Hard pressed on every side

To understand Nigeria, you must appreciate how religion colours every aspect of our lives and infiltrates nearly every conversation. There is a god of Nigeria, he is the carrot and the stick, and the final bs, that’s bus stop, by the way.

“Like soap that glides through wet hands, we use religion to evade the grasp of accountability time after time. From Aso Rock to Ajegunle, religion is courted, invoked, and brandished as if it is a determinant of GDP and as if, according to Karl Marx, it is the opium of the people!”

Tolu Talabi aka Naijarookie, doesn’t get enough credit for making me laugh. I hope you’ll laugh as well, and if you’re like me, untangle the many levels of ‘spirituality’ unfolding in his tale. Enjoy!

 

Originally posted on Nigerian Newcomer

Most of the businesses in Nigeria have an office gofer. Someone who can run errands for the staff, pick up food, clean a spill, make a cup of tea. Usually this person has an official designation, they might be the security guard or the cleaner. But when they aren’t opening gates, they hang around and wait to be summoned.

The person who does this at my office is a girl called Esther who is always taking days off to write exams. She would say, “I won’t be around next week, I’m travelling to Ibadan to do WAEC.” Or “I have JAMB on Saturday, I have to attend lesson.” You’ll see her sitting in the corner reading Literature-in-English past questions, or squinting at an Accounting textbook. One day it was a Chemistry practicals textbook, I had to ask.

She laughed, “Haha, all these subjects? It’s not for me, I’m doing the exam for other people.”

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Related Posts on Lively Twist:

By God’s Grace

Your Enemies Shall Never Succeed

Mommie Dearest

Others:

The Business of Worship by Jide Odukoya: It is hard to reflect objectively on the proliferation of Churches in Nigeria. View original photo commentary with 192 more words.

The Lightness of Being 55 by Jean Chong and Cycle Write Blog

Jean and I hit it off when we bantered in the comment section of my post, On Getting Older. Responding to my reluctance to tell my age, she said, “Well, one day you’ll feel great to reveal your age. Seriously, it is earning life experience that no one can take away from you.” I dunno, I’m still a Naija girl and we hide our age in a room locked with steel chains.

Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” To me, Jean echoes this sentiment in her post. While I’m not racing into my fifties, I’m not dragging my feet either. I want to enter my later years having established healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices as Jean has done. I hope she’ll inspire you to be “light” at fifty-five and beyond. Hear her:

The Lightness of Becoming 55

It’s a special age of symmetry for anyone:  it’s 2 open hands that are smacking double high “fives” with hands of other birthday well-wishers.

55 means I’ll just hopefully go for a bike ride  around my birthday. No, it won’t be a 55 km. ride since my birthday falls on a winter work day this month.  Our evenings are still dark early and there may be icy pavements. We’ve had several winter days that have plunged below -31 degrees C. with a howling snowstorm.

Still, it’s a strange feeling …55. Continue here

Why Revolution, Occupy Movements, Terrorists And All Sorts Of Anti-Establishment Things Are Good For Capitalism  

By his own admission, Charles Onyangbo-Obbo’s blog is a (sometimes) irreverent take on all things African – and non-African. So, who benefits from the “protest”? While in my view, grey areas encroach upon black and white territory; his piece reminds me of comments about Boko Haram’s ideology: western education is bad, although it gave Boko Haram guns, TV, internet, and cell phones . . . hmmm.

NAKED CHIEFS

I have been studying photos of the Sunni jihadist group, Islamic State of Iraq, those these militants who are trying to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria – to begin with.

On June 10 last week, they made some mind-blowing military gains, capturing Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and most of the surrounding province of Nineveh. Buoyed by their victory, they headed south towards Baghdad, the capital, taking several towns on the way.

Some 30,000 of Iraq’s US-trained soldiers just dropped their guns and uniforms, and took off for the desert. How many ISIS insurgents were they faced with? Just 800!

The virulently anti-western ISIS is so extreme and violent, even Al Qaeda distances itself from it. However, they were carrying AK 47s, and wearing sneakers. The people benefitting from the sale of the AK 47s are actually some infidels and aetheists in the west and Russia.

And American…

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Marinochka by Samuel Okopi

marinochka1

Lace

Faded pink

Rose-embossed writing paper

The scent of Old Spice

Handwritten love-letters before email & Google

Postcards and postage stamps

That’s what Samuel Okopi’s story reminds me of. And he’s clever too with personification, making me wonder if “Shostakovich” is a chair or a person. From Russia with love, what say you?

