By afric.iWRITE | 10:34 AM
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Real YouthSpeak 2011

On these days and these venues:
Enugu (University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus) , 8th August 2011
Abuja (University of Abuja) , 10th August 2011
Lagos (University of Lagos) , 12th August 2011
BLUES & HILLS Consultancy, in conjunction with BigScreen Media Ventures Limited present RealYouthSpeak! Conference 2011, tagged "Own Your Future."
This initiative sees the speakers from different countries touring various campuses within Nigeria. They would be giving talks at these campuses which we have called "Camps", "Town Hall Meetings," and "Main Conference," on the basis of this initiative.
"Camps" participants will be chosen from early entries. Only 20 people will be chosen for this. Everyone in the "Camp" gets a chance to hear and be heard. It is designed in such a way that everyone is involved actively.
"Town Hall Meetings" participants will be chosen randomly from personal statements. Here, we would have a bio-data of everyone present, and so we would engage them on their own fields of interest; we would draw out their affinities by engaging them actively.
"Main Conference" participants include everyone who has registered for the conference. There will be Q & A sessions, lunchtime, entertainment, networking and panels.
As we are in an age where peer pressure plays a major role in shaping the lives of young people, we have developed a theme: Own Your Future. Through this theme, we will explore an eclectic mix of topics to help young people in making strong decisions in their lives.
To apply, simply fill out the application form and submit.
We will offer both our standard Conference Participation at N2, 000, and a special VIP Donor Membership at N5,000. If you can afford it, we do invite you to consider registering at the Donor level. In addition to the extra privileges such as early-access seating that guarantees a great spot for every session, you'll be invited to an exclusive onsite event and get a different-colored badge that recognizes your contribution. As a Donor, a larger portion of your fees are treated as a donation, and you'll therefore be making a spectacular contribution to spreading knowledge, insight and inspiration around the world. You'll find registration links below for the conference and donor memberships.
From all over the world, we are gathering young people and they will be addressed by great achievers and innovators under 30 years of age. These speakers are people who have achieved a lot in their chosen careers. They come from different backgrounds: physical science, fashion, literature, social science, journalism, entrepreneurship, music and art.
While we are basking in the euphoria of being addressed by young people, this conference has been designed in a way that older people, who have walked through the lanes of hardship, hardwork � and most importantly, success, will share their experiences with us too.
Your application must be complete by the following deadline: July 27th to help the Organising Team prepare applicants� tags and materials.
Payment should be made to:

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By afric.iWRITE | 9:16 AM
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A Dude's Bad Day

I visited a funny wedding website and found a few photographs. They convinced me on how women value getting married. It doesn't matter who. They must make sure you show up. It seems to be the most memorable time of every woman's life on earth.

Come to think of it (Guys). Your rude girlfriend forces the four words out of your mouth, and to please her, you go ahead and ask her "Will you marry me?. What do you expect? She's def gonna say YES, and then the wedding planning triggers. Your only hope is for God to send down thunder from above, to scatter the plans. When it doesn't happen, you may decide to voice out or play a few pranks, like cheating on her (as if she cares). My dude below must have done all that to no avail. He has now taken laws into his hands. See how he does it.

He nails the front tyre. Arrrrhhhh! But his resilient fiance shows him she's a trained mechanic. She's fixing the tyre. BOY!

But she's not so good, you know. There's no fuel in the tank! YARK! Now, she must get to the closest station to get a gallon to wed the idiot. He must be wedded today gor! Don't play with a rude Gurl...

After fixing the ***king tyre, filling the tank and driving to the registry, the dude is voicing out. He doesn't wanna be hooked. "Lai lai..." the rude gurl yells. "No be money matter oh! Me, I go provide am! You no go just use me finish come dump me!"

Food for thought: The next time you go fronting "I will marry you", better don't match a rude gurl! ***wink***

(photos sourced from

I can't wait for weekend anymore. Started mine just now.

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By afric.iWRITE | 7:12 AM
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This and That Cartel

Recently, I have been blogging about jobs, its beauty, its wackiness and its satisfaction. Like anyone who is fund of reading my blog posts, you would always find me telling a story or two out of everything that happens in that place called OFFICE. My last post (on jobs) was about busters and lickers. I pray you read it, and you have been following up too. This revolution of mine started on Monday, 13th June, 2011, when I woke up and felt like staying at home. Maybe I was still feeling the June 12 rebellious fever. I felt like foraging my library, looking for a blank sheet, and I felt like penning down words, as little as I imagined them.

