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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Song Of Abandonment





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I was blind and you were my seeing-eye dog, but you wandered off when you saw a juicy bone. I was sugar in your tea but you were hot water, crumbling and melting me. We were amateur actors, rehearsing backstage, but when the curtains opened, another took my place. You were a building and I, the scaffolding, but I had to be done away with when the building was completed. 

I was seated in a quiet corner of the restaurant that warm afternoon when you walked in with your pregnant fiancĂ©e, your hand on her waist. You pulled out the chair for her and watched her settle into it. There seemed to be a celebration: a birthday, an anniversary? I could not decipher. A cake was brought, with a lone candle flickering on it. You called on the waiters and they were all smiles as they whispered,  Congratulations.

I sat there in that corner and thought of all the times I made excuses for your crassness, for your forgetfulness. I told my friends that those who suffered abandonment early in their lives were not expected to work up the proper spirits of love and affection. For when you were born, your mother laid  you in her arms, wet and wrinkled by labour.  Death hovered at her bedside, bidding her to come with him. She chose him over you.

So how were you expected to remember dates, to speak softly, to show tenderness? I understood your need to constantly drape your affections in purdah; I understood your ineptitude at emotions. When I got high on my friends suggestions and complained to you, you said this was all you had to offer, take it or leave it. I chose the former. I said, I would rather live with you in want than in plenty without you. I would rather love you with all the blandness that comes with it, isn’t the world choking in its laughter?

But what I really wanted was this: the dough of love, kneaded with care and thoughtfulness, baked in the fires of eros. I wanted the icing of tranquillity, sprinkled with the dust of laughter. I did not press you for it because I felt you would look at me dazed and ask me if you were a baker. You would remind me that love was no pastry shop.

 But here you are. The one I thought was too weak to put up a fight for me, look at you starting a riot for another; you, even are a rabble-rouser, talking others into your  cause. Here you are, rubbing a pregnant girl’s cheeks, blowing out a candle with her, celebrating an anniversary, remembering a date.







Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I got published in Thought Catalogue!!!

‎I am excited to have my piece published in Thought Catalogue. Here's the link:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/ucheoma-onwutuebe/2015/02/something-good-will-happen-to-you-today/

My Piece In BellaNaija

‎Click on this link to read my piece in BellaNaija:

‎http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/02/13/ucheoma-onwutuebe-the-rose-that-grew-from-the-concrete/

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Men As Shoes


 Two women had this conversation. They were looking at someone's display picture on BBM.

"Where do these sharp girls find all these polished men?" One asked. "I need a formula"

"Do you know I've never dated anyone sophisticated?" asked the other . "I keep finding diamonds in the rough."

"Diamonds keh? Please let me hear word. What you've been finding are broken pieces of glass you mistook for precious stones"

" Obi was OK nah...."

"He was not polished at all...."

"Zach was nice...."

"The Aboki did not shine him hard enough."

"Imo was still evolving, if only I gave him a chance"

"My friend, don't even go there. Those smelly shoes that never saw sunlight."

"What of Tobe?"

"Well...."

"He was an Italian shoe, straight from the carton, never been worn."

Her friend nodded in agreement. "Strong Italian leather." 

"But...but he didn't let me wear him."

Friday, February 13, 2015

Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Love Them By Guest Blogger, Marcus Madueke




The rumour mill has been spinning vigorously for some time now. Since the postponement of the election, which falls within the ambit of the law, the mill has gone on an overdrive spewing the most outlandish rumours, propaganda, conspiracy theories and outright lies.

One of the favoured slogans adopted by pretend intellectuals and opposition-employed social media pundits is "Anything but Jonathan". From what I've seen in the past days that may soon change to "Nigeria can burn as long as APC wins."
True, this has been perhaps the most toxic campaign in the history of the country. The fault lines that separate us are more pronounced than ever. The prognosis of the election and after is bleak and the threat of violence and bloodshed hangs over us like a rickety ceiling fan. But it seems this does not worry the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In fact, they are obviously relishing in the tense atmosphere that pervades the country and, it seems, are deliberately doing whatever it takes to add petrol to the burning embers. After all, if it all comes crashing down the buck stops with the president and he would naturally be blamed.

All over the world, politicians use all kind of strategies to accumulate support but a line is often drawn if their strategies become too toxic and threaten to cause mayhem. The country is dangling on the edge of a destructive cliff and the leadership of the APC doesn't give a hoot. All that matters to them is votes.

"Oh, let's act like a maltreated child and people would look upon us with pity and vote for us. No. That's not enough. Let's say the president is a bully and his hounding us with the army for opposing him and he would lose the support of moderates who will swing over to our side."
"Meanwhile, the country can go up in flames while we are at it. But we just want to win."

And they have a pattern spreading this pollution. First, they get their hired social media activists to make it trend. Soon lazy journalists from opposition leaning newspapers and website will make it their leading news without fact checking. Later television and radio call-in shows will invite "analysts" to come yap about it. Meanwhile, the tension in the country is rising like the temperature of a man with acute malaria.
Last week they exhumed the corpse of the unsubstantiated plan by the President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo to set up an interim government that would ultimately hand power over to the military.  But they conveniently dropped the name of Obasanjo after it became clear that he wasn't even supporting President Jonathan. 

