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THE UNTITLED BEAT

Persistently…
You hear the beating
The drumming
The humming
The force at which it bangs
The gravity at which it loses endurance
The untamed sound gets deeper and go deeper
It doesn’t die
Die please die
It just won’t die
You’re taking so long
And beating just too fast
You are scared you’ll explode
The sound is mixed..sweet pain..painful melody
Alas! Alas!
You wake up one day
The drum bows its potency
The sound becomes slower and lower
Alas!
The drumming is no more
The humming is buried so soon
Persistence where at thou?
Endurance thou has expired?
MIND HEART SOUL
THOU HAVE MOVED ON
The pondering is no more

             Yoma Eshemitan

 
 

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ONCE UPON A LAW STUDENT…CONTINUES

In case anyone missed me, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Year 4 has me feeling overwhelmed. Honestly, I think it is the ‘make-it-or-break-it‘ year, its been one helluva journey so far. Also, with the new blog committee and the wonderful content they’ve been spinning, well let me just say I’ve not been feeling like a good writer lately. But, you’re all stuck with me (haha) so here I am, writing again.

Ehen! So dass how, one beloved day like that, last week Tuesday to be exact, I finally got the hottest guy in the faculty of law to take me out on a date! After years of singing, ‘Oluwa provide a boo o..‘, my prayers have been answered…. or not. Lmao! I’m kidding. Not about the ‘hot’ part but the ‘boo’ part… and technically, it was not a date, say hello to my nonexistent love life, just 2 friends going to see a movie. Which one? LOGAN babyy! Who’d pass up a chance to see Wolverine in action? I’d go into details of the movie but I’m no spoiler. All I can say is y’all need to see it! I still can’t believe that thing happened to Professor X and that Logan actually di…. oops! Sorry about that.

Anyway, I was in charge of transportation o. I ordered the Uber o. But then, a girl forgot that the number she used to register the Uber account was her mother’s number. Next thing I know, she’s calling me 2 seconds later, informing me that ‘one man’ called her, telling her that he was outside, waiting for her. I mentally slapped myself for the slip! The conversation ended with her telling me, ‘Very soon, all your secrets will be exposed!‘ Faaammm! I was shook! That’s not the end o! About 20 minutes into the movie, she called again, I kid you not! I just left the phone there to ring on…. What’s the worst that could happen? Lol. I went home over the weekend and mom c let me know in no uncertain terms that she’s not sending me to school for men to be taking me out. I tried to explain that it was just the uber driver bhet…. you know Yoruba mothers.

The journey back to school is another story on its own. The conductor of the first bus I entered was a tout in every sense of the word! He was so hilariously rude, I almost choked on my laughter! Immediately I got on the bus, he started hurling insults at the driver for heaven-knows-what. His next target was a poor man who spent too long trying to get his wallet out of his pocket to pay his fare, which was a bit of a hassle, especially since he was crumpled between 2 generously weighted women. I sent a quick prayer heavenwards that at no point in the roughly 45 minutes I had to spend on the bus would his uncouth tongue be directed towards me! The man practically chased down 3 grown men who were planning to lap themselves in the bus! Emphasis on the grown o! I was quite pleased with that because, no really, bus that is already hot, cramped, uncomfortable and smelly, you now want to coman use your own to disturb the peace of the nation? For what now? 50 naira transport fare o! Seriously shame is almost nonexistent nowadays.

Moving on. Guys this is real time talk….. I have been in this library since 9.00a.m. This is 7.00p.m. and I can honestly say that I have read anything but the books I brought to read! I have been flicking through novel after novel on my phone, absolutely ignoring the land law books I lugged out of my hostel this morning! I need motivation to finish the semester, it has definitely been my most daunting so far. I wish I could just win a trip to a really exotic place, Bahamas maybe? But no. Things like that won’t happen to someone. Ordinary Ozone sef someone cannot go in peace without her mother breathing down her neck. Right now I just want Coco Pops.

Written By Tomiwa Adebanjo

Published By Great Opara

 

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A LETTER TO THE DIFFERENT

Hi,
You’re amazing. 
I hope you know that.

Our world is so weird, you know. It’s funny how we are continuously rebuked for being set apart. Somehow, we are the weird ones. Somehow, we don’t fit in. 

Well, I don’t know about you but I’ve never wanted to fit in. Standing out is more daring! Think about it. To be the one whose values still stand in the face of mediocrity. The one who keeps promises, the one to whom the little things matter the most. Some people call it weird, I call it insightfulness and intellectual separateness, in a good way.