Hello Boss,
Good morning. I don’t have the strength to write more than a line, but I’ll try my best. I wish to inform you that I am resigning from this day. Thanks, and I won’t lie, I never loved it working with your firm.


But thank Jesus I never did such a silly thing. Hunger for kill me well well. I was only lazy that morning, like everyone else.

Today, I wish to bring to your notice what happens in most firms (both publicly and secretly). It is called Cartel. Who ever found this word and sent it to the dictionary was certain he had produced a word that would finally destroy the whole world. Hhhmmm...Cartel! It simply means an interest group, lobby, alliance, association, union and league. It means everything that brotherhood depicts. It is by its authority that world leaders are made, and they embezzle all our federal revenues. Obama only needed a cartel to create the characters and myth guiding the death of Osama. I believe Obama oh, before you derail me from my track. And what was George Bush doing looking for a nuclear weapon? No one told him, anyway, that there must be a cartel before a weapon is built. Destroy the cartel, and you’ll mute the sound of bullets.

I want to talk about cartels in offices. And it exists, from top to bottom.

I am yet to meet this guy I’m about to tell you his story. I only saw him in my imaginations, and i named him Franklin. Franklin gets a new job. It has been more than four years, after his graduation, after NYSC, and after losing hope. He has just been employed in one of those new generation banks, and is booked to resume almost immediately. His mother, Abigail, loves fashion. She smirks at Franklin’s fashion behaviour and colour confusion. He ignores the different shades of colour and wears just anything, maybe because he doesn’t have many colours to wear. Abigail, a middle aged woman, goes shopping for her son. She plans to buy him a banker’s grey Italian one-piece suit, leather shoes and some English ties. Shirts are not excluded in her list.

“I need just the best for him,” she tells the lady at the boutique. “He must make a grand entrance.” Franklin smiles shyly at how his mother demonstrates every word she utters.

It is the first morning of Franklin’s first day in the office. Abigail forces him to walk before her, gracefully rehearsing every bit of the swaggering step she tutored him. Franklin catwalks before Abigail, many times, before he finally gets her approval. He knows it’s what boys that are only children face under their mothers. Then, Abigail serves him a three course breakfast before he kisses her on her cheeks and leaves for work in a hired taxi.

At work, everything is different, Franklin thinks. He observes every single person that walks pass him. He knows those who work with the bank. He has seen them many times, with their well made and designed jackets, and glossy shoes. Well seated behind the teller counter, he takes a brief glance at his well polished leather shoes. Franklin is not sure of what to be happy of, his new job or his new shoes. It takes the whole of his first day, counting a few notes and wiping off dust from the face of his shoes.

“You must be a big dude,” the branch manager tells him. They’re in the convenience together. Franklin, to be frank, thinks he has been trailed. “Why do you prefer the teller?”

“Not that I do Sire,” he responds in the same tone Abigail had thought him, exposing his newly bought baritone. “It’s always good for a young man of my status, not considering his family financial status and buoyancy, to start from the scratch. I decided to join the teller because I really need to learn a lot.”

“Oh yes, you really need to.”

Work is over, the first day, and Franklin is offered a ride home. He declines, saying someone was coming over the drive him home. The branch manager is disappointed, but lingers in his steps.

“Oh no, don’t worry Sire,” Franklin says to him. “He’ll be here in a jiffy.”
In a jiffy, before the branch manager, Franklin spots a grey Audi 800 parked at the lot. It’s his private cab, he is sure his manager hears him.

“Nine o’clock, I’ll call you,” the branch manager says. “There’s a party up-town. I’ll want you to meet the people that matter.”

“Okay!” Franklin shouts before rushing to catch the cab. The skyscrapers of Victoria Island that nearly touch the clouds outline the streets, like streetlights, as they drive home.

(to be continued...)

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By afric.iWRITE | 12:00 PM
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Facts to make you know that you're now old (by Uloma Emenyonu)

Uloma is out again with a mind bugging reminder. She reminds us that we are Old, but we do not know. Uloma is one writer that does not write for publishers or awards. She's just a born motivator. Please read from her.

