Posts Tagged ‘Tim Nwaobilo’

by Tim Nwaobilo

I woke up, for the 2nd time that day, one cold Saturday afternoon feeling lazy. It’s those kind of Saturdays that you don’t feel like doing anything. Well, maybe not like doing anything exactly, but you don’t feel like doing anything that will stress you or make you leave your bed. Actually, I had hardly left my bed all morning. The cold was a bit numbing here. The cold always started from 7:00 pm on an average day and lasted till around 12:00pm the next day. That’s the Nigerian harmattan season. My uncle who I chatted with by 9:00 am that morning while still lying on my bed informed me that it was just 23^C there in “The State of Osun”, that was the way the APC governor of “State of Osun” instructed everyone to called it; State of Osun, and not “Osun state”. Just like he preferred his name being prefixed with “Ogbeni” instead of just “Gomino Rauf Aregbesola”. Ogbeni means “Mr” in yoruba language. One could be jailed for failing to properly address His Excellency.

Why this was the first thought to cross my mind immediately after waking up, I still wonder. Ok…honestly it must have been the 2nd or 3rd thing that crossed my mind post-sleep, after the Football Manager 14 game I was playing on my smart phone before I dozed off; and definitely after the fact that I had possessed intentions to go and pray to my God somewhere quiet earlier in the day. Maybe it was because everywhere I looked all I saw was Jonathan and Buhari posters and billboards, telling me why I should vote for Jonathan or why I should vote for Buhari, Or that everywhere I listened, all that people were discussing was how evil Buhari used to be, or how Jonathan could have been a “nicer” president, or how Buhari was the better of the two evils or how Jonathan …and so on and so forth (you see what I mean already?) I woke up thinking WHERE IS THE GEJA I USED TO HEAR ABOUT?

You must be wondering what GEJA means and what it has to do with anything. In 2011, during the Presidential campaigns in Nigeria, some people came up with the acronym GEJA—Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Azikiwe. Adding Azikiwe to Goodluck Jonathan’s name was to sort of idolise him, and to portray him with this saviour-like personae that was normally attributed to the Great Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first president. I do not know if they realized that reconstructing GEJA could also give JEGA. Professor Attahiru Jega was the chairman of the INEC, the electoral body. If GEJA=JEGA, I think the deeper interpretation is best left to your imagination.

So, where is the GEJA I used to hear about? After years of military rule, 8 years of a controversially democratic Obasanjo aka OBJ rule, and 4 years of an OBJ proxy-rule, Nigerians sought for some deliverance, someone who would wipe away their tears. They wanted change. They craved for a leader who would feel their shoe-pinch and live on their heart-beat. It’s no wonder then that the “shoeless” Jonathan fitted this mental picture and Nigerians were all too willing to fit him into the physical frame. The people I used to hear then promoting this, kept preaching at every available opportunity how poor he had been in his early life and how much of a commoner like us he was. If he didn’t have shoes in his childhood days, we surely could give him a chance to rule us, right? I don’t think many people asked how many pairs of shoes he now had.

Jonathan was from a much maligned tribe, so he might have been the voice to raise up a people that had potentials for greatness, but had remained buried. It’s apparent that in the past 4 years (make that 5), Jonathan has been the president of not-the-Ijaws but of Nigeria. After all, wasn’t that what he was elected to be? Southern Nigerians who were feeding on the fantasies of a president who would turn the South-South into a heaven must be chewing their fingers (or whatever is left of it) in regret and disappointment.

Where is the GEJA I used to hear about? Yes, the GEJA I used to “hear” about. I repeat for emphasis: HEAR about. What sweet tales did we not hear! Nigeria would become America if you waited for a meagre 4 years, we can wait right? After all, we have Patience as our first name…scratch that…first lady. We were told that Power supply would be so stable that it would be visible and tangible. GEJA, where are you? They said corruption was devilish and since we were electing an angel, corruption would naturally (I reckon supernaturally is more appropriate) die off. If you are a Nigerian or based in Nigeria, I suppose you know where we are on that. It is now obvious we were fed fat French-baked pies in the skies…hmmm, yummy! The name Boko Haram is now synonymous with Jonathan’s incompetency and lack of quality leadership. That is one of the most shameful blemishes of the Jonathan presidency.

