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Current Affairs Analysis

CHIMERISM: UNDERSTANDING THE POWER OF WORSHIP, AND THE DANGERS OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY

Every spiritual truth has a physical parallel.

If you understand the above statement you will have a head start over at least 90% of humanity.
This is because practically every spiritual force, law, or phenomenon has a physical expression through which it can be understood.

For example, when you study the power of God- we call it the anointing- you will find that the properties of the anointing are the exact same properties of electricity.
Electric current is one physical expression of the power of God.
Another example is when you look at the triune nature of God you will find the same trinity principle inscribed in practically everything we deal with on Earth.
The whole of creation is situated within a physical trinity or triangle- Matter, Time, and Space.
Then each of these three is further divided into three too.
Matter for example is divided into three states- Liquid, Solid, and Gas; everything we see, touch and feel on Earth fits into one of these three states.
Space is also divided into three. We live in and relate within a three dimensional world that has Length, Breadth, and Height/Depth.
Time is divided into three as well- Past, Present, and Future.

And there are many more examples of physical expressions of spiritual realities.

One of these expressions we will dedicate this discourse to is the concept of Chimerism.
Chimerism is the idea of having another person’s DNA inside a person’s body.
It can happen in a few different situations, for example, in people who get bone marrow transplants.
It can also happen when two embryos are in a womb and one gets absorbed by the other.
There are a couple of other ways this Chimerism can happen but let us first explain in a basic way what the concept means.

Chimerism is gotten from the root word- Chimera, the name of a mythological creature which was part lion, part goat, and part eagle. It was a creature that supposedly had the DNA of different animals, and from the concept of Chimerism we know it is possible for a biological entity to carry certain volumes of the DNA of another.

In fact in nature we see it happen a lot.

The Angler fish for example even goes beyond just bearing the DNA of another. In certain species of Anglerfish the male fuses into the female in mating and they eventually begin to share the same internal organs and bloodstream.

In different entities this sharing of DNA makes both parties look and behave alike.

How many times have we seen a couple who share the same mannerisms? How often have we seen a husband and wife that look like brother and sister?
I know a particular couple who laugh and sound exactly alike. The wife laughs just like the husband and even sounds like him.
There is a strong possibility you would have seen this something like this, or even maybe you and your spouse fall into this category.
The reason for this is fellowship.

All the activities that make fellowship between a man and his wife fuse them into one.

Interestingly what God uses to symbolise the relationship between Christ and the Church is marriage. He reserves sexual intercourse for marriage because it is a symbol of worship. It is the physical parallel of worship and this is why adultery is the physical variant of idolatry.
Worship is the deepest form of interaction and
it is this interaction with God that makes us continually get transformed into His image.

Before we delve fully into the worship of God and see how it transforms us and our circumstances completely let us take a look at how the worship of Satan does the opposite.
I can imagine someone reading this and saying, “But I don’t worship Satan”, kindly follow our direction and keep reading and you will then be in a position to decide whether you do or not.

Worshipping God gets us to exchange DNA with Him.
By the same token every act of worship of the devil will get you to exchange DNA with him.
There are things people do that put them in a place where they become progressively worse in personality, psyche, and state of being.

There are several of such things that destroy people progressively but I will talk now about just one.

In different studies, some researchers were looking for what’s called male microchimerism (when women harbor some amounts of male DNA). A number of them concluded the male DNA that existed in most of the women they saw was DNA they must have gotten from previous pregnancies that produced male children.
However, another group saw that a substantial percentage of women who had male DNA in them did not have male children.

They since concluded that one major and very frequent way male microchimerism happens in women is through sexual intercourse.

One major way that DNA is swapped is through the medium of sexual intercourse.

I had said that God used marriage to symbolize what exists between Christ and His Church. In this relationship what symbolizes worship in marriage is sexual intercourse.
Sexual intercourse is an act of worship, and every time you have illicit sex you open yourself for deposits- not only from your sexual partner but also from demonic forces; these demonic forces come in whenever there is illegality.

Sexual immorality changes your DNA in more ways than one.
There are not only physical alterations to your biological DNA, but there are psychological and spiritual adjustments that take place in both men and women.

There are forces in the unseen realm that steal people’s destinies as they get involved in these acts. Most adults know that in any sexual intercourse bodily fluids are exchanged; and the truth is that it is not only bodily fluids that are exchanged in intercourse.
Just like with the worship that it symbolizes there is an exchange that takes place in the spirit realm where good things are lost and evil things are picked.

I have seen people who through one act of sexual immorality have picked up habits that have plagued them for years afterwards. I have seen otherwise brilliant people start thinking and talking in very vacuous ways that reveal an entry of retardation in their thought processes, and this retardation always has an origin.
I have seen naturally pliable and calm people who were raised without any violence in their background manifest violent and destructive streaks of anger and vitriol while completely at a loss as to where such errant behaviour came from.

If you know any young man or lady who was always top of their class in high school and then suddenly started getting bad grades the first place to check is promiscuity. They must have touched a person with all sorts of baggage and then collected them.
There are many more people you see than you are aware of who are carrying tons of baggage that you cannot see.
And when you engage in sexual intercourse with them you transmit what problems you are carrying and then take theirs. The other problem here is even after you have transmitted it to them you will still retain the original problem you were carrying before you met them.

You can transmit spiritual baggage and still retain it.
That should not be difficult to understand because if you have ever transmitted a cold or cough to another person you still retained your original cold or cough, didn’t you?
The bacteria and viruses you pass to others you still retain. It’s commonsense, and that’s also how it works in the spirit.

This is why sexual immorality is particularly dangerous. Chimerism takes place in it and so those who indulge in it end up with far more baggage than they realize.

Now let us take a look at how Chimerism takes place in the worship of God.

“Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”
(2 Corinthians 3:18 MSG)

Worship causes Divine Microchimerism and causes the worshippers to swap DNA with God.
Worship opens portals that make Heaven intersect with Earth and it transforms the worshipper, creating a climate where you interact with He who is the Lover of our souls.

This is one of the reasons God prohibits idolatry. The worship of idols alters the worshipper’s DNA and ensures that they that worship them will be like them…

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; noses they have, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; feet they have, but they do not walk; nor do they mutter through their throat. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”
(Psalm 115:4-8)

But when you worship God you literally exchange your weaknesses for His strengths.

In Isaiah 40:31 the Bible tells us that “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…”
But the most interesting thing to me about that verse is the word “renew”. I am told that the original word in Aramaic or Hebrew is literally translated “exchange”.

So those who wait on God in worship will exchange their strength for His. Isn’t that mind blowing?
Worship is a spiritual experience that culminates in a transaction that will always favor the worshipper when the object of His worship is God Almighty.

There is another powerful thing about worship.
Worship is the proclamation of lordship.

The enemy cannot stand the worship of God because in his arrogance he seeks glory and it is this glory that he rebelled to get. So when the Lordship of Christ is proclaimed over any individual, family or community it dislodges him and reduces his influence there.
As worship rises continually and the Lordship of the King is proclaimed the enemy is continually and progressively dislodged until there is no space for him.

This is a mindblowing truth, and the next time you are tempted to sleep with someone you are not married to remember this, and well as when next you lift your hands to worship the King of kings and Everlasting Father.

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

DISCOURSES FROM THE TITANIC

Just over 108 years ago the greatest steamship ever built at the time sunk after striking an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic.

13 years before the Titanic was built a man called Morgan Robertson had a dream where he saw a ship sink. He named the ship in his dream the “Titan”. He later wrote a book- “The Wreck of the Titan”- detailing what he saw. In his dream he saw a ship with a length of 800 feet and a width of 90 feet with a capacity of 3,000 passengers set off to sail in April from New York to London, but in the dream it sank. It was this fictitious ship that he named the “Titan”.
13 years later the Titanic was built. It had a length of 882 feet, a width of 92.5 feet and a capacity of 3,300. It sank on its maiden voyage in April from Southampton to New York.

There is no evidence that the designers of the Titanic had ever seen or read “the Wreck of the Titan”, and they obviously were not planning on building a ship to fail.

