Thursday, 10 July 2008





Anybody home?

Anybody home?

Anybody home?

It's been 6 months!

It's been 6 months!

It's been 6 months!

6 months since I took myself out of circulation. Not just in blogville but in everything. One of the best decisions I've ever made. No school. No job. No deadlines. No one breathing down my neck. I guess some people will describe it as not having a life but I haven't felt so alive in a loooooooooong time! I found the time to try out new things and also do the things i hadn't done in a while.

I travelled a fair bit. Caught up with old friends, made new ones. Had my very own meet the was interesting. Very memorable day. And now I'm back and everyone has been commenting on me. They think I'm glowing, I'm more full of life than ever. But most of all, I am happy.

I have been revived.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

When is this nonsense going to STOP?

When people talk about their countries, they talk with voices full of vigor and delight; it is their fatherland and they are proud. They are patriotic. As a Nigerian, being patriotic gets harder and harder everyday. Why? We are stupidly and blindly worshipping and living with tribalism and unnecessary sectarian hatred. Nigerians, we are killing ourselves. I am so ashamed of the calibre of people that inhabit my precious country. They make me reluctant to express my patriotism for my country.

Last week I caught up with a Kenyan friend who surprisingly knew the difference between Igbo and Yoruba people. When I asked how, she explained to me that she has two friends; one Igbo and the other Yoruba. She met the Yoruba guy first and he told her all these nasty things about Igbo people in general and so when she met the Igbo guy, she knew to be careful and the extent to which she should trust him and similarly, the Igbo guy had told her to be wary of Yorubas.
Even though I was appalled by her narrow-mindedness, I didn’t blame her entirely; I blame the idiots that led her to believe such, I felt a surge of anger towards the people. I am neither Yoruba nor Igbo but what does it matter? I am still Nigerian! IT's hard ebough that we have to defend ourselves and ward ofthe 419 tags, but to so openly spread our lack of untiy makes it even worse to be associated with Naija. We are divided and we are falling.

Secondly, you’d think as people get more enlightened, they become more open minded, right? Not in Nigeria! Instead, the more we progress the more we resent each other. There’s this Hausa saying that goes

“Ana girma ana cin kasa"
~ “You are growing but you are still eating sand”

That is true. The human Development index of Nigeria is improving but the attitude of the inhabitants is becoming worse. Gone are those days when parents sent their children to federal government boarding schools in another state and region. Nowadays, when people get posted to somewhere unique for their NYSC they pay their way out of it and move closer to home.

You’d be surprised that even professionals who are supposedly “enlightened” pass their judgments based on people’s tribe rather than individual proficiency. One would rather employ their “town’s men” and “contiri people.” You hear of religious riots on student campuses.

Thirdly, why can’t people understand that it is perfectly tolerable to have differing opinions, languages and religions with each other? It is possible to live in peace with your neighbors and fellow citizens; as long as you don’t impose your beliefs on each other. Instead, you hear people passing comments like “Tufiakwa, how can I be friends with a Hausa person? Over my dead body.” You hear people passing ethnic slurs openly and it is totally acceptable. Meanwhile, these same people complain that foreigners (non-Nigerians) are racist against us. Open your eyes and see that WE ARE RACIST AGAINST OURSELVES!

It may sound shocking, but even by reading people’s blogs, you’d see a lot of tribal comments and you begin to wonder why people are too thick to open their hearts and too stubborn to become tolerant. Sometimes you’d want to comment, but then you’d think “it’s their blog let them say whatever the hell they want.”

From speaking to people I noticed most of the people that talk like that haven’t even traveled around Nigeria. In fact, they probably have never left that state they live in yet, they base their assumptions on what other people told them. It’s just a chain reaction built on false facts. Traveling is the best eye opener. Don’t jump into conclusions without experiencing it for yourself first hand. Another Hausa saying goes:

“Kafin 'a kirga mutane an kirga mutum”
“Before you count a group, you count a person”

Better yourself to better your country. At this time of year everyone is thinking up New Year resolutions. I’ll give you something to add to your list.

“I shall be more tolerant of people from different ethnic groups and religions”

Imagine if everybody adjusted their attitudes, won’t the country be a better place to live?

With this wide spread of animosity, we are making it difficult to celebrate our diversity. Is it too much to ask for some peace in my own country? Just look around the world and see what’s going on. Isn’t the pointless Sunni vs. Shiite conflict in Iraq enough to warn us of the ghastly side of violence? Am I reaching for the stars when I ask for the unnecessary Muslim – Christian violence to STOP!

If we don’t unite ourselves, no one is going to do it for us! Spreading negative information from about people that are from other tribes will not make our tribe better than theirs; if anything it makes us look bad because we are bad mouthing OUR OWN COUNTRY! If I had one wish right now, I'd wish for a replacement of the people of Nigeria. Take all these narrow minded tribal people away and give me tolerant and optimistic people and I'll be happy. I love my country, but these people are ruining it for me!