It’s amazing how people get so much flack for not being a certain way, or doing certain things. Think about it, you’ve probably hated on a girl because of her weird fashion choice or a boy because he stuck out like a sore thumb. You’ve made fun of people because they don’t do things the regular way. We all have but the question remains, why should we even be regular? 

I find it intellectually daunting that people care so much about what others are doing, in their lives. One time, I overheard people talking about someone, complaining about what she did, in her own life and I wondered, why does someone’s actions that do not affect you in any way, why does it bother you so much? Why is his thinking odd because he does things a certain different way to come about one result? 

My darling different, yes you are different. Yes, you are weird, odd or some other adjective they’ve come up with again. They never run out of these things! Yes, maybe you’re too ‘deep’ and stand out like neon in a field of neutrals! Or you’re just carefree, happy as a breeze! 
It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re doing you. Be different because you want to, because that’s what you are. You’re amazing just the way you are. Maybe they don’t understand it, at least not yet. But don’t let it change you. 
Keep being different.
Spread your wings and fly!
Even if your wings are made of gold, not feathers.

Yours,
Titilope.

Written By Titilope Adedokun

 
 

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WEIGHED AND FOUND WANTING – NIGERIA AS A FAILED STATE

By Joshua Omenga

Even from the standpoint of the most insouciant observer of the goings-on in Nigeria for the past few years, one does not need an analyst to understand the degenerate level of existence in which its citizens have and are continually being relegated to. However, it is not an obvious assertion that Nigeria is a failed state – not at least for one who for a moment takes time to consider the implications of such assertion. For this reason, and not for its unobviousness, one needs out of respect for the reader’s justified incredulity to attempt an explanation.
A failed state is a state whose living standard has gone below the minimum standard of civilised existence, a state which is unable to function even at a minimum standard of basic competence in the globalised economy. Such a state often becomes a haven of criminal activities: smuggling, peddling of illegal drugs, extortion at various levels of government and its parastatal, and terrorist activities. Most significantly, such a state is unable, in the main, to curtail these activities. These are debatable criteria, and not in the least exhaustive; but for those who have been witnesses to these activities, they are mere academic locution whose correctness or otherwise does not diminish the people’s level of suffering in such a state.

Therefore, the question whether Nigeria has degenerated to this abysmal concept should be not a matter of definition but of experience – of none but those who are first-hand witnesses of the Nigerian story. Leaving then this question to be answered by each stakeholder, this article will direct its attention to the more germane issue: the IMPLICATIONS of the Nigeria’s degeneracy – its inability to provide security, economic stability, internal sovereignty and to satisfy the yearnings of its disgruntled citizens, in the light of the aim of governments and international law.

We, the People’ and the Social Contract Theory

The government of any state exists for the purpose of fulfilling the mandates of its people. The early philosophy on the emergence of governments, called the Social Contract Theory, derives from the crude understanding among a people to surrender their right of self-governance to a sovereign who, in exchange, would provide them with security of persons and ensure stability from the pristine state of nature in which the mighty devoured the weak. Prior to this pact, the people were solely responsible for their own protection, achieved in whatever means; after the pact, the sovereign is responsible for the protection of the people, in exchange of the people’s obedience. The end of the people’s obedience, says Hobbes, is the protection offered by the sovereign. This forms the core of the pact; it is from this that the sovereign, by whatever name called, derives the power exercisable over the citizens. We shall see later what happens when and if such right to self-governance ‘donated’ to the sovereign is withdrawn.
That this is no mere antediluvian elocution of philosophers, whose irrelevance never existed or has diminished, may be seen from its operation in most governments in the world, especially the acclaimed democratic ones. The grund norm of the Nigerian polity proclaims boldly that ‘sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority; the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.’ Bold assertions, these; one need not go far to appreciate its magnanimity: that the government belongs to the people. If for a moment we accept the tenability of this assertion, even theoretically, then we have a ground in this discussion. It would not be an empty inquiry if we attempt to explore the implication of failure of a party to this contract to fulfil its obligations.

The Nigerian state is an agglomerate of many nations, one need hardly reiterate, forced into an uneasy amalgam to sate the British exploitative desires. Fundamental though the flaw of its formation is, it is an immaterial inquiry into the validity of this political contract foisted on the peoples by the colonial power; what is of tangible moment is whether, having entered into this contract, any rights still subsist for the parties. To this we answer in the affirmative: that there remains the right vested in the people under the constitution to form and determine their own governments. Inherent in this – even express to one to one who is unused to the impoverishment of power – is the people’s right to determine who and how their political sphere is controlled.

