Temptation: The Reboot – Part 1

So we rebooted the original Temptation story that was mildly popular on this blog some years ago. This reboot is set 5 years after – some X-men type thing. Just assume Jessica and Nneka are dead … well, because they are both dead to me, now.

It begins *drumroll please*

I hobbled to my seat and collapsed, sweating profusely yet sheepishly happy. I was relieved I did not fall, but I was excited too. I had begun to regain my ability to walk gradually, and even though I still could not move for more than five minutes without pausing to rest, I could move about a lot more freely than the week before when I just got my cast taken out.

Nonetheless, I was feeling giddy because of her. I did not know her name but I knew I had met true beauty as soon as I glanced her way. Her face shone the way I imagine Moses’s did when he came down from Sinai with the Ten Commandments. Her glow was beyond ‘on fleek’ and her eyes – hazel colored and inquisitive, darting around the room every five seconds – somehow also held a deep, soothing gaze that convinced me all was well with the world despite the near-excruciating pain in my right ankle.
Her complexion was what you imagine the person who first described a lady ‘ebony’ had in mind; it was brilliantly beautiful .. and black :). She was not particularly tall but she had one of those absurdly curvy shapes that you could see even if she was seated normally behind a makeshift attachment desk in a crowded classroom. She was not what I would typically classify as ‘my type’ but immediately I saw her, I knew I never really had a type. Yep, she immediately dispelled any myths I had been peddling to myself that I had a type and banished them to the same cerebral pit where the ‘memories’ of ‘Lady Koin Koin’ and the legendary India 100-1 Nigeria football match had been sent to immediately I had any real sense of how reality works.
I had to get to know her. I knew I had to . . . but ‘os courfe’, my rational brain kicked in.
‘Niccur, you’re a mess, half a leg, shabbily dressed, not particularly attractive and a tad geeky… Boy, there’s no way you’ll get beyond a half-arsed Hello in response’.
But like with all stupid decisions I have made in my admittedly short life – despite possessing what I believe to be a brain firmly lodged in the 95th percentile when measured for analytical prowess, I allowed my emotional, eternal optimist brain have its say.
The mad guy was all like;
‘Guy!!!, you’re over 6’5, your limp is clearly one of the best ice breakers in this place, you speak well most times, you are smart, you can act nonchalantly wealthy and you can always project your “effortless” depth if she’s not feeling you from the off … and yes, your looks are pretty limited but you tick two out of the three famous requirements that make up the popular TDH checklist – You can do this, mehn!’.
Of course, the rational brother had to warn me again;
‘Brother, don’t do this to us, eez not by force to talk to this fine girl today, you will just spoil your mind for no good reason when she rejects you’.
Guys, I weighed everything in my near perfect pro Vs con mental counter and decided to ignore the overwhelming victory that the cons fought so hard for. I made a beeline for her seat armed with minimal game, zero strategy, an average smile and a limp that would make even my most optimistic cheerleader predict that I was going to crash and burn. I got to her seat and before she could look up, from the edge of my eye, I saw my mouth begin to produce words I wasn’t thinking. It was almost as if there was some puppet master in my brain I had never met before now pulling my verbal strings. The words I heard were;
‘Hey Mamacita!, come let’s get ma familia (more familiar?)’. She smiled … I was relieved .. then I discovered she had been intently reading something on her phone … she looked up .. ‘Oh, were you talking to me?’ … panic set in .. from the corner of my eyes, I could see a couple of disbelieving stares from some of  the people I would be spending at least the next six months with . . . I could smell the judgement and could hear the inner voices in their heads saying ‘this guy must have a death wish’.
The seconds passed as she looked up at me expecting any answer, my crippling social anxiety was already in cruise mode. ‘Who send you?’ my rational brain asked mockingly.
It was too late to turn back now and I decided to forget all I knew and just talk . . . and talk I did. I honestly cannot remember much of what I said but I know I got many wry smiles, maybe like four full smiles and a couple of genuine big laughs. I know I felt like Picasso painting The Girl Before a Mirror as I spit lyrics I never knew I was capable of composing.
The most vivid memory from the encounter was the wide-eyed shock mixed with unabashed envy I saw resting on the face of the guy seated beside her when I successfully elicited my second big laugh from Uke … Yes, her name is Uke, and yes, I never hexperredit at the time.
It was not a one-sided conversation, though. She was way more intelligent than she was beautiful – and she was breathtakingly gorgeous. Our repartee left me wondering whether she had any blemishes. She had – a wild side – but more on that later. I hobbled back to my seat, refusing to make eye contact with her even though I could feel her eyes tracking my every move. My ‘blaad’ was already throway-ing hailings from his seat as I took mine and within seconds, I had received his ‘Baba!! (with the two raised hailing hands emoji)’ congratulatory Whatsapp message. I smiled and my eternal optimist brain was all like;
‘My niccur! I know say one day you go make us proud. No dey doubt yourself again, mehn! you be bad guy!!’.
Over the next couple of months, I and Uke got really close and exactly a year after I met her, we were engaged and for those of you who I forgot to invite, we walked(no limping anymore) down the aisle last week and I’m pretty certain we will live happily ever after . . .
Okay, so apology time. This whole story is littered with falsehoods. In fact, I think the closest thing to the absolute truth is my height.  I no get the kain sendlessness needed to pull this off yet. Nevertheless, the girl, Uke, is very real and I met her in a class similar to the one I described(or did not) in my tale above. I did not have the balls to even mumble words to her till a couple of weeks later and it was just greeting kind of talk. I still imagine we will eventually start something and end up together in marital bliss but I have been led to believe that I first have to take my conversations with her beyond ‘Hi’, ‘Hello’ level.
Unfortunately, I do not see that happening any time soon. Her beauty dey constantly tie my tongue. I think I will just write her a letter (and add my picture because I’m pretty certain she will not recognize my name) and slip it into her bag when she steps out of class.
Yep, I am as pathetic as that. So for those of you out there feeling bad at your lack of game, just remember that there’s a weird Gareth guy out there who drafted an imaginary story of how he met and got married to a girl that he actually hasn’t met and wrote this full imagination in over 1,000 words on his blog that the girl does not read(or know of its existence). . . Smh, such a loser
By Gareth Glover(… a pseudonym)

