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by Chimezie Chika

I
Finding Q-dance Centre was what drove me onto the streets of Lagos
that morning. I felt something leap in me when I saw throngs of people
milling into the streets from the thousand avenues and nooks like
ants, saw yellow buses hop by, and their conductors howling in Yoruba
for people going to Mile 2, Mazamaza, Festac. Maruas trotting like
hungry dogs. Hawkers screaming. On the pavement, a bend-down-select
book vendor. I bought a book.
II
The bus left me at Tejusho market, at the corner of the modern
shopping complex. A kind tall mallam in a white skull cap directed me
to the rail line where I had to wait, with other people, for a snaky
rickety train pooh-ing in agony to pass by. The Okada I entered there
dropped me off at 194 Herbert Macaulay—a tall edifice with a blue
façade.

I was the first to arrive that day but, ironically, I would become the
prize-winning latecomer for the rest of the workshop. I was not really
looking at the young boys and girls who were cleaning up; I was
thinking about my not having had a bath that morning. Chidimma came.
She is a colleague at IMSU. We talked a little and then Basit came.
Basit—the smiling talker. He was silent that morning. The rest came.

III
I was struck by how young we all were. How our eagerness was moon in
our eyes. Eagerness is a character that has resonated with writers for
generations. We write it into our blood. Did I hear Dami?—everything I
say is subject to your personal acceptance; I mean, you mustn’t take
me seriously.
Dami: white-smiling all over the place, talking: medical doctor at
day; writer at night. Did I—or did I not—imagine him bending over
writhing patients—(psychosis, neurosis, Freud)—at day; sitting quietly
in a room and clanking away at his small laptop, the screen lighting a
limited vicinity in the dark. I think of Chekov, Ekwensi, Imasuen, and
all clinical people who find time for literature. There is something
about writing that erases professions.
My muse had long become this gathering of twin souls. I had not
thought of those ancient Greek scions of the imagination. My Aphrodite
is that amber-lit room; my Bacchus, that water bottle.

IV
Ukamaka, in all her resplendent beauty, was, to my surprise, down to
earth. Qudus was passionate about inspiration. Mazi was so engaging. I
did not think these people had any drab illusions about what they do.
They were proud of it. Loved it. We were quiet and they talked. We
were quiet and drank in their wisdom. Some people are not talking
here.

V
I wonder if I mentioned Socrates, the Kenyan brought-up who somewhat
acted like his Greek namesake. Socrates, adupe!

VI
Lagos is so big. The maze of roads is confusing; snaking over each
other; bigger roads eating up the smaller ones. Brigdes. Too many
bridges. Under Bridge. The conductors gabble their words; so you might
miss your way.
I found myself in Ebutte-Meta, the railway headquarters. I walked
through that gigantic railway establishment, the industries associated
with it—they were in forlorn shambles.
Everyone was already seated when I arrived at the Centre for
Contemporary Arts. Punctuation. Dami reads his story to illustrate.
Tricky story. I think of John Barth, William Gaddis, and Pynchon.
Ukamaka reduced every literary equation to the simplest understandable
unit. She was so eager. You could see it in the way she talked, the
way she tried to build upon every point made. Marlon James—Point of
View: technique. Exercises: wonderful. Tolu (always smiling) wrote: I
am sitting here, hungry. I doubt if I will remember everything Dami
said in the next 24 hours.
I walked home with Chidimma.

VII
There are some people you know only on Facebook. Uzoma was so quiet,
his chubby cheeks hardly moving. His eyes changed shades. Something
was going on in that head; you could tell.
Memories of the third day are muddled up. Maybe because I am writing
three days after the workshop, or perhaps, because I scooped some,
raw, and ate right there and went to toilet.
It was a Sunday and, on the way, I bought five books from a roadside
vendor. Winesburg, Ohio; VS Naipaul; Michael Cunningham; Junichiro
Tanizaki; others. The talk progressed seamlessly. Ukamaka, Mazi, the
charming Bola.
It did not end with any elaborate fanfare. But—but then we were all
happy. Something had happened to us: writing. For people to meet,
actually, in conducive Art-mosphere, to talk about writing is
uplifting. So we can now go home and sit at the desk and bleed? The
personal thing is that a picture—a horizon—has been enlarged.
I snapped a ‘wefie’ with Ukamaka, Dami autographed Clinical Blues for
me; I held a short discourse with Mazi. One thing about these people
is their lack of airs. They are so humble and helpful. I think of
Dami. Thank you. I thank all of them.

