I solemnly confess that i lack summary skills. But this experience is worth the extra words.
I have lived a relatively short life. And have learned very little. But i have been loved a great deal nonetheless, by God and mortal alike…hence, i can no longer ignore. I promised Him I would do this, and this have I done. I am my mother’s child. I was given to her; I am blessed it’s her i call Mother. This i know too well.
IN THE BEGINNING…
Before conception, she made up her mind to give me away. She speaks emphatically of giving me over while i was in her loins. And when the pangs of premature labor held her by the jugular, her resolve was sealed, and i was poured forth as an offering. The problem is…this happened without my consent…and regardless of whatever ‘freedoms’ of choice, being and association that humanity would extend me; i had been mortgaged to a Superior Being. I was no longer my own. Nothing would change that.
While a kid i tagged along pretty well…recited bible portions, competed at Sunday school, worshiped the much of God i saw/understood at least from my parents’ lens. Gradually He started to become more and more real to me, and i sought earnestly to do nothing else but His bidding. As long as i kept within the confines of His love, i was safe… through secondary school at least. The ‘God way’ is all i ever knew. I took pride in it, and soon lost compassion on the not so fortunate…the ones who were not raised in Christian homes; all the while wondering at their obvious foolishness for meddling in the kind of ‘sins’ they meddled in. I was judgmental of them. I blamed them for their weaknesses and flaunted my self-righteousness. I even once bragged that i could never be swept away by the wanton allures of curvy female folk. I had just forgotten Ephesians 2 vs 8 & 9…that it is all by Grace.
TEMPTATION SETS IN.
By ss2/3 teen set in, began to tweak my mentality, cut me loose and make a mess of me. I was safe within the boundaries alright but that wasn’t good enough. I was just some uncool ‘Jew’ kid from a middle class home managing to make good grades because my future depended on it. My life was dull and drab. Peeps were checking life out to the fullest and getting answers alongside their adventures. They told lofty stories of fun and extra adrenaline, stories i would never tell if i remained welded to my godly routine. And worse still, i was just too low on the social food chain, feared by none and eaten by all. A couple of admirers is all i got; no real bae; while folks told real stories of making real contact with lips, saliva and delicate flesh. Stories i would later learn were mostly made up to gain acceptance. If i didn’t peek over the edge soon, i just might be stricken with an extreme case of unattractiveness that would culminate in eternal celibacy. How could i be so ‘over-conforming’ at such a young age, why waste this fleeting youth, i thought. There sure was some time to peek a bit…taste the other side, see a little of life perhaps and run quickly back, and pretend it never happened.
…And just as i started out in disobedience and rebellion to parents; just as i began to question every truth; just as i struggled to take a peek, God saw…and quickly sent a word, just like he sent to Peter to inform him that the devil planned to sift him like wheat. He said son…you’ve become obsessed with this, this and this…YOU SHALL THOROUGHLY BE MESSED UP IF YOU DO NOT RETRACE YOUR STEPS. The problem is…this warning came too soon. I had barely begun to peek. I was still my normal self…or so i thought. I hadn’t felt a sting yet…and it seemed it could never get that bad. Besides, who was the messenger? An aunt whose loyalty lay with my folks! What else was i to expect from one who I felt had taken sides. Of course he that is good with a hammer would tend to think everything is a nail. So i dismissed it all with a teen shrug and moved on. God would understand, i thought.
And yes God understood….that i was hell bent on living on the edge…that i wanted more than ever to follow my animal instincts, that i was willing to forfeit for the time being, the glorious inheritance i had in Him. And because He is the perfect gentleman who wouldn’t force his will on us, he let me be.
Quite immediately friends; that foul beast swooped on me in full force; arranged my first kiss (no big deal you might say)…and the countdown began. I never envisaged the terrors that would follow.
Satan quickly perverted all that was good, promoted the wrong friendships, killed the sacred relationships, blocked all praying friends, put a dark veil over my eyes and led me ever so subtly down that dirty aisle…and ‘perfected’ the union of a confused teen with evil. He fanned the embers of bad with full gale. He dangled his gambit before me and i was fooled by it. Everything went south.
He fomented a violent hatred for folks and family, thus cutting out the first layer of love and protection i had. He quenched any surviving thirst for godliness. He dug a chasm between me and Godly folk ensuring they didn’t come close for fear of violent disrespect. Now that the guards were down, he flung open the gates of lust and addiction while stifling common sense. My textbooks were replaced by twisted literature – The Art of Seduction, several works by Niccolo Machiavelli and others from similar genre…and quite fast, the grades nosedived! I remember thinking…its same old me…I’ll stand and shake this off and move on…but like Samson, i didn’t know the spirit of my creator had left me…that i had lost my ‘chi’ and i was there…in devil town…all by myself. Soon i was done trying and settled into that demented state. Another LIE was brandished before me…they said the best way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. That way after your done with it (more like after it’s done with you)…it just goes away. It made foolish sense, but what did i care…so i immersed myself wholly in all manners of temptation. I sipped the booze, i partied hard, I watched the ‘skin’ movies and perfected my vain attempt at lecherous living. Now that i was here, the ladies began to come…as if someone had turned on the gas somehow. I soon lost count, and since whatever you feed grows…you can guess what followed I’m sure. So quickly did i lose all self-control and thus became slave to little things i was once master over. I did too much of everything, and far too little of the things that really mattered. I’d be late for every appointment; would fail at exercise routines; would keep a grudge, watch/read too much of movies/novels and even over feed. It seemed every vice just had its way with me and could walk in and walk out of my life just whenever it chose. I was no longer in control of my most basic instincts. I was just some freak on a leash I must say. Satan bundled me up, threw me in the trunk and raced off, dragging me 200km/hr. in the wrong lane. I recalled my empty boasts at teenage…and i smiled and said well, life happens to us all after all. Satan spared no hate. He must have mustered the full forces of hell against me, for as far as i could tell, all that was good had DIED, and mother wept. I used to write of me then…that it seemed Beelzebub had a special devil/demon set aside for me alone.
Years had flown bye with me abiding in this demented state. Never knew what started as a careless peek would go this far or last this long. Fast forward to NYSC and my soul still wept. I sat and counted my losses. Wait a minute…He tried to warn me, but i wouldn’t listen. 10 years ago He said son, YOU WILL BE THOROUGHLY MESSED UP IF YOU DO NOT RETRACE YOUR STEPS. He warned me…just like He warns us all till date. But I DID NOT LISTEN. But why warn me i asked…i was the saintly side of most teen folk…i hadn’t even done much, i thought. Because He disciplines those He loves came the response. But a lot of others had taken this path too, a lot currently live therein and all seems well with them. He says…others may, but you may not. I recall that in bible times, it didn’t matter to God if other nations worshipped idols. Israel however, was not to try it…they had been chosen by God, mortgaged without their consent even before birth. God really did establish the hedge/boundaries not because he’s a mean killjoy, but to save us from self-destruction. How foolish of me to forget that if you break the hedge, the serpent will bite. So now that i had kinda figured it out, i knew i had to go back. But how far back? I’d come too far, i doubt i would even know my way back. The wounds were numerous…who would heal them? The losses were so great…what’s d point? Would He even take me back after he warned me so clearly? I’m dying a death that could have been avoided. Why bother the Most High, I asked. Who would help me tame this animal i had become?
THE HUNGER FOR RESTORATION
But somehow i just knew, that if He started with me early on…if He bothered with a warning…perhaps…just maybe…He could fix me still. I was now broken through and through, smitten on every side like a rabid dog. I was now a sorry vestige of my former self but i knew…it had to be better than this. THEN I DARED TO PRAY! A few emotional words showed up…more regretting that my life got this bad than a sincere brokenness for foolishly straying from the truth and touching the unclean thing. So if it didn’t get that bad, maybe i wouldn’t be seeking Him. Well, you guessed right, nothing changed. The back of my mind still relished the fun i had. I enjoyed my new, fake social status, and i was still a lot comfortable with secular living. I just needed Him to turn down the heat just a little, so that i could strike at a balance…knowing just how much of my secular lifestyle i could keep up with and still stay saved. Sadly, He knows us all…and knows what we’re really desperate for…for we will find him only when we seek him with ALL our hearts. Either ways, truth was…i knew i needed Him badly…and now! I could now see the mess up he warned about, and i knew that ancient serpent never pulls the breaks till he’s got a brother all ragged! So i prayed on…more frequently, and even more fervently, i noticed.
Father of lights, if this is all i can be, if i have become the son of perdition for good and there would be no use i can be put to in your vineyard, please take my life now, but squeeze me into heaven somehow, i beg of you. Kindly spare me the least position in heaven if possible. I can no longer stand this wantonness. This would be my prayer all through service year. Friends, No answer! No word! No change! Nothing!!! I only knew i was on the right track when His silence did not drive me to exasperation as before. How could i even think i could simply and quickly pray myself out of what i behaved myself into over several years. That ancient serpent comes cheap, but goes costly. Sparingly now though, i still hit the clubs, sipped my booze, kept my girl (bless her for the good that’s in her though) but still prayed for help to leave that demented state. Gradually friends, i started to feel the desires die a slow, reluctant death. Right there on d dance floor trying to get my grove on, I’d hear him say…you could be better than this…and the fun packs up for the day. I simply sit, drink and sulk all through the outing. The mood swings began to take over, especially whenever I went on one of them illicit outings. It seemed God was out to kill whatever fun I used to find in lecherous living…and friend…it was a welcome development. At least someone was steering my life in the desired direction, seeing that I had lost all will power. I’d still go home, pray again and beg. No answer! A little more carefree living and days later, I’d still pray the same prayer…take me if this is all i can be Sir! Nothing again!!
Finally, after several moments of fun packed up by this gentle whisper, after countless escapades turned sour, even though i had not fully detached myself from my past life, though i still had cold feet quitting my past life when i wanted so desperately to be saved; (i wanted the change but didn’t want to take responsibility for it), he heard me still and mercifully showed himself….
Someday in October 2013, i went to bed an ordinary sinful man and my Lord showed me himself in a dream. I saw Him, Jesus (or at least the face we see in pictures). He had come to the hood, was just about 60meters away from where i stood. People kept rushing to Him in eager anticipation and He solved their every problem. Many ran past me to Him, He solved their case and they would come back, pass me and say ol’boy…He has just healed me, or answered me or stuff like that. Many would come from behind, nudge me and say ol’boy make we dey go meet am now…and i stayed back. They passed, met Him, got their problems solved, came back my way, passed me and headed home in excitement. But i was so dumb and reluctant. In my mind i felt…if i go now, He’ll need me to quit all dese little ‘sweet nothings’ I’m ‘enjoying’ in the world. I’ll have to leave my girl, and start living this ‘dull’, ‘drab’, classless and pathetic life these born-again folks live. He’ll start making demands, wanting me to change and start regimenting my life with boring salvation mannerisms and gibe, uncool lifestyles i once abandoned. What would my friends think of me now? I thought…as if any person’s view of me changed the sham i knew my life was. Here i was, before the one i had been seeking; before the one who alone could free me from the mess i made of me, but because i didn’t want to leave my friends and shitty lifestyle, i stayed back to my detriment.
Jesus was now approaching gradually, and when he was just a few meters away, just in my line of sight, i felt well, before he will say i didn’t come to see him o…i reluctantly walked up and knelt at his feet in mock submission. And he spoke up….you…so you’ve been crying all this while for this…and now I’ve come around here for you in particular. You watched people hasten up to me in desperation, pass you and get what they wanted…you sat back there…thinking twice about leaving your messed up lifestyle. Ok, stay back then, perhaps when you’re really tired of being a mess you can come, and he stepped over me, and PASSED ME BYE. Hasta La Vista…he seemed to have just said and i woke friends, not in horror at being passed by, but with a weak smile and sense of fulfillment…that i found him eventually; that he had been hearing my prayers all this while; that he knew all about me after all; knew even this secret reluctance to yield, and even knew where i ‘lived’ in Samaru, Gusau, Zamfara state at the time. All this while he had seen the earnest yearnings of my soul and he chose to come…to show a ray of light…to say son…I’m still interested if you are…and i can save you from that ancient serpent if you would just come to me! And friends, he didn’t send me an angel, he came by himself! This would be the beginning of a selfless devotion and service to him, my Redeemer.
Later that day, i sat down and wept, and fasted and prayed to the Lord God of heaven, and sought him in brokenness. I quit my old ways; i made amends as best as i could; i gave it all up. I subjected myself to genuine prayers by folks who had walked with God long enough to drive Beelzebub far away from my stead. He sure heard, passed me through several months and stages of cleansing and purification, took away ALL addictions, healed my mind, rebuilt my meaningful relationships, gave me mighty inner strength to give up the unnecessary ones no matter how uncool it made me seem at the time and gave me a new lease of life. In short friends, He cleansed me of all perversion and made me brand new. I am forever indebted to Him for freeing me from shackles I could never free myself from. Several times I dared to beg for physical manifestations of his divine presence and he has not ceased to show his awesomeness so physically.
And friends, it seems that when we leave the devil’s camp and yield to God, the devil pounces on us. He did that to me, this time with vexation in his spirit. Struck health and wealth, inflicted with fear, tempted violently, manifested even physically…as if to say he had any real strength that had not been subdued by the miracle at Calvary. I fell and stood, fell and stood and fell and stood. Time will fail to recount it all; plus i will not muster a drop of my ink or my creative juices to telling his tales and give him the slightest chance to seem to matter. But in all, God remains the strength of my soul, and delivers me from all afflictions of that ancient serpent. God is mine forever, amen!
Friends, i have pledged allegiance to Him fully…there’s nothing left i can give anyone else. There’s nowhere else i want to be. To Leviathan i have said…you gat nothing in me, i cannot give you what you seek. I sincerely wish dear friends that you all will do same.
And for those like I once was with hidden identities, struggling to extricate themselves from their Christian/parental identity just to belong; children of promise upon whom Gods word was spoken from conception; children of believing parents who genuinely serve this God and call your name to him in prayers daily. There is nothing in that other side that you seek…only a waste of your time and resources. This God is jealous about his own…you have been mortgaged long ago…do not linger there i beg of you…hurry back while you still can. Children of secular parents may prosper in iniquity for the time being, before they end in hell if they die in sin, but not you O born-again parent/preacher’s kid. For it is only in righteousness that you will be established (Isaiah 54vs14 NIV). Remember…others may but you may not. It is not for you o Lemuel…to spend your strength on women (or men), your vigor on those who ruin kings (or queens) (Proverbs 31 vs 2-7). Certain things are not for you!
And you should know by now that the devil will always take shots at you in the bid to frustrate you out of the faith. It is the footballer with the ball that should expect a tackle. It is the tree with ripe fruits that should expect to be stoned because people want to pluck (at least in Africa). This is why you must be firmly rooted in God. But nevertheless, the one who saved you did not leave you empty handed, ‘for everyone born of God overcomes the world’ (I john 5vs4 NIV).
And for you who were not mortgaged from birth in the manner I have described above; you from secular or even unbelieving homes who have gotten bye without any resistance from God or Satan. The devil may not be bothering you much but you are not any ‘safer’. I rather have God regimenting my life, putting occasional bumps here and there to keep me on the right track than have the devil free me temporarily, bring extra good my way and put me on a highway to hell.
For Psalm 73 vs 18 describes it all “…truly you put them on a slippery path, and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction”. He may not have reason to bother a sinner with some terminal ailment, or sudden misfortune, or lack or failure or any violent set back of any sort. In fact the Psalmist says “For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seemed to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they are not plagued with problems like everyone else. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for” Psalms 73 vs 3 – 7 NLT). In my opinion this is a smart move by Satan. It’s like…if they are already in my camp and going to hell surely, I just have to lead them on, turn up their wealth and success so they will think they have no pressing need for God whatsoever; unless I’ll just strike them with sudden death and land them in hell faster. For why give them some sickness or setback that will make them seek God, and if He heals them they’ll repent and serve him. That’s a risk the devil is not willing to take. That is why the people who seem to be most sinful seem to have the best of health, wealth and all the good things of life. The devil needs them around here much longer to win more souls to his kingdom.
So he reserves his troubles for the saved, so that perhaps in the face of a terminal sickness or violent setbacks such a one can feel…God whom I serve has forsaken me…and perhaps curse God, turn to the devil and eventually die.
So for those who are having a field day with success, wealth and having all your heart desires come true, I pray you to understand that every living soul is indebted to God who made us all. We all have an inherent need for God. ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to ALL men, teaching them to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions’ (Titus2 vs 11&12). For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3 vs 23). Clearly, Gods salvation plan has ALL HUMAN FOLK in it, including you! Do not wait till God DEMANDS your attention or takes away the protective covering he has over you. Reverence him in health, wealth, success, prosperity, good grades, beauty, youth, blossoming career and all the good you currently enjoy. Your life is open and defenseless if you do not know this God genuinely. Do not wait till the devil strikes with some scary shit before you go looking for God. May sudden misfortune not be your reason to give Him attention. ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call on him while he is near’ (Isaiah 55vs6). Don’t be like Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4vs15,16) who had to eat grass first before he could acknowledge God, for it is not all who are afflicted that ever make it through to tell these stories. Many strayed and never returned…many went too far…the devil pounced on them and ate them up before they could ever turn around. Remember, God says ‘I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy (Romans 9vs15)’. It’s his singular prerogative dear friends. There is no guarantee that you will receive that mercy. Do not take any more chances I beg of you.
Finally friends, whether or not it is clear to you; whether or not you believe it; whether or not it makes scientific sense to you; no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Jesus clearly told us the signs of his return and the end of time in Matthew chapter 24 and Mark 13 vs 2 – 27. We have seen wars and rumors of wars. Turn on CNN and Aljazeera, all you get is bad news. We’ve seen a single earthquake take over 16,000 Japanese and damage property. We’ve seen a huge airplane disappear like a tiny needle in a haystack. The climate keeps overwhelming our predictions. The perilous times that Paul spoke of in 2Timothy 3vs1-9 is here with us. We see severe persecutions and violent bloodshed now in Nigeria – things we only used to hear of on TV. The world in our time is even debating the remote possibility of joining two people of same gender in Church. People have become boastful, proud and scoff at God. Nothing is sacred anymore. Women come almost naked to church, titillating the laity, and the priest is too busy to say a word. People are intensely cruel, devoted to pleasure rather than God. People act religious but reject the power that could make them godly. I need not remind us that the end is here with us. It doesn’t matter if you have it figured out. Everything that starts must stop. Once an undergraduate, now a graduate. Once alive, now dead! Once this world began, now it’s winding up. This is your chance to choose where you go after now, for it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that its judgment (Hebrews 9vs27).
May this God I have come to know fill your hearts with all of Him; grant you wonderful revelations of Him; help you make a decision for Him even in these last days and may his blessings never depart from you, Amen.
For those who knew me in the wrong light back in the days, this is who I am, this is who I was meant to be, this is who I wish I was all those years and I’m glad I can finally say, that I found my fighting skill, the one who makes my life make sense – Jesus, the only son of God.
From my heart.
Anyiam ‘Don-Moj’ Nnaemeka.
…fears of what post-feb 14, 2015 might hold.
Sometimes i find myself involuntarily considering the outcome of 2015 and it sends shivers down my spine. I have seen our hearts, the religious battle that it has become…the huge polarization…the obvious proof that we are not one…and may never learn to be. Whoever wins, be it north or south…it is clear that demons have been conjured to spill blood. In times like this i pray to flee the motherland…to find serenity in places far off…where angels of tranquility and sanity reside. And if it is as gory as i foresee…then the dead must be grateful that they have gone before now. For the carnage that is yet to come may consume us all…none of us…neither the belligerent north nor the irritated south can stand it. I see country men begin to envy the dead…the GRATEFUL DEAD!
And for me…my solace lies in one singular fact…that we all wear mortality, as unruly, ruthless and formidable as we may claim. We all must go too…whether by having our throats be slit by demonized barbarians, or by being shelled with gold plated metals till we bite the dust. Whether by fighting or aiding this impending nihilism. Whether by sickness and disease from our self inflicted pestilences…or by the slow pangs of death when hunger and famine grabs us by the jugular. Whether in our struggle for emancipation…to regain our freedom as should be or by the burning of our very souls in the fires of airstrikes by foreign nations feigning empathy and vainly making a show of quelling the upheaval they so smartly fomented, while lifting their skirts, flashing their buttocks at us and laughing in our faces.
Whether in our foolish attempt to exterminate our fellow countryman in our own homeland because we all think we bow to different gods…as if to say the sinner and the saint who ply the same bus and fly the same aircraft cannot for some reason exist in the same single large expanse of space called a nation. Whether by that, by atomic bombs, by crucifixions, by burning folks alive in their sleep, by defaming on newspaper pages, by blowing folks up in their worship centers as they pour their religious oblations, by teaching our children to nurse hate for the next tribe simply because our languages differ or by gently passing while asleep…with a smile of accomplishment on your face…no matter the means your maker chooses for you…you too will go. Our houses…the concrete works of our hands eventually outlive us..unless in our mindlessness we blow them to smithereens. I hear of the conquests of adolph hitler…what a demigod he must have been. I long to shake his cold hands and have him grip me firmly…while i shiver and beg for his little mercy that once seemed to matter. The problem with this longing is…i cannot find him. For he too has gone yonder…and the stories of his conquest outlives him. He too has bitten the dust…and gone the way of all mortals. When he left…i do not know of what became of his campaign…and what he can do now to sustain his ideologies and beliefs.
The point is…All of us will go too…and another will dig our graves. The dead man is stronger than me and you…for he is now spirit..totally superior to your fears and threats. Totally immune to you. Totally oblivious to happenings here on earth. At that point, nothing else matters.
Do you not still see my point Nigeria?
DON’T DO IT NIGERIA! DON’T CONSUME YOURSELF!! DON’T IMPLODE!!!
ON THE NEED FOR MORAL HIJABS! Many a southerner would ask what the Hijab is. And to this ‘mystery’ i have shed some light. The Hijab is a veil that covers the head and chest, particularly worn by a Muslim woman beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family. According to the encyclopedia of Islam and Muslim World, modesty in the Quran concerns men and women’s gaze, gait, garments and genitalia; and the Qur’an admonishes Muslim women to dress modestly and cover their breasts and genitals.
What I thought. In my youth, when overt religious chauvinism still had the best of me, i never understood the hijab. I perhaps even loathed it. And i lent myself to the otherwise ‘western’ school of thought that it was merely some fabric worn by some uncivilized, uneducated ilk of women enslaved by their husbands under the guise of religion. However, spending time in Zamfara state opened my eyes and i nearly wish all our southern ladies wore Hijabs.
What I was used to. I was born in the south; have lived in the south and had just done time in a southern University where things were different. There, we have cute little girls all over the place with far more ‘generous’ dress codes. Step out of your door and girls on bum shorts litter the corridor. Get downstairs and the chicks are doing laundry on lust inspiring apparels. We’re used to leggings with no ‘long top’ to cover the bum, so tight that you see the ‘V’ spot well carved out by the clothing. With those leggings you can clearly see the lines of their underpants and with less than little effort you can tell the color. Revealing bra straps is a normal fashion statement there. See through tops and a flawless bra is a weapon many a lady don to reel in male folk. And the good old flash of cleavages has come to stay. Down south we are munificent with hugs, and you can make as much contact with the opposite sex as you both care. Nobody looks at you askance. It’s really not anybody’s business. For southerners, this has become normal. At school, in the church, at work, everywhere – ladies now strive at sexiness, an overkill of some sort and if you live here long enough, you get used to it. You stop complaining. It starts to appear normal. You become indifferent. And quite soon, you begin to almost ‘enjoy’ the sight and say damn…that chick is sexy, for many a man love the titillating experiences that come with skimpy dressing.
Where I went. When i was deployed to Zamfara state, i moved from a very liberal southern part of Nigeria to a very conservative northern part of Nigeria – Zamfara state. Though the sharia seemed to have condensed upon Yerima’s exit, the vestiges remained. First, they didn’t sell alcohol in our camp; and as if that wasn’t enough, the boys didn’t get to sleep in the same camp (not hostel) as the girls for reasons we never figured out. They march you in by 4.30am and march you out by 9pm to spend the night in some demeaning secondary school. Then someday, we drive past the Federal College of Education Technical (The first all-girls College of Education I’d seen), and i expect to see instant activity. Perhaps a couple of bars by the side with loud music and happy young ladies sipping booze with their men. Or a couple of lewd damsels waiting on car wielding men. I expected to see a bunch of girls on skimpy clothes, seeing their men off and exchanging prolonged hugs. I wanted to see ‘chicks’ eating in bukas’, photocopying lecture notes, fetching water, BENDing DOWN & SELECTing cheap, used clothes; fixing fake hair and nails, throwing color on their faces, window shopping or just standing around and looking good. Perhaps i was only expecting to see life as I know it.
To my chagrin…NONE OF THE ABOVE! All i got was a bunch of young ladies wearing maxi hijabs that mostly ran from head to toe, concealing everything and revealing nothing. Chicks were walking solo or in groups, obviously detached from male folk. How could you have such a depot of women yet no men tag along? Is something not wrong if you see fresh open air feces that flies do not perch on? Quite instantly, I missed home!
What I found. I took a couple of weeks to tour the town and the cold truth began to settle even more. Aside the fact that there were no bars and no ‘ethanoic’ happiness of any sort, the music was weird. I could swear Davido had not sold one cd in this region; and every female, young or old, great or small, seemed to be wrapped in bed sheet size hijabs. In fact, you hardly know what color of cloth/jewelry a lady is wearing. Even school uniforms are like this. Make no mistake, i had encountered ‘hijab-wearing’ ladies before now. I was quite used to the ‘exposed’ Muslim ladies from rich families mostly in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Kogi with their short stylish hijabs that could even pass for sexy.They didn’t make a habit of wearing plain local fabric. They wore decent western clothes and hijabs that extended just a little below the neck, leaving you with at least a generous display of sheer feminine curves to behold. I’d seen the Muslim ladies from the west and Legosians wear equally short hijabs or simply tie the head and ears firmly, completely but stylishly still. However, the clothing that followed still allowed that the shape of the bum and busts be seen and felt, provoking all the un
desirable effects our southern ladies exude. But here was I, stuck on ladies engulfed in fabric. Pray take me home, I thought.
What it did to me! After two months in Zamfara, my libido had dropped a great notch. I could pass for a monk in thought and deed. There was nothing to harass my sight, provoke my thoughts and have my mind trying to figure out whatever was under that see through top. Living there had some sort of purging effect on my sight and consequently my mind. The sacred parts of a female’s body gradually started to become sacred again and seem to earn a right to be covered, and for once I began to admire and respect both the Hijab itself, and the ladies who made a habit of wearing that covering for all the right reasons. These ladies were wrapped in toto. No curves to behold, no stray cleavage/bra strap, no busts, no bum; nothing to mess with your head or thoughts. Everything was graciously concealed. Out there on the streets a young man with wanton desires was safe again. He wouldn’t have to bump into some ‘gifted’ lady on the road and chase her home to his doom, losing time, money and focus. How could he? There’s nothing to see, to enthrall, to reel him in. Everything is appropriately covered as should be. A lot of people came with randy thoughts and had planned several orgies. But by month 2 they knew to tuck it all in and behave. All thanks to that generously flowing fabric – The Hijab. I conducted verbal surveys and lots of peeps shared similar testimony. Some said…if the world were to end this service year, I’ll be sure to make heaven. I was happy for them. And quite frankly, I did find that brazen immorality was very low in these parts. The vibe was more like – ‘if-you-want-her,-marry-her’. Rather than the ‘if-you-want-her-then-get-in-her-pants’ idiosyncrasy that’s predominant the south.
In conclusion The truth is, a lady who ‘shows some flesh’ torments a man’s senses far more than a totally nude one, for men are turned on hard by sight. In their most ordinary state they have that ‘sweet’ little naughty imagination that that can run berserk when their eyes behold a lewdly dressed curvy woman. This is how they get hooked, and soon they become willing victims all their lives. Women know this, I’m sure. Take a look at a screenshot i gleaned from one of them fashion pages and see that this is intentional.
We’ve watched the skirts grow shorter and ‘huggier’. We (everybody) let them wear 2 legged apparels for sports and better covering and they shorten it to what they now call ‘bum’ shorts…perhaps for want of fabric. Once upon a time good old panties weren’t doing enough of the job of underwear; chicks came up with the ‘tight’ as undies and we didn’t mind. Knowing they had tights on…they soon became careless with skirts and sitting postures. Next they elongated the very same tight and now called it leggings. They began to wear it with a long top to cover just below the bum. And in our very face the long tops disappeared totally, leaving us with plain skin tight – a brazen case of underwear cum school/work/church wear. Initially they had panties underneath that thing, now they’ve thrown the pants out of the window and leave us with net like leggings, sampling bare bottoms daily on our streets. Its so tight and close to the skin you even see the ‘V’ shape of her private out there in the open. Today they wear nets for tops, with a flawless bra underneath to complement; and if the top is not see-through, then the cloth must reveal bra straps somehow, and the cleavage must come pouring forth whether you have ‘it’ or not…and everyone’s ok with that? Why must I know the color of a lady’s bra when she’s not my mom, wife, sister or ‘cousin’? Sadly, this is not happening in clubs alone; but on the streets, in the mall, at work and even in CHURCH. A pervert runs to see God in church and rather finds himself inundated with ‘bobi’ all over. Where else does he turn?
I sometimes wonder how many young men out there are addicted, perverted, and sexually bedeviled by a few stray sights they happened upon at childhood that has chased them to adult life, all because a sister wants to be called ‘sexy’. We lament that faithful husbands have flown from amongst us; that crime against women has increased, that our youths are perverse and directionless, caring for nothing but wine, women and ill-gotten wealth. We lament that standards have fallen, that men ask for sex to give you jobs, roles, marks, admissions, favors, contracts, money. And the United Nations cries – emancipate the woman!
But you women are to blame. By your dressing oh lady – you suggest that ‘sex’ is a currency you are more than willing to pay in…and you start up this vicious chain reaction of sexual promiscuity that is ripping our society apart. Tell me why Jay-Z should sing fully clothed from skull to foot, even with oversize clothes while the ‘add-on’ lady’s job is to wear thongs and wiggle her butts? Why slit a skinny top from neck to bum, leaving just a bra behind, and I look around…I’m in a freaking shopping mall…not a club or poolside. I feel certain that if a bill is passed banning certain clothes in public, women will vehemently protest their right to be naked, tell us we are trying to live in the stone ages and fill us with all that ‘woman emancipation’ mantra. You seem to say, it’s our body, and we can show whatever we like. But it’s my sight, senses and life you mess up. You say…then control it. Well, I throw you in the sea, you get wet, I ask you to choose not to get wet; to control it! You say…turn and look the other way then. We have tried turning, only to behold another clad in such menacing garment. It’s everywhere!
Why fill our screen and streets with nudity. Our 3yr old boys have learnt to poke at their sisters and classmates, because you’ve awoken a young lust in them. Our kids approach puberty and the site of nudity on the streets pushes them ‘pornward’ and by 15 they have pierced themselves with many sexual sorrows. These are the men our daughters will marry tomorrow. When their respect for the female body dies at age 12, why would he not abuse her in marriage? Why won’t rape abound. Why won’t he cheat on her with yet another ‘nuder’ sister who shows more flesh? See how you make perverts out of us. See why you must stop!
We all are culpable. From the man who calls her ‘hot and sexy’, speaking more from lust than love, to the lady who courts attention at all costs, selling womanhood short. From the father who’s not always there to the mother who feels she’s just doing like her generation…and refuses to scream, correct and insist. From the media/marketing professional who feels – sex sells to the Customer service and public relations peeps who think this lewdness is the best way to reel in customers. From the designer of these kinds of clothes to the movie stars and producers who teach our kids that this is what to do to belong. We all are!
Hence, if my dear southern women cannot all wear Hijabs like the Muslim women do, at least get a moral one. Give us your cute, perfectly streamlined beautiful bodies in trendy, modest attires, neither covering too little nor exposing too much. Show us mature class and style typical of successful God fearing women, like the queens of old. I have beheld some who are angels clad in immoral apparels. Now help us tell the two apart, that we may readily discern between sinners and saints, between the bastards and the born-agains, between the mother and the mistress, and ultimately, between the whore and the wife.
Awash with information yet a lot of us still know not. A seeming ‘overdose’ of internet connection yet we still ask very basic questions. Spell checkers, instant dictionaries, word predictors on every online and offline ‘medium’ yet we still write it wrong and dare miss a lot of letters. Google at the push of a button and you dare ask ‘what country makes ford cars’. Laptops everywhere…cheap as ever…you even got the latest one sent down to you…and you cannot write a single line of ‘code’. Tarred streets all around you…GYM centers sprouting like weed per street….and you dare give them a reason to still call you FAT? Books, blogs everywhere, yet certain knowledge you consider important to you still eludes you. Translators all over the internet, and you can’t say good morning in 2 different languages at least. Soon on a trip to a new state or country…and you can fly and land without as much as ‘googling’ for basic info…like food, culture, weather and basic language to help you get around.
I phone 5s and a galaxy note in hand, filled with those ‘from-above-pouting’ pictures and latest music videos by ‘those who have made it…who’s fan you are…and yet…so IGNORANT! That is so uncool. I feel certain that with washing machines and an abundant supply of water and electricity, many a man still grapple with jam-packed laundry.
How be it friends, that we swim in an ocean of information and are not drenched by it; that we’re daily confronted by technology but we never truly harness it?
We are where we are…more out of slothfulness than happenstance!
Strive to know friends…cos you only are because you know.
Anyiam Don-Moj Nnaemeka
THE INVITATION THAT RUINED MY DAY (part ‘THE END’)
By Anyiam Nnaemeka
…My Ford Edge’s so good every little thing is accounted for and brought to your notice by the bright digital display on the dashboard. You’ll hardly miss a thing, and sure, I didn’t. A red light was blinking profusely somewhere beside my speedometer. It was shaped like a gallon ready to drop some viscous liquid. I knew for once that something was wrong with my lubrication system, and yes, it was. The jumping of that demarcation had punctured my oil line and it was leaking profusely. For that light to blink that much, I was in dire need of lubrication and now! I look at my mirrors again and the traffic agents are still in pursuit, this time sirens blaring, like I was featuring in Grand Theft Auto.
I take a sharp turn to my left and alas, this was all I had been waiting for; the short cut, shorter than I ever thought! In 5 minutes I’d wiggle my way to Broad Street and see that hill smiling graciously down at me. Now I pedal with full force, daring the LASTMA officials to catch me if they could. I was suddenly having fun, while calculating the financial implications of my actions. It didn’t seem to matter anymore so far as I could make it to the office in good time. I’m horning and speeding hard, and the approaching sirens blaring loudly did me good by freeing the roads.
Something else starts to happen. It seems the display on my dashboard is suddenly illuminated by red lights blinking frantically and desperately calling for attention. In exactly one minute the engine would turn itself off to protect my car from further damage. My face tightens with determination and I swear to finish this. I pedal now more than ever, doing 140km in a 60km zone, humans diving left and right for safety as I approach the market area, only slowing down generously once or twice. Suddenly there was a deceleration, I was no longer in control, I noticed. The car was coming to a halt; all I could do was pull over and park somewhere. My oppressors were closing in now and slowing down too, they must have noticed my lubricants spilling graciously. I pull over, grab my bags, shoes and phone, bang my doors and run off.
The last thing I needed right now was some prolonged interrogation. They could take the car, I’ll come around for the chit chat, I thought. I keep up with the speed, only turning around to lock up the car with the remote. Frantically I jump into a waiting motor cyclist who jerks in astonishment. Move, just keep moving, and don’t stop, I bark at him. He heeds my words and disappears into the market place, navigating his way to the foot of the hill that housed my broadcasting company.
I flung another N1000 note at him, twenty times the ideal payment for the service he’s just rendered; I myself, surprised at my recent generosity. His eyes dilate with greed. I grab my things and run off, vainly attempting to make my way up Kpaduma Hill. I knew I had to wait around the foot for a lift, but at this point I preferred trying vainly than doing nothing at all. Everyone seemed to have gone on a vacation. I’m exhausted form jogging so I walk laboriously up the hill. Just then a black sedan pulls up beside me, let me help you up, she says amiably.
The face is familiar though we have never spoken, she works somewhere at the News production building. I thank her effusively and cock my head to one side to avoid her interrogative look. Every other time I turn around, our eyes meet and she suddenly focuses on her driving. I’m sure she wonders how in God’s name I appeared this scruffy on this good Friday morning, perspiring on every side. We have a silent drive up the hill, I thank her again and jump out. She calls me back, reminding me i was still barefooted. I jump back into her car, trying hard now to avoid her eyes, dipping my hands into my shoes to find my stockings. No luck! I swallow hard, slip on my shoes, get out of her car and sulk at what a mess I had become.
I needed to get into the office somehow, but how? Its 10.55am already, I had failed everyone. Why did I even come, I thought? How could my first time before the Big Boss be to render apologies and not to flaunt my perfection, a quality I’m sure the Boss must have bragged about; and for the Boss, I sure must have made him feel so stupid before the Big Boss. Just as I struggled to realign my thoughts and put up a front that would afford me some empathy, Paul shows up with mixed expressions after observing my messy exterior. You shouldn’t have come man, the Boss saw what happened yesterday, excused you for today and asked me to drive you home. He even called the Big boss, asking that the show be postponed to next week to enable you recuperate. We’ve been calling just to check up on you, and be sure you didn’t do anything stupid over the night!
This is the final FULLSTOP! Don-Moj Bows!
THE INVITATION THAT RUINED MY DAY (PART 5)
By Anyiam Nnaemeka
…My instincts fail me yet again. For reasons I do not know, I chose to go under the bridge. I felt against common sense that the bridge was too long. I knew a short cut I could take, run through a couple of residential areas and burst out somewhere in Balogun Market on the Island. I’ll willingly abandon the car, get on a motorbike and in 5minutes find myself at the foot of the Hill from where I could hitchhike my way up the hill to my broadcast house. This thought was my undoing. I’d just joined the queue with high hopes that I’ll soon take that left turn at the junction that would bring an end to my transportation misery only to notice that the drivers had turned off their cars and were getting out.
The queue was now longer behind me, from people who had made the same foolish mistake as me. I wind down and ask a loafing driver. A tanker had just broken down, he narrated. The place was totally locked down. People couldn’t come from the left side as we couldn’t go forward on the right side. The tanker was trying to negotiate a ‘U’ turn before it wound up dead. The LASTMA officials were trying all they could to maintain sanity on the roads. It may take a couple of hours, he chipped in, feeling almost less concerned.
From what he said, even the little safe bypass I had in mind was inaccessible. I hated my instincts officially. I look up the bridge, cars move slowly but steadily. Somewhere in front they’ll obtain their freedom and rev their hungry engines all the way down to their destinations. But here was I, in a lockdown, against my better judgment. I look at myself again, no shoes on, disheveled hair, my hands and face whitening from the harmattan because I had forgotten to apply my cream, and my clothes, everyone could tell it was rumpled; and here was I, locked down in a traffic I did not know how to overcome. Who has taken my place on the first row of the daily log? I wondered. I place my head on the stirring as if to recollect my thoughts and seek available options.
Then it hits me, the deed has been done. A little more breaking of the rules wouldn’t hurt that bad, I thought. Determined to save my falling career, I wake up my engines once more, grit my teeth, look in the mirror and say to myself, let’s do this boy! I hit the reverse gear and the dude behind me starts horning frantically, but my mind had been made. I pedal backwards cautiously but fast, till I felt a slight bump on his bumper. I look at my side mirror and the man’s jumping out, reaching for me. I cared nothing about him.
I simply went forward, reversed again and pulled out of my misery. To my left was the usual one foot high demarcation separating the two lanes of the road. I look to my right, a LASTMA official is approaching, but what did I care? With one sudden burst of determination, I throttle down while stirring to the left, my tires screech and bump against the blocks and come to a temporary halt as they prepare to jump over. I apply more pressure, my tires screeching and spinning with little success, till they find their way up and over the demarcation. The bottom of my car slams hard on the concrete. I force and force, my engine gasping and struggling, until after much scratching and metal clinging, the back tires take over and I see the beauty of a four wheeler.
I jump over to the wrong lane and make my way down to another short cut. I look at my side mirrors and notice a yellow and black striped Toyota Hilux on my trail. Just as expected, the LASTMA official had waited assiduously for my impatience to manifest. These dudes would fine the living daylight out of me, but honestly, who cared? I speed on, determined to finish what I started. Their little power bike is on my trail too, it wouldn’t be long till I’m rounded up and billed. Its 10.30am now, the program should have been over, unless by some stroke of fate they delayed for some reason. Well, that reason would be me! Any delay would have been caused by my absence; I was still culpable no matter what. I speed on nonetheless…
THE INVITATION THAT RUINED MY DAY (PART 4)
By Anyiam Nnaemeka
…It’s Tricia, the girl who handed me that invitation that ruined my night, and was about to ruin my life. Where’ve you been honey? Every one’s been asking after you. I’ll be right there…I stuttered and hit the red button. Just then did I realize I already had missed 19 calls, 17 from the boss, and 2, sadly, from the big boss! I sink into my seat, my eyes sunken, perspiration streaming down my body in defiance to my air conditioner, my head woozy with a myriad of feelings. I’d looked forward to this day, how come someone chose today of all days to be my undoing. What did I ever do wrong? I’d seen Paul’s text earlier which seemed to explain my hangover. I’d taken the cognac and passed out in my office after I received Tricia’s invitation letter for her wedding. For two years I’d wanted this girl, she’d made my heart skip a bit and continually driven me senseless in more ways than one. I was sure I was going to make my move once I settled into my career better and underscored my importance in that office.
I thought I had all the time in the world…Tricia was yet to go on the compulsory one year service to her nation so I felt I had all the time. I’d grown fond of her, lavished her with gifts on a myriad of occasions, but I had said nothing specific; all the while thinking that my antics would be perceived by her and cause what I wanted to be. She did perceive them, but I wasn’t forth coming; just for her to barge into my office yesterday, laughing ear to ear and brandishing her wedding invitation like she was bringing me a memo stating an increase in my salary. My countenance dropped a notch and I’m sure she saw It, as I fumbled endlessly for a reason to dismiss her and sulk myself to death.
That gist toyed with my head. That was the only missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle of my life and I was excited the Creator had somehow connected the dots so perfectly and given me just all i wanted; only for her to grab that most important piece and run with it to who knows where. I rested my forehead on my desk and cried, and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I picked up my keys and left with a broken heart. I sped down the hill so fast the security men swung the gate open and ducked for their lives to keep me from ramrodding through the gate. That’s when I went for the cognac, gulping down two bottles-full without thinking twice. That’s the much I could remember till I woke up this morning in my own piss. My life has been otherwise perfect; she – Tricia – was my only foible.
I ‘wake’ to the sound of desperate honking and siren blaring, with people literally banging on my car. The line had been passed by the traffic wardens and I was lost in oblivion. I snap out of my demented state, quickly stepping on the throttle and nearly hitting the warden who was coming to find out what went wrong with me. I take a quick swerve to the right, leaving the cursing road users to themselves and sped headlong to the overhead bridge. At this point I solemnly swear to break all the rules, I’ll jump the traffic lights, go through the ‘one-way’ zones and do anything possible to get to the office in the earliest possible time. This would have consequences, I know. The new administration had littered the streets of Lagos with traffic controllers dubbed LASTMA (Lagos State Traffic Management Authority) with the charge to rid the already congested state of traffic defaulters by any means possible. Sure they resorted to slamming neck-breaking fines on defaulters; but this too would not deter me, for what was a couple of thousands of Naira compared to my plum job that was on the line.
There’s a turn to the left that seemed less congested, I ignore it in the hope that better promise was ahead. Soon the cars begin to pile up, traffic congestion again! I hit the brakes hard, negotiating my reverse gear even before the car could wind to a halt. By now the dude behind me must be wondering what a madman was driving that car. I quickly swing to the right, reverse again to keep from hitting the bridge and did a full ‘U’ turn just in time to take another turn to my right. Luckily, there was some sort of sanitation exercise going on by the traders on that street, so there were barricades on both ends. This must be my lucky day, I thought. I run on full throttle through Osolo way, my hazard lights blinking to indicate an emergency.
I approach their barricade without considering my brakes and they know something’s wrong. I hit the brakes hard and wind to a halt with screeching tires, and just before they begin interrogations, I pull out my wallet, flashing them a neat N1000 bill while honking for passage. Of course that was more than enough tip for the day, so the gate swung open in a thrice and I’m speeding again! My phone’s been on vibration and constantly buzzing like a clipper. I totally ignore it. I approach 7 & 8 Junction and there’s just another group of annoying ‘road-blockers’. As usual, I pick up another piece of my hard earned ‘magic paper’, wind down for just enough room to let out the bill and they’re scrambling to let me through. I negotiate a right, the bridge is right there in front of me. A few kilometers on that bridge would link me to the good old ‘Third Mainland Bridge’ on which I’ll do a 160, and in 15minutes, I’ll be there fast and fair…