Tuesday, December 5, 2017


One sad day, I stopped at a printing press to pick some copies of my books. Then I decided to take Lawanson and connect Oshodi expressway through Itire road. I was alone in the car. After covering a good distance away from the Oba's palace at Itire, I ran into some policemen. About four or more were in a van and one was standing in the middle of the road. He was a monument in a vast land. I think it was his turn to contribute to the fraud of the Nigerian state that is a tragedy of a 21st century. He waved me to stop. So I slammed my leg on the brake and slowed down. My car rolled to the corner and parked few poles away from their van. 

Then the creature whose eyes were crimson red and his head shaven like an egg walked up to me. "Good evening,” he said. He smelled like a bar and let go a yawn that took some time to mix with the air. "What do you have in your boot?" he asked and kept a straight face.

"My books!" I said and flashed an exaggerated smile at him. 

My innocent smile could not win him over. He stared coldly at me and flung a glance at the back seat to see if he could find what could implicate me. There was nothing. And then he returned his gaze to me and cleared his throat. “OFF YOUR ENGINE!” he bellowed. “COME AND OPEN YOUR BOOT!”

I complied and placed the car keys in my back pocket. As he walked to the back of the car, I made for my wallet. These men worship mammon. A few naira notes could get a condemned thief out of jail. So I decided to take advantage of his weakness. Flash a few naira notes and be left off the hook. I got some naira notes so that I can be out of Surulere before nightfall. My plan was to beat the traffic along Apapa-Oshodi expressway. But I never knew that I was in for a long night.

He watched me opened the boot as his colleagues who sat in the van fixed their gaze on us. He was sweating and smelling. I could not tell if the weight of the rifle was killing him. Or the bewilderment that rules the heart of men who drown themselves in liquor was standing taller than the pair of legs that carried him. He could be a victim of both worlds. The rifle was old and it is a tragedy for a drunken man to be left with a firearm. Here, the law was out of my hands. I was not in the position to fix the problem. I was the victim. He was supposed to be my friend and protector. The man who the law has entrusted my life to his miserable hands was failing. He had betrayed the state and the people he had sworn to serve. I threw the boot open, turned to him and crossed my arm over my body.

He nodded, simpering and staggered to my side. He almost knocked me over as he tried to steady his already disorganized soul. He swallowed hard, licked his lips as he inspected the over 500 copies of my books in the boot. I proudly showed him my picture at the back of the book, my name on the front cover and my ID CARD. At least, I was proud to let him know I was a writer. But I received a rude shock. He had barely glanced at the ID card, when he yelled at me, "SO NA YOU DEY PIRATE PEOPLE BOOK ABI? I DON CATCH YOU TODAY!" He turned to the van and signaled the other men to come. About three policemen jumped out of the van and approached us as if they had caught a big thief. 

Before I could blink, he told them that I was a thief. They glanced at me and our eyes met. They smiled after he spews out the rubbish. Knowing that their colleague was drunk, one of them threw out a question, "Identify yourself, my brother."

I handed him my ID CARD. He checked it and looked at the books. And then he looked at my face. He nodded his head. I think he realized that I was clean. He returned my ID and ordered me to return to the car. 

But his colleague who was under the spell of liquor became furious. "WHY WILL YOU LET HIM GO?" he barked at the policeman. "HE IS A PIRATE. HE MUST BE ARRESTED."Then he turned to me, "IF YOU GO ANYWHERE, I WILL SHOOT YOU!"

Afraid that I could be robbed of life in the belly of the night, I stopped. Now, there was a struggle between them. Two of the policemen held the one that was drunk and tried to take the rifle from him. As they battled with him, he yelled at the top of his voice, "WHO GAVE HIM AUTHORITY TO WRITE? HE SHOULD PROVIDE DOCUMENTS TO SHOW HE IS A WRITER!"

I was a still water in my corner. Not long after, they disarmed him. One of the men walked up to me. He apologized for the embarrassment that the man had caused me. As he we walked to the car, He whispered, "Oga, find us something. Make you go."

I smiled. I gave him the naira notes. Entered my car and drove off. 

As I descended the bridge at airport road, my mind began to work. What would have happened to me if the policemen had not intervened? Likely the drunken policeman would have shot me. He could have harmed me or kill me!

I was lucky today.

Kill the drunken policeman.

Omoruyi Uwuigiaren studied Mass Communications. He is a writer, cartoonist, and a blogger. He has published several books which include The City Heroes and other stories from the heart of Africa, Giant in a Hut, Little Okon, Tom the Little Man. His short stories and articles have appeared on Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal, Vanguard Newspapers and other literary journals. You can reach Ruyi @ ldsomoruyi@yahoo.ca

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Rapid fire Thoughts on Libya: What Africa Needs to Do.

I was on a national radio program here yesterday to offer my thoughts on the recent tragedy of black slave auctions in Libya. Here we go.

1) I am shocked and outraged like everyone else but I am not surprised.

2) I am not surprised that black Africans are being auctioned in broad daylight in Libya because I am not divorcing what is happening now as we speak from the overall history of the Arab Slave Trade in black Africa.

3) It is more fashionable to talk about the trans-Atlantic slave trade which moved millions of black Africans to the Americas. The history of Arab enslavers of black Africans is not well-known. It is hardly present in the school curriculum in Africa.

4) Yet, Arab Slave slave traders and hunters preceded European slave traders and hunters in black Africa by seven centuries.

5) For seven continuous centuries before the Europeans, Arabs traded in black bodies, routed them through North Africa to be sold all over Arabia and the Middle East as slaves.

