Re: To the Guys That Want To Take Down LIB | Love Letter from Ayo Sogunro

Articulates some of my views.

Ayo Sogunro

Dearest Linda Ikeji,

Re: To the Guys That Want To Take Down LIB

Permit me the indulgence of a few lines to your eminent personality. I have been a constant fan of your work, although from afar. To be honest, I rarely open your blog volitionally, never scrolled through the news items on a slow day, never typed out the address on my browser to open it; yet, like hundreds of thousands of other Nigerians—I find myself falling into your domain through the intricacies of internet sharing and their damn hyperlinks. Despite this non-conscious increment of your page views, I dare say that I have had no cause to complain about the content of LIB—I expected to find gossip and entertainment not Shakespeare, and you have never disappointed me.

So, again, I am a huge admirer of your intrepid work.

But this is not to say I have not had some…

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Adaku dipped the piece of yam in the plate of akwukwo anara before placing it into her mouth. She spat into her hand immediately. This was exactly what she hated- new yam! How many times was she going to tell Ifeanyi never to cook her new yam? He always forgot, or maybe he did it on purpose, to kill her slowly. She feared him, the husband who never lifted a finger against her, the one who always told her never to take a good man for granted. Yes, that’s what he called himself- a good man.

Ifeanyi turned from the dressing table where he was brushing his hair, preparing to go to his store at the Alaba International market. “Nne, eat some more, inugo? You need oil in your stomach, something that will give you more blood, not all this piri piri you have been dwelling on.”

Adaku held her neck, fixing her eyes on the slowly-rotating blades of the ceiling fan, “I am nauseated. I have no appetite. Maybe later.” She turned to face the wall. She felt Ifeanyi’s eyes on her bare back, felt it boring through her and straight into her heart, right where she kept Eric. That was the only place where she and Eric met now, where he kissed her softly, starting from her neck, then her cheek, her forehead, her nose, and lastly her lips. He called it saving the best for last and Adaku always laughed even though Eric did not intend it as a joke. Eric would whisper in her ears words that mesmerised her, and she would bask in all the attention he bathed her with. “Come here, baby,” he usually called out to her. There was something about the way he spoke that thrilled Adaku, made her want to listen to his every word, made her want to divorce Ifeanyi and marry him. Eric was the man of her dreams.

“Where were you when I was single?” Adaku would ask Eric.

“I was on my way. You should have waited, but no, you were so much in a hurry to be called Mrs.”

Adaku laughed. She always did when she had no ready response. She met Ifeanyi in her first year at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he was contracted to install computers at the newly-opened cyber cafe close to her hostel.

She did not expect the large sum of money Ifeanyi doled out to her when she told him about the outstanding faculty fees she was yet to pay. Her father was being owed three months’ salary and her mother kept on pleading with her to exercise some patience, money would come soon.

When Ifeanyi returned to Lagos, he called Adaku frequently to ask about her studies. He sent her money, and when he could, visited her in school. Adaku told her mother about Ifeanyi, and she called him many times, offering profuse prayers unto God asking Him to bless Ifeanyi with all that he desired. “Okay, my in-law, bye bye,” she usually ended her calls with.

It was on the day Adaku wrote her final degree exam that Ifeanyi called. He was in Nsukka and had planned a surprise party for her to celebrate ‘the latest economist in town’. He was bringing some friends along and she could invite a few of her friends if she so wished. A cab would be waiting to pick them in a few hours.

Flooded with relief at finishing her exams and ecstatic at the prospects of grooving all night, Adaku told her close friends, Ngozi and Anita, about the party. They all spent good time complaining about not having dresses to wear while they prepared for the evening, fixing their lashes, painting their nails.

Midway into the party, Adaku stood in utter shock, tears stinging her eyes. Everyone was applauding, ooohing, ahhhing, camera lights were flashing. Ifeanyi was on a bended knee, “I have waited years to tell you. I have willed myself to be patient. I have dreamt of you as the mother of my children and the force behind my success. Will you marry me, Adaku?”