Facts to make you know that you're now old

1. Windows XP was released TEN years ago, in 2001.

2. The “new” Millennium is more than a decade old.

3. Pierce Brosnan last acted as James Bond 9 years ago.

4. It’s been 10 years since 9/11

5. The Matrix came out 12 years ago, Keanu Reeves is 46 today

6. Mother Theresa and Lady Diana have been dead for 14 years.

7. Macaulay Culkin is 30 today. “Home Alone” came out over 20 years ago.

8. Terminator 2 is 20 years old. Edward Furlong who portrayed kid John Connor is 33 now.

9. Sean Connery is 80 years old and retired.

10. The youngest Spice Girl is 35, the oldest Backstreet Boy 39, Gwen Stefani is 41, Madonna 52and Oh, the sultry actress, Sharon Stone is now 53 years old

11. The first Harry Potter book came out 14 years ago!

12. The first season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S was aired 17 years ago!

13. ‘Kids’ born in 1993 can legally drive, drink and vote this year.In case you don't remember, that's the year Toni Braxton released her hit song "Breathe Again"

14. Jurassic Park is older than Justin Bieber.

15. Bryan Adams’ cult song “Summer of 69″ was released 26 years ago.

16. Kids whom you remember in their diapers posting their pics on Facebook.

17. Facebook has been around for 7 years.

18. Tupac Shakur has been dead for 15 years,and guess what? he's really dead.

19. Puff Daddy and Jlo's relationship ended 11 years ago

20.Gen Sani Abacha died 13 years ago

21. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be 64 Years old in July. The movie, Total recall was acted 21 years ago; Sylvester Stallone will be 65 years in July, Rambo, First Blood part 1 was acted 29 years ago.

22. The Indian Movie, Amar Akbar Anthony, was released in 1979, 32 years ago

23. Sisquo's Thong Song was released 12 years ago, Unleash the dragon was released 11 years ago. Shaggy's "It wasnt me" was released 10 years ago.

So when J.lo says " its a new generation of party people " she is NOT referring to u

Isn't this good? For me, it is!

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By afric.iWRITE | 8:24 AM
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Asa "The Queen of The Stage"

Buy Beautiful Imperfection on Amazon 

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By afric.iWRITE | 5:41 AM
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Celebrating Jalaa Authors

Recently, I bought the three famous books from Jalaa Writers Collective, and I didn't regret the time I spent reading them. Jude Dibia shows his talent in Blackbird, a story of ordinary people, love and regrets. I'm still reading Odili Ujubuonu's Pride Of The Spider Clan, and OMG the dude can write. Then there's this story that is threatening the life span of our ever popular Half of a Yellow Sun. It's Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo's story of Biafra - Roses and Bullets. It's a perfect story (oya, critiques, make una draw una swords...mmmchew). You need that book in your library.

No wonder why the lady is constantly being honoured by members of the literary circle. Hear this!

Akachi will be the Guest Writer at the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), at the Pen and Pages Bookstore, White House Plaza, Plot 79, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja. It is an initiative of Dr Emman Shehu and it has featured an exciting array of emerging and established writers. The event is slated for June 25, 2011 by 16:00 – 18.30. Hope you'll be there. You can read more about Akachi and the Jalaa Writers’ Collective here, and also check Amazon for Jalaa Books.

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By afric.iWRITE | 1:11 AM
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Lickers and Busters

Many people work with the mouth of a pistol held on their foreheads. They know what to do, but they end up doing none of what they know because the Boss’s Decisions will always be final, anyhow e be. Then, at the tail end, it doesn’t work and they are blamed for it. No one blames the boss. “If you knew it that well, why didn’t you use your dumb head!” the same boss would bellow.

Then, there is always this group of colleagues who always fall at the master’s feet, licking hard, licking his sores real hard. So, the master looks at you as irrelevant. You become a-no-good to the firm. Everyone (arse lickers) sees you as an idiot for always coming up with fresh and new ideas, trying to make the boss look dim-witted. Arrrrhhh! You cry aloud, because your dreams for the firm always die inside of you. You end up giving up! Afterall, everyone earns the same paltry sum at the end of the month. And the arse lickers get extra cheques. You think, for once, of how to be an arse licker, but you’ve never done it before. You never did it in the previous firm you worked with, and that was why you remained under the same pay, like the lonely moon, for five bad years.