Nigeria Weighed

Nigeria as a state has emphatically failed to fulfil its obligations under this ‘social contract’: it has failed to provide its citizens with security. And let it not be imagined for a moment that security means only the protection from ballistic activities. O yes, it is hardly worth anyone’s time to be burdened with instances of terroristic activities and other life-threatening criminalities which the Nigerian state has failed to protect its citizens from; it is simply a matter of res ipsa loquitur. Nigerians have in fact taken the constant unrest due to terroristic activities as a part of their lives’ phenomena. It is not a label of any particular government but of the state, an incorrigible determination to betray the owners of its mandate. The source of people’s outcry is therefore not in this aspect of security to which the people have adapted (being, in Soyinka’s words, a nation of short memory), but in a rather old kind of menace to which the people are unable to adapt: economic insecurity. It is by no means an agenda of this write-up to attempt to elucidate the reasons, much less proffer solution, for this menace; and so no moment will be spent than in the mere recognition of the menace.

Seeing then that the Nigerian state has breached its contract with the people, what remedy should the people pursue? What say the propounders of the social contract theory as to the consequence of its breach? Hobbes: ‘the obligations of subjects to the sovereign is intended to last as long as, and no longer, than the power lasteth by which the sovereign is able to protect them.’ ‘A sovereign when ruled by passion and ignorance may govern in its own self-interest and prove too incompetent to protect the interest of its subjects. Such a sovereign loses the right to obedience.’ There is no need to pontificate on the glaring fact, namely, that the sovereign violates this social pact once, by its actions or inactions, it can no longer offer a measure of protection to its people; that the sovereign of the Nigerian state has demonstrated times innumerable its inability to offer the most basic protection to its people. I assert that a state which, through its policy or lack of it, has so bastardised the economy as to remove the bread from the table of the many, has failed in material respect, failed to the extent that the citizens’ right to legitimate disobedience may rightly be activated.
But quite apart from the right of legitimate disobedience to irresponsible government, it should not be imagined at all that peoples who have vested the sovereign with power under this social pact cannot of their own volition divest the sovereign of such power. I assert that not only may the people do so, but that the people may also in addition decide for themselves the political sphere under which they intend to be governed. The least option available to the people is to withdraw their mandate – which implies individual re-investiture with self-governance. May the same people not donate their power again to form a new government of their choice?

The Entity Vs The People

Those who preach the unity of the Nigerian state often hinge it, albeit inadvertently, on the concept of ‘uti possidetis’. We shall examine the flaws of that concept later. Then in a very righteous tone, they insist that the sovereignty of Nigeria is not negotiable. Leaving apart the rightness or wrongness of such pontification, what interest have those who preach this doctrine of inviolability of Nigerian territory, the non-negotiability of ‘its unity’? I seek your leave to quote and adopt in extensor some strong words of Soyinka long before the present degeneracy: ‘We must not even shy away from the possibility that a nation is a mere sentimental concept, unfounded in any practical advantages for its occupants…The inviolability principle of national boundaries is therefore a fictitious concept, born out of nothing more substantial than faith… When I listen therefore to the pontificating voice declaring that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable, I detect only wooly or opportunistic thinking. What the speaker is saying is this: It suits me and mine to keep Nigeria a single entity… Yes, whatever the individual or group motivations or expectations that compel this bond in the occupants of a national space, let us cling to them by all means and lodge them in the collective pot. But the language of “non-negotiability” simply has to be abandoned. It must be consciously terminated for reasons that are quite simple to grasp but are unfortunately obscured to a majority because of its overpowering Sunday school rhetoric. At heart, such language is subversive because it is designed to stop intelligent confrontation with the very issues whose resolution is essential to guarantee the emergence or continuity of such geographical spaces as true nations.’

Agreeing then that a state in no more than a summation of its occupants, sands apart, one encounters no difficulty in jettisoning the notion of sacrosanctity of a state’s sovereignty when those beating its knell are the citizens themselves. But that is the kennel of the uti possidetis doctrine: a principle whose primary aim is securing respect for the territorial boundaries at the moment when independence is achieved. Its damaging implication is the desire to extinguish not only external claims to territories prejudicing a sovereign state but also internal disruptive elements. By this doctrine, groups within independent states should not seek a fractionalisation of the state, except by consent of the constituent peoples. The impotence of this doctrine is hardly worth the discussion.