The Rise and Rise of Phyno – Nigeria’s Best Igbo Rapper

This article was written on Saturday, 22nd March 2014.

– Gist Editor

————————————————————————————————————

I woke up this Saturday morning with only one plan on my mind – to purchase ‘No Guts No Glory’ – the debut album of one of Nigeria’s premier indigenous artists – Phyno. Now, I pride myself as the kind of person to discover a prospect as soon as he or she bursts onto the stage, but for Phyno, it was very different. I first came across his music unwittingly in early 2009 back in my school days. It was a remix of Okpomekwe(A very ‘igbotic’ though highly didactic track) which was a hit back in the east. Big Phyno(his moniker back then) was completely outshined on the track by Slow Dog and Desperate Chicks and barely registered in my memory. In the same year, the name Phyno popped up again in my consciousness as I discovered that he produced the beat for ‘Life Anagaga'(one of my top Nigerian songs in 2009). Months later, I heard Phyno’s ‘Multiply’ featuring  some of Nigeria’s musical heavyweights(Flavour, Timaya, M.I etc) and once more Phyno was comfortably outclassed. I really couldn’t see what he had going for him other than the fact that he seemed to be pretty good at musical production. I couldn’t have been more off the mark.

Phyno 1Yep . . . couldn’t see any talent in this guy

It wasn’t too long after, and while camped in the remote Nsit Atai, that I first heard ‘Anamachikwanu’ – the first song I felt showed a new side to a rapper who would soon become a nationwide phenomenon. At this time, Phyno was barely known in the east or pretty much anywhere outside Enugu. But the moment ‘Anamachikwanu’ dropped – he blew up all over the east and most parts of the South-South region of the nation. He didn’t drop a single line apart from the chorus but the unique edge he  brought to the song was clear for everyone to see and I sat up and took notice. After the ‘Anamachikwanu’ buzz died down a bit, he released a few more admirable singles – ‘Shutdown’ and ‘Can’t you see’ to name a few.  He also featured on many others gradually outshining fellow features and on a few occasions, the actual track owners. By December 2012, Phyno went national with one of the biggest hits Nigeria has seen in a long while – ‘Ghost Mode’ featuring Olamide (another indigenous great). The track had everything . . . there was rhythm, wordplay, punchlines, witty back and forths, exceptional delivery and bite. Both artists brought their A-game and neither was outshined.

PhynoPhyno – Eerily Talented

All of a sudden, you were just as likely to hear a Phyno track being played in a bar somewhere in Onitsha as you were to hear it played at an ‘Owambe’ somewhere in Ibadan. Refusing to rest on his laurels, he released ‘Man of the Year’ – a sensational Igbo rap roller coaster which you couldn’t help shaking your head to (in appreciation) regardless of your level of understanding of the language. The track eventually won him ‘The Headies Best Rap Single’ Award and firmly ensured this ‘east coast n*gga was now firmly banging in the west’. The Igbo word ‘Obago’ means ‘he has entered’ and Phyno had well and truly entered the elite of Nigerian rap, and mainstream music for that matter, now ‘making commercial money without a dance track’.

