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Blog, Diaspora Diary.

Diaspora Diary: Why You Should Emigrate.

We are not going to make progress. We are not going to develop. We will not be secure. We will remain poor. These are not curses. They are the most highly probable consequences of our social paradigms. Almost mathematically certain. No amount of prayers will stop this. ~Ayo Sogunro Before I write the 2nd instalment of American Wonder please permit me to do this important piece cum pitch. I know I shouldn’t be writing about politics in our Diaspora Diary, but let’s conveniently categorise this as a sociopolitical topic. The above quote from Dr Ayo Sogunro was part of his reaction to the debate over Tinubu’s certificate scandal, and you can read his entire tweet here. This story was specifically captioned to catch your attention, but I hope it will also persuade you to reflect and act. There are countless reasons why Nigeria will not make progress, but here is a poignant one, so read on. I recently met a wise guy in Vegas who aligned with the Sogunro’s position and illustrated it by analysing his experience in Nigeria before migrating to God’s own country. Here goes! The 62-year-old man holds a degree in Business Administration and worked as a banker for 22 years in Nigeria after about a decade of job hunting. He finally decided to check out like Andrew at 49 when he visited America in 2010. During that vacation, his interaction with old mates revealed that these guys were making steady progress while the reverse was his case back home. How you may ask. Here is the thing. Rising through promotions and salary increments in the bank, he attained a managerial position by 2004 and thought he had arrived. Who wouldn’t think so? A bank manager is an enviable achievement anywhere in the world. Well to the less ambitious folks, not necessarily our guy. While in the US, he discovered that his mates were able to set targets and meet them because they had stability in their chosen vocations. Consequently, they achieved more in terms of wealth, academics, and self-development. Particularly the last for this simple reason; Self-development doesn’t depend on money but if you attain a certain level of financial stability, you are more likely to start thinking about developing yourself and others. It was then that a stark realisation hit him like a ton of bricks. As he progressed in rank and salary, he was actually getting poorer in real terms because the combination of inflation and incessant devaluation of the naira continuously eroded his purchasing power. His situation was akin to the classic Fela hit ODOO ( Overtake Don Overtake Overtake) where the Afrobeat legend sang about a man who was saving to buy a fan. Go and look up the lyrics. Our guy told me that when he landed in God’s own country, he started as a gas station cashier in Atlanta while his wife did some courses and joined the healthcare sector. Having saved up some funds after 2 years, they moved to Vegas where he partnered with a friend to start valeting. Today, he owns a valeting agency and a vehicle salvage business. He said that in less than 10 years, he achieved more in America than he did in over 2 decades as a banker back home. When he finished his story he concluded thus; “Nigeria go survive is a soundtrack we started singing since childhood. Check am bro. The 70s was better than the 80s and the 80s was better than the 90s, it just keeps getting worse. Nigeria will not develop as it is PRESENTLY STRUCTURED. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deceiving you. It is better to go where you will make progress because you have only one life to live.” There and then I was reminded of another wise man, my good friend Tony Alika Igwebuike who told me in 2016 that the real value of the naira would be around N1000 to a dollar. That’s a story for another day but of course, he has been vindicated. Now it’s not as if there aren’t successful people in Nigeria, after all, Dangote, Otedola, Elumelu et al made it so why can’t you? The devil’s in the details if you ask me. But I can bet those three would have more than tripled their wealth if they put in the same effort and leveraged similar patronage in saner climes. The food for thought, however, is why the tech gurus who develop innovative solutions for real-life problems are now richer than merchants and bankers in the Western world. For my friends who will mockingly ask why I suddenly realised this after supporting Buhari. Well, some of us hoped that Buhari would at least start reducing the cost of governance, curb the insecurity, and improve our infrastructure. Those areas are supposedly his forte, or so they claimed. His record did not include economic prosperity. Unfortunately, he failed woefully in all areas. And yes including infrastructural development viz a viz the borrowing/implementation indices. Again I’m sorry to disappoint my other friends with an unpopular fact: If you give Peter Obi 16years he will not perform magic. The best he can achieve is some prudence in Aso Villa. I believe that the Peter I know will not sign off billions for Aso Rock kitchen and that’s actually a good start considering the rot in our system. But that’s about where it ends. He can’t possibly sanitise the entire executive controlled by a monumentally corrupt civil service. Then of course he wouldn’t dare the legislators because more than anyone he knows that would definitely end in his impeachment. You all know I’ve been an optimistic promoter of Nigeria. But who would have known that after 8 years of living abroad on earnings in naira, yours truly will need a job to sustain himself? Is €=N1056 a joke to you? My dear friend, I’m now satisfied to contribute my quota to the development of our country from the diaspora. I’m neither optimistic nor pessimistic rather I remain hopeful. If any administration delivers any form of progress in the future, I will rejoice

Blog, News

Winners: #WritingContest

We published 11 stories and 9 poems summing up to 20 entries for this #WritingContest and you can read them here. The winners of the N100,000 cash prize emerged following our peer review on 01/10/2023. 1. Solomon Ekoja tops the list with the most nominations, (3 for his poem One More Push and 1 for The Blame Game Analysis). I love the essay, it was written in a unique style and further shows the writer’s versatility. It is worth saying that only Solomon submitted 3 entries. Congratulations, you have won N20,000. 2. Victor Oladejo got 3 nominations, (2 for Notes On Nigeria and 1 for Sailor). We all know this writer is a talented and consistent veteran of our community. The poem which I describe as hybridized was brilliantly written. Additionally, the fact that the feature story was actually his first attempt in the genre is also a testament to the foregoing. Congrats Victor, you will receive a credit alert of N15,000. 3. Becky Peleowo also had 3 nominations for her brief but entertaining story Who Is Buchi’s Father. The writer also penned a poem Tetralogy Of Hope Songs which is equally as good if not better. Well done Becky, you have won N15,000. 3. Chukwuemeka Oluka had 2 nominations for his feature story titled Nigeria’s Turbulent Journey: Who Is To Blame. He wins N10,000. Congratulations! Faith Oyadiran, Emmanuel Enaku and Oluwaseun Osanyinro had a nomination each for Meeting The Mysterious (A Night With The Deities), My Father and Weapons Of Defence respectively. They have won N10,000 each. Oluwaseun’s story received the following plaudits from Oluka: For “Weapons of Defence,” much as it was laced with fear, the writer was able to infuse some pockets of humour into her story. Imagine when she wrote, “Had I been in my room, I would have plugged my phone.” That, for me, was sublime and off the chart. Now this is what we need to see more. Going forward we should be able to outline particular sections of a story that released the dopamine for us during our peer review sessions. And then ONLY those who attend the session will be eligible. This will promote transparency and improve our commitment to the process. Kenneth Nwabuisi and Victor Akintomide will be encouraged with N5000 each. Writers are urged to get creative with their captions. You mustn’t use the topic as your story title. Sadly one writer plagiarised and was banned from the competition. It is disgusting to see such behaviour. Writers who only send in entries when there is money to be won are more likely to flout the rules. We are NOT here to make money but to learn and improve in the craft we love. Please beware and say NO TO PLAGIARISM. Writers are advised to join our WhatsApp group to keep abreast of our activities by sending an email request to admin@cmonionline.com as only those who participate in our peer reviews will be eligible for the prize. Also, endeavour to get a domain of your own to start building your platform. Feedback has been sent to some writers and you can always refer to our free resources and this post in particular for tips that will help you to improve your writing. We thank everyone who participated in this competition and those who have been on the journey with us. Our special appreciation goes to Stanley Ugbo Okeke whose benevolence made this contest rewarding. Next up will be the BIG ONE..follow our social media pages for regular updates.

