DON’T LET THE DEVIL USE YOU

We are each our own devil and make this world our hell.- Oscar Wilde

A lot, as usual, is going on in Nigeria right now. The president’s wife Aisha Buhari is in the middle of the Haliburton scandal to which a suspicious passport materialises showing that, indeed there are two Aisha Buharis. And the indicted Aisha Buhari is not the president’s wife. OK. A sitting governor’s personal bank account has been frozen by the EFCC. OK. The president has continued with his northern agenda by appointing a northerner as inspector general of police, bypassing seventeen more senior, mostly southern, officers. OK. Ten reps went to the US for a programme and two or three succeeded in trying to grab an ass. OK. The avengers, the herdsmen and even the technically defeated Boko Haram are still in the news. OK sir. Sigh. I can sustain daily ramblings in this blog, if I choose. Nigeria is equal to the drama. But I won’t ramble daily. I have my life to live, and my mother loves me.

I might ramble over the above incidence someday, but today I wish to look at an insignificant happening which, when looked at closely, is not so insignificant. It is, as Achebe put it, a small something which, if not treated might spoil something.

Over the last few months, as Buhari’s hardministration bites harder, there has been a rise in the decibel of voices wishing, and indeed, calling for the president’s death. “He’ll soon die,” they will say, “just be watching.”  Or, “He’s a sickly old man, he won’t last long.” Etc. Whenever I hear this I usually shake my head sardonically, or smile ruefully, or say It’s unfair to say such thing for which I sometimes get a tongue lashing or a pitiable look, coloured with proportionate arrogance.

Today, I’ve decided to write about this issue; my writing won’t make any difference, but I will have, by writing, at least, archived this opinion in the world wide web, for posterity (if any?), and for, as my blog old motto says, God and country. Should people pray for the president’s death? No. Because, well, I have few points.

1, It’s cowardly. Very. Admittedly, Buhari hasn’t faired well. In fact, he’s been effortlessly woeful. But asking for the president’s death is a shortcut, narrow-minded. Nigeria is run by an institution of legislature, the judiciary and the executive. Buhari heads the executive. One arm. There are 360 representatives and 109 senators put there to check Buhari. There are hundreds of courts as well. Now, whatever evil Buhari is committing can be addressed by the system that appointed him. Buhari can be impeached, called to order or overruled by the legislature/judiciary. Are they going to do that? Never. Can they do that? I don’t think so. Now, this is a failure of the system. The system is corrupted, hopeless and regressive. Calling for Buhari’s death is not just cowardice, it’s borne out of laziness that comes naturally to us Nigerians. Yeah, rather than pursue the constitutional channels and challenge Buhari and hold him accountable, stand up to him, we take the cheap way out and ask God to kill him.

2, It’s not just Buhari. The entire squad of this administration were picked out from somewhere in the middle of a mortar of rotten palm fruits. Look at them, Fashola the overhyped dude who, among many atrocities, spent 78 million naira on a website; Amaechi, the thug who emptied Rivers State treasury and who has vowed that Rivers people would never know peace; Audu Ogbeh, the confused minister of agriculture who wants to import Brazilian grass for cows; Lai Mohammed, well, never mind; Ngige who wants to withdraw licenses from private firms for downsizing; Fayemi, who impoverished rural Ekiti; the so-called mama Taraba who’s an outright illiterate; Dalung, the comedian; Kemi, the phonetician etc. Please, my people, how would Buhari move Nigeria forward with this pipu? Even Churchill will underperform with this troop. The argument for them might be that they are Buhari’s responsibility, what was he thinking! What were the senate thinking when they approved this embarrassing list of ministers? The blame can be shared, equitably. But the correction is not one-dimensional, killing Buhari. One solution is that Buhari could fire them, or just pray that the entire ministers die. For all we know, Buhari’s death might not be the end of Amaechi and co-rots. Osibanjo might say, Why not if not, and continue with them. And even sacking them is not a foolproof to success. They would have to be replaced, by Nigerians, by APC Nigerians. Sigh.

Pass me the hankie.

3, It’s not justifiable. Asking for Buhari’s death cannot be justified in any radar. Nothing justifies the killing of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I just paraphrased Tom Lennox, a character in the television series 24, season six when a cabal in White House plans to assassinate the US president over policy disharmony. Yeah, nothing justifies the killing of the president. Buhari, he’s the president and symbol of Nigeria sovereignty. He’s carrying the mandate of the electorates. It’s a covenant. If the people had made a mistake, it’s only justifiable that they suffer for it. If God comes and kills Buhari just one year after the error of electing him then we won’t learn our lesson. We’ll take our power to vote for granted, knowing that we can always ask God to kill whoever we sentimentally or foolishly voted for. Things aren’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t be that easy. God is nobody’s boy boy.