Knowing the country's history with interim government, this is indeed a devious propaganda by the APC to whip up unnecessary sympathy. Their ultimate goal here is to cast Jonathan in the same mould as the infamous ex-dictator, Ibrahim Babangida. I think the APC should be condemned for trying to recreate one of the darkest events in Nigeria's history.

All of this, while we were still trying to douse the tension created by that malicious rumour Senator Babafemi Ojodu, a former journalist, who apparently woke up from a terrible nightmare and declared that president Jonathan is planning to extend his tenure for another two years!

"If anybody thinks there is going to be elections on March 28, the person is deceiving himself.  All the people that are close to me, especially my friends, I told them a year ago that there would not be election and that they are just deceiving us," he told members of the Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG).

"Some of us who are perceptive have seen this in the body language of our colleagues; the body language of the Senate President himself, David Mark. When we came back from the summer recess last year, he said that for him, it's not time for election.  We should not be thinking of elections now, rather we should be thinking of fighting Boko Haram. The moment we took him up on that, he reversed himself," he added.

How can Senator Ojodu make such a grave allegation based on his perception of somebody's body language? In fact, he should have gone ahead to declare that he now possesses clairvoyant powers that enable him read not only body languages but minds as well. At this critical stage, respected members of the society like Senator Ojodu, who seem to have forgotten the basic ethics of his journalism training, cannot be making incendiary comments on mere conjecture.  
As if we have not had enough of prominent politicians behaving badly, this week, leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, released a statement claiming soldiers were laying siege on his residence. Tinubu did not provide any proof. No pictures. No video. Nothing. Newspapers like the Punch, and the Nation made it their headlines without even trying to send a report there to verify.

The army has come out to deny it and challenge him to provide evidence. One reporter who rushed to the scene couldn't find soldiers there. From the pictures he took one could only see a police van guarding the house.

Tinubu didn't claim the army broke into his house. He could have stayed in one of his room and taken pictures of the soldiers outside. No, he didn't. But he was quick to draft an alarmist press statement that threatened to throw the country in turmoil.
My candid advice to all is to stay calm let the rule of law take its course and allow the election to hold and let Nigerians decide who they want as leaders. Propaganda don't put people in power, votes do.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Why I Will Re-Elect President Jonathan



After a considerable amount of time spent on deep reflection as touching the upcoming elections, I am like a woman pressed for choice in the marketplace.  I have weighed my options in two hands, and I have made me decision.

Beneath the bickering and accusations of inaction of President Goodluck's administration, there has been considerable improvement from 2011 till date. 

Our airports are wearing better looks. 22 federal-owned airports across the country are being remodelled after decades of neglect. As I write, five modern international passenger terminals are being constructed simultaneously in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt. 

Last year, I was enlisted for my NYSC to serve in the north-central part of Nigeria and there, I met a world brimming in abundance of food supply. I saw agriculture in full bloom and the farmers attested to it that they had never had it so good in any past administration. 

The secret of this upgrade in farming? After years of corruption in fertiliser and seed distribution, strict structures were put in place to give farmers direct access to these materials. In 2013, as a result of Agricultural Transformation Programme, there has been an increase of 1.1 million metric tonnes of rice production in Northern States. We are well on our way to being self-sufficient in rice production. The dry season production through irrigation which kick-started in 10 Northern states has been extremely successful, leading to an output of 1.07 million metric tonnes of rice. Under the Youth Employment in Agriculture Programme, young people have profitably gone into commercial agriculture thereby elevating youth employment.

There has been an increase in non-oil exportation- plastic and rubber, vegetable products, prepared foodstuffs and breakages are yielding commendable  revenue. Importations of textiles and paper-making materials have dropped significantly. 

The subsidy programme of petroleum products has been administered at reduced cost and we have had a steady supply of petroleum products. Gas flaring has reduced from 24% to 18% between 2011 and 2012 as a result of the encouragement of accelerated gas development. And also, the diligent implementation of the amnesty program in Niger Delta has helped boost the production of oil from 700,000bpd to 2,500,000 bpd.
 
12 new universities were erected. Seeing the dangers of the uneducated Almajiris and how they become easy targets to be used by terror perpetrators, 125 day and boarding schools are being constructed to educate these vulnerable members of the society. In 13 states, special girl schools are being constructed under the Girl-Child Education Scheme. As noted, literacy rate of Nigerians has grown from 54% to 62%. 

What on earth was more defunct than the Nigerian Railways system? Rail lines abandoned 15 years ago have undergone modernisation and are still undergoing rehabilitation. Container cargo freight from Apapa Port complex has commenced. General Electric has supplied 25 brand new locomotives and over 200 coaches and wagons. There's more – 

I would re-elect Jonathan for championing the YOUWIN Initiative designed to empower young Nigerians with GRANTS, not loans.

In GEJ's tenure, I can attest to a vibrant and vigorous private sector; companies and ideas are springing up on every side unhindered. The most credible and fairest election Nigeria ever witnessed since 1999 was conducted in his time.  

Nobody, no nation ever woke up flawless. Nigeria is work in progress and if a man has his hands on the plough, I will not be too quick to ask him to get off when he has made considerable progress and is willing to do more. A man is not clueless just because he is gentle and unassuming.

I have weighed my options carefully and thoughtfully and I shall let him finish the race.