6) The reality of Arab slavery goes hand in hand with a certain imaginary of race. Blacks are deemed inferior. In many parts of North Africa, belonging to Africa is treated like a geographical indignity.

7) In essence, what is happening in Libya is to be seen within the framework of historical continuities going back several centuries. It is only more outrageous now because of the power of the image - CNN and social media have brought centuries of the treatment of black bodies in North Africa and the Arab world to your dinner table.

8) The African Union and many African states are jackasses with no political willpower or moral authority to do anything meaningful about the tragedy in Libya, hence the largely disgraceful response from Africa thus far. They have not even expelled Libya from the AU.

9) The European Union, the UN, the West are the congenital hypocritical jackasses we have always known. They are making perfunctory noise and expressing outrage. When they want results in Africa, they know how to get results. When Robert Mugabe began to target whites in Zimbabwe, they massed on him, choked him with sanctions, and hastened the course he was already on - the destruction of Zimbabwe's economy. None of them is talking about sanctions against Libya and expelling her from the international body politic - the victims are expendable black people who would have become burdens on White Europe had Libya not done the needful! Now they are saying that the Libyan authorities have reassured them that they are looking into the matter. Shior!

10) Africans looking up to the West and asking where is the outrage must, therefore, cut the crap. Africans in Paris, in London, have been marching and protesting. Where are the protests in the capitals of Africa?

11) The Nigerian President is yet to hear of what is going on Libya although someone who heard in his government has ferried Nigerians home from Libya. The Ghanaian President is heehawing and blowing hot air on Twitter with no real action. I am the one who should be blowing hot air on Twitter, not the President of an African state. Uncle Jacob Zuma was recently honored with a statue in Nigeria by one of the most irresponsible state governors on offer in Nigeria. He is still basking in the fact that Nigeria accorded him worth he does not have at home in South Africa so he is yet to hear about Libya.

12) These are the characters in charge of the state in Africa. They are the ones that the citizens of Africa should hold responsible. They are the ones we need to put pressure on to act decisively about Libya - starting with Libya's expulsion from the AU. After all, their misrule of the continent is why our citizens are crossing the Sahara in the first place.

God bless Africa.


Pius Adesanmi is a Professor of English and Director, Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University in the United States. He is the inaugural winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing in the non-fiction category

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Confronting Anti-black Racism In The Arab World.

The Arab slave trade is a fact of history, and anti-black racism in the region is something that must be addressed.

Migrant workers from African countries often face abusive conditions in the Middle East [AP]
In response to an essay I wrote recently regarding the "essential blackness" of the Palestinian struggle, I received this reaction, among others: "What about Arab anti-black racism? Or the Arab slave trade?"

The Arab slave trade is a fact of history and anti-black racism is a fact of current reality, a shameful thing that must be confronted in Arab societies. Though I claim no expertise on the subject, I think that applying notions of racism as it exists in the US will preclude a real understanding of the subject in the Arab world.

I spent much of much of my youth in the Arab world and I do not recall having a race consciousness until I came to the United States at the age of 13. My knowledge of Arab anti-black racism comes predominantly from Arab Americans. Like other immigrant communities, they adopt the prevailing racist sentiments of the power structure in the US, which decidedly holds African-Americans in contempt. This attitude is also becoming more prevalent in Arab countries for various reasons, but mostly because Arab governments, particularly those that import foreign labour from Africa and Southeast Asia, have failed to implement or enforce anti-discrimination and anti-exploitation laws.

In many Arab nations, including Kuwait where I was born, workers are lured into menial jobs where their passports are confiscated upon arrival and they are forced into humiliating and often inhuman working conditions. They have little to no protection under the law and are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, including extraordinarily long working hours, withholding of salaries, sexual, mental, and physical abuse, and denial of travel.

The recent case of Alem Dechesa brought to light the horrors faced by migrant workers in Lebanon. Dechesa, a domestic worker from Ethiopia, committed suicide after suffering terrible mental and physical abuse at the hands of her Lebanese employers, whose savage beating of her in front of the Ethiopian Consulate went viral last year.

Defining Beauty

An extension to Arab anti-black racism is an aspiration to all that our former - and current - colonizers possess. Individuals aspire to what is powerful and rich, and the images of that power and wealth have light skin, straight hair, small noses, ruddy cheeks and tall, skinny bodies. That image rejects melanin-rich skin, coiled hair, broad or pointy noses, short stature, broad hips and big legs. So we, too, reject these features, despising them in others and in ourselves as symbols of inferiority, laziness, and poverty. That's why the anglicising industries of skin bleaching and hair straightening are so profitable.

And yet, when Palestine went to the UN for recognition of statehood, the vast majority of nations who voted yes were southern nations. The same is true when Palestine asked for admission to UNESCO. In fact, when the US cut off funding to UNESCO in response to its members' democratic vote to admit Palestine, it was the African nation of Gabon that immediately stepped up with a $2m donation to UNESCO to help offset the loss of income. It was not Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait, or Qatar, or Lebanon, or Sweden, or France. It was Gabon. How many Palestinians know that much less expressed gratitude for it? So concerned are Palestinians with what the European Union and the United States think of us. So engrossed are we in groveling for their favour and handouts as they support a system of Jewish supremacy pushing our ancient society into extinction. We dance like clowns any time a European leader spares us a thought. Have we no sense of history? No sense of pride? No comprehension of who is truly standing with us and who is sabotaging us?

In a world order that peddles notions of entire continents or regions as irreducible monoliths, the conversation among Arabs becomes a dichotomous "Arab" versus "African", ignoring millennia of shared histories ranging from extensive trade and commerce, to the horrors of the Arab slave trade, to the solidarity of African-Arab anti-colonial unity, to the current state of ignorance that does not know history and cannot connect the dots when it comes to national liberation struggles.