Phyno 2Now he’s finally here – ‘Obago’

Phyno truly ensured he remained 2013’s ‘Man of the Year’ by releasing a series of killer singles and videos which shot him into 3rd place in Nigeria’s top 10 Most Gifted Rappers list by Notjustok.com-Nigeria’s premier music website. The numerous number of tracks and albums he featured on in 2013 went further to cement his place among Nigeria’s top musicians. Olamide, Yung6ix, Dr SID and Phenom are just a few of the rappers who had no choice but to put him on their projects and as expected, Phyno delivered to perfection. His rise and improvement have been almost astronomic and he showed exactly how a transition from mediocrity to excellence could be achieved, to a degree rarely ever seen in the Nigerian music industry. His creativity is the one thing that sets him apart from the rest of the crowd and if he keeps up his level of  ambition he could be the first Nigerian export to go truly global with indigenous rap.

Phyno has shown no signs of stopping, no signs of slacking, no signs of letting up or even cutting back on his improvement levels. As I head out to purchase my most anticipated album of 2014, I expect nothing less than brilliance from ‘Phynofino’ – ‘the playmaker’, the self acclaimed ‘man of the year’ who keeps assuring us that ‘Onwe be di ihe i fu'(You haven’t seen anything yet). If it is true that we haven’t seen the half of this man’s talent, then Nigerian music is in for a period of utter dominance by Phyno and tracks like Splash’s ‘Onye Ije’ where the young upstart was torn to shreds by Phyno in less than a quarter of the track will become more common but with bigger more accomplished rappers.

Phyno-Parcel-VideoPhyno, now “A big Nwa” – murdering rappers with ease

Phyno(Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson) has taken indigenous rap(and Igbo rap in particular) to the next level. I look forward to hearing a lot more from Phyno in the coming years and I believe the vast majority of music-loving Nigerians look forward to the same too. He’s a good singer, a better producer and one of the best rappers in the country. Hopefully he doesn’t lose the fire or get sidetracked like the once great M.I. did so spectacularly. If he doesn’t, ‘No Guts No Glory’ will merely be a launch pad for a truly ‘phyno’menal rapper and an even better musician ‘representing the best albinos'(according to Slow Dog).

By I.V Okata . . . A lover of good music

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

An Open Letter to Open Letter

Gistoscope Towers,

Somewhere in Nigeria.

December 27, 2013.

The Original Open Letter,

Open Letter Commission,

Wherever you are.

Dear Open Letter,

An Open Letter to Open Letter

I write to you today for a myriad of reasons, the highlight of which is – I don’t want you around anymore. As is apparently now customary, I will give a breakdown of the reasons why I had to write this as the letter progresses.

It seems you have become very popular in recent times especially in our political circles. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why. Your dad – the normal letter – was a staple, exasperating presence in my childhood forever haunting me as I struggled to understand whether it would rather end with ‘yours faithfully’ or ‘yours sincerely’ (Okay . .  I must admit . . this still haunts me). I was so happy when I discovered I didn’t need to write anymore of its kind after I had got into my second year at the university. You could not imagine the joy I felt when I discovered that the less uptight e-mail had replaced your irritating dad as the major and most common form of business correspondence. I got even happier as gradually, chat sites and applications became more ubiquitous as it meant your father was ever closer to his grave. The whole brouhaha about air pollution, deforestation, global warming bla bla bla killing our planet and causing everything from common cold to the bad-ass-ery (this should totally be a word) of Kim Jong-Un indicates that the end is nearer for your family and its unnecessary intricacies.

However, despite the dwindling influence and presence of your kin, you have made an impressive though puzzling come back. Fittingly enough, you made your confounding comeback among some of the most confused people in our society – our political office holders, past and present. In the space of weeks, you not only engulfed the attention of a whole nation but also adequately sowed (abi placed) seeds of discord (abi land mines) at strategic points – points where they are likely to germinate(abi explode) on or before 2015. It is particularly perplexing to me that you could be used for such insidious activities when all I’ve ever considered using you for was expressing my heartfelt desire to Tonto Dikeh to stop singing/saying ‘Hi’  and to Dame Patience to stick to Okrika or whatever language is her mother tongue – lightheartedly of course.

But my major beef today is not with the manner of your use and the political significance of your type to the Nigerian politic-o-sphere (yet another collection of alphabets which should totally be a word), that beef should be the subject of a far more serious article written by an actual political analyst. Noooo, my beef is with the people who use you and the exceptional way you make them appear. How do you work your mighty miracles with them? How do you make them sound smarter and much more articulate than their countless public speeches suggest they are? How do you make dreary, obtuse-sounding, soporific speakers sound like passionate, erudite, charismatic individuals? The Obasanjos and GEJ are, with all due respect,  not Soyinka and Achebe, so how do you get them sounding alike? And why do they have to outline countless reasons for writing you at the beginning often covering more space than your actual subject? Why do some like Iyabo use you for subjects that are of little concern to us – the general populace? Why is it often so difficult to ascertain why we are reading you? Why do your replies not answer the pertinent questions posed in their predicates?  And where on earth do they find the time to write you when our country is in such dire straits economically and otherwise? I would also use this opportunity to ask how and why they chose you. Why not some other more exciting, maybe less time consuming alternative like a debate/shouting match/cat fight atop Zuma/Olumo Rock involving rap interludes from Jim Iyke and commentary by Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon? Too many ‘whys’ and too few ‘becauses’ – please start answering asap or my beef could turn sour.

