Friday, July 1, 2011

Open Cities

Open Cities

These roads are umbilical to no body, bearing
But words scattered like paper in wind, seeming
Sterile. My eyes follow your lines that run and run
The road that runs and runs – this onwards, open story

My glance is a peep of light through a pinhole, laying
No claims, a voyeur to less than suffered. There walks
New York’s Atlas with stethoscope and duffel coat, Bresson
-captive, laden with the sérieux of an elegant, cultured weighting

Story told in stasis, a wasteland of words, how should I empathise
With an Eliot-ness ages dead? With Hagar’s Mason Dead long dead?
Book bound, unbound, ornamental this for which I cannot eulogize
Meritless the nothing new of which I yet must speak.

(c) 2011 Richard Ali

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Making It Again

There’s no mistake in a child’s clear paper world, all errings
Are erasable: She shreds a year and mutters; it’s just numbers
Same as I bleed the blue from yesterday’s witnessing clouds
Putting distemper in memory, leaving tryst-grounds in chaos

Empty playgrounds are lures when love is done, its
Bud of grace quarter eaten by the price we pay surely
A slammed door - another’s name – wanderlusting . . .
Absence becomes the now place where the other lives alone

I invoke my fever in the creaking of swings, thinking
Of Christ. But she’s gone to the devil and He, creation
By creation, undoes the deed of our Father’s amen
Leaving us as children, a mistaken affair erased.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Recognizing Manism: Understanding Ahmed Maiwada’s “Musdoki”.

A critical essay
Richard Ugbede Ali

“It is instructive that the first sexual encounter between Musdoki and Rita is a rape, and that it is not he who does the raping. Feminism as a philosophy revolves around the female’s possession of a vagina, that trump card that men do not have and the entire history of Feminist philosophy and the feminization movement is the securing by women of the exclusive use of their vaginas and enforcing the recognition of this exclusivity by men. The vagina is the philosophy’s real estate and its value depends on its being made selectively available to men, to other women, or being made unavailable completely.”

‘Masculinism’ is the correct term for the contrary of ‘Feminism’, but, unlike the latter, it has not achieved the ubiquity of a bromide yet and considering the sheer number of syllables it has, this writer will simply stick to ‘Manism’ – as a type, in literature, and society, he wishes to evaluate. The occasion for this is the publication of Nigerian poet Ahmed Maiwada’s first novel, titled ‘Musdoki’. ‘Musdoki’ is a 212 page coming of age novel revolving around Musa Maidoki, aka Musdoki, who we first meet as a teenager who has failed his examinations and who we leave, at the last page, as a lawyer in his thirties. It is divided into four chapters each comprising three, fourteen, seven and three ‘verses’ respectively, no doubt that jargon being used as a bow to the author’s first being a poet. Promptly noticed and immediately pondersome is the author’s note on page four which reads; “This story shall be misunderstood”, more would be realized about this later. Suffice now to speak briefly on the content of his chapters.

Chapter one presents us with Musdoki, a football loving lad from Zaria emirate who, having failed his school cert examinations has moved to Birnin Kebbi to make it up, living with his elder brother with who we gather he has a testy relationship. In this chapter he meets the shadow character and villain of the novel, Rita, at a bus park and Maiwada swiftly establishes the conflicts between them. Musdoki has a young northern Nigerian’s superstitions and Rita from the start embodies an element of unreality or supra-reality. Musdoki at the very first and for a long time after speculates whether or not she is a ‘djinn’ – a malevolent, superhuman, but not necessarily evil spirit. Rita, a ‘half-caste’, determines to marry and settle down with Musdoki and she tempts him severally in this chapter with his dreams and with her body. Chapter two starts five years after Musdoki unceremoniously rids himself of Rita at Birnin Kebbi by the method of an ineffectual escape. By now he has grown more sophisticated and is making his first journey away from northern Nigeria, to Lagos where he is to attend the Nigerian Law School and take the Bar qualification examinations. Of course, he runs into Rita, only this time she is called ‘Christine’ – a Francophile who attaches herself to him with the dedication of jealousy all through his stay in Lagos. One of his earliest ‘bargains’ with Christine is to allow him time to pass his Bar exams and this is symmetric with an earlier ‘bargain’ he had struck with Rita at Birnin Kebbi – to let him pass his school cert before deciding one way or another on their relationship. The rest of this chapter shows what happens as he reneges on this ‘bargain’ and how Christine, amidst metaphysical machinations that give the novel its feel of magical realism, tries to enforce her ‘bargain’. All this is done amidst the stunning backdrop of Lagos in the early 1990’s portrayed with a loving and knowing realism. Notable in this chapter is Musdoki’s flight from Lagos amidst the political tensions and anti-‘Hausa’ riots following the annulment of the 1993 elections by a northern Nigerian military dictator, Musdoki’s escaping death by the whiskers severally and Ahmed Maiwada’s success in painting a true-to-reality picture of the fractionizing tendency within northern Nigeria. When Musdoki is abandoned by his fellow northerners with whom he has tiptoed out of the snapping jaws of a southern Nigerian death on their discovery that Musdoki is not a Muslim, this writer as a northerner, and as any Nigerian, feels how well Maiwada mines the complexity of identity in northern Nigeria and finds for it against the simplicity of stereotype. Chapter three finds our Musdoki as a successful young barrister in Lagos and it revolves around the “loss of his yahoo”, a euphemism for the disappearance of his penis, an event which occurs on a Lagos afternoon. We are also introduced to Maiwada’s last important character, Iyabo, the Yoruba girl with the inimitable manner of English pronunciation who becomes Musdoki’s ally in the matter of the recovery of his potency and who, in time, becomes his wife - after which she is untidily killed by Ahmed Maiwada. Whether this chapter succeeds or not, it does contain some of the most hilarious actions in the plot, matching those in the brief first chapter. Rita/Christine, who, though suspected of the curious disappearance in the last chapter, does not make a physical appearance, shows up in Chapter four in a last bid attempt to enforce her claim on Musdoki – this time, in desperation possibly, by causing his death. Ahmed Maiwada here seeks to resolve the conflict begun in Birnin Kebbi between his Feminist and Manist archetypes; Chapter four is a Rita/Christine versus Musdoki showdown.