The RMS Titanic belonged to the White Star Line, a luxury cruise steamship company that was in hot competition with another luxury cruise company named Cunard.
Both the “White Star Line” which owned the RMS Titanic and “Cunard” were British firms.

The builders of the Titanic were responding to the dominance of 2 of Cunard’s luxury steamships when they built the behemoth of beauty called the Titanic in 2 years of non-stop engineering work 24 hours everyday.
It was such a feat they tagged the ship “unsinkable”, largely because of 15 watertight bulkhead compartments designed into the Titanic.
In fact one of the engineers is said to have remarked that even God could not sink it.

Yet this engineering marvel that was supposedly unsinkable sank four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, with 2,240 passengers and crew members on board, the RMS Titanic sank thousands of feet into the Atlantic Ocean killing over 1,500 people.

A lookout on the Titanic saw an iceberg at about 11:30pm and rang a warning bell, as the engines were reversed and the ship turned it grazed the iceberg about 10 minutes later (11:40pm) on the night of April 14, 1912.
None of them knew a 300 foot gash had just been created under the ship’s waterline.

Just under 3 hours later the ship broke in two halves at around 2:20am on April 15 and sunk.

When the Titanic was hit hard & started sinking it began sending out distress signals.

There were 3 ships that received the signals.

The first ship was known as the SS Admiral Sampson.

The SS Admiral Sampson was the closest to the RMS Titanic. It was said to be just 7 miles away.

The crew saw the white flares from the Titanic signaling danger and heard a call for help, but because they had been hunting seals illegally and didn’t want to be caught, they turned and went the opposite direction- away from Titanic.

The second ship was the SS Californian.

The SS Californian was said to be just 14 miles away from the RMS Titanic, but it was surrounded by ice fields. When the captain looked out and saw the white flares, but also saw that the conditions weren’t favourable as it was dark and icebergs loomed around, he decided to go back to bed and wait until morning. The crew tried to convince themselves that nothing was happening.

Early in the morning, at around 05:30, the wireless operator was awakened. He tried to communicate with the ship, but got the sad news instead – the RMS Titanic had sunk.

The third ship was the RMS Carpathia which belonged to the rival company- Cunard.

The RMS Carpathia was just over 58 miles away from the Titanic and was headed in a southern direction when they heard the distress cries over the radio. The captain of this ship knelt down, prayed to God for direction, then turned the ship around and went full steam through fields of icebergs.

It would take her approximately three and a half hours to arrive at the position of the RMS Titanic’s final distress call.

It is said that as Captain Arthur Rostron sped up his nine-year-old ship the ship managed 17 knots, which far surpassed her quoted top speed while making their way to the last known coordinates of the Titanic.

Meanwhile, Rostron’s crew kept busy making preparations to receive the surviving passengers and to ensure the rescue operation could be both as successful and as swift as possible.

The RMS Carpathia arrived in the area at approximately 3:30am.

This was the ship that saved the 706 survivors of the Titanic.
The remaining 1,517 souls were consumed by a “watery grave”.
It is said that if the other two ships had responded all the people on-board the “Titanic” could have been saved.

When the captain looked back at the ice fields they had come through, he said; “someone else’s hands must have been at the helm of this ship.”

The Titanic sent distress signals to multiple ships shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912. Only the farthest ship- the “RMS Carpathia” arrived on the scene and rounded up the 706 survivors of the Titanic who were able to make it out on the lifeboats.

There are several lessons I gleaned from this story. I will point out just three.
The first one is the pattern and structure God set to ensure that nothing takes everyone by surprise. He put out the script He designed, and placed it in the open for anyone who wants to follow it to see it very clearly.
Just like the wrecking of a cruise liner was revealed in such frightening and precise detail to Mr. Robertson there is One who has all the details of our lives, and if we choose to follow His direction He will guide us away from all the icebergs designed to sink the ships that we call our lives.

The second point I will speak of is the vanity of all things material. The magnificent Titanic which was so beautiful and majestic it was termed “unsinkable” is thousands of feet at the bottom of the ocean, and according to marine scientists will completely disappear by 2030 because of a rare type of bacteria that is eating out the hulk of the ship.
When I think about this I ask myself what material thing is worth dying for.

The last thing I will focus on is the one I got from what I believe these ships symbolize.

The first ship, the SS Admiral Sampson, for me symbolises those who are just beside us but are not there for the right reasons. They are those who are very close in proximity but very far away in heart. They are consumed with themselves and are interested in others primarily for what they can get from them.
If you experience a wreck in your finances, marriage, business or any other signficant part of your life they are the ones that will pick you off like a hyena.
You might have some “friends”, relatives, and associates like that.

The second ship, the SS Californian, is better than the first. The crew is not as close to you as the first- and they may not even pretend to be.
But they still are close enough to produce some significance in your life- if they choose to.
This ship for me represents those people  who don’t place you high on their list of priorities. When there is an opportunity to add proper value they will say,  “I can’t do anything now. There are many more important things I must do and so the conditions aren’t right to provide the assistance you need at present.”
These are people who will not put themselves through an inconvenience even if your life depended on it.

The last ship- the RMS Carpathia belonged to a rival company we could say in whose interests it was for the Titanic to sink. It was also the farthest out, yet it was the one that made that journey through perilous waters to rescue those it could from the Titanic.
There are people in life you never expected anything from, but in His bid to show you not to count on human beings God will use these very unlikely sources to bless you sometimes.
The essence of this is twofold- to get you to always focus on Him, and to let you see that everything you have came from Him and He can require you to use them to bless who He chooses- whether you like them or not.

This is what we should all aim to be.  The Lord Jesus expects us to do good to all men, and He specifically stated we were to “love your enemies, do good to those that respectfully use you, and pray for those who persecute you.”

Nobody else in this universe apart from Him could ever have given such a command nor supplied the ability to make it possible.

We all have just one shot at life. Nobody knows for sure when his shot will expire. What will we have to say about what we did with ours when we stand before the Owner of that life- the One who gave it to us to steward?

Think about that carefully.

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Current Affairs Analysis

THE POTENTIAL PRINCIPLE: STARTING WITH WHAT YOU HAVE

There is something about the average human being in his search for success that makes him tend to look anywhere else but where he should look.
When you talk to most people the impression you come out with is they believe their lives would have different and better outcomes if they had more money, more talent, or maybe if they married someone else.
The average person tends to look outwards when it comes to fixing the blame for what is going or has gone wrong in their lives and their paths to what they deem success.

So it would make sense to him if he assumed his circumstances would be different if the volume and nature of his resources were different.
But this cannot be further from the truth. While having more resources might improve the quality of your life it will not necessarily change its outcome because what you do with 10 is what you will do with 1,000- only on a larger scale.
So if you are not doing anything meaningful with the litte you have you won’t do anything with the bigger amounts if they are multiplied.

What you do with what you have is the surest indicator of what you will do if that thing is multiplied.
This is a basic and fundamental truth.

Things like money, fame, position, and praise do not do anything to change an individual. They are only multipliers that amplify what a person is. So a good person who has more money and greater prominence will use his status to do more good, while an evil person who has more money and greater prominence will only broaden the scope of his wickedness.

This is clear enough. An understanding of this will make obvious that it is not what you do not have that is the most important factor in producing success for you.

Success is created by what you have.

One of the most powerful principles I have since come to learn is the POTENTIAL PRINCIPLE.
An understanding of this principle alone has secured 25% of success in anything and everything for anyone who has it.

Think about how God operates.
In creating the earth He put the original pattern for everything on earth into a seed. He created only one set of trees, only one set of animals, and only one pair of humans.
He has never gone back to create another set of orange trees since He finished with the original set. He has never gone back to create more elephants and lions after He finished with the original set.
He has never gone back to the soil to create another set of human beings since after He finished with Adam and Eve.
He created one set of everything.

Everything else was coded into seeds.

So God created trees and put fruits in them, and then put seeds in the fruits He put on the trees, and so inside a tree is a fruit, and inside a fruit is a seed, and inside a seed is a tree which has more fruits in it with more seeds that have more trees with other fruits in them that have more seeds that are trees with much more fruits and even more seeds….I think you get the point now.