Now, I’m sure someone somewhere, who is reading this post, is either an arse licker or an arse buster. You may have been victimized, threatened, or even fired (yes, I said FIRED) for being stupidly intelligent, creative, innovative and hardworking, while others tiptoed into the lavatory, during working hours, sipped a few drops of alcohol, smoked and gossiped, even with the big boss. It is what most bosses enjoy. I know. You know. But let me tell you more of what the bosses enjoy.

Surprisingly, your story begins.

1. Bosses would always call on you (arse buster, not licker) whenever he runs into the difficulty of how to handle a few issues. It doesn’t matter if he calls you in secret, when the arse lickers are not around. He trusts your intelligence. That is why he keeps calling.

2. He sends you to handle areas that are difficult and messed up. Everyone (arse lickers) giggles when they hear it. They feel you are doomed. They celebrate your downfall, while you sit before your drawing board, weeping, working and creating knew plans. Soon enough, when you end up winning and winning well, arse lickers cry out, calling on the boss to change you because your work now seems easy. But the more you are changed the more you win. Halleluiah!

3. Bosses always call on you to prepare reports, after which they would force the custody or copyrights to that document under their ownership. Say no word! Just say no word.

4. Then soon, the next guy is dating the girl in the marketing department because he no more has serious work. They’re seen at a certain club in town. They are not the only ones that are there. The human resource guy is out with the front desk personnel, while the logistics officer is dating the boss’s secretary. You don’t club, or maybe you do, but only with your legit girlfriend or boyfriend or wife or husband. Smile. You have no problem. The boss knows, but keeps quiet.

5. Soon, everyone is fighting in the office, more emotionally inclined than official. The secretary frowns her face anytime she sees the logistics guy. He has refused to confirm their relationship before the entire staff of the firm. And the front desk lady is having a crush on the Auditor. She now avoids being with the human resource dude. The HR dude finds out, and is beefing the Auditor and the lady involved. The Auditor doesn’t even know because he has his eyes on the tea girl. No one is putting out their bests, and the entire revenue of the firm is seen dwindling. You think the boss would smile? Even if they’re arse lickers, suckers or scrubbers? No way!

6. Monday morning, the boss calls you, starts one of those yelling of his and almost, almost stabs you with a dagger. He says you are the reason why his firm is going down. His says that he had entrusted you with so much power as the Assistant Operations Manager because he felt you could do it. He cries out, because you have failed him and the firm has just made a little income that can only pay the staff. No profit made. Arrrghhhh again! Now you know you should have been in charge. You should have ignored all the gossips and gone ahead to straighten things. Now you are aware that all the arse lickers are under you. You wonder how much you have grown all these years still feeling the boss hated you. Now you are aware that arse busters, not lickers, always win.

7. The next month, you send a request to the boss for the Auditor to be placed on an indefinite suspension for working with the wrong figures, while the front desk lady receives a strong memo for not observing the word, polite, the day she forced the biggest client to leave the premises in fury. The HR guy is forced to serve himself a punishment for omitting the front desk lady’s name in the payroll. Even the tea girl’s pay is cut for serving you tea without the teabag.

8. Everyone gets talking about you again, but in dark rooms. You regret nothing being an arse buster.

I know that someone somewhere, who is reading this post, is either an arse licker or a BUSTER!

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By afric.iWRITE | 7:28 AM
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Shit Job

This morning, I woke up hating my job. No, it started the day before yesterday, just like every other Monday. Even opening the office door, saying good morning to my office mate and booting the computer was A BIG DEAL. I heard myself shout ARRRHHH deep within. Then, I said “I hate this job of mine.”

My job is not a wacky job oh! At least I get to be hailed SIR once in a while. It doesn’t matter if my workers have MSCs or PHDs. What matters is that they are people. I get to shout on my staff when they don’t do the job perfectly, or a customer is complaining (silly customers), and they end up apologizing for it. Then, this is the stupidest part. I get to say sorry, even when I am insulted by a customer. I mean real INSULT.

Today, after one of those my I HATE MY JOB MOMENTS, I asked myself a question. Am I the only one in this bus? Am I the only one who hates his job? I guess no. Many of us would run to better opportunities if they come. It doesn’t really matter what the pay is sometimes, as long as it is not a shit job. But I’m wrong. Shit money is meant for shit jobs.

