Sunday, December 31, 2006

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Ode to my diary

I have kept a diary on and off for the greater part of my life. It has helped me through times when I was down, in its pages are recorded my triumphs, despairs, hopes and plans. It has followed me through death in the family, new love, heart break and life changing moves. It has calmed me down like no anti-depressant ever could(not like I've ever tried anti depressants, a diary is way cheaper!).
Here is a poem from my diary entry for 14/08/2003 in which I tell how I feel about my diary.

Ode to my diary

Darling diary, best companion
At least for those without a shrink.
It can't be snide, it won't complain,
But still it has the same effect and
For a fraction of the cost at that!!!
ATO, 18/08/2003

Thursday, December 28, 2006


The moment I first set eyes on him,
I knew he was the one for me.
He whispered sweet nothings to me,
brought me flowers every other day
and beads to adorn my graceful neck.
I had visions of a wonderful future with him.
We would have children together,
He would cherish me and be my Prince.

Many years down the line,
I smile a bitter smile, because
my romantic dreams turned out a mirage.
They have become nightmares,
before my very eyes.

He slaps me around and tells me I am no good.
He rapes me every time he is drunk, which is often,
and tells me I’m lucky to have him.
A useless piece of shit like me deserves no better.

I cannot bear to look at myself in the mirror,
I have become so haggard,
He makes me feel like dirt, and I wonder why,
why do I stay with him?
God hates divorce, I justify.
It is my fate in life, my destiny,
God knows best.

My friends are deserting me,
after years of telling me to stop taking shit from him.
“You deserve more than this" they counselled.
"You need to stand up for your rights,
for your sake and for your children.”

I tell them, “ who will take me if I leave him?”
Look how unattractive and haggard I am,
I have no job, no chance of survival without him.”
I have to stick with him, he is my fate.

They force me to look at pictures
I would rather never see again.
Of myself as a beautiful young woman,
the toast of the land,
for whose hand all the men were vying.
Alas, that is no longer real to me.
I can hardly believe there was a time like that.

I have now become a by-word,
People shake their heads in pity when they see me pass.
“God forbid that your fate turns out like that of…..”
is the standard prayer for new brides.

I have no control over my children,
I think my 20 year old is a yahoo boy,
and my Precious is somewhere in Italy…..
The little ones tell me “Mummy, you’re useless.”
“ Please don’t follow us into town.”
“ We don’t want people to know you are our mother.”

I know that I deserve what is happening to me.
….don’t I?
I know that there is nothing I can do about it.
Or is there?

My name is Nigeria.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas


would like

to wish you all a

very Merry Christmas and

a Happy New Year in advance!!!!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

A reminder about life's fleetingness

Reading about the death of Saparmurat Niyazov causes me to dwell once again on the fleetingness of our human existence. Good or evil, we will all end up the same way, even those who think they are invincible like this man. Since death is the only certainty in our lives, why do people misuse their short time on earth?

I remember the first time I heard about Saparmurat Niyazov, the self named Turkmenbashi(Father of the Turkmeni) of Turkmenistan on Russia's NTV station, I was shocked into bursting out in laughter.What else can one do but laugh about someone who renamed the names and days of the week after himself and his family members, who made it a crime to wear a beard and who imposed a fee of thousands of dollars on any non Turkmeni who wanted to marry a woman from Turkmenistan. You can read more about his absurd reign in this Sunday Times Article.

Truly the evil that men do does live after them. IBB, take note.

Tis the season for giving.......

Tomorrow will be the last working day of 2006 for me. I've been looking forward to this day for months. God knows I need the rest.
I'm also looking forward to being one of the few people at work tomorrow, everyone has been in a chatty mood the whole week and it has been hard getting anything done.

Someone brought some cakes to work yesterday and everyone gathered in his office, steaming mugs of coffee in hand. As we chatted, we somehow got to the topic of Christmas presents. Most of my colleagues are men, and listening to them and mentally comparing them with my male friends and family members, I decided that the following types of men exist:

Type A- its probably a new relationship, or marriage and he is still very in love; this is your time, enjoy it. You'll get romantic gifts and well prepared surprises. Be sure to encourage him by also being innovative in your giving. Don't damp his enthusiasm by giving him a pair of boxers or a book every birthday or Christmas.