So when you have a seed in your hand to the uninformed you hold an ordinary seed, but to those who understand you do not just hold a seed, what you have in your hand is a forest.

See how powerful a single seed can be.

In Genesis we are told how Adam and Eve messed everything up, caused a setback to God’s plans, and flung humanity into perfidy.
And when He began to lay out His plan for how He would reclaim what they lost He made it clear it was hinged on ONE thing- the seed.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between YOUR SEED and HER SEED; he shall bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”
(Genesis 3:15)

God did not put His powerful plan of redemption into the hands of a mighty celestial army, He put it into the hands of a seed.

Think about this.

Isn’t it awesome how everything can be compressed into one tiny little seed? So whoever despises his seed has despised his harvest.

Every visionary in human history has always been mindful of this small but powerful fact- what you require to address your need is in your seed.
Think of Abraham, while he was still called Abram he received  a promise from God that He would make Abram “a great nation…and in (him) all families of the earth would be blessed.”
(Genesis 12:2-3).

Nothing could be greater than this. Imagine how powerful the United States of America is today and with the benefit of this knowledge imagine how you would feel if you went back over 244 years and you were given the privilege of being the sole founding father of that nation.

Abram knew God had big plans for him, so what did he ask for to get this to happen?
“What will you give me, seeing I go childless…Look, you have not given me any seed.”
(Genesis 15:2,3)

Man is promised a nation and he is asking for a seed. Is that not mind boggling?
The reason for this is because in a seed Abraham saw the nation he was promised.

This is because every true visionary understands the power of potential.

Everyone of us carry seeds in our hands. These seeds can be business ideas, latent ability and talent, certain types of education and knowledge that can be applied to produce lasting results, relationships with people who can open certain doors, or are those doors themselves.
There are so many different types of seeds in our hands, and our hands do not necessarily mean our physical limbs.
Our hands can mean our minds, lives, businesses, homes and every other thing that can hold a seed that can add value to others and to us.

So let me say again what we said earlier in the hope it will sink in very well…
In a seed is a tree, and in a tree is more fruits that have more seeds that have more trees that have more fruits that have more seeds that have more trees.
So when you hold a seed in your palm in the eyes of the uninformed you hold a tiny thing, but in the eyes of a person of understanding you hold a forest.

You hold something that can transform your present circumstances and the situations of all those around you.

Let us end with writing down three major things you would need to do in order to turn this powerful Potential Principle to your advantage.

(1) DISCOVER:-
Your task here is to find out those seeds you have. They could be abilities you have never before identified, or some knowledge you have previously picked up without doing anything with.
If you have passed through any trainings on human resource development that cover this you must have heard about the SWOT analysis.
This is an analytical framework for self-assessment through the analysis of ones Strengths (strongpoints and abilities), Weaknesses (limitations and impediments), Opportunities (the chances to be exploited),
Threats (outward restrictions and obstacles)

This is good but I will add a couple extra important guidelines that will help a little more.
In order to discover what you carry you must take note of how you react under pressure. What comes out of you is the greatest indicator of what you carry; and the real test is what comes out when you are under pressure. You might be unruffled when you are not under constraint, and you might be congenial when you are not under duress; if you have any understanding of Personality Ethics and you are trained to place them before Character Ethics then it would be very easy to put up a good front even when it doesn’t really come from inside.
But pressure will not give you that luxury especially if you are true to yourself.

The thoughts, ideas, and inspiration you have as well as the abilities or inclinations you exhibit when you are under pressure show who the real person is on the inside.
Secondly, you will need to take note of those thoughts, ideas, and inspiration you have, as well as those abilities or inclinations you display when you pray, meditate and engage in spiritual activities.
You will need to take note of both the positives and the negatives.

(2) DEVELOP:-
Once you have identified the positives out of them you would need to begin to develop them and harness what you have seen.
You need to begin to identify those trainings, both formal and informal, that would help you hone your talents and skills and begin to pursue them.
You would need to identify those relationships that can help you develop your raw material to finished products and then begin to invest in them.
Remember it is the quality of your preparation that will determine the quality of your performance.

(3) DEPLOY:-
I cannot overemphasise this. TAKE A STEP.
Regardless of where you are in your discovery and your deployment just make a move. What you leave for later will not eventually get done.
Remember that in a sense you will never have anything like “tomorrow” because what you call tomorrow will become your today in a very short time. Today is the Tomorrow you said Yesterday.
So what you do not start today you will never really start doing again because once you get to your tomorrow it becomes your today.

Nothing will multiply until you begin to use it.

So, I will end by asking this again- what do you have in your hand (house/mind/life)?

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

THE 2019 NIGERIAN ELECTIONS AND WHY EVERYONE IS A LOSER

In 2015 there were general elections in Nigeria. They were adjudged to be free and fair, and there was a fair amount of innovation and novelty that was introduced. The smart card readers introduced to curb Electoral fraud were deployed and the peaceful way in which those were conducted were a massive plus for the country and earned it bragging rights in the African continent and in the comity of nations.

The way the incumbent conceded victory to the challenger was also unprecedented.

We were basking in the euphoria of it all and convinced ourselves that we had become civilized. Surely we would only move ahead, the Nigerian Electoral process could not retrogress at this point, or could it?

I had a number of my friends, intelligent people to boot, who had voted out the incumbent. Of course they were typically excited at where we were in our political evolution and the act of voting out an African President. In reality they were delirious, and so delirious were they that they began to wax lyrical about how they decided the elections with their PVCs and so would determine the 2019 elections the same way.

It sounded funny when they said it, but in retrospect it sounds completely infantile and comical. I should not be laughing because the 2019 elections were a tragedy.

Let me tell you the big tragedy of 2019.

All the gains we celebrated in 2015 in an incumbent handing over even when he had enough reasons to protest have been canceled.

We have returned to the era of writing results and burning ballot boxes. This was why the Electoral Bill was not signed and this was why the Chief Justice of the Federation was removed.
The novelty of the precedent set by an incumbent to deepen democracy has been nullified by the actions of a few.

The immediate repercussion is that the only “winners” from this process are those that hedged their bets over these elections while screaming from the start that they will be rigged. They stayed away, but they now have an argument that those of us that participated have proved their point, the point that our votes would not count.

The rest of us are all losers in this election regardless of whether it’s your preferred candidate that wins. I will tell you why.
You have lost even if your candidate wins because you are in no position to determine who will follow the examples you presently think you have benefitted from.

You have lost because no longer will people like me be able to convince family members and friends to join me from America, Canada, the U.K, and Australia in participating in the democratic process.
We have all lost because no longer will there be such a massive outpouring of people who are enthusiastic about and ready to contribute to the democratic process by standing for hours under the Sun and fighting for their PVCs and their rights to at least have their say even if they might not have their way.

When you deny Nigerians the rights to have either their way or their say in the likes of Sabon-Gari, Okota, and Abonnema what you have done is murder. You murdered a few people undoubtedly but there is something even more tragic; you have murdered faith in your country and conducted the funeral rites for hope in the process of the people to make their choice.
A youth corper I know personally who was one of the ad hoc staff in Nasarawa told me how thugs destroyed the ballot paper in her polling unit and in the polling units where her friends and colleagues were serving. Like it was in all other places mentioned above the people who wanted to vote for the opposition were not allowed to have their say.

You have lost because rather than being a witness to a credible process ensconced in genuine integrity and popular participation you have added your presence to the retrogression to the Wild Wild West where “might is right”.
Unfortunately you will soon learn that it is not only your preferred candidates that can shoot guns and cause havoc.

You have lost because you have witnessed the enshrining of Chicanery into an act. You lose even more when you ratiocinate this Chicanery as Integrity

You lose because in the final analysis you will end up crying harder than you are laughing right now, because in a very short while someone you loathe and a party you scorn will follow your play sheet and you will learn that subverting the will of others is the exclusive preserve of nobody.

