Saturday, 5 January 2013


The scar on our fathers only tells the Nigerian stories of yesteryears. The aggressiveness of the Igbo clan are residues from a lost war that claimed loved ones through explosives or starvation . The endless quest for power and the monopoly of it by the Northern tribe dates back from before, where its premier leaders where murdered by my own tribes men who were likened to the Hebrews in Egypt,with the fear that the Easterners would be domineering. They were like ants that ran from the woods to the city. Why shouldn't they be? When only 20pounds was what they found in their accounts which they left fat right before d war broke. We were betrayed by the Western leaders and their people who dived into wealth when my people were being bombarded, their backs were turned at the break of d war after promises that the West was going to be our supporters and part of our 'new country' and against our 'enermy', little did we know that the same words will be used against us. We are aggressive because every subtle ways we once knew, we have now lost, we are domineering because about a million of our men and women and children were lost in a futile war. Our ears are deafened from the sounds of airplanes, gunshots and cries at the loss of a loved one. The pictures of d war, I saw through my fathers eyes, through those who lived and wrote about it. The memories, I have now inherited and my Igbo generation, the dividend of a faulty beginning.


                                                                   Inspired by Biafra
                                                                         Jd Ugwu

Friday, 27 April 2012

my blood type is GREEN WHITE GREEN

Warri was the town I grew with grandmother, it was my little London where I thought everything was perfect..then I used to think that the smoky taste of grandmother’s soup was a regular flavor that came with every food cooked on firewood and I wondered why we had to use the Smoky oil lamp when our neighbor’s house was lit up with candle. Grandma said candle was a luxury and kerosene stove, she couldn’t afford. I once told a friend..this is the Nigeria I was born into, I once never believed there was anything like a constant electricity in other countries until I read about it, I never knew water could run through a tap until I came to the city, I live in a wonderful country, I’m careful not to say great nor perfect. Sincerely, I cannot think of anything to say that I’m justifiably proud of but many shameful mistakes of which our government has still not learnt from. I have watched Nigeria’s struggle in poverty, in terrorism, in leadership, in education, and the list is endless. I want to cry for the image I had as a child which as I grew, grew with me because there are a lot people just like my grandmother and I who never knew there was a better life asides the one we were born into, but I also know that it is good when we no longer see things as we want them to be but as they are and were. I previously wrote about The Fighting Chance which is a plea to those who think it is all right to prey on the young, vulnerable and poor for their own needs. Isn’t it time to banish poverty, lack of healthcare, homelessness and injustice? Isn’t it time to allow people to protect their earnings and their ability to earn a living, to protect jobs and create more? Isn’t it time for them to stop throwing money into their personal accounts and start repairing our nation's infrastructure? Isn’t it time to begin increasing the quality and availability of a good education and lowering the burden for students and parents? Isn’t it time for compassion and common sense? The time is come for each of us, no matter the age, gender, income, color or level of education, to have our say! We are the life's blood of Nigeria. Without us, there is no one for the power mongers to oppress, cheat or hurt. It is no longer just a matter of OUR rights but more a matter of WHAT'S right ! we shall fight cos our blood type is green white green!
Should I hold a mirror to our nation and hope that she sees the truth in her reflected image or should I chain myself to the Aso Rock’s fence just so I can be heard?  We are encouraged by subtle threats to keep silent and for decades we have..but the time is come for us to talk, to write about it, to pray about it and it seems to upset many people. Well.. the“cans of worms” is opened, but instead of warms, it is releasing a bunch of gray tigers.. and we are after the people who took our cubs.
If your blood flows green and white, if you’ve got Nigeria crested in your heart, if you haven’t yet lost all hope, Plant a seed for the good life, for an environment of true freedom, where with rights comes responsibilities to each other and our world and where everyone is free from any kind of oppression, be it physical, financial, spiritual. Plant your seed for freedom from ignorance, want and hunger. Plant your seed, tend your row and don’t let the assholes win!

