wrote anything until she comes. Here she is, then he begins to write, for every period he throws a stare at her; then he writes again, for every comma, a stare; again he writes, for any question mark, he questions himself, ‘but how can I domesticate her?’

His writing moved slower like a car stuck in Port Harcourt hold-up, his story lines changed, his theme and his diction didn’t escape but in all, his work remained coherent, logical and a vast beauty of words; for he was a good writer.
Few words spelt wrongly, few disagreements between subjects and verbs, then one or two misplaced tenses but they were what a good editor would be happy to fix.

Always he thinks himself lucky but now he wasn’t quite sure what was happening, the other day he had come early enough to beat the older lady, who almost usually shared seat with her in the library’s wooden two seater sofa, to her seat. He did, but she came, only to sit somewhere else.

He took a deep breath and beneath it he cursed her mother, after a while, he added her father, her brother- if she had any- and so on until it was twelve midnight when she stood up to leave. ‘Rubbish!’ he said.

The day after that he had come to the library consoled, he walked direct to her seat, and this time he was optimistic it would work out. As he walked briskly, heading straight for her seat, he nodded his head in agreement to the thoughts of his being a sharp man playing inside his head. He was early, neither she nor the older lady had come, he emptied his writing materials on top the desk, just when he was to begin writing he thought he should pray, few words into the ears of God would not be too bad an idea. He prayed most time before beginning to write, it wasn’t something he was strict about anyway, but this time, he has been moved to by the spirit. He said his usual words to God but this time he added a new prayer point.

“Dear Lord, please do not let anyone else but her, sit here. This seat is hers. God you know what I mean, God you know who I talk of- You are the all knowing God. God please and please… Amen.”

That day, she didn’t come. The day after that day, she didn’t show up, and then he had malaria.
He fell sick and took a day off. It was a day to recover. ‘What is wrong with me?’ He asked himself. ‘This girl doesn’t even know me,’ he informed himself. ‘I’ll never spare a strand of my thought thinking of her again’, he promised himself. ‘After all, she isn’t finer than Ebere, Jane by all standards is cuter, not to talk of Angela, it was over for me and her’, he swore.

Then today, he is seated in the library, far from her spot and submerged deep into his writings- engrossed and enraptured.

“Please, can I join you?”

He pulled his head up, there she was, requesting via a laboratory refined voice to join him in the sofa. He didn’t believe it, but he acted like it was real, too stunned to talk- still sitting, he raised his legs up, shifted them side way, making way for her to pass to the empty space in the sofa. Now, they were sitting together, quietly he sniffed her cologne, it filled his heart and made him breath fast.

He stops writing, for he is too busy stealing glances at her. When he had stolen enough, he swallowed his words- Ebere no reach. Jane, who dash monkey! Angela, na work she dey learn. Gosh! dis girl make brain die!!!

But then! ‘What do I do?’ He asked himself, he agreed this was an opportunity he shouldn’t let slip off his hands. He really needs to think out something, otherwise what answer would he give to Emeka when he tells him that, that girl, yes that one, sat by him today at the library.

Then Emeka in his usual way would bulge his eyes, grin from ear to ear- that’s how he demonstrates when something both surprised and excited him at the same time- then he would pause to ask; so how far, wetin come happen- expecting an immediate answer. He didn’t have the muscle to stand Emeka’s scorn; he bent his head over his books pretending to read, while in real, he was thinking of a way out, trying hard to hatch out a plan. She, was busy reading and making notes; sometimes she consulted another book that sheltered all the diagrams of the human internal organs. As at the last time he spied on her, it was on page 33, that page had the diagram of the liver, she studied it keenly, noting the labeled parts and he thought how small his liver was. He imagined Emeka asking him- ‘ur LIVER fail you?’ ‘My liver no go fail me’, he assured himself in his head, as he thought seriously for a way out. He thought and thought and thought until he began fantasizing; he fantasized her pregnant for him, walking the sitting room with protruded stomach, her cooking for him, he fantasized everything possible between a straight man and a woman and soon he was lost in the world of fantasy.
Then suddenly, like a collapsing lagos high-rise building, he felt a grip, an embrace, so firm and tight that her breast burst his ruptured emotions. She exclaims in short but pricking voices; oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God, as she grips him even tighter.

It is 10:30pm and the library quiet and serene as usual, other library users turned to find out what had gone wrong, he just enjoyed the embrace.

It was a wall gecko, from the heavens, it had landed on top of her book injuring her concentration and, that grip and embrace was her response.