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 6)

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 6)

NOTE: This will be the penultimate part, and though there are still 4 more parts (the series will have a minimum of 10 parts with each of those I have already shared here being further expanded and more detailed in another format) I will put up just one more after this here on the blog.

If you want to read from 1-11 you will need to purchase the whole thing in an ebook format after I have given you the next and final part for the blog.

MY JOURNEY

(PART 6)

The moment Ayo Vaughan saw me the interrogations he was obviously putting my friends through ended.

I had earlier agreed with Okwudili Agbo, Emeka Ngene, Ekene (aka Ide Nkwocha), and I.K Onu that we would claim that we barged into Precious Irubor while he was on the verge of unilaterally lynching Ekene.
I told them to say that Precious took a machete and was about to cut him up after beating him and then we came to his rescue as we heard him screaming.

Before I got apprehended I had met Mr. Adegoke, a House Master; I forget which House he was master over, but I felt I would get some sympathy from him because he had gotten me out of several binds in the past. But when I told him the lie we had scripted he saw through the facade faster than I could finish getting it out of my mouth.
“Ahh, Bishop, how can you say you did nothing to him? How can you say you only scratched him with your hands when I saw blood from machete cuts all over his body?”

I saw the lie was dead on arrival with Mr. Adegoke so I tried beating a hasty retreat. As I backed out of the space in which I was talking to him I stepped into the path of a waiting… and smiling Lt. Agada.

I didn’t even resist him. I mean, you could not reenact an Escape from Sobibor in that kind of situation.

You wouldn’t even think it if you knew Lt. Agada.

He beckoned on me and without saying a word to break the sadistic smirk on his mouth he indicated that I walked ahead of him. As I walked I squared my shoulders in tension as I did not know what to expect. A slap on the back of my neck or the crack of a koboko across my back, or both. I knew there was only one destination and so I walked ahead of Agada straight to the Commandant’s office.

The lie was probably gaining some traction before I came in because when Lt. Agada marched me into the Commandant’s office I could see Precious was sweating in his bid to disprove the movie script my guys had thrust on him.
“Ahh!! It’s a lie sir. Don’t mind them sir”
He was a prefect and so that must have counted for something in Ayo Vaughan’s undecided look.

But the moment he saw me he seemed to have his mind made up in the fraction of a second.
Lt. Col. Ayo Vaughan jumped up from his table and lunged at me. Before I could do anything I collected two punches.

They made us all lie flat in the Commandant’s office. Demo Olusesi was brought in for something else he had done. But Ayo Vaughan declared, “all of you will be expelled.”

He was expelling all of us.

Demola almost died of shock.

“I am not with them sir”, he shouted while raising his hands, “my offence was not like their own, ejoo sir”

“I know”, Ayo Vaughan responded, “but I am expelling you in advance so I don’t have to worry about doing it in the future.”

With that they brought us out in front of the whole school and they took our shirts off our backs as the soldiers scraped all our hair and marched us off to the guardroom in the presence of multitudes of students, some in astonishment, some others visibly elated, and others in consternation.

I was already used to detention in the guardroom and so I encouraged others as we trudged along. It was as we got there that I noticed right beside the sentry post my Command Secondary School Abakaliki nemesis- Staff Sergeant Kayode.

Staff Sergeant Kayode was a dark man with bulgy eyes, a thick Samanja like mustache, and a pot belly. He hated me passionately and wherever he saw me he became unduly animated. So it was that when my eyes fell on him I began to perspire profusely.

“Hey, you dia, double up”, he shouted as he saw us being taken into the guardroom by the corporal and lance corporal who were given charge of us.
We jogged instantly but apprehensively towards him. As soon as we had lined up in front of him he grabbed a menacing looking 3 tail koboko (horse whip) and gestured on us to come forward and lie down flat.
Everyone drew back, we were terrified. But I was the leader and had to show fear was not allowed and so I stepped forward and lay prostrate.

I closed my eyes tight while waiting for the sharp pain I was sure was about to sear through my back and jolt my nerves.

“Get up you bagger”, I heard Staff Sergeant Kayode bellow. I looked up as he gestured for me to step aside, I was surprised but very thankful as I leapt to one corner.
I realized I was not going to get horse-whipped because I had obeyed the instruction to step forward very quickly.

Once my guys saw I had been pardoned they all rushed forward in a cluster, each trying to get before the other to the floor in front of Staff Sergeant Kayode. Emeka Ngene got there first, as he jumped on the floor expecting to hear “Get up!!” the only thing we heard was the sound of the whip come down with intense fury as Emeka’s scream mingled with it.

The others had come forward too quickly to retreat and so they had to go in turn, each one feeling the brute force of the horse whip from Staff Sergeant Kayode’s sadistic hands.
As soon as he was through they ordered us to strip for searching.

That was a very big problem because I had my switchblade in my pocket.

I said a silent prayer then held it in my hands. The soldiers herded us into the sentry post and I saw that the floor was full of water. The windows of the post had blown out and the rain had obviously flooded the inside. They commanded us to sit inside the water while buck naked.
With my hands behind my back I sat down in the water and the moment I hit it I pushed my dagger behind my back with the momentum of the water towards Ekene Nkwocha who was seated next to me.
The knife sailed and stopped behind him where he was seated in the water.

Somehow none of the soldiers said anything as they asked us to get up, put on our trousers, and jog on into the guardroom.

I was to learn later that my switchblade was the subject of a fight between two soldiers who liked it.

The ranking soldier got it and that left the other one seething. He gathered us together and hastily scribbled something he called an agreement that stated we all would buy him another dagger or he would expose us.
He asked us to append our names and signatures…and so we did.

In the space for names we wrote all kinds of things as our minds went into overdrive.

Chinua Achebe, Oliver de Coque, and Wole Soyinka all made the list as we turned our motley crew into a stellar cast. All the while the soldier was smiling happily like he had us in a tight corner.

Yours truly was “Michael Jordan.”

And then we signed right beside those names we cooked up while the soldier was grinning from ear to ear at the “legal document” he had in his hands.

We were kept in the guardroom with its filthy and stinking conditions. We had no shirts on our backs and so mosquitoes were having a field day.
I could swear the mosquitoes in that guardroom had full sets of teeth because each bite felt as though Dracula had teleported from Transylvania to a military cantonment in Abakaliki.

Something interesting soon happened.

I.K Onu (aka Onyx) told us he wasn’t going to pass the night in the guardroom and that he was going back to the dormitories. We stared at him in disbelief but took him very seriously because for some reason he was always with us when we committed any atrocities but never fell into trouble when we did.

We suspected he had some sort of “jazz” he wasn’t sharing with us and so we were sort of relieved when he got caught and sent to the guardroom with us.

We concluded his “jazz had knocked” and he was a mere mortal like us…until he made that statement.

I told him it was impossible.

Soldiers were right outside the guardroom gate keeping watch, if he tried it he was going to get beaten like a runaway slave.
But he told me confidently that nothing would happen, and asked us to watch him.

He opened the guardroom gate and as we tried to watch through the very high and narrow window he walked out and passed right by where the soldiers were meant to be and walked right out of the main gate of the cantonment.

We couldn’t believe our eyes. I was to later learn what this “jazz” was and that served to be a major juncture in this story of my journey.

After Onyx left we were all gobsmacked.
While I was in deep thought as to how he pulled it off someone else got an epiphany.
There was another student who the soldiers had brought to the guardroom over some infraction he was involved in.

He was a year ahead of us, and while I cannot remember his first name I know his last name was Omagu.
Omagu saw when Onyx walked out the guardroom gate and the main gate of the cantonment and immediately decided that what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the gander.

He got up from the dirty guardroom floor where he had been sitting and told us he was leaving.
We asked, “Omagu, where you dey go?” to which he replied “I dey follow Onyx”

We began to prevail on him not to go anywhere but he insisted and so we left him. He opened the guardroom gate and stepped out; he had barely made five paces away from it when we began to hear cries and what seemed to be slaps and blows.
We rushed to the high slits that served as windows for the guardroom and we were barely able to make out the images and sounds of Omagu being pummeled by two soldiers.

If you have never been slapped by a Nigerian soldier I advise that you do not put that on your bucket list or you might not be far from kicking the bucket.