Blog, Diaspora Diary., FEATURES

Diaspora Diary: American Wonder Part I

Come and see American wonder, come and see American wonder! ~ Anon This post was delayed by a combination of jet lag, COVID and lousiness but finally, here we are. I could have captioned it “How To Migrate To America” or one of the numerous Hows to get hits but naaah, that has never been my style because I write for a special audience. Yes, a growing community of friends, writers and other creatives who appreciate my versatility and not-too-recent transition from political opinions to texts that add real value. So American Wonder will be a multi-part treatise that offers information, tips and resources on migrating to God’s own country. If you grew up in the nostalgic 80s Nigeria like I did you will be familiar with my opening verse which is a song commonly recited by journeymen while performing tricks. It was so popular that the audience would often sing along as they watched and those who witnessed American wonder often turned out to be streetwise. I think we should seek out the originator of this song and give the person a befitting chieftaincy title because America is indeed the land of plenty. Oh yes, it is so vast and rich that a single state can match countless nations in size and GDP. Little wonder the average American is usually confident and willing to tread where eagles dare without trepidation. In global competitions, their athletes howl and bark with authority as if the trophy is already in the kitty. A friend joked that it is so because they already feel like winners since national tournaments like the baseball championship are referred to as the World Series. You can’t possibly enumerate the things that are different and unique to Americans. From the light switch to the confusing date order and non-metric measurements. There are drive-thru restaurants everywhere, and then you have huge coffee/soda cups and endless refills. The iconic yellow school buses are kings of the road, don’t mess with them. And then you have the annoying but cheaper price tags that are exclusive of taxes. Why not just include the damn taxes?! From the expansive George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Dallas and Las Vegas, 9 out of 10 vehicles are trucks. With a population of about 332 million, America has almost 300 million registered vehicles as of 2021. These people practically drive to the restroom! It is no wonder President Bush Jnr once declared that “America is addicted to oil”. Yet they have oil. And in abundance too. States like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas have some of the cheapest gasoline prices in the Western world. But the sweetest thing about the country is the Americans. They are hospitable and incredibly friendly to strangers. And not just that, they are boisterous about it. It seems more like a rule than a deliberate innocuous attempt to make eye contact when they say hi or good day. At the shops, cashiers strike a conversation with new faces like they are regulars and the person next to you in a queue will likely ask how your day is going as if you are the next-door local. It is too palpable to miss and curious as always I asked a cashier at the Ross branch in Richmond if her pleasant demeanour is a part of her or the job. Her reply: “I would say both, you ain’t gon get hired in this country with a straight face”. At Sugar Land Texas, I sauntered into my hotel lobby after jogging in the morning and was disappointed to discover that breakfast was already over by 9.30 am. I asked the young man seated in the dining hall if I could get a few bites for my family upstairs. He replied that he was an applicant waiting for an interview. Casually dressed in a jumper, denim and trainers, I thought he was inappropriately dressed for the occasion. To my amazement, the beautiful and exceedingly nice receptionist beckoned him over to a corner and immediately started the interview. I overheard everything, and the guy performed excellently. I would later ask the receptionist if the dress code isn’t a consideration for such an exercise, to which she replied “It is, you can appear casual or formal, but we are trained to focus more on what’s inside.” Profound! At Main Event Grand Prairie, the barista requested my ID and I was mirthfully asked if my grey beard didn’t count for something. “Sir, you coulda walked in here with a cane and I would still ask for an ID, it’s the law”, she replied with a very warm smile. Again I had to ask if the courteous manner came with the job or her upbringing. “Of course, it’s part of the job but out there you are likely to see me smiling a lot more”, she said this time with a throaty chortle. Yet in another instance, I was told not to worry as I reached for my wallet to pay for filling my tyres. “It’s just air, you don’t have to pay for it”, he said. It’s not that I don’t get free air at gas stations back in Ireland, but this guy particularly reminded me that the best things in life like air should be free. A lady who sells drinks at the iconic Welcome To The Fabulous Las Vegas park offers a free snack for each drink and repeatedly announces that the peanuts shouldn’t be missed. I politely refused mine because I had a cough. Minutes later my daughter who savoured hers went back to buy another pack and she told her “You can have your daddy’s pack, it’s still free”. For her candour, I felt I should tip her as we left the place. Her daughter informed me that she was on a call in her car. I looked and saw her in a hybrid Hyundai. Surprised that this woman who hawked drinks in a park owns such a nice car I could have left with

