From A Bored Pen: 14 Years After Khakis Became Kaftans

Not quite 9am on Democracy Day. It’s been fourteen years since khakis were traded for kaftans, since Decrees became Acts, and since a 29 year old man tried to sneak into the National Assembly with an altered birth certificate and a doctored foreign degree. We wait for the sleep-inducing Presidential address, while the students of prestigious federal universities across the nation hope and pray that the name of their institution doesn’t get substituted with the name of a dead national hero seldom remembered during his lifetime. The weather seals the mood, and for those who’ve got their heartthrobs to exchange breaths with, there’s more reason to sail in bed. It’s a national holiday, and unless you don’t have an ATM card and forgot to make your withdrawal across the counter the day before, that should be something to smile about. Temporarily confined to my blanket, I felt the need to scribble this down out of boredom before sourcing for breakfast.

True, ‘Companies and Allied Matters Act’ sounds more humane than ‘Companies Decree’. It definitely sounds less tense having your state controlled by a Governor than by a Military Administrator. Multiple and random arrests are no longer made for having a dirty compound on Environmental Sanitation day. The editor of Vanguard need not entertain (too much) fear of a parcel bomb delivery. But on this day, how free do you feel as a citizen of this country? Can you truly post freely on the Internet? Can you boldly criticise and lambast erring leaders without the fear of being watched? Are those in power the ones you wanted there? Can you buy what you want without being at the mercy of a economic monopoly? Can you go just about anywhere you want? Can you even love who you want?

Where even an election among Governors can’t be conducted in a manner free from controversy, that says a lot about the kind of democracy we practise. The fact that journalists still live in fear of being physically assaulted portrays the kind of democracy that prevails here. We still await a cogent explanation for the murder of students in Nasarawa state by security operatives, whose only crime was that they were protesting the lack of water, a basic amenity that shouldn’t be an issue in a true democracy. Special prayers have to be conducted at the last quarter of every year due to the nature of our major roads, a dividend of the kind of democracy we practise.

True democratic societies enable you to maximise your potential, they help you live without the fear of hunger and make you broaden your perspectives. Down here, you’re finished if you aren’t pursuing a professional career or in Showbiz. Friends and family would scoff and sneer if you choose to be a painter or florist, no thanks to the mental ‘conditioning’ we endure here. I remember the horror on my father’s face when I mooted the idea of acquiring a major in History about two years ago. Believe it or not, the kind of democracy practised in a given society, genuine or not, goes as far as influencing ideas about friendship and Love. People are conditioned to draw closer to those they ordinarily wouldn’t want to be identified with, all because of the favour and financial advantage they can gain, no thanks to the economic disparity caused by our kind of democracy. What’s more, she can’t stay around him for too long if he can’t change her wardrobe regularly and if his monthly earnings don’t read at least six figures, since the democracy on show here means his genius doesn’t amount to much.

In a true democracy, people my age would be proferring solutions to national challenges and harnessing our skills to build the nation, not trying to impress the opposite sex. I need not comment about the alarming rate of political apathy in my generation, allowing those who have no ideas about true leadership to keep dragging us, slowly but gradually, to a political cum economic precipice. As Governor Rotimi Amaechi opined, you don’t expect leaders who didn’t get to power via your votes, to act like they are responsible to you. But still it’s Democracy Day, so let’s mark it, each in his own special way. Bask in the social freedom and political shift this day is remembered for, help yourself to a few pints of beer, indeed feel free, but don’t forget that the nation has a Criminal Code as one of its laws. For the philosophers and those of great intellectual depth, a little reflection and constructive criticism won’t be out of place, but please don’t forget to think up long-lasting solutions to the clogs that hinder our country’s wheel of progress. Except for the meals which would get me past the door, I think I’ll probably mark it in bed!

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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Breeding A Lawyer, Eastern Style: Life In Camera

The first two terms of the 2012/2013 academic session of the Nigerian Law School have come with quite a stomachful. Not exactly a place for the faint-hearted. Life out there could be likened to a gladiator’s ludus, with its accompanying rigours and enerviating routines. From the grueling lectures where the volume of lecturers’ input is an issue of debate, brain-racking drafts, tasking group meetings and sacrificed hours of sleep, to the cuisines varying in quality, weekend hangouts and amorous partnerships formed left and right, the experience has been one to remember, if not relish.

It is said that pictures speak a thousand words, and it is only right that  photographs be taken for a range of purposes, be it to show off the quality of linen, or to mark events, or to reflect moods, or celebrate bonds, or simply decide to treat oneself to the flashlight out of boredom. This is how it is done in Augustine Nnamani Campus, Agbani, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu State……..

The Entrance

The Entrance

The Entrance

Early Days………

IMG01173-20121113-0715

Early Days

Early Days

We are instructed, nay, forced, to file out to the classroom in our corporate attire, and by that  I mean a white shirt (or blouse) and a black trouser (or skirt). Some take it up a notch by wearing dark suits (or coats as the case may be), though it’s safe to wonder how they cope judging from the tropical conditions we have to cope with. This is how you’ll usually find us between the hours of 8am and 1pm on a weekday………..

School Day

School Day

Mz Brown Eyez IMG-20130308-00035 Tracy N.K odekino IMG01690-20130220-0954 IMG01689-20130219-1043 IMG01675-20130213-0755 IMG01559-20130128-0758 IMG01378-20121218-0756 IMG01273-20121128-0852 Bema & Alice IMG01241-20121120-0739 IMG01249-20121120-0900

Well it’s not all sober when it comes to the weekly apparel. Students are allowed to wear native attire on Fridays, and any break from the conventional black and white is very much welcome. Here is what these aspiring lawyers do with that freedom…….

juliet IMG01954-20130419-1030 IMG01957-20130419-1032 IMG01959-20130419-1033 Traycee _olubukola IMG01413-20130111-0729 IMG01417-20130111-0732 IMG01421-20130111-0733 IMG-20130111-00171 IMG01362-20121214-0807 IMG01302-20121207-0719 IMG01307-20121207-0721 IMG01310-20121207-0800 IMG01255-20121123-0857 IMG01258-20121123-1147

A quick peep at Enugu’s cuisine, in the meantime…….

calabar kitchen

It’s impossible to cheat nature, and sometimes the human body has no choice but to react to fatigue and/or boredom……..”guy, school hard abeg!”

Screen_20130313_120553 IMG01368-20121214-1224

As part of the Nigerian Law School calendar, there are three dinners one must partake in before donning that wig and gown, two in the middle of all the academic work, and the last at the Call To Bar ceremony. While we await the third, this was how we lived through the first two……

kcee n dumdum IMG-20130318-00696 Chimme + Nkesi IMG-20130318-00164 IMG-20130318-00167 IMG01806-20130318-1806 IMG01813-20130318-1808 IMG01818-20130318-1825 Gbanja__ IMG01343-20121210-1658

The Nigerian Law School was never meant to be a seminary or pseudo-penitentiary. There is a an age-long saying about the results of ”all work and no play”, and whether it’s a shopping spree, a wedding, a birthday celebration, a club hangout or a photo session, the people here waste no moment in relaxing their nerves……

Bukenzo_m_ IMG01873-20130328-1726 IMG01874-20130328-1745 IMG01877-20130328-1835 IMG-20130323-02038 IMG-20130323-00593 Chizzy IMG01202-20121117-1519 IMG01205-20121117-1519

Pictures have always been a way of celebrating friendships. Here’s a tribute to the bonds that were created (or strengthened) while we struggled with Crown Kitchen and Alhaji Wadata…..

IMG01932-20130416-1026 Enugu-20130328-01020 IMG-20130328-00989 IMG-20130328-00986 IMG-20130308-00034 IMG01669-20130213-0753 IMG01674-20130213-0755 IMG01558-20130128-0758 IMG01415-20130111-0731 IMG01427-20130111-1000 Chime n Kachi IMG01351-20121211-0729 IMG02257-20121209-0906 IMG-20121207-00156 IMG02221-20121203-0731 Enugu lasses owans n nenye IMG01297-20121203-1026 IMG01269-20121128-0850  IMG01259-20121123-1147 Team RSUST Bema & Alice IMG01249-20121120-0900 IMG02063-20121120-0901 IMG01192-20121116-1025

………and yes, some bonds are much stronger than others!

Chimme n Nk IMG01864-20130328-1056 IMG01844-20130323-1426

There you have it for our lives in pictures! Apologies are tendered for any ”notable omissions” in this compilation. But then, I’d love to think that this is my perspective of things, let’s have yours!!

Heartfelt Notes

It was the second consecutive hour since he sat on that chair, staring at her as she slept dreamily on those sheets. She had every right to be in Dreamland at that time; they had spent a larger part of that Thursday celebrating the second month anniversary of their relationship. The food had been rich, the drinks top-drawer, the words heartwarming, the kiss magical, the bonding activities serving their purpose. The night had begun to age by the time they returned to his apartment (the route to hers was dangerous to ply by dusk), and sleep was the most rational thing to do.

Not for him though. His mind was in no mood to exercise any rationality. Too much flowed in his heart to be drowned by sleep. His gaze was fixed on her, as he felt his heartbeat accelerate once more. He wondered how his emotional intoxication rose with each passing hour. He was the type who always placed logic over emotion, always put his rational mind to work, always had something to say, always philosophised. But not when the issue came to what he had for her, no.

A hundred thousand words could not quite explain what he felt for her. She was by no means his first love, but he was too far gone to even try putting his emotions in check for a minute. He couldn’t help but fix his lovestruck eyes on her once more. There was something about the way her hair fell on her face, about the way she reached for the pillows, about the way her body slowly turned. Stroking an imaginary ring on the finger of his left hand, he took a deep breath as his mind dwelt on all it could actually dwell on for most of its active hours – her!

Like Moses over rocks and seas, like Jesus over storms and fig trees, such was her power over his emotions. No, she didn’t have to lift a hand or say a word. Her eyes and the way she placed those dark soft lips conveyed scores of messages. It was still early days in terms of what they shared, but he felt like a tree on which a love-shaped heart had been permanently carved. Of course it was too early to compare what they had to a garden, but the first few flowers had certainly been fixed, and little by little, inch by inch, they could water it with what flowed with their hearts, and while measuring up to Eden would look like a lofty aspiration, there was no harm trying.

He could still recall every detail of how they met. It had been a youth conference the year before, where they had got acquainted and she had exchanged contacts with him. Usually such interactions and bonds inspired by three-day events would fade out in less than two months, but this was different. Somehow they maintained communication, somehow they got to know slightly more about each other. He had grown fond of her, but for a long while had doubted if she’d ever take him serious. Then came one evening, one casual discussion, one moment of courage from him, and now they were here.

They didn’t exactly share too many similarities. His complexion was something close to light, she was a tiny shade away from dark. He was your typical conservative reserved young man, she was extroverted and cynical with a naughty edge to her. He was born in late Spring, she came to life in mid-Autumn. His mounds of flesh, falling short of a chubby look, had come to meet her slender frame. Yet it was those differences that knit them so closely. Like opposite hues on a colour wheel, they complemented each other. Being an artist, he loved to think that the union of black and white created something much more beautiful when compared to the union of white and white.

With each passing day, the fact that a lot had changed in his life since their hearts took the Love Road was brought to the fore. It was a question of what she was not to him rather than what she was. She filled in the role of Lover, Sister, Bestie, and Muse. The start of their romance had coincided with his rediscovery of his passion to paint again. Two weeks into their relationship he had realised his first artwork in almost two years, which had garnered lots of positive reviews. Ideas kept springing up after that, and his new works reflected his new outlook to life – beautiful and worth sharing, as opposed to his older works which featured dark and gloomy impressions inspired by previous disappointments. Songs like ”Goodbye My Lover” and ”Dreaming With A Broken Heart”, which graced his music playlist, had been replaced with ”Your Love Is A Song” and ”She Is (Everything)”. For him, she was all he wanted, yet that which he never knew he needed.

”I love you”, he screamed in his mind. And just as if she could hear him, she let out a smile in her sleep. That smile he now lived for. Just as he lived for the moments her hair got entangled in his face. He looked forward to those mornings when her fingers fit into the holes between his fingers as they said their graces, and those evenings when he could just lean into her and forget the world after a long day. Nothing else mattered. With each minute came an increased yearning to be there for her in every way. He wanted her thoughts to belong to his ears, her worries to his shoulders, her shivers to his arms. Whether God approved of every single thing they did was of course a debatable issue, but he prayed to Him that everything would work out between them.

He was approaching his fifth hour on that chair. No moment on it had been wasted, not for him. When it came to thoughts or words or deeds for her, no hour was ungodly. But Nature wouldn’t be denied. After reluctantly turning down the lights, he crawled into bed, brushed her face with his lips, held her warm body close and shut his eyes, hoping to meet her in his dreams.