International Law: a Bulwark and a Restriction

It is necessary to explain before much is said about international law that unlike domestic legal system, international law follows practice and not the other way round. When therefore international law concept is posed, one should be circumspect to regard it as immutable, or mutable in the same way that a domestic legal system is; rather, states act and their acts become law. There are of course many qualifications to this rather oversimplified explanation, but we shall proceed on that assumption with its imperfection.
The seeming postulation under the international law regime that the sovereign integrity of a state should not be undermined either from without or from within is also logical in the face of another benevolent doctrine: the doctrine of non-interference which posits simply that states are not to interfere in the domestic affairs of other states. But what constitutes the domestic affairs of a state? They are too many, and highly subjective; I will therefore only answer in the evasive by giving what it does not mean. It does not include human rights and racial oppression of the people within the state’s jurisdiction. When an action of a state amounts to oppression or violation of human rights of the people within its jurisdiction, it cannot lay claim to this non-interference doctrine.
One such international dimension of collective human rights is the right to self-determination. We shall for now overlook its rather controversial political perspective and focus on its rights dimension. The Helsinki Final Act of 1975 iterated that self-determination includes ‘people’s right, in full freedom, to determine when and as they wish, their internal and external political status, without any external interference and to pursue as they wish their political, economic and cultural development.’ Article 20 of the African Charter (which in a questionable decision the Supreme Court admitted to be superior than the Nigerian constitution) recognised the right of peoples to self-determination. Some words in lieu of definition: self-determination is not a magic concept which vests any disgruntled group of people with the right of secession. Secession and its attendant breakdown of law and order is the very thing that the promulgators of the doctrine aim at preventing. To this end, the traditional, political view to this right is that it ends at the door of colonialism: an independent state has no further use for the self-determination concept. That is as far as theory goes; no, not even theory but merely the entrenched level of development. For even at the heart of this ‘freezing’ of territory at independence, the independent Yugoslavia broke up. The Advisory Opinion to this act? ‘Republics must afford members of those minorities and ethnic groups all human rights and fundamental freedom recognised in international law, including where appropriate the right to choose their nationality.’ The Canadian Supreme Court, while emphasising the necessity of non-interference in the state’s sovereignty and boundary, mentioned ‘exceptional circumstances in which a right to secession may arise within an independent state.’
What is often advocated in lieu of secession for independent states is ‘internal self-determination’. This means simply that within the polity of the independent state, there should be guaranteed a people’s pursuit of their political, economic, social and cultural developments. To this end, individuals and groups have a legitimate interest in ensuring the efficient functioning of the state in a manner consistent with respect for the rights of individuals and groups. I assert that even in the concession that only internal self-determination applies in the Nigerian situation, the Nigerian state has failed in this respect as to amount to an exceptional circumstance in which the peoples’ right to seek a political definition for themselves should be honoured.
Thus even within the contradictions of international law, the Nigerian situation has reached a maximum level of tolerability. There is no pretence left for the sovereign to continue holding on to the destiny of the Nigerian peoples.

The Way of the People

Not for a moment should it be construed in earnest that the main aim of this article is to justify the right of a particular people to secession – not of course that it deprecates that. Rather, the aim of this article is to say what many are already aware of but afraid to admit: that the Nigerian state is a failure from the human perspective and that the time has come for its people to determine their destiny. What this collective determination will result in is another question. The anthem should be stifled midway in its chant that the Nigerian sovereignty or territory is not negotiable. The peoples who are the initiators of this ‘contract’ may vary its terms as they wish, or dissolve it altogether, and it is of no moment to anyone what new contract they decide to enter into.
The lesson for the present government is not to think that it can hide behind any hollow concept in deploying resistance to the peoples’ will. It should instead seek to understand the desires of the people, and so long as it attempts to any discernible degree to fulfil them, the people will continue according it obedience. Any policy of the sovereign, no matter how well intentioned, which the people do not see as beneficial, will meet inevitably with resistance. It should be no surprise to the Nigerian government that having led its people into dark, bitter waters, they should resist at all possible fronts. This is merely the beginning; people are only gradually realising by the totality of their travail that the Nigerian state is a failure. The culmination of this realisation no one should be comfortable to prophesy.

© 2017 Joshua Omenga

Published By Great Opara

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Politics, The Law

 

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MOVIE REVIEW: HIDDEN FIGURES

Hidden Figures
2016 Movie

Historical, Scientific 
Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monaé, Octavia Spencer, Kristen Dunst…

Even before the movie came out, I had watched it, in my head. It didn’t help that it took donkey years to come to Nigerian cinemas. Finally, I watched it last week. 
Based on true life events, I’d like to think of Hidden Figures of a sort of coming of age story. Don’t get me wrong, no one was shedding puberty but America was shedding racism, segregation and the incredulous words that call, ‘Women should be seen – not heard‘. Now, these three were women, they were negros and they could actually do math and more. It was a real growing up of America to see that the colour of your skin doesn’t mean you are not as good as the other person or even better.