Feminism, described simply, is a philosophy that recognizes differences between men and women based on an inequity of rights and consequent realities, this resulting from their physical differences, and which has its objective as the reversal of this inequity by achieving complete equality between the sexes – and then some. I have added the phrase ‘and then some’ as being logical, for if any philosophy is to succeed it must go beyond accommodation and acceptance, it must thrive. In this case, a reversal of gender roles is the silken grail of Feminism. Partisans of this philosophy have used all tools at their disposal, ranging from propaganda literature to affirmative action on to gender discrimination, in order to achieve this. Perhaps a measure of their increasing efficacy is the oft heard concern over what some men have called in several ways ‘the feminization of men’ and ‘the masculinization of women’ - the increasing number of male wimps and female supermen respectively. It would seem, bromide or no bromide, that the Feminists are pushing their agenda to the fore, they are, increasingly, getting exactly what they have stated they want – and then some. It is in this respect that we consider Ahmed Maiwada’s principal female character(s) as Feminist in a bid to clearly locate his own contra-Feminism, his own Manism.

Maiwada’s antihero, Musdoki’s foil, is the green-eyed girl Rita who becomes Christine and then becomes Rita again. Is she a Feminist? Consider her first appearance; “I had real company – a midget girl at my left side with tan skin, flashing dazzling cornrows at me in a familiar smile. Her lips were full, forged with red-hot steel. . .frozen matter packed my veins, sparked by her black, four-inch fingernails. . . ; her diminutive size amplified by the tight fitting lime T-shirt and brown jeans she wore” {page 7}. Quite correctly, Musdoki suspects she is not female, or even human – and he immediately begins a surreptitious search for hooves as opposed to feet, a clear marker of the aljanu {djinns}. She shocks Musdoki, the male archetype, with her almost absolute self possession, from cornrows to black fingernails to the tight-fitting lime green T-shirt. She, a ‘half-caste’, has run away from her father who she is tormenting for ‘killing her {British} mother’, again establishing the rallying us-against-them theme of Feminist philosophy. Rita, contrary to gender roles in northern Nigeria or anywhere for that matter, attaches herself to Musdoki and he is unable to get rid of her – she courts him assiduously. Pages later, Rita says; “You see? So, what do you say? Do we run away together? We could start our own home” (page 20), offering to steal the money they need – Rita wants Musdoki and nothing is going to stand in her way to getting him. Again, a reversal of gender roles. Musdoki stands against her from the start, even when she tempts him with a football playing career in the UK if he gives in and becomes hers; Musdoki piques her by not taking sexual notice of her, introducing the important element of sexuality being a deal at worst struck between men and women at some unspecific point between them. Musdoki wonders; “What did she want from me, anyway, whoever or whatever she might be?” and after another bid to insulate himself from this attacking Feminist by locking her up in a room, this is what ensues;
“Rita did not speak to me. With fury in her sleepy eyes {sic}, she grabbed my arm instead. Then she dragged me back to the bedroom, turned off the light, shut the door and pushed me on the bed.
‘Tonight,’ she asserted, ‘you must die from this something in me that you’ve been running from.’ She wrapped her frail arms around me as tight as she could and said, ‘I’ll offer Thanksgiving next Sunday if you’re dead by morning.’”
It is instructive that the first sexual encounter between Musdoki and Rita is a rape, and that it is not he who does the raping. Feminism as a philosophy revolves around the female’s possession of a vagina, that trump card that men do not have and the entire history of Feminist philosophy and the feminization movement is the securing by women of the exclusive use of their vaginas and enforcing the recognition of this exclusivity by men. The vagina is the philosophy’s real estate and its value depends on its being made selectively available to men, to other women, or being made unavailable completely. Yet, in spite of his rape, Maiwada’s Musdoki still gets rid of Rita unceremoniously the very next day and by this act concretizes the contra-Feminism of Ahmed Maiwada. This contra-Feminism presents that men are not particularly interested in women’s vaginas any more than that it is a physical sexual fact which no woman chooses to have or not to have, that, consequently, men will not recognize female power if it is based on something they had no choice in possessing and, finally, that in the absence of complementarity, men can do without women quite as well.

Rita returns five years later as the character Christine, this time in Lagos where Musdoki is a law student. She makes her entry from the very first and he notices her in the phrase; “When she spoke it was neither good nor bad, but French” (page 36). We begin to suspect that Christine is really Rita when from their first meeting she takes off to steering Musdoki’s destiny away from practicing law upon his graduation, she says; “I have a better option for you: you can work in an embassy or at a foreign mission if you wish” (page 37) and further amidst cultural innuendoes “Why are you quiet? You don’t like the options? You seem like one who cannot take an independent step. Look I’m going to settle into a similar job soon. You’ll see how comfortable you will become. I promise you” {page 37}. She offers an escape from the country, just as Rita had, “I have the connections to plug you in. We’ll pick the country of our choice, like France. . .listen, you and I can live in Europe and settle down together” (page 38) and quite logically Musdoki muses, “My mind went back five years as she reminded me of Rita, of whom I thought Christine should hear, hoping to warn her. . .” and further like Rita, Christine extracts a promise of sorts from Musdoki only this time her metaphysical-morphism is confirmed – Mudoki is bleeding from a cut from a kitchen knife and she promptly cuts her own thumb and joins it to his in that ageless blood ritual well known to Africans, and she says;
“Suck mine. . .Prove that you are not afraid of adventure. . .Go on and prove me wrong!” She succeeds in sharing her blood with him, then Musdoki; “I heard her guffaw at the door, saying: ‘Congratulations!’” (page 40)

There is little doubt that Rita/Christine are Feminist archetypes and that they have an agenda, to mold Musdoki’s fate in a certain way, to do everything to control his choice by narrowing his ‘options’ and that such a trifling matter as gender roles are absolutely unimportant in their achieving this. This, set against Musdoki’s stance, is the central conflict of the novel. And what is Musdoki’s stance? We must consider his responses. To Rita in Birnin Kebbi, replying her offer to elope, he says no; “My family’s injured pride. I am afraid it will continue to haunt me no matter what success I hit in life, that I failed my exams. . .Rita, I like the whole idea. But why don’t we talk about this some other time, maybe; next year when I’d have redeemed the broken pride?” establishing his stance quite early as being a partisan of traditional male gender roles which revolve simply around one word: ‘self-determination’. Musdoki wants the world and his future on his own terms, not on any one else’s terms and not in the least way on Rita terms. Where the possibilities are not on his terms, one suspects, it would have to be on terms that he actively participates in crafting. Musdoki is unafraid to say no, whether the bait is a football career in the United Kingdom or French expatriate life. Consider again Christine; “Let us say I am in a position to know things beyond my knowledge (sic). I have the power to know things that ordinary people like you won’t. And it makes me feel special. I have that in addition to money. All those are the things I’ve been battling with you to accept, offered on a platter of gold. Do you know how many people will do anything for half the opportunity you are refusing to take?” (page 53) and her piqued “That is your favourite word, isn’t it? ‘No’. . .Why? What is it that you don’t like. . ?”(page 67): We can assess Musdoki’s praxis by his response to her offer of a job at an ultraliberal magazine, with global fame and a Nobel Prize being the bait this time, he states; “Inspiration without responsibility is what you call that kind of writing. . .One can be inspired only to a certain level. I am no different from the others. But after the inspiration, I wake up to my responsibility and tamper with the inspiration wherever it conflicts with my responsibility to the society” (page 78) and “I don’t see myself writing about absolute freedom when I don’t believe any such thing does or should exist” (page 79).

In considering what ‘Manism’ is or is not, I hasten to remind that while Manism is contra-Feminist, it is not anti-Feminist. In understanding this, let us think, using a historical model, that both the Reformation and the Counter Reformation were aspects of Catholicism as a fact and a faith; no matter how opposed each may have seemed, both were twins of the same parent, germs of the same tree. Each successful philosophy significantly overturns the social system before it until it reaches its peak and begins to decline at which point another ideological wave grafted in its belly tides in, modifies what it wills and dashes what is left of the former to the rocks – such is the story of human intellectual dynamism, responsible for what Darwin has called ‘natural selection’. Darwin is important, to be stressed; all men and women alive today are alive because they have the best adapted brains, exactly alike in all respects, arrived at at the end of a process of evolution. We are the triumphs of Brain and Ego. It is the opinion of this writer that Feminism as a social theory has come about as far as it can go and an indication of this is the distinct presence of such an ideological strain as Manism, as extracted from Ahmed Maiwada’s ‘Mudoki’. The current gay-rights debate really is Feminism in its last throes. Manism is rooted simply in gender self-determination. It accepts gender differences as facts; it rejects gender discrimination as being a practice peculiar to the male gender. But, the chief thing about Manism is that it recognizes the place of the Ego above and beyond all. Gender differences are accepted because no one chooses to either be male or female, definitely not the males or females in question; the Ego in men and women is recognized for it represents a conscious interpretation, a conscious act, for the reason that it is definitive. Cogito, ergo sum. Cartesian thought, which is the context of Philosophy, achieves its most perfect clarity in Manism for Manism sees human history as the long story of conscious choices made by Egos and the Ego is, of course, omnipotent.

This neatly explains why even in the most ‘backward’ of cultures, there have been dominant women, such as Queens Amina and Idia, both well used by our Feminist dramatists; they were dominant not because they did not have vaginas or to the contrary, that they had penises, but because they had cultured an affecting Ego for themselves. In consequence of this, these women led men quite in the same way certain men lead other men and in context, have led many women. Manism extends the basis of the male-female debate, reaching it to its lowest common denominator which, contrary to the popular thought of the last fifteen decades is not a basic gender difference but a basic mental equality.

Ahmed Maiwada’s fiction points this writer to the end of Feminism as we know it and the rise of its successor. It is, perhaps, the star above the Jewish Prophet’s crib. This is the thematic subscript beneath Maiwada’s novel, the subscript that could be easily missed and hence ‘misunderstood’, and in spite of the novel’s numerous instances where any critic could put the author embarrassingly to task, a job I have little doubt other critics will do, I think it is important to highlight this understanding.

 Further, the rise of Manism is not just in the realm of fiction for social corroboration of this fact is increasingly coming to light. A recent TIME magazine story chronicled the rising number of women who give up their demanding corporate careers in order to bear children and take care of them, while their husbands work to pay the bills, household activities being shared on some agreed upon basis. This was Feminist anathema as lately as the mid 1980’s. But this, in essence, is Manism; that you are female, I am male, you need me, I need you, let us intelligently agree on the terms of our engagement, let us be complementary and see how far we can make this work. This writer has also noticed a rising number of men quite willing to stay at home and look after their children while their wives pursue degrees or jobs – even if in a majority of these cases, these men have jobs at which they can and do work from home. I personally know a number of African men who look after their kids while their wives undergo MA’s and PhD’s. We have also found corroboration of the existence of the germ of Manism in Feminist prose, in Alice Walker’s no less. This writer has little doubt that Ms. Walker would deny his reading of her book ‘Temple of My Familiar’. In one of the central character Lizzy’s trans-physical ‘travels’ within a fluid Time, she recounts an original state of affairs where men and women were separate ‘communities’ who came together for what was needed and stayed apart when that was done. Though, in that instance, Ms. Walker could not help infusing her personal sense of the tragic and of an aging Feminist’s blame-the-men-and-get-the-labyrisis recourse, we see clearly that History in its circularity is coming around yet again and in its nature, it will be recognized by only a few. Men are men, women are women, there is no intellectual disability suffered by either of them, they both have competent Egos, they are separate, insular, but possibly complementary.

As for Maiwada and his ‘Musdoki’, how does the story end? Well, it goes on first. I have said earlier and will restate that I am in this brief essay uninterested in a detailed criticism of other aspects of Maiwada’s fictive successes and failures, this being the task of other critics or a subsequent essay. I will not comment, therefore on the doubtful efficacy of Maiwada’s writing in the chapter dealing with Musdoki’s emasculation, but I shall speak on the relatedness of this to the theme and the philosophy of Manism. In the novel, the now successful Barrister Musdoki loses his penis in a course of sometimes bizarre, sometimes hilarious situations and we find that Rita/Christine is behind this as well. This concretizes the idea; the scorned woman tries to emasculate the insensitive lover or, on another level, seeks to destroy completely the man who refuses to be female, that is, to ‘be’ on her own terms, done in this case, by removing his obvious ‘maleness’. Yet, being male, and being a Manist, is tied intricately to possessing a penis, just as being female, and being Feminist, is tied intricately to possessing a vagina. The ones in between these two are truly the unfortunates, for there is no philosophical groove in which to fit them. The good news, at least for Musdoki, is that he does eventually recover his penis, and his Manism.