Arab Slave Trade

When I was researching the subject of the Arab slave trade, I came upon a veritable treasure of a website established by The African Holocaust Society, or Mafaa [Swahili for "holocaust"], a non-profit organisation of scholars, artists, filmmakers, academics, and activists dedicated to reclaiming the narratives of African histories, cultures, and identities. Included in this great body of scholarly works is a comprehensive section on the Arab slave trade, as well as the Jewish slave trade, African-Arab relations over the centuries, and more, by Owen Alik Shahadah, an activist, scholar, and filmmaker.

Reading this part of our shared history, we can see how a large proportion of Arabs, including those among us who harbour anti-black racism, are the sons and daughters of African women, who were kidnapped from Eastern African nations as sex slaves.

Unlike the European slave trade, the Arab slave trade was not an important feature of Arab economies and it predominantly targeted women, who became members of harems and whose children were full heirs to their father's names, legacies, and fortunes, without regard to their physical features. The enslaved were not bought and sold as chattel the way we understand the slave trade here, but were captured in warfare, or kidnapped outright and hauled across the Sahara.
The race was not a defining line and enslaved peoples were not locked into a single fate, but had an opportunity for upward mobility through various means, including bearing children or conversion to Islam. No-one knows the true numbers of how many African women were enslaved by Arabs, but one need only look at ourselves to see the shadows of these African mothers who gave birth to us and lost their African identities.
But while African scholars at the Mafaa Society make important distinctions between the Arab and European slave trades, enslavement of human beings is a horror of incomprehensible proportions by any standard, and that's what it was in the Arab world as it was - or is - anywhere. There are some who argue that the Arab slave traders were themselves indistinguishable from those whom they enslaved because the word "Arab" had cultural relevance, not racial.

One-Way Street

This argument goes hand-in-hand with the discredited excuse that Africans themselves were involved in the slave trade, with warring tribes capturing and selling each other. But no matter how you look at it, the slave trade was a one-way street, with Africans always the enslaved victims. I know of no African tribe that kidnapped Europeans and put them in bondage for generations; nor do I know of an African tribe that captured Arab women for centuries and made them sex slaves.

I think humanity has truly never known a holocaust of greater magnitude, savagery, or longevity than that perpetrated against the peoples of Africa. This Mafaa has never been fully acknowledged and certainly never atoned for - not that the wounds or enduring legacies of turning human beings into chattel for centuries can ever be fully comprehended or atoned for. But one must try, because just as we inherit privilege from our ancestors, so do we inherit their sins and the responsibility for those sins.

Gaddafi's Role

The late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi understood this and he used his power and wealth to try to redeem our shared history. He was the first Arab leader to apologize on behalf of Arab peoples to our African brothers and sisters for the Arab slave trade and the Arab role in the European slave trade. He funneled money into the African Union and used Libya's wealth to empower the African continent and promote pan-Africanism. He was a force of reconciliation, socialism, and empowerment for both African and Arab peoples. Gaddafi's actions threatened to renew African-Arab reconciliation and alliances similar to that which occurred at the height of the Non-Aligned Movement during the presidencies of Jamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.

Thus, NATO's urgency to prevent "massacres" and "slaughter" in Libya was manufactured and sold wholesale. The fear of African-Arab solidarity can be seen in the way the US-backed Libyan insurgency spread rumours that "black African" mercenaries were committing atrocities against Libyans. Gaddafi became an even bigger threat when an agreement was reached with the great anti-imperialist force in South America, Hugo Chavez, to mediate a solution to the uprising in Libya.

Now both of these champions of their people are gone, and the so-called Libyan revolutionaries are executing "black Africans" throughout the country. Gone, too, is NATO's worry about the slaughter in Libya, and another high-functioning Arab nation lies in ruin, waste and civil strife - primed for rampant corporate looting.

I wrote previously that the Palestinian struggle against the erasure of our existence, history, and identity was spiritually and politically black in nature. So, too, are other struggles, like that of migrant workers throughout many Arab nations. These are our comrades. They are the wretched, exploited, robbed, and/or, at last, liberated.

I refer to Black as a political term, not necessarily a racial or ethnic descriptor. In the words of Owen Alik Shehadah: "Black People is a construction which articulates a recent social-political reality of people of colour (pigmented people). Black is not a racial family, an ethnic group or a super-ethnic group. Political Blackness is thus not an identity but moreover a social-political consequence of a world which after colonialism and slavery existed in those colour terms. The word "Black" has no historical or cultural association, it was a name born when Africans were broken down into transferable labour units and transported as chattel to the Americas."

But that word has been reclaimed, redefined, and injected with all the power, love, defiance, and beauty that is Africa. For the rest of us, and without appropriating the word, "black" is a phenomenon of resistance, steadfastness - what we Palestinians call sumud - and the beauty of a culture that is reborn out of bondage and oppression.

Right To Look The Other Way

Finally, solidarity from Africans is not equivalent to that which comes from our European comrades, whose governments are responsible for the ongoing erasure of Palestine. African peoples have every reason to look the other way. Ethiopians have every reason to say: "You deserve what you get for the centuries of enslavement and neo-enslavement industry by your Arab neighbours." African Americans have every reason to say: "Why should I show solidarity with Arabs who come here to treat us like white people do, and sometimes worse?"

Malcolm X once said: "If I was that [anti-American], I'd have a right to be that - after what America has done to us. This government should feel lucky that our people aren't anti-American."