Type B- you have been married or going out for several years now and he has learnt by trial or error that perfumes and cosmetics are a no go area - you didn't appreciate that jasmine smelling poison(a.k.a. oriental perfume) he got you two years ago and could barely hide your disappointment over the purple lipstick he thought you were sure to love. So you get the topaz stone you liked(the first present you appreciated) in every form it can be glued - as necklaces, headties, glasses name it, for every birthday or Christmas until you feel like screaming. Or alternatively presents that cannot go wrong, like a gift certificate from Amazon.

Type C - doesn't think about Christmas gifts until 24th December. Then he runs around the high street wild-eyed like he has just been bitten by a rabid dog, desperate to get a present at the last minute, any present. So you get presents like a green and blue bag(you once mentioned that you liked mixing colours) or red eye pencil ( you are black) with a sheepish grin when you open the gift with one eyebrow raised and " I thought I would encourage you to explore your unknown depths".

Type D - he is practically minded, so be prepared to get all the household items that other people take for granted as presents. A blender for your birthday, an iron for get the point.

A, B, C or D, don't we just love our men???

Monday, December 18, 2006

A stroke of GOODLUCK for Yar’adua, same same for Nigeria

After numbly following the events of last weekend- namely the PDP presidential primaries and subsequent naming of the running mate, I realize that the reality of Nigeria will not adapt itself to our desires.

While I do not know anything about Yar’adua, apart from hear’ say, and all I know about Goodluck is that his wife was detained for money “laundry”, the mere fact that such relatively obscure people can win the ticket of the ruling party in a country where we all know that personality-cult rules the day shows that something is amiss.

My problem with the duo is however not that they are obscure, or that Yar'adua is Northern or in failing health, or even with the Jonathan Family laundry business(Lets watch and see if EFCC will let them be now that Oga has been annointed by feedeefee). What bothers me is the attempt to dramatise an obviously undemocratic process in order to present it as free, fair and transparent. Yeye dey smell. This must be a bitter lesson for people like Duke, reiterating once more the fact that "he who dines with the devil must have a very long spoon".

That said, its’ not over until its over. It is up to whatever credible parties there are(I refuse to name names, by their fruits we shall know them) to field credible candidates, and up to Nigerians to refuse to be imposed on. United we stand, divided we fall. I fear though that it is only when personal interests are at stake that we are ever stirred out of the lethargy that has fallen on us collectively like a babalawo’s jinx!

Until we, as Nigerians get up and say enough is enough. Until we realize that we deserve much, much, much more than we are getting, until we get to the point of no return, when we are prepared to die for what we believe in- indeed until we believe in anything other than in our personal comfort- we will continue to be led by our noses.

On another note, some people claimed that Goodluck was named running mate in order to pacify MEND- obviously MEND is not as easily satisfied as some thought as the latest blasts show. Or is MEND just being used as an excuse for the lame-duck pair that PDP will attempt to foist on us come May 2007?

I can understand the feelings of those who say the best way out would be for the country to break up, but I am certain that while such a move might lead to peace and progress in some parts of the country, it would lead mainlyto violence and destruction on an unprecedented scale, even for Africa.

The younger generation of Nigerians needs to put tribal, class and religious affiliations aside and look for a way forward together. We need to violently yank apart the string that the puppeteers are using to conduct this puppet theatre that Nigeria has become(or am I kidding myself and it was always so?).
It might not be perfect, but we have to work with what we have. Or give up and look for another homeland. Alas, while you might succeed in getting another Pali, there will never be any place quite like home.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Mmm, out of the blues, Donald Duke, the man who has wowed hearts and rekindled hope in Nigeria withdraws from the PDP primaries just hours after posting this on his blog- Eyes on the ball. IMO, something stinks here, and it sure ain't roses.......

Monday, December 11, 2006

My first love

The first time I set eyes on him, my heart did the jitterbug. I was at the home of my friend Tina, who was my roommate in UI’s Idia hall, during one of those long forced vacations, also known as strikes.

