Posts tagged nigeria

I Killed an Ant Today

I killed an ant today at the back of my house today while getting some water in cans. It was a large ant and it could have hurt me if I let it. This means I can argue that I killed the ant in self-defense! I killed the ant because I could. I am bigger, I was wearing footwear and the ant was different from me. The ant could not have called for help or called the police or brought out a gun. I could, so I did. And I have a valid excuse.

A few weeks ago in Ghana, certain unscrupulous Nigerians kidnapped young ladies and apparently wanted to use them in ritual murder. I am not sure whether those girls have been found as at the time of this writing. The case is so serious that the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana is involved and other innocent Nigerians may be paying for this crime in some parts of Ghana. Some Nigerians in Nigeria have become quite concerned about their relatives in Ghana this period because of rumours that Nigerians are being asked to leave Ghana or being attacked.

Over the weekend during the Nigerian Elections, certain unscrupulous fellows sympathetic to a certain political party in Lagos were nabbed in Okota, Lagos trying to snatch ballot boxes. Reports have it that one person was killed or seriously hurt. The response from the Odua People’s Congress, a well-known Pro-Yoruba group is that there will be retaliatory attacks on the Igbos who killed their brother.

The last two incidents I cited are similar to my killing of the ant in certain ways. One side or the other, a killing was executed because one party thought they had the power to kill and the reason to kill. The third common factor is the key issue in this post – difference. Nigerians are different from Ghanaians, Yorubas are different from Igbos, blacks are different from whites, Hutus are different from Tutsis, Moslems are different from Christians and so forth. Depending on the level of granularity we decide to descend to, we will always find that we are different from each other in one way or the other.

We are justifying our intent to kill one another on the basis of our differences but I think while doing that we ignore our real problems. Is the problem with kidnapping in Ghana cause by the presence of Nigerians or by the presence of kidnappers? Is the killing of an OPC member in Lagos cause by Igbos or by those who want to flaw elections? Are xenophobic attacks the solution to South Africa’s employment problems?

We can always make up excuses for our inherent hatred for our fellow man but that doesn’t really solve our problems. We need to sit back and really contemplate who the enemy really and what the solutions to our problems really are. If we do not do this, particularly in Africa, we will pass our problems over to our children and teach them the same hate we practice.

If I Were to Live Again

I was born in a village andthe first language I spoke was Igbo. I faintly remember the encounter I hadwith a fellow two or three-year-old in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. We were examininga little pond. I guess I was fascinated with the fact that I could see myreflection in the water, and his too. I made certain comment about the water inIgbo which I am not sure whether he understood, one thing I was very sure ofwas that I did not understand whatever it was he said in English when heresponded. I do not even remember what he said today but I remember I felt outof place when I could not understand him. I remember another incident in myearly life. I am sure I could have been about four years old when I heard thefirst song I remember hearing: Madonna’s LaIsta Bonita (The Beautiful Island). Till date every time I hear that somesomewhere, I remember the blue lights that lit up the hall in that remote villageof the then Imo State called AmaiyiIgbere. My father was well known, generous and used to host a lot ofparties replete with food and drinks. Incidentally, it was at one of thoseparties in 1986 where I had my first taste of beer at age seven: a mix ofleft-overs from several bottles of Gulder, Star and the likes.

A child’s earliest experiences have a huge impact on the outcome of his or her life even if he doesn’t consciously remember those experiences. I believe that some experiences of our childhood stick with us so deep that even if we do not remember them consciously, they lie hidden deep in our subconscious and subtly contribute to our patterns of thinking. While it is safe to say that most of us have these scripts written in our subconscious inadvertently, as parent, we can take advantage of these realities and attempt to deliberately shape the thinking of our children right from childhood by regulating the things they are exposed to.

I once saw a picture of my childhood when I was about two years old. I was fiddling with the record player looking very serious. My Mom told me I tended to find some electronic device to play around with at every opportunity. She also told me I always found a way to open our bedroom window from the first floor of our house in the village until my Dad secured it with binding wire. That is the nature of every new born: always exploring.

(Excerpts from my next book)

Entangled – A Review by Joseph Otoo

A Touch of Class

There is an immediate practical and vivid connection to this book for the working class, unmarried young man; even for the married, perhaps it’s a déjà vu!

To be honest I appreciated the usefulness of this book only upon reading it a 2nd time, and I wondered where my thoughts were when I read it the 1st time. There is a certain clarity, realism and actuality that Ken wrote with each line of this story, that provokes thoughts of the reader to a point of subconsciously assuming the roles played. And not many a writer often combine these and achieve the level of impact on its readers. He has been brilliant in that regard.

In general Kenneth could not have been more precise and incisive with this story-line. There is a directness in the way each line punches the truth barrier. The paragraphs of each leaflet is a vicious play of the greed and pleasures of man that often tramples our senses of reasoning. We see a writer who has carefully arranged the story-line to whet the appetites of his readers like series and seasons of movies which make you want to watch the next episode…and the next. You could not wait to read the next chapter
How remarkable, that in the end, Ken vividly tells us, so brutally that you can make life that simple for yourself and those around you – regardless of what you have or do not have. And I found it personally from pages 202 onward!

Personally, I found a few key lessons:

A. A man in particular must – not should – be able to make and take a decision, and stick to that decision and deal with the consequences thereof. We have the opportunity of hindsight – albeit not always – and hence can approximate. In truth we cannot expect every decision to be right with little or no knock-off effects, but in our solitude we should smile within if it ends up based on what we decided and do not let it get so much into our heads. We should also take it on the chin if it goes bad, regret a little and attempt to make it right in a bid to turn things around if it is within our purview.

B. You cannot eat your cake and have it. It is that simple. We cannot consciously take certain decisions in life knowing very well their repercussions, and yet when they do we act so pious as though we are whiter than Jesus’ cloth during one of His transfiguration! What goes around comes around!

C. A Novelist of a book I once read said…. “Character is doing what is right when none is watching; Virtue is keeping.” Entangled reiterates this statement essentially! Character has something to do with one’s way of thinking which comes with maturity. Maturity is a state of mental capacity… it is not age; well, not just! Marriage, does not and cannot necessarily change you for the better;

D. We have never done anything by our own might – but the Grace of God! Give credit where it is due. The earlier we accept it the better. Why? Because “iniquity” is found in us (page 205, Miss Botchway speaking). You must not be a Christian sacrosanct to realize this.

A great book by all standards – and I am looking forward to the movie version also – because I wish to partake in the acting!
Kenneth Igiri is indeed a writer!

We Choose to Forget, Do Not Remind Us!

We have a clear understanding of our identity and our history. Our fathers have told us how their fathers were killed, maimed and dispossessed. We learnt of how they swore never to return to the North… alas they did! But does it matter that they did? I ask because the descendants of those who violated them have now come to our doorsteps.

The ruthlessness of those who have become our countrymen by colonial veto is undesirable, unacceptable and untenable. We cannot continue to keep silent and die in secret. The secrets of the pogroms were exposed in the war. The death toll of the war may have excluded those who died in the massacres before the war. Our fathers and their fathers found themselves victims – before the war, during the war and after the war. Our joy has been restored because we are a resilient people not because we have forgotten.

We have not forgotten, we have only chosen to forgive and live together. We do not need you but we find that you do need us, or maybe only want us or what is ours. We smile with you knowing you carry swords in your clothing. We trade with you knowing you could poison us at any time. We do not hate you but we are certainly wary of you because of who you are: descendants of Ishmael.

The blood of our brothers does not stay silent. It speaks across generations and across geographical boundaries, throughout the world to those in the diaspora. We hear the shouts. The songs that we heard from our fathers are now being resounded by our brothers. Ukpabi cries, Nimbo wails. The blood of the slain does not keep silent.

We wish to live with you but it seems you love only those who are like you. We wanted to sing with you till nations are no more but it is as though you know only the drums of war. We know enough not to give you our lands. You have yours in abundance, why do you seek ours? We pay for your meat with our money, why must we also pay with our farms? We choose to live in peace but we have not forgotten the art of war.

We choose to forget, do not remind us!