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

Subsidy Brouhaha And The Way Forward by Solomon Ekoja

After the last general election that ushered in the Government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I never for once thought the country would receive a surprise package during the inauguration speech. Since I wasn’t invited to attend the occasion at the Eagles Square in Abuja, I glued to my radio set and internet facility to catch a glimpse of proceedings. As I followed the salutation and other nitty gritty of the speech, this part hit me like a volcano… ”We commend the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime, which has increasingly favoured the rich more than the poor. Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. We shall instead, re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, health care and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions.” This was not what the majority of Nigerians expected to hear. For me, the news hit me considering the economic situation of the time. After the speech, fuel stations in my town, which had been selling their products the previous day, shut their gates and stopped selling. When they later resumed sale, a litre of fuel skyrocketed to 500 naira to the amazement of many Nigerians. Although the removal of the subsidy on fuel has tremendous benefits to the nation’s economy, the manner in which it was done showed a lack of empathy and consideration for the common Nigerian. As I joined my peers to discuss the issue, the majority were of the opinion that it was an ill-timed policy while a few hailed the decision as a bold step in the right direction. On my path, I believe the removal of the subsidy was good but should have been done in phases to cushion the effect on Nigerians.  In phase one, public services like public transport facilities, government-owned pump stations and local refineries should have been first set up before the partial removal of the subsidy for six months. Thereafter, phase two would have involved the granting of friendly licences to business tycoons to woo them into the local refining of crude oil to create competition. With this achieved, fuel subsidy would have been removed completely without much hassle. The above idea would have created a balance in the economy and assisted Nigerians to seamlessly adapt to the change. Well, the bathtub is already dirty but we can’t afford to throw the baby away with the dirty water. Hence, the need to analyse the effects of the subsidy removal and proffer a way forward. Positive effects *The major gain of removing the subsidy is the freeing of resources for other sectors of the economy. According to the Presidency, Nigeria was able to save $1.32 billion since May 2023 after the subsidy removal. The fear among Nigerians however is whether the funds will be judiciously used to cater for the populace. *The subsidy removal also acted as an incentive for domestic refineries to produce more petroleum products and shift the attention of our economy from importation. *With each state earmarked to receive aid and other palliatives from the Federal government to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal, more job opportunities have opened up, especially in the transport industry. *Through the subsidy removal, there will be a reduction in the yearly budget needed to run the affairs of the country. This will help the country to cut down the cost of governance. *On a funny note, the removal of subsidy has increased the level of daily exercise among Nigerians. Before the subsidy removal, Nigerians especially those in the working class found it difficult to exercise themselves through trekking but with the subsidy removal, many are resorting to trekking and bicycle use for short distance trips. Negative effects *Due to the subsidy removal, there has been an exponential increase in the prices of petroleum products. A litre of fuel now goes for around 600 naira as against 185 naira. The ripple effect of this has caused inflation and reduced the purchasing power of consumers. *Social vices, crimes and protests have become the order of the day since the removal of fuel subsidy. With many Nigerians unemployed in the midst of the current hardship, they are tempted out of a quest for survival to be involved in activities capable of frustrating the peace of the nation. *The subsidy removal has reduced the standard of living of many Nigerians as many now scavenge to survive. *There is an increased rate of mortality among Nigerians in current times. Since people don’t have enough to pay for their health care, they succumb to death in the process. The way forward *Since the fuel subsidy removal increased the cost of living for many Nigerians, there is a need for the government and employers of labour to increase the minimum wage of workers to enable Nigerians to cope with life. *Friendly petroleum refining licences should be granted to investors to boost local production and make crude oil products readily available for all. This competition in the long run will lead to a reduction in the prices of petroleum products. *Government-owned petroleum station needs to be built across all communities in Nigeria to take the products closer to the common person. When this is done, the managers of these stations should be discouraged from hoarding the products but encouraged to sell at fair rates. *Alternative means of transportation like electricity and solar-powered cars and trains should be made available for Nigerians. This will help in shifting our focus from petroleum products to renewable energy thereby, reducing climate change and creating environmentally friendly jobs. *The provision of social amenities like schools and hospitals should become a priority for the government in this era of fuel subsidy removal. This could be achieved through the rechannelling of money saved from the subsidy to the above-mentioned areas to make life comfortable for Nigerians. *Since wants are insatiable, Nigerians should be taught about how to use limited resources to

Blog, Poetry, Writers

One More Push: A Poem by Solomon Ekoja

Century after century Year after year Nation to nation And village to village The story’s the same One more push Always makes the difference The corridor of history is laden With multitudes who lost Coz they threw in towels That should have wiped away Tears of travails In seasons of breakthrough Few though In spite of failures Took steps further Until just a push Engrafted their names In the sands of history Imagine roses without thorns And life without troubles It’ll be like an empty sack Expected to stand erect Without grain Life’s beautiful And exudes essence When we overcome challenges Trying times abound Like morning dew On the mountain top That fades away When the sun of faith Rises from the east To cast its illumination Brightly with patience Just as mistake is part of life To ere is human When you fail Don’t remain in despair Dust yourself Get up! And have a retake In the monotony of pain A prize lays ahead Thomas Edison Though a renowned inventor Had several slices From the bread of failure A man with flesh and blood Like you and me Refused to doubt Like the doubting Thomas Nine hundred and ninety nine trials of his Birthed the light bulb That illuminates our world Abraham Lincoln Another worthy model For the present generation Thinking of giving up Kissed defeat severally Like rails On a magnetic track Through persistence One more push Paved his way to the presidency When there was no way Sarah A portrait of perseverance Though stricken in years Got strength to conceive Isaac The son of promise After one little push In the direction of promise Anna The prophetess Though a widow of many years Never stopped interceding With fasting’s and prayers When things looked bleak Until the messiah was born Elizabeth Though barren Gave in one push After Gabriel’s message To birth the forerunner John the Baptist Hellen Keller Though blind and deaf From a tender age Accepted her condition And little by little Became the first deaf-blind person To obtain An arts degree Despite piles of failure Give it a trial Maybe another strategy A little push Harder than the former Maybe another pull Like the force of gravity Maybe just a row Like the nursery rhyme In the right direction That’s all you need To rewrite the pages of failure In the leaves of life Till the boat anchors On the shores of success With a book titled “A man who never gave up” Don’t give up Forget giving up Never ever, give up Quitters never win Winners never quit It’s too late to give up Coz all that will settle it Is just one more push.

