Friday, November 06, 2015

The “Aso Ebi” is N60, 000 only!

I have often been misjudged as complacent. The more diplomatic critics say I’m lackadaisical. This ought to bother me but I wave it off with the thought that it doesn’t really matter on the scale of things.

I have made it a principle I live by….that I will not bother or worry about circumstances I have no control over or cannot change. Depending on the situation, I’ll just cut my losses and move on.

I sat down there and stared into oblivion, bored out of my mind as my Oga, Chief Tega rattled on for the third time in two months about how wasteful we are as a people. His ‘sermon’, usually delivered in high pitch, goes something like:

“I don’t understand where this country is going to. We are just damned wasteful as a nation! Why do we feel obligated to always pick a colour theme and then still go ahead to pay for Aso Ebi?! We pile up a truck load of souvenirs we really don’t need at the end of a party when there are people starving and homeless. It’s simply pathetic!”

Of course some of the words vary each time but it’s still the same message every time. I often wonder why he subjects me to such torture since I’m not in the position to answer any of his questions nor can I wave a wand to change people’s mentality.

What makes the scenario hilarious is the fact that he would, after his sermon, write me a cheque and send me to pay for the Aso Ebi anyway! Sometimes, he would even drive with me to the ATM to withdraw the money.

I understand him though. Regardless of how he feels, he is a rich and influential man who can’t afford to decline the proposal of Aso Ebi. It would make him appear cheap and his wife can’t bear to wear something different at parties.

This Aso Ebi is for Mrs Hadizat Billings’ 70th birthday party. As I drove to her house, I reminisced about how Oga had told the same story last two weeks when Chief Onubogwu’s daughter was to marry …and last month when Mr Adekoya was to be buried …and six weeks ago when his own niece was to christened her son. It kinda makes him a hypocrite, doesn’t it?

We talk too much in this country and get absolutely nothing done. If you flip through local channels every morning, you will see lots and lots of breakfast shows where one or more guests have been invited to discuss issues affecting our nation. All that talk for only-God-knows-how-long and we are still where we started.

As I parked and walked into Mrs Billings’ home, I thought to myself that in fact, we are worse off than when we started. The entirety of the Nigerian situation has caused everyone to become highly analytical.

I put a pause on my thoughts as I make the necessary transactions. Where was I? Ha….yes! Poverty, NO income, high cost of living has robbed us all of whatever measure of sentiments we ought to have.

People die of hunger and malaria in our country…can you imagine that? We are still struggling with Polio after almost 30years of battle! Our presidential candidates still use mundane things such as water supply, better roads, steady lights, improved medical services and provisions of social amenities as campaign strategy…what a shame! Talk my a**!

I stop over at a supermarket to buy some groceries that madam needed and headed to the house. I called out to the cook as I brought the grocery bags in. I overheard talk of Chinasa’s graduation in two weeks and smiled. Oga must be really proud! His last baby has just finished school…it must be quite a relief!

As I walked into the parlour to hand over the Aso Ebi to my Oga and sign off for the day, I halted as I heard him say,

“We should pick Ankara for Chinasa’s graduation party oh! It’s a special occasion now!”


Tara Harte, The Giver

I have been meaning to write a short story about myself for quite a while now but my schedule has been crazy so I have been unable to get the chance! Today is a free day so I have decided to type some...

First thing I want you to know about me is that I do not believe in fairy tales nor do I have fantasies. I am a very realistic, logical, highly rational girl. I am totally without sentimental but I am emotional. It’s a little bit confusing to think about but hey…

You must be wondering who I am. I go by the name Tara Harte. I am a classy girl but I won’t bore you with details about my background. I live in a two-bedroom apartment in Abuja- very posh- and I drive a 2008 Camry.

I am currently undergoing the mandatory youth service…thank God it’s almost over. You must wonder how old I am to afford this kind of lifestyle considering the nation’s economic situation…I am only 25 years old.

 I have another job though (asides my PPA i.e.)…I am a giver! The more formal ones in my profession would term me an ‘escort’ while those intolerant of my job would call me a prostitute, a whore, whatever…it’s all just semantics.

Do I love my job? Of course, why else would I do it?” oh yeah….the money! The money is really good, no? I know I must disgust you but common, I have seen myself through University, studying Mass Communication (I like to call it Mass Fornication *wink!). Once I am done with my service year –which is soon- I have enough money saved up to travel out and study at New York Academy.

You see, I moved to Abuja five years ago when I got admission into the University of Abuja and I have been here ever since. Most people have been misled to believe that it’s easy to be a giver, to take care of the needs of others selflessly and ensure they come off satisfied at the end of the day…how wrong they are!

The dangers of serving a client who is a total stranger, the anxiety at the thought of the things that I might have to do to please him/her/them (common, don’t be so narrow minded!) and whether you come off as a great server or a horrible one.  You also have to worry about whether you will get superb referrals. There are times I even had to read a whole book or watch a movie to understand the role play a client desired. (Let me not ‘assault’ you with the details)

You may stand there and laugh at my profession but like everyone else, you have to work up your way on the ladder of success. Today, at the age of 25, I serve the aristocrats of the society. I strongly believe in the Word which says, “Do not despise the days of little beginnings…”(who are you to judge me?)

In the beginning, my clients were mostly bank manager and people of such rank. Today, I can proudly beat my chest of having worked my way up the ladder to a place of influence where I give service to senators, governors and political party chairmen. By next year, before I travel, I am looking to break into the harem of godfathers and even African presidents.

By now, I’m sure you can tell I take what I do seriously and…

“Ewo”, I shouted as a slap landed on my back

Ipa looked down at me with a stern face and said, “your brother dey go Enugu tomorrow, do and come and enter the school wey you wan go for the form abi na wetin sef?

I promptly got off the mat, adjusting my wrapper as I made for the board behind the door.

“Me and mama Chikodi, your younger brother, don dey save money since for this time wey you go go school. Abi you no wan go again?” Ipa asked.

“Nnayi, I wan go. Thank you Nnayi.” I said as I bent to light the oil lamp.

I sat on the stool and placed the board on my lap. I brought out my UME form and began to fill in the Universities of my choice as that was the only part I had not filled yet.

“So which wan you come choose na?” Ipa asked

“First choice, University of Abuja, near Aso Rock” I replied. That brought a smile to Ipa’s face. “Second, University of Lagos”. He nodded

Like I said, I do not believe in fantasies but I believe in vision! (Wink!)

By the way, my name is Chichi Maduagwu Chukwuka (see why Tara Harte is better?). I live with my parents in Izzi, Ebonyi State. I am 19 years old… pleased to meet you, see you in six years!

Blast KimKay Away!

I felt compelled to write about this KimKay brouhaha or should I say i had series of questions floating around my head and I just had to come share...

Why are we angry? Is it because we went out of our way to invite a celebrity who never even thought of us, paid her a huge sum of money for nothing and therefore expected her to courtesy every time someone mentions Nigeria; and she didn't?

Is it because after showering her with a ridiculous amount, she has the guts to say what she really thinks (the correctness of her thought is irrelevant at this point), instead of giving flowery compliments about Nigeria? Because she dared to insult us?

We called her a whore, a prostitute, a woman with no morals now, simply because she expressed herself....did we not know all these before or even when she visited? Before the whole state went into a craze or when we all paused our lives just to watch her.

Did she ask to be contact at all? Abi no be "jeje jeje she siddon for her shair" before we choose to go consult her?

What is with all the vehemence and insults anyway? Are we apes? Do we come from the lineage of apes? I'm "guessing" the answer is "NO". So what exactly is the problem? Why let yourself be disturbed by the opinion of an uninformed person?

Don't get me wrong, I am in no way trying to defend Kim here. I do not like her lifestyle and I do not think she is a person worth emulating. I am so indifferent about her that she may as well fall of the face of the earth tomorrow, it wouldn't bother me in the least!

What bothers me is our attitude to her statement, our passion, the heat and anger with which we are responding.  Are we indirectly saying that she is right and we are thereby angered by the truth in her words. Maybe we don't look like apes but are we responding to some sort of metaphoric primitiveness that her statement might have presented?

If not, are we saying we are so jobless and can\t find anything productive to do with our time and emotions that we have decided to waste it on her, to waste it replying a tweet that is barely 60words?

Or are we insecure and still taken by the idea of a foreigner making a comment about us? Are we still beguiled with that horrid hollowness and feeling of incompleteness that we seek validation from anyone who has the similitude of a reputation? Perhaps, there is still a shred of colonial mentality still lurking somewhere in the shadowy corners of our brain?

I ask all these questions because for the life of me, I really cannot comprehend why so much energy would go into insulting and cursing someone so unaware of our identity as a people, so unaware of our strengths despite all the challenges that constantly harass us. Someone who is  clearly clueless as to the true meaning of dignity of labour. I keep wondering where the basis of comparison comes from. 

Now, I'd never tell you whether she is or isn't worth the trouble or the stress that most have chosen to put into answering her; that is entirely up to you to decide but I want to say that this has given me a bit of perspective and that is:

Aside you, no one has the power to define who you are, except you give them that power because in reality, the power to define who you are is yours and yours alone......handle that power with utmost wisdom!