Restles Me II

May 24, 2015

If I wasn’t restless – I may have stayed in that backwater village all my life and had 10 babies and been married to one man all my life. Or ended up a director in the state civil service. Or a judge or a magistrate. Or something. Shudder. But I always wanted MORE. BETTER. I always wanted to build things, better things, make better, improve.

I’ve always been the scout. In my never ending search for something more and something new I find the new things, the new territory. And report back to those that will do whatever they will do with it. Sometimes I even participate in that phase but sooner than later I move on to look for the next thing. The new idea. The new way. The new possibilities.

I’m a ENFP on the Meyer Briggs scale. Its pretty accurate – I’m a visionary and I hate routine of any sort what so ever. I work best with a collaborative team that leverages its diversity. I need a strong finance and admin manager and strong program managers.

You have kept me from drifting off into the ether, Restless Me. Because I fly. Love you. I might have drifted right into a straight jacket! I may have lay in that field of clovers – dreaming – for all eternity.  God bless you.

The Energy that moves the Universe is restless too.

Yet I am also rooted, so strongly in that little village by the banks of the Njaba River. There is a silver thread that follows me to the edge of the Universe. And leads me home again. Where the heart is.

I embrace Restless Me and Grounded Me. They are one and the same. Or maybe just two sides of the same coin. Can you think of another cliche?

Alu Nwanyi Na Mma

May 24, 2015

Her name was Alumma. She was the first daughter of Agamekwe. She led a hard life. Her mother died when she was 15. She had three brothers, the youngest was just 7 when their mother died. It fell to her to cook and look after them. Agamekwe had four wives. Each wife took care of her hut and her children.

It was a heavy burden for a young girl. She was petite, just 5 foot 2, and slim of hip. She coped the best she could. She went to the farm, she went to the market, she came back and cooked for her brothers. When her older brother turned 22 he got married but the expectation that his wife would cook for them were never fulfilled.

Alumma got married at 25, a late age for a woman to marry in those days. Her slim hips made it difficult for her to birth a child. Her only baby died at birth but not before tearing her up so bad that for the rest of her life she leaked piss through her vagina. She never got pregnant again and her hut always smelled of stale piss.

Her husband beat her regularly after that. Her younger brother – her champion even when the teachers beat her in school came to her rescue. One day as dawn broke over the horizon, he arrived their house and trashed her husband so thoroughly she feared he would kill him. Then he took her back to their fathers house and promised to take care of her for the rest of her life.

She grew old there, subsisting on a small free hold they gave her to farm and the kindness of her siblings.  Hers was the only mud and thatch hut in the homestead. It was a single room ten feet by ten feet. Her doorway was so small you had to bend over double to pass through it. Her only window was just big enough to put your head through.

Her bed took up half the room, a clay pot for water and her cooking utensils filled the other half. She cooked in a lean-to by the side of her hut and slept with her chickens clucking under her bed. She was the poorest member of the family but she never ate without calling all the small children in the compound and giving them a morsel of her food.

When she was still strong enough to go to the market she sold roasted peanuts. Every few days she would gather sand in a large clay bowl and set it over a roaring fire. When the sand was hot she would add the shelled peanuts and stir them over the fire till they were done. Children would gather round her while she stirred and she would give each one a few hot peanuts.

She was a devout Christian and never went to the hospital or took medication, no matter how sick she was. She had the faith of a Daniel or an Ester. She would pray, drink her holy water, and anoint herself with her holy oil. If she got really sick she would go and spend a few days at her ‘mission’  where her church members would join her in prayer till she was better.

She died sick, poor and broken by a life of poverty and hardship just a few days after her brother – the one that rescued her.

If You Chew Me Baboon, I Will Chaff You Giraffe

May 22, 2015
My Grandfather Had Many Children  Copyrigtt Lesley Agams

My Grandfather Had Many Children
Copyright Lesley Agams

“Why do you like talking like a man in this compound. Look here my friend so long as you staying in this house I can tell you what to do.”

Really? The patriarchy rears its ugly head. Apparently I don’t talk ‘normal’ which apparently means I don’t talk submissively and hesitantly. Its always getting me into trouble.

“Why are you always giving orders? Are you a man?”

Who has experience with those police men that end an argument by telling you ‘After all I have a woman like you in the house.’

‘No’ I tell them, “you do not have a woman like me, you have a woman that doesn’t talk back and thinks your shit is ice cream, that is not me’

If you are into submissive women i don’t fit the bill. i will challenge you, argue with you, enrage you, maybe even insult you, turn your world upside down and generally rock your boat. I can’t help it. I am like a force of nature. Watch out.

