Tribute To A Trailblazer

We were united by the web across time and space
we had the pleasure of your company, your thoughts, your generosity,
You lived for decorum
even in difference, in disagreement,
in jest,
the world is duller without you,
no one can take your place in our hearts,
no one can wear your colours, we bid you adieu,
may your life continue to inspire others, may your candle shine in the darkness, may we meet again someday,
Adieu Chivaneze.

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This tribute marks the passing away of a friend, brother, son, follower @chivaneze

May we learn to live for eternity.

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The Making of an Overlord

You will begin by opening an account. There will be no ‘conventionally beautiful’ pictures in your gallery so you will use one of Tiger Woods. When the scandal breaks you will change this quickly to Chiwetel Ejiofor, who wan die?

You will try to think of usernames but everything you come up with will already be taken. You will look longingly at the three letter handles and snobbishly at those filled with numbers and symbols. Finally you ll settle on something with a few extra letters thrown in. Tundrrr isn’t your first pick but you can live with it.

Your handle will attract a modest following, but that is over stating things. You have ninety followers but you know that half are bots. You ll agree to all the follow suggestions, attaching yourself to the feeds of several celebrities. They won’t follow you back. Soon you ll have a sense of worthlessness.

You will consider closing the account. You will even close it briefly before resurrecting it just in time, nothing will change.

One day in a fit of existential boredom you will wander into your account settings and begin fiddling with possible name changes. No one knows your name or your face, you can be anyone.

You decide to be pretty young girl, unemployed and naive. You call yourself Tola and change your username to sexxxxygirl and find a black little known pornstar’s picture and affix it. Your header changes from a rural football field to a lush black and velvet boudir.

You unfollow all the celebrities and follow similar handles instead: bustyBerve, greedypunta, xxxxxfroreal, hotcreamyfun.

The first thing that stuns you is the decorum. In this dark end of the street, everyone is polite. Good morning tweets are replied with kisses. Everyone is boo, sweetie and baby. All bodies and indeed all booties matter and every one gets likes and share.

You are still trying to fathom this when a miracle happens.

You get followed. Not by bots and company reps but by real people all over the world. They compliment your hair, your nails, your smile. They want to meet you, chat with you, sit out and have drinks with you.

Over night they are 2000 strong and counting.

You don’t know what to do. You watch and wait. The numbers keep climbing, 3000, 4000, 7000! Your notifications are paragraphs filled with new handles, many you ll never know or acknowledge.

You decide to play along and see how far it can go: you make some flirting comments, you like some racy posts, you RT some things you shouldn’t have and the numbers just keep swelling.

No one is asking for follow backs, no one is asking you to turn on notifications. No one is asking you to follow and share to be be followed back. It looks too good to be true, but it is. You are a god by now, but you aren’t sure what to do about it.

The you ll meet Trix, or rather trixlickalot and she ll light up your rather dead DMs. She ll tell you all about herself while you equivocate between half truth and full disclosure. You are scared she ll run if she knows you are a guy, but you will keep the friendship going offering help, advice and sometimes money. Not a lot of money but enough to make her squeal and OMG and type thank yous filling your screen with emojis. You toy with telling her your name is Tunde and not Tola, that you are a 5″10 male not a 5″5 female but you send her memes instead.

One night, a post looking for influencers catches your eye and you know what you must do. You change your handle to Progress2019 and follow the political influencers of the day. You get a professional picture taken, properly airbrushed to show you at your most handsome. By noon your alert confirms that you have been paid your first installment of influencing fees.

Trix stumbles into your DMs full of questions hurt and betrayal. You are still composing some kind of explanation when you discover you  can no longer send direct messages to that user.

(She ll forgive you later but not after all kinds of middlemen, peacemakers and go-betweens are sent with entreaties.)

You ll sit back now and exhale. Congratulations, you are now an overlord.

LindaGate: OMG LindaIkeji’s ‘Blog Not Found’

The past four days have witnessed an escalation of hostilities between Ms Linda Ikeji and a man known as MrAydee over copyright violations.

Mr Aydee accused Ms Ikeji of taking pictures from his blog and using them on hers without attribution. He asked for the posts to be taken down but says Ms Ikeji ignored him, then blocked him on Twitter.

Thereafter, he reported her to Google who took down the posts and according to Ms Ikeji changed her Adsense settings.