VIII
After everything, did we not sit down and talk? Did we not discuss
literature; our interests? Uzoma, Gbolahan, Basit and I. We shared
files, movies in the fore-room, talked about our work, of continuing
the Writivism ’15 spirit. Talked about Chimee, Olisa—Basit wants to
meet him. I said to Basit, You are so exuberant. Suddenly, we all
laughed. We started talking of how we saw each other at the Workshop.
Evening was descending, we would go. Downstairs, Uzoma and Gbolahan
climbed a bus to Ojota. I walked down Macaulay street with Basit. Then
he crossed the road. Goodbye, Chimezie. Goodbye, Basit. Buenos. We
shall meet again in the place where there is no darkness; someday,
somewhere, someplace, in this vast city of bridges.
Writivism2015.

Chimezie Chika

Chimezie Chika

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by Ugochukwu Austinoiz Nwaiwu

I’ve always avoided issues relating to Northern Nigeria in recent pasts, solely because I haven’t stepped my feet into that region before now. Personally, I hate to appraise or condemn anything from afar. So the issues of Boko Haram, large land mass, poverty, and wanton illiteracy in that clime had often received mild/no remarks from me.

But having now recently criss-crossed Kogi, some parts of FCT, and ending up in Minna, Niger state in a 10-day expedition (call it a two-some jamboree because I was in the company of a friend) and now back to base (Owerri), I think I have garnered a lot of first hand information and experiences about the region (as my visit was basically a social one), few of which I want to delve into.

On a passive note, I’ve never seen states so blessed with massive land mass as Kogi and Niger States, and I believe such reflects the collective nature of all the 19 States there. Truly, if we southerners have such, the “me-and-my neighbour(s) wars” that have being gracing our nucleated settlement patterns here, wouldn’t have been in existence at all.

That’s on a light note anyway, the main issue at hand is that, I met for the first time in my entire life, young men and women who cannot hear or speak PIDGIN ENGLISH. I really went through hell communication-wise with keke drivers, airtime vendors, food vendors, and virtually all the commuters I came in contact with. Neither could I copy what they were “aggressively vomiting” as their Hausa words nor were they grasping my Pidgin (even when I chose to “bury” my English for the time being).
This scenario heralded more questions in my mind than answerable. Outstanding amongst them were: -Is there any 7yr-old southerner that doesn’t eat pidgin like bread and butter, what’s wrong with people here?
-Ain’t there schools here? (of course, I saw kids in schools). So why ain’t they capable of teaching these kids Pidgin, if teaching English is a Kilimanjaro for teachers there to climb?
-Why can’t the few who can speak pidgin circulate what they know?

To make matters worse, an Ecobank staff (a young guy in his early 30s for that matter) whom I did transactions with, gave me the real life shocker, when he struggled all day to speak in mere Pidgin to me, as he was so carried away with his native language, while I was sweating to voice out my English-cum-Pidgin words to him. The only thing I could copy from the dude was YES to all I said. The Communication was practically zero…Guys, that was pretty disgusting.

This draws my attention to the issue of Illiteracy in the North. Unlike in the South, where state governments not only ensured free education up to SSCE level, but also set up task forces to ensure that kids are taken off the street and “forced” to be in school, the scenario in Niger and Kogi are different entirely. Yes they also enjoy scholarship/free education over there up to SSCE, but the kids under school age ain’t persuaded/forced off the streets to school.
It is a case of 2 out of every 10 going to school. The other 8 merely graduate from street begging to violent Almajiris with time…and you
know their end product.

It really baffles my imagination to hear people say that poverty is supreme in the North. Poverty didn’t leave the South and travel North-wise. Nigerians are indeed poor, but when a particular section of the country does struggle to put food on their table, without aid from government, it is now far far pathetic.

I suspect that the quest for the control of central power in Nigeria, has over time, made an average Northerner a slut. For them, anything government didn’t/haven’t put in place for them isn’t worth having (since government is theirs). This is in sharp contrast to the people of South Eastern Nigeria. A people that barely rely on the central government for basic infrastructures. The Ibos have over time, known that federal presence and power control are skewed against them by successive administrations…a payback package to us for daring to severe ties with Nigeria via the Biafran war of 1967-1970. So they have being carrying their developmental crosses wisely.