I am not disappointed. No, I am not. I am not disappointed in GEJA. This is because I didn’t expect anything better from him, other than what OBJ or the OBJ-proxy had previously offered. I, for one, was of the notion that Jonathan was simply an appendage of the OBJ dynasty, and therefore of the conclusion that he wouldn’t offer more than OBJ had stuffed down our polluted throats for some years, except he was offering more in the negative order, which he actually seems to have contrived to achieve, arguably. If puppets were held on strings, Jonathan was probably held on bridge draw-strings, the kind used on the River Thames. It’s interesting to note however that he seems to have outgrown his master’s ropes and has imbibed a similar trait from him—stubbornness. I ensured I didn’t raise my expectations of his government so that in the case he couldn’t fully rise to the challenge, I wouldn’t be chewing my nails, like most of my compatriots are doing now.

I was on the election queue that day in April, 2011 when some people awaiting their turn to vote produced a newspaper. The paper was a complete derision of Jonathan’s main opponent. It had many people confused that day. I could see and hear from conversations that many people who hadn’t given Jonathan a thought previously were now doing so. If his main opponent was such a devil as seen in that particular paper, then Jonathan might as well be the lesser of two devils. In fact, some well enlightened members of my family who were with me that day advised me not to waste my vote by not voting for Jonathan. I was not moved, as I am up till now. Jonathan ended up winning that election and Nigerians have been reaping the dividends, haven’t we? However good or badly his government has performed is a matter for critical discourse and dissection, but the fact that Nigerians are now seeking for another change, the kind of change which they thought the Jonathan era was to introduce in 2011, says a whole lot about the present administration. If indeed Nigerians have found their saviour, would there be all the on-going tremor and anxiety? Wouldn’t the majority of Nigerians be clamouring for a continuity? Would they be willing to consider another “change” so soon? I doubt that.

GEJA no longer inspires the downtrodden like he used to do. GEJA no longer means god. GEJA is after all a human, not an angel. The GEJA camp no longer adds the ‘A’ to his acronym lest they be lynched in the burnt and deserted streets of Chibok! Where is the GEJA I used to hear about?

I calmly closed my laptop which I had been working with while lying on the bed, got up and prepared to step out to watch an English Premier League match with my guys. I think Chelsea was playing. I would rather give my support to and raise my expectations of Chelsea (like winning the UEFA Champions League this season) than expect anything good to come out of Nazareth-Otuoke. At least Chelsea is on top of the League.

Tim Nwaobilo is a Mechanical Engineer, writer, poet and programmer. He writes from Port Harcourt.

Liberty of Creativity

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by Tim Nwaobilo

As conformed to normality as poems go, the first line of every great poem must hold its reader captive suddenly, for however how short a moment. It must catch the reader unawares, sweep him off his feet, without a doubt, no matter the familiarity of the poet and his writings to the reader. Charles’ piece is not a disappointment in this regard.

“The awakening of the sun at dawn” Line I

Personification here is apt where the sun is set as a living being, a human. I find the choice of “awakening” and not “waking” or some other synonym as something sacred, something lofty, and at worst significant. The “awakening” possesses a strong detail to duty. Probably the sun’s revival holds the key for some deeper mystery to be revealed, some inner workings unseen to be materialised. The sun here is given enormous power as is seen within the next lines of the poem.
The sun is clearly no respecter of person or creed and serves both the “base” and best just as its “awakening” causes the stream of a man’s mind to bubble with freshness—
“…calls to my mind” Line IV
—and then a whole new world is opened up to us, a world due for exploration and adventure.

One striking theme is the “ordinarily-ness” of the events and yet filled with so much sarcasm.