 

I am sad these days, Luke. Shostakovich doesn’t smile anymore. His hands are always cold. On the harsh nights when I snuggle into his embrace, warmth does not find me. Only a matching cold. Maybe it is because the night winds blowing from Nicolayevskaya into my little apartment here in Krasnoyarsk have become colder. The large familiar shadows cast by our samovar set have now shrunk to that of the wooden figure of St. Stolobensky, standing on the dining table. Maybe I feel sad because he was Zoya’s favourite saint. But the orange flames that float on the candles at night are as bright as they have always been. Maybe they want Shostakovich and me to be happy? Like forget the memory of the weird laughter of Zoya that scared us and amused us at the same time? I am sorry Luke for the silence. Really sorry. Continue here . . .

 

Image Credits:

Antique Jewel Box Victorian Pearls Lace Old Silver by JamesDeMers

http://pixabay.com/en/antique-jewel-box-victorian-pearls-72414/

Taking Stock and Resting

Rest

The first six months of 2014 on WordPress have been good. I’ve grown as a writer and you’ve helped me along the way, thank you so much. Now, it’s time to take stock. So, I’m taking a break from posting my stuff. I’m going to rest, but I’ll introduce you to some writers and blogs I enjoy starting this Sunday. I hope you’ll stay and show my friends the same regard you do me. I’ll be around in the comments, and you can reach me via my contact form.

Connecting with people is one of the high points of blogging for me. Lately I’ve had many likes and follows, and I  haven’t been able to connect with my new blogger friends. I’ll use my break to meet you and catch up with old friends on blogosphere. I’m also going to (finally) read the books lying on my coffee table and enjoy the sun.

See you on Sunday.

timi

 

 

 

Take lemons, make life, and then jump for joy!

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

As a girl, I spent time in front of the mirror, preoccupied with what I saw; my hair, my face, my body.  As a woman, I spend less time in front of the mirror. I’m mostly satisfied with what I see.  Writing this paragraph for Holistic Wayfarer made me realise there are many mirrors in my life and the important ones are in my soul. I’d like to know, when you look at the mirror, what do you see?

A Holistic Journey

Race. The colour of my skin, the flare of my nostrils, the texture of my hair, the S of my backside. I am none of these; I am all of these. Race. My mother is caramel, my father pure chocolate, and I am hazelnut. They taught me that education and excellence would open any door. I believed it; still believe it. Race. Raised in Nigeria, I live in The Netherlands. I temper the directness of the Dutch with the verbosity I think Nigerians inherited from the British. Race. When I look in the mirror, I see a girl, a woman, a lover, a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a mentor, a coach, a writer, a warrior — all I have been, all I now am, all I will one day be. When I look in the mirror, I see me. What if my father were Australian and my…

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Mutual ExChange

I laughed while reading this post, which without trying too hard, examines the nuances in the way men and women process ideas and think about relationships. I hope you will too.

Nigerian Newcomer

We are driving back from the movies. This is our third time together.
The talk is usually sparse, peppered with jokes, and ending with an ‘I had fun, we should do it again’. So we do it again.
Today the air feels different. The movie, a long drama ending with the sad unexpected death of the main character, has triggered something because we shared that experience.

About fifteen minutes into the drive, she cracks open. She says:
“You know what I am scared of? I am afraid of making the wrong decision especially when it comes to relationships. I see couples, some are happy and some are not. And I wonder, how do you know when to fight for something and when to give up on it?”

She takes a deep breath and continues:
“Even the simpler decision, whether to open up to someone or be friends with them, each…

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The ‘Forgotten’ Groundnut Pyramids Of Nigeria

Kitchen Butterfly

I am not a party girl; I’m a food and talk girl. Informal dinners with friends and conversations that go on and on, and on and on, way past dessert and midnight… hmmm, that’s what this post reminds me of, and I’m filled with nostalgia, a bitter-sweet longing.

Okay, so I’ve just romanticised epa (Yoruba for peanut), but that’s what Kitchen Butterfly has done also—weaving tales about how Nigeria was, in between telling us how to boil groundnut. Word connoisseurs, and lovers of history, photography, fine food (groundnut), would enjoy this as much I did.

“The past may hold treasures, still remembered but the future is bound in hope, in belief and in the knowledge that with life, all things are possible.” Continue…  http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com/2013/08/08/the-forgotten-groundnut-pyramids-of-nigeria/

Photo credit: © Kitchen Butterfly

gingering your swagger without tears

Now that having some swagger has become as essential as having an education, Bellanchi’s tongue-in-cheek tips about how to step up your swagger, will perhaps leave your wallet intact but your sides aching. In his own words, “… Even I don’t agree with some of the irreverent stuff I write, but all in good fun.” Enjoy!

bellanchi

It wasn’t that long ago that Naija was swept by an epidemic called swagger. There were so many Nigerian songs about swagger, you couldn’t listen to a rotation of 10 songs on primetime radio without at least half of them having swagger as their theme. But it was no surprise that after tiring of crooning about girls and champagne, Nigeria’s hip hop artistes turned to swagger. For that opportunistic class that is not known for its creativity, swagger was the next logical thing. Ironically, swagger – an attitude whose very essence is its distinctiveness – almost became commonplace.

