My Most Memorable Book!

                       Chike  And The River,  by Chinua Achebe 

Iquo Eke is a performance poet who enjoys promoting her native Ibibio culture through the spoken language. Although she is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, she has done so much as a folklore poet and writer.
As a teenager, Iquo found that she could express her emotions better through writing down her experiences, with a hope of sharing them with somebody someday. No matter what challenge she passed through, she had an easy getaway in books, which has paid off for her.
 Chinua Achebe’s ‘ Chike and the River’ remains Iquo’s most memorable book because  reading the book gave her a first time knowledge about the River Niger!  Iquo enjoyed the pockets of short adventurous experiences narrated in the book and she has continued to bear in her memory, Achebe’s power of narratives which are always engaging and entertaining. 
Chinua Achebe’s ‘Chike and the river’ remains fresh with me, first because of the simple diction and a  narrative pattern that makes  the reader  want to find out what comes next.
When I read the book, somehow I felt as though I had known so much about the river and I enjoyed the eulogies. But then, I thought I also almost felt like Chike who was quite   inquisitive.
A summary of the book is about how 11 year-old Chike longed to cross the River Niger to the city of Asaba, but his challenge was that crossing by the ferry would cost him six pence, an amount he did not have. However, with the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarked on a series of adventures to enable him get to Asaba.
The adventure was not an easy one for Chike who got exposed to a number of experiences that were both thrilling and terrifying. But for me, that was the fun and beautiful memory of reading about a child who was exploring based on his quest to get to the root of a thing.

In some ways, young people still live the experience of Chike, showing how vast Achebe’s thoughts were even in 1966 when he wrote the book. The strength of the story was the fact that the author gave attention to every detail, like talking about Chike’s experience of having to eat his first skewer  of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket.

The Crucifixion of Abada!

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Women and fashion; whichever way you look at it, they certainly share a bond. The latest in African designs made with Ankara fabrics have touched the pride of good old Abada material (also called Hollandaise), which was used as wrapper; the once highly-placed fabric made in Holland.
Back in the days when Nigerian women bought Abada( particularly worn by women from Nigeria’s South-Eastern and South-South Regions) it was costlier than the other materials. The designs have names such as tomatoes, jumping horse, diamond, koso, twinkling star, and an endless list of other names coined by the women themselves.
As a material of honourable status, women who didn’t earn so much, worked hard and made savings to be able to  afford one, and they continued in that cycle if they belonged to women’s meetings and clubs where they had  to buy any of the Abada designs as  aso-ebi.

For those who couldn’t afford it at all, they were always ‘up in arms’ against their poor husbands. It even prevented some of them from attending town meetings, so as to save their faces from shame. Back in the village, it was the greatest honour that could be done an old mother, even if they were only going to use them at festive periods.

How Long It Takes To Dress Up

It is believed that men spend very short time to dress up. For the women, wow! Some women are described as having to spend as long as an hour or more just to dress up. Whatever the excuses are, it has become habitual with some people who now find it difficult to make a change.
Picture source: NairaLand.

Many husbands, including those who profess so much love for their wives, have had to at one time or the other, get annoyed or disappointed with their wives for spending so much time trying to dress-up for an occasion.

While some women would naturally take their time to get prepared for an outing, some who may be time-conscious actually get delayed if they have to tie a gele (women’s headgear) or wear their make-up properly.

While some husbands have decided not to nag any longer about the time their wives spend on dressing-up, they have resorted to ensuring that the women begin to get dressed for at least 30 minutes to an hour before they would go for bath. For some women it is good idea, but some others think that the men are merely exaggerating.

In summary however;

There’s a general view that a lot of women ‘waste’ time trying to create attention for everything they put on.
Some may be done with dressing up, but end up spending hours battling with their gele.
Some women get so annoying with the dressing-up issue that their husbands leave them behind for occasions, yet they never change from that habit.
Some men have had to call off attending events when they consider that so much time has been wasted by their wife’s dressing time.
 Some people think that there shouldn’t be a fuss over the matter because women can learn to begin dressing up earlier or they waste all the time and meet up the event much later.
What do you think?


Must An Only Child Be Indulged?

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Mothers! The milk of love running in their veins makes them want to do everything possible to ensure that their children are fine. But then, would a mother plan to raise a naughty child or would she desire to have a child that would make her proud in future? Let’s examine these scenarios:

Shimite got married at 32, and waited for six years for a child. While still hoping to get pregnant, she was entrapped in an ‘apparent war situation’ with her in-laws. The first two years were deceptively pardonable, but not for the years that followed. She dragged her husband to see every medical professional that was recommended by family and friends.

When after six years the child they all waited for came, he was treated with every care like an egg that could get broken. From her in-laws to her family members, they pampered Shimite’s son. He got everything he asked for and would cry most of the times for no reason.  When he eventually had to go to school at age four, Shimite virtually attended school with him. Now aged seven and in school Basic 2 class, the child would rather bully his classmates than learn.

Begging for Charity: Who Benefits From The Proceeds?

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Over the weekend, we went to drop off a family member at the Murtala muhammed International Airport. While we were taking down the luggage before the car would leave for the parking lot,   I wasn’t surprised to see two ladies begging under the guise of ‘voluntary service for charity’, because it’s common sight in Lagos. 

Owambe, Aso-Ebi and the Politics of dress!

A collection of  events photographs taken by Alakija


Jide Alakija’s quest to document a trend in Nigeria’s culture which is fast becoming a heritage, made him explore the creative curve of his practice in commercial photography. Brought before his audience as an art exhibition that held at CCA Lagos, Alakija  a mechanical engineer, showcased his works of choice photographs of  people in  aso-ebi  at different Owambe  parties.
                                             Isi and Ngozi 2011, one of Alakija's collections

Beyond the beauty of an outward show of solidarity among kinfolks when they share in the euphoria of aso-ebi    (family outfit), there are harsh realities of the politics embedded in the act if and when a family member does not partake in the show.
                                                Samples of aso-ebi; head gears(top), and
                                                 traditional tops and wrappers(below)

Though a Nigerian in the Diaspora ( lives in London), Alakija  is able to, with his understanding,  look at situations when tension becomes high if  a family member fails to join in the trail to making a statement  with  aso-Ebi.   He says, “As Africans, we   are part of large and close-nit families. When things happen in our families we have to obey the culture, so you can now see how tension may be induced when aso-ebi  is introduced into the culture.”

Looking at the uncomfortable part of the highly celebrated aso-ebi  culture, Alakija  said a family member would usually come under scrutiny should he not buy an aso-ebi  for a marriage or funeral ceremony, even if he is passing through financial difficulties. The politics behind it sees it strictly as a refusal to support the family at such occasion.

 Considering the other side of the aso-ebi  coin, Alakija  says the politics here is that  people who  have taken part in buying an aso-ebi  would  feel welcome to an event  even if  they were not  officially  invited.  In this case, the aso-ebi becomes a sort of identity.

Alakija  also looks at a future of this aspect of the  Nigerian culture, that in time it may evolve into an  elaborate trend  in terms of flamboyance and may enjoy a comfortable place in the Diaspora for reasons of mixed marriages and mobility. “In a place like the UK where there are about 1 million Nigerians who have settled there, they want to introduce aspects of their culture like the Owambe parties which goes with the aso-ebi, the drums and all that. It simply says something about their identity,” he said.

For Bisi Silva, founder of the CCA, Alakija’s choice of looking at this aspect of a culture that is associated  with Nigerians and which is  gradually pushing into other West African countries, is highly appreciated because people are  given opportunity to  look at  a wide collection,  and would  definitely analyse it in their individual understanding.

From the eyes of fleeting colourful moments, Alakija captures culture and makes historic statements about treasures of a people.


Super Story's 'Suara' talks on his love for drumming before acting!

Suara( Adeyemi Lawrence)

Anyone who watched one of Nigeria's most captivating soaps on television, Super Story, 2002,  would conclude that  the lead character Suara ( Born Adeyemi Lawrence) would talk so much about acting before any other area of the arts. But that was not the case when I had a discussion with him.

It’s Hurting More To Be A Child Today

    Patrick, paraded  by the Lagos Police Command for the kidnapping 
 and murder of  a seven year-old boy.

Ordinarily, the things people experience  while growing up, impact on them through stages in life. Children should have experiences that would give them good memories; as this could help them grow up as better people.

For as late as the year 2000, children were not exposed to so much horror as is happening today. I do not want to feel depressed by reeling out an endless list of attacks children face today, but I just want  to mention a few disturbing ones that happened lately.

I had cause to do most of my work at home yesterday and took time to follow the news update on Channels television. The news on attacks carried out by some adults on children was like bile!

The Lagos Police Command, paraded one Mr Patrick Onyeka,25 years old, for kidnapping and murdering an innocent child who was only seven years old. The news report had it that the murdered child, Ayuba, innocently played into the next house where Patrick lives with his brother. Rather than let the child be, Patrick decided to make quick money by kidnapping him for ransom.

Worried that the child would identify him if he eventually released him, Patrick murdered Ayuba by strangulating him. To cover his evil deed, he went on to dispose of the body into an empty soak-away pit about some 200metres from their house in Ikotun area of Lagos. Wickedly, Patrick still wrote a note to the child’s family, demanding for a N5 million naira ransom.  Patrick’s arrest was facilitated by the help of his brother who identified the handwriting on the note as his. Patrick is in Police custody and would be charged to court, but little Ayuba is stone dead and gone forever.

Earlier in the week, one Mr Christopher Ogbeun, aged 49 years, and a school principal in Kogi State, decided to torture his 10 –year- old son Stephen, by subjecting his body to multiple burns with a hot pressing iron.  Mr Ogbeun claimed that his son destroyed a WAEC approval letter and denied knowledge of it.

The only way that Mr Ogbeun felt his son should pay for his 'sin' was for him to plug the pressing iron to an electricity supply point and torture him by pressing the hot iron against parts of his body. The boy screamed in agony until the police came to his rescue. Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Command, Muhammed Kastina, was physically aggrieved by the attack from a father to his own son. In condemning the crime, the CP said: “This attack is sad in the light of the fact that those who should protect and love children are the ones turning around to attack them.”

Mr Ogbeun has been taken into police custody while his son is writhing in pains at a hospital. Staying beside Stephen’s hospital bed is his sister who is also a child.

Much earlier in the year, still in Kogi State, the Commissioner of Police, also paraded one Mr Hosea Folorunsho, 48years. He was arrested on allegations of killing his four-month-old son, Sunday Folorunsho for ritual purposes. Under police surveillance he was made to exhume the corpse of the baby which was taken away for autopsy. The community members who watched as he dug up the dead child, booed him  and rained curses at him. While Mr Folorunsho was taken into police custody, baby Sunday remains dead!

The cases of attacks on children by adults have become overwhelming and one begins to imagine the kind of memories that these children would carry into adulthood. The times have long gone when mothers would entrust care of their children in the hands of neighbours who were home while the children returned from school.

During those periods, just one older child would lead a number of other children back from school. And as they moved people would show concern here and there, until they got home. That is no more the case, as children even come under attacks while being taken to school in secured cars. Even if children don’t ask why openly, I’m sure they would be wondering why some adults have decided to ‘toy with their innocent world.'
One is left to wonder how fast some people have decided to turn into beasts and forget that children have a right to life, and a happy one too!



Show Me A Perfect Spouse

People dream big of the ‘perfect’ person they want to get married to.  Even when during courtship they see some shortcomings in the person, they carry on with the hope of ‘changing’ the person to adopting the ideal attitude to things when they get married. Funny enough, some people begin to get frustrated all too soon when they don’t see the desired change in their spouses.

Hello, Where Are You?

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 Spouses, parents, friends, business partners and several others generally ask the simple question ‘Where are you?’ when talking to loved ones or business partners over the phone. Several times too, rather than give a simple reply of where they are, some people tell lies about their location at that point in time, because they believe that with the mobile phone it’s not easy to tell where a person is.

Over the weekend, I had a very engaging period, though it had to do with work, but I found time to also relax. While chatting with some people with whom I shared a table at an event in Freedom Park on Broad Street, Lagos, something caught my attention. Simple, it was a telephone discussion.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I wasn’t like trying to eavesdrop,  because I was enjoying the discussions with two other people when the person on the phone kept emphasising that he was still somewhere in Minna! ‘But how could he say was in Minna, when we were all sitting right here in Freedom Park, Lagos?’ I thought to myself almost aloud.

With a glass-full of orange juice in my hand, I managed to push the plate of ‘small chops’ in front of me closer and turned faced him better. Don’t worry about the position I tried to adjust to because the young man was not perturbed. He continued in his discussion with the person on the other side. He spoke with this angelic voice, full of promises, and concluded that he would be back to Lagos within the week ahead. He had this broad but annoying smile on his face as he said ‘bye’!

He obviously knew what I had in mind, so before I could say a word, he started his confessions. He explained that he had to tell that ‘small lie’ about where he was because he ought to have given the person some money two weeks earlier.  ‘But should that warrant your lying that you were in Minna while you are in Lagos?’ I asked him. He replied to say it was no big deal saying he was not in Lagos, ‘after all, mobile phone helps everyone tell lies about their locations’, he concluded. He argued that spouses tell lies about their location over the phone, just as employees do to their employers. In his own case, he wasn’t going to ‘turn a new leaf’ any time soon, because he had once been ‘caught in the act’.  While telling a lie that he was in Apapa, the person he was lying to was right behind him in Ojota area of Lagos. He was highly embarrassed no doubt, but he sees it as something everybody does now. What do you think?

This Beggar Has A Choice!

 My encounter with a beggar at a busy motor-park in Lagos made me conclude that the saying ‘a beggar has no choice’ was not entirely true!

One sunny Sunday after the close of Church service, all I had left in my pocket was N150 and would need N100 for my bus fare home. The N50 naira left could go for anything at the end of the day, but as I placed my head on the seat in front of me, I dozed off. A gentle tap on my upper arm woke me up but I didn’t know the person who tapped me. The ageing man spoke in impeccable English Language to me. He told me a brief ‘history’ about his sour experience of marriage. His estranged wife left behind two young children and the younger one had been admitted in a hospital, he said.

This ‘beggar’ as I quietly referred to him in my heart, looked at me straight in the eyes and said: “I ‘m sorry to be out here soliciting for assistance and inconveniencing people, but I hope my child gets well so that I don’t continue to constitute a nuisance.”  This grammar was too much for my head that hot day, so I dipped my hand into my pocket and brought out all I had. I took away the N100 that was needed for my bus fare and handed over the N50 to the man.  Rather than take the N50 and at least show some appreciation, he looks away, looks back at me and responds with a question for me: “Is this all you can give after telling you my sad tale?” Not done, he continues: “How many N50 naira notes would make up what I need urgently? Just do well to add the N100 naira to it.”  

I looked around to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. I looked at him and almost chopped off the hand he brought forward to collect the money I had extended to him. I didn’t know when I burst out in anger shouting, “So you had a choice and decided to come and disturb people like me?”  All so good, the bus was fully occupied and the driver just zoomed off, cutting the long story short!


Ten Cities: Mark Of New Dawn In Public Spheres And Club Cultures !

 Goethe Institut Kenya is making the city of Lagos rock at the Freedom Park, Broad Street today, as it draws from across 10 cities traversing Africa and Europe, a total of 20 musicians, 23 authors, 10 radio journalists, 10 photographers and one artists’ group to showcase club cultures as it is experienced in their environment.

Paternity Swindle (#2): So I was Only A Foster Dad To ‘My Daughters’ (True-Life)!

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After publishing the first issue concerning paternity controversy,read here, I got a collection of seven related reports. Rather than share it as a diary, I decided to share each one at a time so that I will not have to take out any important information from these real-life  bitter experiences that the victims want other people to learn from.

The congratulatory message that I received in my e-mail box changed my life beyond what I could ever have imagined. I screamed from the bedroom to the living room calling my wife’s attention to the message that would change our lives forever.  A multinational company has just offered me a job and the package was ‘juicy’.  Besides the ‘fat’ pay packet, they also offered me a brand new car, a befitting housing allowance and a health insurance to cover my family of four.

My daughters aged six and three years respectively, are the love of my life. Even when I did not have a good-paying job, I did everything that I could to make them comfortable. They loved me to the point of envy from my wife, but ‘who cares’, I always asked jokingly each time she complained of not getting my full attention like I give to ‘my angels’.

Dragging my wife to see the message for herself in my ‘inbox’, we hugged each other and thanked God. With my wife’s support, I started putting together my documents as requested by the office. I was to see the Human Resources Manager by 9am the next day. Done with all that I needed for the morning, we had dinner. While the children went to bed, my wife and I planned for our new life. We had managed our little financial resources all these seven years of our married life, and this was the time to enjoy ourselves.

The next day at the office, I was directed to the staff hospital where my blood sample was taken for some tests. My daughters were also required to do the test, so they had to come around on the second day. I started work immediately and all was going on well until two weeks later when the doctor at our staff hospital called me to come for our test results. I noticed that the doctor didn’t look ‘so cool’ like I noticed him to be the first time. My heart raced through several thoughts when he asked me to sit down for some chat.

Even though I looked at the doctor helplessly like a child in need of some assurance, he brought out my family file and said the shrilling words “ the test results show that your daughters are not your biological children, did you adopt them?” I didn’t understand what the doctor was saying until I recovered from what I though was a ‘break in transmission.’ I was soaked in my sweat like someone beaten by the rain.

The doctor calmed me down and explained everything to me; he said that ‘my daughters’ had the same DNA, but that it was different from mine. It simply meant that it was a calculated act. I married my wife following the due process of traditional marriage, the Court Registry marriage and a Church wedding. I have never experienced failure with my male organ, so I was speechless.

It was a matter beyond my wife and I, as the doctor advised me to come with at least a member each from our families for a first- hand explanation to them. It was the end of work for me that day; my body felt heavy and my head pounded like there was a wrestling competition going on inside there. My heart ‘bled profusely’ as I made my way back home.

Come Away; Poverty's Catching (By Jumoke Verissimo)

Writing is a part of Jumoke Verissimo, not just because of her  academic background in Language and Arts, but more  because of a passion she developed ove time. And quite significant about her works, is the fact that she expresses strong ties to her environment. She has featured in several literary events where she read from her books and did presentations of her poems.
 Book excerpts.

The houses in Bashir Compound were built with mud, so closely together they constellated the few acres of land on which they stood. Neighbours could hear the conversations being held in the next house without listening too hard, and sometimes they threw greetings to one another without leaving their rooms. The walls of every house in the compound were pasted with Portland cement. Several years' layers had given the walls a blend of auburns and dull whites. Some houses in the compound wore thin coats of paint, but this did little to cover the poor plastering or the scrawling made with charcoal by little children learning to write.

The landlords were great-grandchildren of Amidu Bashir, a settler who died several years back as an Aso-Oke fabric merchant. They "renovated" the place annually, making the compound appear like makeshift hen houses built by rural farmers. The roofs, made of second-hand rusty iron sheets from the black market, had so many holes in them that the sun shone through and dotted the floors. The landlords replaced the roofs only if the holes were big enough for rats to pass through.

The residents earned barren wages. They were people who had migrated to the city from rural areas looking for work, illegal immigrants from neighboring countries, students who couldn't afford better accommodation. The area was strategically buried with the dreams of many in the heart of the bustling city of Lagos, and only those who sought poverty or were a victim of it found their way to Bashir Compound.

I lived in building number nine. It was a house with twelve small rooms divided by a very narrow passage into six on each side. The structure of my house and the others like it were referred to as "Face-me-I-face-you," because the doors of the rooms were directly opposite each other. Usually, every Face-me-I-face-you was expected to have a communal toilet and bathroom, which all the rooms in the house shared, but we had no toilet or bathroom in Bashir Compound. We bathed in a stall made from corrugated iron sheets carefully arranged into a box. The box leaned against an abandoned building that stank always because it was used as a garbage dump and a burial yard for malnourished children and the aborted babies of teenage girls. When the Sanitation Officers demolished our toilet, we started throwing our shit in the abandoned building, too.

Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery Opens In City Mall

The Butterfly (metal) by Deola Balogun

                                                    Valley of Abundance by Biodun Omolayo
The Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery  which was opened on December 15th, 2012, at The City Mall Lagos, makes it an  exciting addition  to the number of art exhibition halls in Lagos. The art exhibition hall is strategically situated on the 2nd floor of the mall, where the Cinema, the Swe Bar, and the Magnolia Hall  are.
The large exhibition hall was opened with a group exhibition tagged "REMOVING THE VEIL" where the works of Deola Balogun, Olotu Oyerinde, Vero Ekpei, Bede Umeh, Soji Yoloye, Kehinde Osho, Juliet Maja-Pearse, Abdulrasaq Ahmed, Joseph Ezeh, Francis Denedo, Adulkareem Fatai, Christopher Alkali, Mathew Adedoyin, and Biodun Omolayo featured. The collection of works on display totalled 20 sculptural pieces and 47 paintings.

Engr. Omoba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon (OYASAF), an art  patron of note, was the first collector to arrive at the opening while Mr Sammy Olagbaju (VASON Chairman), Engr.& Mrs. C A Aladewolu (Chairman, TECO GROUP), Pastor Seyi Oladimeli (C.E.O of Church Management Consult),Zaki Azee and other dignitaries also graced the opening of the exhibition.
                                                 Removing The Veil, By AbdulRasaq Ahmed

The exhibition is still running till this weekend, giving a great opportunity to people for viewing the collection of works on display.                                               
After the exhibition, other artists are expected to have regular shows at the venue.
The City Mall Art Exhibition Hall will also host the popular YOUNG AT ART CHILDREN ART WORKSHOP that is organised regularly round the year by  Biodun Omolayo.


How To Avoid Stress Over Choice Of Wedding Dress

 A bride’s wedding dress is always a centre of attraction during the wedding ceremony, so, a bride wants the best selection for her choice. 

Visually-impaired Fulbright Scholar sees wealth in Highlife Music And The African Identity

Dr. Richard Smith, Fulbright Scholar and Music Lecturer

Dr. Richard Smith is a Fulbright scholar and lectures in the music department of the United Nations University in New York, United States of America. Teaching inter-disciplinary arts and cross-cultural education, he has carried out advanced research works as he takes students in African classical music. 

Modern Day School of Art Promotes Professionalism and Entrepreneurial Growth in Arts

For purposes of a more professional approach and wider opportunities for commerce in the practice of arts in Nigeria, the Modern Day School of Art has packaged a new creative learning curriculum as a finishing touch in the study of arts.
Adenrele Sonariwo, one of the lead team members, said that the school’s programme is billed to take off on  January 7,  at the Whitespace, Ikoyi, Lagos, with weekly practical classes in six core areas of Creative Writing; Fashion and Designs; Photography; Web Design and development; Visual Arts, and Multi-platform Communication.
Sonariwo described this new infusion to art development in Nigeria as foundation that would bring about the much desired fresh angle in the total outlook of arts.  “This programme will open new opportunities for an unrivalled growth in art profession in Nigeria, because networking will be at the heart of everything here. As practical trainings take place, the system will at the same time be galvanizing the entrepreneurial opportunities available in all sectors of the economy.”
Building its strategy with resources from within the sector, renowned artists like Don Berber, Ituen Bassey, Tolu Ogunlesi, Victor Ehikhamenor, Omoyemi Akerele, and Mudi Yahaya would among many others, be taking the students in the diverse areas of the arts.

Paternity Swindle: Having Another Father After 30years? (True- life Story)

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 As I share this experience, my heart is so blank. I don’t know if I should consider it the handiwork of destiny, or if it is just wickedness from my mother. Whatever it is, this is the ‘hot spot’ I find myself now and I am considering several decisions to take.

2013 Has Come. Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! It feels great to know you are there. From me to you, it is best wishes for 2013. The year 2012 was eventful with new friendships and experiences. Loads of  appreciation to all of you who took time out to visit my blog, you impacted my world.  I hope for a better time ahead.