DEAR MR PRESIDENT…………

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Dear Mr. President,

I will at this point skip the formalities of asking how you and the family are doing, not out of disrespect, but simply because I see you on TV all the time, and from there I know you are doing fine.

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THEY CAME IN GREEN PT3

wpid-sad_black_woman.jpgBy the time I woke up, it was already late in the morning, and to my surprise I wasn’t tied or thrown into a hole like I had thought, I was just alone in the tent, I touched the side of my head, it didn’t hurt as much, but I still felt the pain, probably from the memory of the blow, I still lay down and stared at the tent ceiling, it was rather hot inside, Continue reading

THEY CAME IN GREEN (PT2)

tearsWe were driven for what seemed like an eternity, the long drive was quiet, quiet not because we were tired, but quiet because we were uncertain of what lay in front of us, the realization that we had been taken sank in very fast, i had heard stories of people being taken captive and never heard from again, many of us had even paid visits to families who had lost loved ones either by way of a stray or intentional bullets, axes or machetes, or being taken away, i would always say the same things over and over again, Continue reading

THEY CAME IN GREEN

Ife-Story.jpgIt was a cold night, not unusually cold, but cold all the same, we were getting set for bed, after a long day of writing exams; exams we had studied day and night for, under the most stressful conditions; you see, it’s quite difficult studying for an examination and dodging either bullets or machetes, and not exactly in that order, because we always dodged  whichever came first, but we studied all the same, because deep down in her hearts we had the hope that someday soon, the turmoil would end, and we would be allowed to face our futures, so we decided to prepare for it sooner than later, we were not going to allow anything take away the only thing we had that was capable of giving us the lives we dreamed of, so we persevered and we studied.

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AND SOME CAME HOME, BUT……….

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There are questions, oh yes, there are questions that must be asked, and yes I speak for myself, and that is why I write by myself, but I want you to read, and maybe, just maybe you might have the same questions going through your mind.

The nobility, not mobility oh, sorry Mr. mobility I had to clarify that, now where was I, oh yes, the nobility of the cause to bring back the kidnapped Chibok Girls is quite laudable, and admirable, and oh well you get the point, and while there have been demands and cries and appeals and so on, the fact still remains that the girls have not been brought back, and more have been taken, although we have been made to believe, or rather an attempt to convince everyone that no recent kidnaps have been carried out, we know better don’t we?

Anyway, back to the main reason I decided to postpone my pancake breakfast to put these words on virtual paper. For a while now, there have been reports, reports of girls escaping from the clutches of their captors, and I don’t mean 1 or 2, am talking about 40 and most recently 63 girls have escaped, now I rejoiced when I read the news, at least even if those we are asking to bring them back have foot dragged for over 80days, the girls have carried out daring escapes, and have come up, and we give God all the glory, or you give glory to who or whatever it is you worship, well because last time I checked, there was still freedom of religion, or am I wrong?

Anyway, this morning I read on the wire, that 63 girls had escaped, and I immediately decided to scan through the popular social media sites to authenticate the information, but to my surprise, or maybe lack of it, I found no news about the returned girls, correct me if I am wrong, and I am pretty sure lots of people will correct me, but isn’t the return meant to be a good thing? If the return of some of the girls is a good thing, then shouldn’t there be so much noise, that scrolling through preferred social media sites would be so tedious a task, as to drain the batteries of our handheld devices, but alas, as I scrolled through, my battery life dropped from 100% to a mere 96%.

Requests have been made, does it really matter in what order the requests are granted? Or should the granting of the request not be the topmost priority? Whenever some individuals request for visas to visit other countries, and the requests are granted, don’t they rush to their various churches and give testimonies of how they had to walk through the valley of death to acquire said visas, and the story of triumph in the end? So why should the escape of 63 girls and more in the recent past, who have been in the hands of their abductors for over 80 days not be a cause for celebration, press conferences, twitter Hashtags, Facebook likes and even a reason to resurrect My-space, instead all I see are comments of doubt, all I see are comments blaming the government, of fueling a continued illusion, all I see is silence from hearts that should be filled with joy, and all I ask is this, should it be so?

I don’t intend for this write up to be lengthy, mainly because I hate cold pancakes, but in an much as it is right to make demands and keep the #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS campaign alive, wouldn’t it be swell to know that there are waiting arms, open, in the eventuality that they will return, albeit in some unconventional and unexpected manners?

Would it not be heartwarming to see the same energy used in making the demand, to also rejoice with such news, and splash it all over the internet and in the real world?

Would it not be nice to know that, there are plans on ground to ensure the escaped girls receive all the medical and psychological attention they require, after such a harrowing experience?

Yes, I know at this point most readers are itching to comment, and so gladly inform us that there are modalities in place, but they are being kept under wraps, but then I would reply, I am not asking to see the girls, I am not requesting to see their names, all I am asking is that, the same energy used to keep the hashtag alive, the same energy used in giving us updates about the insensitivity of the government and their callous approach to finding the girls and ending the carnage, should also be put into informing eager ears and the numerous disciples on the progress made with the returned girls.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

Well I think I have said enough for now, but before I go, I’ll say this, I am happy, some are coming home, I am happy they were able to escape, and eventually, they will be reunited with their families.

“For they who clamor

Silently Pray

For the Clamor to go unnoticed

So the clamor may continue

And the spotlight remains”

God Bless You, God Bless Me, God Bless The federal Republic Of Nigeria……. Wait that is still our name right?

Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)

Staircases And Cupcakes

 

image ofI was eleven when it happened, I can remember how it happened, because I was there when it happened.

It took me twenty four years to get here, and a lot of guts, but I think it’s time I got it off my chest.

I won’t pretend I grew up in a perfect home, and suddenly things went bad, for as long as I can remember, it was always the same, I grew up thinking all Fathers yelled, and all mothers cried.

Father was never happy, he always yelled, everything was always done wrong, and even when he did it wrong, he always found a way of blaming mother.

I saw him punch her, shove her, swear at her, but I never saw him hold her, hug her, kiss her, or even say anything nice to her.

It’s not a long story, just a brief sad story, of an eleven year old boy, a story that changed his life forever.

I just got back from school, I was in the kitchen eating, and as usual, mother would set my meal with the usual cupcake on the side, chocolate flavored, so I could eat immediately I got back from school, she never missed it, I still remember the smell of cake batter, she baked so much, the aroma was almost permanent, and even up until now as an adult, I always remember her, when I smell cake batter, among other things.

It was quite, unusually quiet, I didn’t think much of it, because I knew it was just a matter of time before father would get back, and he would find something to yell about.

He got back earlier than usual, I was just about biting into my cupcake, when he walked in, I remember losing my appetite, he walked passed me like I was not there, not that I cared, I was accustomed to it, he yelled out for mum, but he didn’t get any response, I knew she was asleep, she was pregnant, and it was hard for her to keep up with her daily routine, I didn’t bother checking up on her, because I knew she was a light sleeper, and I didn’t want to wake her up.

He yelled out again, and still yet no reply, I remained in the kitchen, and waited for it, I heard him walk up the stairs, I could tell he was mad, what else was new, suddenly I heard him yelling at her, I couldn’t quite make out the words, but I knew there were angry words, I left the kitchen, and made my way to the foot of the stairs, I stretched my neck, trying to hear what was being said, dad was yelling, and mum was trying to pacify him, suddenly he appeared at the top of the stairs, and stared right down at me, I felt a chill, this was not normal, “what are you looking at you stupid boy”, he said, don’t you have anything better to do than stuff your face with cakes? Your mother has made a girl out of you, am pretty sure you are the first boy who will have his period; those were things father said to me.

I let his words wash over me, but I didn’t move, I was accustomed to it, I think deep down he just needed to rave and rant all the time to give himself a sense of self-worth, mother emerged from the bedroom, and simply told him to leave me alone, and that was when it happened, he turned around and punched her in the face, he didn’t care if she was pregnant or not, she spun around, and used her elbows to shield her tummy from hitting the wall, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back, haven’t you done enough to ruin him, father said, why doesn’t he act like normal boys, and you dare tell me to leave him alone, he spoke about me like I wasn’t even there.

Mother tried to pacify him, he started shoving her, I saw her walking back, towards the head of the stairs, I tried to warn her she was too close to the edge, but his constant yelling drowned my words, she missed her step, I saw her fall, it was like an eternity, but while she fell, she tried to shield her stomach, I saw her fall, I heard bones crack, I saw her falling, and I was rooted to the spot, until she hit me, and we both landed on the floor, I hit my head, and when I opened my eyes, I saw her, lying down, she was staring at me, but was looking through me, suddenly I felt something sticky on my cheek, it was red, it was warm, it was her blood, and then I realized, she was dead, he pushed her, I passed out.

I didn’t see him anymore after that, I went to live with my uncle, years later he told me, my father left, started afresh, was arrested, but never convicted, ruled as a domestic accident, people fall down stairs all the time.

I still don’t understand why he was such a bitter person, mother didn’t deserve what he did to her, I haven’t spoken to him or seen he since that day, personally I see no point

I have moved on, am happy, have a family now, they give me joy, decided to share this, I don’t know how it will help, but am pretty sure it will.

Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)

A WAR?, A REVOLUTION?, A SPLIT UP? IN NIGERIA? REALLY?

 

priest%20(0-00-00-00)So much talk about rising up, a revolution and some say outright war getting everyone all riled you, and make lots of gullible folks feel, it’s all going to be fun and games, running into the streets, throwing rocks and bottles, and chanting a liberation song, yes in a movie with a script, it would be a very glorious scene, but here is where I burst that bubble, because it’s never a glorious scene when it comes to a confrontation.

Let’s take for instance, the little street protests that have been occurring in various parts of the country, although most of them have been relatively peaceful, they have not been without their mild confrontations from law enforcement agencies ordered by “the man”, and the protesters simply embarked on a peaceful movement, chanting and simply making their demands.

Now picture this, an angry crowd, with sticks, rocks, and petrol bombs, running in the streets, chanting a bone chilling mantra, against a so called oppressor, armed with guns, bombs, well in short armed with an army, a police force, an air-force, and a naval force, I really don’t think you need a soothsayer to tell you, that scenarios like that never end well.

Oh sure, asking for a revolution or war, sounds quite easy, you have a laid down plan, it starts with getting people on the streets, making a uniform demand, for things to get better, then there is eventually a standoff, but no one ever knows who fires the first shot, and most times the instigators are never in the fore front, they always give words like we are staying back on the base so we can be strategic for an effective outcome, so when the shots are fired, and the tear gas canisters are released into the crowds, they are conveniently absent, but also available to release press statements condemning their so called oppressors of inhumane treatment, but at that point it is already too late, the death toll now steadily begins to rise.

Let’s go back in time, let’s take a moment and remember the Nigerian civil war, and don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to trivialize anything, I am only trying to make a point, some groups felt they were being marginalized, treated unjustly, and decided to walk away, there was a standoff, and an eventual war broke out, at first the ideology was shared, the people stood behind their “Moses” who had come to lead them out of an oppressive system, but gradually, the realities of war began to take its toll, the hunger and strife, the homelessness, the destitution, the less than humane circumstances, the broken homes, the widows, the orphaned children, and death, whom in all cases takes a front seat to any gun show, while children with protruding stomachs were forced to eat lizards and mothers were forced to watch their children die of hunger, while women were raped and defiled, and while men/women/children were murdered, based on ethnic sentiments, the heroic generals were hulled up in a tent, conveniently tucked away from the front,being  strategists, or so they claimed, and when the center could no longer hold, they went into exile, leaving those they claimed to love and were fighting for, to face the bitter realities of what they had been dragged into, and this has always been the course of war histories, an ideologist rises up to a presumed oppressor, and drags hapless citizens into the mix, who bears the brunt of the casualties, and almost all the time, the ideologist exiles himself, and claims to continue the struggle, while he is safely tucked away in some foreign country, claiming asylum.

Now let’s go down memory lane one more time, and this time it will be quite brief, the devastations of war can never be totally described, unless you are made to see it for yourself, but I assure you, it’s never a site to behold, if you really want to see the after effects of war, look over there, yes just by oji river, and take a good look at the war veterans, whom after 40 odd years, are still feeling the effects of war, to some it might mean nothing, but to most it means a whole lot.

I won’t bore you with my ramblings, but I will tell you one thing, war has never solved anything, it only brings more problems, and more scars, I know the feeling of anger and frustration is rife, but we must consider the after effects, Rwanda still tries to heal years after, imagine having a public holiday just to mourn the victims of a genocide, and what started that war, a particular group claimed to have been poorly treated and proceeded on mass ethnic cleansing, we all know how it ended, our brothers in parts of the Arab world, started a revolution, it was welcomed, it had the appearances of a solution, but years later, they are seemingly back to where they started.

Those clamoring for a revolution, will never lead you like a gallant knight or general, they will only instigate and withdraw to their strategy rooms, they will flee at the very signs of a breakdown, and leave us to lick our wounds and bury our dead.

Go ahead, ask around, ask those who were old enough during the Nigerian civil war, raise a battle cry around them, and see how they stare at you with fear and pity in their eyes, go ahead and ask those who have been in the center of ethnic and religious clashes, tell them you want to fight, and watch then silently walk away from you, the bottom line is this, you only clamor for war, if you have never witnessed it firsthand.

Now, before I leave you, I just want to say a little something to those who keep throwing this sentence “let the nation split up” around, my question is this, do you really know what it takes for a nation to split up? What part of this nation of ours can beat its chest and say, this is what I have, and I can comfortably generate income from this, including the Niger delta, they are the oil providers, and yet, well let’s just say, over there, you can’t spot the difference between blood and crude oil, because both have been spilled so much.

Let’s go ahead and ask the soviet union, how the split up is working for them, or hey I know, let’s ask Yugoslavia, oh that’s right, there is no Yugoslavia, because they split up based on ethnic differences, and we don’t get to hear much about them anymore, or why don’t we send an email to the Sudanese people, let’s ask them how the split up is working for them.

I don’t want any wars, neither do I want this nation to split up, because both options will cause more harm than good, so before you get swept in the euphoria of revolution, do a little research into history, and educate yourself.

Oh, and one last thing, “beware the Greeks, when the bring gifts”.

 Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)