Mr Aydee and some other Twitter users alerted other global blogs to Ms Ikeji’s use of their material without permission, blogs like Getty Images and Daily Mail.

Yesterday, Ms Ikeji replied with a robust response stating that she had used material without permission but that so did every other person. She accused Mr Aydee and Jeremy Weate of wanting to bring her down.

At the end of her response she stated that God was with her and no one was big enough to bring her down.

Ayo Sorungo wrote a rejoinder. addressed to Ms Ikeji titled Re: The Guys That Want To Take LIB Down. In his letter he said,

“To people like me, the moral right to be acknowledged as the writer is sufficient, and we do not care much about the economic rights—which is why I will never get to buy a Range Rover.”

And went on to advise Ikeji on business model changes that would prevent such trouble in future.

Naija Twitter (as the Nigerian arm of Twitter is called) was aflame with opinions, jokes, jibes, twitfights and even death threats.

Some writers used the opportunity to re-open Intellectual Property (IP) debate in earnest. Elnathan John, Jeremy Weate, Sugabelly, and many others wrote to express their displeasure with the current state of affairs–Bloggers lifting material with intrepidity.

Linda Ikeji Blog Readers–LIBers as they are called– jumped to Ms Ikeji’s defence.

Also in her defence was MrFixNigeria, and Chude writer of ‘Are We The Turning Point Generation’ (Cough,cough) and owner of YNaija.

This afternoon however, Ms Ikeji’s blog was declared ‘not found’.

Does this mean the demise of the ‘most popular blog’ in Nigeria?

Only Time will tell.

12 Things They Never Told Me About Twitter.

Southern Nigeria, Jan 2010.

Chi-chi : Are you on Twitter?

Me: What is that?

Chi-Chi: A Social Media network. Like Facebook. You’ll love it! Just get it on your Ph–

Me: Forget it. Facebook is a handful already. I can’t.

Chi-Chi: Forget Facebook! Twitter is the place to be! You get to meet and tweet at all your favourite Celebs from all around the world….

Me: ( laughing ) … And? How does that help the pump prices?

Chi-Chi: Na you sabi, abeg Just try it. You’ll thank me later I promise.

Me: Hian! Okay o! But Chi-Chi, if this flops….

Western Nigeria, November 2013.

It has been about two years on this roller coaster ride called Twitter. Everytime I remember that talk with Chi-Chi I am just amazed at the power of Ignorance. My Ignorance. And its ability to keep us holed up, bound, trapped in old ways, habits, religions and relationships.

Today, I want to share twelve things I have learnt, from the minute I took the plunge into this crazy Aviaspora pool, to date. Six today, six later. I pray this will give someone out there a heads up on their Twitter game, and courage to try something new this week.

After all ‘strangers are friends we haven’t met yet.’

Gracias.

1. Choose a short and catchy name.
Hey, Welcome To Twitter! Great to have here Mr Samaila Toochukwu NtantaOffiong Jaiyesola!

I believed all that, but no one told me that a successful twitter handle is as brief as possible. Not too short, as to be forgettable, not too long as to stick out by the sides. Just right. It took me all of 4 months to morph into StNaija. But it was worth it. 🙂

2. Break your egg.

Pictures are a universal language. The world, is a globe. One thing any Twitter user can understand is pictures. The Egg you get when you open an account needs to be changed. Fast. More on this in Part 2. 🙂

3. Create or Carve or Kidnap a niche

Where do you belong? What sort of things are you

1. Very knowledgeable about

2. Very Enthusiastic about.

Let the answers to these questions guide your Follow/unfollow, Tweet/Retweet, Mention/Ignore actions. On Twitter, Less is often more.

4. Decide why you are here

Why did you open a Twitter account?

To read? Inform? Make money? Meet people? Stay current? More on this in Part 2.

5. Watch your Profile

How well do you know your statistics?

How do they compete with ‘Industry’ averages?

What are your ratios? (More on those in…you got it…part 2.)

6. Guard it Jealously.

Yup. You have to watch that basket. Else you’ll find that your eggs hatched but some wicked tweet thief came and stole them all.

What are your strategies to keep people following you? (???)

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I hope you enjoyed that. What didn’t they tell you about Twitter? Please share with us below.