my blood type is GREEN WHITE GREEN

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Same script..different cast

Her soul sags with exhaustion, her zip loosens slowly as a tear shed from each eye..Why do they force her to smile when her heart bleeds as they wrongly interpret the look on her oval face? She wishes they’ll really mean it when they ask ‘how are you’, she puts her hands over her mouth to reduce her scream as she shivers to her knees, she turns up the radio volume when the music plays, just so no one can hear her yell. She longs to hear a different knock at her door asides that of her landlord’s. Shes got pretty sofas and colorful drapes but asides herself, no one else knows how beautiful they are.
*                   *              *             *           *            *               *                *   
He’s been away for so long as you wonder how much more loneliness you can take, you are almost losing your mind. you fill your heart with the memories of his last visit, his last touch, his last kiss on your lips, his whispers in  your ears still resounds and now you relish his bad morning breath, one you couldn’t once bear, you cannot but bear the truth that waiting for him is like a drop of rain in the desert.
*                   *              *             *           *            *               *                *   
You look lost as you watch the empty swing swaying back and forth at your backyard cos you are that sad wife that commends her husband for his faithfulness . .you got a room all painted in bright colors at your pent house hoping someday the cry of your baby would be like sweet music to your ears.
*                   *              *             *           *            *               *                   *   
You’ve been loving him for two years and counting..and you wonder when he’ll put the ring on it, you have given him everything, your soul, your body, your money and what has he given? You ask yourself often and often..why am I still with his sorry ass’’ but walking out that door is a bold step you don’t yet have the courage to want him to bring it? Why would he when he gets everything for free? why should he buy a cow and you’ve been giving him the meat for free..these burning words from your sister on her last visit still resounds in your ears..
*                   *              *             *           *            *               *                   *   
You’ve been hurt one too many times and atlas, you have placed a bullet proved door at the gates of your heart. You scrutinize them thoroughly and have a NO GO sign at d top of your head. Your father’s prophesies and your mother’s rants about how all her friends will tie red george wrapper and gold blouse to the wedding makes you believe they are crazy, in fact, you are certain they are cos you know you got no man, your heart skips at the next wedding invite you receive and you’ve just done you last maid of honor and bride’s maid duties for the last time for a lifetime.
*                   *              *             *           *            *               *                   *  
You want to smile cos your heart bleeds no more, you’ve had one too many visitors and your sofa doesn’t look as new anymore and the music has never been as loud as your laughter, though your landlord’s knock is still the hardest at your door, you only feel sorry for his fist cos the bullet proved door once at your heart has now been relocated to your door step. You have them too many baby girls already and now as it seems your wish list is endless , you want a boy, and you bet the recent morning sickness you’ve been having is a sign that the boy’ is one the way.
This time the waiting ended, he dint come home but you went home……
You finally got the bold steps to walk through those doors, cos still, you never got the ring but then, you realized how stupid you had been…
Just as you’ve always dreamt, it was on a weird sunset Tuesday, on a garden filled with fire lamps and scented candles, in midst of loved ones, ofcourse, with the head gears of your mother's friends causing so much distraction, their red george wrapper and gold blouse is a total contrast to your theme color, but under that scenery, did you tie the knot with the soul that mates your heart.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

My Weight Loss my plus size sisters

I saw my changing faces through the mirror, I watched me change as my story changed.
Mama used to tell me ..when she was my age she never had big hips and wide stomach and my reply always was '' I am a 21st century child, I’m butter’, I bet u never had this luxury back in those days''

Once upon a time, I had a tiny waist line and broad shoulders that needed no shoulder pads, but I someday lost all that through pressures and depression, happiness, heart breaks and fear. My first job was right after college, I felt fabulous, working on the island and earning quite good, I could do whatever and eat whatever, I was hott, I had lunch dates and date nights, I took to chocolates and had them as regular gifts from so many prospective.. Lunch was always the high point of my day because the meal too was fabulous. I had some sort peace of mind up until the rainy days, things went bumpy at some point and through those times I took to eating. I blew! the growth was rapid, It got to me when everyone complained, my parents, Dad especially thought I was losing it, mum’s was a constant, I felt so embarrassed when I saw an old friend who knew me in my slim days and shocked to see how big I had turned. I started from a size 8 to a size 10+ and when I grew to size 12, I thought it wasn’t so bad and before I knew it I was a confirmed size 14. I also had the toilet problem, I could stay for almost one week without the need to use the toilet, so imagine me eating all the rubbish and not going to toilet for one week, it was just crazy. I still had my pretty face but my body needed help, I was depressed, I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt, I couldn’t tell anyone I hated myself so I kept it all in and acted great from the outside. I thought body magic was the solution, i bought it and made sure i dint step out of my house each day without wearing it but it dint work, i was just living in denial. My hip was a massive 47, with chubby cheeks and drum stomach, I had had just enuf!!!