On a side note and though I’m sure it’s not completely your fault, I will also like to beg you to cease and desist from populating my twitter interface/list of tweets/TL (sorry o – does TL mean tweet list?). You can’t keep trending every time. It’s distracting, for one, and unfair to other attention seekers and possibly more exciting trends/tweets which I would have uncovered like the classic ‘Nigeria vs Kenya tweef’. If you insist on remaining relevant in the modern age despite my vehement protests, then please, stay in ink and paper form at the least. We don’t want e-open-letters, that’s why we have the e-mail. Discussions like the ones you incite are meant for the Vanguard News comment section not my TL. Consider yourself adequately warned – I hope not to see you in that world anymore.

In conclusion, I fear for the future if the current spate of spurting out your kind continues; I fear a day might come when a ten-page open letter is written for every tiff between political officers; I fear that one day you and your kind will eventually overrun my Twitter TL and leave me in a state of eternal boredom seated in a dark room, gently rocking from side to side, arms around knees listening to the epic soundtrack of The good, The Bad and The Ugly . . . BUT, What I fear the most and the predominant source of my conviction to write this urgent, ironically open letter is the apparently certifiable, high alert threat on twitter to ‘Watch out for Patience Jonathan’s Open Letter to Rotimi Amaechi’.

PLEEEAAAASSSSEEEEE!!!!! For the sake of my sanity, your self-respect and the goodwill of this great nation from fellow English speaking nations across the world, PLEEEAAAASSSSEEEEE!!!!! Don’t let her do it. Run away, disappear, exile yourself, take a long vacation on some beach in Micronesia, become a monk at some Shaolin temple or go to Mars, but PLEEEAAAASSSSEEEEE!!!!! don’t allow yourself to be used in this way.   I believe I need not write any further especially because I don’t want this one to become as mind-numbing as its predecessors. Thank you for understanding. I wish you and your kin well(I really do)

Yours faithf . . . sincer . . .

F*ck this

Yours in a begging way,

Izuchukwu Okata . . . I really love my country

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

DISCLAIMER , PS : or NB :

I forgot to sign this letter because my tongue was lodged firmly in my cheek – And if you’re Nigerian but can’t understand that expression, then OBJ and GEJ deserve more blame than they’d care to admit .

My Return to Football

It’s been forever since I actually had enough time to contemplate writing a piece and I sincerely apologize to each of you – followers of Gistoscope and first time readers(I’m gracious like that). But, I’m back like Johann Sebastian(Hehehe) and I’ll try to stick around for as long as my schedule allows.

bach 2Johann Sebastian Bach looking sideways for a change

Okay, to the topic of this post. Football! I finally sat down to watch weekend football for the first time in a long while and this is a mish mash post about the experience and my random thoughts on the premier league – Enjoy!

I started with the Ram-zil-ian Arsenal(I definitely did not just make that up – true story). I felt this would be an ideal platform on which to base judgment of their title credentials. For the first time since the season just after they sold Henry(2007 abi 2008), they’ve actually put together a run of results akin to those of League Winners in the past.  So, I sat down to watch the Gunners . . . and well . . . I wasn’t disappointed. A big loss to a title rival just when the team is picking up a bit of heat has become a mainstay characteristic of the trophy-less Arsenal teams of the past.  I’d like to leave it at that, however, I feel it is only fair to say I saw significant improvements from the young team in red and white. Apart from the obvious increase in class which Ozil offers them, they had real thrust with the pace of Walcott down the right as well as the combined athleticism and general box-to-box-ness(of course, that’s a word) of Ramsey and Wilshere. Which brings me to Ramsey. His improvement, while massive and astonishing, has also been immensely heartwarming. I remember the combined blend of grief, pity and sheer sadness that engulfed I and my friends as we saw his severed leg hanging bizarrely after Shawcross had decimated him way back in 2011. He has become a whole new animal this season and is definitely my surprise of the season. Of course, they’ve been drawn with Bayern Munich and I feel as things look currently, it’s fair to say things are looking a bit bleak for the serious team from North London on the European front.

ramzil 3 ramzil 4The Ram-zil-ian Arsenal in full flow

Manchester City, their opponents on Sunday have been up and down more times than a jumping jack high on crack. The cliché – from the sublime to the ridiculous- best describes their performance thus far. So many excellent victories especially at home have been followed by shockingly poor losses(normally away). For those of you who follow this blog, you’ll know I tipped them to win the league this season, and I stand by that  prediction against my better judgment. Aguero’s injury could potentially topple their season but I believe if Pellegrini can work on consistently getting the best out of this team, then the League is theirs to lose(Sorry Gunners, I’m just not convinced).