People sometimes point at Abacha to justify asking for Buhari’s head. But they are not the same thing, or are you that dumb? Buhari has the senate, the House of Representatives, a free press, the courts, “imminent” Nigerians, the opposition, labour, civil society groups, churches etc to hold Buhari accountable. Abacha didn’t, and ensured this by killing them off. Buhari is misruling Nigeria, Abacha was destroying Nigeria. If all the institutions and organizations set up to check Buhari will not do their job, then they are cowards, evil and dangerous. It is not because Buhari is an Abacha. And if you insist on equating Buhari with Abacha, remember that Abacha was there for five years. So your prayer is four years premature.

4, Buhari might turn out to be the messiah we need. I doubt it, but it might happen. If the dry bones in Ezekiel chapter 37 can rise, why not the dry bones from Daura?

5, It Won’t Happen. Praying for someone’s death is the easiest thing on earth, at least for unimaginative fellows. How many times have people wished for their supervisor, boss, rival, husband, mother-in-law, landlord, police officer, neighbour etc’s death? How many times? Every single second of the day! How many have ended up dying? Not a ton. For all you know, someone, somewhere, right now, is praying for you to fall down and die. Yes. Will that kill you? I don’t know (this is a blog, not a prophetic prayer house, don’t ask me). My point is, this life is full of so many bullshit. And the angel of death cannot be led by the leash. Or there will be no one left on earth before the year 2020.

Take Lai Mohammed for instance. With his peculiar character people must have been wishing him death since 1759, but look at him. He’s been waxing strong, in body, in health and propaganda. Save your breath.

6, It’s an amoral, immoral and malicious thing to do. Culturally, religiously, psychologically, psychiatrically, wishing people death is reserved to the lowest rungs of negativity. This life is an enigma, and nothing is more puzzling like death. People die everyday, including the good and the bad. It’s not a judgement of who is worse, and its unpredictability is even with a touch of danger. Because when you point a finger at one, asking God to assassinate him, four fingers are pointed against you.

Finally, It’s dangerous. People who criticise Buhari are jailed, ask Femi Kayode and Olisa Metuh; people who disobey the president are persecuted, ask Saraki and Ekweremadu; people who challenge Buhari are killed, ask Biafra agitators and Shiite Islamic sect. If Buhari can fuck up (pardon my Spanish) “imminent” Nigerians like the above, including the third in command, what do you think he would do to you, a common mosquito like you, singing murder in his ear–his brand new ear! Bro, mind yourself. Don’t let the devil use you!

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BEDROOM SLIPPERS (PART TWO)

Here’s the concluding part of Bedroom Slippers. Read part one here.

We didn’t have honeymoon. We had planned to honeymoon in South Africa but John wanted to ‘tie one or two things down’ in his business before we left.
He continued to tie one or two mysterious things down and kept postponing it until we no longer talked about the honeymoon. Actually, we talked about very little. Because of the traffic between our apartment and his shop, John woke up by five and left for shop before six. He never bothered with breakfast. He didn’t come home for lunch. He returned for dinner but ate so little, painfully little. Few weeks into our wedding, he stopped eating completely. I confronted him.

‘I am not hungry,’ he said.

‘I am tired of cooking food that nobody eats,’ I said. He said nothing. ‘I am not going to cook in this house again,’ I shouted. He didn’t even look at me. He was busy on the television. I went and put the damned thing off.

‘What is the meaning of this?’ he said.

‘You know what it means! I am tired of been treated like trash in this house…’

John stood up and walked into the bedroom. I followed him, shouting. He laid down on the bed, I snapped out the pillow and threw it at the wall. I wanted to quarrel, let him beat me if he wished. But
John didn’t think I was qualified to quarrel with, nor worthy of a
beating. When I got tired of
screaming I moved my things into the guestroom; I wept my eyes out, that night. I continued to cook for him.

I didn’t know the nature of the trade John did—he dealt in the wholesaling of electronics, this was all I knew. I knew he was involved in a countless other businesses. I heard him making calls every time, even in the dead of the night, shouting that sixteen televisions should be supplied to Abuja, nine DVDs for Nkechi had been delayed, Mekus hadn’t paid for the decoders, and a hundred other references that made little sense to me.

‘How is business today?’ I would ask. ‘Fine,’ he would reply. Nothing more.

One day, John was arrested by the police and locked up. It was Nnamdi, his closest friend who told me about it and took me
to see him. I asked him what
offence John had committed but he wouldn’t tell me. ‘Just chill,’ he said, ‘we will get him out.’

When John finally came out after four days, he wouldn’t discuss his police problem with me. He slept most of the time and only came out for his food. After a few days he was ready to resume business. I blocked his way. ‘I want to talk to you.’

