The Conflicting Realities 2: My Guidance Angel 3.

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(Contd)

Over the years, I kept on imagining the enterprising spirit of the people in those dire days of the war. The people from the riverine areas will bring goods like fish, salt, and other marine-based products to this border market to’ exchange’ for food and other product.

Exchange it was because most of the trade was done by batter system as the currency of exchange was not accepted as a legal tender across both sides of the border; that was long before the soldiers started converging in our villages and fishing camps, burning and destroying everything.

“Though you had a Childhood experience of the war,” he said to me patiently, “your experience could not be compared to those who lived in the epicenter of the war. For out there, it was a living hell,” he concluded, looking at me.

Though I was a little boy then, probably not more than eight years old, there were some incidents that I could still recall and shudder at the remembrance.

“Do you know that this camp is called Ikirika-kiri,” I asked him. “A name I think it derived on account of it being used in those days as a settlement for some people from Okirika; a tribe of Ijaw people that lived in the eastern part of the Niger Delta.

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“Across this river over there,” I pointed across the river to where the little canoe with the two persons had come out. “There is a river there. If you look very well, you can see the entrance from here.”

“I am seeing it,” he answered. “I think it is called Sibokubu-bio. It leads to St. Barbara River, coming out at the confluence of juju-point.”

“You are right,” I agreed, looking at him, wondering how he knows about all these things but continued instead.

“Alright, down that St, Barbara River is the estuary to the Atlantic ocean. There are some fishing camps in the area called Angbakiri, Owukubu, Akananga, and others. Angbakiri was some way up from the others.

“As a result of the war, all the fishermen in the camps up in this area have gone south to those settlements to take on any vocation that can sustain a family. Some were producing salt, hewing of the tall mangrove trees as firewood, and others for the traditional fishing.”

“How were you producing salt in a fishing settlement?” he asked,

“Do you want me to explain how we produce salt or you really want to know?” I suckled

“Do you mind telling me that without asking?” he smiled broadly.

“Okay, but that is not what I want to say. I just want to make the point that whether we were at the epicenter of the war or not, we had our fair share of it.”

He did not say anything to that, but just stared at me, so I continued. “It would take one about eight hours of paddling with a canoe to get to Owukubu following the current in an ebbing tide, and passing through Sibokubu-bio.

“It is also possible for one to go down-stream from here to get to the estuary of the Atlantic. It will take almost the same time to get there from here.

“It was in the middle of the war and the soldiers have taken over every camp within this area. We were under constant harassment in the village. My father, therefore, decided to take every member of the family to go to Owukubu to start a salt production business.”

“Did your father know how to produce salt prior to that time?”

“Em…you know that saying, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ I think there is nobody that had to have a primary school education to know how to start fishing. We were born here to picking up our net, or hook, a canoe, and you have got a certificate to go into fishing. The rest of the technicality, you will learn on the job.”

I looked up at the sky in the far corner up-river. The night like a velvet curtain was coming very fast, covering the earth. The wind blowing in from the sea was quite refreshing, tinting the air with the smell of fresh fish and sludge.

I looked back at the old man and continued. “What we need for the production of salt at the time of the war was a mere rectangular tin pot measuring about five feet long, three feet in width, and three feet depth. We then prepared a cooking stand with two big mangrove tree logs arranged side by side to make a fire.

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The Conflicting Realities 2: My Guidance Angel 2

Conflicting Realities 2; My Guidance Angel 2

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As I looked up, I saw the old man looking away to the far southern end of the river where the mangrove trees drew a thick pattern as a well-cultured flowering garden. There is another river coming out at that point to join the main artery which tapered off into the far end as it curves off to form another stretch.

I followed his gaze and noticed that the sun has gone under a thick grey cloud casting a deep reddish appearance over the river in the western horizon. I looked up to the east, as if on cue, and saw the water blending off into the tall mangrove, curving into the left, going far away into the hinterlands.

From that end, I could notice the eastern horizon bearing the night as a sheet of the dark velvet curtain, spreading over static earth.

“War is an ominous evil that mankind has invented to solve frail egos and gain position and authority, which left in its wake despicable destruction of the divine order,” he said breaking the silence.

“Whenever I hear the sound and drums of war being played, as is the case now, I sympathize with the man. They will never learn. You cannot settle your differences by trying to kill your opponent.

“War takes away the peace of man and visits him with pain and sorrow, grief and destruction beyond his imagination. In the frenzied atmosphere of the sound of the battle drums, and war-cry, only very negligible voices will cry caution; that will easily get swallowed up in the strident sound of the drums.