Now unto the other pretenders, Liverpool have really impressed me this season and Suarez has upped his game to an even more surreal level. He’s been more than fantastic and provided he does nothing silly(and by silly, I mean insane, senseless and outrageous), he should break Ronaldo’s 34 goal record. However, I think third is the most they can hope to achieve this season.

suarez 2Suarez looking pretty calm . . .

Chelsea seem to possess class in goal, defence and attacking midfield. However, the considerable decrease in the quality of the options in both the defensive midfield and the striker slots mean consistency is but a pipe dream unless Mourinho changes formation radically or gets some real quality into the club during the transfer window. They are out of the Carling Cup, though which I’m sure will really pinch Jose. Their Champions League draw is also pretty interesting but that’s a story for some other time. David Moyes has started off below average on his Ultimate Challenge and has already lost the trust of many of the club’s fans. However, unlike many other teams(Spurs!- another story for another day), the United management don’t make knee-jerk decisions and as things are, you can be sure Moyes will have at the very least a full year and half before he can realistically get sacked. Funny enough- Everton seem to be doing better than ever(yet another story for another day)

And Southampton, there’s no way I’d leave them out. They’ve been the surprise team of the season for me which says a lot about the work done by Pochettino and whoever it is that’s in charge of transfers over there.

There’s so much more I’d like to write about but this is not the piece for all that. As the days roll by, I’d be writing insight pieces on smaller subplots in football and the premier league especially. I think the next one should be the worn out Messi-C Ronaldo Ballon D’Or argument with the slight twist of Ribery. So, till then – Namaste and have a good day.

NeyberyJust a random, unrelated picture of your run-off-the-mill NeyBery

By I.V Okata . . . an avid football lover

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

Picture Sources –

http://www.telegraph.co.uk, http://www.mirror.co.uk, http://www.culturacolectiva.com, http://www.hiilkubad.com

Democracy – The Nigerian Illusion

Hello World, it’s been quite a while. Well, here’s a new story on a theme we’ve never shied away from covering on this blog.  It’s a personal experience of a close friend of ours. It is both enlightening and thought-provoking. Enjoy your read . . .

Gist Editor, Gistoscope

Now I’m scared that my Nigeria . . . Our Nigeria, may never be better.

I had a firsthand experience that has eroded my faith in our government, its policies, and its numerous ‘feedback mechanisms’ to know the people’s plight.

Two weeks ago, I was chosen to represent Zamfara state Corpers in Abuja during the National Corpers Forum aimed at getting feedback from serving Corps members from the 36 states of the federation and the FCT on how the scheme could be improved from the Corps members’ point of view. Four delegates per state were selected and 6 from the FCT. For  three days, we sat and pointed out pertinent issues bothering Corpers security, welfare, community development projects improvement and mobilization issues. On each of these topics, we made observations and resolutions which we typed and submitted to be moved on to management for consideration.

From the welfare communiqué group, we told them blatantly that a transport allowance of 1000 Naira and bicycle allowance of 1500 Naira was unrealistic; as times have changed, that sizes of Corps members should be collated before mobilization; so that we could stop the shameful practice of giving people oversize or undersize kits, that either they pay a certain amount as medical allowance monthly or implement a health insurance scheme for Corpers like most schools are doing now; instead of having me pay my medical bills and then start writing to Abuja for a refund which may never come. We even said they should stop using Corps members during elections as cheap labour since it exposes them to risk of loss of life, as, more often than not, violence erupts. We had a long list from the welfare point – from issues of inadequate camp facilities, to lack of accommodation provision by employees. Other groups made their resolutions too.

To my chagrin, however, these people had come up with a resolution they wanted, and threw away all that we said and put in theirs. They even said we advocated for better taekwondo in camp! Whaat???! Next, he was moving a motion to adopt our resolutions as amended!! Right in our faces!!! Some of us cried out immediately. I jumped to my feet and told him with all due respect that this final resolution had been greatly watered down, and that it did not represent what my people had sent me there to say. A couple of people raised their hands and came out to voice their opinions that a lot was missing from this resolution. The Corpers who produced the final document confirmed that a staff of the NYSC was set on them, and he was the one who literally produced the contentious resolution.

Furthermore, and in a bid to mock democracy even more, the chairman said all those with issues about the resolution should come out. He then gave us the mic to each say what we wanted. Then he sat, locked heads with his colleagues and kept gisting away, barely listening to us, till the last of us ‘riffraffs’ made our point, with him taking no notes or cognizance whatsoever. Then again, he moved for the adoption of our resolution as amended.

By this time, the Director-General had come and gone, the press had taken their pictures and video clips and gone and there we sat, helpless. Next on the news. we’ll hear a Corper say a word, then a couple of short videos here and there and they’ll show a Corper moving the motion for adoption and Nigerians will think – their voices have been heard, the international world will say – ‘Wow!, the people really have a say in matters affecting them.’ I smiled to myself and said ‘this is Nigeria and this is why we are where we are today’.