I was nearly eighteen, even stricter with myself than my parents had brought me up to be, thanks to my faithful attendance of the Redeemed church a few streets away from us, and a fellowship with like-minded youth in UI. I guess I must have been quite pretty, looking back, but as unbelievable as it sounds, at that time, a seventeen year old, I truly cared more about inward than outwards appearance. That is sadly not really the case with me anymore, lol.
So anyway, after chasing tons of boys away with a stern look and a steely “is that what your parents sent you here to do, to be chasing girls?”, I set eyes on Edward and knew at once that he was the guy for me. He was a very cool, handsome guy who worked as a DJ on Ray power FM next to his studies in Architecture in UI, every girl's dream-guy, my heart had betrayed my spirit. I was not happy about how I felt, I was not happy about it at all.

We exchanged pleasantries, and he was obviously as intrigued by me as I was by him, although I did not realize it at that time. When he left about 20 minutes later, we said see you around, and I knew that was the end of it. Guys like him did not fall for conservative born-again girls like me. And even if they did, I was not about to be unequally yoked with a dj. What would my friends and fellowship members say? Tina, who at that time was not born-again, smiled mischievously and said, "I have never seen Ed show so much interest in a girl before". Inwardly, my heart did a flip and I would have given anything for her observation to be true. But, I had not been born-again for years for nothing. I knew how to cast down imaginations, and that’s exactly what I did. To Tina, I said, “warrever, don’t such guys go around showing interest in every girl they meet?”. A dj, God forbid bad thing. I was holding out for my “spiri” brother who would guard my virginity even more jealously than even I, not some dj, who probably slept around just for fun.

A few days later, I returned to my home in another city and caught up in my normal affairs, tried to forget this guy. But it was difficult. I, who had before then lived for Don Moen, Ron Kenoly and co, and spurned had contemporary music as “wordly”, started to listen to Edwards programme on Raypower FM !!! My parents had given me a radio cassette player for my 15th (I think) birthday and every Monday and Friday after I met Edward, it was tuned to Raypower during the times when his show was on. I heard songs I had never heard before, by Babyface, Teddy Pendagrass etc. How my mother teased me. I guess deep inside she was grateful that I started to show some signs of normalcy. Every parent is happy to have a responsible and obedient child, but I went off the deep end, so much so that they could not believe I wasn’t hiding stuff from them.

When I stayed too long at fellowship, my father beat me, because he was sure I had been out with some boys. I also remember vividly, when one of the overzealous brothers in the lord decided to visit me at home, since I had not attended a certain new fellowship(I did not attend because there were no adults around and I was sure my parents would not approve). My father slapped me so hard, that I carried the imprint of his fingers on my face around for about three days. Many times I considered going bad, just to justify the constant beatings I got. Now, in retrospect, I wonder why the disbelief of my father was so great. Was he messing around with girls my age or what? Because he was so sure I was messing around.

Anyway, I am digressing from my story. About three months after I met Edward, the ASUU strike was called off and it was back to Ibadan for me. I wondered briefly if I would see him again, but as the stress of sharing a room with 8 others, and attending lectures with 500 people set in, I forgot all about my crush. Until I saw him again, about a month later. I had been visiting a friend at Queen’s Hall, when I saw him talking to this beautiful girl in front of the entrance. Again, my heart beat faster when I saw him, but, then I knew for sure that a guy like him could never be interested in a girl like me. After all, I reasoned, even if an unbeliever liked you, he was only after one thing, and that one thing, I could not give him.

So began my game of hide and seek on UI campus. It was a bizarre game, because he had no idea I was avoiding him. I knew that for the first time in my almost eighteen years, I was in serious danger of being controlled by my feelings for another person, instead of my very rational mind. I remember one night when Folusho, another roommate of mine had begged me into going to Trenchard hall with her. There had been a Lagbaja show in UI that day, and she hope to meet up with a guy she liked afterwards. I went with her, albeit disapprovingly. While she met up with her friend, I took a look around, and whom should I catch a glimpse of, but Ed. He was seeing another girl off to Queens. I quickly turned away, pretended like I did not know him, and scuttled off to a dark corner, under the shadow of the almond trees, where he could not see me. How it makes me laugh to remember.