In November 2011, I made a resolution, I told God of my worries, I told Him I dint feel beautiful, that I lost my confidence, that I was regularly depressed and took to eating to feel better. I move my diet plans to January so I could at least indulge in all d Christmas goodies for d last time. I gave myself a target and Jan 1st 2012 I started..

My target:  from Size 80 to 65
Duration:  3months
How was I to accomplish this? I tried registering at a gym but I ran away when I heard d cost, It was damn too expensive. I had to think of an alternative, of a way that was cheap, drastic and crude.
I resolve to stop eating completely, I thought food brought be this dangerously far and I had had just enough, I stopped eating, I stayed to liquid, Rice was a NO NO!, I opted for wheat bread instead of the regular bread, I had biscuit and water instead of biscuit and beverage, I had green tea with no sugar or milk like 5 cups every day(so bitter), I had groundnuts regularly in my car, in my drawer at work and at home cos that became my quick snack when I was hungry and Lucozade sports for energy when I felt weak. Since I couldn’t afford a gym, I took long walks for about 1hour each for at least twice during the week after work and two hours during the weekends, this was equivalent to a tread mill which helped a great deal to tone down my muscles.

The change was instant, I watched my cheeks dropped, they sank in fast and my folded neck grew lean, by the end of February 2012, I was fab’ and proud. Today 1st March 2012, I weigh 68, my mission continues till March end to weigh 65.  Take notes of what kept me through.. 

Truth: I knew my major problem was food, and I cut it off completely without mercy! I kept my eyes on the price and kept to some rules that I must share with you.


If your weight bothers you that much, you need to acknowledge it as a problem and resolve to find a solution.

No pain no gain: To achieve, you need to make sacrifices, deprive yourself and cut down excesses.

What’s your target: You need to know your current weight and your expected weight, putting your height into consideration as well, because there’s an actual weight for the small, average and tall woman.

Be consistent: After you have gained that great figure, you need to stay in check, kill the love for food and realize you don’t have to eat everything in one day, if you are an emotional person like I am and you take to food when you have those mood swings, you need to have an alternative habit, something else that will excite you and take away your crave for food.

Once in a while when I want to give myself a treat, for example: if I feel like a hot dog in the evening, I deprive myself of food, I’ll stick to fruits and liquid just to have a yummy hot dog in the evening. You could do that as well, make sacrifices for that party you want to attend during the weekend so you can enjoy eating while others are eating as well but not throwing caution to the wind!!! or for that ice cream you’ve been craving, go almost quarter of your meals for d week so you can have a merry weekend of a reasonable portion ice cream.

Its achievable, it’s obtainable!!! Your body is Gods temple, so love it! Be you plus or tiny sized, if you’ve lost your self esteem just cause of how you look, talk to God, tell him your fears and desires, make up your mind for a change and stick to your plans.
If I did it, I bet you can!

Note: These steps I took might not be medically right and might not work for you but worked for me!


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

MAYBE TOMORROW, he'll be home

Travelling down empty road, one filled with despair
no turn off point for happiness
like the empty swing that rocks back and forth
the empty slide with no laughter filling the air
and the house, dead quiet as the night.
Maybe tomorrow..
wanting to disappear is a solution you have been entertaining,
been in a crowded room and the feeling still resides
you are the solitary figure that walks along the beach
with eyes that seem forever
always gazed towards the ground
Everything suddenly feels upside of down
like the inside of out, with worried look in the eye
you look out your window at the sign Faithcity''
you find no faith in your city only for the one you await
just wishing, maybe tomorrow, there might be laughter,
and the empty house will not seem so bare
because you miss him so much and its like you are insane..
maybe tomorrow and all will be alright.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

LAGOS, land of dreams

The alarm rang through my ears, opening my eyes to the harsh reality, that it’s yet another day, another day to join the hustles and bustles of Lagos.
I slipped out of my wrapper into the bathroom with sweat dripping down my neck, I felt the coolness as the shower rained down my head, as i washed myself with mind drifted back to the night....
The heat was so much I couldn’t sleep, we hadn’t had light in almost eight weeks, I tried  seeing with a candle while struggling with the charcoal prints on my shirt perfectly stamped from the locally made stove iron.
I laid on my bed and reflected back on how the journey through the day went, I felt stress and pain all over my bones. I laid, looking straight up the dark ceiling and drifted into sleep at about 12:35am.
Another slap of the water at my face, I jumped out of my reverie and dashed back into the room, the time was 4:25am, in another 20mins,I was back on the streets of Lagos.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Lagos, the land of dreams…We hope, pray, smile and cry.
The sky so clear, the sun so bright, from the suburb to the island,
 Lagos, a land to all, people of tribes, tongue, and race with an estimated  population of about 9million people.
The future seems so bleak for many who rise in hope at dawn only to drown in tears at dusk. Men and women, boys and girls, all going round but in circles, facing the harsh realities of life in a city, in this city called Lagos.

Iya Abeke, A woman from the down side Ajelogo in mile12, she lives with her six children in a cubicle built on top of water, a swampy mosquito infested area, where refuse is dumped, she lost her husband in an auto accident, life is so tough for her and has no option other than a shelter in d slum.
Waking up to the stench which is now a very familiar aroma, her children queue up to buy drinkable water, at least that can be afforded, and afterwards, stroll down the back of the house to fetch the swamp water for a bath. Life seems so hard, with the children falling sick and not been able to provide white medicine but herbs and other concussion.
Before 7am she sets her fire wood and frying pan out for her regular sale of Akara and Yam which is the only source of income for her bills to be paid. At sun down the children hawks pure water and come back at night to eat Yam and Akara which has been a usual menu since they can remember and probably till death.
With bright eyes shinning with hopes and a fighting spirit, Iya Abeke keeps hope alive.

Lamidi, is a graduate of Accounting, he’s been six years and counting on the streets of Lagos, he walks the length and breadth of Broad street, with a brown A4 envelope which contains his life most precious asset, his credentials. He dreams of been a chartered accountant someday, maybe working in one of this very tall buildings. He was brought up and has spent most of his life in Ibadan, heard news of greener pastures in Lagos, he squats with a  friend who squats with a distant relation, all with the hope of a better life in the city of dreams.
Lamidi was born into a family of eight, his father, a farmer and mother a petty trader in Ibadan. Coming to Lagos for Lamidi's parent was like a son traveling to the New York City. The harsh realities of Lagos and the unfriendly environment turns Lamidie’s hopes into dreams. He cant go back to Ibadan with nothing, so he hopes upon nothing, the Future seems so bleak.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

It was a regular Friday evening, I headed for the bus stop, the crowd was intimidating, no bus, I thought to myself, "not again", then a bus came speeding down the park, I was now at alert and as d bus came to a halt I rushed, squeezing myself through as others did the same, holding my bag so tight so I don’t become a victim to pick pockets, I secured a sit right behind the driver before I could catch my breath, the conductor started shouting ''wole kpelu change o" I had no change but I ignored him, a look at his face, I was annoyed at his arrogance, and then I thought ,he looked like one around 21/22 years, dark and painfully thin, with red eyes and black lips, he obviously has been drinking and smoking.
Looking at him just reminded me of a young boy I interviewed some months back, he was lost in Lagos, those were his exact words, a boy with no future, he had chosen his own life path, he came from faraway Kwara state with no relatives in Lagos, he sleeps under bridges and buses and at dawn, jumps on the next bus as a conductor. So many other young boys of his age have the same life circle, they roam aimlessly on the streets, bus stops and under bridges, with little or no hope for tomorrow, they go into robbery which is the fastest way to earn money and shortest cut to hell and then again, I thought to myself, what’s the remedy out of this life? Can’t somebody be responsible? May be the government, the thought of that brought a sour taste to my mouth, well that’s a thought for another day, I said to my self.
It was a long ride down to Ikorodu, the traffic was heavy, and then I noticed a familiar street hawker, a little girl of not more than 12years of age, she sells candle stands in traffic, my heart wept for her.
she lives around my neighborhood with her blind father who makes the candle stands, how he makes them I still don’t understand despite his blindness, she hawks the stand from noon till sundown. Isn’t that what is referred to as child abuse? Then I took notice of more young and old, selling different things in traffic, this has become their profession, I wondered how long this will go on.

