Friday, 29 March 2013

Happy Good Friday people!



Friday Night Live

(A Good Friday Poem)

Our dreams are hind sights,

travelling to the people under the earth,

journeying down the cities,

filling the centuries with sons

so fat they can’t pass the needle’s eye.


Only the ointment keeps faith,

in the hands of a daughter,

preparing you for burial,

the unleavened bread

calls forth mourners


and prostitutes eating bread

with hallowed hands.

Henna mingles with tears

at the eleventh hour when

rejected pebbles fall like death

sentences on brown earth


This wine sets my eyes

to still waters on barren hillsides.

This wine red in the cup.

The scarlet thread.

The broken donkey.

Linen breeches dyed in crimson.


The air is rich in prophecies and revolutions.

Within the olive tree, a copulation is aflame,

burning the bush full of grass widows.

The light shimmers upon the waters.


Light is a quiver of arrows.

Light is an earthquake.

Light is a stormy wind.

Light is a great cry,

electric on bones and skulls.


The bones are diving for flesh.

The shrouds are dying in the stars,

there is light in our loins.


© Toyin Adewale-Gabriel

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

My Oga on Top and Matters Arising
Trust Nigerians to go overboard on the most inane issues. What's the big deal about a civil servant saying he needs to clear information from his 'Oga' before sharing it?.

I watched the video which has gone quite viral and l was really disappointed by the conduct of the three Channels TV interviewers because l hold Channels TV in high esteem due to their winning the News Channel of the year award for three consecutive years.

Every Nigerian understands the 'Oga' syndrome. Oga is the big boss,the one that decides whether you get promoted or not and can decide to boot you out of the organisation just to show who the 'Oga' is. You cross your 'Oga' at your own peril.

There are many levels of Oga, the Oga's secretary, the Oga's Madam, the small Oga, the acting 'Oga', Oga police. Even the gate man is  also an 'Oga' in his own right, as he can decide not to let you in through the gate to see the  big Oga.

And as every married Nigerian woman knows there is the original Oga on top- husbands. And those Channel presenters definitely have their own 'Oga'.

Sure, the representative of the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps did not know the website of his organisation but then, how many Nigerians are Internet savvy?. That  wasn't enough  reason for three journalists to turn on him and taunt him with their superiority complex like a pack of  hounds.

They had the responsibility to treat their guest with dignity and respect, instead they choose to embarrass and make him a national joke. They made us laugh for a moment, however, they have set back the campaign for access to information  from public institutions.

More than before, public officials will be afraid to share information  with the media.

And that is no gain to a nation that needs to popularise the use of the Freedom of Information Act.

Remembering Achebe: My Fondest Memory

In 1988, just fresh from youth service, I had attended the Association of Nigerian Authors Conference held at the University of Calabar. Achebe was also there. The conference participants travelled to the Obudu Cattle Ranch (that's what it was called back then) and spent one pristine, unspoilt night sitting at Achebe's feet, listening to him tell us african tales by the wood fires.

The night was so cold, you could use a hug, the night was clear, the air was pure oxygen and l could reach out and touch the stars... It was a night made for loving life.

Brings to mind those classic Nduka lines:

''The night is so communal,
I can hold it close and offer it a bowl of rice''

I think Achebe was all about possibilities. What a writer could achieve  with mind and art and God's favour. Things Fall Apart is a book meant to be written , to shape the destiny of what is called African Literature. Achebe was a man of courage- a quality not to be bought with money,  who was not afraid to be different or to tell the truth without fear or favour. I am glad he had the time to give us 'There was A Country'. For those of us born at the end of Biafra, the book is a very important historical document.
As Mandela said, with Achebe, the prison walls of the mind fell down. Because of Achebe, our words will flow like fresh palm oil over hot roasted yams, making the world hungry for African Writing...
 Sleep well, Chinua Achebe, thank you for that night and for showing us how we can thrust our African experience into this 'Oyinbo' langauage.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Murder of Students of Nassarawa  University
How on earth can men of the Nigerian Police Force who have the duty of protecting Nigerians shoot live bullets into a peaceful demostarion of Nigerian students, killing innnocent youth and causing families to mourn?

How can this happen in 2013?

What is the worth of a Nigerian life if the guardians of our safety squander it so dismally?
Haven't they heard of rubber bullets, tear gas or water that can be used for crowd dispersal?

We have no other country but this and people must be held to account for this extra judicial murder. Please dont keep quiet: speak out on your blogs, on the pages of newspapers, on facebook, on radio programs,on television, talk to your legislators, senators, pastors, imans, kings and ministers, talk to every body you know.

This must not be swept under the carpet, remember it could have been you or your brother or your sister...

Let us see that justice is done in this matter, the culprits must be brought to book and held accountable and the Nigerian police must have policies in place for crowd control and dispersal.

We must value our lives as Nigerians.

God save Nigeria!