Munto Obrigado/a

Edward Please Call Me

The first time he heard her voice, he was in awe. It was a fount of fresh water, refreshing and teasing him all at once. From then on, it became his daily companion, his addiction, on the long ride from Palmgrove to Ajah each day. Its soft, sure lilt made him smile, made him wince, made him laugh aloud.

Before long he knew her schedule, had the outlay of her programs tattooed on his mind. ‘Dream, Live, Achieve, Praise’ on Mondays, ‘Celebrity Spotlight’ on Tuesday, ‘Know Your Self’ on Wednesday, ‘Be The Change’ on Thursday, ‘Kisses and Knocks’ on Friday, ‘Rock it Hard’ on Saturday, ‘Vessels Of Clay’ on Sunday.

When she was away for three days of casual leave, his world veered off orbit.

When she resumed, it revolved again.

When she got a Youtube Channel. He was one of her first fifty viewers. She was as he had imagined her: brown, beautiful, full figured and feisty.

He took in every inch of her honey brown skin, her earthy smile and the slight squint of her right eye. He would give anything to be closer to her… there were no takers.

That is how he would have remained– a faceless, irrelevant online admirer–if she hadn’t opened a Twitter account.

When she did, the dice rolled in his favour, he had clout there and he made it count.

Using his twelve odd accounts he got her 1000 followers in two weeks, it was easy from there. Soon she was an OverLady, ruling over a virtual kingdom 10,000 followers strong.

She followed him, at his official account, but still, it was hard to make the leap. What was he to say, really? The truth would make him look like a common troll, a lie would toss him into the bin, along with all the celebrity mention seekers…

As he re-read the direct message before sending, he wondered why words were such inadequate things, when they were all you had. With two deep breaths and prayers to Cupid and Fortuna, he pressed ‘Send’.

She never acknowledged the message. After a while he sent her another one, again there was no reply.
Impatience gnawed at his gut, and Rejection nibbled his liver. His carefully planned transition from online admirer to real life lover was turing into a Hungarian horror film.

He disliked the thought of mentioning her, of being so obvious. In the end he had no choice, and even then, it made no difference.

The pin that burst his balloon with a bang was waking up to find that his main account had been suspended. Over 6,000 hours of wit, networking, quotes and favourites, wiped out like they had never existed.

Twitter admin cited user abuse and said he had been reported as spam.
Did he mention a certain account more than five times in two hours?

Liquid rage ran up his throat and erupted in a groan as he flung his phone on the bed. The hardy N900 nokia split into three wholes without a qualm. No! No oo oo ! He screamed as the fury rocked him like gunfire.

In the coming days, nothing soothed the pain: not music, not whiskey, not insanity workouts, not the news that his study leave application had been approved.

He logged out of his other accounts and deleted his Youtube App. With the renewed verve, he focused on reading for his professional exams. He did well in them, his scores soaring above those of his course mates,fuelled by the his rage.

A year later, he got an offer to work as Public Relations and Social Media Consultant in a multinational telecommunications firm. It was another welcome opportunity to bury himself in work. He gave it his all.

One saturday evening, at a dinner, he saw her. She was just the way he remembered from his Nokia N900 screen–a burst of colour, animation and bright smiles. A fresh jolt of pain hit him, but he braved it and smiled back.

“Very nice to meet you,Yemi. ” He managed.

“It is ‘my’ pleasure Mr Edward.” She gushed with a wide smile and a flutter of her borrowed eyelashes.

When she left, an usher slipped him her card.

Edward, please call me. It said.

Committing the number to memory, he squeezed the card into a ball and threw it into the nearest basket. At last the pain began to ebb, in its place there sprung a delicious dash of freshly ground revenge.

As he left the dinner that night, he tuned in to her program again for the first time in years. Things were going to be quite different this time, that, he was sure of.

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My Dear Mufutua, (A Most Robust Response)

1. #LongRead

2.This article contains Pidgin English, Broken English, Street English, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ibibio and Urhobo.

3. To be read in your best Akpos voice, with your best Waffi accent.

My Dear Mufutua,

How you dey? How body? I know say you don enjoy sotay, hehe. No wahala, I happy for you. Make you dey enjoy beta tins wey dey dat side, in short, carry go!