We recoiled as we heard the commotion and any other person that nursed ideas of a prisonbreak immediately perished the thought.
As we heard anywhere between eight and twelve slaps within a five minute span we also heard Omagu’s voice as he shouted-

“Yeeee!! Have mercy!!”.
“I am an orphan o!!”
“My mother is not well!!”
“I am a widow!!”

The slaps from the soldiers had driven Omagu into delirium. In the space of five minutes the young man had become an orphan who doubled as a widow whose mother was ill.
That was what a beating from Nigerian soldiers could turn a person to.

We all just respected ourselves afterwards and stayed where the soldiers had asked us to sit. Nobody tried any stunts again.
But I couldn’t just help but notice that not only did the soldiers not see Onyx when he passed but after slapping out okra seeds from Omagu’s mouth for attempting to escape they hadn’t noticed we were a man short in the guardroom.

I was to learn later an invaluable lesson from Onyx’s escape and this lesson was the beginning of my turning point even though it culminated only after I had gotten into the University of Nigeria Nsukka about two short years later..

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Current Affairs Analysis

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 5)

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 5)

One of the reasons I rebelled so much in that BCJS school was that shortly after my accident and time in LUTH I began to have a recurring dream.

I saw myself on several occasions over a period of time wearing a clerical collar. You see, I was born Anglican, and there was nobody on my father’s side or mother’s side that was anything else, and so the logical explanation for that dream in my little head was that something or someone wanted me to be an Anglican priest.

Then out of the blues my dad decided I was to go to a Junior Seminary while my elder ones were in a Unity School. This was in the 80s and Unity Schools then were really exclusive.

To further underscore my despair the fact that I was sent off to one local, supposedly religious institution was compounded by a situation where the two notable priests in the school, the Principal and the Chaplain, were models I wouldn’t have.

Let me explain.

Rev. Canon Ekwenchi was the Principal that looked just like your grandfather, and talked like him. He had this old cream colored Peugeot 305 which always chugged along the road as we watched from either the Administrative Building or our Dormitories.

The Chaplain was Rev. Israel Kelue Okoye; he was much younger, more boisterous, and very cerebral. One of the most intelligent men I had ever seen, but he drove this VW Beetle that looked like it came out from the set of a 1960 movie.

These were the priests I saw everyday and they were the only ones there who wore clerical collars. The problem was I had had these dreams where I was wearing a collar…. and I knew I had no plans to end up driving relics.
I had bigger plans than that.

So I threw tantrums and caused problems until I was removed from there and sent to Command Abakaliki.

It became worse and not better after joining CSSA.

I remember when I sent a junior student, I think he was in Dragon House, to go home and get guns and other weapons for me.
His father was a Commissioner of Police and so I knew he would have access to guns.

I had been watching “Juice”, the black image movie that starred Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps, and I needed to dramatize beside the military cantonment in Abakaliki what happened on the streets of Harlem.

I really didn’t have any reason for wanting those guns, at least not until I saw Uwem Ukoh and Precious Irubor.

These two guys were a year ahead of me in CSSA and, particularly with the former, I had a whole shed load of implements to grind (never mind an axe. In fact the axe was meant to be buried in his head).

A number of things happened and somewhere at the nexus of the boy I sent to get his father’s weapons being caught as he stood stupefied at the cache of weapons he saw in his dad’s bedroom and a hit targeted at Uwem Ukoh failing to hit its target, my gang and I were apprehended by the military school authorities.

We had missed Uwem so Ekene Nkwocha alerted me that Precious Irubor was in his dormitory room.

You see, these guys were S.S. 3 students and had written their final exams, and so were ready to leave.
Uwem Ukoh, though a year my senior, used to be my friend; but I messed up and started chasing his girlfriend. I should not have done that as it was a very dishonorable thing, and the fact that I was the one that started it made it easier to later forgive the horrible things he did to me.

He found out I was hitting on his girl and became my enemy. He was the Deputy Senior Prefect and he put the position to good use as he did everything to make my life miserable and crush me.
After everything he had done he attempted to apologize and let bygones be bygones, but he must have known too much water had passed under the bridge. So he went to get protection.

I was told he had a bag he had given to his junior roommate to hide for him. So I went from the hostel to the administrative block and walked into the S.S.1 class where the boy was.
There was a teacher and a lesson was on, but I called him and he came to the back of the class with a pensive look on his face.
“Where’s the bag?” I asked
“What bag?” he responded
“You have 5 seconds to get me the bag or I will kill you here, right now” I said, and pulled out a switchblade from my pocket.

He knew who I was and what I could do, so the melancholy look turned to one of raw fear as he quickly pointed to a corner of the back of the class.

I picked the bag and left.
I hid it somewhere and went to my dorm.
Moments later, Uwem Ukoh walked in with a few of his friends to ask me where the bag was.

I kept quiet.

He asked again.

I put my hand in my pocket to hold my switchblade. If anyone tried anything I was going to carve up some negroes that day.

Suddenly, I felt someone grab me from behind and shout “Ugonna, where’s the bag?” I turned ready to pull out my knife and bury it into the person’s midriff and then I saw it was Akpo Scott Victory.

Victory was my senior by a year, but he was my buddy. My best friend at the time. We actually looked alike and people that saw us together thought I was his younger brother.

As he grabbed me and pulled me out of there he shouted “where is the bag?” but concurrently he whispered in my ear “Relax, I know what I am doing. I am just trying to get you away from these guys”
At that moment I lost it and started screaming, “leave me alone. You saw what he did to me. I will kill him today.”

All the guys who came in, as well as Ukoh, turned round and left.
It was later I discovered that Stanley Iwuchukwu, the elder brother of a member of my clique and a senior student in S.S.3 like Uwem Ukoh and his friends (I was in S.S.2 at the time) had carried the bag I left in his care and returned it to them.

He had done it for a stipend.

I was livid. I learnt then that the contents of the bag were guns, and this made me more angry. I would have done either of two things if I had known what the bag carried. I would have submitted it to the school authorities, or I would have used the contents on the owners.
Stanley Iwuchukwu had taken that opportunity from us, and so I asked my guys to break out and look for him.

He was going to pay.

Stanley was a slimy one, he had read the tea leaves and taken off. It was at the point of exasperation in our search for him that I got the information that Precious Irubor was in his room.

I think he was the Labor Prefect or something, but whatever he was he had used his position to do me in.

So I put my guys together, with our knives, a machete, and mosquito net poles we found him in his room. I asked him to kneel down but he stood up to resist.

That was where it began. I attacked him with the poles and knives, he screamed and pushed Okwudili Agbo out of the way and ran with blood pouring out of multiple lacerations in his body.
I went after him with the machete in my hand.

He ran from Octopus House which was at the furthest end of the compound to the gate, and I was hot on his heels. He kept on screaming, “they have killed me. Bishop has killed me.”

As we got close to the gate I lifted the machete and was bringing it down to his head but for some reason my hand became very heavy and would not come down.

I slowed down and Precious ran out the gate, half-naked and bleeding profusely. I knew what was going to happen next. Soldiers were going to flood the whole place. Lt. Agada, the Administrative Officer, had been looking for what he would do to nail me, and I knew this was as good an opportunity as any.

I turned around, got my guys together, and we jumped the school fence and took the first motorbikes we saw and headed straight to Abakaliki town to hide out until it blew over.

Nothing was going to blow over any time soon.

To cut the story short we got caught. My guys first, then me later.
I was marched into the Commandant’s office. My guys were already in different positions of punishment. As soon as Lt. Col. Ayo Vaughan saw me he jumped up and said, “Yes, you again. You’re gone this time.”

He leapt forward from his table like he was taking a lunge at me…

(to be continued)

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Current Affairs Analysis

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 4)

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 4)

I spent 3 months in LUTH and considering how bad the accident was it was a shock I came out how I did. I had a total of 4 injuries.

Only one of them was really major.

I had one on my right shoulder that was just slightly broader than the size of a box of cufflinks. I had another on my ankle that looked like a little burn and then one on the inner part of my lower arm, just under the inside of my right elbow. It looked like a scalding from hot metal, and it very well must have been because there were lots of hot metal parts under the bus.

By far the biggest was the injury at the right side of my head. Incidentally it was the most visible of all. My skull was hit and exposed, how my brains were not spilled or affected in anyway is a mystery.

For me the injuries were very painful, but as painful as they were they paled into insignificance when compared with the aftermath of the trauma.
I suffered intense post-traumatic stress disorder and could not sleep because almost every time I fell asleep at night I would find everything happening again.

It usually happened at around the same time– between 12 midnight and 4am.

I would wake up drenched in sweat after finding myself being dragged for several meters under that bus. I would see the other-worldly faces I saw amongst the crowd at the time of the accident.
I had seen faces that were not human as they pulled me out from under the bus after the accident, and they were mocking and sneering at me.

Every single night for close to a month at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), I felt the same thing happening again and again. I would fight sleep with all the strength in my 9 year old body because I was petrified of what would happen when I did sleep.

I felt like I was on the set of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, only this time it was more real than Freddie Krueger.

I would wake up screaming, “Nurse, Nurse!!” The night nurses already knew me and while some were at their wits ends some others were downright irritated because of my constant grating and the obvious pain, shock, and horror I experienced daily.

Maybe that influenced the way they dressed the wounds because it would be about 2 or so months later, after they did 2 skin grafts, that the wounds healed and the doctors discovered the way the nurses dressed the wounds got part of my right ear stuck to the side of my head after the wounds healed.

Prof. Omo-Dare, who was the chief plastic surgeon at LUTH at the time told me there was nothing they could do about it till I turned 18 because they were going to give me a medication that would stunt my growth if he was going to separate the little part of the ear that was stuck from the head.
I had spent 3 months already and was very tired of the smells of hospitals, antiseptics, gauze, drips, soffra-tulle, antibiotics, and every other thing there.

Most of all I was fatigued of falling asleep and then waking up to see that my neighbor who had been on the bed beside me before I slept was dead by the time I woke up.

I can’t remember how many times I would see them cordon off a bed with sheets and then they would get in a stretcher trolley to carry out the corpse.

I remember Ikemefuna, he was younger than I was, he was like 4 years old or something.
Ikemefuna was admitted halfway or so into my 3 month stay at LUTH, and his bed was like 3 spaces away from mine. His mum was there by his side throughout the time, and since my mum was at the hospital to visit me everyday it was inevitable that their paths crossed.

My mum got on very well with Ikemefuna’s mum, and she also took an immediate liking to the young boy. She would bring things for me and also come with things for Ikemefuna, and in the same manner Ikemefuna’s mum would bring things for me while bringing things for her kid.

Both families bonded in our pain.

But one day, 3 weeks or so after Ikemefuna was admitted, an odious and very irksome task was thrust on me. My mum came in to see me as she did everyday, but this time Ikemefuna’s bed was empty. She looked at me to ask if they had transferred him to another ward, but I looked up, and even at 9 years of age the next thing I was going to say was difficult.

“Ikemefuna is dead,” I muttered while a few tears dropped down my eyes.

It was like a projectile hitting its target. She almost simultaneously dropped what she had in her hands as she put them on her head.

Then she started crying. As she cried she sang a dirge that was familiar to me.

It was one I had heard on T.V while watching the televised version of Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” and seeing where Okonkwo cut down the boy who had come to see him as a father, Ikemefuna, with a machete.

“Ikemefuna o ka isi ije?”

This was the only line in that dirge that I was familiar with, and it was the only one at that point that was most appropriate in expressing my mother’s grief at the loss of this boy we had come to know and love within these 3 short weeks.

I remember a few others that died while I was in LUTH, both young and old, friend and foe. I believe constant exposure to death only served to calcify me and get my conscience more calloused.
This showed up with greater frequency as I grew up.

I got discharged from LUTH and my physical wounds turned to scars. They were not the only scars I carried as there was probably a greater level of scarification and disfigurement in my soul.
I felt, from such a young age, a toxic mixture of anger, insecurity, fear, bitterness, and hate, all mixed with huge doses of passion.

I had already taken my first glass of beer at 7 years (courtesy of my mum’s late kid brother) so this potent mix of emotions saw me push the envelope even further.

I started smoking weed at 13 and started humping prostitutes shortly after. I would chase women twice my age because I liked them (I still like women) and I felt they would understand me more than 13 and 14 year old girls.
I got a gun at 14 while I was in my S.S 1 as a transfer student to Command Secondary School Abakaliki and became very violent and unnecessarily wicked.

I had spent my first 3 years of Secondary School at a junior seminary in Awka. I was stupefied that my father had sent me to Bishop Crowther Junior Seminary in Awka, while my 2 elder brothers were at the Federal Government College Enugu.
We grew up in Lagos and so my first knowledge of Awka was BCJS.

I hated Awka because of that school.

I didn’t believe my dad would do such a thing to me. I mean, the closest thing we had to a priest in my family was a native doctor who happened to be our village head.
He was my father’s first cousin.

In my family we had nothing remotely connected to a connection to an association of any kind with the Church so I couldn’t understand why my father would want me in a place like that.
So I rebelled and began to cause problems.

They had to ship me off to a Command Secondary School so the soldiers would straighten me out.

But I got worse.

I started a gang that was involved in almost every act of rebellion at school.
My late friend, Emeka Ngene, who I had given my gun to hold, was one member of my gang. I am still deeply pained at Emeka’s demise because I led him down a steep path only to turn the corner while in the University, but he continued down that path when he got into UNN, even after he graduated. He had left the University and had just gotten admission into a school in Canada to go do his MSc, but he couldn’t resist the urge to go gangbanging. Some guys tried to rob him so he pulled his gun on them to protect his money, and he got shot and killed instantly.

I had other friends like Chuka Okeke, and my onetime guardroom mate, Demo Olusesi, who occasionally joined us in our run-ins with the law.

A while after I transferred to CSSA (Command Secondary School Abakaliki) we got a Commandant, Lt. Col. Ayo Vaughan.

I had already started causing serious problems for the school authorities and I spent a lot of time in the guardroom (detention cells for errant and delinquent soldiers). My constant detention by the A.O (Admin. Officer), Lt. Agada, only hardened me further.

After a spell there I went on a rampage and ended up stabbing and cutting up the only brother of my good friend, Chuka Okeke, because he wasted my time and didn’t quickly bring the cubes of sugar I had asked him to bring me…so I went back to the guardroom.

Lt. Col. Vaughan came in and hit harder

Ayo Vaughan disturbed me and so I thought to disturb him back.
One day I came up with an idea.
I would open the gas tank of his red 1984 Mercedes Benz 230 saloon car that he parked right in front of the administrative block, and dip a whole length of cloth into it, while it dripped with gas I would light the little portion hanging out the gas tank and take to my heels before the fire entered the car and turned Ayo Vaughan’s prized possession into a bonfire.

(to be continued)

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Current Affairs Analysis

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 3)

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 3)

(If you have not read Parts 1 and 2 you will neither understand nor appreciate this installment. Kindly stop now and go read both of them first)

The moment I made impact with that danfo bus I heard the smashing of the windscreen, and at the speed at which it hit me it is completely implausible and beyond the clutch of reason that it did not instantly break my neck.

I was flung under the bus and my T-shirt got stuck in some part of the metal area under the vehicle. Maybe I was fortunate it got caught, because if it didn’t the tyres would have climbed over me and crushed my head. I vividly remember my head was close to one of them.

I imagine what the tyre of a 14 seater danfo bus would have done if it climbed over the head of a 9 year old boy.

Maybe it was a combination of the speed of the danfo and the brakes that obviously failed that dragged me on the rough tar of the road for more than 10 meters.

The moment the vehicle came to a halt I noticed that the passengers were falling over themselves to get out of the bus. I was in intense shock under the vehicle but I could tell the people in it were responding to the flight or fight hormones that were unlocked in them, and in this case the majority of them seemed to want to get away as far as they possibly could.

There were some, maybe passengers, maybe bystanders, who immediately leapt to my rescue.

After they pulled me out from under the bus I looked around and through a mixture of blood in my eyes and delirium in my head I saw human beings lined around the bus all wide eyed and in shock. I noticed a few women around with their hands on their heads wailing at the top of their voices.
Immediately I felt something press hard against the side of my head, as I attempted to turn round to see I noticed a man had pressed a rag hard to the side of my head and a couple others carried me into the same bus as the confused and petrified driver leapt into the seat and zoomed forward while the man that pressed the rag to the side of my head, ostensibly to stop the bleeding, simultaneously barked instructions at the driver telling him where to drive to while speaking gently to me and telling me to relax.

They drove the short journey to Moriah Clinic which was on the other side of Nnobi Street, after Kilo Hotel I think, it was not too far from the barbershop, Uncle Sho’s, where my brothers and I went to get our haircuts.

My mom had fainted and was rushed to the hospital owned by Dr. Tony Didigu. I am not sure what it was called, but they took her there to revive her because they thought I was dead. Dr. Didigu was my father’s friend and he had gotten information about what happened, so he kept my mom as far away from me as he could.

When my dad got back from work he got home to see and hear this palaver. In fact, the househelp that lived with the family to the left of our compound (I can’t remember the family name now but I remember their oldest son was named Donald, and they were from the old Cross River) saw him when he drove in and just said to him “Ugonna don die.” She had witnessed the accident and she just knew I was dead.
To her and to everyone around there couldn’t have been any other outcome…but mercy said no.

The God upstairs wasn’t about to let me go, even though I did not know Him.

Then they told my dad my mom had collapsed and they didn’t know if she was alive or dead.

He drove off immediately to look for me. I must have been halfway, between and betwixt, when my dad walked into the hospital room where I was. He turned round and saw the danfo driver whose bus hit me and I don’t know if anyone had identified him before he lunged towards the guy and grabbed his neck, before anyone could stop him he had already begun to pummel the guy while screaming at him, “you bastard!!” he kept shouting.

They finally got him off the poor chap. But then my dad just spun round and pulled the drip from my arm and lifted me into his arms as blood splattered everywhere from the force of the pull.

As the nurses kept protesting he pushed them aside and carried me straight in his arms to his car.

As soon as we got in there he drove off to LUTH- Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

I remember the first night.

My dad spent the whole night with me. He just sat in a chair beside me, throughout the night. He refused to move even when the nurses and doctors came in.
Between the time he took me to LUTH and when sat on the chair the only time he got away from my bedside was when he went looking for my mom at Didigu’s hospital where they went to revive her.

I cannot recall if he came back to see me with her or if someone else brought her, but I turned around to see my mom kneeling beside me and holding my hand. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and she had her head bowed to one side; all she could do was look at me and while choking whisper “Ugo, I am sorry.”

The moment she said this hot tears began coming down my face where I lay. She had asked me not to go anywhere, but I disobeyed her. I still carry the scars of my disobedience and rebellion.

It wasn’t her that should be saying sorry…it was me.
I cried over the pain I caused my parents and my siblings.

As I type this I recollect all that happened and I am crying profusely. I am trying to type this and I honestly don’t know how it is coming out.

I can’t remember how my mom went back home because I was really tired and was trying to fall asleep. Every time I shut my eyes she would tap me and shake me vigorously because she thought I was about to die. They finally had to get her out so I could sleep; besides my idiocy had already kept my siblings at home away too long from the parents they so badly needed.

My dad stayed back. I would wake up intermittently and see him holding my hand while trying to ward off sleep, and when I would wake I would say to him, “Daddy please don’t leave me”, and he would squeeze my hand and tell me he was going nowhere.

He sat on that chair throughout the night and if he went to ease himself I did not know.

I just knew that my father was right beside me.

You see, my dad lost his father when he was 4 or 5 years old. He was then sent to Lagos to live with a much older cousin while that cousin’s father (my father’s uncle/my grandfather’s eldest brother) took my grandmother to wife after his kid brother’s demise. This was customary in most parts of Igbo land.

My father had almost no dealings with his mom until she died when he was just aged 12.
They took him to Lagos and he had a bitter childhood.

He was terribly maltreated.

One day after he was viciously flogged they mixed grains of rice with lots of sand and then poured the mixture under a bed in a dark room. They forced him under the bed and locked him in the room without food until he had picked all the grains of rice from the sand without the aid of any light.
While he was under that bed at the age of 7 or something he cried bitterly and promised himself his children would never experience what it was like not to have parents.

His cousin sent her kids, who were just a few years younger than my dad, to school but made him hawk bread and “ogi” on the streets of Lagos. It was while hawking that he met some boys playing five-a-side football in their backyard and he joined them.

He would go everyday after that to play with his new friends until one day.
As he dropped his half empty pan on the floor to join in the game the boys’ father came out from the house and hurried his children back inside to do their homework. He then turned and sent my dad away; as the young boy picked his pan to walk away the man called him back and asked, “why are you not at home doing your homework?”
To which my dad replied “I don’t have any home, I don’t have any school, and I don’t have any homework.”

The man beckoned on him, as he came hesitantly towards him he very simply asked, “Why? Why don’t you have any homework?”

My dad replied, “Because there is no one to send me to school.”

After a brief silence the man asked him to come see him the next day.
When my dad returned the man drove him to school and enrolled him instantly on a scholarship.

It turned out that this man (I forget his name) was the Principal of Igbobi College.
This was how my dad became a student of Igbobi College until his graduation. It was the same man that helped him process his scholarship to Austria to read Engineering.

This is a part of my dad’s story and the major reason why he put his children ahead of every other thing.

This is the reason why he would never have been anywhere else but beside me on that night.

(to be continued)

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Current Affairs Analysis

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME (Part 2)

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS THAT LIFE SERVED ME (Part 2)

I began this by telling the story of the events leading up to my mom getting shot by armed robbers on the streets of Lagos.

We found that the bullet had snapped her spine clean and she instantly became a paraplegic. Maybe not instantly, as I am sure the multitude of “Good Samaritans” that came to her aid helped her on the path to paralysis in no small measure.
After she parked the car by the side of Adelabu Street to pick us up from school on that busy Lagos afternoon my mom heard a coarse voice that bellowed, “Madam get out of the car.”

You see my dad had just bought her a brand new Peugeot 505 2.0 sedan. In the mid to late 80s that car was “da bomb”. To me right now it looks like an antique that got blown out of the 2nd World War French Resistance but back then I felt it was KITT in the Knight Rider.

And I obviously wasn’t alone in thinking that as most armed robbers in Lagos probably thought same.

As she spun round to assess what gave the speaker the temerity to ask her out of her car she saw a gun pointed at her.
Immediately she said, “Take the car but please let me take my child first.” My last brother, Kenechi, who was 3 years old at the time was right behind with his classmate from Madonna Nursery School, Ufanette.

The robber had an accomplice, and while he was patient with my mom as she tried to pull the kids out of the car the accomplice was not. He pulled his gun and shot point blank at my mom. The first bullet missed her by inches but in either an inebriated or anxious state, or maybe just because he was demon possessed, this guy shot again and the bullet went through her neck.
As she dropped to the ground the first robber shouted, “You have killed her!!”

They tossed my mom out, as well as the 3 year old boys who had just experienced the most traumatic day they probably would ever have in their lives. Then they got into the car and drove down Adelabu Street towards Ogunlana Drive. They had done less than 30 meters before the car stopped them. The car had a demobilizer and my mom had turned it on when she parked the car.

They got down a few meters after the NEPA office and then opened fire on a man driving past in his Volkswagen Santana. I guess they killed him instantly but then they threw his body in the trunk of the car and drove off with him with an irate mob hot on their tails. With a few more shots in the air they made their escape.

Several other people rushed around my mom and grabbed her from the floor, all bloodied, and rushed her into a vehicle. I can imagine they only meant well but as there were no emergency services they, in their bid to save her life, must have broken her spine irreparably while trying in their overzealousness to pick her up.

I remember when my dad came back from his trip with his driver bringing him in from work. As he opened the door with a normal delighted demeanor at seeing his kids the expression changed to intense confusion as all of us had words tumbling out our mouths in a cacophony of cries.
He leapt back and before we could say anything we saw him jump into his car and shoot out of the compound as Mama Obiora, a neighbor of ours, and Aunty Ethel (Ufanette’s mum) who was another neighbor of ours almost tumbled out of the car as they frantically tried to join him.

He went off and we didn’t see him till very late at night. Family friends of ours, the Nnochiris, came to pick us up. Uche was my elder brother’s friend and agemate, Ezinne was my agemate, and the last kid was Kachi Nnochiri; I think he was my kid brother’s agemate.
Shortly after, young children that we were, we forgot our mother and played with Uche and Ezinne till late. We were getting ready to go to bed when Uche’s dad told us we couldn’t pass the night as our dad had come and insisted on taking us back home.

We cried but knew it wouldn’t change anything as my dad would never let us sleep outside the house under any circumstances (the first time I went on any sort of vacation without my parents and siblings was just after Secondary School).
He took us back home and woke up early in the morning to bathe everyone of us and take us to school.
He did this everyday for the next week or so.
I remember waking up and walking out into the sitting room. It was very dark, but I could tell from the digital table clock that the time was 4:00am.
My dad was sitting down with nothing but his towel wrapped around his waist.

He was looking down at the floor. I could see him crying because the limited light from the electrical appliances that were switched off and the digital clock had cast on him so I could make out that he was sobbing. He didn’t see me until I came close. When he saw me he carried me till I fell asleep and then returned me to my bed.

It was later in the week that my mom’s kid sister came. Aunty Uzoyibo became for many years my second mom.
She left her education and all to move in with us and take care of us while my mom was taken to Frankfurt, Germany for further treatment.

Say what you may about Ibrahim Babangida, the former “military president” of Nigeria, but I will not forget how my dad told me he gave him the sum of 50,000 Deutsche Marks to help him offset the cost of keeping her in one of the best hospitals in Europe.

Medicine didn’t do much though, as after a year plus she came back paralyzed and completely unable to move anything from her neck down.
The doctors in Germany put a pacemaker in her chest and said to her, “Sorry you will never be able to walk again.”

After my mom got shot things went south really fast. It didn’t help that earlier that same year I was involved in a life defining motor accident. A few months before my mom’s incident.

I remember I was at home watching T.V with my younger ones. I even remember what was on T.V- Robin Hood.
It was showing on NTA 2 Channel 5 (unlike the present satellite and cable T.V generation we were spoilt for choice with a grand total of 4 extremely exciting stations in the aforementioned Channel 5, NTA Channel 10, NTA Channel 7 Ikeja, and Lagos Television/Lagos Weekend Television. 3 of them were as exciting as watching paint dry).

On this eventful day, the water suddenly stopped running out our taps at home and so momsie had to make contingency plans.

My elder brother, Chiagor, and our domestic aide, a Togolese girl named Nonusi (I think that’s the spelling) went across the road to get water.

Our house at Nnobi Street, Ikate, Surulere, was adjacent to “Franca Fashions”, a boutique which was owned by a lady who my mom was friendly with.

So they went to get the water and I wanted to go with them. My mom said no. I sat down on my chair sulking, but as soon as she went into the kitchen that thing that said it will not rest till it finished me said to me, “This is your chance. Go now.”

And so I ran out the door and across the road till I got to where my brother was getting water. The maid had gone and so I rushed to get mine. The moment I had filled my little Jerry can I made to run back home but my brother said, “No, don’t go anywhere, wait for me.”
But once again that thing that brought me out against my mom’s instruction wanted to complete its work and so I disregarded what my elder brother said and made to run across the road as I left the compound of “Franca Fashions” on Nnobi Street.

Halfway through the journey across the road after miscalculating the distance from oncoming vehicles I was slammed into by a commercial (danfo) bus. As it hit me and my little 9 year old head smashed the windscreen I got tossed under this bus that dragged me under it for well over 10 meters.

When they had pulled me out from under the bus my green T shirt and shorts were ripped open and blood red. The gash on the side of my head exposed my skull.
There was no way a 9 year old could have survived that. But I did
I was told my brother dropped his Jerry Can and ran home screaming, “My brother is dead. They have killed my brother.”

As I write now and relive those incidents (mine and my mother’s accidents) tears are welling up in my eyes.

I am told that the moment bystanders dragged me out from under the vehicle all I kept saying was “Jesus I don’t want to die”. ”
I kept saying it over and over until I fell into unconsciousness.

I was 9 years old.

Anyway, my mom heard the unintelligible things my brother said in his delirious state and after looking for me in the sitting room where I was meant to be with my siblings she saw I wasn’t there and so ran out into the street…just in time to see them dragging my bloodied body out from under the danfo.

She collapsed on the road fainting immediately.

(to be continued)

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS LIFE SERVED ME

ON MY JOURNEY TO GOD: LEARNING THE LESSONS THAT LIFE SERVED ME (Part 1)

Growing up I was not a religious person.

My father visited our family church, St. Saviors Church close to Tafawa Balewa Square, on occasion, and it was our mom who usually drove us from our home in Surulere to Lagos Island on Sunday mornings.

She would take us all, the Ken Emechebe offspring, and ferry us off to church while Ken Emechebe himself would recline on the sofa reading his weekend papers.

I detested that drive and I remember telling him, when I was no older than 7 years of age, that I didn’t want to go to church.

I remember what his rejoinder was.

In effect it was a quip that basically meant I would need to grow up and be an adult before I could stop going to church.

That response convinced me that going to church was not a rational and grown up thing to do, so I decided to bide my time and ride it out as I was sure I would be an adult soon enough. “Maybe in 3 years time” I told myself.

We moved church to Chapel of the Healing Cross in Idi-Araba, and I gave up on going to the children’s church and stayed listening to the Rev. Olaitan, the vicar of the church, even when I wasn’t listening to too much of what he was saying.

Life happened shortly after that and something that altered my family came with it. My class at the time in Fountain Nursery and Primary School was a Primary 4 class and it had a vantage position where it overlooked the main road of Adelabu street.
One afternoon, when parents and drivers had come at the close of school and were all parking at the space outside the school walls my classmates and I suddenly saw a huge crowd running and instinctively we knew what it was.

This was Lagos in the 80s. That sort of movement only meant one thing.

We spoke among ourselves in class and groans of “All these armed robbers and their wickedness, when will Babangida deal with them finally? Only God knows who they have killed now.”

As we looked out the window, I saw my teacher Mrs. Nwandiko looking with us. Shortly after, another member of staff who I cannot remember now walked up to the door of our class and beckoned on Mrs. Nwandiko, she went to her and whispered something in her ear. Almost immediately, my teacher’s face contorted in an eclectic mixture of horror, pain and grief as she let out an inaudible scream.

She bent over and held a wall to steady herself. When she had straightened herself out she walked straight to me. As I saw her approach I wondered what I had done, as I peered with fear into her oncoming face my fear left as I saw she didn’t have any anger etched on her face, but the fear was soon replaced by a deep sense of unease and worry as I saw the streaks of tears running down her cheeks and her expression of deep concern.

She gently led me by the hand to the office of the Headmistress, Mrs. Olaitan. As I walked in I saw my other siblings in her office. The only person who wasn’t there was my kid brother who was in Madonna Nursery School at the time.

Another parent, we later learnt his name was Mr. Sanni, took us on the short drive to our house on Nnobi Street. We were wondering why it wasn’t our mum or the driver that came to pick us up.
As each of us glanced at ourselves and engaged in soliloquy and Mr. Sanni turned off into Agbonyin Street on our way home he stopped to exchange pleasantries with another motorist who was another Fountain parent.

As her eyes alighted on the back seat she saw us and asked, “Are these not Uzo’s children?”
“Yes they are”, Mr. Sanni replied, and then he continued in a shocking level of callousness that instantly eclipsed his previously congenial and warm disposition, “she just got shot by armed robbers.”

The collective consternation that erupted in the car is better imagined…..

(To be continued)