The chairman told us our welfare demands were frivolous . . . as if he could boldly say the bicycle he bought his son cost him 1000 Naira, or that transportation from Lagos to Abuja costs 1500 Naira. He told us it was ‘impossible’ to make uniforms and boots to size. My question is – ‘If I can fill in my date of birth, gender, course of study, LGA etc before mobilization, why can’t I fill in size 45 as shoe size so they can know how many size 45 shoes to send to each state? Why should a graduate be paid 19,800 Naira . . . when he’s an equivalent of a grade 8 level officer in the civil service, buying from the same market, and in a strange land, all in a bid to heed the clarion call?

Now friends, I’m not just angry because our voices were not heard. No, I’m bitter because they knew they would do this. They knew they didn’t want to listen to us ab initio. So, why make us all come down to Abuja for a forum such as this? Why feed us for days, provide ‘conference materials’, sit me down for hours, pay our transport and give us other financial benefits, wasting taxpayers’ money in the process; just to come there, hear us rant and then do nothing about our most pressing needs. Friends, they knew they would not listen to us, they knew they already had their resolution, they knew our opinion did not matter one bit, so why make us come? What if one of us died in transit? Would it be for this? This sham?

This is what we inherited, friends – a nation that pays a lot of money to NOT listen to its people.

So next time you listen to the news, kindly take it with more than a pinch of salt.

By Anyiam ‘Don-Moj’ Nnaemeka . . .  A guest writer and a true patriot

He’s on Facebook too, so check him out when you can.

Looking to the New EPL Season

For the first time in recent memory, the premier league is  free of its Red Nose. Alex Ferguson is gone. Jose Mourinho is back. Rafa Benitez has returned to Italy from whence he came. Manuel Pellegrini  is here and has already added more bazookas and silencers to his Man City artillery. Arsene Wenger is selling all his chaff players and refusing to sign any decent or known replacements. David Moyes seems more awestruck at United than a giddy Canadian teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert and RVP remains as lethal as ever.

On the other end of the scale, the annoyingly good escape artists at Wigan Athletic have finally met their long predicted fall while their chief magician, Roberto Martinez has carried his impressive skills to the reasonable side of the Mersey divide. Brendan Rodgers still can’t keep his mouth shut, no one still knows the point of Fulham, Stoke have changed the manager’s face but have retained their eternal clogging, kicking and lumping standards and Rickie Lambert has continued to impress at the Saints despite looking like your standard fat Championship bully of a striker. Sam Allardyce has recruited Downing to aid in lumping the ball in the general direction of  whichever big man is available, AVB’s voice has gone a notch lower in pitch and Joe Kinnear is back at Newcastle as DoF and we all imagine how supportive that must feel for Alan Pardew.

Now, what’s the point of this article?? Hmmm  . . . Aha! What to expect next season and major predictions. So without much more ado, here are my predictions. Yea, y’all are free to hedge your bets based on these predictions and watch your money double. However, do well to note that I shall not be held accountable for whatever losses you incur in the process whether emotional, financial or both. With that done, here goes nothing;

Top Scorer – Danny Welbeck . . . Nah, just kidding. It’s definitely his Dutch strike partner Robin van Persie who should end the season with the much coveted gong.

Best Player –  Eden Hazard – Yep, I believe Jose Mourinho should psych him up enough to take his game to the next level and win the award. And I’ll also give you the fellow contestants for this role, not at all because I fear Hazard might not win but just because I have chosen to be really gracious . . .true story, the indefatigable Yaya Toure, Robin Van Persie, Cazorla, the dreamy Juan Mata and of course, Spurs new hitman Soldado.

League Winners -Manchester City

Well, I believe despite Mourinho’s return and David Moyes inheriting Fergie’s winning team, City just seem to have an unreal strength in depth that I believe will eventually win them the league title this year.

N/B: If Chelsea sign Rooney, disregard this prediction because I believe they’ll be too strong for the rest of the competition. Rooney plus Mourinho plus ‘Mazacar’ is too bloody a combo for any competition.

Relegation – Hull despite adding the Basketball-ish ‘tiger’ moniker to their official name, still have Steve Bruce and he is going down once more in my opinion. Holloway will attack with Crystal Palace just like he did with Blackpool, but I believe the eagles should go down as well. Sunderland have signed a whole lot of players out of which only Altidore really stands out. For this reason, I’m l tipping them for relegation because they also appear to be the kind of team that will collapse once Di Canio clashes with one of his players, an event we all suspect is just around the corner.

Most Talkative Manager of the Season – No contest. Brendan Rodgers all day long.

Signing of the Season – Ricky van Wolfswinkel – I believe Norwich should survive relegation this season mostly because of this signing. I see him banging in at least 15 goals this coming season and being the equivalent of Benteke to Villa last season.