We can substitute the word "Arab" for "American" in that sentence and it would be a valid statement. And yet, Africa is right there with us. African American intellectuals are the greatest champions of our struggle in the United States. The impact of solidarity from four particular individuals - Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Cynthia McKinney - can never be overestimated.

Last month, the former South African ambassador to Israel refused a "certificate" from Israel confirming the planting of trees in his name. In his letter, he called Israel a racist, apartheid state and said the gift was an "offense to my dignity and integrity". He added: "I was not a party to, and never will be, to the planting of '18 trees', in my 'honour', on expropriated and stolen land."

I would like my countrymen to think long and hard about this until they truly comprehend the humbling beauty of this solidarity from people who have every reason to be anti-Arab. I wish my countrymen could look through my eyes. They would see that black is profoundly beautiful. They would see that Africa runs through our veins, too. Our enslaved African foremothers deserve to be honoured and loved by their Arab children. And it is for us to redeem their pain with the recognition and atonement long owed. Arriving at this understanding is a good starting place for reciprocal solidarity with nations and peoples who are standing with us, in heart and in action.

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian writer and the author of the international bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury 2010). She is also the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an NGO for children. Follow her on Twitter: @sjabulhawa
Source: Al Jazeera

Sunday, November 19, 2017


So, when did polygyny become a distasteful arrangement in Nigeria?

I am confused. This entire side-chick syndrome didn't exist a decade, or so, ago because most of you did come from a polygyny setup. And if you weren't aware of it initially, you were fully informed when your father died. Branches of his polygyny sprouted from the family tree at his burial, and you met new siblings that lived just as well as you did.

We despise polygyny because it isn't "woke" enough. That's the stuff our fathers did. Polyandry is being applauded in some quarters because, well, it sounds different. It's the same way we embrace feminism without having a clue what to do with it.

While you are all slashing the cheek of some side-chick for trespassing, realize that polygyny is going nowhere.

As long as the Nigerian masses still live below a dollar daily; as long as there are no jobs, no water, poor institutions that meet our health, legal, educational needs... as long as our aspirations cannot come true under the Nigerian dream, sorry, nightmare, polygyny is the only way average Nigerians can meet their needs. The few successful ones will have to love, sex, and provide for the majority of broken dreams. It's that simple.

I had a relationship where the account manager of my boyfriend would call by 11pm, flirting and throwing all the green lights she can afford to give. You think she is calling to share the word of God? She probably has a "fiance" somewhere, but she can see very clearly this customer has the kind of money that will sort her out for life. If he agreed to the chase, and ask that she come over to wherever he was at that moment, you really think she's going to turn him down? Of course not! It's a mix of a lot of errors - poverty is one. Not blatant poverty, but lower middle-class poverty that is always one cheque away from being broke.

Polygyny will thrive in a country where credit facilities do not exist. If you want a house, you're going to have to bring your N1.2m annual rent along. No monthly payment, except you, live in Oshodi, paying N4,800 monthly for a crib that occupies you and a chicken. If you have dreams, the system doesn't support you. You need a car? You'll have to bring the entire N8.6m cash along. Bank facilities? Don't even bother. As tough as the system is in Nigeria, religion allows you to act like you are against the lifestyle that keeps you.

Polyandry is hip now because a few "civilized" countries talk about it like a cool sport. And feminism along with transexual rights are focusing on empowering women. However, polygyny reminds us of the patriarchy we need to dismantle. But as long as Nigeria is concerned, I am yet to see how polygyny is a bad thing. 

In third world countries, many women rise out of poverty because polygyny exist. This country has no proper system for alimony, child support, spousal support... what we have is a man who is willing to love you and take care of you. It's belittling, yes. But so is profound lack. If you don't want to live that way, you'll need to work hard and think hard. But we are not thinkers per se.

There's a girl on Instagram that hops around celebrities' comment section to drop this:

"Plix I want to be in a movie. How do I do it? Help me."

She's an adult. But she wants a route that wouldn't require any kind of work. At the end of the day, she's going to find someone who'll invite her over to a guesthouse, have sex, play a dead role in a movie that mean absolutely nothing, continue with the sex for roles hoping it'll eventually mean something for her career, get pregnant, become a baby mama and probably get a neat crib at Mafoluku to keep baby and mama happy.

I worked with a writer once who drove a badass Mercedes Benz, hardly repeated a dress twice and lived in Lekki (No, it wasn't company accommodation).  Me, her boss, was riding a Rav4 and living on the mainland. Do you really think her staff writer wage could afford her that lifestyle? No, it is not her parents' money either. I earn ten times more than she could ever be paid as a writer. Yet she lived an easier life. We never talked about it, of course. It is none of my business. But that, to a large extent, is what I call "polygyny lite" - when a man keeps you happy whilst you roll your buttocks in circles to please him.

These things will always be with us, because poverty is always around the corner, and poverty is not an easy option.

Joy Isi Bewaji is a prolific writer, editor, columnist, Managing Director at Happenings Radio, co-founder of wahalanow.com, and Creative Director at The Network Bank. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Reinhard Bonnke's Farewell crusade : Great Lessons.

Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke
The just-concluded Reinhard Bonnke's farewell crusade taught me a great lesson that will remain with me all the days of my life on earth.

The preparation for the crusade centered around heads of churches and ministries, officers of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria ( PFN). Committees were drawn from these groups to cater for accommodation, IT needs, counseling of new converts and transportation.

At the committee level, a number of heads of ministries and churches were particular about the finance, how much will be available to them in cash but the Deeper life church was particular about the souls. I'm not a member of Deeper life but as a top officer I watched on. Others kept on demanding for money to work but the officials of the Deeper life Church were encouraging the brethren to sacrifice. The Deeper life church supplied about 50,000 counselors and provided their camp free of charge to any counselor who may want to sleep over irrespective of the church such may come from. Its like they are well grounded in the spirit of sacrifice. When the program eventually was begun, they were everywhere scouting for souls as others were scouting for financial remuneration. Immediately the committees were informed that there won't be any money for transportation, many went recumbent but the Deeper life church was spending their personal money and likewise spending themselves. Like I earlier said I'm not a member of the Deeper life church but their commitment in following up converts challenged me and left in me an indelible mark. They forsook all to ensuring none of the harvests was wasted.

The way some people appear and dance and behave is not in line with the Deeper life doctrine but they jettisoned all of that for them to harvest souls. I'm not surprised because their doctrine centers almost exclusively on the rewards afterlife and it brought for them a great dividend in this crusade. They never allowed the efforts of the Reinhard Bonnke's ministry go down the drain.

Many of us know too much, talk too much but none is translating to good quality service that will endear to the hearts of the master.

We need to change our attitude towards money as ministers because the love of money is the root of all the evils being witnessed in Nigeria and in the church today.


May I add this as an "eyewitness" and not just an "online witness". I saw the largest crowd I have ever witnessed. The Holy Spirit controlled the mammoth crowd that there was orderliness even though people were standing shoulder to shoulder. There were a lot of entertainments and true worship. However, when Bonnke came to the stage it was clear he was not there for entertainment. He was a man with burden and passion for the salvation of souls. No new message of salvation just like the Bible with the same old message of Christ crucified. However, there was power, power, as there was complete and full attention throughout. At times he appears to want to weep, at times you will hear the sound of his heavy breathing from the microphone like an aged person overstressing his energy limit. He must continue preaching because that is the last message or appeal of Christ's General, to Nigerians, no, the whole world, to embrace Christ. After the message, he made an altar call. 

Nearly all the crowd raised their hands. Most of them definitely are from Pentecostal churches and I begin to wonder why many Pentecostals are not sure of salvation and what their pastors are teaching them. After that his successor, Kolenda came up to minister healing. He started with praise worship which is not entertaining but really connecting to heaven. He made simple prayers. To my surprise, no single "falling under anointing". Did miracle happen? Kolenda asked those who received miracles to raise up their hands. They were in thousands. As if it was too much for him to believe, he clarified and asked only those who have experienced physical bodily changes to raise their hands; still the same thousands. From the testimonies, it was clear that the Man of Galilee actually visited us. Now listen, Bonnke came to transfer his anointing to those who care. A thousand Bonnke's are not enough to evangelize the ever-increasing godless world, but they can make a difference. May God raise thousands of Bonnke's for this generation and I want to be one. What about you? Just start somewhere and who knows...

Source: Facebook

Empowerment: Ad Hoc People, Ad Hoc Country.

Nigerians just like to trivialize issues unnecessarily. Frankly, it's annoying. Okay, I am annoyed. I don vex. Shey una happy now?

I have been following arguments on Ogbeni Ganduje's empowerment of the Mai Shai people in Kano. There has been some very powerful advocacy for the economy and the economics of Mai Shayism.

Those sympathetic to Ganduje's gesture have made seductive and persuasive submissions in favour of the legitimacy of the Mai Shai as a cornerstone of the informal and SME sectors, especially in the North.

I've been reading and following the arguments and wondering: who exactly is quarreling with any of these submissions? Who exactly is saying that Mai Shayism is not a legitimate pillar of the informal economy that should be encouraged? Who exactly is saying that the Mai Shai is not running an SME? Why do people like to set up a submission that nobody is making and spend two days demolishing it?

I even have a cultural stake in the Mai Shai stuff. I am a Professor of Literature and Culture. Think of what the barbershop represents in African American history and culture. The Mai Shai's stall is a cultural environment. It is a space of street culture and discourse. It is a space of critical agency for the people. It is not just about tea, bread, and eggs.

Here is the trouble with Ganduje. The next time you hear the word, "empowerment", from any Nigerian politician and his aides, line them up in public and crack coconuts on their empowerment heads.
Empowerment competes with another word, ultramodern, for the position of the most abused, most bastardized word in Nigeria's postcolonial history. Empowerment is what replaced another famous word, "miscellaneous", in Nigeria's infamous imaginary of corruption.
When I was growing up, "miscellaneous", was your father's house of many mansions inside which you dumped every imaginable and unimaginable corruption detail in a budget or in an invoice heading. The life of three generations of Nigerians was mortgaged under "miscellaneous" in budget items by the destroyers of Nigeria.

Then, the UN, NGOs and other international agencies began to "empower" all over the global south. We hijacked the word and the concept, completely ignorant of the meaning, and began to replace "miscellaneous" with "empowerment" in every actuation of corruption in our national life.

Funny enough, the global instances who donated that register to us are moving away from it. It is actually now a pejorative term which connotes arrogance on the part of the "empowerer" and denies the "empoweree" critical agency.

In Nigeria, it has stuck. Every Governor, every Minister, every Rep, every Senator - and their wives - will steal billions, spend a few thousands or millions buying food items or domestic appliances or ero alota or sewing machines, line up women and children and farmers and traders, line up journalists, cut a ribbon, and declare empowerment!