Without being told, poverty is still in top gear in the East and elsewhere in Nigeria, but for the North and their fortunate elites to blame federal government squarely for their “mess” is not only laughable, but also shows their rather bizarre and lukewarm attitude towards working to heal their wounds.

Ordinarily, if I were to be an elite Northerner, perhaps living in FCT, heating up the polity on daily basis wouldn’t do me any good. Clamouring to rule Nigeria in 2015 or heads will roll is a left-sided lust.
Rising up to tackle their illiteracy and poverty challenges would rather be a worthy fight now.

Seriously “the medieval” state of things I witnessed in Kogi and Niger states in these past 10days, doesn’t represent a 21st century Nigeria (not at least a 21 century South Nigeria)

To Be Continued…

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Photo by Okoye Chukwudi Charles

Photo by Okoye Chukwudi Charles

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

I don’t want to be just another writer
With high sentence and upright pose
A man prodding over parables and poems
Blending facts with fiction
Another lover making love with the pen
In the whorehouse of literature.
I don’t want to be just another face in the crowd
Another fish in the sea, swimming with the rest
Navigating the same current like many
Have done long before me.
I don’t want to be just a name on a book
Another voice in the wilderness,
Another prophet, a forerunner
Preaching the gambit; a preparatory message
Before heedless ears of a world
That will very much get along without me
I would rather be the promised messiah,
The anointed one whose death was long foretold
The words imprisoned in every book,
The story that leaps up from every page
That hungry african child frolicking with the sand
That dictator on the iron throne,
Supervising the killing of my people
Or the arabian maiden singing in the field
I would rather be the prince, and easy fool
The negro that speaks of the river
When mississippi turned golden in the sun
Flowing backward in time, into the garden of Eden
Where once stood Adam, That cursed man
Sucking on Eve’s temptress breast,
And biting the apple full from her hands.
I would rather be a soldier, a rebel, an activist
On the streets marching for the freedom of my kin
An unsung hero, an unknown patriot
A war criminal, the victim
That condemned man languishing in the dungeon of despair,
A lonely widow, a poor man, a beggar.
For what am I, as a writer
If not the very subject of my writing?

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

The winner of Lyriversity’s First Essay Competition is Mr Adebaye Caleb

Biography of Adeboye Caleb
Adebayo Caleb was born in Portharcourt and hails from Oyo State. He writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. He is a student of law at Obafemi Awolowo University, where he heads a team of writers known as the Creative Writers’ Niche.
Congrats to Mr Adeboye Caleb

The second prize goes Mr Nwachi Henry

Honourable Mention includes
Danga Jamiu Yusuf
Adeleye Kunle
Daniels Adeoye
Okoye Ogochukwu

We also use this medium to apologise to all our followers and particularly to all that contributed to the Essay Competition. We are really sorry for the delay which was inevitable though.

There is also no third prize because all he remaining works submitted fall very far from our high standard, and we are imploring our future contributors to please make sure their works are of a high quality and deals fully with the topic given before submission.

Liberty of Creativity

Regards
Okoye Chukwudi Charles
Deputy-Vice Chancellor, Lyriversity

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

I. Preclude
II. Song of Nightingale
III. The Doubt
IV. The Meeting
V. The Arguments
VI. Life’s Lessons
VII. A King Named Solomon
VIII. On Life and Death
IX. Men of Arabia
X. Wisdom of Alexandria
XI. The Noble Saladin
XII. Melchizedek
XIII. The Temptation
XIV. The Baptism
XV. Parting Ways
XVI. The Meeting II

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Lyriversity

Posted: June 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is a Creativity University that encompasses all genres of music, art, fashion, photography, painting, Literature etc.

Lyriversity is more than a name, it is a brand. Lyriversity is much more than a group, it is a family. it is much more than a gathering of great minds, it is an institution.

We here at Lyriversity are committed to the arts, the learning, the nurturing of raw talents into world class professionals.

Lyriversity is divided into schools, what some Universities will call Faculties.

*School of Literary Writing (Articles, Literary Reviews etc)
*School of Poetry
*School of Prose
*School of Music
*School of Visual Art (Drawings, Painting & Photography)

We are currently active in the School of Literary Writing, Poetry and Prose. soon we will activate the School of Visual Art and Music. As time goes on and this institution grows, we intend to add more schools and discipline.

Enrol in our school. Join the faculty that is best suited to your talent. Like our blog and register your courses (your writings, music tracks, and videos) for the semester and graduate into a professional.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity