Posted in fiction

FATE’S RULES (1)

Have you ever felt ice in your veins? Something that makes you weep raucously because of its majesty. The feel of open heavens wetting your head with angelic dews when she whispers your name; a state where you are trapped and the prison bars are her winks. Like a gorilla, he will hit his chest in his usual braggadocio confessing the ordinary state of affection he had for her. Funnily enough, he hit those chests for three straight years and the ordinariness persisted like a bad habit. No way was he healing. The more he fought his right brain and blind heart, the more he grew feeble – the namby-pamby became too inundating for one man. A cross he had to bear nonetheless.

If a man is trapped or feels trapped and is fighting his way out of it, does it not mean it is a trap too dangerous? If he has to watch tears form a cascade celebrating his moustache with semblance of evening droplets on green grasses because of her majesty, then isn’t that feeling supposed to be desired earnestly? If her beauty typifies the finest of Egyptian goddesses or her eyes formed by the Trinity because of its amazing technicolour, the possibility that he has now become dopey from love’s injections cannot now be out of place. Yeah! With how he watched her closely, folding his arms giving that serious look like a donnish, Smith nursed a couple of cheerful beautiful butterflies in his stomach. The circumstance of their meeting was bizarre – maybe it is right to say that kismet handcuffs freewill and chooses who falls in love and who love fools. 

Sidi was eighteen. She had just gained admission into one of the famous Nigerian Universities – University of Benin. She came from a godly home. At least that was what could be read easily from her mode of dressing. Sidi would wear skirts that concealed her thighs even up to her knees. Her hair was long and ever neat. Sidi had a smile that conveyed the back channel of a very shy infant. It was beautiful to watch her smile because her dimples were easy on the eyes especially when it formed holes on her cheeks. She smiled a lot; maybe she knew it was her charm. Omo jo ibo as she was often called – her relatives believed she possessed the beauty of a lady from the native of Igbo. She posed as a good girl; her parents were satisfied their daughter would become a lawyer even as they celebrated with her during her matriculation. 

Smith was a law student in the same university. He was a senior. Loved by many ladies though they rather hid their affection owing to his pompous nature; he was the typical narcissist whose smiles were suspicious. His charm was arguably ever reliable especially when he licked his lower lip – it was beautiful watching his lip glisten like emollient flashy pebbles under a scorching sun. Smith was beautiful a boy. He knew. He explored the vulnerable colleagues who were enamoured of his cuteness and his baritone. A warrior he was often called because for every thrust, he made it count.

His best friend often reminded him of how foolish he was. “Guy you sure you are not cursed? It is only a fool that will lose guard a girl like Ifeoma. Haba na! She really loved you.” Smith knew he needed a life. He had ensconced himself in the world of concupiscence where he put the cravings of his phallus at the topmost part of the pecking order. He knew he needed to stop crushing the hearts of innocuous girls. He hated himself after Arinze told him these truths. But maybe he was just too lost to go back to the world of sanity or he just needed a reason to be truly committed. Smith agreed to be on a low-key diet but just when it seemed like fate smiled with him on his new passion for self-identification, a voice was behind him urging he picked a paper that fell off his back pocket. Sidi happened.

Some things happen in August. A person could visit. She may say hello. You may go blank, you may lose a nut, your body may grow cold, and you may feel like you have opened your eyes again. Ever felt like you can sell your soul to a visitor with hopes that she envelopes your soul in hers? Where you fear for yourself because you knew the feelings manifesting should be tagged premature but your reality was fate’s toddler. You were in love with a woman who spoke behind you or the voice that was possessed by a woman; or you were in love with the petite frame of a lady whose face you could not capture as her tress enshrouded her when a boisterous wind whistled by.

“Guy what is happening to you?” Arinze was quizzing Smith who had then adapted to the quiet lifestyle. “O boy, you look downcast. Person kpai (die)?” Charlie asked almost immediately after Arinze. Something was not right. Smith knew the confession of his encounter with mystery would arouse laughter so he swallowed his truths and massaged his heart with criticisms hoping the hubbub cures the feeling he had developed. He stifled his lip and managed to say, “nothing jare…Just a rough morning, lectures and on.” He told himself it would be over but deep down he wanted a new chapter where she was the adjurer instructing him to fasten his belts when she drives him crazy, crazily in love. He loved the mystery; he was somewhat expecting to bump into her to feel that cold rush of blood prick his skin till his hairs sprout like a tuber of yam. 

……………………………………………………………

Sidi was patriotic to her soft pillow every night since her eyes captured Smith’s face. He appeared fierce when she had peeped into his eyes. She fancied his voice. It was husky and as she put it to her roomie, creamy. “I don’t know how to describe his voice. I want to, Betty, but it is not an easy mission. The guy’s voice is musical; I would have said he is a mixture of falsetto, bass, and alto, but I know there is more to his voice. He is beautiful.” Sidi had often said when it was boy-time gist with her roomie. With few omissions and additions, it had just been about Smith. Smith was the only boy she could describe though she never got to know his name.