So if you chew me baboon – if you give me attitude – I will chafe you a giraffe – I will react with an attitude bigger than yours. I am the queen of drama. I was brought up by lots of male drama queens. You learn to hold your own against the onslaught or you sink and disappear!

I keep it easy cause I don’t want to lose my cool you know. I have a tendency to use lethal force. And to want to end fights quickly with a knock out. Like a Mike Tyson.

I’m not struggling ‘man’ with anyone so its easier to move out of the homestead. Keep your manhood on! Umuaka has progressed. There are at least two to three hotels now. More if you count the numerous short time joints.

Moving into a hotel is a mini scandal. The natives are completely shocked. What kind of woman leaves the protection of her homestead to live in a hotel?

Where do the natives get this idea that women aren’t or shouldn’t be authoritative? Ever known anyone bossier than your mom?

Sometime Beer Parlour Gist Makes Total Sense

May 21, 2015

THE BOY IS MINE BY KENYAN ARTIST MICHEL SOI

I was in a beer parlour enjoying agidi and goat pepper soup with some young friends and the conversion turned to marriage and relationships. The young men talked about what they want from a relationship.

Two of the  gentlemen agreed that a woman checking up on them, snooping through their phones and wanting to know where they been or how come they are late was important to them. One said he will suspect his woman if she doesn’t. Checking up on them is part of how they experience the love.

They also agreed that there is the other type of man that will and bark and growl at a woman for being snoopy if she makes the mistake of nuzzling his neck while he is reading a text message. Her protestations to the contrary will be dismissed as he aggressively protects his territory.

They said that those type of men are not transparent because they’re are hiding stuff. I asked them if they thought that maybe people just had different boundary tolerance. They agreed that some people are just more comfortable with intimacy than others. And some folks absolutely crave it.

Understand your own intimacy needs before you decide on a relationship. If you are affectionate and need intimacy you will experience constant rejection if you are in a relationship with someone who feels stifled or oppressed if you call him more than once a week.

And if you are the type that can’t stand having someone underfoot all the time don’t go getting involved with someone that needs constant attention. Understand your needs. Everyone has a someone that meets their needs.

I know a mature Nigerian woman who has a long distance relationship with a married man in the US. She says they speak once or twice a week and see on holidays and during the summer. It suits her, she is happy with it. It works for both of them.  I know another women whose husband won’t let her go to the market unescorted. She loves it!

Then there is a whole school of western biased thought that insists on autonomy (don’t read my phone no matter what) and honesty (I shouldn’t have to snoop through your phone, I trust you)

There is no one-size-fits-all, there is only what works for you. You have to understand your needs and have a relationship with yourself to get there.

The Messiah Cometh! Its the Buhari Effect

May 19, 2015

Its becoming mildly irritating. Every where you turn there is another reference to some great thing that Buhari will do or has done. By just existing. The stock market rebounded, the falling Naira bounced back, oil prices stopped their decline and Obasanjo gave back $20gazillion dollars. Even the Nigeria Army started beating Boko Haram.

Someone called it the Buhari Effect.

And whats with all the Open Letters?  Folks seem to be really optimistic that somehow he will notice their great ideas to change Nigeria and make them a minister.

I’m usually an optimist but governance in Nigeria has only ever fuelled my pessimism. Every ruler is worse than the one before him, steals more than the one before (him and his cabinet and his cronies) and is generally more scandalous than the last. It hasn’t changed. Ever.

Well actually it has – Nigeria’s corruption index fell under Goodluck Jonathan.  But never mind that – the man was incompetent. It must have been a fluke. Perception and reality.

If Nigeria were the case study for democratic governance we would quickly do away with democracy and bury it next to communism, Stalinism and Maoism.  Maybe its not democracy that’s the problem. Maybe its capitalism and elitism. Maybe it is just a lack of empathy and compassion.

I don’t envy the man Buhari right now. The expectation is ridiculous. The smart man says he will focus on three key areas – security, corruption and employment/economy (the last one is actually two areas and if he doesn’t know that we are in BIG trouble). Meanwhile, his campaign team will be conducting a policy forum tomorrow and Thursday to discuss policy in least two dozen other areas. Just another jaw jaw moment.

I’m an entrepreneur. Tony Elumelu nails it in his recent speech at Georgetown. We need entrepreneur led development in Africa and Nigeria. Politicians will be politicians.

MLK-1024x1024

Restless Me

May 19, 2015

After more than two years of cheap hotels, rented rooms, the occasional couch and when I get lucky a  friends spare room I have returned to the life I was running away from and *gasp* committed to a flat share for three months.

Thats all my restless spirt can handle right now. The thought of even paying one year rent (much less two) makes me go into a fit – I start to shiver and shake and my mind darts around like a mad woman in an asylum shouting ‘let me out of here’!

Baby steps – we can only handle baby steps right now.

And this is perfect …my flat mate shares some of my habits. She drinks and smokes for one. That helps. I’m too old to start pretending, hiding or making myself otherwise uncomfortable.

It has occurred to me that I should stop smoking and drinking and doing all those other things that someone somewhere said that I should but my spirit rises against ‘should’, ‘can’t’, ‘won’t’. Its like a red cape to a bull – I have no choice but to charge. The best way to make sure I do something – tell me I can’t or shouldn’t or something.

But I digress….

Of course I do, I am avoiding or possibly denying or maybe just refusing to look at the fact before me – I have made a commitment for three months!

I know, I know. I have been in my village for more than three months, and before that I was somewhere else for more than three months. And even before that but the moment by moment commitment was weekly, or monthly. I could pack up my bags and go when ever I chose to.

Restless….

Its little wonder that I have been unable to keep a job more than a few years or for that matter a grown up relationship. I have not lived in the same town or in the same house for more than a few years since….many many many moons ago.

Restless and free spirit.

By the way, I’m about to sign a consultancy contract for one year. I am terrified! One year! A lot can happen in one year! What? A trip to Mars maybe?

The Shadow!

Compromise? Am I going to do this for the next one year and take off for that US road trip the year after that? Or no compromise? Keep running? Avoid deep ties at all costs? Give in to the restlessness? Keep moving.

Restless is part of who I am.

(How have you served me, shadow me, that I may love you?) 

There is a market, a bank and a gym just round the corner. I went to the ATM and decided to finally make that okra soup and pounded yam I’ve been craving since February. Cooking is such an act of love, and cooking for restless me is such a soothing act of self love.

Its going to be alright…

10931199_569548299855126_3881779846198016180_n

The Election Fever in Imo State Nigeria Intensifies Before Gubernatorial’s on Saturday #NigeriaDecides

April 10, 2015

Gubernatorial elections are coming up in a couple days. There’s been massive defection from the PDP in Imo State. The APC in Umuaka is gloating. Last night there was a big party hosted by this really rich local dude called Eze Muo. The natives call him a billionaire. They told me he recently bought over 100 plots in the village to build his ‘house’. I’m trying to imagine 100 plots and wonder whether Ugbelle his clan in the village even has that much land. The natives like to exaggerate.

And I didn’t attend the party. I’m not an APC supporter. The cousin who invited me recently crossed over. I don’t want to be associated with his politics so I’m not going to stand beside him. And my other cousin will be there too. He’s been trying to recruit me since I came back. I’m sure many of my cousins will be there. Its a family affair. I don’t want them to get the wrong idea.

I think they shared money last night. Maybe I should of been there to collect my own. I sure could use some ‘free’ money right now.  But it wouldn’t look good. As an entrepreneur I need to work with various elements in the community. APC. PDP. APGA and any other alphabet soup. My goal is economic growth and development, not the hunger games that is Nigerian politics.

Ever since the Oba of Lagos made those unfortunate remarks about the Lagos Igbo’s the Nigerian online community has been obsessed. The matter still dominates the media. I was numb from it all on the second day. Sometimes reading the news and its online commentary just gets me irrationally upset.

Tribal politics is getting meaner in Nigeria. And why not? There has never been any sanctions against its purveyors. And to think even though his ‘boys’ killed over 1000 after his 2011 election loss we still made Buhari the next President. Well. That sets all sort of dangerous precedents doesn’t it now? What was the impact of that subtle threat of tribal violence on the results?

What will be the impact over the next four years? Nigerians really enjoy gloating. And extracting vengeance. Despite the reassurances that there will not be retribution we can expect it. Looks like the SE/SS is already being set up as the PDP scape goat. Or rather the Igbo’s because the Ijaw, Ibibio, Efik, Ogoni and all the other tribes of the SS can be relied on to undermine the supposed ‘dominance’ of the Igbo’s in the region. Tribal politics. Its the Nigerian reality. Deal with it.

For an entrepreneur your own is to take advantage of any available opportunities to create value and fill a need. You can create value where ever you are resident – Lagos, Abuja, London, Moscow or Umuaka. Tribe or nationality is irrelevant when you are meeting a need. And as a social entrepreneur you should try to create more than economic value, create social value too.

No time for bitterness

Ciao

dsc_0280.jpg

Nail Biting Suspense. Jega is a sadist! One more break I will shoot myself #NigeriaDecides

March 31, 2015

This is torture!

While many Nigerians including many of my friends rejoice at the possible election of Buhari….I shudder…

Still I am just one of 160 million or like Bright Simons so brightly pointed out maybe less than that but still some millions. Bright could it be a ploy to dominate the rest of the region?

More than half the country voted for Buhari but don’t forget almost half of them voted against him. There is still sanity in the land.

To my numerous friends who supported Buhari I would like to say the same thing I tell my Christian friends when they want to wnagilize to me. Keep your religion. Don’t try to convert me with prattle. Perhaps you can convert me with your character and your actions. At the moment I’m not impressed. Stop trying to bully everyone that does not agree with you into your religion.

I am a progressive. And I am a proud Nigerian. I have never had any other passport but a Nigerian passport much to the shock of everyone who knows me. While I may at times toy with the idea I really do not want any other passport. And that’s for me. I’m not judging anyone that has one. I’m just saying I’m alright with being a Nigerian. It ain’t that bad…at all at all. Don’t judge ME

I long for Nigeria to reach its full potential and for all her citizens to have the liberty and freedom to pursue their dreams. Whatever they maybe. But I know that these clowns are from the same circus as the old clowns. And I fear that they will do the country more harm than good in the long run. I was also being a clown. Sometimes I forget but hey….surrounded by clowns….and when we forget that it’s all just a cosmic circus…sometimes we take ourselves too seriously…

The election is over… let’s just be friends

That said I am indeed proud that maybe just maybe we will have a peaceful democratic change of government in this country.

That maybe just maybe elections reflect the will of the majority….even if they are deluded clowns.

CBMJLAmWUAAF5y2.jpg-large

The Integrity of the Vote MUST Be Maintained #NigeriaDecides

March 30, 2015

Nigerians have voted. I stood in the sun with them and watched them vote. Their will MUST prevail whatever the IJAW, the IBO, the HAUSA, the KANURI the PDP or the APC think.

While it is undeniable that there have been many irregularities NATIONWIDE the observers are right – overall the entire process is credible.

It would be unconscionable for the federal government to seek to use the instruments of state to hold on to power once the people have spoken through the ballot box. The Nigerian civil society is vigilante.

Any politician that refuses to accept the manifest will of the people and calm his followers should be noted and reported for hate speech and inciting violence. Please note – your evidence maybe needed in a court of justice.

Let peace reign. Say NO to Violence.

DSC03367

Hilltop Primary School, Umuaka March 28, 2015 The people’s votes COUNT

I’m Not Voting – Here Is Why #NigeriaDecides

March 27, 2015

I was in the UK during voters registration. I couldn’t register in the UK.  And I couldn’t come back to Nigeria just to register. Makes me wonder why in the 21st century I have to be physically present in my country of residence to register or even to vote. So that was how I was disenfranchised.

The National Conference approved voting rights for the Nigeria ‘Diapora’. But Andy Uba, Chairman Senate Committee on Electoral said that it wasn’t possible because Nigerian Embassies don’t have data on all Nigerians living abroad. David mark, Senate President said it the logistics are impossible and too expensive.

“Nigerians in the Diaspora have expressed their anger over their imminent disenfranchisement from the 2015 General Elections beginning on Saturday.” 

I’m not a ‘Nigerian in Diaspora’. Do you people even now the meaning of Diaspora? It sounds like a slave term. Like ‘mulatto’ or ‘half caste’. It is not sexy. Economic migrant sounds better. Or lets appropriate the white mans term – Nigerian Expatriates. Anyway. I was a Nigerian ‘in transit’. Absentee, not Diaspora. Not Expatriate. I was gone for a while. I didn’t even work. I’m not resident over there.

What I needed was an absentee voters process. I don’t think I need a constitutional amendment to get that done. I don’t think it will cost all that much. What will an extra 152 card readers at each embassy cost? And an online link? Some extra training? But I know it cant and won’t be done any time soon

There are a lot of things that can’t be done in Nigeria and wont be done till we implement a national identity scheme. The ‘rulers’ don’t want to implement it because then we night actually know exactly how many Nigerians live where and might actually start an equitable revenue allocation system.

We don’t have data on Nigerians living in Nigeria! Is Andy Uba a moron?

Until thats done, until someone at Aso Rock grabs his or her balls and does it even at risk of death by assassination or political death there will be no development in Nigeria. That should be the first promise from anyone that is sincere about reforming Nigeria and ending impunity and corruption. Not how many jobs you going to create. Who you creating them for? You don’t know do you?

This lack of a national registration system also hampers development in the private sector. I know entrepreneurs are getting creative to overcome the challenge but it imposes limits on a sector that needs to grow to get Nigeria out of its present doldrums.  We don’t even have an accurate census. Until we fix that one this will remain a zoo.

So, I’m not voting but I am going out there to observe and report on what I see. That is also my constitutional right as a Nigerian citizen.

Vote wisely And remember, we will do it again in 4 years. Its not a do or die affair.

Say no to violence.

keep-calm-and-say-no-to-violence--2


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,907 other followers