Born On A Tuesday -By Elnathan John(Extract)

Last month Malam Abdul-Nur stopped me at the
entrance of the mosque and asked me if there
was anything I wanted. First I was confused,
thinking that perhaps he wanted to scold me for
having done something wrong. But then his eyes
were relaxed and the lines of his forehead
weren’t so many and he wasn’t breathing hard
like he does when he is upset. Reluctantly I told
him I wanted a radio that has stations outside
Nigeria – something like the big one in Sheikh’s
office, but smaller, so that I can carry it around.
At some point it crossed my mind that perhaps
he wanted me to do something for him.

A few days after, he sent for me. He had just
moved into his own office at the back of the
mosque not far from where our rooms were.

The new office has white walls and tiles and a
small toilet inside. Since Sheikh has decided to
make Malam Abdul-Nur the headmaster of the
new school that is to be built on the land
adjacent to the mosque, the office will also be
the office of the headmaster. I wonder about
toilets that are built inside rooms. Will the
whole room not smell when someone uses the
toilet?

The office has a ceiling fan and a standing fan.
The curtains in the office are not the normal
type hanging from a rope nailed into the wall.
They close and open when you pull a rope that
has tiny plastic balls like a small chasbi. Alhaji
Usman’s workmen built the office and they
finished the construction and painting in only
three weeks. The same men will build the
school.

I chewed on my nails as Malam Abdul-Nur
picked up two small cartons from under his
table and made some notes in his exercise book.
I could not read what he wrote because it was
upside down from where I was sitting, but I
could see that he was writing in Arabic.
Malam Abdul-Nur did not raise his head from
his exercise book when he asked: “If Allah asks
you to do something, will you refuse?”

When I did not answer, he stopped writing,
dropped his pen slowly and massaged his
eyeballs. Then he looked at me.

“No,” I said, confused.

“Are you just saying it, or do you understand it,
what it means to do what Allah wants without
any question?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Are you ready to do what Allah wants when He
wants it, without asking why?”

“Yes.”

“Yes. I know you will.”

He pointed at the two cartons.

“Your radio is in the bigger carton. And because
of how well-behaved you have been since you
came here – I have been watching you; I see
everybody, those who are bad and those who
are good and those who are just here eating our
food – the smaller carton is also for you.”

“Thank you, Malam.”

“Will you be able to use the phone or do you
want me to show you how to set it up?”

“Let me try, Malam.”

“If you have any issues let me know.”
*
In my heart I should have been happy but I was
not. I have a funny feeling about Malam Abdul-
Nur, Allah forgive me. It is hard to describe. It is
a little bit of fear, a little bit of anger that he
doesn’t want Jibril to talk to me and a little bit of
confusion because I don’t know what is going on
in his mind. I cannot say that he is kind because
he slaps people when he is angry. I cannot say
that he is wicked because he also gives people
gifts. And Allah only judges what is inside a
person’s heart.

I came back into the room and saw Jibril
opening a small carton just like mine. He got a
phone too. I watched how he opened it and put
the SIM card inside it. Then I did the same with
mine.

Tuning the radio to find stations, I find BBC
Hausa and BBC English. I like BBC Hausa.
Especially the news. It is surprising that I learn
new Hausa words from a foreign radio station.
Comparing the news on BBC English to that on
BBC Hausa is interesting. Sometimes I do not
know a word in English and I hear it in Hausa
and I understand. Other times there is a Hausa
phrase I have never heard before, like Majalisar
Dinkin Duniya, which BBC English calls United
Nations. If I had not heard the English, I would
have translated it to mean ‘Association of
Joining the World.’ But then if I had heard
United Nations I would have called it Dinkakun
Kasashe in Hausa. Words turn into something
else when they change from Hausa to English
and back.

*Born on a Tuesday is published by Cassava
Republic

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How To Speak At Events(If You’re A Writer)

First, you have to get your fashion right. As an African writer, you don’t want to attend an event, where you’re billed to speak, wrapped in suit and tie. That is bad. Try the ever colourful dashiki. Make sure it’s oversize and starched. That way, no one will doubt your Africanism. For the love of you, you’re an African writer!

If you’re female, you must keep a natural hair(and always tell people why you keep a natural hair–something about being proud of Africa). It must be uncombed and left bare, and if there is any need to conceal that great hair, it must be with a big black hat–all real writers have this look. On a serious note, if you don’t have a hat as an African writer, you really need to answer the question of ‘to be or not to be.’

If you’re male and, bless godness, you’re bald–like me–there is no justification whatsoever as to why you shouldn’t keep long beards. Your literary success has a lot to do with the hair on your chin–and if they’re grey, the better for you

Please, never you make the mistake of arriving at the venue early. Nigerians hate people who keep to time. You’d appear to be jobless and idle. For the love of you, arrive late. Arrive when three persons may have given their speeches. When you meet your host, say something like “Sorry, I had a lot of things to fix. You know, this writing business is not easy.” He will understand. Everyone respects a busy writer.

When you’re called upon to give your speech, please thank your host for the awesome opportunity. This line works: “I want to thank Chief Lateef for this wonderful opportunity. He is a good man. I remember when I first met him….” You just have to be grateful. Nigerians can be very impatient with ungrateful people.

Before you go into your speech proper, acknowledge the last speaker. Agree with him. Say something like, “I totally agree with the last speaker. He’s saying the truth.” Go on to explain to the audience what the previous speaker said. Say “in a nutshell, this is what Mr. Emeka was trying to say.” That way, you’ll appear to be more brilliant than him.

If you’ve written a relatively unknown book, this is best platform to advertise it. “Like I said in page 57 of my book….” can be of help to you. But don’t ever truncate your hustle by quoting from the book. They may find the quote to be shitty. Just tell them to buy the damn book and discover the secrets they’ve been looking for. Keep them in suspense. Nigerians love suspense.

Don’t ever forget to intimidate the audience with your literary achievements. If you’ve ever won an unknown prize(probably handed to you by your village head), make sure you mention it. It doesn’t matter if the audience isn’t familiar with the prize. Say something like “….all these reminds me of when I won the Kakaki Prize for Literature some years back.” The audience will be thrilled to know that you’re an award-winning author. Don’t worry about the type of award. Award na award.

Don’t forget to also feed the audience with big grammar and how many literary heavyweights are your mentors. Instead of ‘pompous,’ use ‘peremptory.’ Nigerians love grammar. Oh, about your literary mentors, use a line like “you know, when I first met Achebe, he told me that…” Please, don’t forget this line, no matter what!

In whatever you say, never you be caught in the web of acknowledging God for anything. A writer shouldn’t believe in God. Even when you’re asked whether you believe in God, please, for the love of you, debunk any link between you and any supernatural being. You must know that atheism is more sexy than piety. A writer shouldn’t be pious.

When you must have given a very long speech and you notice that the audience is bored, pretend to be concluding. Say something like “what am I trying to say, in essence?” Or “In conclusion, I want to say that…” That way, you’ll get their attention and then, for the love of you, continue with your speech.

At the end of your speech, I permit you to be a narcissist and believe that your speech is the best thing that has happened to the audience since agege bread. Tell them to reach you on so so number, and maybe, they could win a copy of your boring book –come on, you don’t have to tell them that your book is boring.

Do all these and be happy. Writing is not easy, and writers should be respected — you are no exception.
Hugs.
———–
Follow on Twitter: @ChidiArua

Posted in Satire | 4 Comments

Who Will Tell The President?

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who will tell the President?
that we are not rodents
that live today
and be killed tomorrow

who will tell the president?
that we are not chaffs
to be blown away with ease
detached from our reality

who will tell the President?
that we are not flames;
today we burn, tomorrow put off
we are but worthless countrymen
for we are not your corrupt men
you care less for us
in our lands, we are not safe;
invaders run amok, unrestricted
they plunder our community
many a people, left homeless
many, fatherless
others, motherless

alas, i know our crime;
we don’t rear cows
we opted to farm on
our own land
we are not nomads;
moving about with impunity
you keep pushing us to the wall
we consider not reprisals
because we are honourable men
but the cow boys lack honour
in their hearts, a cow boy call the shots, after all
dear cow boy President
we are sad
pained
but you say nothing
you fly while we flee
from a preventable nemesis

alas, i know our crime;
we voted you instead of Jona
anybody but Jona, they said
you came but indifferent
who will tell the President?
that one day, we may ditch honour
and bring the reprisal
and throw a country into flames
and make the ROCK uncomfortable
for him to ASO
someone tell the President
that patience is eluding us
anarchy may ensue

sleep on brothers
sleep on sisters
sleep on countrymen
thou hast escaped this queer world
through a painful path
what is thy sin?
thou was a Nigerian!
what is thy sin?
thou was honourable;
working with thy hands
instead of stealing with thy pen
sleep on countrymen
for thou hast escaped this joke
joke;
a place where a cow boy ruleth.
sleep on
sleep well

——————————-
*In tribute to the fallen Enugu brethren, in the hands of Fulani Herdsmen(Terrorists)*

Follow me on Twitter: @ChidiArua

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The Girl-Next-Door

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Your mother didn’t tell you about love; you found it out, all by yourself.

You have always been in love with the Girl-Next-Door. When you were 14, she saved your ass in school by lending you her spare socks. Mr. Larry, your moustache-laden teacher, would have made meat of you when you decided to outgrow the school’s authority by refusing to wear socks.

You thanked her afterwards. You still remember because that was the first day you ever spoke to her. For the first time, you were close enough to notice the dimples that left a trail of beauty on her cheeks whenever she smiled.

Many a time, after school, you would stand by your window, which was directly opposite hers, a fortunate coincidence, and watch her sing while clutching a container of Talcum powder which served as her mic. She, unaware of your stare, would sing and dance round her room, much to your fancy.

A few months after you turned 15, the Boy-Next-Door moved in with his parents. He was the apocalypse. Soon, he became friends with her. You were jealous but it never truncated their friendship.

You stopped watching her from your window. You devoted your time to video games, hoping that it was a dream; that the Boy-Next-Door would be gone when you awoke. He wasn’t.

At your graduation, the Boy-Next-Door showed up. They took pictures together while you stared. You couldn’t tell how you felt about the Girl-Next-Door taking pictures with the Boy-Next-Door but you knew you couldn’t bear the sight. You urged your mother to take you home. She asked why but later obliged. On your way home, she asked why you weren’t as happy as other students. You said nothing. That night, you played Need for Speed while listening to one of Eminem’s angry songs.

You would later leave the neighbourhood for a faraway university. You imagined that she did too. You were too heartbroken to find out. She was never around whenever you came home for break.

Six years down the line, you would bump into her on one of your visits to the house. You both talked and laughed. You finally decided to tell her how you felt about her but just about that time, she reached for her bag and produced a hard piece of paper, on which her wedding invitation was printed, and handed it to you. You swallowed back your words. She was getting married to the Boy-Next-Door.

She made you promise to be there but you knew: on that day, you would be drinking your life away, wishing your mother had told you about love,
earlier…

Twitter: @ChidiArua

Posted in Flash Fictions | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Urimma -By Chimdimma Unodife

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I plea you come yet again
Lest on my bed I go insane
In my heart the night lasted for minutes
I guess a lovely insomnia made me sleepless
Here comes yet the day; though date gone by
I wished you would knock: yet you passed by
Then my pillow became wet of tears
And sleep cheated my red eyes.
I disappeared to meet you in saturn:
As the earth is worthless to have you borne

Oh!
It is night again!!!
Hurry now and come
Ere she opens her door for sun
When night love doth have no home
Urimma, far has time gone against coyness
I would annex my heart for your love
Only attend to my madness
A genuine madness of a loving dove

#Nne

I would love as long lingers it-
For the ishmelites to believe Christ
A breast I would admire for whole night
Then the whole day, your waist
A bright light would bang, that unruly sun,
on our curtain
To tell us it is down
I then tell him to visit the seas, hospitals and
hostels,
Where fishes should wake to swim, doctors to
dispense drugs and students for studies
After which to mortuaries,
To awake the sleepers

#URI

Give me your emerald breasts;
Where will but revive my rugged poetic hands
Give a touch to my deserted chest,
And rejuvenate my broken heart
Come open your lovely heart
So I build my romantic tent
Then we live and beget fruits,
That will save when no love nature knows.
                                   ****

                       ABOUT THE AUTHOR.
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Chimdimma Stanley Unodife is a young Nigerian poet. A lover of nature, and this manifested in his passion for romantic poems.
Unodife, who hails from Udi L.G.A of Enugu State, has writen many poems like: The Lazzy Students(2009), That We May Succeed(2011), The Government Elites(2014), Ibiono Dancer(2015), They Lie(2016), among others.
He currently resides in Uyo and hopes to obtain degrees in literature and government
.

Follow @ChidiArua on Twitter.

Posted in Poems | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

What You Won’t Say By Tomorrow.

“I have to see you everyday,” you say as the cab approaches your stop.

“Why?” She asks in between a smile.

You chuckle and blush as you try to cook a reason, far from the actual one.

“I just have to see you everyday.” You say again. Your lying machinery just failed you.

“Why?”

“I will tell you when next I see you.” You conclude as you alight from the cab.

The walk from the junction into your street would be lonely. You unclasp the headphone that has been around your neck all day, and veil your ears with it. Playing Praiz’ cover version of Rihanna’s “Stay,” you let yourself make meaning of the lyrics.

You think about her “why” and begin to rehearse, in your head, what you’d say to her. The things you’ve always wanted to say to her. You’d love to tell her:
That you don’t mind seeing her everyday.
That she’s the only person you feel this way about.
That seeing her everyday is good for your heart.
That 365 consecutive days with her would go nowhere near boring.
That she glows your fire.
That you think she’s the ONE.
That she’s your queen.
You think it all.
***
Just by the door to your apartment, you think of how you’re going to go about it and sigh. You cuss yourself because you know: tomorrow will come, you will see her and you will fail to tell her, yet again.

Posted in Flash Fictions | 2 Comments

Borno Boy.

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As soon as I stepped my feet in Borno, I knew I was cut out for blood. Let’s just say that I have always been at the fore front of bloody battles.

Three weeks earlier, I had been summoned by the General to lead a strike squad meant to retake a Military base that had been taken by Boko Haram in Galu.

“We believe you’re the best man for the job.” He said, studying my face.

“It’s an honour, Sir” I replied, concealing my humanity, my fear with a face that was neither a frown nor a smile.

I stood, saluted him, and headed for the exit.
“Soldier,” he called. I turned to him. “Don’t let your country down!”

***
I knew what it meant to serve the country. I had fought many battles for her; one year in Liberia, three in Serrie Leone and one more year in Somalia. All for my country.

Unlike previous occasions, the enemy was a domestic foe. It meant the task would be tough, and it was.
I spent only two days preparing my men with tactical talks. There was no time to waste; the fall of the base was already causing the country embarassment. A 30-man hit squad for a delicate mission that needed just about that number of men for its success. A re-enforcement would be sent a soon as we advance on the terrorists. That was the plan.

Captain Kabiru was my Lieutenant for this mission. He had bagged experience fighting the terrorists about a year earlier. His experience was vital, and he is one of the most intelligent officers I have ever met.

I had planned to re-take the base at nightfall but Captain Kabiru objected.

“I think it’s a bad idea, Colonel.”

“Why? Do you have a better one?” I queried.

He had a better one. The terrorists had a penchant for raiding villages during sand storms and he suggested we attack in the same manner. So, we took them by their own mischief.

****
We waited for about twelve hours for a sand storm. It was towards the evening. The soon was preparing to sleep after a whole day of natural wicked scourging.
With our eyes and nose well covered, we launched our attack. We plundered the base. Maiming everyone of them. To add more icing to the victory, we lost no soldier!

It would have passed for one of those unmemorable days of victory save for the demise of the young lad, whose face still appears in my dreams.

He emanated from nowhere. Dressed like the terrorists; military pants and deep green camouflage shirt. Unlike others, his head was unwrapped, revealing his curly hair. He was fair in a way that made him red. I could swear he wasn’t above 15.

He had no weapon. The wind seemed to have blown ominous sand into his eyes. Wherever he was running to, it appeared he was searching for an elusive safety. My son’s picture flashed in my mind and I felt compassion for him.

“Hold your fire!” I commanded.

I stepped over the sand-bag wall that acted like a shield. I call out to him. He stopped, studied me and charged towards me, all in split of seconds.

Few inches aways from me, he pulled out a knife from the back of his abdomen, and in what seemed like a forlorn thirst for blood, he increased his pace towards me. I was taken with rude shock. I didn’t flinch. I just stared.

I heard a gunshot. He jerked backward and fell with his back, tiny splashes of crimson decorated my face. With his last breathe, I heard him say:
“Allahu Akbar!”

@ChidiArua on Twitter.

Posted in Fictions | 4 Comments