The sociological impact of this nonsense has been immense. Nigeria is paying an immense price. Empowerment is the opium of the people. It is the way we legitimize an ad hoc culture and philosophy in our national life. If you want to account for Nigeria's laziness and apathy to 21st-century solutions to anything, study the culture of empowerment. We reach out for ad hoc solutions every time to every imaginable problem. And we absolve the oppressor of his responsibilities while clapping for him.

No light in the villages? No problem. Mr Governor will buy a few generators and distribute as empowerment. We clap and absolve him of the need for 21st-century solutions.
No light in our police stations? No worries. While the Inspector-General is busy on the amorous front, Ambode will empower his boys in Lagos with I better pass my neighbour. We clap and move on.

No potable water in the villages? No problem. Mr Governor will dig a borehole. His wife will buy 3 million sachets of pure water and distribute to women and traders to empower them. We clap and absolve them of the need for 21st-century durable and sustainable solutions.
No health facilities and no health insurance and no drugs in the hospitals? No problem. The Governor or his wife will pay an unscheduled visit to a hospital tomorrow and pick up the medical bills of every patient on admission in order to empower them. We clap and absolve him of his responsibility to deliver 21st-century health facilities and healthcare delivery system.

Some say there are street vendors too in obodo oyibo. Absolutely! Especially hot dog vendors with street stalls. However, it would be crazy for the Premier of Ontario to go and buy patties, hot dogs, burger buns, and stalls, line up a few hundred street vendors, distribute the goodies and say she is empowering their business.

No, Madam Premier, you can't do that. That's not how we roll in civilization. Leave such an irresponsible approach to human capital development to the 17th-century folks in Nigeria. You and your administration must go and fashion out policies, sound economic policies, that would empower the businesses of these people. What, for instance, are you doing to guarantee their access to micro-credit and sundry micro-finance? That is one way to ensure that their capital base will be enhanced and you won't have to give them fish. Madam Premier, you can't just dig your hands into public funds, buy hot dogs, and distribute them to street hot dog vendors in Ottawa as empowerment.

Because we are an ad hoc people with an ad hoc mentality, we never think of what happens after empowerment. A few years ago, maybe one year into Ogbeni's tenure in Osun, I recall Semiu Okanlawon gleefully posting photos of his Oga's empowerment materials in one village. We clapped and moved on.

Up until last year, my broda, Baaroyin Kayode Odunaro, was inundating Facebook with photos of empowerment materials donated to constituents by his Senator boss till I took my irritated ass and went after him with koboko. After the ero alota and sewing machines, what next? We clap and absolve the Senator and the Governor of their responsibility to really empower people with durable and sustainable solutions.

Two years ago, Commonsense Tweetnator, Ben Murray-Bruce, made a show of riding okada to his constituency to distribute rice, Ajinomoto, exercise books, and other empowerment materials. What next? He has since retreated to Twitter and forgotten his constituents.

Once the Mai Shais of Kano are done with this largesse, I hope they do not think that Ganduje owes them any responsibility for social and economic policies that could really help them. He has provided an ad hoc solution.

By now, he has moved on. He is probably thinking of the next demographic to empower. What about the market porters in Kano? I won't be surprised to hear that he has sent a delegation to Samuel Ortom in Benue to study the immediate and remote strategies of distributing wheelbarrows to porters as empowerment.

He will steal N1 billion, spend an N100 million on wheelbarrows...

We clap.
We move on.
Ad hoc people, ad hoc country.

Pius Adesanmi is a Professor of English and Director, Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University in the United States. He is the inaugural winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing in the non-fiction category

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Today, the convoys of Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesom Wike clashed in Port Harcourt. Tomorrow, the airwaves will be flooded by their aides. There will be narratives and counter-narratives. Colourful lies will clash with colourful hyperbole. Aides will be locked in a competition to win public sympathy for their bosses. On all sides, the scramble for the winning story actually starts tonight.

Citizen, let me advise you. Let the aides do what they are paid to do. You have no dog in this fight. It is just two irresponsible Nigerian leaders involved in a street fight. Who is right and who is wrong between Wike and Amaechi is none of your business. Both men are mountains on your back. They are your oppressor. In these tough economic times, do not be misled by aides to waste your precious data taking sides with one man against the other. The only way this applies to you is that you are the grass beneath the feet of the two elephants going at it naked in public.

You want to know how you are the grass? Come with me.

Thanks are due to Sahara Reporters for providing photographic slides of the street location of the skirmish in Port Harcourt. They are fighting in dirty, rain-soaked streets. Evidence of horrible drainage abounds in the photos. There is some flooding. Everything looks jaga jaga like the streets of urban Nigeria look whenever the rains come.
Between the two shameless adults fighting in streets without proper drainage, you can account for nearly twenty years of visionless and irresponsible leadership of Rivers, one of Nigeria's richest states. These would cover Rotimi Amaechi's years as Speaker of the State House of Assembly and Governor, as well as Wike's two years as Governor thus far.
Two men, twenty wasted years in the life of a state, twenty wasted years in the lives of the citizens! Yet they are there in the streets of Port Harcourt, fighting against the backdrop of the very urban poverty and planlessness that are evidence of their combined failure of leadership. The lack of any capacity for sober reflection on the part of these two men is galling. Anyway, if there was anybody capable of sober reflection in the leadership of Nigeria, we would not be here, would we?

The only other thing that should concern you is the detail that there were armed soldiers in Amaechi's convoy. No soldiers were reported in Wike's convoy. Allah be praised for that one.

The irresponsible use of the Nigerian Army is one area where it has been tough, really tough, so tough for us to develop enough civic consciousness in the people and mobilize them, even at the symbolic level, against such primitive practices in the 21st century.

Nationally, we are at a stage of psychological and prelogical development which has a very large swathe of our citizens form a Greek chorus of praise every time the military is misused in civilian spaces. I do not know the solution to this sociopathy because many among those who should form the public enlightenment and reorientation cohort draw a line the moment it comes to the misuse of the military and instead transforms themselves to the intellectual vanguard of the military in civilian spaces.

For now, if you support the government of the day, every use of the military is welcome. When we support this demented violations of governance and democratic ethos by the Nigerian ruling class, you end up in a situation in which soldiers form part of the convoy of a Federal Minister! It could be that people just do not understand that there is a direct line from using the military for routine law enforcement to using the military to drive civilian Ogas around town. I understand that in certain cases, soldiers even carry madam's handbag when she is going to the market.

On what basis is Rotimi Amaechi going around the streets of Nigeria with armed soldiers in his convoy? How is this even imaginable? How is this even allowable?

One of Nigeria's great sons, also from Rivers state, was murdered by the Federal Government many years ago. Ken Saro Wiwa went to the hangman asking a question we must repeat again and again:

What manner of a country is this?
What manner of a country is this?
What manner of a country is this?

Pius Adesanmi is a Professor of English and Director, Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University in the United States. He is the inaugural winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing in the non-fiction category

Thursday, November 9, 2017


For Africa of tomorrow, we creed,
for the love of our father's land we
must fight a fight worthy of praise.
We have learned to mask the sun,
we have learned to cover the sky
for our creed to be heard by all and all.
For Africa of tomorrow, we must not cry again,
For Mandela shall come again for free.
Our cries shall not again break the dawn,
for the whispering of cricket is heard far and wide
so shall our laughter silence sorrows.
New era has come with a palm wine of smiles,
Streaming the fate of every African to goodness.
For the love of Africa, we shall sing again,
plant trees of faithfulness and understanding.
We are born with tradition and culture,
we have pregnant lands waiting for tomorrow,
and we must handle every tide that brings
memories into the bosom of our breastful heart.
And history of agonies must not go back
with the loneliness in our mouths.
For the brightness of our surrounding is hope,
the black race of our minds is the world.
For the good of Africa, we all shall arise
float in the sky and rise Africa above all.
For in Africa our Bread shall come again.
For the love of Africa, we shall stand.

John Chizoba Vincent is a prolific poet, writer, and cinematographer. He has written several books which include Hard Times.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ebooks Sales Slowing? Yes and No.

Joe sez: This blog originally appeared in 2010. It's extremely prescient about the future of ebooks, but that isn't the reason I'm reposting it.

I'm reposting because I got my very first DMCA Takedown notice.

Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others. As a result, we have reset the post(s) to "draft" status. (If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits. The URL(s) of the allegedly infringing post(s) may be found at the end of this message.) This means your post - and any images, links or other content - is not gone. You may edit the post to remove the offending content and republish, at which point the post in question will be visible to your readers again.

Apparently my infringement, according to the website Lumen, was including an Amazon link to author Lexi Revellian.


Lexi was originally mentioned as one of the laundry lists of authors below. I've since removed her name and Amazon link from this post, but this has brought up some interesting points.

1. Linking to an Amazon page is in no way a copyright infringement.

2. I'm pretty sure all authors want as many websites as possible to link to their books.

3. I don't think I know who Lexi is, but this was seven years ago and I may have forgotten. I have no idea why, seven years after the fact, she or someone working on her behalf, would complain to Blogger about a very old fair use post of mine that was supportive of her work.

I know that some authors hire companies to scour the Internet for examples of piracy. These companies dish out DMCA notices like drunks throw out beads at Mardi Gras.

As mentioned by Blogger in the email above, they remove posts regardless of merit. Which means anyone can accuse anyone of copyright infringement, and Blogger (along with many other Internet companies) err to the side of the accuser.

Certainly, everyone can see what a bad thing this is. Guilty until proven innocent didn't work for the court system, and it shouldn't work for the Internet.

4. I have no idea if Lexi is using any services to protect her copyrights because I have no idea why I got this notice. But I will offer some blanket advice to all authors who think about using one of these services:

Piracy doesn't harm authors. I have written ample posts on this topic.

Hiring companies to police the Internet, looking for evidence of copyright infringement and sending out DCMA notices, does hurt authors. Lexi had an Amazon link to her website, that even seven years later still gets traffic. Now her link is gone. That can't be helpful for an author. And I can guess I'm not the only blogger who is getting notices like this. How many writers, thinking they're combating piracy, are actually limiting their own reach?

Probably a lot. So I'll say it again:

It's a waste of time, and money, and also potentially career-damaging, to fight piracy. I say this as someone who has been pirated a lot for over a decade. People pirate me. And I don't care. And there is absolutely no verifiable evidence that ebook piracy harms authors.

If you're concerned about piracy, make sure your ebooks and audio are easily available and affordable.

But, as I said, you shouldn't be concerned. People are going to share files. It's part of the human condition. Anti-piracy laws are about as successful as anti-drug laws. 

The enemy is obscurity, not people reading your work for free.

Now here's the original December 2010 blog post:

Am I the only one who noticed this from Publishers Weekly?

"Facing some harder comparisons, e-book sales posted their slowest growth rates in 2010 in October. Still, sales jumped 112.4%, to $40.7 million, from the 14 publishers who reported results to the AAP’s monthly sales program."

The article is HERE.

Now, a few things struck me when I read this.

First, probably because I'm a writer and have an overactive imagination, I pictured editors in NY clinking champagne glasses with the toast, "The ebook bubble is bursting, thank Gutenberg, and soon we'll be able to get back to what we do best; selling the paper."