Surprise of the Season(Player) – Nacer Chadli – Who’s he? Right? Watch out . . .

Surprise of the Season(Team) – Cardiff City – I know, I know . . . It seems very easy to just choose a random team from promotion to fill this position but I honestly believe they could punch well above their weight this coming season.

Fourth Position – Tottenham Hotspurs – The first three from last season will most definitely remain in the top three in an altered order, nevertheless.  The fourth slot depends greatly on whoever of the contenders has the least ‘serious’ injuries to key players over the course of the season. However, as the transfer window is set to slam shut, (By the way, why does it always slam shut? Not move slowly and limply to a close despite having been open since July?) teams are likely to improve or have their teams decimated by bigger or richer teams home or abroad. Therefore, I’m making this prediction from the current state of the contestants.

By I.V Okata . . . an avid football lover

Follow him on Twitter @IzutaDGaffer

Temptation: the Story, Part 4

This is the fourth installment of this story . . .

Here’s a link to the first part Temptation: the Story →

And here’s one to the second part Temptation: the Story, Part Two →

And for the third part Temptation: the Story, Part Three →

PART FOUR BEGINS HERE . . .

What she said to me rang continuously in my head for the next few seconds. I have a fiancé. I could not understand it. It couldn’t be true. It was impossible. I glanced at my watch, it was just past seven pm. The serene, pleasant environment in the restaurant contrasted acutely with the discord that tore at the strings of my heart. I returned my gaze to her very beautiful eyes. Jessica looked even more stunning today. An awkward silence had blanketed us and she just stared at me . . . her eyes searching mine for a reply, any reply at all. The silence wasn’t uncomfortable, though. . . Nothing about Jessica was uncomfortable. The eventful circumstances on the night of the day that I met her meant the bond we shared was as good as eternal. Since that night, she had been awarded a very special spot in my heart. No one, no action, nothing at all could cause her to lose that spot. Even this bomb of a revelation. As I carefully pondered the next words to say, my mind cast back to that night . . . the fateful night when Nneka’s life hung in the balance . . .

That night, I had finally begun to shiver when we pulled into the driveway at Helix Medical Centre. Before I could make a move, the tall, fair driver was already carrying Nneka out and hurrying her motionless body towards the emergency section, closely followed by a concerned-looking Jessica. I felt light-headed as I clambered out of the car to follow them into the hospital. I had narrated the bizarre tale to the two relative strangers who had come to my rescue as the driver sped towards the hospital. I glanced at Nneka and she looked peaceful . .  a far cry from the emotions that were running through my mind as I, as best as I could in my condition, explained the events of the night. When I was done with my story, Jessica told me she was almost asleep when she heard Chizzie pick my call earlier . Apparently, she and the driver, who I discovered was her brother, had just come into town for a bit to see some of their friends and they were spending the night at Chizzie’s rather than at a hotel because Chizzie vehemently refused to allow them sleep anywhere else. Classic Chizzie , I thought, as the small salon car sped through the endless network of roads in GRA.

‘Immediately Chizzie told me about your situation, I woke my brother who was sleeping in the living room and with a basic description from Chizzie, we were able to find you’ Jessica had said.

I was grateful, but the prevailing emotion was surprise.  I was surprised that someone was willing to brave the night in a land that was relatively new to him or her to help an individual he or she barely knew. Jessica was truly a wonderful person. After a while, the doctor came out to inform us that Nneka wasn’t dead, but that she had some medical condition. He mentioned some things about a genetic collagen deficiency which led to temporary muscle paralysis probably triggered by a stressful situation. He went on to say some other things I couldn’t process or remember. All I recalled with clarity was the overwhelming sense of relief that flooded me the moment I heard him say ‘She’s not dead’. The doctor advised we left her there for a while so he could study the peculiarity of her case and suggest the best way forward. Soon after, myself, Jessica and her brother left. Before they dropped me off at my house, we first took a detour to Nneka’s place where we secured her property and my car.

The next morning, before heading to work, I got an auto-mechanic and took him to Nneka’s place to look at my car. It turned out that it was a minor problem with the battery terminals which he fixed very easily. I opened Nneka’s room, cleaned the pool of blood on the blue-tiled floor and pocketed the sheet of paper where Jessica had written down her number the day before. I took a few clothes and other basic necessities from her packed bags, then locked up and left for Helix Medical Centre. I was very happy to see Nneka awake though still less vivacious than normal. Her skin was a bit pale especially her face which appeared almost ghostly white. Against my better judgment to let her rest, and as a result of her insistence, I told her everything that went down the day before. She was very surprised that ‘this Jessica'(as she put it) was so willing to help and looked at me funnily when I said Jessica was a lovely person. She wanted to say some more but I urged her to rest and regain her strength. Soon after, her drugs kicked in and she fell asleep. I left her sleeping and went to work.