Blog, Opinion Articles, Writers

Notes On Nigeria by Victor Oladejo

“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character…” Chinua Achebe ( The trouble with Nigeria). Writing about Nigeria is a duty if not a burden for Nigerian writers, we do this at a point in our lives, at times with articles, discussions with friends at meetings, with our social media handles ( for netizens like me), whatever way we choose to tell the story of a land filled with honey yet plagued with unending mysteries called Nigeria, we are contributing to her stories, a map for patriots to seek out whenever they try to get a grip on their beloved country. This essay is my little contribution and I would try not to mix it with my sentiments as best as possible. Whenever the question: what is wrong with Nigeria comes up in my discussion with people, I love to pitch my tent with Achebe, hence the quote at the entrance of this essay. The leaders are the problems of the country, why? This question can only be answered by the archives of history. In 1914, the southern and northern protectorates formed Nigeria, this decision was taken by the then-British lords and a few native people, on behalf of a people from different backgrounds, religions, and ancestry. The question at this juncture is: was the regional system of government practiced before on a good course for the people? Yes, the evidence is there to serve as answers, the exponential growth of each region on their resources and pace. However, as I said earlier, the leaders of this land in their “wisdom” decided to create a new path, a journey filled with potholes and a marriage that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. Nigeria became Independent from British Colonial rule in 1960, the country became the envy of the world. Predictions poured in from all corners and a dream of a greater country formed in the minds of Nigerians. These dreams however became a nightmare when the military coup of January 15, 1966, took place. This coup however was interpreted differently by the citizens, the greater part of the populace agreed that it ended the corrupt leaders of the country, while the other parts believed it had another agenda which was tribe related. There is no doubt it was tagged an Igbo coup. Either way, it gave birth to other coups which eventually led to the civil war. The Nigerian civil war which lasted from 1967 to 1970 was a scene of casualties by military machinery and manpower, targeted destruction of properties, and the weaponized starvation of the Igbo people of the then Biafra. The war in its wake, became a dark spot on the already soiled dress of the relationship between the major tribes: Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. This spot would spread into the fabric of Nigeria and mould the trajectory of governance in the country. We would agree that the leadership system of Nigeria would learn from her dark past and seek out a new path of governance for her people, but the reverse was the case. Many will argue that Gowon tried to rebuild burnt bridges but how true is that claim? The payment of 20 euros to a part of the Igbo population who had just left the ruins of war is a great example of his failure, this in no measure slowed down the progress of these people as they struggled to start all over again. The Gowon government recorded a rise in corruption among the military officers which in many ways contributed to the emergence of Muritala Mohammed in a bloodless coup. The Murtala regime however was short-lived, and from here, there were changes from military to civilian rule as Nigeria strived to find a balance. I won’t dwell much on these changes because I prefer to discuss civilian governments that are relevant to where we are in Nigeria today. President Obasanjo was the first democratically elected president in 1999, the government based on projects and policies is said to be one of the most successful governments in Nigeria, however, there were flaws in this government, one of which is the response to the crisis of attacks by militants in the Niger Delta on oil installations. The Obasanjo in 2006 declared a state of emergency in the region and military actions that affected the civilians and the hunted militants continued until late 2009 when amnesty was introduced. The effect of the mismanagement of the crisis aside from crippling the economy to an extent contributed to a rise in militancy in the region which Umar Yaradua inherited in his government. The political climate during Umar Musa Yar’adua was a peaceful one save for the management of the militancy in the Niger Delta region admits other issues, the continuation of the amnesty program is a commendable part of his policies, the Freedom of Information Act also created a sense of transparency in his government, however, his reign was short-lived and we were ushered into a very dark rollercoaster. After the death of President Yar’ adua, his vice: Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took over, but his government was plagued with different roadblocks some of which were a fall in oil revenue, poverty, and corruption at its peak. It is this government that we witnessed the infamous Diezeni Allison-Madueke, the minister of petroleum who embezzled over $ 20 billion dollars based on missing funds from the oil sector, inflated contracts, and kickbacks from oil companies. This government’s weight on the Nigerians’ necks led to their call for a messiah party, which APC ( All Progressive Congress) tried to fill by contesting in the 2015 general elections. President Mohammed Buhari’s government lasted for eight years, which was characterised by a rise in poverty, insecurity, insurgency and corruption at its peak. The call for a savior arose once again and at this point, I participated for the first time in a significant political decision of this country.

Blog, Poetry, Writers

My Father: A Poem by Emmanuel Enaku

As I sit here, trying to string in words, my memories run wild, Going into overdrive because of what you meant to me. You were an embodiment of virtue, my friend and paddy. You were my strength and my everyday inspiration – Through you, I saw a better version of me. Your words numbed my worries — my pain and frustrations. Your voice was always soothing, a healing balm to my wounded soul. Kyita, you represented everything I aimed to attain. My role model — an embodiment of masculinity, you were. Humility and sociability were outstanding qualities you possessed. Oh, kyita! When the world was cold, you provided sufficient warmth. When I was unsure, you gave me clarity. When I was broken, your gentle pat on my bare back – Was a reliable adhesive for my broken pieces. Osofo Adaduro! Mesuga Ehalelo! Sweet father! You gave me fish and taught me to fish. You provided my needs and showed me how to do same. Your love and support had no end. You taught me to be strong and brave; To never give up and always be true You taught me the value of responsibility. Oh, my father, my hero, my rock! You were by my side through thick and thin. You guided me through life’s maze, With wisdom and patience, you always knew. Your words were strong and freshly baked, You instilled strength with every word you spoke. The pride in your eyes and firm handshakes when I succeed, Your firm grip on my arms and comforting hugs when I stumble. You were my compass, my light in the night. You motivated me to strive, to reach for the sky. You showed the way with your own wisdom and love. Your hard work, modesty and generosity still have no rival. You captured my heart from the start, Before the time I knew how to say your name. You showed me what is wrong and what is right, Your instructions have been a detailed map. What should be my praise of you, Nnayi? What would I praise you for? I am left confused because your every quality was a treasure, You were a scarce and priceless jewel. What should be my praise of you? Would it be your work ethics? Or your heightened sense of responsibility? You were just perfect, the best among the best. My father, the social lion! You were always so lively in our conversations, With wit and sometimes with guile, you set me laughing. You sense of humour was beyond compare; You were quick with a joke, a master of fun. Everyone loved you, you were number one – So full of glee, you were a sight to see and a wonder to associate with. To my father, a man of love and grace, I’ll forever be grateful for all you’ve done; Not just to me but our family as a whole. You were our anchor when the seas were rough, You were there through it all. I am your son, we are always as one Without you, I wouldn’t stand tall. I Love you with all of my being.

Blog, Poetry, Writers

Sailor: A Poem by Victor Oladejo

The day the trees bore me died, I, the son, stood on the edge of the cliff of my mountain and peered At the wreck of my ship, The ship that carried me there. My ear became a palace of voices, Voices that danced with promises made of glass: “We will help you,” one said. I guess that was my uncle. “We will shelter you,” another said. That was my aunt. But they shattered while I held them. So I set out to sea alone, My head filled with memories of nights When I tasted gold with my fingers And birds marveled at my joy, A sun-bright like the Sahara’s. Blood is thicker than water, This mantra escaped from my lips. For where is blood when a brother cannot deliver a brother? I closed the door of my heart to love, family, friends, and foes, And I surrendered myself to wander in the symphony of life. It was a journey filled with many crossroads Until we encountered Sade. That very hall was filled with golden light, Drowning us in its powerful radiance. The sun itself was a witness to a beginning And a promise stronger than glass. You taught me what it meant to see your butterflies unfurl And search the mystery of your garden. I started dancing before the hides of my drum knew The palms of my hands. Suddenly, I knew which map to follow. The journey of my life started. For in your love and warmth, The tides of my life said yes, To the wheel of my ship. ii Yesterday I woke from a dark dream filled with forgotten voices, my heart a swinging pendulum begging for comfort, then I felt your fingers on my neck, the tips searching the maps on my skin, I turned to hold you, to feel you, to grasp you with the excitement trapped in the body of a man who stumbled upon a pouch of gold in a lonely field. But they retreated into a frustrated clinch. You were not there; my treacherous mind was at play again. I find solace every day in the calls we share and I read our messages again and again, taking each word slowly with the elegance of a lead dancer in a troupe in service of a king. I savor them and get lost in them, but they are never enough. They say time creates despair, I find those words true, The last letter you wrote from America ended with: I can’t wait to return to you. Those words made my mind tingle, and I decided to write this ode about you, my light giver. I am not so good at the game of waiting, I fail terribly when I try to sit in the shade of patience. I struggle every minute to express what my mind can’t express and these words that bear no comfort but endless trials at consoling a mind that refused to be consoled. I need you here, I need you today, but I can only wish.

Blog, Creative Essays, Writers

Meeting The Mysterious: A Tale Of Fear by Victor Akintomide

“Some truths are best left in the dark”, John silently reminisced. The night was pitch black, and a heavy mist hung in the air as John made his way through the dense forest. Being a seasoned adventurer, he was well-acquainted with the wild, however, this forest felt different. It carried an aura of dread that clung to every tree and rock. “Must be because of the rumours that surround the forest”, he thought to himself. In his subconscious, he knew he ought to turn back, however, his curiosity got the better of him and despite the chill that ran down his spine, he pressed on, determined to uncover the truth. As he ventured deeper, the tall trees seemed to close in around him, their branches forming grotesque shapes in the moonlight, as though the forest was conspiring to keep its secrets hidden. His footsteps were muffled by the thick carpet of fallen leaves, and the only sound that broke the silence was the distant hoot of an owl. John’s heart raced, and he wondered if he was making a grave mistake. Yet, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something extraordinary awaited him. After what seemed like an eternity, John reached a small clearing bathed in an eerie, bluish light, and there it was — an ancient stone altar, covered in moss and vines, with a peculiar, glowing symbol carved on its surface. His breath got caught in his throat as he realized that he had stumbled upon the heart of the mystery, so while approaching the altar, his senses were on high alert. As he got closer to the symbol, he felt a strange warmth radiating from it. It was both inviting and foreboding, like a siren’s song drawing him closer. He couldn’t resist the urge to touch it. The moment his fingers made contact with the symbol, a surge of energy coursed through him, and he felt a connection to something beyond his comprehension. It was as if he had awakened a dormant force within the forest. Panic and awe warred within him as he struggled to comprehend what was happening. At that moment, a soft, melodious voice echoed in his mind, soothing his fear. “Welcome, Seeker of Truth”, it whispered. “You have unlocked the gateway to the unknown.” John’s heart pounded in his chest as he tried to respond, but his voice failed him. He could only think, “Who are you? What is this place?” The voice in his mind replied softly, “I am the guardian of these woods, the keeper of its secrets. This place is a bridge between your world and the realm of the mysterious, and you have been chosen to witness the truth that others fear, you must first face your deepest fears”. As the words faded, the forest seemed to come alive around him, the trees swaying in a rhythm that matched his racing heart, the ground trembled beneath his feet, and the air crackled with energy. Suddenly, the mist thickened, shrouding John in a swirling, suffocating haze. Shapes moved in the fog, indistinct and menacing. Although the voice had warned him that he would have to confront his fears, he hadn’t expected it to be immediate and so terrifying. Out of the mist emerged the figures of his past, twisted and grotesque versions of people he had known and loved. His mother, who had passed away when he was a child, appeared with hollow eyes and a skeletal grin. His former best friend, who had betrayed him, stalked towards him with a malevolent sneer. Tears welled in John’s eyes as he faced these phantoms of his past. They accused him, taunted him, and reminded him of his failures and regrets. He wanted to run, to escape their accusing gaze, but he knew that he had to confront them if he wanted to unlock the truth. With every step he took towards his fears, he realized that they were mere shadows of the past, twisted by his own insecurities and guilt. As he confronted them head-on, their forms wavered and dissolved into the mist, leaving him feeling strangely lighter. He felt changed, as if he had shed a layer of his old self. After a while, the mist receded, and the forest returned to its eerie calm. John stood at the altar, still tingling with the residual energy of his encounter with his fears. “Well done, John”, the voice said gently. “You have faced your fears and emerged stronger. But your journey is far from over.” “What more must I do?” he asked the voice, his voice steadier now. “To uncover the truth, you must journey deeper into the heart of the forest”, the voice replied. “But beware, for the path ahead is treacherous, and the mysteries that await you are both wondrous and terrifying. You will need courage, wisdom, and an open heart to proceed.” With renewed determination, John set forth once more, guided by the glowing symbol on the ancient altar. He noticed that he could hear the forest whisper its secrets to him, and so he listened with rapt attention. He encountered strange creatures that seemed to be guardians of the forest, each testing his resolve and offering cryptic advice. Days turned into weeks as John delved deeper into the forest. He faced trials that pushed him to his limits, confronting his deepest fears and doubts at every turn. Yet, with each challenge, he grew stronger, and more attuned to the mysteries of the forest. One night, as he camped beneath the star-studded sky, the voice in his mind spoke again. “John, you have come far, and have been found worthy. The time has come to reveal the ultimate truth.” John’s heart quickened with anticipation, for he had journeyed so far, faced so much, and he hungered for the answers he sought. In a flash, the forest transformed into a breathtaking spectacle of colours and shapes. It was as though he had stepped into a realm beyond reality, a place where

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Ode To A Demigod: A Poem by Chukwuemeka Oluka

[I] O demigod, to know you is to know the finest You may not like these expressions, But I’m sorry, I just can’t help it though Mortal and near celestial realm, Clothed in flesh, breaths air of gods You are neither God nor man Half human, half deity, your power sprawls through Who can find me a demigod like you? Who shall I compare thee with? Shall I compare thee to a mere creature? With divinity, I dare compare thee? In realms where mortals dare to thread, My demigod, for my sake, emerges with might Two hearts united has one [II] You showed up when all took a walk In my dark tunnel, you were the light at its end In emotionally telling territories, you were there Trapped in an unhealthy world, I heard your advancing steps You gave me support without asking for it You, the winds beneath my wings, Made me fly from weakness to strength Burdened with a load of care, near, you were Amidst the conflicts, you gave me comfort My cross seemed heavy, you lent your shoulders The darkness grows thick! The dead-end calls In loud quietude, your soothing voice is heard Like the nightingale, it calms the soul, And the dark currents lose their strength [III] Only a demigod understood it all For my gain, you fought my pain How do I deserve the love? I ask In your warmth, I feel calm; I feel light From zero to hero, my tale unfolds With power from deep within I see you O, you commune with humans and gods You mediate, you make them one! Three! You reconcile their raging differences The boundaries you blur, you bridge From Olympus to Earth, you melt the divide You travel the mind with thy might With all thy being and congregation No one communes your splendour [IV] For your company, I sold solitude to a hermit Because I trade not the laughter you bring In the colours, your story is told You paint them in myth and legend Your glory adorned with white and gold The joy it radiates, evergreen In my heart, it shone like a screen The talking drum you beat They wagged their tongues in bits The talk of the town you became To set their dark muse aflame I, a constant guest, when the king dines What more can I say when you desire no praise My thanks, my debt, I will pay [V] Whenever push comes to shove, When upon life’s billows, you face a troubled sea Your demigod, shall I be seen Our estates will groan in love I will travel the length and breadth For you deserve better than just an ode

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Don’t Give Up: A Poem by Victor Akintomide

He toils night and day, under the whiplash of the sun, He thirsts for something more, something that slips out of reach, It writhes and crawls, the harder he tries. Treading along the steep road, under the grey skies, He searches for something more — something that disappeared into the fog. “Oh please, we have come a long way, let’s return”, his inner self laments, An endless tunnel with no light at its end is what this is, Take a look at the past, and you have a beautiful sight, But he thought, “A little more, and I just might” Yet while pressing on, the fog only got thicker and thicker. Doubts engulf his mind, he fights to see through, Through the shroud of uncertainty of what could be. The urge to rest drags his feet down, he could stop now, After all, the journey ahead seems endlessly long. Yet, the longing for what could be pulls him. Trying harder and harder, the goal appears farther, The weight of the lonely journey seemed to dawn on him. And with the thought of impossibility came despair, Mixed with the fog, leaving no room for repair. Yet words of encouragement were nowhere to be found. The silence of that desolate place deafens him, yet he yearns for a voice, A voice to lend him a sight to get through the fog. In the face of despair, he searches for his own inner light, With every faltering step, he digs deeper within, With a newfound resolve that burns in him, he pushed through the fog, Each step, a testament to his will — a will forged in the smithy of trials. In every heartache, an assured comfort, In every doubt, a renewed passion. In every heartbeat, a whispered prayer, In every struggle, a heart that cares. T’was a melodious melody resonating in his mind, And with every step, he found the strength to transcend. Falling, in itself, is a phase of life, one that will surely pass, What is unforgivable about it is giving up without a fight, So rise and shine, for in the symphony of life, you are but a note. Let your voice soar, let your fears go, Overcome, reach for the peak, Silence doubt with an endless streak. “Tough times don’t last; only tough people do”, This is a common saying, unequivocally true. So no matter what things may unfold, Never give up on your dreams untold. For when you think you’re far from the end, A brighter future awaits, right around the bend. Men, they say, are the custodians of favour, But yet, favour works for those with equal fervour. Needless to say, the world itself is a battlefront, A stage play where you have no choice but to perform. So, you need to put in an effort to make you stand out, Else, when your time comes, it will find you knocked out. The world around you might feel dark and bleak, And the path ahead, very hard to see, But remember, only the strong and meek, Can rise above, and set themselves free. Then, in the end, when the battle is won, You’ll stand triumphant, under the sun.

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Who Is Buchi’s Father by Becky Peleowo

  Ndidi leaned on the steel parapet railing of the Third Mainland Bridge. The chilly breeze that waved across her made her feel lightweight. Suddenly she felt a compelling force beckon her to the vast water below. She did not drive to the bridge but had walked from her home to this renowned spot on the Island, where many lost souls have given up their minds and bodies to the open arms of the Lagoon. “ Madam, are you okay?” a well-meaning pedestrian stopped to ask. The muscular, towering man looked like one who was ready to bundle any insane pedestrian away. There had been a series of suicides and suicide attempts on that bridge so, people were on the lookout for any depressed individual choosing to jump into the Lagoon as a suicidal option. Ndidi nodded slowly in response and the man reluctantly walked away. The man had not seen her bloodshot eyes that had reddened from too many tears. Looking to the left, then to the right to make sure that there was no one close by, she placed her left leg on the first line of the railing, and almost immediately, the tyres of an SUV came screeching close by. A woman in a hijab jumped out of the car and yanked her off the railing. “What are you doing, Madam?” “I don’t know… I don’t know…just let me die. “ Ndidi wailed. The woman held onto Ndidi. Some other people had joined them. One plantain chips hawker brought out his phone to make a video recording. The woman in a hijab who seemed experienced with cases like this, consoled Ndidi. The onlookers were already making conjectures as to the possible reason for her suicide attempt. “Na so one man jump de oda day.” A woman from a public bus whispered to another passenger in pidgin. “Ehn, I heard about it too. They said he owed someone a million naira and he couldn’t pay back.” “Chai! Na wa o! That was how one man jumped in last week when the girl he had sent to school with his hard-earned money refused to marry him.” The woman from the public bus seems to have read too many suicidal stories. The woman in a hijab kept rocking Ndidi in her arms as she sat on the floor of the bridge close to the railing and some kind passers-by joined in encouraging the depressed woman. “Aunty, who is Buchi’s father?” Ndidi asked trying to speak for the first time since she was rescued. “I don’t know who is Buchi’s father. I know I slept with Donald but he isn’t Buchi’s father. Uzor thinks I’m lying. He thinks Donald is Buchi’s father. The DNA test said Uzor is not Buchi’s father and I’m sure Donald is not Buchi’s father but no one believes me. Everyone says I’m a prostitute. Aunty, I am not a prostitute.” The woman in a hijab assisted Ndidi to stand so she could take her in her SUV to a safe place. Some onlookers started protesting about who she might be. “I am an officer of the Rapid Response Squad here in Lagos. I was going to have lunch when I noticed that she was about to jump. She will be fine with us.” The doubts of fear erased, she sped off ensuring that she used the child lock so that the poor woman would not attempt to jump off her car. Ndidi cared less. Her shoulders were drooped, her head was bowed in dejection and her once beautiful face and lips were swollen from excessive crying. Her feet were bare and some of her long nails were broken. Mucus dripped constantly from her nose. It’s been two days since Ndidi’s suicidal attempt. Looking through the window, she wondered what day it was. The sun seeped in as she opened the curtains and she shielded her eyes from its rays. The bed she was lying on was very comfortable but she did not feel comfortable. Her head ached badly as she tried to recall where she was and what she was doing there. The events that happened in the past few days all kept coming back to her. She could see the images on the immaculate walls of the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit they admitted her to. All the events were like passing images projected on the walls. On the wall was the image of Uzor asking her to be his wife. Another image showed how they got married traditionally and in the church. Yet another one showed the day she stormed into the hotel room where Uzor was having a nice time with his ex. It was the same month they had married. Ndidi and Uzor had the same AS genotype and had decided they would conceive through In-Vitro fertilisation to help them choose a child who had the AA genotype. Ndidi saw the image of how the elders in the family begged her not to leave Uzor and to return from her mother’s house to his home. Another image showed how she had cried in the arms of Donald, her childhood friend, and how he had sweetly made love to her. Donald had liked her a lot but it was Uzor who sponsored her university education. She knew that picture was out of place because she was still married to Uzor when this event happened. Her kinsmen had said she should not have slept with another man even when she was separated from Uzor. They said she should have forgiven him and returned to his house. Ndidi could not but think of Nneoma Wokemba’s “Our husbands died, but not our libidos.” She was not a widow but society often justifies a man’s adultery over that of a woman. Women do have libidos and they can become weak too. But she forgave him. That was why she had cut ties with Donald and returned to their home. She had even told Uzor about the incident

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My Past Life by Emmanuel Enaku

The full moon blazed down on us at its highest intensity as we strode through the forest, our feet making occasional rustling sounds when they crushed down on dried leaves, seeds and twigs, accentuating the thudding sounds of hard soles — that carried weary bodies — matching down on the dry, craggy and coarse track of the evil forest. As we sauntered on, manoeuvring our way through thick forest bushes, each of us had a hand fastened on the handle of a sheathed sword tied to the waist while the other hand held firmly to a blazing local torch, our lips were clamped down hard on the fresh palm blades between them and our eyes darted around, shining with grim alertness as we scanned the spaces around us with pinpoint accuracy. We were warriors and we were trained to remain calm and alert even in unbearable discomfort. There was a sudden wind that blew harshly in the forest, swaying trees and shedding semi-dried leaves and then, a sharp sound pierced briefly into the night. The chirping, buzzing, humming and whirring noises of forest insects that accompanied us all through the journey stopped abruptly. We froze and our muscles tensed and our eyes bulged, assessing the area to catch even the faintest movement or anything that was out of the ordinary. Iyankpor, who was in front leading us, raised his right fist up and we did not move another body part except for our eyes which got even more alert and darted wildly. Everyone’s bodies were shredded of its weariness reflexively and in its place, to enormous levels, was pure and total adrenaline. We stood hard and still like rocks as Iyankpor strained his eyes and ears, marking the position where some strange sounds only he seemed to have heard came from. He turned suddenly, impaling us with hard glistening eyes that reflected the fiery burning torch in his right hand. He threw the torch on the dry ground a distance away from him and it began to burn the leaves around. In the sudden illumination, due to the effect of the burning leaves, we could see him clearly. His shoulders that were always proud had sagged, sweat poured out of his face and muscular body which still had traces of our local tattoo, made with cam wood and white chalk and oh, his eyes! Those eyes — which were always confident, daring and hard, lacked all these qualities now. As he took his palm blades from between his lips and faced us, his expression spewed nothing but unadulterated dread that threw us all into confusion. “Run! Save yourselves! The quest — you must deliver it to the king!” he hissed in an agitated manner. The leadership of Iyankpor was never questioned. He was an efficient brute, clever and powerful with amazing sixth sense and reflexes that made him undefeatable. His feats in the village wrestling arena and combat skills in war were things that almost made us think him a supernatural being but our brute of a leader was not looking anything like what we knew him to be. He looked more like a weak and lost boy in the midst of the blazing, burning fire. The initial rush of adrenaline through our bloodstreams subsided rapidly and we stared at each other with incomprehension. The cloud of fear that showed in our leader’s eyes — now doubled — was reflected in everyone’s eyes as we tried to communicate wordlessly and perhaps, read the other man’s mind because we could not take the palm blades from our lips; the mere evil essence of the terrain we found ourselves creepily dared us to. Iyankpor took out his sword and crutched in one fluid movement. His sharpened sword shone ominously under the dull light of the moon that was partially covered by black clouds and the topaz glow of our torches which burned dimly. His right knee was pinned to the ground and his body was doubled over the left knee. His arms were astride and his face bent to face the ground. There was another strong wind and then, repeated whoosh sounds as the flames of our torches were snuffed out. We flung the extinguished wooden poles away and frantically reached for our swords, our hearts palpitating wildly, loudly enough for the other man to hear. Holding our breath, we strained our ears to pick up any further sound as we returned fully into destruct mode. We could taste the adrenaline on our tongue and our bodies vibrated with anticipation. We heard it, then — a low growl that emanated from somewhere in the shadows. It grew louder until it began to vibrate the ground where we stood and then, it was joined by a deep rasping chuckle that sent shivers down our spines. Suddenly, out of the shadows stepped a hulking figure that was as terrifying as it was strange. It, definitely, wasn’t something fit for the eyes of men and our fear was complete. Iyankpor stood up then and began to approach the beast, his glistening sword trailing a path behind him. His face was screwed with intense hatred and he once again looked every bit of the fearsome warrior whom we accepted and recognized over the years as our leader. We stood disoriented and watched what was happening. However, that creature did not break strides in its approach. Its eyes glowed red and its long claws glinted in the moonlight as it moved confidently giving total disregard to the counter approach of our leader. Instantaneously, it gave a horrible snarl and lunged at its assailant, its unpredictable movement taking us all — with the exception of Iyankpor, of course — totally aback. Quickly, Iyankpor ducked and tumbled, gaining his feet as his legendary reflexes — which made us refer to him as “the cat” — came to the fore. He barely escaped the sharp claws of the horrible creature and the creature crashed to the ground with the effect of its own momentum. That beastly creature did not stay down, though. It gained its feet quickly with an agility that