In the last chapter, he, on his way to Kaduna from Lagos, picks up a hitchhiker who is, of course, Rita/Christine and this time she tries to physically kill him. Yet, for this agenda, she does not succeed. Musdoki’s near-death is followed by Rita/Christine’s confession of all her machinations and of her failure at them and she reaches the rock-bottom truth about her self, that if their relationship is continued with her persisting in forcing her terms, what would be left for her would be self-immolation, a course which she is about to choose. The dialogue that ends the novel is;
RITA: I can only live for you and nothing else. But you are hedging, as always.
to which Maiwada scripts Musdoki saying;
“Don’t worry about it,” I said, patting her frail and smooth arm. “Today is the day when all walls shall fall, including my own walls of resistance.”

In this way, a tenable complementarity is established between the two antagonists.

Manism demands that men and women be seen at their basics and that physical differences un-chosen by either should not be this basic. It places the basis at the pedestal of intellectual equality and conscious self determination. While it is a contra-Feminist philosophy, it is not anti-Feminist; it may be considered post-Feminist. As with all philosophy, only time will tell whether or not it shall endure. But, at this point, we must not stint from commending Ahmed Maiwada for writing what is sure to be an important book, the sort requiring serious and detailed critical study on many levels. And what is more, it may just be at the start of both a new philosophy of writing and of life.

Dadin Kowa Village
Jos, Nigeria.
May 2010.

Richard Ali is editor of the literary magazine and Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Plateau State chapter. Contact: .

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What the River Brings You

What the River Brings You

By the time the river reaches you it will bring tidings
Fragments of me along with the richening alluvial
Of other dreams leached as if by some subtle sieve
From the quarters of my cusp, my land, my pride

You swim within the tufted turbans of emirs, amidst the stretched
Arms of Igala fertility cults; when you drink, each drop holds a tang
Of tears of rocks forced to fall on native men at the foot of tin mines.
Everything the river brings you is a cosmic concentric dream – like love

Stranger I may be, I rest my arms on you and say the sacred words;
For my soul is rooted here – for the river precedes me.

© 2010 Richard Ali

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Petulance is a somewhat admirable quality for persons under the age of twenty-five; it may even be seen as an affecting trait, that desire for childhood. But something fatal happens around that age which makes the presence of this marker of self thoroughly ghastly. B. M. Dzukogi’s “Northern literature: Emerging teen Authors and Juvenile Writing” {Weekly Trust, January 9th 2010}, following my article “On Northern Nigerian Writing and Related Issues” published in Leadership Newspaper on December 25th 2009, provides a curious circumstance worthy of examination in this light. Indeed, clearly shown is the difficult underside of Writing – that of being a looking glass which a writer turns often and unknowingly on himself, revealing a sight that can possibly madden him, depending on whether the stuff he is made of can withstand the sudden presence of the context that causes folie de grandeur.

In order to contextualize, I will restate the triune aims of my article. The first was to indicate that hubris, leading to crimes against the sentence, sense, and Literature, are routinely committed by writers of northern Nigerian extraction. The second; to indicate the presence of a sickening social constraint to kowtow {ranka ya dade}, what the effect of this illness is, and how my milieu of northern Nigerian writers must avoid it. Thirdly, linking both was a brief thesis of what I called the “sense of self” or the philosophy of writing, and its related concept which was formulated as a “chaos of perception.” Dzukogi’s cited response to this article rests on three issues; my incompetence to write about the subject solely on account of my age vis-à-vis his. Secondly, my success at not doing what I did not set out to do, to wit, mentioning the name of every northern writer and every locale of writing in Northern Nigeria in a brief three thousand word essay. The third issue which he raises in shabbily crafted innuendoes, founts from what he believes to be my subjectivity, an attempt that has amongst other things turned our Great Man into a web archivist, or a newspaper store clerk. It is not in my nature to tarry with the plumage of birds, but before I go to the meat of this matter, let me dispense a few pearls to our pseudo-French absolutist;

My youth has been of the most important value to me, for I am convinced that older men often have a lot to learn from the experiences of younger men, and that the tragedy of the last millennium, its multi-dynamic wars not the least of this, has arisen partly from a cultured disregard for the intuitive wisdom of youth. Secondly, I unreservedly apologize to B. M. Dzukogi for succeeding at what I set out to do, which was an essay to situate the broad scope of my primary literary space, a task I set upon myself, having waited for the old men and ‘others’ to do it and finding only silence or self-obfuscation. Thirdly, and in the kindest voice I can manage, I tell him that ‘subjectivity’ is a lame rhetorical excuse and it is quite saddening that he relies on this – like all rhetoric, it fails to address the issues at stake. Rhetoric, such as his, are not effective fire-extinguishers. We have had one famous mad man who piped as his city burned to the ground, must we have another one a millennium later? And such a one who claims that doing this as a virtue?

The grouse of B. M. Dzukogi, in this barreling and blaring of his primacy, seems to be my sentence; “For example, in Minna, where the oracle seems to be B. M. Dzukogi who has been hailed with every epithet from “ascetic” to “the philosopher” yet when we read his actual works we ask – Is this the Dzukogi fellow?” – and to this he responds; “So where was this pupil when my first poetry collection, Midnight Lamp, got a shortlist in 1996 during Odia’s era? ” The reeducation of B. M. Dzukogi must begin here, for he misses the rudimentary structure; that his vaunted importance and primacy, which he affirms in the excerpt above, is relegated to thirty nine words in a three thousand word essay. And yet he goes on and on about this, with no less than twenty references to my youth, as if it were a crime, before giving this gem of a coup. Hear him; “But let us take it that it is from Richard: as the national treasurer of ANA for which Richard is the current secretary at Plateau level {a position I held 16 years ago in Niger}, am I not a leader? Pose. No, I am their leader, their teacher, I am their natural leader.” And yet Dzukogi goes still on, not realizing his bum is far high in the wind, twice in two paragraphs. Firstly, collections of poems do not “get” shortlists, “make” being the correct verb. And secondly, more piteously, he does not see how he winds the twine around his own neck. He does not see how he furthers a joke that he has thrust himself in the center of, a joke of which he, B. M. Dzukogi, a fringe reference, has come to see himself as the point of. On the basis of this ego-trip, he has turned a fleeting archetypification in my essay into the grounds for as vicious an attack on my person as he has done. It is for this mischief, further, that I leave the pedestal of public discourse to now re-educate him, personally.

Having set out this context, the reeducation of my willing student, the same as the dissection of my willing specimen, will proceed. Kindly sit at your desk, sir, with your palms on the table. Look sharp and don’t let me remind you when to lie on the theatre table.

FIRST: Northern Nigeria suffers from an evolving problem which we must term as a “deepening mediocrity”. You have justified my thesis with your response, which has raised no issues other than to create exculpatory suspicions of senility on your part. I first suspected this from the dearth of Arewa-born experts/mentors across many fields in Academe, from law to politics to engineering, unto the presence of a no more than a few virtuosos in the fields of commerce. Count the northern Nigerians who are making any impact globally, count them on your fingers and you will see that I am right. And how is it that all we have, as a locale in the Nigerian superstructure, is a few aging stars? It is because we seem to think we can sit in our own secluded savannah and feel at least we are masters there, to be backslapped with umbrella MA’s and Ph.D’s by our own clubs, conveniently forgetting that a whole world of rainforest education, of sand and ice deserts, of oceans and dreams exist just beyond our noses. And my thoughts on realizing this while I was an undergraduate, admittedly less than a decade ago, heightened my interest in Writing. For I felt then that Literature would be the means to raise the perception of my Age beyond the preconsigns of a Local Champion Complex. And that is why I write. That is why I fine my writing even if it may take me five years to write a novel, for I feel strongly that there is no point pushing out dross, and to be possibly applauded for doing so. I believe that every novel must be important, that each poem must be a socially uplifting statement – in content, in form, in context.

That article, for which you have claimed the bliss of self-obfuscation, is my statement on what I see to be my primary literary milieu. It was an attempt to indicate the causes of the mediocre state into which we have fallen, and for each of those causes isolated, I suggested a drug. And what have you done in this rant you have written in response to my thirty nine words? I have at least added to my Time by contributing the best of my opinion. And what have you done with your essay, or in the five years before that, more than massaging your own stomach?

I have come to suspect that older people are often too set in their ways to do the unconventional {which is exactly how Literature demands we see and act!} and that is why my essay was written to the young. Having read your response to my essay entirely and your own thirty nine words specifically, even the most addled would see the impossibility to use you and your work as manure for the future of Arewa writing.

SECOND: Much has been made about Helon Habila and my non-inclusion of him in my essay. You have furthered this by mentioning a long list of names I did not mention as well, including his. I admit not including Helon Habila on the grounds of a difficulty that I have now resolved enough to comment on. For while he is a northerner, he is the anti-archetype of what I wrote on, of what you have set yourself up as. From a young age, at the University of Jos, he took to reading books of truly great literature {I know this for I share the same library he used}. He read Marquez, Poe and Achebe and all the greats he could find, making them his mentors and they in turn rewarded him with a gift for the finessing of his craft. He looked up to the gods and that aspiration is why he is where he is now. He did exactly what I am advising young northern writers to do now. He did not look up to you, else like you, he would today be unable to carry off a simple discourse with a twenty-something year old boy. Contrary to you today, Mr. ANA National Treasurer, Helon Habila is with Jude Dibia perhaps the finest pair of literary stylists there is in this country at present. That is what I want northern Nigerian writing to become, a field of possible Helon Habila’s. Not, of you. For amongst the many disciples that you in the hubris of your natural leadership, your soon to be divine-right-of-kingship, claim – do you, B. M. Dzukogi, see a single Helon Habila amongst them?

On a related issue, I shall not add my name to a list of young northern writers in an essay written by me. Neither shall I catalogue what books I have read nor how much which writers have influenced me. I think that would be silly. Let other critics, whether they be younger than I or not, when the time comes to do so, do so or not.

THIRDLY: The lesson of the lady from Riga, a childhood verse that I naturally in response to you now, find appropriate. This lady took a ride on a Tiger one day and she returned at sundown – with her body in its belly. I ask, “What is the moral?” You answer, “The moral is to not ride on tigers, Sir!” I say, “WRONG!”

The moral is to be wary of the support of power, for power is as colorful and as enslaving as it is transient. In ending your rant, you quoted the usual glow words, “particularly commending Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu for his wisdom, foresight and blessing as well as support to host prophets in the land” – but the trouble is that you quote it in the manner of a court jester and I do not think Dr. Agada, whose quote it is, or Dr. Aliyu, who is being saluted, would find this salutary. I have never had issues with writers working with the state, but the writers must first know EXACTLY what it is they want, what it is that they will not compromise. In the peculiar Nigerian context, money for patronage must be raised, more often than not from the state {for it is our money} – yet, while ‘thank you’s’ are in order, we must not create a context where we lose our credibility, where we can be roughshod ridden over. I ask; when was the last time the State took any writer seriously? When was the last time a writer was jailed for a provocative book? When was the last time an article caused a furore? Do you remember? Not in a long time, my dear older man, not in a long long time. And the reason for this is that you, lying on the slab now, are symptomiac of the ineffectuality of Nigerian Literature! That is what I have found out, the discovery for which I set out on a journey about a decade ago at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria!

Like the lady from Riga who sat on a Tiger not knowing at what point to get off or even how, you are now the same WITH the tiger! And yet you dare tell me that you are, dare call yourself, a writer! Of what use else is a writer if he is of no use to the society, if he does not improve the quality of his times, if he cannot sire greater sons! None. None. None. And this last, in one syllable, is your entire utility to me now.

The recent and still ongoing debacle on censorship in Kano is the effect of your “generation” of ranka ya dade stymied writers’ leaders – it is the effect of an empty hubris, it is the effect of a self scuttling collaboration. It is not all disputes that should be settled amicably! I have said it before in my essay on the Kano Censorship saga, I say it here again. And you, B. M. Dzukogi, lying beneath my knife on a theatre table, are the sad archetype of that sort of leadership.

FOURTHLY: On the form of the essay. Living in a locale where words lose their meaning for no cause other than indolence, especially on the part of writers, it is necessary to say a few words on this form.

The contemporary essay is often one written in prose, of middling length, about personal observations of any issue that is of interest to the writer, published possibly in a transient medium such as a newspaper. This definition is my contribution to literature; I do not advocate it, nor do I claim it should be adopted by any other person.

Now, when observations are personal, no argument may be made on behalf of the public concerning the subject of the essay or even the argument employed. Similarly, the Essay is a reaction against the Thesis; it is heads-to-tails different from it. It is, in fact, its symmetric opposite. Features of the thesis such as the citing of authorities and all else are dispensed with in the essay. Not even the much vaunted “textual criticism” is necessary in the essay! This does not however preclude the inclusion of these external features at the pleasure of the essay writer. For the essay is a personal reflection and there are no constraints to the individual in writing one. And my article, “On Northern Nigerian Writing and Related Issues” is an essay. I have made no pretense of it being a thesis, neither have I said it was a review.

Now, in its nature, when an essay is written, the only option the aggrieved public or any member of it has is to write a response and this response is termed a “Contrarian Note”. It is a point by point rebuttal of the issues set out in the first ‘displeasing’ essay. Your response to my essay must be assumed to be a Contrarian Note – so the now embarrassing question arises; which of the issues I raised, set out for your benefit in lesson one above, have you responded to? For you are a much advertised older man, and you should know that essays and contrarian notes must go further than the exploration of ego or the exposition of meticulous research. I set out to write an essay, I have written it. You set out to write a contrarian note, have you, sir, written it?

Further, there is a question of coherence. When writing an essay or a contrarian note, coherence is of the primal importance. It is safest to write what exactly the issues you wish to address are in a chronology, then weave them all together into a logical framework. Evident from your confusion as to whether you were replying my essay, attacking E. E. Sule, seeking to discredit Gimba Kakanda, or simply listing out all the writers you know in Northern Nigeria to come save you from Little Richard Ali, it becomes my responsibility to lay the charge of incoherence against you. I charge you, B. M. Dzukogi, writer of the article “Northern literature: Emerging teen Authors and Juvenile Writing” {Weekly Trust, January 9th 2010}, with Incoherence.

Finally, when writing an essay, do not do so while under the influence of alcohol or in the atmosphere of marijuana. Nor should you allow yourself to be prodded into writing one by imps. The effect of these influences is the creation of yet another pseudo-genus of writing which is based on stuff no more concrete than bombast. And bombast is a close cousin to the bar-room boast. And both are hardly fitting for a “natural leader of men”, let alone for a writer.

FIFTHLY: In your all too obvious bid to create an antagonism between me and all the writers you have mentioned, on account that I did not mention their names in my article, you took your liberties too far. You give me a quote – “I think the influence of Abubakar Gimba is overly exaggerated.” I have gone through the entire essay and can find no phrase like this. My words were; “However, with the exception of Abubakar Gimba’s contributions in prose, which while noteworthy are hardly stratospheric, there have been no important novels in English from northern Nigeria since Yari and Sule’s contributions in the mid ‘70’s. Neither has the poetry or drama been exceptional. And the question is – why?” I stand by those words. I shall not call Abubakar Gimba’s novels stratospheric if I do not think they are, and I certainly would not do so because you or a vaguely defined ‘everybody’ thinks so! Abubakar Gimba, who is an intelligent man from my University, who read my first prose MS, would be smart by being wary of you. I have not claimed to be any body’s natural leader, you have. But I do know that leaders should not tell fibs!

But this last admonition will not save you from the eye of the Public:

I, Richard Ali, publicly ask you, B. M. Dzukogi, to INDICATE WHERE IN MY ESSAY the quote you have given me was taken from. If you cannot do this, I DEMAND A PUBLIC APOLOGY. And if you cannot do this last, you will be unfit from now on to mention my name until such a time you are young enough to do so. That is all on that.

Your lessons are complete. You may go home now.

I will now return briefly to my own constituency, the young writers from Arewa;

My friends, if you have read my previous essay, and if you have settled for the meat of my words and not been content to chew its peacocks’ plumes, that would be all well. If you have read that article, and the reeducation of B. M. Dzukogi above, and digested the meat of my words as well, that would be even better. And there would be nothing more for me to say to you.

In the manner of a rehash, I shall end this article in the same words I ended the last one;

“The challenge for the younger writers from the north is an exhilarating one for it is still early enough for something distinctive and radical to be done across the genres of English. By this I mean something not less paradigmatic than what the Latin Americans, led by Garcia Marquez, Jorge Amado and Vargas llosa, did to “world Literature” in the 70’s. But we must first sit on our mats, holding our beads in our hands and mentally reach a place where we can banish the cloys of personal hubris, and the pressure to kowtow, from our psyches. And at this same place we must ask and answer personally the question of why we write and settle privately and conclusively the issues relating to our sense of our selves, triumphing over Siamese evil twins of a fostered chaos of perception.

And when this is done we shall be able to stand up from the floor and mount our horses. And when we thunder down the fields of Literature, we shall do so in the aura of a global applause deafening far beyond the stampeding hooves of our own vitality.”

Thank you.

Richard Ugbede Ali, writer of poetry and prose, is the Editor-in-Chief of the new Sentinel Nigeria Magazine.

Watching A Girl

Watching A Girl

I remember a girl who used to giggle
Ribbons in her hair, a seesaw world
Of delight when I pushed her happy
On the swing of childhood’s privacies

Dusk comes between times, leaves a relic
Of waves having ridden, receded, been rid of
Pleasures to be paid for, love to be known
And that growing too knowing to reenter again

Eight years a’ gone and I see Joanna again
And now she’s still swinging, now she still giggles
Only less demurely than in my memory.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Letter To Jossites by Gimba Kakanda


A Letter To Jossites
Gimba Kakanda

(C) Gimba Kakanda, February 2010

Dear brothers and sisters,

My eyes are sunken in grief as I gather the heart to write this letter. However, do let my condolences descend in the blood-bathed cushions of The Governor, and the mischievous elders of your religions and tribes borne in the cosmology of cannibalism; I’ve since ceased to call you religionists, for none of you, Muslims and Christians are fit to be in the book of theology.

True, I do not know the religions that hold your life in spiritual revolution. I did know until the electric bursts of your continuous grudges against one another become my shame. Too many strokes of wonder set me a-thinking; first, I believe that none of you shall be granted the shade of The Lord; second, my kinship with Jos inaugurates my thought as keen observer of the chilly land. Many things, my dear siblings, disqualify all of you as Muslims and Christians in the scope of philanthropy.

First, to the Muslims: I’m one of you, a meek lad that is popular among the mosquegoers of Nassarawa-Gwong where the last crisis popped its first spark. I’ve lived with you, your thoughts and their contents, much as I do the Muslims of Ungwan Rimi, Rikkos, Bauchi Road, Konar Shagari, Farin Gada, Yan-Trailer, Naraguta, Katako, Gangare and Dilimi. I know your fears; I can even touch them, and the clouds of perception that crawl over your domains. Second, to the Christians: your districts are mine, for the larger proportion of my friends come from your fringe. Many of the churchgoers whose shoes are known and could even be named by the Sunday soils of Jos are my beloved, and my fraternal embrace of your life is sublimity unequalled. I love Jos, the wintriness of ‘ember months that are once the womb of our endless festivities to mark the bye-byes of every year in clubs Zero-Eleven, D’makumba unrepelled by the wands of religions, tribes, sects and regions. And the smiling throngs that march on from Ungwan Rukuba, Eto-Baba, Congo-Russia, Dogon Dutse, Dutse Uku, Busa Buji, Laranto and even Barkin ladi, Ibrahim Taiwo, Millionaires’ Quarters, Bukuru, Kuru, Vom…. I love Jos, the caftan-wearing Christians and Coat-wearing Muslims therein; they are just too beautiful! 

And here, away from Jos, my mind could not be blinded as I settle to expose our sins which are too weighty to be easily forgiven by Prophets Jesus and Muhammad. Truth has taught that all of you would not be forgiven by history, for a simple slide into the origin with an anthropologist’s faith tells the mockery that is our folly; John is a Christian because his parents are, and Abdullahi? He too is a Muslim because of his parents. I bask in the beam of Islam ‘inherited’ from my parentage. Funny, what if John was born by Hajiya Amina, a Muslim mother, and Abdullahi by Deaconess Maureen? What if…? This ignored mockery illumines the descent of tribes too. I do not see a reason why a faith or tribe that came not from us could stir me to repel my brother or sister.

Religion, from the cistern of history, is not a creation of God. A cult it is, organized by man to live in the directorate of The Lord, attuned to revelations of chosen Prophets. The only thing in religion that is divine are spiritualism and bowing subservience to the commands of The Lord collated in The Good Books which if permitted to sink into our soul unadulterated must inspire the thoughts of philanthropy. Misrepresentation of religion obeyed is pure agnosticism of the absurd! The day you dine the entrails of religion shall mark the moment of your sanity. And, the thought of your grumbles over one another provoked my peace to think, blasphemously: ‘What if the Arab Muslims never happened to Nigeria?’ And to the Christians, I say: ‘What if the English Christians never happened to our life in the name of missionary?’ We were traditionalists living in the cosmology of our ancestry before their invasion. Though time has authenticated the joy of their religions our belief in them remains unauthentic! None of us seems to be laden with the teachings of theology. That deficiency turns us lunatics. Yes, we are all living in inverted faiths, but there are many flames that hedge us for destruction. These, darling siblings, shall be my dart here.

The first demons that I shall stone are the inventors of injustice, liquor-sunken ushers of tribalism who out of idiocy ink the map of indigeneship that stretches to religious repulsions. My dear Governor Jonah David Jang, I salute your conscience for wading through these gory hours alive. I shall begin with you because the cardinal of every body can only be charted by the head. You inherited a tensed land despoiled by the past administrations of lunacy, and instead of having the sores of Jos bandaged, your strides were shoed in ambiguity. Even though your wisdom must have applauded your policies, the other tribes believed that you, a pastor, empowered your tribe, the Berom nation, quite irreligiously as though the non-Berom-speaking dwellers of the fallen city have no genes of intelligence. Aside reconstruction of our Royal Father, The Gbong Gwong’s Chaplin in a controversial situation, news hover that you imposed tax on non-indigenes whom you tagged settlers, and thereon begins the demonstration of the ideal ‘settlers’ who are largely of Hausa/Fulani tribe. This tension is an offsping of distrust. My neigbours wept that the world of Hausa/Fulani is an orb of Islam, and hence your political myopia transforms your anti-tribal dichotomy into religious riddance! ‘Have you no sense (sorry, Your Excellency,)’ they said, to have wakened such fatal policy in the ambience of tension? They cried that what on earth attacked your wisdom when you growled that only the hard-earned currencies of the settlers would reconstruct Jos city? Such is unwise leadership, for the Hausa/Fulani indigenes of Jos nay settlers who could not trace their ancestry again, have lost their properties in the recurrent crises of tribes and religions that deluded the once sublime heaven of relaxation. Where on earth did you expect the impoverished ‘war victims’ to fetch money for such taxes when their losses were never compensated, and watching them tottering to begin life anew? How could you be thus merciless? Your Excellency, these mindsets are the lives of my neigbours, tweaking me to borrow a seer’s life in analysing the explosive situation of old haven of bliss that was the swoon of the expatriates. But for the inhospitable species, the Berom-speaking Jossites aren’t malicious, and having a considerable population of Muslims, they accept one another in merriments. I know a lot of Berom-Muslims who head their Christian-dominated clan. You too know them, but your political hallucinations of having a Hausa/Fulani-and-Muslim-free state would not pour the ice of togetherness in your sentiments. 

Now, to the Muslims, I studied your reactions to the politics of Plateau state, and the wands of marginalization that are your dividends. And if I’m to trace your missteps, my first hiss shall be for your most (un)religious leaders many of whom are dangerously uneducated to lead the queue of peace. Education strapped on violent theories is gunpowder in the neighbourhood of oven. True, an emblematic Jos youth is too busy to provoke another person. The youth settles for business in Katako Market (the moguls once reigned in the bombed Ultra-Modern Market), or drawn to the world of commercial vehicles, craftsmanship, petty trading and quest for education- western or Islamic. They do not rely on their parents to sprout livelihood hence the evils of idleness are deficient in the neighbourhood. What, seen in my romance with Jos, wrecked the Muslims is the daily fears of attack by the so-called indigenes and silly mis-education of the younger Muslims; these fears have thickened so hard that they become the sermons that mark many gatherings of the Muslims. And yes, everyone must be torn in that position watching that you’re never welcomed in your home. Blindly, the shield of invasion is discussed privately by the elderly Muslims whose hopes hover over the future of their ignorant children who are then cautioned against the frowning strangers. To the Muslims, the only shield is to be ready for the land owners’ raid at all time, and in the interludes, you teach your inheritors the art of survival in Jos, an art that interpret the degree of hatreds against the unfortunate owners of the land. This though I could not reproach for if I too were torn in such life I shall be wary of their closeness, and would accept their smiles as veiled frowns. My heart is filled with the wand of this repulsion seen only by the keenest watchers. 

And to you, my Christian and Berom brothers and sisters, I don’t even know where to begin the tale of my grief. Any time I pace unto your psychology my thought gets ambushed by obfuscation, because the easiness with which your elders in politics steer your emotions to repel your other siblings embarrasses my trust on your hospitality. The stretches of land that mother earth bears for our occupation are God’s gift to humanity, and no man is lordly enough to manufacture a plot. The Lord Who owns the earth extended his artifacts to us, to be dwelled upon, and not to be owned by any mortal. Who’s a man, mere lump of sperm, to call The Lord’s handwork his? It’s the chaos of modernity and the explosive bedlam of population that trudge ownership into the constitution of humankind, and this too is wisely thought to stabilize our greed. History says that we were migratory tribes, and this in mind, challenges me to challenge you to have ruminations through your historicized origin. We are what The Lord destined, for us! I think your uproar was over religious egotism… and your desecration of The Lord’s assertion for brother-keep-brother command denies you a yard in the shade of divinity! Yes, you are not parading along the lanes of Christendom. You see, you are not even Christians! Christianity that came through the Son of Mary isn’t a cult of cannibalisms. There are many thinkers that attached your silliness to consumption of Burukutu; I’m not one of them though I believe that the brew too stimulates sanity out of its boundary. Now, out of riddles, an ideal Plateau Man- Berom or Non-Berom- is a lively person, craving stimulation of entertainment to appease his soul. He’s a quasi-hedonist. This is why I did not believe that he could be drunk into lunacy that peaks to whence he wishes to kill his sibling whom the Lord creates to a world that speaks one of His languages. An ideal Plateau man, like many Nigerian Muslims, detest the tonality that rings through the homilies of Muslim clerics, many of whom are decked in mischief spewing the assumed forgeries in Christianity. The worst intoxicant ever is word. And my fear, after these rambles, is that your elders have given you enough bottles of words that spun you in hateful passion unto your jovial neighbours of many years. How could you, ambassadors of peace, allow your intoxicated leaders whose nutrition is politics, to blind you thus? Their aim is selfish quest for domination of the space where they would loot our treasury. You should’ve known this… Haba! My Berom-friend Chollom and I discussed their tricks the last time I was at his modest place in Congo-Russia. He’s an epitome of an ideal man who engages in his biblical studies perturbed by the atmosphere of delinquency that engulfs the neighbourhood. He agrees that Christianity is a universal brotherhood of man, just as he appraised Islam. 

Darling siblings; my heart is loaded with the coals of the endless fires that consume your beautiful life. Your restlessness is one thing that Nigeria shall suffer until her wielders begin to think and act straight. The same restlessness dwells in the brain of our other siblings in far away Niger Delta. The same restlessness dwells in Kaduna, Maiduguri, Bauchi, Port-Harcourt, Zaria, Kano…all over Nigeria! Every one is restless. We are restlessly restless, truncated by deep wounds of illiteracy and unemployment which are often the catalysts of every crisis in the land. And this restlessness is a progeny of idleness. The idleness that unemployment, poverty, government-imposed forlornness, thieving of public money…and many more evils that bad leadership entails. Even the white-man who longs for luxury like butterflies has said that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. And your restless endurance of this pillaged nation of ours forces you to violence, at least to be occupied by an activity, loot in the womb of the crisis, kill fellow countryman intoxicated by ‘words’, burn the most imposing edifices because they mean nothing to an hopelessly restless man, burn this, burn that, burn all, for the land too is burnt by leadership! We are a burnt nation! True, I expect nothing from illiterate population, unemployed population, utterly divided by deceptive politics. Of all the crests of my anger the prickliest is the fact that you could not fetch a simple wisdom to boo those ‘God-damned’ politicians that ignite troubles among us in the guise of tribal advocacy. Ask yourself, where are they when you have to be embarrassed over debts in Mama Gyang’s? Where are they when all you could do is to measure, sorry, waste your time and life in a Burukutu joint? Where are they when your Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba or Ibo landlords listen to your plea for extension of time when rent is due? Where are their children when yours could not afford the substandard education offered by the nation? Their wives too, where are they when yours brood over ridges of Irish potatoes, and gather languor in market squares? Where are they? I know your answers because it’s the same anthem all over the nation: Zurich, Paris, London, Harvard, Dubai…while you’ve never even been privileged to have a whiff of Heathrow Airport let alone afford a pilgrim ticket to Israel where you could uncage your travails for divine pacification atop Mount Sinai.

My dearest siblings wake up from the swoon of religious misrepresentation before The Lord evokes tsunami over our puerile quests for the land that He stretched for our collective dwellings. How could you react if Jos turns Haiti in a blink, and the land contorted beyond habitation, and you have to relocate to Kano, Bauchi, Katsina or Sokoto for life anew? You see, we have to think beyond the coverlets of our polluted brains!

Aside the politicians are the religious clerics in the motorcade of our destruction. Many of these bearded or Three Piece-adorned talkers that fronted the queues of our religions have malnourished knowledge of religious history, theology and jurisprudence; all they champion is boastful exaggeration of faiths, and barbaric clamours of religious supremacy. We have to think beyond the coverlets of our brain! You see, if peace must sail in our conscience, we have to rebuke our Mullahs whenever they chant anti-Christian slogans in the mosque, and similarly do same to the eloquent pastors when they hum anti-Islamic grammars in the church. There is a colourful difference between religious fanaticism and fundamentalism; the former is practised by misled mischief-makers, the latter by souls that truly beckon divine fortification. Until we know this, our repulsion shall linger. One lesson that history teaches is, fundamental (I mean, non-fanatical) adherence to The Good Books is the pathway to a sane society. But for the lunacy of some fanatics, there wouldn’t be a commotion of any hue in say Vatican or Mecca. And if, provoked into atheism by the pollutions of fanatics, you get to do comparative analysis of theism and secularism you must be mortified to realize that the directorate of God and the empire of humans share nothing in common. Compare, for instance, the daily bedlam in Detroit, and that in say Vatican City or Medina; the latter cities are enclaves of serenity but for the myopias of a handful of fanatics!

Again and again my darling siblings, I would wish this letter become a writ of our beautiful Jos, and be duplicated for the other siblings in Langtang, Wase, Shendam, Quangpan, Mangu, and even to the towns and States beyond. And to our Governor, Jonah David Jang and their accomplices and colleagues in Islam and Christianity, let’s clasp hands to shame their intention and tie them in the sanatorium of history. We would never free any lunatic to disband us. Neigbourliness and togetherness are matrimonies of the souls, and your attempt to disband the people shall earn you the hottest portion in the hell, just next to Satan Himself! 

Peace, my bereaved brothers and sisters; a prayer that we can think beyond the coverlet of our brains, at once.

Your Brother

Gimba Kakanda