My reviews are super informal, as I always say. I literally am going to list out five reasons you should see Hidden Figures and my work here is done.
 
1. It’s not your regular black people movie. 
Yes, it is set in that age and time where the white people thought we, we being blacks, African American were beneath them but it wasn’t a cliché, I promise. There was so much substance to it that made it beautiful. It told the story, such that would reflect the real point of the story, those three strong women and pacesetters.

2. The acting was beautiful and the chemistry was everything.
As I was watching, I felt like I was part of it all. So many people see acting as a job, I mean, it is. But, I’m telling you, there’s a difference between seeing something as a mere job and it being your life, a lifestyle. The chemistry was incredible, mindblowing actually. I loved that Taraji P Henson’s character gave us an upgrade from Cookie Lyon to straight nerd! And oh yes, she executed it brilliantly. I always say that a good movie would invoke so much emotion or camaderie, at least in you. At a point, it seems like you’re one of them.

3. The fact that it was based on true events.
This is just the bomb! Actually, Caroline Johnson nee Goble and possibly others are still alive! Whaat. I want to meet her and the rest because they are living legends, honestly. Living legends! They were the first or are actually the first of their kinds. The movie was a true and fitting tribute. 

4. If anything, watch it for the beautiful dresses from the ’60s and the setting.
*Coughs!* If you aren’t, you should be following NASA on snapchat. I kind of like aeronautics and yes, I was following them before Hidden Figures began in the cinemas. Almost 12 months of followership!
But one thing, I noticed was that the setting, being NASA looks everything like the real NASA, though obviously, it’s now upgraded. I know right! I was watching snaps and I was like wait oo. The dresses and make-up was everything. Janelle Monae looked absolutely divine, most especially. Love, love, love the costumes!

5. It’s simply inspirational. 
As I watched, I turned to my friend and told her, ‘You can be anything you want to be‘. Why? Because it’s true. Right now, the words might not be much seeing that we now live in a slightly better world from that time but it’s simply incredible. Being the first of their kinds! The first black female engineer in a time where being black, I would have had to use separate bathrooms, buses, even freaking coffee jugs! Being recognised for hardwork where and when being a woman in a man’s world was crazy enough, to top it off, being black! 

It was a phenomenal watch.

Rating – A

Review By Titilope Adedokun

 
 

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BLOOD ON MY PILLOW

Blood on my pillow, I guess I fought in my dreams. Blood on my pillow, Nothing is what it seems.

Was I murdered in my sleep? Have I morphed into a ghost? Did the bullet sink deep, To send me to the Lord of hosts?

Reality is a phantasm Life is an apparition The truth becomes sarcasm And my enemies turn to derision

Blood on my pillow, Has my life come to an end? Liquid spills off the edge- Will another chance, my Creator lend?

My heart burns with regret As I gaze at my mortal host Russian Roulette and a bet Last night, my enemies had a toast

Blood on my pillow, I guess I fought in my dreams Irony of existence- Nothing is what it seems.

Written By Clinton Durueke

 
 

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A MERRY VILLAGE CHRISTMAS, PART TWO

Part two of the series

You know how the lead actors and actresses run away from danger in the movies? The calm, collected, calculated demeanor, the wind lifting their gorgeous hair around, the way they jump over obstacles. Yeah? Well, this was nothing like that.
First of all, I wasn’t calm. My brother or sister, I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Screaming very loudly. Very very loudly. Secondly, I wasn’t jumping over obstacles. I was jumping into them. You see, till you enter the maze that is a village forest, you cannot understand. Clumps of thick soil, branches of dead trees, long vines (even the spirits needed their wine) and the occasional animal littered the place. Thirdly, I don’t have long hair.

I also didn’t know where I was going. I had realised this immediately I entered the bush. I couldn’t turn back anyways. Unless I wanted to walk into the masquerades. And that wasn’t happening. So I forged on. And on. And on. Deeper and deeper into the thick forest.
The most annoying thing was that through all this, I could hear my attackers behind me in slow, confident, measured footsteps. This was their turf, their home. They were taking their time. Sooner or later, I’ll fumble. Tears flowed down my face as I begged God for forgiveness for all of my sins. For kissing Bukky after church service on Sunday, for all the pieces of meat I had appropriated. For all the times I inflated textbook prices. All of this while thinking of a means of escape.

Then it hit me. Not a bright idea on how to escape the masquerades but a really strong stone. I crumpled to the ground. As my eyes closed, I saw my attackers circling me.
Save me Lord Jesus.

Written By Joshua Nwabuikwu

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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