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My Trailing Light: A Poem by Oluwaseun Osanyinro

I could say a million thanks for being a source of inspiration Your zeal and tenacity towards ensuring you raise a balanced army runs deep You are a light, an awe of creation Many works of yours I wish to forever keep I can remember the first day I met you You entered my world with not-so-subtle words Every word spoken seemed like an arrow shot from a bow Perfectly hitting the target, my heart, and redirecting my world. I faced trials and tribulations I spent days in frustration and tears But you stood beside me, remained steadfast, in concentration With compassion, you lent me your gentle ears There were days I stumbled and fell I had your words as an anchor, a beacon of light There were days I gave up and sat in the well Your encouragement was a light, aiding my sight Many see a lady steadfast They praise who I have gradually become Many say she does so well, with no failure in her past They do not know your impact on the struggles I have overcome So, I dedicate these words to you Letting the world know of a man so blessed A man transforming lives like you A man of caliber yet easily accessed Maybe it was your unwavering belief in me Or it was your words But you took a risk believing in the giant in me And through your gentle leading, I became an envy to my world I became a phoenix under your mentorship Emerging anew despite the ashes of my past We gradually moved through our relationship Much more than the required mentorship cast I would not deny present moments of self-doubt Days I would believe less in my worth I would speak also of days I wanted an out When I could not see the evidence of my worth In prayers, in encouragement You weren’t found lagging In laughter, in acknowledgment You always showed me different ways of engaging Many see the refined me The lady you have worked on Many see the wise me The lady you have invested upon I could speak of your unending love A love so strong, couldn’t be quenched Mirror showed me we need not to be related by blood Our hearts as one had clenched I am honored to know You Your impact cannot be measured It is always a privilege to be associated with you And to speak of your works that are treasured Like a ripple or wave across the sea Is your first achievement in life to me It did not stop at you but grew to become pods in a pea Nourishing many, and especially to me So, dear trailing light, please believe me Your impact on my life has become an indelible mark And to move away from this light, far be it from me For I would keep following till the sands of time testify to my mark An ode I wrote to my trailing light That someday, we would see face-to-face And though I still face self-doubt as a daily fight Your words will always be the strength to run my race.

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Weapons Of Defence by Oluwaseun Osanyinro

  I woke up drenched in sweat, sure that something serious had jarred me from my dreams. I was about to displace my worry when I heard the shuffle and quiet. It was impossible to blame imagination even amid darkness. I was accommodating a thief! I made little movement on my bed while calculating my risks and tactics to subdue the idiot in my house. Only God knows what he came to steal. The myth that one’s senses heighten in darkness is true, as I could hear my breathing. The shuffle sounded again, and I almost chuckled. The idiot was stealing my biscuits also. I held down the hyperventilation threatening my lungs, channelling my thoughts to the best place to pick up a weapon of defense and offense. Knife? No. The thief was in my kitchen. Shoe? It would probably knock him down, but not senseless. Umbrella? It was at the door. It was impossible to reach the door of my little room and parlor home without alerting the thief. My line of action was to stretch my hands to my nightstand and pick up my phone to switch on its torch, but it did not respond. The battery was flat. I almost screamed in frustration and did not want to give the thief a heads-up about my action. My breathing had stabilized, yet there was no way I could get to the offender without light. I faced the consequence of watching that YouTube video until my phone was 4%. Joe had married Kate, and I was in trouble with no means of defense. I closed my eyes and visualized my room with my mind. I was on the bed with a pink floral pattern bedspread, two pillows, and the left side of the head of my mahogany bedstand, a nightstand. My best friend thought my sheet was too girly. Who cared? I am a girl, right? Yes! I am a girl much more vulnerable to the intruder. The hyperventilation crept up my throat once more as I imagined different scenarios this could end. None was good, and there was no way I could pretend all was well till morning. He could harm me in my bed. The next sound was a smashing, and I almost shrieked. He was an angry intruder. No way was I going to allow him to meet me in bed. Too tempting for an angry man. I sat up and dragged my wrapper to my chest. “Jesus”, I called seven times before closing my eyes and letting my mind do the work. My brown fan hung in the middle of my room with a white bulb hanging to its left from a white ceiling. All walls had sky blue paint with floral designs on opposite walls. I had only one window at the head of my bed, a reason my room got too hot this season. On the wall opposite my bed hung my wardrobe. It was ajar. Getting down from the bed that way would alert the intruder. The left was also out of the question. I arranged my shoes there and a few of my cosmetics. The right side of the bed was my escape route then. I turned to my right, wiped the sweat dripping out of heat and fear, and dropped my legs to the floor. I had not heard any sound for some seconds but knew the intruder had not left. I could not calm the racing thoughts telling me he was coming my way. My eyes shone, and though I could not see in the darkness, it was not difficult to locate my door. Then I remembered I had not gotten a weapon. Tracing the smooth wall beside the door, I sat on the floor and began feeling for any sharp object I could find. Something must paralyze him. Pinpoint heel would do something before I pick up a knife and scream. Of course, I would shriek. That was my only way to call for help. The next sound was more of a scratch that raised goosebumps on my skin. I doubted my false bravery this time. With one pair of heels at hand, feeling for the door again, I opened the door without a creek. My instincts told me the intruder was still in my kitchen. Walking with my imagination, I tiptoed into my corridor. At the end of the short walkway was my favorite black loveseat. I tiptoed the cream-colored walkway till I reached its end. I stepped into the room painted cream also. The three black cushions formed a semi-circle to face my mini television. There was a silver center table I moved beside the mini television last night while I ironed my Sunday gown. I remember I did not return it to its original position. A frame of me in my convocation gown sat on the right side of the television. It was a gift from my best friend, Sharon. The coldness of the sitting room greeted me, a sign I had left the two windows open again last night. The kitchen was to the left of the room. With quickened heartbeat, I approached the kitchen. I needed help. So, I prayed. The first miracle was the flickering of the electricity. The sitting room was flooded with light for some seconds, giving me a view of the room with clothes draped on each cushion. I almost yelled in relief when darkness took over. The light flickered again, and my eyes found the umbrella close to the door before darkness prevailed again. I came down on all fours, wiped the stray sweat that had almost entered my eyes, and crawled to the door. I came back shivering out of fear yet armed with an umbrella. Another flickering before it became fixed. Had I been in my room, I would have plugged my phone. There was more crashing and scratching. I was almost in tears, my stomach threatening to lose its contents. All these should not

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