“Even now, I could hear the drums of war in the distance, and rapidly getting louder,” he finished with that far away look, seeing into time beyond our realm, I guessed.

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“Sir, there has always been a war fought in one part of the world or the other. Which one are you referring to here? There is already a war in Nigeria. Isn’t there?” I asked.

“There is a war being fought now which you hear on the News wave. They still consider it a distant tale from a fairyland. For those that have not experienced war first hand, it sounds like an adventure that one could pursue.

“But what they did not realize is that only a few come back to tell tales of their experience, and even those lives a nightmarish life for a considerable part of their remaining life. War bears in its wings tales an observer can tell that.” He looked at me sullenly with a suppressed grin and patted my shoulder.

“You had a childhood experience of your old war.”

“Yes I do,” I agreed, my thoughts going back to the first soldier I ever saw in my life.

A fat-bellied man, wielding a long rifle; he appeared from the corner of a building, looking grim and threatening. I have gone with my mother to Akpede market in the heat of the war to sell fish on a particular market day.

This fat soldier also came to the market with some of his colleagues to buy things. When I saw him, I exclaimed at his appearance. My mother had to slap my mouth shut with the back of her left hand.

Over the years, I kept on imagining the enterprising spirit of the people in those dire days of the war. The people from the riverine areas will bring goods like fish, salt, and other marine-based products to this border market to’ exchange’ for food and other product.

Exchange it was because most of the trade was done by batter system as the currency of exchange was not accepted as a legal tender across both sides of the border; that was long before the soldiers started converging in our villages and fishing camps, burning and destroying everything.

(To be continued)

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Sweet Memories Linger

 

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We all had good times and bad times. I had mine when I lost a loved one some years past. I have gone over the pain. Recently, I reflected on that moment and how I put my thoughts into lyrics then. Here were my thoughts in lyrics.

SWEET MEMORY LINGERS
Sweet memories of years gone by
Assails my thoughts these days,
They were memories of fishing,
Of farming, and of salting farming;
Of so many things to say.
But above all, is the memory
Of the one who called me, ‘son.’

It is a sweet memory that lingers.
It follows me everywhere.
The love and joy it gives
Is evergreen.
Sweet memory lingers.
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I recall memories of the camps,
The fishing settlements and huts;
The rivers and the sea, as constant friends.
The toy boats and the mud,
Where we ran and played.
But above all, is the memory
Of the one who called me, ‘son.’

How could the past be in the present?
How could I touch, smell and feel
All those things which only lingers now
In the past’s memory.
Of the things, I love so much.
But above all, is the memory
Of the one who called me, ‘son’.

It is a sweet memory that lingers.
It follows me everywhere.
The love and joy it gives
Is evergreen.
Sweet memory lingers.
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The Blurring Shadow of the Past

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For a million years of history

Lays the foundation of humanity

It’s laid in unending pages of

Decaying and, sometimes rusty

Relics hinging on treacherous foils

 

The past tells the story of our life

It reveals the errors and success made

Hanging to the past would result to

Discouragement and fear, hatred, and dismay

For the past littered with the stories of

What we should have better let go

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The future is the hope for a better t’moro

It’s the aspiration and the way to a greater height;

And a glory that is attainable when pursued,

That pales the past to an insignificant blurry dream:

The future expands to infinite possibilities

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It is the success of past failure

The attainment of the lessons learned

It is the vision we set and twigs to build

Our dreams to come to reality

Dreams realizable only in fairy climes

Yet we bring to our new world order

 

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The Success Highway

The Success Highway

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Like a blank page before a writer

The way opens to the wayfarer

On his earthly voyage through life

His defined goal in life; to make

the success of his life while time last:

Never knowing People United are

reaching everywhere

How does he define success in life?

What measures the scale of success in life?

To attain worthy contentment;

But the success he attains at a point

Starts a new phase of this unending

Labyrinth of the pilgrim’s voyage

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Life isn’t playing fair to him, he’d argue

For the path to success is slippery as an eel

And they strew his way with thorns and briers

While snares litter every turn of the way;

For many are the foes striving for every crown:

Yet people united are reaching everywhere

But he would, like a flint set his gaze on his goal

Taking every obstacle for encouragement

And every fault as a lesson learned

For success comes to him who defies

All odd and never quit when others would

and in unity he could reach everywhere

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He smiles at his travails, and they are many

Yet he doesn’t slack on his set purpose;

For in the gloom he sees a silver lining:

of sanitly people are united  reaching everywhere

even to him.

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In the rumbling’s Midst and Lightening: He Arose.

In the Rumbling’s Midst and Lightening: He Arose.

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In that dark cloudless starry night

When mortals lay in their bed

And the rock cracked under the

Weight of the freezing snow

 

In Calvary mount, the sentries stood

Their fire could not melt the frosty night air;

Teeth clanking they stood: watching the

Sealed sepulcher where the lamb  laid

Golgotha Stone in Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel Stock Photo - 50757871

Then in a blaze of lightning, the earth shook

And the heavens open as celestial hosts

Descended upon the serene luster hill:

Their hymns and psalteries in seraphic melodies

Drowsed the sentries into a stupor

 

The earth quaked, and the hill shook

In response to the intense presence

Of the heavenly beings in mortals thoroughfare

Rolling asunder the impregnable seal on the sepulcher

 

In the lightning’s midst and Rumbling; He arose

He arose from the depth of death eternal captivity;

To vanquish death and its slavery hold on mankind

Alleluia! He arose; him to whom death could not hold captive

He arose to redeem the saints to their fair heavenly Mansions

 

 

 

 

 

Silent Night at Golgotha

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Silent Night in Golgotha

The wind stood still

The Leaves ceased to sway

The air staled in Golgotha

Where they crucified the Lamb

 

Mortals wondered and Saints pondered

At the bestiality of the human’s ‘’love’;

That they choose a murderous Barabbas

Over Him whom, for His father’s love;

Came to redeem mortals to Heavenly glory

 

Thus in their gleeful murderous frenzy;

With no martial hymns playing,

They paraded Him around Salem city:

Obliterating the Holy of holies sites

And the flourishing beauty of David’s city

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Then upon the rugged rocks on Golgotha’s mount

They hung Him whom they found no guile

There He bled and died for our sins to redeem;

Thus the Prince of Peace lay desolate, in Golgotha mount

 

Silent Night in Golgotha rugged Hill

Where the Lamb lay; that peace may

Pervade all Saintly souls to grace His

Father’s glory Heavenly mansions

 

 

 

Nigeria: A Nation In The Precipice

Today, I was to continue on my serial story, ‘The Conflicting Realities 2’ when I stumbled into this piece I have written in the past. And since I am already gathering materials to write on the above theme, ‘Nigeria: A Nation In The Precipice,’ and the country is still in the fiercest grip of this Fiendish apparition, garbed in a Political Cloak, I dropped this piece here today, hoping someone would be kind enough to goad those in authority to rein us in at the edge before we plunge over .

Happy Reading.

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But somewhere over the stretch of our short history as a nation, we have missed the connection. The unity of diversity that bonds us together is cracking at the seams.

And as our great personality, Chinua Achebe, of blessed memory, would say, “They have put a knife in the thing that held us together and now we have fallen apart …….”

 

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However, in our case, ‘they’ did not put a wedge between us to set us apart. We surrendered ourselves to greed, selfishness, tribalism, nepotism, and a host of other extremism tendencies that have torn us apart. And now the center is finding it hard to hold together.

A new generation of Nigerians has emerged who polluted the original concept of what our founding fathers of the nation had for the new ‘wedded’ country, with an egocentric tribal aura geared toward plundering on the richness of the country.

They have turned our beloved country into a theatre of war and warmongering tribesmen. The sudden appearance of petrol Dollars was the icing on the cake to our enterprising agricultural prowess, halting the building up of the country into the global reckoning.

Our agricultural drive collapsed into a mono-economical rebirth, hinged in the crude oil sale. The groundnut pyramids in the North, the cocoa barns in the West, the palm oil plantations in the East, and other equally sustainable natural explorations all over the country have caved into the dependency on oil.

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The resultant effect on the social-economic situation of the country was a strive by every citizen on the petrol dollars, a reminiscence of the Race to Nikki in 1894, and the Gold rush in America in 1849.

The sad tale about the situation in Nigeria was that, instead of the oil becoming the pillar of a masterpiece of infrastructural glamour, it became a scourge and a curse to the country.

The unity according to the dream of her founding fathers had turned us into a divisive people congregating along ethnic and geographical lines. The peace of the nation as entrenched in our national flag has become bloody and acrimoniously stained.

We have at several times come so close to the brink of separation. The greenish luster landscape as depicted on the flag now soiled with oily pollution and bloodletting. Our nation now immersed in a bloody oil configuration.

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I pondered here to ask if we are not playing a hypocritical game on the world stage, still fluttering our national flag of Green and White; telling the world we are a green naturalist and peaceful country; while the entire world has known us as an oil-dependent country immersed in violence: a country full of malicious hatred on tribal and religious line.

Could somebody wisely move a motion in the in-coming 9th Senate that would change the color of the national flag to reflect the new reality on the ground? We have also shown our strength and power as depicted with the Eagle and the Lion as reflecting in our Coat of Arm frequently.

However, I think we showed this against the wrong ‘adversary.’ We have become like the ‘Ebieseni,’ by eating ourselves with the institutions we established to protect and guide the territorial integrity of the country.

bloody flag

I am still considering what shape the Coat of Arm would now take to reflect the reality of our strength on the ground. However, it is still not too late now to turn back the hand of the clock. We can still become the greatest black nation in the world if we would be so.

Watch the flag when the  ‘Super Eagles’ are playing a football match and you will see the unity we all so much crave for.

The Conflicting Reality 2: My Guidance Angel Pt. 1

Still thinking about the beauty of nature on a lonely beach, I had an unexpected visitor who took me down memory lane. Mind sharing my thoughts with me?

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I cannot explain what fancy this running water has to do with the way I think about life and the way the nature of things revolve and shape into one harmonious entity.
I was sitting at the edge of the jetty, looking out into the vast water flowing slowly down the river. My back turned toward the camp.
I felt his presence a moment before he touched my shoulder. He came so quietly behind me that even a cat could have made a scratching sound on the board.
I turned to see the face of an old man with a wolfish grin starring down at me. He wore a raffia woven hat that was almost covering his eyes.
“Can I sit beside you my son,” he said, his voice has a little quiver.
Before I could answer him, he has sat down at the edge of the jetty with his legs hanging down almost touching the water, just the way I was sitting.
“It’s you, Sir!” I exclaimed, almost falling off the edge of where I was sitting, recognition flooding into my eyes.
The last time I had met him was in the city and he has left me so mysteriously with a lot of questions I thought I have touched an Angel.
“Yes, it’s me,” he answered beaming at me. “it does not surprise you I could find you here?” he asked, his eyes sweeping over the river and the huts that made up this little fishing settlement.
“Surprised?” I asked with a giggle. “There is nothing about you that would give me a surprise after our last meeting Sir. You know, I was going around town asking people if I had touched an angel,” I said, looking at him enquiringly.
He saved his face clean, though showing signs of wrinkle considering his age,  just like the last time we sat together at the balcony. The eyes deep and shinning were showing his superior intelligence, which I now considered as divine.
“And what did the people say you have touched?” he asked, his eyes burrowing deep into my thoughts.
“Well,” I said, looking away to the far side of the river where a little canoe with two people on board appeared, bobbing on the waves, trying to cross over against the swift ebbing tide. I look back to him and continued. “something interested them in the story you told me; ‘Conflicting Reality’ and the examples you shared with me.”
“And what did you learn about the story yourself,” he asked looking at me.
He leaned sideways on his left arm, adjusted his gown with the other. I saw that he was wearing a white long-sleeved flowing gown that went lower than his knees, on a black trouser. His legs were bare; that is unusual. it was the reason he had crept up on me with no footstep being heard. I looked behind us to see where he has left them. But I could see nowhere he has left his shoes.
“Sir, how did you come to the camp?” I asked him. I have been sitting here for the past 2 hours and saw no speed boat pulling up here to drop off any person, or anybody come in with a canoe.
“As you can see, almost everybody has left for fishing, how did you come to this camp?” I asked puzzled.
“You will not want to ask that,” he said, flashing his white teeth at me.
“Sir,” I drew up one of my legs so I can face him. “I have thought about what you told me concerning conflicting reality in the world. That whatever action I take in reaction to a situation also has an alternative action that could also produce an acceptable outcome.
“You posited that spiritual reality is not in the tendon with physical reality.”
“The reality depends on who is asking, and who is accepting. It means what it accepts as truth. The reality of a situation or condition is what any rational thinking  accept as truth, and with no variation could view which.” I stopped and watched him smiling at me.
He clapped his hand together and poked my chest with his forefinger. “That is what reality is all about,” he said and continued. “However, in the real world, we have two types of realities. One is about the reality in the real world where one sees things naturally and physically with their attendance consequences; either positive or on the contrary.
“That is the first reality. The second reality is on a grey line. It is the Spiritual reality about the truth of certain Spiritual dogma. That if one believes that God is real and accept that He is real; that in Him there is no variable, that He is genuine, and not merely an imagined or conjured.
“So if one walks on this reality of God, if one strictly obeys and applies the Divine principle on any issue, there would be a manifestation of the intended outcome; either positive or on the contrary.
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“That in both instances, the outcome is real if rational reasoning would accept the outcome—that is real.”
“That was your exposition of reality, sir. And that these two extremes of realities, you said, are constantly in conflict.” I concluded.
We were silent for a while. I could see that he was thinking of something else to say but before I could prompt him, he continued. “Why did you come to this camp?”
“I am not so sure why I came here,” I said factually. “I think I found the city becoming too crowded, and I felt the need to have a serene environment where I can readjust my life meter so I will not overcharge myself.”
“But why did you take the choice of a fishing camp?”
“Sir, I think that was obvious,” I said, standing up.
He also got to his feet, and we walked toward the other end of the jetty. I could just feel myself absorbing into this place. The quietness of the camp with all the fishermen out to sea, I could just sit around sinking into my books, feeling the serenity of the place.
Looking behind, I saw the little thatch huts nestled into the end of the mangrove swamp, a little plume of smoke coming out from their roof, the smell of drying fish in the atmosphere; I almost feel like the fisherman.
“When they are back from the sea, then you will see the hustling and bustling of this place,” I told him.
We were both looking at the camp. “You will then see the women cooking and the men breaking their firewood to make a fire to dry their fish. It is just like one big fishing departmental factory,” I added with a smile.
He was looking at me as I continued talking, throwing my hand about widely.
“My best moment is when everybody has gone out fishing. I would just sit around this jetty, watching the flow of the water and the rolling of waves as the wind blows in from the sea.
“And those canoes with their occupants, as if in defiance of the sea, struggling against the current, pushing their canoes from one point to the other.”
“But this place has always not been like this,” he said, drawing me back into the present.
“I know,” I agreed turning to face him, as we walked up the rest of the jetty to the end and sat down at the edge, resting my back on the railing. He also sat down beside me waiting for me to continue.
“I have lived in this camp with my parents since I could remember things. Then, this beach line was almost here,” I said, pointing to the end of the jetty where we were sitting.
“And as far back as I could remember, the waves and the current have combined to wash away the shoreline, and our huts, into the bowel of the sea. We have also moved up higher; pushing the mangrove swamp back to make room for our new huts.” I could see in my mind, the beach we use to play around naked when we were kids.
Crude oil was just discovered in the Niger and the oil exploring company led by Shell BP were coming over here with their Houseboats and drilling equipment and taking photos of us playing naked along the shore.
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I smiled at the recollection. I looked at him and I caught a glimpsed a shadow passed over his face. Just briefly, but I caught, a sign of weariness. His voice carries none of the weariness if he has any.
“Your childhood days did not last forever,” he said, leaning against the railings.
“Yes,” I agreed. I could see the image of my parents hurrying us away to pack our things into our canoes on one particular day. We are going to the village; there is war in the country and it was coming rapidly to this part.
“You know there was a bitter civil war fought from the mid-sixties,” I said.
“I knew what happened in your country. I knew the destruction and deaths that the war visited upon the people,” he explained.
“And we have to move away from this camp to the village. Since then, things were never the same any longer. I was just about seven years old at the outbreak of the war. The soldiers later came to this camp and burnt it down with all our belongings we could not take away at the time we fled.”
“How was life like in the village where you fled to?” he asked.
“There was no respite from the marauding soldiers anywhere. They were everywhere, and the grownups were always running into the bush every time they hear a flying boat engine,” I winced at the memory. “Life in the village was not also easy. We have to stop our schooling and were always moving from one village to another fishing camps.
“We were a family of seven, and I guess it was draining on our unavailable resources. Initially, though, I did not fully understand the reason for our moving from a place to another, but in retrospect, I think my father was struggling to maintain that large family.” I stopped and readjusted myself.
The water has ebbed away, showing the floor of the river where the jetty ends. It slopped deeply into the dark depth of the sea bed from that point. I can see fish – I think mullets–swimming about just under the surface of the water, occasionally flopping over and diving in all direction when they sensed a predator in the depth close to them.
As I looked up, I saw the old man looking away to the far southern end of the river where the mangrove trees drew a thick pattern as a well cultured flowering garden. There is another river coming out at that point to join the main artery which tapered off into the far end as it curves off to form another stretch.
I followed his gaze and noticed that the sun has gone under a very thick grey cloud casting a deep reddish appearance over the river in the western horizon. I looked up to the east, as if on cue, and saw the water blending off into the tall mangrove, curving into the left, going far away into the hinterlands.
From that end, I could notice the eastern horizon bearing the night as a sheet of dark velvet curtain, spreading over static earth.
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