I realize that reporters and writers of the news have to attribute meaning to numbers and that hooks and spin are necessary to make facts interesting. But the way PW prefaced these numbers and called the article "E-Book Growth Slows" gives me a pretty good idea what their focus is. PW serves the publishing industry. The publishing industry is very uncomfortable about ebooks. Here's a nice fact to ease the publishing industry's collective mind.

Except it's a myopic, self-absorbed, and flat-out misleading fact.

This shows that ebook growth has slowed to 14 REPORTING PUBLISHERS.

That doesn't mean ebook growth is slowing for Amazon, B& N, Smashwords, or the tens of thousands of indie authors self-publishing.

My numbers have been steadily climbing for 21 months, and in the last six weeks, I made $26,000.

Yesterday, I mentioned Amanda Hocking, who is selling 1200 ebooks a day.

In the past, this blog has mentioned Zoe WintersKaren McQuestion, and Selena KittSelena Kitt made $120,000 this year on her Kindle ebooks.

But these are all outliers, right?

No, they're not.

Mark Coker, who runs Smashwords, recently interviewed his star author Brian Pratt at HuffPo. Brian has earned $25,000 in three months.

If you check over on KindleboardsMichael Sullivan sold 7500 ebooks in November. The thread also lists 14 other authors who sold more than 1000 ebooks last month.

Here are the names of these authors. Keep an eye on them. I only expect their sales to go up.

David McAfee
Nathan Lowell
Ellen Fisher
Valmore Daniels
David Dalglish
Terri Reid
Victorine Lieske
Richard Jackson
Karen Cantwell 
Margaret Lake
HP Mallory
KA Thompson
Beth Orsoff
Tina Folsom
Bella Andre
Ty Johnson
Vicki Tyley
Marilyn Lee
Felicity Heaton
LJ Sellers
Jeremy Bishop 

PW or AAP didn't poll any of these writers and ask if their growth was slowing down. They certainly didn't ask me.

And these authors I listed aren't the only ones with growing sales--I'm just too lazy to gather more info. If you're an indie author who sold more than 1000 ebooks in November, post in the comments section and I'll add you to the list.

But then, indie sales don't amount to much, right? After all, 1000 ebooks a month isn't a lot. Not compared to what Big NY Publishing does.


Whiskey Sour, by all counts my highest selling and most successful books, has sold 60,000 copies since 2004. That means it has averaged 770 copies a month since its debut.

1000 copies a month seems pretty damn good to me.

But then, these are indie authors. It's not like there are any professional authors jumping on this Kindle bandwagon. Except for maybe:

Robert W. Walker
David Morrell
Raymond Benson
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Blake Crouch
F. Paul Wilson
Marcus Sakey
James Swain
Paul Levine
William Meikle
Scott Nicholson
Simon Wood
Parnell Hall
Joseph Nassise
Tom Schreck
Henry Perez
Jeff Strand
Lee Goldberg
Mark Terry
Harry Shannon
Richard S. Wheeler
Ruth Harris
Don Pendleton
Jeremy Robinson

There are much more, but I'm tired off adding all the links.

However, I do want to post this final one, because I think it's pretty damn cool.

This is the latest book by bestselling author LA Banks.

I met Leslie at a writing convention in New Orleans, and we traded stories about how we'd get screwed in our careers, which lead to me talking about ebooks.

If you look at the cover (designed by my cover artist, Carl Graves at Extended Imagery), you'd think this is her newest Big NY Print Release.

Nope. Ms. Banks is self-pubbing this one, just in time for Xmas, for $3.99. You can buy it on Kindle HERE.

So... perhaps there is a reason ebook sales are slowing for those 14 publishers mentioned in PW.

Perhaps sales are slowing because more readers are buying indie books. Or because more professional writers are going indie. Or because publishers are too self-absorbed to notice anything happening outside of the insular world they've built for themselves.

But what do I know? I'm an outlier.

Here's a fun game, though. You know the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon meme? We can also play the Six Degrees of JA Konrath with self-pubbed Kindle authors.

Of the names, I listed on the blog, I'm one degree of separation from at least 80% of them. The rest, I'm probably second degree.

You hear that, NY Publishing? You truly want to slow the growth of ebooks?

Shut me up.

I'm willing to be bought off. Pass around a collection envelope, like you do for employee birthdays. For a million bucks, I promise I'll never blog about ebooks, or help another writer, ever again.

Here's my Paypal button. Maybe we can do business.

Joe Konrath has sold more than two million books in twenty countries. He's written over thirty novels and over a hundred short stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, and sci-fi genres. Known for combining incredible action, hair-raising scares, and big laughs, Konrath has received over 10,000 Amazon reviews for his work, averaging 4.2 stars out of 5. He's been a #1 Amazon bestseller on three different occasions and has been in the Top 100 bestseller lists over twenty times. He's twice won the Love is Murder Award for best thriller, and has also won the Derringer Award, and the Ellery Queen Readers Choice Award, and has been nominated for many others including the Anthony, Macavity, and Gumshoe. Konrath edited the collection These Guns For Hire, and his fiction has appeared in dozens of magazines and anthologies including Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Cemetery Dance, The Strand, Thriller edited by James Patterson, and Wolfsbane & Mistletoe edited by Charlaine Harris (True Blood).
He's considered a pioneer in self-publishing. His blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, gets several million hits per year, and Konrath has been featured in Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Playboy, USA Today, Time, Woman's World, the LA Times, and the NY Times among many other periodicals. He also blogs for the Huffington Post.
The best way to keep up with his latest news is to sign up for his newsletter.