“…indifferent cock crowing…” Line VII
“…pilgrims calling to a form-less being” Line VIII

These events and those that follow are deceiving to the un-discerning and may most likely be passed by when traversing the length and breadth of this poem, except for maybe a quick personality check by the reader to see if he can picture himself within the events. The fact that they look ordinary serves as a red light: HIDDEN MEANING! How virtually the totality of mankind is captured in these circumstances is itself quite amazing.

A raging feeling offered throughout this poem is that of mystery. Firstly seen in—
“..calls to my mind the doubts” Line IV

The succeeding lines to Line IV tend to serve as an explanation to it, and something looks awkward, attesting to my idea of mystery—
“…I hear clearly” Line VI etc.
There is an assurance of the clear hearing and good sight, but the un-assurance of unseen things “beyond this world” poses a question—why the mystery if so much is clear? I guess we’ll never know. This feeling is also expressed when the poet talks of the world in Line V. Beyond this world is the mysterious, something he might be perceived as dissociated from. In Line XXI he “steps into the world”, now associating with the world, probably for want of no other option, a necessity, a compulsory action. Little wonder his fears and ironically faith require some masking! And yet in Line XXX, he is “in the world but not part of the world”. The unnerving spike of uncertainty added to the pre-existing mystery only serves to put the reader’s mind at edge.

Prior to Line XXI the writer is merely an onlooker in the happenings around and beyond, but now offers the reader the chance to view him within the realms of the poem—

“…and step into the world” Line XXI.

This is bold, courageous, daring; allowing himself to be evaluated within the confines he has earlier mentioned. He however permits himself be humoured and I find it amazingly comical—

“My heart in my hand, my hand on my head” Line XXIV.

Lines XXVII and XXVIII seem to portray the writer as a sort of zombie, a clock-work mechanism, winded by some stronger force or will, bidding him toil a journey devoid of his intellectual or intuitive input—

”Journeying equal miles in equal breathe”
“Equal grass in equal grace, drifting still”
Lines XXVII-XXVIII

I say this because this strange equality in affairs may antagonise the “ever-elusive dream of …equality” offered in Lines XI and XII. Life and its courts are deliberately positioned as unequal and unstable by the writer, thus the sudden equality of steps seems unnatural and unreal within the frames of the ”world”. If inequality could be festered by will or non-will, this new-found equality in life actions must be non-will, a mightier will surely. Or probably he is “In the world but not a part of the world”. If this zombiesque status was previously in doubt, Line XXIX does justice to such doubts—

“A log in the ocean, adrift at sea”. –Line XXIX

Also—

“I cannot will myself to run freely
Nor break from travel, I’m bound to this path”
Line XXXVIII-XXXIX

Lines XXXI to LXVII contain more of the workings of life and a dark blanket of gloom, sadness, tragedy and ill-fortune hangs over that portion of the piece. An almost tangible gloom that rotates and revolves in an unending circle.

One thing is certain, amidst all the prevailing uncertainty: the writer searches for answers, he needs answers. Answers to questions that lead to more questions as evidenced in these camouflage lines—

“Ploughing the bellies of earth for answers
Answers which lead unto more questions still”
–Line XXXVI-XXXVII

—questions borne out of a sense of reason. It’s unfortunate how these questions seem not to have found their right answer. When the writer offers—

“Perhaps there is much more beyond this life” –Line LXXVIII

—he is not just trying to be funny in a poetic manner, he is standing right at the root of a tree man tries to reach the summit of, at one point or the other. Knowledge is akin to life, and no knowledge of what lies “beyond this life” leaves the poet resigned to eventuality. He decides not to bother about the aftermath of life and its journey and is content with striving for the bread for today. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself, not in the least, nor for his present achievements. In the words of English-man D.H. Lawrence: “I have never seen a wild thing feel sorry for itself. A little bird will fall dead, frozen from a bough, without having ever felt sorry for itself”.

This poem escapes my technical criticism—unusual as it may seem—because it doesn’t deserve it. Much kudos must be given to Charles for a poem this long, tasking his pen give full expression to his thoughts. If no-one noticed, each line of this poem consists of 10 syllables, a feat not easily juxtaposed with intelligent writing.