You think it is chemistry when a match contacts its box and makes an explosion, don’t you? You know that state where you see a boy for the first time and he becomes the only wonder of the world that genuinely matters to you; and should in fact matter to the entire world? Yes, this is chemistry if the feeling is mutual. It is magical where the lovers go through wars with selves trying to suppress the pain Cupid’s arrow swung between their chests. And it is comical too when kismet fools two jailbirds imprisoned by the deepest of love for each other. The dramatic irony we now read with elbows swallowed by our pillows.

“I hope I run into him. I feel it will happen soon. I really want to see his reaction seeing me for the second time.” Sidi had said to herself. 

Sidi clearly laboured under the impression that her tress was not faster than his grey eyes when the wind became unruly. She must have chortled in bed assuming he was desirous of her brown eyes. Smith felt she did not see him really. He chose to believe he was the only one spelled even though he could not brag of defeating the booming possibility that she fantasized kissing his neck well enough till he spoke huskily. He wanted to heal, she wanted to feel. She wanted a conversation; he knew he silently hoped for same.

………………………………………………………………… 

Ifeoma could not move on. She had become too involved to accept the break-up news. “He cannot straff me like a courtesan and dump me like some hot dunk! I will not allow him win this time around!” Ifeoma had wailed. “What do we do? I do not enjoy you broken like this?” Sandra retorted kissing her and rubbing her breasts against Ifeoma’s back. “I will ruin his life if he does not bow between my legs as he used to” Ifeoma replied as she stared at the hungry lips of Sandra. She was an addict; she threw money for the best drug supplies her money could buy. She was addicted to Smith. She tattooed her left buttock. It was like a dull black paint of his name. She became messed up after the break-up and settled for anyone willing to play with her body. Sandra was close to perfect, she was a panacea to her current emotional lapses. They made love.

2 WEEKS AFTER

Smith was not trying to find the woman with the voice that melted him a month back. He imagined since he barely saw her he would not remember her if they happened on each other again. He felt he was recovering from the sudden cold feeling until Arinze’s raucous laughter and incessant bantering woke him up. “Baba you need to see this video. See as this fresh student brush Ifeoma for the local music competition like sey Ifeoma never baff!” Arinze was laughing and finding air at the same time. He knew how to gloat and this was why Sidi’s description never came up. But this time it had to. This time he knew this voice was familiar, he knew that tress, and he knew that graceful petite frame. Smith heard the anchor call her name. “Sidi, Sidi…” He had repeated. “You know her… Guy answer me na?”

Mr Obeezy

The Story Continues…..

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Posted in controversial, fiction

WHAT I AM NOT

Mr Hand was gripping a long lethal rod on his left hand and was striking it against a map. He was telling finger one the story about the importance of unity; he told finger two the same story till he had complete set of kids – he had ten children. But why will Mr Hand continue repeating same old gist? Cortex, my distant relative, will always say that Mr Hand became a simpleton after the body civil war of 2000 and don’t waste my time. “Huh? What year was that? And why was there a war? Please Cortex; tell me the belligerents and the outcome of the war?” I know. This request had its pros; it put me in the light as a lover of knowledge willing to learn. But the flip side is striking, trust me. The cons were no more than the fact that I was like a star fish having no ability to retain information. Oh my God! This was the 100th time I was asking this question. Like that literal colander expected to retain water from a tap; I never got to keep the bulk of the gist. Like the colander which had the feel of wetness after the inability to retain water, I had the sense of belonging which warranted my asking of the same questions. The second con would have been to question why I was not even aware of the war since I claimed to love learning new stuff but guys c’mon, we now know why.

The Body Civil War was fought by a bunch of iconoclasts who saw only their view as legitimate. These iconoclasts consisted of different clans. Cortex tells me that before the war, Mr Snacks would always throw jibes at Miss Ugly Mouth who refused to marry Mr Broken Nose for fifty two years – and now old age has cracked her elements giving the imagery of a seventy year old granny with thought-provoking irreparable sagged breasts. “Trust me, Amygdala, what begun the war was the denial of food and water into the government courtesy the annoyance of Miss Ugly Mouth who could not deal with the last banter from the guy who supplied food.” Cortex had said to me in his usual manner of squeezing his face giving the impression of a man trying to recover from a fouled air. “So what was she? Some minister? Some dictator?” I had quizzed.

Miss Ugly Mouth was a b*tch who cared only about herself. I mean why did she deny everyone food? Rumours had that she beefed Stomach – a young man who was pudgy in form and a perpetual resister of her incessant advances. She was rumoured to have snatched his towel from him like the biblical account of Miss Potipher. Just as you may have not expected, Stomach did not flee from the supposed-to-be sex escapade. She did. She fled realising that his pecker was a palooka destined not to ever make it out of a boxing ring. Can you imagine the reason for her hating on poor Mr Stomach! Well it was just some rumour, right? She was not the President but she never answered to any crimes because if she was found culpable, who would have been the channel from the food supply to the head government? Cortex talked about feeding tubes but he was only a toddler then. He got kicked by Mr Weak Legs as it was customarily called a disrespect to speak when the elders gathered. “I got kicked so hard, I could see my conception. The stars were shiny and the night was blue.” Cortex said with his mood downcast. If he had eyes, he would look like Puss in Boots.

So yeah, Miss Ugly Mouth was immune from the venom of the law. She was above the constitution and represented the sick president in ceremonial functions. Heart was the president who was but a muscle. He was the ideal social engine of the economy pumping resources around until the food reserves dried up and he became too ill he could not even help himself to a shit. Heart was failing and Mr Hairs, his personal assistant, shrunk like local bread. It was not a war of bombs clearly. It was just upper cuts, mind battles, and catastrophic smacks. 

The division was massive. More people fought for Miss Mouth because she was the channel. Without her imprimatur, they would be malnourished. Heart was close to a cardiac arrest; he had 43 holes due to poor health. He was overthrown before he could utilize Cortex’s point that tube-feeding was another means of saving the government from the gossiped extinction. Oh poor Cortex! Armies for Miss Ugly Mouth put three holes in his head that forced him to the world of abstractions. Too sad, right? No one can see him as he became the voice in the brain which cannot be seen with naked eyes. 

You may wonder why Cortex is abstract but I am not. Well, Cortex felt I acted too much on impulse and so he kicked me out of the brain’s crew. But to where really? I hear there is a passage albeit tiny from the brain cage to the left ear – as luck had it, I was freaking slender in frame to aid the feasibility of his assertions. “Don’t stop Cortex. Tell me the winner of the war and you know, the entire history.” I urged. “The gods must have cursed you indeed. Did I not say I was shot to abstraction? Tell me, do you think I can still be in the battle when the disunited clans wrestled themselves, ended my stay in the physical realm, and most likely fought on without spending seconds to mourn me?” he retorted. He knew only that much. The remaining findings he left to my imaginations. Did I imagine? Trust me, I did.

I imagined the end of the civil war. I was the hero of the long evening. If I was not decapitating heads, I was blinding Eyes – I hated his bulgy eye bags, it was so huge with no compunction. I saved Heart. I was like Jet Li and Bruce Lee; I fought like your favourite comic hero. I barely broke a sweat – if anything got broken, it must have been Mr Broken Nose’s nose courtesy my clenched fist. Guess who saved Miss Breasts from unconsented coitus invasion? Well I was there. I made the villains pledge allegiance to my fist. I was that bad ass bloke unusually found around your block. I was awesome – my suits like Black Panther’s, my voice husky like Gotham’s legend, and my build like Johnny Bravo (just with a wider waist). It was just getting all colourful until Mrs Scarface tapped my shoulders.

Mrs Scarface was the progeny of Mrs Burnt face. In my imagination, in attempting to blow Miss Ugly Mouth off the face of earth, I mistakenly fired missiles at Mrs Face. She survived the missile’s impact, married her doctor, and bore Mrs Scarface. “Hey what you doing out here in the cold? Winter has come boy” Mrs Scarface quizzed. I had heard the legends of Mrs Scarface but I did not think the books ever conveyed that she was an ugly troll with looks more terrifying than my poop. O white gods! I wanted to answer her but my system was way too concerned with letting fluids leave my pecker in no stealth manner. Clearly, I had more pressing issues. She walked away slowly with that frightful look of the white walkers. She whispered something like “the body civil war was fought by us all. A disunited family of one f*uckin flesh.” What was wrong with her? Now I had to picture another reality of a historical war that had me lose my memory.

She said I was a member of one body, one flesh. If I did the math right, I was a member of a matter – a human. Oh but c’mon, isn’t that some crap? Crap! What if I was a member of a primate in rampage – gods know how much I hate sows and some giant rats. They are matter too? (spits). Say I was part of a human, what was I, the amygadala? Ewwwww!!! The thought of that is like a hot dunk from a bull’s asshole. Oh now I get Cortex’s gist. I mean, I had little work to do in the brain other than to act too elated when something good happens; or like Hulk, persuade the entire body to smash the crap out of a man with the salient attributes of Pennywise the Clown. I was super impulsive. I was probably the balance between Cortex’s rationality and Lobe’s interpretation. Or probably not (sighs), I was kicked out after all.

Imagine the body parts in conflict; the body civil war presented by DreamWorks Pictures. The 3D version of Mr Pecker swelling uncontrollably and striking the thighs of the suffering human like the ancient oiled pendulum clock; that scene where the knuckles are fisting the eye socket and forcing a face off. Or the hands pressing the scrotum till it pops like some chintzy beer; the knees knocking against each other forcing the teeth to gnash like a woman in labour; the bloody body civil war where a man self-destructs. The war that I now watch with popcorn and cold beer; the civil war I tell myself I am not part of. 
What am i? if I am not in the brain of that human who probably was unfortunately lynched by his own hands, then I am a lucky bastard – save the possibility that Cortex lied that he kicked me out whereas the truth was that the blows from Mr Hand to the brain saw me flow in form of liquid all mixed with the blood in my left ear. If cortex was wrong once, then he can be faulted again; it is possible he never knew me since he was shot till he became abstract. What if I am the body civil war? I have too many sores like Job, I have only one ear, I have too many bad dreams, and I have a gash between my bloody thighs like a rape victim. What really happened to me? I guess I suffer from the disease of a disunited body where I am currently breaking apart. The body civil war where I am the human carrying the pathogens causing the destruction. 

“What really happened?” I ask Cortex the 101 time. 
OBED OKOCHA

Posted in controversial

I CHANCED ON NOTHING

Sometimes the screams replaying in our minds are deaf-threatening; they are lasting pangs giving cues of impossibility surviving every affliction they bring. Maybe when it hurts, the best defence mechanism is a robust rejoices in the echoes of vile mentality and pledging not to show people your tears, your scars, give up your pride, your…you name it. I chanced on something. The picture was blurry last night for reasons suggesting a soaked or leaked eyes leaving the object in so much vagueness – apparently, no limpidity means I chanced on nothing. But this myopic black ink prefers to glow through the foyer of uncertainties with white hopes to scale through black broken bottles, nurse red wounds. Though no longer a believer of the Black’s curse – the obloquium celebrated like religion or rite by my race ever unburdened by genius.

Blood, what is the biggest question you have faced that threw you into a sequence of non-amusing thoughts? Could it have been the fears of not making material gain in this vain life or just the very lethal question of what is the point? Fam, I just have it dawning on me that homecoming will have me not have you sitting at one of the sofas in my parlour telling me about your ordeals and the vain chase of your future goals. Sometimes I want to stretch a LOL but there is ever cause to reverence James 4:10 despite the silly thoughts of a really broad way of looking at Gal 3:28. I mean, it just seems as though man surrendered their commonweal to a monarch who of course cannot be blamed but thanked even when evil descends on his territorial sovereignty. We are permitted to be angry but not to sin; we are welcome to shed tears (Joel 1:19) for reasons appealing to our individual musings. The monarch is not dead but if he slept after creation, any possibility he encountered one sweet nap while one hustler got slain like a Christmas cock presented before flames like a sweet smelling savour? Can I say rest in peace to a missing body? All I see is ashes. “Nations rising against nations” may just have meant one pauper putting forceful determination of the heart of another boy known by the street – the farce of distributive justice; maybe Aurelius Augustine’s concept of ‘miserable life’ was to the exclusion of the rich, and the error in his assumption of the affluent being possibly encumbered by a mental illness is to the effect that we all are not entirely sane.

So when lil beezy turned 16, he would find solace in the stars – I know Blood, yours may have been some other firmament, your mirror, or the few dollar notes you get from due diligence on your laptop. What is the point? We do not wish to believe that life is run by a dictator drunk by his excess powers and playing us like puns to the mouth of the ravenous queen. Why? The “WE” must be distinguished to shelter the rich and accommodate the indigent. Only the indigent, most times, considers it as food for thought to flashback at their birth and how they cried as babes for different reasons. Many will wear indigence as cloak and that they slumbered and woke no more after one grog too many, is a typical chance on nothing – the Black population needs some purge, population census is becoming herculean. Few blokes will rise above the waters, they will be careful not to tilt at windmills – will they not say that life was initially unfair to them until they took it as an opportunity not an obligation? Will they now pretend that there is no trunk load of beauty in the hustle? Even the rich admire and envy those sweats of the indigent who rose.

Once upon a time, a man must need peace of mind. He will do everything to quell his demons birthed from ancient strings of harp. He will want to be loved and if he is a believer, he will call God his song – but once disillusioned, he will chase the dreamy lilies originally created by his Maker to satisfy his inner conflicts, inner desires, the urges of his phallus (simply, a companionship; the maze of a woman, the detailed rubric, “the necessary evil”).

I chanced on someone; I chanced on nothing…I chanced on nothing, I chanced on someone. Let me pretend Blood not to drag the LOL when you say a quick swallow of chill pills as due relievers are but signs of weakness. There is only need to concur with the definition of “something” if it includes the scribbles ‘something is to chance on someone who leaves no concrete chemistry burning in your bloodstreams and teaching no prospective lessons upon a withdrawal; thus, to chance at nothing’. Feelings are like brown stains on white panties; they are pellucid and could be polygamous in number. I pledged days to the star bottle with wished-for vegetables, and the mockers of my subconscious whispered to my inebriated self, the nothingness so much cuddled by various interpretations of the concept of love by diverse paramours, gigolos, hookers, broken-hearted, hen-hearted, gay, virtuous, and the free-thinkers. Of truth, not all throw caution out to the wind. The serial lovers chose impression and the broken-hearted snuggled the concept of expression. So what happens when two blokes chase a dreamy signora embracing the latter concept, expression, and one is easy on the eyes of the res (the dreamy damsel) on grounds of preference and supposed convenience, what becomes of the paramour whose deepness in expressions were rejected like Cain’s burnt offering? I suggest he applies spirit on his wounds and go for a booze – love is a game; good boys do not make history (if he was the innocuous of the two), they re-write them but at such inopportune time like a second life in the promised paradise.

 Forget the hurts, they are most times the ripple effects of so much cognition; if led by whatever demon to persist and crash the more, it is still nothing. I know, love is warped – everything is. I can only hope to remain light-headed – I even look good with my dreamy eyes.

[RUSTLES SOFTLY]

[EXUANT]
MR OBEEZY

Posted in poetry

NO RECOVERY

I thought my words were like emollient in your heart,

An arrester of your heart’s hubbubs,

The cream paints on your blank walls.


I thought your bland smile was proof my message had a soul

My confessions flowed like cascade,

I may have felt you saw my cues from the every tossing of your head

With your tress thrown back.

Vixen O my bobby-dazzler! Please don’t let you go.

If you go, I just may perish

Let me die a jailbird in your warm arms

Passion and deep passion of you remain my vices

To say I don’t cherish this kismet would be lies.


But you still loved another

My words came alive but you were dead to the letter

The walls whisper you mourn my tears with locked lips in your lover’s

My heart shreds to crumbs; I hear ravenous dogs now eat them.

Mr Obeezy

Posted in love, Uncategorized

SOPHISTIC8D

I separate my head from hands and fix my heart on my letter. I listen to my heart’s troubles, fancies, fantasies, weaknesses, and issues. How I have admired my bandy legs for having my height limited like a data plan. I reflect at a height close to the earth in terms of distance, I see the creeping things that the tall man wouldn’t. A lot of heat from the ground leaving the superstition that a curse of the black man has come, remains as an untruth; except the curse hurls into the air at a distance favourable to the tall man’s nostrils. I do not pretend that the ground does not reek of overdue wastes but my intuitions are telling me that there is still hope. The mental picture that clouds me at wee hours remain a revelation where the air is fouled with retrogression that the entire black community spit on the ground – many spitting on the sewage, others trading fists when someone else’s spit reaches their foot. One blame on another; recent events, all blames on our black existence.

My country has accommodated me for two decades and more – some since civil war, some in thirties, a large chunk before her independence. I LIKE TO THINK that where I hail from promises the sweetest things life can offer continents of the world. Inasmuch as hypocrisy, corruption, a splintered system, and poor orientation cripples my fatherland; the pyramid of good hearts, smart and beautiful people that I see and keep leaves me daydreaming. Mitchel said the black brain can’t be toiled with i disagree manchi! and there is ever truths in it as world records have proved that already. I told my small circle that we suffer lack of visionaries. Oh easy to say! Mr possible could not have been wrong to say that what belies us is an influence of a mammoth juju. But where we choose to live by the words the past is history, tomorrow is mystery, then 2018 may work if we have a credo that given the scars our country endures, our image remains in ruins individually. Hence, we could speak into the coming year; work on self-development to avoid being like the vapid victims of hey bro you came out too early!

We are where we are because our leaders are filthy! – Why say things like this if there is no intention to pick a problem identified and seek solutions? “The young shall grow” is for 2017, “the old can relax” is next level. I see a sumptuous 2018 where the black youths stand up for something, remember the struggles  of our forefathers, and revamp the society with voices and action. Being indigent does not necessarily mean your brain is not sophisticated; it is not our fault we are poor by default, but it will be if we do not change the status quo. HOW? is what should linger in our hearts. I saw the feed challenge and more – it tells some people have found how in their little way. I told Favour about the relevance of a visionary – ideas are found in books and we can start next year by proving those who said a black man never reads, wrong. WE CAN’T LEAD WHEN WE DON’T READ – oh of course I am taking notes from my few words.
Poco-a-poco it is. As Possible aired, if you cannot fly, run. If you cannot run, just keep walking. Whichever way, keep moving. It only gets better. I pray it gets better next year for us all. Primary priorities should be productivity and not a hungry pursuit over public attention.If we live in a mask one time too many, we never know what our face looks like — a priority of self discovery pays better than heaping faults on a brother’s head. Tonight should be a reflection from January; are we happy with ourselves? Nigeria needs clean hands and bright heads to make her the true giant of Africa. A dead child is better than a lost child because the heart remains in uncertainty as to the missing child’s whereabouts. But there is always joy in a mother when she finds her lost child. The burden is on us. A food for me; share in my thoughts.

OKOCHA OBED

Posted in #law, controversial

THE BITTER TRUTHS; A WALK INTO FIRDAUS’ CONTROVERSY

“I submit that an individual who breaks a law  that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

                    —   MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.

There is always that appointed time when rules should be challenged. In the event that the rules birth injustice, then the best way to militate against such extant legislation is by civil disobedience. If there is one scribble worth penning, it remains the applauding activism of a moslem – Amasa Firdaus. It is no longer news that Firdaus, a law graduate from the University of Ilorin, was denied entry into the International Conference Centre situate at Abuja on the 13th day of December. The event was one that law students crave to witness as it is their call to bar ceremony – without which they would at no cost be addressed as lawyers. She wore her Hijab as against the rules and refused to take it off; she went against the body of benchers that Wednesday. The bitter truth is that she did not err. Ratiocinations infra will give reasons why.

This writer is not unaware of the fact that the legal Practitioners Act provided for the Body of Benchers; and that this body has provided the code of conduct for law school, is not strange music to the ear of this writer. A close perusal of the Code of Conduct, however, seems to be silent on what a law student is expected to wear during the ceremony. Arguments that convention could suffice is not one this writer has a grouse with. But in the event that an age-long convention kicks the scrotum of the grund norm, then we need only commonsense to understand the urgent need to stop the kicks before it becomes a matter of orchiectomy. Arguments in favour of the Body of Benchers have flown up in the air like the green witch with her mop stick, and having gulped the creaminess of their arguments, there had been due cause to sick out all of it because it is malapropos to devour the succulent orange and chew its green clothing. So the question remains, what age long convention deserved no kneels? A convention that says muslims should not wear Hijab on their call to bar ceremony suffers any good reason. Many based arguments on Section 10 CFRN, 1999 and this writer has cried a million times.

Section 10 CFRN, 1999 provides that “the Government of the Federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.” How this proviso becomes necessary to her struggle is amazing. Whether her act was for the struggle to Islamize Nigeria is not one that can be intelligibly confirmed as accurate. It is far-reaching to arrive at such conclusion even, as we would need to first become gifted with the vision of Teresias or experts at phrenology. If arguments having the above section were raised to appreciate a singular reason that the legal profession is not a slave to any religion being that it is secular, then it should be stressed that such a position is not novel. What becomes novel is tying it to the Hijab controversy. Is it to be believed that the convention that muslims wear no Hijab to their call to bar ceremony is to reflect secularity of the noble profession? Whoever thought of such ludicrous pooh pooh idea may have read the Constitution with a bleary eye to have skipped Section 38 CFRN, 1999. Before throwing my legs into the haven the latter section promises, it is not unnecessary to say that the conventional tradition should not be given safe landing into 2018 for few reasons: 1. If the law allows for female moslems to wear Hijab to law lectures at tertiary institutions, law school, dinners, then on what premise should the Hijab not be worn on their ceremony day? 2. Since female moslem lawyers wear Hijabs to court after their call to bar ceremony, there is logically no sense in depriving same moslems from wearing same during their ceremony day.

It has become necessary to have the black prints of section 38 (1) cfrn, 1999. It has that “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” This writer does not feign ignorance at the popular saying that all rights are not absolute – its qualification will be turned to in other paragraphs. If we are to marry the action of Amasa Firdaus to the wording of the section (supra), we may have to nod approvingly when said that her refusal to take off her Hijab was for no other reason than her devoutness to the Nigerian Constitution and the Holy Quran. The constitution said in section 10 that Nigeria shall remain a secular state and because it recognizes the diverse religions in Nigeria, it safeguards their existence to avoid extinction of beliefs of Nigerian people. A thorough reading of the above proviso shows that the constitution allows for freedom of religion, freedom to practice same in public places, freedom to manifest and propagate religion, right to observe it. What this means is that a Christian is free to practice Christianity, and a moslem is free to do same. In public places include universities, law school, market places, and malls, social gatherings, to mention a few.

It may not be known to many but the muslim faith is such that a female muslim who is a believer should not display her beauty and ornaments except in the presence of her parents, husband, children, fellow women in the faith, family, slaves whom their right hand possesses. This is the summary of the 30th and 31st verse of the 24th chapter of the Holy Quran. Why it is to be observed diligently is because the veil is a symbol of dressing modestly as was expressly stressed in the same chapter of the Holy Quran. Why it cannot be departed from is because the prayer offered at the completion of the recitation of the Holy Quran is one that each muslim lives by or aims to live by. It provides as follows:

“O Allah have mercy on me with (the blessings) of the Great Qur’an. Make it for me a Model, Light, Guidance and Mercy. O my Allah remind me whatever I have forgotten of it and teach me what I do not know of it. Grant me its recitation in the watches of the night and in the hours of day. O lord of the worlds make it an Authority for me for my benefit. Amen.”

The ending lines of the prayer has the word ‘authority’ ,hence the reason why a veil cannot be done away with except for reasons that will be highlighted later on. It will matter to drop two decided cases that favours the Hijab controversy – in as much as the cases were not dwelling on the conventional attire for the bar ceremony, its holding covers the field nonetheless. The unreported case of THE PROVOST, KWARA STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, ILORIN&2 ORS V. BASHIRAT SALIU, only serves as a troubleshooter to every verbal ruckus as far as a veil is concerned. According to Massoud Abdul Rahman Oredola JCA, in the case supra, “The right of the respondents to wear their HIJAB veil within the school campus and INDEED ANYWHERE else is adequately protected under our laws. Human rights recognizes [sic] and protects religious rights. S.38 of the 1999 CFRN guaranteed freedom of religion to all and sundry. Thus things that lawfully constitute OPEN MANIFESTATION, PROPAGATION, WORSHIP, TEACHING, PRACTICE and OBSERVANCE of the said religion are equally and by extension similarly guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. Indeed the Hijab, Niqab or Burqa, being part of Islamic code of dressing and by whatever standard a dignified or vividly decent one cannot be taken away by any other than the constitution.” This case supports what has been said in the above paragraphs. A case that adopted the ruling above was Sheikh Oyinwola & ors v. The Gov of Osun State.

Having agreed that Section 38(1) has its qualifications, it is good the part of the constitution that so limits the right of religion be underscored. Reading Section 45(1)(a)&(b)cfrn, 1999, it will be gleaned from its wordings that “Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of the constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society – (a) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or (b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.” What must not be done is to commence the reading of this section with the aim of stopping at reasonably justifiable in a democratic society since what follows it stands as the yardstick upon which the justifiability should be tested – in other words, a & b shows specificity of the constitution. Where veil was not allowed temporarily in the country was during the high rise of the Boko Haram insurgency where the insurgents wrapped their ugly heads around a black scarf to perpetrate dark-hearted crimes – this is a typical example of interest of defence. The wearing of veil signifies modesty and as such does not offend public morality which preaches decency; it also does not offend public order which preaches moderation. Until we start seeing or hearing of the necessity for muslims to give up on the wearing of HIJAB because of health concerns, the right to wearing veils by moslem sisters is well within the law and cannot be broken by a convention that was inspired by legal superstition and excessive symbolism unknown to first world countries. Submitted therefore is that this section does not throw stones at the tinted glass of moslems wearing a black scarf.

Arguments that have entered many nostrils which obviously reek of spoilt stew are that if reverend sisters can do away with their white veil and attend the ceremony, Amasa Firdaus has no claim. Some have gone as far as duplicating banters that if Hijab will be allowed then traditional worshippers should dress in their regalia to the ceremony. These arguments are faulty to the extent that it hangs in one corner arousing a religious war that was most definitely not envisaged by Amasa Firdaus. This writer is not oblivious of the fact that nuns wear veil as a symbol of consecration to God and as a reflection of being abstemious. This writer is not also unaware of the truth that many churches have given up on hair covering as some reasoned that ‘a spiritual shift’ occurred. As Femi once said, “you cannot force your opinion down my throat”, it needs be meteorically watered here that the Faith of the nuns is sacral and ever respected, and so is the Moslem Faith – by implication, none of these faiths can be used as a measuring tube for either of them or any other religion in Nigeria. That said, it should be penned also that those arguing for traditional religions should please go ahead to bring authorities that imprints attires ‘they’ are to wear publicly, everywhere and anywhere. Firdaus Amasa’s action merely challenged a rule that did not sink well with her religion; it does not mean she expects Islam to be superior to all others; rather she wants that the constitution be complied with – this does not affect the secularity of the law. For the love of knowledge, the stats of 2016 records that 0.8% form people of other religion in Nigeria which makes it inconsequential if placed side by side with the 47.3% practitioners of Islam, the 30% protestants, 10.0% Catholics, unspecified Christians of 10.8%, and 0.5% other Christians. Idol worshippers are fast becoming Islamized or birthed into Christendom; some others that find it difficult to adjust to Islam and Christianity embraces paganism – if the mental picture drawn here as regards other religion appear as jargons, then treat as by the way.

The spate occurrence that has witnessed Nigeria drink from the copy and paste bowl of the British is one tightly glued to a rigid and familiar love-hate admiration of ancient thralldom. We have virtually embraced every aspect of the British legal orientation like faithful sheep eager to feed from the accommodating palms of a shepherd. On the matter of dress code, Rule 6(b) of the Rule of Professional Conduct for the legal profession here in Nigeria provides inter alia that while the court is in session, a lawyer should not assume an undignified posture and should not remove his wig without the judge’s permission – this is to avoid unnecessary attention to oneself. It is no news that we swallowed as pills the manner of dressing used in England and though this writer is not against a wig and gown, does it not trouble a sane mind that even founders of the age-long practice are giving up on it and allowing the wig and gown only in criminal cases – the reason is fair, the lawyers choose to maintain an unidentifiable identity during top profile criminal cases. Now, the Nigerian Law School Code of Conduct provided for dress code only during the stay in Law School. It did not provide for penalties when dress codes are not met yet Firdaus Amasa was given a kick too hard at the discretion of body of benchers not eager to hear her twists and resolutions. She wore her Hijab and had a wig on her head. It remains two thoughts, are conventions older and weightier than provisions of the constitution? Or are Hijabs too filthy on such a ceremony?

The second question is easy to answer. Of course it knows no filth except unwashed for months – still, this is no yardstick to continue in such convention limpidly lacking merit. To the former question, we keep being choked with cold belabour that rules are rules. Who says rules are not meant to be broken. Intelligibly, she resorted to the constitution and made a valid claim. The grund norm beats any other legislation, talk less of a worn-out convention in need of grease, and as such that convention must lick the sacral feet of the law of our land vide Sections 1(3) cfrn which has that a law inconsistent with the constitution shall be null and void to the level of its inconsistency.

This is not a time to becloud our heads with sentiments. This is not a time to begin to trade religious insults as this remains a struggle for justice and not supremacy of a religion. Firdaus broke no law, she civilly disobeyed and we now water down her intrepidity equating her status to a raca or an unwise youth. She spoke the bitter truth; the body of benchers did not listen.

 OKOCHA OBED

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in #law

AN OPEN LETTER TO FAMAKS BRITISH SCHOOLS CONCERNING NON-PAYMENT OF ACADEMIC AND NON-ACADEMIC STAFF FOR SIX MONTHS

It is no news that the air is fouled. As a matter of fact, the foul in the air is attributed to many agents of duskiness. I write to you because you have thankfully been discovered as one of the agents injecting the space with supernumeraries of sins; if today you will receive your miracle, do not forget to testify in your place of worship, and lex vobiscum (may the law be with you).

First and foremost, I must have you reminded that the gentle tone of this letter should not be equated to hush tones or read with bleary eyes – the reason cannot be overemphasized. Having mapped out the exact biome your contagious iniquity resides, it took the grace of God to adopt the etiquettes of a Pharaoh and the tailoring of my ink to discard insulting or bilious commentaries.

Trending today is how teachers remain unpaid, or frustratingly paid a lesser sum initially bargained or a salary legally verboten. I do not pretend to be unaware of the fact that your hands are clean as regards the latter which deals with the legally prescribed floor price any worker should be entitled to (vide Sections 1&3 of the National Minimum Wage Act which frowns at wages below N5, 500 being paid to any worker). But you would agree with me that from the doormat of your home, what reeks forth is the unrepentant delay in paying many of your staff. 

Mr Director, you boast of a very big school in Abuja – particularly, Asokoro. Your school accommodates students and pupils (even Special Needs students); your school fees vary from N430, 000 to other gigantic figures per term. No, I refuse to soak down the pith of plenty that I am against how you bill these rich parents – hence; I do not belittle your standard. What is as the throbbing core is that since last year, you have regularized not the payment of staff. Last year, although you ended up paying every teacher, it had them go one or two months without a penny – this, owing to your promises, delays, and more promises. But this year, the blotches of your iniquity have mixed with treachery. Without omitting even, the wails and laments of the school cleaners of your big school have their tears littered around the earth. The reason being that you have not paid them for “who knows how many months or years.” It is to these sins I assay reasonably and with all due respect.

From gathered facts, a vast majority of teachers at both primary and secondary level got paid for six months i.e. teachers received salary for the first three months of this year, and received salary again for the ninth, tenth and eleventh month of this year. My concern is that you collect a fee so large from the men of means but consider it a big problem to pay up what you owe. It is shameful that private schools are set up every now and then with very attractive designs and appealing mottos but many prefers to use labourers like the slaves of ancient Egypt. The reward of labour is wages. Yet you now let the hardwork of all your teachers become insignificant, and make their every deserved wages come with a belabour of “abeg, abeg” – the Christians amongst them end up giving testimonies whenever their bank account is watered infinitesimally small amidst the drought. This is just disturbing.

These days, I have come to understand that villains enjoy the lamentations of the oppressed. If your refusal to pay salaries for about five months this year is one you choose to term “inadvertent”, then I wonder if you do not only think your workers, slaves; but think them as half-witted living things. The law is curious on your case and it was for abnormalities of this sort that THE LABOUR ACT went ahead to make provisions to govern this discourse. 

The P.T.A meetings spearheaded by your office have brought forth sleepless nights and head-aching expectations; all to abortive ends really. Inasmuch as I do not expressly conclude that you may be senile, I feel it necessary to reproduce Section 1 of the LABOUR ACT, which provides inter alia that the wages of a worker shall on all contracts be made payable in legal tender and not otherwise. The import of this therefore is that after a teacher has fulfilled his/her end of the contract, naira should get to his/her purse. What otherwise portends is that there should be no room for promises in the place of salaries – promises are never a reasonable or plausible money worth for a teacher’s reward after a month’s labour. 

I talked about the irregularities of paying your staff from last year till now. All will agree, hopefully a morsel of your conscience, that it is morally reprehensible for payment of staff to come later than bargained or agreed. The law enforces every moral concern in Section 7(1)(a)(b)(c)&(f) LABOUR ACT. Of interest is Section 7(1)(f) which has that “not later than three months after the beginning of a worker’s period of enjoyment with an employer, the employer shall give to the worker a written statement specifying the rates of wages and methods of calculation thereof and the manner and periodicity of payment of wages”. Having gone through appointment letters, it is unveiled that this proviso was duly complied with and the periodicity of wages, fixed on a monthly basis. The law again considers it an unfair bargain if after the written statement of this sort (supra) has been agreed upon, a fresh written statement is drawn up subsequently to destroy the earlier salary arrangements vide Section 7(6) LABOUR ACT. Good it is that no subsequent null and void written statements were drawn up, so go ahead and fulfil the stipulations in the contract.

Dear Director, it has become legally paramount to imprint the area of the ACT that treats this unrepentant aspect of you not paying up as at when due but preferring to be on their daily prayers and curses. Section 15 LA provides that wages shall become due and payable at the end of each period for which the contract is expressed to subsist, that is to say, daily, weekly, or at such later period as may be agreed upon: provided that, where the period is more than one month, the wages shall become due and payable at intervals not exceeding one month. Distillable from it therefore is the fact that since you agreed a monthly salary with every of your employee, it only sits well with commonsense and due diligence, that you pay all staff at the end of every month. But you have failed woefully in this regard. 

Inasmuch as God will rain a deserved comeuppance on you, the law will not cross her legs on a sofa, and swallow these disturbing smudge you have under your armpit. The teachers can bear the stress of standing and teaching children for hours to make them potential saviours of the retrograding black race. But how can it be understood that they are to embark on a sojourn for five months without water or food. It never speaks well to treat your workers as refuse; teachers deserve to be paid when the salary date is due.

If there is a problem of delayed school fees, it is well within the bounds of business that a change in the salary circle be effected so as to cure losses generally. I do not write to coach you on the best policy to adopt to see that every staff (cleaners inclusive) get their wages — if that was the case, a fee would have been attached as no knowledge is cheap neither free. I write to adjure that inasmuch as God rewards men that ridicules his people, the time of the law is soothingly effective and handy. I will be watching and further reactions stemming from actions and inactions will determine to what level this afoul condition will be so taken. One word at a time, it is up to you to see it indeed makes a difference.

A LEGAL WATCHMAN,

OKOCHA OBED.