This avoidance game ended about six months later, when Tina came to visit me in Idia(she had since moved to a flat off campus). She then told me Ed had been wondering why he had not seen me since we met at her place. It turned out he was waiting outside Idia Hall for her to come out with me - guys were not allowed in after 9pm(or was it 11pm? hey you Uites out there please correct me, I don forget lol). I walked outside with her, my heart drumming a beat in my ears. “Where have you been hiding?, he asked”. Nowhere, have just been so busy, you know us MBBS people dwell in another world, I answered jokingly”. As he wrangled a date with me by force, Tina stood by grinning from ear to ear with an I-told-you-so look in her eyes.
He had asked me out to have some chicken and chips with him at SUB on a day that coincided with the day I normally had fellowship. For several days afterwards, I struggled inside myself about missing fellowship or not, in the end, I decided for fellowship. Right now, I marvel at the self-control of my 17-year-old self. I have to sadly admit that my 30-year-old self does not possess such self-control.

So sha, I went to my fellowship, where I spent most of my time banishing thoughts of him from my mind so I could pray. It didn’t work too well is all I can say. I got back to my room to find a note from him. He had been and had waited and gisted with my roommates. Four of them had been in at the time and they had all liked him so much. Mercy, my bubbling roommate scolded me for having bailed out on a date with such a fine guy. “Marin, you and this your fellowship, this guy is a really nice guy, don’t miss such a cool guy because of your born again nonsense o”.

Two days later, when I could no longer stand thoughts of him creeping up at odd moments, like when I was dissecting the thigh of God-only-knows-whose cadaver in anatomy, I decided to take the bull by the horns and pay him a visit in his room at Indy. If he was not there, I could always visit one of the brothers from fellowship or something. I got to his room and found that he was out. Disappointed, I decided to go back to my room, but for some reason, took a totally odd route. Normally when walking from Indy to Idia, it was easier to go via Zik Hall, not the PG Hall route that I had taken. I met him on the way. This was the first occurrence of what we liked to think of as evidence that our hearts communicated with each other. He had been going out with his friends, when all of a sudden he felt like returning to Indy. He seemed very glad to meet me, although he was disappointed that I had stood him up.

I apologized for having missed our appointment due to fellowship, went back to his room with him, we had a nice chat and he introduced me to his roommates. After that day, he visited me quite often, we went for walks, sat in front of the lake at the science lecture hall at sunset, sat talking till late on the seats in the Idia Hall bus stop, watching the cotton club girls being dropped up by their sugar daddies etc, but we officially started dating the following Valentine’s day, when I returned from a February 14th special at fellowship to find two lovely hand made cards, from him. There was a guy who made the loveliest cards in UI at that time. I had admired so many of his cards, because he was in the same faculty with me and I saw his work quite often. This would be the first and last time I got any of those cards. They were really lovely. I still have them now, and anytime I take a trip down memory’s lane and look over all my cards, the same emotions that surged through my breast that February so many years ago still surge over and over again.
That is the magic of first love.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What is love?

What is love?

Is it telling someone you care about something you know they'll dislike, something that could cause a quarrel between you and them or even put an end to your relationship because you know that it is important that they know about it and clean up their act?

Or is it keeping quiet about volatile issues because you put yourself in their shoes and try to make excuses for them and to understand why they are the way they are and do what they do?

What is love?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Microsoft Haiku

I received this as a fowarded message zillions of years ago.

In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft Error messages with Haiku poetry messages.

Haiku poetry has strict Construction rules: Each poem has only 17 syllables; 5 syllables in the first, 7 in the second, 5 in the third. They are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight through extreme brevity.

Here are 16 actual error messages from Japan. Below, the essence of Zen.

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

The Web site you seek .
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist

Out of memory
We wish to hold the whole sky,
. But we never will.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on. .
You ask far too much.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared
Screen. Mind. Both are blank….

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.
This thousand-dollar screen dies
So beautifully.

With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao until
You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred
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