Ordinarily, he hated wall geckos; they irritated him, but not now, employing his left fingers he raked the gecko off and still held onto the embrace with his right hand. Danger was gone and she eased herself off him, their eyes met and they laughed simultaneously, still holding hands. ‘Why are you laughing?’ she asked in her smiles, he muttered something and she laughed again, even harder, he smiled and they chatted along. She tells him how much she dislikes the sight of geckos, he nodded in agreement but deep in his heart he blessed the gecko, their family and neighbors- harbingers of love he calls them till date.

And that beginning became the start of a new beginning for them. He rolled his tongue, ‘my liver reach pass that one wey dey that page 33’, he agreed.

An Oppressed President!!!

“…But as much dissatisfaction as I have for President Jonathan, I have been sentenced to loving him and to stand by his side.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President and commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a president grinding in the ‘wills’ of Oppression.

He may be a lucky man but he is certainly not a lucky president.

The President is oppressed. I know it sounds bizarre to think of the President as oppressed but such is the strangeness that has befallen him. If you disagree, you actually need to think more than you are doing now to be able to convince me otherwise. Your thoughts need to spring from another heart; not this self serving, parochial heart of yours, diseased with tribal sentimentality.
You need more than written words- no matter how well stratified, layered and tailored- to convince me otherwise; eloquence, oratory, a rhyme scheme that belittles Shakespeare’s will not do it. Why because, the facts stand tall, taller than the Everest.

Dr Jonathan emergence as President is punctuated with special circumstances and situations that make room enough for his oppression. You must have heard people allude that he sits on a northern seat- sorry- turn.
Of course you know he is from a minority tribe, don’t tell me to forget that; because in Nigeria cancelling out the role tribe and ethnicity play in our politics will be the mother of all stupidity.

His family name, Ebele, rings no bell. No military rob-on, not from himself, his father, his father’s mother. Unlike the other academic, he has no Turaki (General Shehu Yar’adua) for an uncle.

Apart from the circumstances that surround his rise to the presidency, haven’t you noticed that every one pokes their fingers into his eyes? Toni Kan writes, ‘I don’t envy Goodluck Jonathan’s ophthalmologist, whoever he may be, because he or she must have a hard time keeping the president’s vision sharp with every one poking their fingers into his eyes.’
The opposition, Pastors, former Presidents, former Ministers, the children on the streets of twitter and facebook, turbaned governors of the central bank, governors of states who want his job and the list is endless. If you argue that he is cause for the many fingers poked at him, my question is; what evil has Jonathan done that others before him did not do and do even better?

Lately I have commended the President more than I have condemned him and I owe no man under the sun any apology, including the array of persons who call in to say how much I have changed upon their reading my articles or hearing my mouthed position on issues of National concern.

They can’t be right, I have not changed, in standing for Jonathan, I stand for an oppressed man. I stand for a man victimized, quarreled, and insulted for the ‘wrongest’ of reasons.
Until, the negotiation between the G7 governors and the President broke down, I followed. I waited for their meeting- usually on Sundays- I read the position of the governors concerned.
What were their demands on the president? “Recognize my faction of the governor’s forum, restore to my hands the party structure of my state, sack the party chairman (now resigned), then, the more audacious one, confirm you wouldn’t be running for a second term.”

If there were more demands they all sounded like these ones we just mentioned. There were no demand, tasking the president to better performance, there were no allegations of sniper trainers, a to- kill- list, oil wells, water project and all the things we hear today.

It is true that there hasn’t been political assassinations that should make anyone tremble at the mere sight of the president, it is true that this president unlike others do not force party chairmen or others to resign at gun point, it is true that perhaps, this president does not know how to cork a gun, let alone a war veteran but, are these reasons good enough to oppress the President?

It is also true that he is the first president of a Nigeria state deeply rooted in the soil of the social media, true that, where he comes from, cannot boast of professors like the Yoruba’s, that they are not as numbering as the Igbos, that they do not have an array of former Heads of state, service chiefs, etc to parade like the Hausa- Fulani, but again, are these reasons enough to oppress the president or better still, to keep silent and watch him oppressed?
Just because you do not want people to begin to think you are in the president’s payroll- that would dent your hard earned reputation. Like most of you have expressed in your concerns, I have always stood and will always stand- as much as God gives me strength-for the oppressed, and by my training, silence in the face of injustice is itself unjust. And in my thinking an oppressed man is an oppressed man regardless of status.

Do I think the president should be criticized? I do not just think, I beg you to- please criticize him. I have and I still do criticize, fuel subsidy-cum-SURE P, the East-west road, increase in oil theft, the missing money, Stella Odua, the 2014 budget, his ‘body language’- corruption, his inability to make appreciable self sacrifice with regards to how much we hear the first family spends for spoons, folks, cutlery and on kitchen in general, the number of jets in his fleet, the number of cars that make up his convoy and lots more.

But again, if one is knowledgeable enough to condemn, he should be wise enough to commend when there is need to. Chinua Achebe tells us of an Igbo proverb; ‘that a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body.”
If one is strong enough to dig out the details of the evil that have come to surround us, he should be strong enough to also dig deeper to find out what the government has been able to do to seize the evil by the neck. The federal government is not your local government; it is not until your village tap bleeds water that you appreciate the efforts of the federal government in making potable water available. Nigeria is a big country, and if the collapsing of Nigeria has taken years, it will require even more years for a total transformation to take place. For, it is easier to build than it is to destroy.

As much as I am dissatisfied with Nigeria, as much as I hear and sometimes fall victim of all those bad stories I yet make conscious efforts to find out exactly what efforts government make to better things. Because I do know that, a half informed man is a more danger to the society than a stark illiterate.

In this administration, I have heard of, read and seen- ordinary Nigerians without godfathers -getting grants from the YOU-WIN program. Players in the manufacturing industry of our country have come out to say they have never had it this good. I have read that Jim O’Neill, the renowned British economist best known for coining BRIC- the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China- to represent the shift of global economic power away from the usual suspects, is at it again. This time, he has coined the MINT. The N in that acronym, standing for Nigeria. He calls them the ‘emerging economic giants’ to follow in the footsteps of BRIC. Have you noticed the growth in the GDP? Have you seen the rating of the economy by the international agencies? In 2009 Nigeria’s per capita income was $109.1. Today it is $ 1721, in 2007 average life expectancy in Nigeria was 47years. Today it is 52 years, in 2010 inflation was 15.60%. Today, it is 7.9%. In 2007 maternal mortality rate was 750 per 100,000 births. Today it is 580. Notice how well and transparent the privatization process of the power sector was carried out, a sharp deviation from all other privatization we have seen in this country; the southeast now has an international airport; see the reviving of the railways; see the 12 new federal universities in 12 states of the federation that had no federal universities; notice that 123 Almajiri Model schools equipped with Malam’s Quarters, Hostels, Qu’ranic Recitation Hall and Science laboratories have been completed while 277 are awaited; you must have seen the advert from ABC Transport Company ( a private company ) which announced the slashing of fares on the grounds that our roads have seriously improved; notice the 3389 Health Centre Nationwide, the national cancer screening centers nationwide ( one in the university of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital ), the heavy investments in the health sector by the GEJ’s administration have led to the first Stem Cell Transplant Surgery ever in Nigeria at UBTH in 2012, by October of same year UCH performed the first Open Heart Surgery in Nigeria. Under this administration, the football and sport sector witnessed an overhaul, the result of this overhaul is visible for all to see, and there is an ongoing revolution in the Agricultural sector.
These are not mere paper statistics, they are palpable and they can be seen, as much as I know there are more that have escaped my listing I also believe that, there are more to do; many more that can be done.

I believe that this administration deserves the support of anyone who wants the survival of this country, for we have never had it this good. I have not changed; I have just enlisted to support and in standing for GEJ, I stand for an oppressed man, I stand on who I have always been, for you, I leave you to your conscience- but I do know that, now and always, good prevails over evil.”

what we face!!!

Okparaolu Chris
Hundreds of hours ago, my phone had alerted me to an invitation. Reading through the IV I decided on going, little did I know that one of the G7s was billed to address us. He got talking -if you ask me- more from frustration than from passion, not composed; words fell off his mouth scattered like water from the cloud, but no denying the fact that his point was very well communicated. The issues he raised too, were germane and mind pricking. He reminded us that power was ours and that our silence was helping nothing. He re-echoed the words of Bob marley- Stand up, fight for your Rights- We all clapped and he made for his seat, it was time to respond, all we had to do was to write down our questions or remarks and hand them over to any of the well dressed ushers littered the hall over. I got out my pen, tore from my notepad, then I pressed the words of kwame Ture, on the piece of refined wood; ‘We cannot have the oppressors telling the oppressed how to rid themselves of the oppressor.’ It was hard remembering the exact words but I thought I had done my best, so I folded the paper, beckoned on the female usher, handed her the note and made my way out of the conference hall. Jumped into my car and zoomed off to that salon, my fur is been itching and I needed to clipper them. I sat in wait for my turn, the TV was on and so was the disc player, but the sound from the disc almost made the TV useless. On the TV displayed the screen of a political rally, I saw known faces, former governors, former Presidents, former ministers, and many other formers. I pleaded with others and we suppressed the volume of the Disc, only then did the voice of the TV assert its weight on the four corners of the small room now advertised as a salon. Now it was the leader of the party speaking ( also a former something something) ‘ we are set to take over power come 2015,’ he said, ‘ the opposition party is now more united than ever…’ I was tempted to pull him out from the TV screen and say the words of -I can’t remember who now- to him; ‘We cannot Leave those who created the Problem in Charge of the Solution.’

HOW TO BECOME A HERO IN NIGERIA.

Be sure you were formerly in power or currently in power- grab power, it doesn’t matter how many people you kill. Otherwise, have plenty of money; don’t worry! It doesn’t matter how you make the money. Just be full of money.

Be sure you do not have speech problems; it doesn’t matter though if you stutter a bit. Know a little English, not much, misplace tenses, cut and join sentences, it matters not, just be able to talk.

Gather a crowd, that will be easy since you meet the two conditions above and since you talk, talk anything but be sure you lampoon the government, better if it is the federal government. Insult the president, useless the coordinating minister, if you are a state governor heap heavy allegations on the door step of the federal government.
Tell your people you have not been able to give them water and power because of the federal government.
Sha! you know how to talk- talk, talk and keep talking! Call God, cause the devil, and swear against the president.
If you don’t know what to talk again, just open your mouth wild.
This will allow the people time to shout, in cheer and hail of you- their new found messiah.

If you have a president who is too official and doesn’t talk dirty, talk more, he will not reply. But if the name of the wife of the president rings a bell then you better start bringing your talk to a close unless maybe her husband has cautioned her at home, for which she has been calm lately. You can keep talking.

Make sure you do not allocate anytime for questioning or any form of response from the crowd, unless you are very sure of them and what they will say.
Yes, I know these people are either half literates or stark illiterates but never give them the mic, you never can tell!
After all, they should understand that you are too busy a person. And please, make sure the few educated ones in the crowd are on your pay roll- organizers maybe- or be sure ethnicity or other sentiments have made away with whatever education they thought they had.

Forget the evil things you have done before, don’t even think of the ones you are yet to do, talk like a saint, Nigerians are very forgetful, cant you learn from BaBa. He knows these things better, otherwise; what gave him the impetus to write such a sanctimonious letter to the president cum the entire nation? You see! So forget your conscience and keep talking.
In fact claim there is an attempt to kill you. That you are number one on a kill list. A well thought out plan, hatched by the high and mighty to murder you. If you are in power, you can talk more, don’t forget you have immunity; no court can do you nothing.

Sorry, I almost forgot this, no least important though, reserve money laden Ghana must go bags for serious personality you will invite, apart from the color they will bring to it, their presence will give the entire program some credence. Ar! You should know who to invite na! Achebe, sorry,I forgot that sage is dead…eeeeeeh, invite Wole, Emmanuel John, Jesse Jackson( if that is possible o!), Okparaolu chris (you can always find this one around), Madam due process, Julius Agwu (comedian, very necessary) Tu face idibia ( you don finish work be that).
I have to add that before you start to talk, make sure you dance to the tune of skelewu that should be blaring from the mighty speakers on stage

Am not suppose to tell you this for sure- you should know you have to settle the Ps (Police and Press) brown envelope things- Good! if ATI airs it live for you.

Apart from the T-shirts, drinks and snacks, please also provide some money for the crowd no matter how small, call it anything but transport money will be most appropriate, share for them at the end of the day for you certainly will need them again because to really consummate your heroism you will have to repeat the entire process, at least one more time, in a bigger venue now, probably you build an entirely new stadium.

Again, sorry, I missed a word in the heading, it should actually read thus:
HOW TO BECOME A MEDIOCRE HERO IN NIGERIA.

Are you a learner?

Alone you pulled through, few aids, but no real help.
Now you sit on money heap, so high, you raise your right hand you crack the moon.
You rocket to the sun to press your angel tailored suit, balm with cologne, whose emission distorts the thinking pathway of the wretched of the earth. They see you pass and they think you God, your word law and your presence awesome.
Of course, you do not notice them; for you walked on no one’s help to be here.
You are a self made man; they too can, if they can only try harder, you wish evil for no man.
Everyman has to earn his penny if it’s from your purse; haba! It was a long walk here
It’s no fault of yours, how they feel- suppressed, oppressed, intimidated -by the things you do, it is not intentional; all you wanted do was have fun and enjoy self after the suffers. Besides you have never acted with intent to harm any human, and you will never commit such act of madness. Yours cars, your houses, your possessions, words can’t describe and the cameras are still snapping
Mr. Self Made Man, walk joor! Na work you still they learn. I say you be learner!

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