‘I am late for shop…’

‘Shop can wait.’

‘What is it?’

‘I am your wife for God’s sake and I don’t know a thing about your business; I have been to your shop just once and I don’t even know your warehouses, your assets, your employees, your associates, nothing. I
don’t…’ I choked. John was looking at me like you would look at a child who suddenly appeared on the highway on oversized Road Safety vest, directing traffic.

‘Why do you want to know everything about my business?’

‘Because I am your wife!’

‘And so what?’

It was like a stab on my belly. I shut my eyes. But I wouldn’t give in to despair yet. I opened my eyes. John was already at the door. ‘What if anything happens to you?’

‘If that is your prayer it will not work in Jesus name.’ He was gone. I decided to confide in someone. We lived in a flat in a big estate occupied mostly by young couples like us. I chose a housewife who lived three apartments from ours. She was in her early thirties and kind-looking, my church member, also.

‘I am having problems at home,’ I said.

‘Your husband?’

I nodded, tears streaming down.

‘Does he beat you?’ No.

‘Does he fail to provide money for housekeep?’ No.

‘Does he keep late nights?’ No.

‘Does he drink?’ No.

‘Does he fool around with women?’ I don’t know.

The woman sighed. ‘What is the problem with you?’

I left the house.

Eight months into our marriage I was no longer trying to love my husband, I was fighting not to hate him. We were total
strangers now, making puny
attempts at polite tolerance. I was tired of staying at home, living boring days without end, waiting for a husband that wouldn’t come back to me; I was tired of my company, I needed to do something to divert my mind from this monotonous circle before I went crazy. I have a diploma in accounting and I applied to a tobacco company across the
road. They invited me for an
interview but John wouldn’t let me go. ‘I am capable of feeding us. If you need anything ask me.’

‘I just need to be busy,’ I said.

‘Busy doing what?’ I had no answer for that, I shelved my diploma.

Two days later I entered our bedroom and overheard John in the bathroom talking over the phone. ‘Yes,’ he was saying,
‘you are right; if she becomes pregnant it will keep her busy.’

Now, I was sure, I hated John.

Now he came to me in the guestroom every night. I would just lie there with parted legs and let him do his press-ups. But it was eating me up, the whole sex stuff. That was my duty but that wasn’t my only duty; I had no say in this house, except to be available for sexual intercourse which I had no control over. So last night he came to me and I told him to go to hell. He tried to force me and we had our first fight. My strength amazed me. Perhaps it was anger that gave me such brutal energy, I don’t know. But I gave John as much as I received. I tore his singlet and designed his face with my nails. I had a swollen eye and red cheeks but I was victorious, he didn’t use me. I was asserting my independence with violence.

This afternoon, our pastor and his wife came to see us. I was surprised to see them; John hardly attended church, it
beats me how he could convince the number one family of our church to come in
such short notice. I tried to be
in my best behaviour. I liked the pastor who seemed an open-minded person; I also liked his pretty wife whose smile broke hostile fences. I served them
malt. In no time John came back and the meeting began.

They scolded John for beating me. I was his rib, a part of him
and how would he fight himself? Women would definitely do annoying
things but he as the man, the
head of the family must be patient, tolerate all idiosyncrasies. He mustn’t allow his anger rule over
his senses.

They turned to me. My husband
wasn’t a bad man, he was better than most husbands they know. He played his role well; he never let me lack—many women would do a lot to have John as husband. They told me about submission as being the divine key to a woman winning over her man. They said many things which I can no longer remember. Finally, they came to the issue of bedroom. I became alert.

‘Move your things back to your matrimonial bedroom,’ the pastor said. ‘That is your rightful place in this house,’ the wife added. ‘When your husband comes to you at night, oblige him,’ the man of God continued. ‘Sex is designed by God as a gift to mankind.
Marriage is the only time to enjoy this gift. Sex is more than the avenue for procreation; it is a tool for communication and building of stronger intimacy and lasting relationships…’

Before they left they made us apologise to each other, and made us promise  to build a godly family. I moved back to
John’s bedroom. Tonight he came to me. This time around he helped me undress and was gentle in the art, with highhanded restraint that was almost an insult. After the exercise he fell asleep. No conversation, no romantic words, nothing. Asleep. Soon, he was snoring.

Now I understand. He had brought the pastors to help tame me, to secure his sexual dominion, and he had gotten
that. They didn’t ask him to
discuss his business with me, to talk to me and treat me like a partner. That isn’t my role, opening my legs every night is. I see everything clearly: I am a pair of slippers for John, something he uses only in the bedroom, nothing more. He may be gentle with me, he may treat me with respect but that doesn’t make me anything better than slippers. I am a pair of slippers, and at best I will be an expensive pair of bedroom slippers

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