What do you hate about your job? What do you think you can do about it? NOTHING!
My advice is this: Dig it, even the in mud!

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By afric.iWRITE | 7:16 AM
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MKO Vs Bank "Oles"

I was eleven years old when they said that people were being killed in Lagos because they protested the cancelation of a certain election. Then, Lagos was my dream city. I wished to settle in that city in my adult days. I loved Lagos because I loved brave people, people who stood by the truth, gingered by legends like Fela Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi and MKO into standing for transparency and justice. Think of it, you would never win an election freely and fairly and be mute about it. You would go all the way, calling on people you believed would be instrumental in influencing your stand on an unfair annulment. And what if you had the support of the masses, which chose to die for the movement (even before you were taken into custody)? What if you won June 12? What if you were told that the powers of the presidency would soon rest on your shoulders? What if you had a big dream for your nation? What if you declared yourself the president without waiting to be installed?

18years after the annulment of the nationwide elections, critically acclaimed to be the fairest that Nigeria has held as a nation, we’re still chasing about people that stole money (such as “BANK” “OLE”), people in power. It is the same power that a man died searching for, for the betterment of the entire masses. Would MKO have turned into one of our corrupt leaders? Who knows? At least, he would have been given the chance to try.

Till date we, as Nigerians, are yet to be told why our votes were ignored and the elections were canceled (as if I was even eligible to vote then). Maybe we no more want to know why. But my interest lies on our difficulty to produce good heads to run this nation.

I was just a little boy, played soccer on a grass field in Orji and wounded many times, hid my injuries from my parents for the fear of being fluffed up for playing football with boys that were older, and watched my wounded limb swell. That was the extent of the respect I had for my parents. They made sure they forced some senses into my head. Then, as a kid, I also feared the President who wore uniforms, because I was warned never to say anything about him in the open. I heard of the many people that were arrested, and nothing was heard of their whereabouts again. What did they do? They said the leaders were doing badly. And those that he could not arrest, the sharp guys, ran away. I feared the dictator then, but I did not have an iota of respect for him. No one that talked about him, in secret, respected him. It didn’t matter anyways. It didn’t matter that they did not respect him because they only talked about him in closed cupboards.

But I heard of men that talked about him, the bulk of whom he could lay no finger upon. How come he did nothing to our Fela?

Now that we have democracy with us and no one is chasing us about with batons and guns, now that we are no more children in kindergartens, should we not contribute? Yes, we must volunteer with our words. Maybe, Nigeria would one day learn to prosecute the corrupt, and not just parade them in the media and bail them the next day. Maybe if we really learnt from the mistakes of the June 12 Elections Annulment, we would have been transformed as a nation. Maybe we wouldn’t have had the Bank-Oles.

I was just eleven years when THE GENERAL annulled the free and fair elections. Now, I’m 29.

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By afric.iWRITE | 4:00 AM
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Now, The Grass is Green

Nnanna ran into the farms as soon as he saw me coming home for Christmas. He did not know who I was. He was three years old when I left Amuzu, and settled in Lagos with Akuchukwu and Ijelove. We set up a business at Idumota, where we sold pirated Nollywood movies. Soon, we became successful, shared the profit, and everyone went ahead to set up his own shop. We were all at Idumota, but I had another shop at Alaba. I had not started yet. I had no one to run the new shop for me. So, I remembered home and knew it was time for me to visit. I wanted to select any of my family members who was young and had nothing doing. I wanted to help another life from home.

Mama Nnedi said Nnanna was such a wicked boy. She said that he carried about the spirit of Papa Ndu – my late father – in him. Papa Ndu was heartless before his death. Everyone knew it was his wickedness that killed him. He was the only one that owned many farmlands. “He was swelling up and crying...hhmm,” Mama Nnedi said, “and no one came to cater to him. Only me!”