Adaku was speechless. She had never dreamt of being wife to Ifeanyi Ezeokeke. She did not want to bear his children either. She had only seen him as her God-sent angel whom she was truly grateful for.

“Go on, Ada, say ‘yes’,” her friends cooed from the sides. Ifeanyi was still on his knee, a moment too long. The waiters had emerged from their posts. Everyone was waiting, watching expectantly.

Spreading her left fingers forward, she covered her face with her right hand, “Yes,” she said, “yes, yes, yes,” she repeated as though to leave no one in doubt of what her response was.

The gathering erupted in applause, glasses clinking, camera lights flashing again. Adaku and Ifeanyi sealed their engagement with a brief awkward kiss.

The next day, Adaku travelled home. “Mummy, it’s unbelievable,” she began as soon as she had some time alone with her mother, “Ifeanyi gave me an engagement ring yesterday… in public…”

“Heeeewuuuuu,” her mother exclaimed, “My God is faithful. He will never lie. He has…”

“Mummy,” Adaku interrupted in an angry tone, “I don’t love him.” Her mother stared at her, incredulous. “I only accepted it because it was in public. I didn’t want to embarrass him. I don’t love him. I can’t even fathom waking up beside him everyday for the rest of my life.”

“I bu onye nzuzu,” her mother said in an angrier voice, “Don’t behave like a stupid ignorant child. Is that not the man who pays for the luxuries you come home with at the end of every semester? Has he not been the one taking care of you for years?”

Adaku folded her arms, looking away, “I don’t love him,” she repeated.

“Love kwa? You don’t have to love him now, nne m. Love grows in marriage. I did not love your father when I married him, but look at us today.”

“But I don’t want to end up like you. Ifeanyi has no university education sef. What will people say?”

“That is of almost no importance. He has the money that people with PhDs do not have,” her mother rebutted, “A man loves you and has the character and money to prove it. You don’t need anything else!”

And so, one rainy Saturday early in April, Adaku exchanged vows with Ifeanyi. “I will grow to love him,” she consoled herself as she tried to muster genuine smiles at everyone who told her how beautiful she looked.

Every night as she lay beside Ifeanyi, as he climbed her, as he gently pulled away her clothes, she felt him snatch her happiness. She always lay still, waiting for her love for him to grow. She waited until she bumped into Eric at the shopping mall one evening on her way back from work. She felt again what she first felt for him when she was seventeen and they were both classmates in their first year, before he travelled to Canada to study. From the way he held her hand, she knew he felt the same way too.

“Your happiness is in your hands. You can choose to mar it by considering what other people think of your decisions,” Eric told her, and she made up her mind to travel with him for the period of her work leave. She would tell Ifeanyi she was being sent for a seminar. He would believe her. What did he know about the corporate financial world anyway? She would snatch back her chance at happiness.

Ifeanyi watched Adaku as she packed a small travel bag. From the way she avoided meeting his eyes, he knew. He knew she was lying. He knew he was losing the woman he sponsored through school to a more qualified man. “Make her come back to me, God. I will not lose Adaku. Bring her back home to me.”

Ifeanyi received the call in the evening. Adaku was involved in a ghastly car accident. Her travelling partner was dead. She was unconscious, being treated at the teaching hospital. He was to come immediately.

He slowly put on his shirt, trying to organize his thoughts. Was this God’s answer to his prayers? He stayed with Adaku for most of the eight weeks she was at the hospital. He never once asked about her travelling partner. God had taken care of him.


Ifeanyi looked at Adaku, her once straight fair legs atrophying away. This was the Adaku he deserved, the Adaku that deserved him.

“I will see you when I get back, nwanyi oma m. If you need anything while I am away, call Ekene.” His thick lips brushed against her back. Adaku remained silent. For better for worse till death does us part. He intended to keep it so.

Chinazar Okoro©2013

The Joke That is Us!

I, Chinazar, am not very political in nature. I mean, politics bore me, especially the Nigerian one. It is very painful for me to even read. I struggle through political issues, seriously considering why to not just close any page discussing them, because they are all basically the same thing- the election or appointment of a new official who is just as corrupt and free-of-conscience as the one before him. See? Same old same old.

Seriously, sincerely, one of the reasons I even bother with politics is because I don’t want to be considered an ignoramus. Because what happens when Nigerian masses discuss our politics, via social media especially? What I know is that we huff, we puff, we use fancy words, newly-acquired vocabulary, then we drink the chill pill and wait for the next national abomination to happen. We never have to wait for long. One thing that amuses me in all of the hullabaloo is the jokes we make out of our mess. At least, if all our social media kung-fu achieves nothing, we can laugh and throw back our heads for good few seconds. No one will deny us that.

It’s not news to me that any top government official embezzles billions of money in hard currency. It’s not news to me that the nation’s money is what should supply them Louis Vuitton rice and Gucci garri, acquire and maintain their private jets and the private jets of their great-grand parents, buy them bullet-proof cars, sponsor the education of their children and their weddings, ensure their routine medical check-up at the best hospitals abroad, and generally give them a life that the average man can only fantasize of. It’s not news to me at all because Nigeria is a very forgiving nation. We don’t just forgive the people who drag us to ruin, we honour them, we remember them, even the ones whose proof that they ever existed should be at best, their graves.

I find Nigeria unbelievable, that the children of dictators would dare to speak in public places, that criminals would dare to seek public office again, that the common man would dare to forget and vote them back in, that ex-convicts would be celebrated and given traditional titles, that the simplest of justice cannot be served, that the most basic of needs cannot be met.

Maybe we deserve the leaders we have. As a matter of fact, we do, because I have witnessed great corruption at grassroot level. During my service year at a primary health centre, I recall about the only drugs that were to be given free being sold. I mean, even when poverty-stricken malaria-ravaged patients shed tears about not having money to pay for common malaria drugs, they were ordered out of the dispensary to come back when they had the money. Extra N200 in their purse was more important to them than the health of a patient. What even shocked me more was that they sold these free drugs at a greater cost than was obtainable in pharmacies. Please tell me what sort of leaders those pathetic grass-root thieves deserve. Ask random people around you if they would chop money if they occupied seats of authority. Hear their honest responses. Why should they get any better leaders? A leader is only a reflection of the people he leads.

Why do you think that all the curse wey we dey curse our leaders and NEPA no dey catch them? You are right, pot has no right to call kettle black. Only righteous people can lay effective curses, and righteous people know better than to curse. Bless, curse not. No?

Will the joke that is Nigeria ever come to an end?


I was seven years old.

I sat in the couch watching Power Rangers. Ekene was sitted opposite me, across the sitting room, engrossed. I heard Nkoli’s screams. They were punctuated with cries of “aunty biko“. I wanted to walk into the kitchen and ask mummy to stop with the beating. Canes were not meant for human beings. I wanted to tell her that the missing N200 was not so much money to warrant such lashing. I wanted to sit with Nkoli in the comfort of her room and rub off her tears with the back of my palm, to soothe her pain, to be a man. That was what I wanted to do, but I sat still, hugging my legs close to my chest, watching power rangers.

I remember when Nkoli first came to live with us, how she came to live with us.

Early one morning, Benji, that’s what my parents called him, came visiting. We were just about to have breakfast and mummy was setting the table.

“Odikwa mma?” my father asked, when he came out of his room. His wrapper was tied around his waist and a thick sweater clutched at his neck. That was his defense against a cold harmattan morning.

Benji laughed. “Nobody asks such a question when a man goes to visit his brother in his home, especially when this brother is seen with his family only during Christmas.” He put his chewing stick in his mouth, purposely working it on his incissors.

My father’s laugh was hearty. “You must join us for breakfast then.” He led the way to the dining table.

Uncle Benji ate well, and when mummy offered more slices of bread after the initial six she gave to him, he did not refuse. Afterwards, he sat together with my parents in the sitting room and talked some while, a long while.

In the evening, uncle Benji returned, and with him was Nkoli, small, timid, dressed in an oversized pinafore and a washed out yellow blouse. Cinderella! her pinafore exclaimed. She stood by the door, carrying a black polythene bag which contained all her belongings.

“I hope she doesn’t wet the bed?” mummy asked while uncle Benji downed a bottle of small stout.

Maka gini? She’s about fifteen or sixteen or seventeen years old. She has stopped bedwetting, okwa ya?” uncle Benji replied looking at Nkoli in askance. She nodded her head.

“Well, don’t blame me for asking,” my mother said, “Chioma wet the bed till the very day she left our house. She was twenty. I will not tolerate that from any other adult.”

“That is Chioma. This is Nkoli. Two different people,” uncle Benji said. He laughed at the smartness of his response. Mum shrugged.

Two bottles of stout gone, uncle Benji got on his feet. “Daalu so, nne,” he said to my mother, “Safe journey tomorrow.” He shook my father’s hand.

“Daddy bye-bye,” Nkoli called out. Uncle Benji turned, smiling, and waved at her.

Nkoli would follow us back to Lagos. Our new housegirl, mummy explained to me and Ekene. And so she became part of our family.


One evening, mummy came back unusually late from work. “I was chosen,” she said to dad.

“Congrats,” he said, flashing her a broad smile.

“Mummy, what happened?” Ekene asked.

“I’ll be travelling to Geneva next week for a course,” she said to me & Ekene. “I’ll likely get a promotion after it.” Even though we did not fully understand, we smiled too and hugged her tight. It was good news.

It was the day mummy travelled that I saw Wale in our house for the first time. I knew him. He lived a few houses away, and washed cars on most mornings as I rode to school. But today, he sat in the sofa, dad’s usual, and flipped TV channels with the remote control. He must have been the reason Nkoli delayed in answering the gate. Our school bus driver had honked and honked and honked. “Sorry o, I busy,” was all she said to the driver as she let I and Ekene in and locked the gate.

“Fine boys, how was school today?” Wale asked as we entered the sitting room.

“Fine,” Ekene shouted, flopping onto the rug. “I want caprisonne.”

“This one, na him quiet,” Nkoli explained my silence, pointing at me. “You people should go and wear your house cloth, fast fast. Make I warm soup.”

When we returned from changing our clothes, Wale was gone and Nkoli was in the kitchen humming a familiar tune. The smell of ogbono soup reached my nose.

“Uncle Wale came to visit us,” Nkoli said as she served our lunch, “It is even him that help me to pump water.”

I pushed away my plate of eba. “I want indomie,” I said frowning.

“I follow time-table mummy give me. This afternoon, eba. Indomie for night.”

I still frowned. “Ngwanu eat, after I give you and Ekene chocolate.” Nkoli was at my side, rubbing my head and adjusting my collar. I pulled my plate of eba close to me. I divided the entire mound into small balls, about ten, then I dug my fore finger into one ball and swirled it in the plate of soup. Ekene did the same thing, always the copy cat. This method made eating eba less burdensome.

Every day for the rest of that week, we came home from school to meet Wale in our sitting room, in dad’s favourite seat. He always asked how school was and gave us eclairs before leaving. Nkoli was in awe of him. I could tell by the she spoke of him, “Wale na man,” she liked to say. Nkoli did not go to school. Her school was on holiday, she explained to us. The week mummy returned was the week her school resumed.

I was seven years old.

I heard the blare of daddy’s car horn and mummy’s response from her room. She grabbed her silver heels and matching handbag, and hurrying down the staircase, shouted instructions at Nkoli. “Make sure lunch and dinner are served on time. We’ll be back late. Let me not come back to meet any place dirty. Clean all the rooms, okay?” They were attending a wedding.

“Yes aunty,” Nkoli hurried after her to lock the gate.

I was combing my hair and hissing at how unagreeable it was. I have this sort of hair, mkpuru akamu, mummy calls it, short coarse strands that huddle close to each other as soon as they can, worse in the mornings after a bath. They frustrate me. Nkoli came back upstairs and passed by our room to hers. She was grumbling. She grumbled a lot when neither mummy nor daddy could hear. I heard her slam her door shut. I tossed my comb to the far corner of the table and lay on my bed to read my latest Marvel comic. Ekene sat on the floor playing Temple Run on mum’s old iPad.

“Ebuka, come first,” Nkoli called. I stood to go to her room after she had called a third time.

“Close my door nao. Do you want mosquito to enter?” she queried after I stood at the entrance looking surprised. Nkoli had only a small green towel that hung low on her breasts and barely covered her buttocks. I shut the door and looked away. I did not move from the door. I was embarrassed.

“Come and read this thing for me,” Nkoli sat on her bed and spread open a book. She patted the bed next to where she sat. I moved to her bed, not meeting her eyes. She handed me her copy of Drummer Boy as I sat down. I had only read a few lines when her towel dropped. I took a quick glance at her breasts and sucked in my stomach when she smiled. The knot in my throat tightened and I could read no further. When Nkoli stood to lock the door, her towel remained on the bed. I had never seen such nakedness in my whole life. My heart pounded.

When she came back to the bed, my eyes were closed. “No fear nah. You go like am,” she said. “This is what men do. You no be man? Look ehn you no be small boy o. She placed my hands on her breasts and began unbuttoning my shorts.

“Make I stop?”

I did not respond. My eyes were still closed.

“Don’t tell anybody o. You will like it.” She gently took off my shorts and my pant followed suit. When her hand began to massage my penis, I covered my face with both my hands. She giggled.

When I walked out of her room, it felt like I had been there for ten hours, when in reality, it had not been for more than thirty minutes.

As I got back to my room, Ekene shoved the iPad into my face, “Beat my highscore now,” he dared. A triumphant smile lit his face. All I wanted to do at that moment was sleep. I pushed my comic books aside and curled up on the bed. I had a troubled sleep.

The next time Nkoli called me into her room. I was not as shy. I didn’t close my eyes. I was pleased when at the end she said I was becoming a real man. She said I did good, but I had a lot more to learn. She made me cross my heart and promise not to let anyone in on our secret.


“Ekene,” I shouted his name from the sitting room downstairs. An episode of Power Rangers was about to start. He didn’t respond. I called him several other times and wondered what he was doing, why he didn’t at least, shout back a response. I had left him upstairs about an hour ago. He had his nose buried in Enid Blyton’s 12 Silver Cups. So I bounded up the staircase impatiently and threw the door of our room open. He wasn’t there, neither was the book he was reading.

“Ekene,” I shouted again, my voice a mixture of panic and wonder. Nkoli’s door opened, and Ekene walked out clutching his book, a slight stagger to his steps.

“Ekene,” I called out softly. He did not look at me, not even when I pulled his arm. He walked past me and hopped into his bed. He lay on his stomach and shut his eyes. Ekene was six years old.


I am ten years old.

Mummy came home from work earlier than she used to, just about the time our school bus dropped us off. She went into the bathroom and turned the tap on as she threw up into the sink.

I and Ekene stood by the door, “Sorry mummy,” we said. Nkoli stood behind us.

Mum forced a smile, “I’ll be fine,” she said, “I just need to rest. Nkoli, hope lunch is ready?”

“Yes ma.”

As she climbed the stairs to her room, mummy asked that no one disturb her. As soon as we finished our homework, we were to stay in our rooms and could only come down to watch tv by six.

Later that evening, after Nkoli had served daddy his meal, I stayed with her in the kitchen doing the dishes. I shrieked when she tickled my sides as we made our way upstairs. I walked past my room to hers. She shut the door.

We didn’t hear anything, not the door open. Maybe it was the collective buzz of the neighbouring generators. The scream that proceeds out of mummy’s mouth startles I and Nkoli out of position. I am surprised the door is not locked. We never forget these things. How come we did today?

I do not know if the excuse will hold, that I am too young, that I am innocent, that I have been abused. But I know for sure that mummy’s cane will scald my back for the first time ever and I will scream. I will scream loud and hoarse after each stroke leaves my back. And in all of it, I will be a man, at least, I’ll try.

And Nkoli, I don’t know what about her, but there are some people you never forget for the rest of your life.

Chinazar Okoro©2014


1. Godliness + contentment = great gain. Her moderation (the one Philippians 4: 5 talks about) beats my imagination. She has never lived beyond her means.

2. A wise woman builds her home.

3. Financial wisdom. I don’t remember a time in my life that I did not save. As young as when I was 4 years old, she would randomly give us (I & my sibIings) money, according to our ages. Mine was usually a 50 kobo or N1 coin. Our househelp then encouraged me to save mine in empty casette cases, assuring me of their safety. Every time I went back, I never met my hard-earned coins. By the third time this unfortunate incident happened, I got wise. I know how to save my money. I keep learning how to invest it.

4. Humility. As long as you are not a thief, you should be proud of whatever work you find yourself doing. As long as you are legally earning your money, your work is honourable.

5. A woman must never be idle. There is no excuse why you shouldn’t work. The reason for idleness doesn’t exist.

6. Books books books. We never lacked books, academic and leisure. We ALWAYS had our own copies of every school textbook we needed and on time too. Growing up, it was a sin to write in printed books. Till date, I don’t as much as mark even my bible. My 9-year old bible doesn’t have a single underlining, despite the many preachers that have said ‘underline this part’ or ‘mark that part’. I simply copy into my note pad to acknowledge any emphasis.

7. If a mother doesn’t spend her money on her children, on who will she?😀

ONE THING I’VE NOT LEARNT FROM MY MOTHER: how to walk round the market to get an item at the cheapest price possible.

I thank God for my mother. Her strength is amazing, her wisdom is evident.

I look forward to being a better mum than she is.

Happy Mothers’ Day to us.

Rest in Peace, aunty Ejiro

I pretend not to hear the knock on the door. It is light, as though the visitor is sorry to have to bother us. It is light enough to ignore, so I don’t move an inch even at the second knock. I will the guest to leave, there is no harm in wishing, but I know she will not. Aunty Ejiro will not leave. Everyone knows when she is at the door by the way she knocks, Rap. Rap. Rap, as though to inform the occupants that it is not some random stranger brushing against their door. Her knocks are always happy, never hurried. Of what use is it to bang on your host’s door and get them all upset? So, rap rap rap her knocks always are. They annoy my father greatly.

I am surprised my mother has not asked me to get the door. The curtain that separates our room into two is pulled back half-way and I can see her. She is sleeping, pretending too.

At the fourth knock, it becomes embarrassing. The raps are louder, but are just as patient, as happy, as certain that the occupants would soon do as is expected of them and heed its call. My mother’s eyes flip open and meet mine. She does not say a word. I stand and make to get the door.

“Good evening, aunty Ejiro,” I say rubbing my eyes and letting out a little yawn.

“How are you, Osas? Your mama nko?”

“She’s sleeping, ma,” I say, now scratching my left arm. I do not move away from the door. I watch her stare at me. She does not budge either. There is silence, an awkward one.

“Na Ejiro?” My mother’s voice is low as someone who should have been asleep.

“Na me ooo, my friend,” aunty Ejiro replies dusting her feet on the footmat outside and walking in to sit on the single sofa in front of the tv. “How body? E don tey. I say make I come check up on you.” She is brimming with smiles like someone who has won a lottery, but I know she hasn’t. Aunty Ejiro cannot win a lottery. Why, she can’t even afford the ticket.

“You do well o,” my mother says from the inner room. She throws her faded MTN-everywhere-you-go t-shirt over her head and her wrapper drops to her waist. She tucks it in firmly.

“Ahhh, I don knock tire. I say whether na women fellowship you go. This sleep really carry you.”

I retreat into the room just as my mother emerges from it. “My sister, as I come back from school, I just weak. Those children really wear you out.”

“Doh,” aunty Ejiro sympathizes.

“How market?” my mothers asks.

“We thank God, my sister,” aunty Ejiro rubs hers palms together. I am on the bed in the inner room, my maths homework is spread out before me, but I cannot solve a single question. I did not understand what Mr. Dawodu taught today. I never understand what he teaches. All he does half the time is stand before us with his full moustache and protruding belly, winding his cane, a long terrorizing one. I do not shut my books even though I know I will not do the homework. I will copy  Adaobi’s tomorrow, before assembly. I know my mother is stealing glances at me. She has asked me to always busy myself whenever we have visitors, so I bend over my books and scribble at the back.

I hear everything aunty Ejiro tells my mother. A customer accused her of selling bad fruits to him. Mama Nonso has not paid up the debt of tangerines she bought a week before. The KAI officials threatened to demolish her make-shift shop. My mother oohs, she ahhs, she claps her hands, she shakes her head, and then, they both fall silent.

I am very happy my mother did not ask me to go and buy aunty Ejiro mineral from across the road as she normally would. I am also happy she did not offer her the last chin-chin in the house, that’s my school snack tomorrow, the one I hope to share with Adaobi- the only person who will allow me copy her maths homework. I think my mother is quite annoyed with aunty Ejiro today. I don’t even know why they are friends at all. Every time aunty Ejiro visits, she always leaves with something, sometimes even a cube of maggi.

She begins to speak, aunty Ejiro, in a voice I am all-too-familiar with. I wonder what it is she will beg for today. Her voice drops. It’s barely above a whisper. My mother is hunched forward, shaking her head slowly. I grasp only a few words. Hospital. Operation. Friday.

Aunty Ejiro is sick! Or maybe it is her daughter, Onome, who is sick. I know it is money she has asked for this time around. There is no money in the house, or in my mother’s bank account for that matter. I know because my mother told me. The only money there is is the one my mother has promised to buy me a new outfit with this coming weekend. It’s the outfit I plan to wear to my school’s end-of-year party, the one with which I plan to impress Adaobi and make her fall completely in love with me. I have never worn new clothes for my school parties.

My mother rises from the chair and walks towards me. I make sure not to look at her, and scribble harder into my book. That cannot be the money my mother is reaching for in her old brown bag. But it is anyway, and she pats my head on her way out of the room.

“Thank you, my sister. May you never lack. May help come your way when you need it. You and your household will never fall sick,” aunty Ejiro prays with outstretched arms. To each, my mother says a quiet Amen.

“I promise you, I go pay quick quick. Next two weeks latest,” aunty Ejiro is on her feet, smiling her ever-annoying smile. I sigh in relief. Two weeks is still in order to get my outfit and make Adaobi swoon.


Today as always, I am the one who opens the door for the messenger. Sayo is out of breath as she greets my mother. She lives next-door to aunty Ejiro.

“My mummy say make I come tell you say if you fit come, make you come now. Aunty Ejiro don die for hospital.”

“What!” my mother’s face is incredulous. Mine too. Sayo shakes her head at my mother’s questions. She does not have details of the death. She runs out of our house to continue the delivering of her message of doom.

My mother starts crying. She sits on the floor and pulls at her hair. She kicks the plate, but it is the empty one I used to cover her food. Her half-gone meal waits patiently on the low stool. “God why?” she asks. Her tears are flowing unhindered. I didn’t know aunty Ejiro meant a lot to her.

I am crying too, for aunty Ejiro and her family, and the new clothes I will not have.

Chinazar Okoro©2013


She watched the looming shape in front of them. They had been following it for a few minutes and every time they tried to pass, it belched smoke and caused them to retreat.

She saw herself fall.

She saw her head go under the tires and her brains splat all over the road. She saw her heart leap from its confines and land amidst the rubbish by the roadside. She saw her blood mingle with the dust and her innards spread out like a biology lesson.

She could barely feel her heart. She could only feel the wetness in her palm where she had drawn blood.

Nnamdi throttled his motorcycle in defiance of the trailer in front of him. Which kain bad belle be this? He had just come out of the mechanic’s and this was his first fare. Get off the road, wahala. Allow people pass, wahala. He was not going to spend all day behind this idiot driver.

She watched in slow motion as they moved forward to pass. Her eyes widened in horror as the big bulk did a sideway dance.

Nnamdi sighed with relief. That was a lucky escape. He looked back at his passenger with a reassuring smile. She wasn’t there.

Enajite Efemuaye©2013

Enajite expresses her thoughts on love and friendship, pictures and the things that matter to her through (very) short stories. She’s the brain behind One Word More

Follow her on twitter: @jyte12