TO READ THE FULL POEM CLICK HERE
On The Meandering Pathways of Life

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

by Tim Nwaobilo

Hatched by one
Scratched by two
Beak to beak, off food came
To chick, one was good, two was same

Mother taught to scratch
From father learned to cuckoo!
What chick could see was love he felt
Whether from mom and dad, one or two.

Back in primary school, I was taught, just as many others that the smallest unit of the society was the family. And that a family was of two types: nuclear and extended; where the extended was a combination of the nuclear family and outside relatives. It was pounded in that a father, mother and children made up the nuclear family, and that this simplest form of society was the general framework and basis of society at large. This has been the norm for a long period of time until most recently an unusual trend is fast setting as the new reality. And this is single parenting.
Single parenting is a fact of present day Nigeria and the world at large that needs no presentation. Single parents could be either a mother or a father, but it’s generally a case where one of the two has the sole responsibility of catering for, loving, and being the ‘parent’ of the child.
One day I boarded a cab in the metropolitan city of Port Harcourt and this young woman, who by my estimation couldn’t be more than 24 had a child (hers, I suppose) on her laps. She also had someone whom I suspected to be her younger sister, from their conversation with her, maybe as a help. She wore no wedding band, and quickly my initial prejudices kicked into auto-drive. Why was this young lady with a child already? Wasn’t she among the waywards of society? She probably had this child out of wedlock and now has to probably cater for him alone. Who was the baby’s father? Did he accept responsibility for this child? You see, I hardly knew this woman but I had run tests on her already and placed her in the category of people were I chose. Prior to that I attended an occasion where I met a woman, looked like she was in her mid-30s, and she was a single mother. And more cases abound were single parenting was clear. It became obvious to me that single parenting is a reality that pervades the general age and cultural spectrum of society. This phenomenon is however not limited to mothers alone.
Single parenting most times is not a life of preferred choice as the following causes will indicate. Death of one parent is a leading cause of single parenting, as the living parent cannot abandon his/her child because of the absence of the other parent. With adults dying in their numbers on a daily basis, it has become inclusive that parental mortality rate is ever on the increase.
Another cause that stands out is divorce. Though divorce is generally rare historically in Nigeria, it has continued to create issues of single parenting and this is having its toll on the standard family system. Unintended pregnancies either from rape or out-of-wedlock relationships breeds single parenting, especially with the mothers. More often than not, the father is unknown, in cases of rape, and usually absconds and absolves himself of responsibility in out-of-wedlock relationships.
Hollywood has opened up the American society to scrutiny from outside where we discover that single parenting is a resounding theme in most black American films. A 2010 US census shows that 27% of American children are of single parenthoods. This figure is not too distant from the 16% population of world children currently living under single parenthood, where in the UK alone, 25% of parents are single.
Single parenting has not strictly had effects on society specially, but also on the single parents and their children. The management of the resultant toll is what may classify single parenting as being a negative or positive trend. Parents under this parenting system tend to have more stress placed on them. Physical stress resulting from the fact that they turn out to be the bread winner of the family mostly, as is the case with single mothers especially. They have a task overload as most have to keep 2 or even 3 jobs because of the extra sole responsibility of providing not just for herself (specifically, single mothers) but for children too. Some have to work full time, too. Not because they prefer to, but their circumstance gives them little or no other option. Emotional stress affects most single parents as the absence of the significant other creates a vacuum of relationship. A vacuum of someone with whom they could share their emotional incapacities with and get soothed. Children, try as they may, have not been totally successful in bridging this lacuna. Depression and a feeling of hopelessness is also a characteristic of single parenting.
Single parents also generally tend to spend less time with their children. This is clear from the fact that they have to take on extra responsibility in terms of finance and provision and this eats away the time needed to be spent with their kids. Some parents resolve to relying on child care facilities while they are at duty and do not have the luxury of time to supplement the emotional and parental nurturing needed by the tender and growing ones. Those who have taken the sacrifice of being available for their children may have had to do so at the expense of their personal pursuits, thus making loss, one way or the other, inevitable.
If single parents have been so affected by their realities, how much more their children. Juvenile delinquency is a norm commonly found in kids of single parents, especially single mothers. The absence of a father figure means that the growing girl, or boy specifically, lacks a necessary role model. Very few people can replace the importance of a father in a child’s life, especially the growing child. Most times the academics of such kids in single parenting suffer, probably due to emotional troubles from the absence of a parent, lack of supervision from the single parent or just generally from the fact that they may not receive as much love and attention from a single parent as they would from both parents together.
In single parent homes where a child has near-equal say in matters, the child may clash with teachers or outsiders who do not accord him such privilege. Aggression is also rampant among kids from single parent homes. In cases of divorce, the civil behavior among separated parents has a direct effect on how a child copes with the situation. This is especially true in younger children who do not fully understand family and what it takes to build a family culture. This can affect the way they view the world. Social isolation could be transmitted to children from parents who tend to withdraw once the period of single parenting starts. The children may not be friendly and social.
Inasmuch as the negatives of single parenting seem enormous, it is not all gloom, fortunately. Children of such have tended to mature quickly and learn responsibility earlier than kids raised by both parents; emotional and even financial responsibility. They may be more real with the life issues and generally more absorbent to shocks and disappointments. Single parents who devote time to their children may also become closer to them than they might have with their partner involved.
Single parenting is not necessarily a scourge or evil. Parents need to encourage their daughters who give birth out-of-wedlock. They could jointly cater for the child instead of allowing the single mother shoulder child-raising alone. Single fathers also have the need to be more responsible. Single parenting is preferred to divorcees jointly catering for the children because the child may feel he has to pick from either parents. This will create unnecessary emotional palaver for the child who will be torn between two opposing parents. The constant strife and contention in such relationships could even mean both parents lose the child’s attention ultimately. However full parenting still proves to be a better option to these two where all factors are favourable.
Unfortunately single parenting may have a direct relationship with poverty. For example, in the UK, 52% of single parents live below the defined poverty line and governments remain uncertain as to whether to aid single parents to reduce poverty or focus in wider issues like protecting employment. These are issues we face today.
I am of the view that single parenting is not a real family, as echoed by Snowdon Stacey in Divorce and the effect on children. But all a child needs is love and affection. A child with love, affection and guidance will have no more or less problems than a child raised by 2 parents.