Papa Ndu forcefully took away large farmlands belonging to the many poor men we had in Amuzu. He left them dry, without any crop, or even a single palm tree. No one stopped him, because Amuzu had no king. Someone stopped him last season, Mama Nnedi told me, but no one knew who that Someone was. Papa Ndu fell ill, remained indoors, and grew fatter. He grew fatter until everyone knew it was a disease that had fallen on him. No one called the priest from St. Titus to come and pray for forgiveness from the gods. No one called for water from Nmiri Mba, for his cleansing. It was only Mama Nnedi that wiped the pus that spilled from his body. She was the one that perfumed the house, and took Nnanna to Pa Edward’s house, every night, for they could not sleep in the same house with a sick man.

Four market days had gone, after Papa Ndu was buried, before Mama Nnedi called every poor man of Amuzu. She went into the farmlands with the elders and the poor men. She let everyone identify the parcel of land that belonged to him, or his ancestors. After that, she said they could have back their farmlands. She said they could cultivate any crop that they could conceive in their minds. She advised them to start before the rains started coming down. Everyone looked up, and saw the clouds were almost gathering for the rainy season. Rusted hoes were seen in the hands of women and little children, and the men cleared the lands with their machetes. They planted cassava, maize, coco-yam and yam, and danced while at work. Everyone blessed Mama Nnedi, and called her Ezinne – a good woman.

When I woke up in the morning, I sauntered towards the family square to stretch my joints. Everywhere was green and serene, just like every other village that the gods had blessed.

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By afric.iWRITE | 10:59 AM
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I Swear to You (Novel Excerpt), by Binyerem Ukonu

Insanity, nay, is sanity
Once peace resides within.

I swear to you, I was sane enough to know that the floor was finished with cement screeds, and was cold, and that I sat on it. I knew that we were many of us in the large space that looked like a factory, and that people yelled in a manner that seemed that they needed liberty from bondage. I was sane enough to see, though hazy, the men that stood, with whips in their hands, in front of various groups, according to the groups apportioned to them. I was sane enough to feel that my hands were knotted with twines, and that those twines sucked my blood. My legs were tied too and getting paralyzed. I was only not sane enough to speak meaningful words, to ask where I was, who those yelling people were, and why the hell I was tied with ropes.

All my attempts to see clearly were futile. My vision remained blurred at many things that happened inside the large hall. I only noticed a few, and figured out what was happening. We were either forced into slavery or captured for rituals. I shivered at the possibility of being captured for rituals. The fears took over my entire body, and I wriggled on the floor, kicked my legs, and tried forcing my hands to slip from the ropes. Someone rushed to where I was and whipped me on my back. It tore my back, I thought. I yelled, but my cries were held within me. I swear to you, no one heard my cries. He lashed my back again, and again, and again. The pains ran through my veins and forced blood into my brain. I panted like an athlete, but my cries remained unheard. There are powers above human powers. There are powers that run the universe, powers that control the senses of humans, and powers that tell us what to say, how to say, and when to say them. Only those held under such powers felt them. Only those held by what they could not feel, see, or perceive knew such powers. Evil powers. They held me strong, and enjoyed my hurt.

Ikoro appeared later, with a man. The man was a giant to everyone in the large hall, and everyone that saw him bowed to him. He had no face, yet he had shades on. He had no face because my vision of him was blurred. His face was hidden in the ceiling, and the ceiling was far from where I lay. My vision had gotten worse after my group’s commandant lashed my back. But I saw Ikoro and knew he was the one beside the man whose face I could not behold.

“Here is the new boy I told you about,” Ikoro said to the man. Both men stood before me. “I found him in the market in Portharcourt, and he slept off on our way to the sanctuary. Ikoro’s blessings work more than any of the other agents’.”

“How old is the boy?” the man asked. His voice was cracked, as if he had rocks stock in his throat.

“Sixteen, I guess,” Ikoro replied him. “I didn’t ask him. But he’s a teenager. He’s good to go.”
“Have you anointed him?”

“Yes, Master. I planted the oil in my air conditioner. The boy is now a mess, no past, no present, and no future. Anything we order him is what he must do. But we must sanctify him.”

“Oh yes, we must sanctify him,” the man said. “This night, at the stream, we must.”

Blood stopped flowing in me. At that moment, my life paused. What the hell are these men talking about? Who were they? What the fuck is sanctification? Oh my Jesus! Oh my Gosh!

“Master!” someone called out from the other end of the factory. The man that Ikoro called Master turned to where the call came.
“This one here is dead,” he continued. “He’s cold and gone. He’s refused to eat since yesterday, and now he doesn’t move even when I whip him on his back.”