As tins be, I for no bother to write dis long tori give you. After all, wetin self? Wetin dey for this earth? No be just to come, eat, work, die, go give account? Where me and you from sabi self? Wey I go come wan talk plenty for your matter? Abi na just dis yeye tin wey dem call Twitter? mbok, no be government work.

The tin be say dis tori don dey worry me tay. I don try hide am, try forget am, try sub-tweet am, still, the tori no gree me rest. Na im I say make I write am, at least, even if you no read am,

1. the thing go comot my mind.

2. Me go fit rest.

3. Other pipu dem, wey read fit get one or two tins for inside am, as our fathers talk, person no dey wey sabi every, na share and learn we all dey.

First of all, I wan yarn about the magic wey you do, as you Block and Unblock me so. Tuale. Congrats you hear? Just dey continue, your reward dey. Liver nor gree you make you block am keep am like that. Enjoy, just know say as bird fly for sky, im leg, dey look ground.

Second matter, I wan tell you say you no try. Me. And you. We dey for inside domot dey discuss matter, you talk say you no dey do, before I fit open my eye, you don submit your tori already.

Dat one never still do, as me self dey try tink wetin to write, you don start to campaign. Your babe dem don dey announce am for Facebook, cold and fear don dey catch me gididgba for heart. No be clear eye I take scramble submit. At least, make we see as e go be, na so I tell myself.

Next ting, your babe start to talk wetin me no fit understand. See ehn, dis world we dey, na just waka pass we be o! E no good make you dey take trouble follow people wey take beta mind follow you. Even Bible take am say : Person wey carry bad tin repay who gi’ am good tin, na so-so bad tin go dey follow am. And na true talk, if you carry bad tin pay back person wey do you good tin, na kasala you dey plant.

Finally, I wan make we talk about dis Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize matter. Onto say, the wahala don already reach international community dem. Pikin wey im mama born am for in front of CNN camera, na to open de mama leg well make camera man film am clearly as e dey commot.

Mufu, na me and you dey lament as nobody dey send writers. Airtel own na to dey throw Big Brother Africa party.

MTN own na to dey dash people private jet or do competition for pipu wey dey sing or dance.

Nobody send writers.

If dem mistakenly remember us, na so-so condition go follow the award.

If na Caine prize, you gat to dey published already. And no be all that sme-sme wey you dey do with Ani, na better publishing we dey talk, for obodo oyinbo magazine dem. Magazines like Granta, Guernica, Transitions etcetera.

If na LNG, you know na. First, as you go take find who go publish you na wahala. No be person tell Amu Nandi make she go self publish her poetry. On top say dey the top three for this year’s $100,000 (N16,500,000.00) short list, nobody fit give am book deal. A word is enough for a lagos bus driver. Owa!

if plenty condition no follow, then prize money go dey less than wetin de company dey share as free recharge card, dat kind $60 (N10,000.00), before VAT tins.

Otherwise, na state of origin sure pass. (I think I don tell you say I don see wife? Her name na Chimamara, she from Anambra. We go yarn later).

In short, for we ‘unpublished’ writers? Country no good.

Then Etisalat Flash Fiction Prize come show.

My own be say, make Baba God bless the Etisalat people wey tink about ‘unpublished’ writers.

Like say dem give this marketing job– sorry eh, competition, to another group of artists like ‘undiscovered’ artists, or ‘unrecorded’
Musicians, we for no cough.

No be say the prize dey perfect or wahala no full am. But at least, e don set leg for we side. If we no ki’ de Prize with our bad belle talk and paralogism dem.

First, first , dis go be the roughest £1000 wey the winner don ever make for im entire life, I tell you.

By the time e don comb 157 countries,

Communicate: Speak 1111+ languages,

Campaign : Beg, ask,solicit, bully, coerce pipu make dem vote.

Advertise: tweet, share to Facebbok, Whatsapp,BBM…

Mobilize: host rallies, do readings, do advocacy, do community literacy programs.

Invest: buy recharge card, buy phones for pipu wey wan vote no get phone, sponsor competitions dem to increase awareness, buy shacks for guys make their ear take clear first.

Pitch: explain the matter give Mama and Papa, say all this 24 hour waka na on top money wey no fit buy keke.

Connect: re-establish all the broken friendship and membership links with long lost cousins, exes, alumni, phone book contacts, unfriendly neighbours, snobbish cousins etcetera.

All, to find votes.

No be person go tell am, e go sabi for body.

Except if im hack am. For which I gats to pause say — Holy Ghost Fire!

Ehn-he, so no be say na pure water, indomie noodles or moi-moi to win this thing.

The competition no dey perfect. We no dey perfect. Life self no dey perfect.

Important tin be say, make we dey chop sugarcane, comot sugar, throwaway cane. Make we dey try look the beta tins wey we fit accomplish with the competition…

For where? You no gree.

You dey follow people wey no get literary destiny play with your life. You dey form elitist give people wey no sabi the difference between Munro and Morrison. You dey form hard man come dey carry last.

Mufu, I shame for you.

No be de tin wey me expect say you go do be dis o! I talk true. You wey at least you don win voting competition before, no be now wey you gon get followers small, dat time your followers no reach 200, yet you still win abi na hack you hack am?

Small pipu like us just dey warm up say we go dey dey dub your maps, at least at-all-at-all na im be winch. Na im you cross your entire answer sheet for the middle of exam, squeeze your paper, throway. Na wa! Mufu, why?

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This Is How You Lose Him.

You are handicapped from the beginning. With your face shrouded in veils, all you have to keep his attention is the inadequacy of words. It is a pittance and you know it, but still you try. You try, to make your affection seen, heard, read, felt. You try to let your love shine through. You try, even though you fail, you fail in the act, never the heart.

He is the real thing. You are sure of this. You have seen every guy in the horrid guy book: the braggart, the brawler, the beggar, the sloppy, the crook. He is different, refreshingly so. You can read it in every line he writes, tweets, and in the ones he doesn’t. You have found genius. Real genius. The kind that isn’t aware of itself or its abilities, the kind that makes a smart publisher rich, yet….

The Igbo in you is livid, how in heaven’s name can we watch this raw gold get snapped up? Just thinking of the possibilities makes you grin, yeah, this is real raw talent right here. You want to sign him on yourself, but you aren’t a publisher, have never been one, and insecurity flaps its lead wings against your breast. You sigh, long and deep. There’s no winning these things is there?

Day and night the thought is awake stabbing your mind with pitchforks, prodding your head with skewers, you cave in. After all, publishers are made, not born. You begin to google then, little things first. Stuff like ‘ABCs of publishing’ How To Start A Publishing Firm’ ‘How To Spot Great Literary Talent’ ‘Basic Finance For Publishers’.

Of course you also come across the elegy to ‘The Last Publishing House In Nigeria’. You ignore that, failure is contagious.

All that changes when she appears.

From the minute you set eyes on her elegant well-tones curves, flawless make-up and cheek-brushing eyelashes, you know the game has changed. This is no longer about keeping his attention, winning his trust, becoming an over-night African Literature publisher or anything like that.

This will be a game of seduction, a dance of desire, a duel of passion and you, are unarmed. Your man will be taken, yes he will, just because she can.

You want to scream, to mark your territory, to put up a fight. You want to paste ‘Keep Off’ signs all over his handsome six foot frame. You want to make T-shirts for him, that Say I belong to____ and type in your name. Instead you watch in disbelieving silence as the dance of desire begins.

She calls, he answers. She teases, he responds. They lol, they lmao, they sigh, they do poetry duets. They waltz up and down your timeline, like a elitist ballet, you watch, like a zombie pawn. You ache like an arthritic joint. You see the handwriting scrawled on the wall– your time is up–but it doesn’t help break your fall.

You fall hard. Your heart bounces once, skids on the slippery floors of hope, then it shatters into a a shower of pink strips. That’s not all, soon, she comes along with her industrial roller and grinds your bleeding heart to dust. You want to shout. You want to beg, to ask for a little mercy. Your dry tongue cleaves to the roof of your mouth. You are ground to dust and a part of you ceases to exist.

Time stands still. Your agony isn’t something the world wants to forget. So, instead of feeling better or allowing your organic remnants rest, you are tossed instead, into the eye of the tsunami. A wall of solid seawater is crashing into your chaos… This time, you know–you are finished.

In the transient, fragile, final moments, between the surge and when you are swept away, one thought lingers,persists, stays: you gave your best, and you did it in good faith, and if this is what you get, let the waves, come, and let them be quick.

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