Life is hard in Lagos, how can we have adequate amenities? at least light and water? the new government promises a better life, by providing all the basics but that hasn’t really improved. Despite the BRT transport which you would need to queue for hours to get on the bus which people stand in between the rows, still not convenient. The promise of uninterrupted power is a far cry, In fact we virtually live without it and so used to it. Having a private generator set is now the remedy in Lagos, where the generator traders connive with Nepa to with hold the light so they can make more sale, isn’t that pathetic?
The rich stays rich and the poor, poorer. I took a ride down to the Lagos island sometime, though on a mission and not aimless, I saw life, beautiful houses and sleek cars, the gap between the rich and d poor is just so wide, I couldn’t comprehend, maybe Lagos is really meant for them. Better roads and electricity, which is readily given to choice areas.
and I wonder to my self ,do I belong? I am affected by this hard life and a victim of the hustle, but I wonder, if other states were well catered for like the posh areas in Lagos, if they had good roads and the basics, then we would all rather stay in our different states.

Some where far down east, is were I come from, were civilization hasn’t touched its borders, long untarred dusty roads, no basic amenities, not to talk about jobs. My Ibo brothers have no choice but to jump in to the next Ekenedilichukwu Transport to the city of dreams EKO.
EKO! The land were we struggle, hustle, fight to survive, keeping our head above the waters, we try living our dreams but watches as it fades, we cant go back without noting so we live and hope that some day we'll live our dreams in the land of dreams.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

It was some time in April, some where in Ajegunle, stood a little settlement for the for people who couldn’t afford so much for a better accommodation. These houses were built with woods on swamp, even those built with blocks were on swampy grounds and like the tears of heaven, the rain came pouring with dark clouds, children playing in the streets ran for refuge, the woman gathered all they could in to the house, if only they knew what was to come. And the wind blew so hard, the roofs came tearing down and the rain started ,it seemed forever, it seemed endless as the water rose and rose, even to the roof level. They lost everything, all of the little they had, they were homeless, in the dark night, in the cold, the children, the dream, there was no hope, all chattered dreams, all they worked for, all drowned in one night.
Looking out my window as I rode in a bus, I watched the scene and I thought to myself, "waiting for help is like waiting for rain in the drought" after several weeks, help finally came, the government was able to make channels for the water to flow, but no channel for homes to be restored. That is the harsh reality of life in Lagos.
*                                                    *                                                                  *                                                                *
From month to month and year to year, the black smoke from her fire wood painted the twilight skies. Gentle old lady squats by the black big pot on the burning fire wood,  stirring her fired fish, afterward she puts her fried yam on the hot frying oil, she feels the pain through her back spine as she squats her back down, her old palm has been severely bruised by hot pots and woods, her eye color is constantly now yellow as the smoke goes directly into it. In all she finds her joy in her three grown sons whom for them she does all this, training them with her profit. They stand proudly behind her, helping their old lady set the fire woods, cut the yam and also sell the cooked products to the long queue of buyers including me. This is yet another hard story of struggling to survive in Lagos to make ends meet to train her boys, all in this land of dreams.