Tim Nwaobilo is a young mechanical engineer with a flair for literature. He writes poems, short stories, plays, critiques and articles quite frequently. He has had his short stories and several poems aired on some local radio stations, and is a blog columnist.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

FRUITS (Poetry)

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

by Tim Nwaobilo

Old fruits cling to snarled twisted brancheons
Buds and scions eternally nascent
Beneath the shadows cast by brown rotten pods
The tree dies slowly and forges its trunk bent

We live to give you shade and cover
To be your guard against sly predators that hover
But if youth is youth forever
Over whom shall youth watch over?

So the stool breaks beneath the weight
Beneath spoiled feet that know no scars
Knees that offered no prayers
But to avert the recompense of sins performed in haste

The elders ask, “When we are gone
“Who shall split the wood
“And tear the rose off the thorn
“To give scent to this pipe and seat to the cracked stool”

From echoes of dreams fogotten
Rise a sound by teeth rotten
Teeth sunk into fruits forbidden
To prove it sour or sweetened

On tortured limbs, scurry they for shelter
Youths who cursed breast that offered
Life for death, and whipped their mothers
And for a kobo or two sold the land of their fathers

Still the flute cries with pained agony
The young now fly and have begotten wings
The elders yet see farther, sitting
The smile that hangs off their charred pipes- omen

They die slowly and will not surrender
Not for the age of the sages and blind elders
In clubs and brothels search they their saviour
Yet he hides ‘hind the lids that shield their eyes sore.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity