Learning to breathe

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The Resistance

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.                          – CS Lewis (from ‘The Weight of Glory’)


    So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. –James 4:7

Jesus was the ultimate iconoclast; he was rude to religious leaders and treated whores with respect. He was born like most people. He was ordinary and unmajestic in human flesh, wasn’t wealthy by any standards, had no names to drop, no elbows to rub. He was Mary’s boy and James’ brother, a carpenter, a teacher, a friend. He had no car, bike and travelled everywhere on foot. Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 years and when he died in his early thirties, he had no army to champion his cause except for the simple fishermen, commoners and outcasts he spent his time with. Yet his message  grew outlasting empires, dynasties, wars, revolutions, nations. Today Jesus is known all over the world. 3 years. Today on my way back from work, I found myself wondering about my countrymen and why Nigerians are called some of the “happiest” people in the world.

Are we really happy or are we just desensitized?

There is so much life to be lived and we are content with our own cube of earth. We’re fine as long as we’re “convenient”. We’re okay as long as it’s not our relative that gets hacked to death by extremists. Everything is dandy as long as we have our clothes, nice jobs, girlfriends/boyfriends and other pretty things. The corruption, terrorism, fraud is none of our business as long as it doesn’t affect us. I say “us” because I am just as guilty as everyone else. As long as I get to wear my favorite pair of jeans everyday and sing “Halleluyah! God is good” on Sundays I’m fine.

But am I really?

The Jesus that I serve turned the Middle East upside down in 3 years and even after his death, people were (and are) still messed up by the message he brought. I cannot begin to think of where I would be if Jesus had been content with his carpenter pay and being Mary’s boy. What Nigeria needs is a revolution, not religion. We need hearts that can still break not desensitization. We need people who will stand up for something other than themselves, people who will stand up for something greater; our country. We need people to be tired of Nigeria being one of the largest exporters of “convicted felons” to the US. We need to stop inviting the devil to dinner and start resisting him like James 4:7 implores.

Since June this year, a number of people have joined in to pray for Nigeria on the 15th of every month for 10 minutes. And everyday since that first day in June, they have chosen to be the resistance, the rebels, the insurgents fighting  against desensitization, fighting to wake up inside. Will you join us to fight for a truly happy Nigeria? Join  the virtual community, Nehemiah Prayermobs, on Twitter and Facebook.

The resistance is growing.

nehemiah project prayermobs


Full Moon Fever

I was quiet till we got home. Sunmade kept looking at me and asking if I was okay. “I’m fine just tired” I kept saying.

I am in the bathroom now. The water is more than lukewarm and I see steam rising from my skin. For some time, I just stand in the shower. I am hoping I can steam away the gloom that has settled on me.

Tiwa is back. Tiwa is back. Tiwa is back.

I hate myself for the feelings that are stirring in my heart. I am starting to think wishfully again.

No. I will forget about him. I have lived without him for six years, remembering him occasionally. I can live without him for the rest of my life.

I turn the water off and step gingerly out of the bathroom.

Sunmade is still up. He is looking at me.

“You feel better now?”


“You did good today.”

I smile weakly and shuffle to him.

“Thank you.”

“You did look a bit distracted.”

“I was hungry. Don’t bother, I already ate some sandwiches.”

“Okay.” He gathers me into his arms.

Soon, he will fall asleep and leave me to my thoughts.
As soon as I hear him breathing more easily, evenly, I slip out of his arms and tiptoe to the kitchen. The furniture in the living room is a bit dusty, I make a mental note to call the housekeeper in the morning.

It is 10.30

I help myself to some microwaved left over pizza and watch the news.

Boko Haram looks for new members.

Boko Haram plans to bomb Sokoto.

Man rapes friend’s daughter and murders her.

I feel sick. Thankfully, I have had enough pizza. I turn the television off then step out to the balcony.

Its a full moon tonight.

The sky is blue.

I am a woman.

I am Sunmade’s wife.

I am pregnant.

I am crying.


The shoot was a success, dinner is in the process of becoming. My husband will be home any moment from now.


I cut the Soko leaves into even threads of green. Then I chop the onions into cubes, the Pomo goes next. I attend to the stock fish while the chicken cooks.

My blackberry beeps. Then vibrates twice. I know it is Amaka. After being friends with her for years, I still do not understand her compulsive desire to do everything twice or in twos as the need arises. Amaka is always in a hurry to do everything too. I remember the time she asked if I ever abbreviated my words. I simply told her I did not think in abbreviations hence the need to type and write in full. She burst out laughing. I was entirely embarrassed. We were in the middle of a movie at the cinemas.

I set about starting the soup. Just then, I remember to take off my wedding ring and I place it carefully on the counter. Taking my wedding band off reminds me of my first year at university when a certain Deji Isikalu would come visiting everyday.


I basked in his attention and affection. Deji promised planets and comets. Shooting stars too. Then finally marriage.
In my naiveté, no, stupidity, I gave in to his demands for proof of my love for him.

We’d barely known each other a month.

I found out two days later, thanks to the ring he forgot to remove, that he was married. Newly wedded in fact. Then I deleted his number from my phone wanting to have nothing to do with a man deficient of the most common type of self esteem.
I felt more pity for his wife than myself. She was more a victim than I was. I nursed my grieving heart with large doses of tears and chocolate.

Dark, rich chocolate.

And of course, Amaka was there to remind me that he was “a piece of two-timing shit” and something so mean I forgot it the minute she said it. A smile claimed my lips.
Did I?

I pour palm oil into the waiting pot then stir in the onions. The tomato paste goes in next, ground pepper, seasoning, a little water, fish, pomo. Simmer.
iru, then I stir. I allow it cook some more. The soko leaves go in last after I treat them in hot water and salt.

My husband, Sunmade, is back. I hear the sound of the car door slamming, then the familiar click-clack of his feet, the main door closes.

“Baby! I’m home”


I turn around and slide into waiting arms. Then plant a welcome kiss on his lips.

“How was your day, love?”

“It was long! Those ambassadors from Spain were just doing anyhow…”

He helps himself to a glass of water. Sighs. Drinks some more water.

“I won’t be at the office tomorrow; protesters have occupied the roads. With the way things are going, the government will have to listen to the masses. They want it at sixty-five naira or nothing. And to be honest I do too. Those scammers have been getting away with their shit too long. How was the shoot?”

The soup is ready.

“Great! George says hi.”

“How is he?”

“Happy. He did cover for Eclectic mag”

“Nice one. Lucky guy.”

I dish Sunmade’s food. Thankfully, I prepared the semovita before the soup.

“How’s my army doing in there?”

“You flatter yourself so!” I laugh. “There only one youngster in here.”

I push past him, carrying his meal into the dining.

“There’s an army there jor! Do well oh.” He follows. “Where’s your own food?”

“I’m not hungry.” I lie.

“Omo, sit down here and eat with me.”

He sits and pulls my chair closer to his.

I slip my ring back on. Some things really are worth living for.

Glass Thoughts

Its an early harmattan-ish morning. My husband is at work already. He works for the government you see and he always leaves for work before I wake up.
Its 6.30 now. 6.31 actually. I don’t want to get out of bed just yet so I settle more comfortably under the duvet.

I am pregnant with my first child. 2 months gone. My husband teases me about how flat my belly is. I still wonder if he thinks I’m carrying more than one fetus. I chuckle and stretch.

Thoughts of the ongoing protests flash through my mind. Its only the third day but 16 people have died. An awful lot. I wonder what is going through the president’s mind. The other day on the news, a being so pale, he looked translucent, reduced the frustration the people felt to ‘wanting cheap fuel’. I gagged. I am reluctant to turn the television on again. At least not this morning.

Nausea washes over me as I make to get out of bed. I settle back in.

I am not an activist but I hate the look of frustration I see on Jamal’s face when he asks for an increase in his salary from my husband. I am not poor but I am reluctant to pay double the amount I pay for the same amount of groceries. I am not a saint but I despise the president for submitting so easily to evil. Becoming a puppet.

There is good somewhere in this country, buried beneath layers of corruption and obese injustice. I know there is.

My alarm finally goes off. I have a photoshoot in four hours, thirty minutes.

My name is Orin by the way. My surname? You need not know. Be content.

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