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Movie Reviews 2

Since I am suffering from writers block, I thought"Why not share the latest movies I watched with you people?"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(1) Aaja Nachle

Madhuri Dixits long awaited comeback! Even though she's not my best bollywood actress, I must admit that she really nailed it ith this movie. It's about a New York based Indian Dancer that vowed never to return to India. Eleven years later, the guru that taught her how to dance is on his death bed and she goes to pay him her last respect. She had no idea what was in store for her when she returned! This movie is awesome people! The first ten minites were very disappointing to me and I was thinking "This movie is going to be crap!" Oh how wrong I was! The end is just so sensational I can't describe it. You'll just have to watch it

Worst Part: The beginning and the introductory story. (This is just my opinion though, I thought it was rather cheesy and the screenwriter/director did a very lame job)

Best Part: Their Remake of the legend of Laila~Majnu. It was beautiful!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(2) Death at a funeral:

To be honest the only reason why I watched this flick was because there was nothing else in the theatre that interests me. Little did I know that I had just bought a ticket to the funniest movie of 2007! It combines dark British humour with realistic drama. I left the cinema crying from too much laucghter. Definitely a must watch.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(3) The Bee Movie

Even though I enjoyed this movie, I have to say considering all the built up anticipation and media hype around it, THIS MOVIE IS OVERRATED!!! It is a movie for people that watch and love Jerry Seinfeld's type of comedy. People that don't know or ike Seinfelod might find it rather mediocre and not as funny as other animated features from DreamWorks. Thekids will love it though.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Oh! That Wedding! ~*(^_^)*~

So I walked into the reception hall and just like magic, the wide grin that was on my face as I strolled from the car was replaced with a look of shock and sheer disappointment. Why did I even bother? I began to regret how I spent the past two hours of my life.

Rewind to 2pm; I woke up from my precious afternoon nap; the one that I imposed on myself to prevent me from eating lunch because I was saving my stomach for the precious wedding food.

A Sierra Leonean family friend’s daughter was going to get married today and since I have all this free time, I would be crazy to pass an opportunity to dress glam and better still, dress glam in traditional clothes! I had already apologized that I wouldn’t be attending the church ceremony, but I promised to be at the reception.

After the usual rub a dub dub, I got out my favorite traditional outfit; a black and maroon Swiss lace that I suffered to bargain for at Kurmi Market in Kano. I got out my pretty red mules that have been dying to leave my flat to match my sweet red bag. To top it up, I decided to wear the nice red gele or goggoro or skentele (whatever-you-call-it, I just stick to goggoro) anyway, I got it as asoebi from a friends wedding in August and it matched my outfit today so I guess it wouldn’t hurt.

Bottom Line: I spent approx:

10 mins doing my hair
15 mins in the shower
8 mins ironing my clothes
15 mins on make up
5 mins picking out accessories
5 mins trying to find the correct shawl
2 mins shining my shoes
A whopping 35 mins tying my goggoro!
5 mins staring at the mirror
10 mins taking vain mug shots and self portraits
20 minutes to get to the venue

I ended up looking like I was going to a correct Owambe, all that was missing was some $$ to spray (which I would have invested in had I not been broke).

You can imagine how majestically I walked into the hall expecting everyone to look all dressed up like I was. Only for me to get there and see people dressed up like it’s a lazy Saturday morning and they can't be bothered! It is a wedding for godness sake!

I almost sunk into the ground. If I could physically blush, my face would have turned a bright scarlet in embarrassment. Its official, today I became the Overdressed Notice-me attention seeker lady. The one that people point at during weddings, the one that makes aunties hold on to their husbands; the one that all the other ladies are eyeing.

In my mind I was like “Na wa for these Sierra Leonean people o!” Even the bride seemed to not have pt n some effort. If this was a Naija wedding I bet I wouldn’t even stand out. In fact in a Naija setting I would have been almost underdressed! There were only 7 people in trad (I counted) and I was the only person with a goggoro. You should have seen the effort I used on it too! In fact, at a point I resorted to youtube to teach me how to tie it properly! I no go lie, shame really catch me today o.

To make it worse, my brother had the time of his life laughing at me! (Remind me to pour salt in his sugar canister!)

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Say NO to Violence against Women!

November 25th – International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,

“One in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime - with the abuser usually someone known to her” – United Nations

I have always thought facts and statements like the one mentioned above were terribly sad and unfortunate. I felt pity on the women that were unfortunate to become victims to domestic violence. I acknowledged that this was a great injustice against women, but it wasn’t until last year did I decide to take action against it.

Daura is a place I have always called home despite only being there once a year. There’s the yummy fried finger food made readily available for me on request, there’s the fresh light breeze that strokes your skin and makes you feel comfortably lightheaded, there’s the percussion of the Tambari drums hinting that the Royals are in town, there’s the music of the Aligaita and Kakaki possibly from a Mai Busa practicing for the next Durbar, there’s the smell of burning firewood sweeping the streets mixed with the aroma of hot roasting Suya that is just begging to be devoured. Above all, the over optimistic ever smiling people that make you assume they are the reason that Katsina state is coined the home of hospitality.

Part of what made the place more exciting for me was my grand aunt. She’s my grandpa’s cousin but because she is quite young (maybe about 40 years old now), I refer to her as Aunty M. Aunty M happens to be the most happy-go-lucky woman I have ever met. There’s never a dull moment with this lady. The glass was always half full; her husband wasn’t an ordinary government school headmaster, he was a man that changes the lives of young kids and put them in the right direction; her children’s clothes were not expensive, her children are so healthy and nourished that they need bigger clothes. And one she prided herself in, her husband wasn’t too controlling, he wanted the best for her and couldn’t stand her getting hurt. Whenever we were in town, she’d be the one to wake us up for breakfast in the morning; she’d spend the whole day with us and wouldn’t leave until we our tummies were full with dinner.

One morning, I was lying in my mum’s room when she arrived about 2 hours later than usual without a smile on her face. I ignored her unkempt look and disheveled veil and greeted her like I usually did. She didn’t answer me but broke down in tears. It’s really disturbing to see someone that is always so cheerful cry and wail. She wasn’t speaking, but the first thing that came to my mind was that from the way she was wailing, wither someone had died or she was in immense pain. I went to comfort her but as usual, I kindly was asked out of the room because this might be “adults’ business”. I left without arguing but hoping desperately that my favorite eavesdropping window was left open.

Apparently her husband beat her up, not with his bare hands, not with a cane but with a three headed dorina (horse whip). He had beaten her once two years ago and more recently he had been doing it to her for the past two weeks but it was only now that she had had the courage to tell anyone because she knew we will listen. I felt so sorry for her. He bruised her lips so badly she had to talk from the side of her mouth, her arms were swollen and inflamed and there was blood rushing out from many spots. I couldn’t control my tears. She shrieked when we tried to use warm towels to alleviate the pain. How can anyone ever do this to a human being let alone your wife? The woman you claim to love? The woman that has been beside you for the past 20 years!

That wasn’t the end of it. When she went home that night, do you know that he beat her again? This time because she reported to my mum. She ran to the police station but the police turned her home saying that when it comes to issues between husband and wife, they will not intervene. (Imagine!) I was so angry with this that my mum and I told my father and grandma an uncle tried to tell me to “mind my business and not put my mouth in issues that are beyond me” he even tried to make me leave the place by telling me to bring ice water for everyone. But it’s this one thing he said made me want to throw my stilettos at him in anger. “It’s none of our business what happens between her and her husband”. I was so furious! Are you BLIND! Can’t you see her body? Do you want him to bring her corpse home before you put the blame on him? In the end, my dad and grandma (bless them) asked for him to be arrested.

It was after this incident that I started putting two and two together. Exactly two years ago, I remember she had a mysterious miscarriage which we all blamed on painkillers. Now that I think of it, she took Paracetamol and only Aspirin and Heparin can actually cause blood thinning and miscarriages. Who knows maybe it was because he caused her so much pain and killed his own unborn children.

She told me that it was a common thing these days in Daura that husbands b4eat their wives. I was heartbroken. The place I have always thought perfect had ugly skeletons. Everything looked so jolly on the surface but underneath… I was disappointed but it got me thinking, about my possible career goals, thinking about how to make a difference in people’s lives. People have to stop overlooking serious issues like that. No one deserves to be treated like that anywhere in the world, talk less of a free, democratic country. We need to get the message out there. We need to empower women to report domestic abuse. We need to change people’s perceptions of what is morally right. It is ridiculous that in this day and age people would think it is acceptable for the husband to beat the wife. It is even more disturbing that this doesn’t just occur in my Daura, I have seen situations like this when I was in Warri and Port – Harcourt and after reading United Nations Women Watch reports, it is RAMPANT WORLDWIDE! It is sickening!

Violence against women persists in every country in the world as a pervasive violation of human rights and a major impediment to achieving gender equality. Such violence is unacceptable, whether perpetrated by the State and its agents or by family members or strangers, in the public or private sphere, in peacetime or in times of conflict. ... As long as violence against women continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.

I know with an issue like this people often wonder - what can I do? It is difficult to help individually, but you can make a difference by supporting groups and organizations that are helping to eradicate it.

Personally I joined Amnesty International and I am so pleased with their campaigns so far – Spread the word!

November 25th – December 10th: 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. Find out more here!