“He must be dead then,” the man replied. “Call Tugo to come and help you get rid of him. We do not need dead men here. Dead men have bad spirits.”

Ikoro laughed at the man’s words. Everyone in the factory laughed. Only the men that were not in bondage laughed. The man never laughed. He only turned and walked away.

“Prepare the young boy for sanctification tonight!”

My hairs were shaved at night, at the shores of a river. I do not know why. My toenails and fingernails were clipped and thrown into the water, and they sailed with the current. I do not know why. I swear to you, I do not know who the priest called upon to join our gathering. They waited for him to appear from the water. I tried to see, but it appeared I was the only one who could not see him. I only know that I knew I was in a strange place at a strange time. I was made to kneel in the mud, raise my hands, shut my eyes, and wait for what ever would be the first thing I would feel on my hide. I threw my thoughts to what this new life could behold. I knew I had never met the people I saw at the factory except Ikoro. I knew I had met Ikoro, but I could not be exact at where we met. I knew I was from a place from the past, but I could not remember where I came from, who I knew, and if I had always been a slave. I must have been a dead slave. Maybe, I realized I must have been dead the moment Ikoro anointed me with oil. I did not see Ikoro anoint me. I did not know how he did it. I only heard Ikoro tell Master, at the factory, that he had already initiated me with oil.

There was stillness.

“Ikoro bring his hairs to the other side,” the priest said. He wore a white wrapper around his loins, and cowries on his ankles. As he walked, the sound I heard reminded me of the great masquerade, Agaba. Agaba walked with grace, sauntering into peoples’ stores, purloining whatsoever pleased him. From oranges to udara, he sent fears into the hearts of traders as they ran for their lives. He would pick one item from one shop, after the other, and slump into the roots that held the big trunk of the biggest tree we had in Ugiri. I swear to you, I remembered my hometown. Ugiri was my hometown. I was sure it was. But, where is Ugiri?

Finally, as my hairs sailed into the deep, I knew I had a new life. I felt a new life rise from my belly. I saw a light flash into my eyes like a disco light. I saw it run on my entire body. Dotted spots mottled on my bare skin and disappeared in seconds. Then, the priest danced, and danced, and danced. I did not see what Ikoro and his master did. They stood behind their game. I was their game.
“This one is not troublesome,” the priest continued. “He’ll be loyal to your orders and your empire. Nwa oma! This is a good catch.”

“I knew it immediately I saw him,” I heard Ikoro whisper from behind. “Enwere m anya eji ahu oka kara aka.”

“Yes, Ikoro,” the priest said. “But it doesn’t end there. He’s to lead a group of battalion in the empire. He’s to stand before the masses and fulfill your demands. I behold favour written upon his forehead.”

“How do you mean, Ogbaka?” I heard another voice from behind. It must have been Ikoro’s master.

“Hahahahaha…..” the priest laughed. “You’ll know when it is time.”

I had a bath inside the river, at the shallow end, where the water was clean. I was purged of my sins; the sins I never committed, or I did, but did not know. I was not the only one sanctified at the river shore that night. Two boys who looked my age were made holy too. One of the boys was insane. He smiled at everything the priest did. When the priest danced, he nodded his head and barked like a dog. He repeated every word the priest yelled when he beckoned on the evil gods to be present. He made even the priest smile. Ikoro and his master laughed behind me. Then, Ikoro called the man to order. Arinze was what Ikoro called him. He said the lad was stubborn and had too much anointing oil which made him a mad boy. He said they had to cuff Arinze with chains, because he had become too aggressive for the boys. Ikoro told his master all these.

“He’ll be fine after the sanctification,” Ikoro’s master uwhispered to Ikoro. They were still standing behind me.

We were let loose by the priest and his servant. He told us to turn and follow the men behind us. He told us not to utter any word, unless we were told to talk by the men that stood behind us. We were warned never to argue or say anything that could go against their decrees. The priest was the first lovable man we had encountered since strange things began happening in our lives. He sat us down and told us about loyalty. Then, he talked in Igbo Language, but his words had no direct meaning. Onye fe Eze, eze eru ya aka! That was his last adage. I smiled because I knew it was somehow a lie. That one worships the king does not mean he would be king someday. Does he who worships the gods transform into a god?

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