My mind returned to the present. Jessica had a fiancé. How? Why? How come she hadn’t mentioned it?  We had grown really close in the last two months so it must have been a really difficult task to keep such big news under wraps. Over those months, I called her at least once every two days. On occasion, I would call as much as thrice a day. She was so easy to discuss with, her voice so soft and soothing.  We would talk for hours at times; laughing, sharing funny stories and just allowing our imaginations run wild as we laughed and discussed the unpredictability of the future. While I did the majority of the calling, she always texted me. She would send all types of texts from the short ‘Hey, Wats up?’s to the long poetic messages about how she valued our friendship. I had grown to really care about her without actually seeing her in the course of those months. Now I was with her, it was unbelievable how palpable the chemistry between us was. She had just come into town the day before and I insisted we hung out the next day. She obliged and I brought her to my favorite restaurant- Sky High. I didn’t spend too long on chit chat. Immediately we had ordered a meal, I poured out my heart to her, telling her how I never felt the way I felt about her with anyone else, telling her how badly I wanted her to be mine, telling her how often I thought about her and how I couldn’t keep those thoughts to myself anymore. She looked at me and the expression on her face was one I had never seen before. A sullen, solemn look had settled in where excitement and exuberance once shone proudly as she said;

‘I have a fiancé’

I was shocked. My brain refused to process the message my ears were passing across. I opened my mouth to say something . . . anything . . . but I couldn’t form the words. After what felt like forever, I eventually asked;

‘Where is he now?’

She looked down at the table and replied;

‘Offshore’

And after a short pause added ‘He works on a rig offshore’.

‘Okay’ I said.

It was all I could say. The rest of the night went on uneventfully. I dropped her off at Chizzie’s house later on and went home. I undressed, showered, got into my pajamas and lay on my  bed with the lights off, air condition at 16 degrees, everywhere very quiet. I replayed Jessica’s words in my head again and again. I have a fiancé. I could not understand why she hadn’t told me about it earlier, why she didn’t see such a crucial detail as important, why she would lead me on, knowing fully well how close we were growing to one another. As I lay there lost in thought, a shrill sound pierced my fortress of solitude and self reflection. I opened my eyes to see my phone ringing. The caller ID read ‘Jessica’. I let it ring till it disconnected. It rang a few more times but I ignored each. Then after about ten minutes, I heard a different tone, a shorter one, it was a message. As I reached to see the contents of the message, the phone began to ring again. This time, it was a call from Nneka. She told me she had something to tell me which was very important and that she was coming over to see me. I couldn’t say no to Nneka, she was one of a few true friends I still had.

Over the last two months, I had spent a significant amount of time with Nneka. I had informed her office of her health issues, visited her at the hospital everyday till she was discharged and paid her regular visits since she was discharged to find out how she was doing. The doctor had recommended drugs and a strict fat-free diet to help her get back to full fitness – two things she really hated. Owing to this, I felt compelled to visit her regularly to encourage her to stick to the doctor’s orders and to cheer her up. However, I couldn’t fathom why she would be coming to visit me this night. It was strange. She sounded pretty terse on the phone and I was really concerned. I glanced at the big circular clock in my bedroom, it had just crossed 8:30pm. I looked at  my phone and saw that the message was from Jessica. I opened it and saw a very long message. It read;

‘Hey, dear. How are you? I’m really sorry for not telling you about my fiancé. We’ve been engaged for about three months but I don’t love him. I only accepted his proposal because we’ve been dating since I was in high school. The truth is I was really scared of pushing you away and that’s why I never mentioned him. You’ve made me so happy these last two months and made me feel things I haven’t felt about anyone. Please dear, I’m in a very tight situation, give me a little time to work this out. I love you’.

What the hell? I read the message again and still couldn’t believe what I read. ‘Give me a little time to work this out, I love you’ she had written. What did this mean? The last part of the message stirred something in me. I read that part again and couldn’t help smiling sheepishly. Jessica loves me . .Then, I heard a soft knock on my front door. I glanced out the window to confirm it was Nneka and it was. She seemed deep in thought. I gently unlocked and opened the door and welcomed her in. I wasn’t at all ready for what happened next.

As I closed the door and turned to face my visitor, I saw Nneka standing directly in front of me. Before I could say anything, she leaned up and kissed me full on the lips. I pulled away, surprised. Nneka who was like a sister to me had just kissed me in a completely un-sisterly way. I looked into her eyes and saw a fire I had never seen there before. She looked me dead in the eyes and with the confidence I always admired her for, said;

‘I’ve wanted to do that for so long . . . ‘

She paused for a moment, looked around the room, then looked back at me. Her next words would change my life forever. She said;

‘I’ve also wanted to say this for a while . . . I love you’

TO BE CONTINUED . . .

By Gareth Glover . . . a pseudonym