The story seems endless as there is another collapsed building on Lagos island. Ifeanyi, of blessed memories who was married with a wife and two kids. He was able to secure a room and parlor in one of these very "slim"  building on Lagos island "Isale Eko" a poor structure which he paid  too much for, he grumbled as he observed the smelly gutter, he had no choice, but at least it was cleaner than the one room apartment he was moving from in Ikota – Etiosa, with small space, he could hardly even open his window for it would definitely hit another neighbors window, he was a trader, he had a weave on store in the heart of Balogun market, business was going fine with him, at least he could travel last Christmas to the east to show forth his hard work to his people. On that fateful  Sunday morning, preparing for early morning mass, The children were all dressed and ready for church after a healthy meal or rice and beans…then it all happened suddenly, in a twinkling of an eye..
The rest is history, a part of what I write today, he is gone and so also his family. Life goes on like nothing happened, and a lot of "about to collapse buildings" still stands tall on the streets of Lagos with more lives to be lost.
It’s an ordeal been a victim of circumstance, life has been so cruel, it has left people sad and many dead. Seems like the grasses are greener under other skies and not this part of our world.

There are definitely no green grasses under Alima’s skies, she was a victim of this feelings, thinking a lot and most times finds her self in the cool of the evening roaming the streets aimlessly. She was born from two unstables who fought to become stable, a victim of broken home and child abuse. Her story begins on the streets of Ajose adeogun were she lines up amidst other young girls to be picked by the high and mighty men who are patriots to this profession. She thought the body trade business was not so profitable as she does so much for just a little Naira, she wishes for a better life, maybe to learn a trade or get an education but were on earth will help come from? These and more questions she asked with tears in her eyes as she narrates a bitter tale of her life’s story. Is there truly help from somewhere, anywhere? what Is the government doing about situations as this? What measures has been put in place to eradicate poverty, prostitution, robbery etc.
Our people needs help from all aspect  of life but I know helps comes from no where else but God, for when all routes seems blocked, through obstacles and bridges over troubled waters, HE will surely cater for his own.

Through teary eyes and smiley ones, the sorrowful and the contempted, we lift up our eyes to the heaven with the believe that only there our hope lies.

On a quiet Tuesday evening, we were all set for dinner with our plate of hot rice and stew with the steam causing the ceiling to sweat, with just about three spoons of rice down my throat, we heard a knock at d door, it was a very unusual knock, I got up and headed for the door, who is that, I shouted and it was Miss. Ross, our neighbor from the back flat, a middle age lady who has had her fair share of life’s bitter taste and resolved to a life of solitude. She seldom goes into peoples houses so I thought for her to be at my front door, it must be important. So I opened up immediately as our eyes met, she gave a quick wink at me but it was too late. I had guns pointed at my fore head, the rubbers were two and the others were positioned around the compound. They raided the house and threatened to shoot if we dint cooperate. They looted to their satisfaction and left us locked up in the toilet. When we were sure they were gone, we screamed aloud for help..we got none cause the neighbours locked their doors instead and turned off their lights for they also feared for their lives. The robbers flew free.

Precisely 6:15am on a Monday morning, on my way out early to beat traffic, right under the Ojota bridge laid a man rolling on the floor, he was an albino and probable could not see clearly cos it was still very dark at that time, he had just been hit by a hit and run vehicle, passers by as usual placed their hands on their heads, screaming but no one went for the rescue, he suddenly laid looking dead at some point and moved his legs weakly intermittently for people to know he is still alive, he laid there waiting for help as he passed on slowly. I was right on the opposite side of the road screaming ‘somebody help him…he is still alive’’ just like the other lagosians, I couldn’t do much but scream as my bus rolled away, I felt depressed that whole day as I wasn’t sure if he survived. This albino was with a traveling bag, probably one of the night travelers who just got back from a journey. He sure would have come into Lagos with dreams, but Jan 12th 6:20 am, he might have just died with those dreams. This sad scene is a regular on the Lagos roads.

The stories are endless, more of sad than good, but in all, never give up those dreams, in fact dream big, hope and be hopeful, rejoice in all situation, and give thanks daily for another sun rise and sun set. Most especially, contribute your own bit to this city and feel justified.

Lagos, land of dreams, dreams for many, young and old, rich and poor, the happy,
and depressed, the achiever, the jobless, the traders and street hawkers, the under bridge dwellers and men of the under world, we are all but passers by in this land, even in this world at large, no one wants to go back to were was once called home but feel so at ease in Lagos.

                                                                                                                  THE STORY TELLER
                                                                                                                                    JD Ugwu