I am sure there were people, in the height of swaggermania, who didn’t even realize “swagger” was an English word. It is forgivable (okay, on second thought, maybe not) to have assumed it was one of Nigerian urban culture’s many slangs. Although inspired by its equivalent in English lexicon, the Nigerian swagger…

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The Benevolent Dictator Theory

You’ve done it and I’ve done it too—huddled with friends and turned a debate on which way Nigeria into a prayer meeting. The kind of prayer meeting where one person declares, “Only God can save Nigeria!” and the others inwardly chorus amen. Weep no more; the Messiah we’re hoping for could be closer than we think…

The Chronicles of Chill

When people gather to discuss the future of Nigeria, the consensus is usually 2-pronged. The first is that the brand of democracy we have now clearly is not working. The second is that we are probably screwed if we don’t address our fundamental deficiencies. The third (yes, I know I said two) is that we need a benevolent dictator to set us right.

The mind that proposes a benevolent dictator has probably considered that  returning to military rule would not be a bad option, given how slowly we have moved since 1999. However, that is not a thought that we are allowed to entertain, as constitutional law jingoists insist on drumming it into our heads that “the worst civilian regime is better than the best military rule”.

I think we can agree that the evidence suggests to the contrary. The world’s oldest democracies are in the middle of economic…

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7 Annoying Things Nigerians do on airplanes

So, a friend tells me that on a recent flight from Lagos to Abuja, the pilot said, “We’ll be flying at 35,000 ft to Abuja. The weather is okay. Only light clouds, I will try and dodge them so there’s no shaking.” Is this the ninth annoying humorous thing Nigerians do on airplanes—employing Akpos’ brother to fly the plane? Hmmm….

 

The Crazy Nigerian

sleeping on planesLike me, I bet you’ve all run around with your bathing towels wrapped above your shoulders like a cape and pretended to be Superman (and if you haven’t then it’s never too late!). Ever since I was a little brat I wanted to take to the skies. Air travel is the next best thing and I’m always looking forward to having a glass plastic cup of ice-cold apple juice which always tastes better at 10,000 feet. What could possibly disrupt this moment of long-awaited bliss? Cue the Nigerians… On my recent return trip from New York alone I encountered 7 annoying things Nigerians did on the plane:

1. Securing beds…in Economy Class! There’s a game Nigerian passengers play whenever they’re on-board a semi-full airplane – It’s kind of similar to Musical Chairs…but without the music. Passengers snub the seats assigned to them and scout for a stretch of three to four empty…

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The Volume of Happiness

Nigerians are the happiest people in the world and you can measure the volume of our happiness. Now I know why people here stop and stare at me and my Naija friends—it isn’t because we are so fine! Oh no, we are Nigerians and we are loud.

 

Òjògbón

Fans cheer on the Nigerian team during their World Cup qualifier soccer match against Algeria in Ora..You know, I have heard this thing over and again. That Nigerians are the happiest people on the planet. And I’m wondering, really? If it’s happiness that gives us some of the traits which are universally now synonymous with Nigerians, then I would recommend that we take some dose of chill-pill and please calm down! At least, a little!

First off, why do Nigerians shout so much?

I know you have all experienced this. You see an old friend whom you haven’t seen in a while and he screams, “MY GUYYYYY!!!!!! THIS GUYYYY!!!! HOW FAR NAAHHHH!!!!!” The first thing you want to do is, “ooohh..kkk??? what is this serious?” But being a Nigerian, you totally understand and you respond in this same high pitch, “AH! I DEY O!!! WETIN DEY HAPPEN???” Then you would have to endure a huge SLAP of a handshake which usually leaves your hand smarting and red!

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A trip to Kaduna

A walk down memory lane… Love for my country and other drugs! I like the way ‘Dare recollects his Service Year and captures the freedom and optimism we feel as we stand on the threshold of hope and possibilities. I think you’d like it too…

 

'DARE AKINWALE

I want to take a trip. In my mind, to places in a city l left three years ago.

I want to visit that big compound at the end of the street where I lived, in Abakpa, where the ancient locomotive chugged loudly in the morning, as I walked out to buy breakfast.

My regular breakfast was kosi or akara. I always called it akara, because I thought kosi was too bland a word to capture the delicious essence of the hot spongy brown akara. I remember how the lady would serve it out of the hot oil and package my usual fifty or sixty naira worth of akara into old newspapers and nylon bags. I was a regular customer, and I had earned her respect because of my almost daily patronage. Sometimes, I was rewarded with some extra balls of akara, other days, I was offered koko or pap…

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