What do you need a map for?

Hello, My name is Niel and these are the ChristaPoet Freestyle Sessions. This year, ChristaPoet wants to give you a special perspective to our freestyles. At first, some of these poems were published as stand-alone pieces. But in actuality, each poem is an untitled part of a freestyle session. Each freestyle session is given a topic for the poems to address.


Today, we take a trip to June the 25th, 2021. At 5:05 AM, Dr King broke a 40-hour spell of silence, which in itself was quite the anomaly. Here is Dr. King with Seed power. I doubt it was a freestyle:

SEED POWER



If I could
Drive your dreams
To the moon
So you see that its reality
Breaks the bound of gravity

If I could
Wear your smile
On a monster frown
To model the comfort
It gives to a warring heart

If I could 
Shout with a mute
To show the deafness
Of a voice that roars
Without insight 

If I could
Live without a breathe
To reveal the deadness
Of a being
With no purpose

If I could
Think without my mind
To display the madness
Of a creature 
That denies it creator

Hmmmmm
Oh! I wish you could see
The giant in the ant
The forest in the shoot
The Oaks in the acorn

In your action, the world
Bows to the law of motion
The “lit” lies in a bit
If you believe
In the power of your seed


                       -King Uwe


Yeah, he seemed to be consumed by some message that he needed to pass across. Do you think he did so, effectively? Either way, at 7:09 AM, I: The Niel Quchi, officially opened the #freestylefriday at 7:10 AM with the Topic “Journey”.

At 7:16 AM, I launched the first spurt:

March past shit on the road
Forgive as I was told
Yeah you gotta stay in God-mode
Mercy never gets old
Oh my confidence is passed the past successes I have owned
Imma keep on walking, preaching Jesus to the souls
Bused to work and back again, on day I’ll be drove
But grateful I remain until my default mode is love


Going to another city
But my fellow around me
Saved to save, ọ́ chọ̀ kaambili
Holy Spirit sound in me

Now, yesterday we saw the freestyles of the 11th of June, and on that day, something happened that I didn’t speak of. The arrival of Jemcy. Having come on a few days before, it was refreshing to read Jemcy at  9:59 AM:

Keep running
I know the path is narrow
Filled with fearful arrow
But I would be there with you leading


Shift your gaze off looming darkness
Can’t you see my brooding spirit?
Shake of the fear
And have faith in me


Oh honey,
This journey is with a price
Not of earthly money
But to a life of eternal glory
©Jemima Joseph


Yeah, the kind of thing you’d write to a topic such as “Journey” and you’re a Christian writer. Also as delightful, this is one of those special freestyles because it was written by Ifiok. Ifiok and I wrote The Chosen reviews presently. But she heads that endeavor. Here she was at 10:22 AM:

Dear Abba,

This journey started with you leaving the 99 to look for me. 

Oh yes, I rejected you the first time, and even after a hundred rejections, you kept coming back. 

I thought the rejection would weaken your resolve but I had never met anyone so strong-willed. 

Then I thought, I must be really worth it.


Very intimate piece, and I’m sure these pieces have ministered to someone somewhere. The reason, I thought, the dates and times should be written is that I want you to think back on what it is you were doing at the time that this poems were written, and just juxtapose the poem against that context. Does the poem have additional meaning now? Ebube continued the beautiful freestyling at 12:55 PM in her “Ghetto Sister G.O. vibe”:


Like an essential oil wafts through the nostrils breathe crafted genesis out of nothing, made a demi-god with all it requires to meander through the genesis of a cold, cobwebbed wrecking cave until gold locked in the web are harnessed triggering shock waves 


Kai….dem no born you to give up, as the current of this life’s ocean journeys from one end of the hemisphere to another without a millisecond to grab a t-fare, trade fair the loss will be gross if in all these turbulence salvation is lost.


Salvation is gain
Salvation is pain endured to get us sonship, our ticket to sanity in this ship called life bound to capsize outside Christ, intense cravings out to steal our integrity and seal our fate in hell and the love for the world rather than word grows day after day.


You may fall a million times and foots will ache in this journey but trade not our SALVA-GAIN.


Oh Wow…this next spurt reminds me that I have not seen Tunde Micheal’s writing this year. Note to self…

Here is Tunde Micheal at 1:12 PM:


The journey came from unconscious to conscious,

Came from from the raging noises of sea to a still whisper of peace,
The journey started from while I was yet a sinner, my dad kept calling me Bishop,
Deep was I into doing dirt,
Dead was I to sin,
You kept calling,
But how was I to know?
Till at the lifting up of your name that came by melody,
This song of triple parts came as power unto salvation for me,
Wrought and became a mirror before me,
I saw the beauty, bad and the beast,
All that I was becoming,
Then, it was clear enough that I was not living the one who Christ breathe in and blessed and bled for,
Right there, I made the sharp lift from fall.

The journey,
The strong can’t walk therein.
No map can contain this path where peace is.

And ofcourse, one of my favorites, Eremi at 1:20 PM. Like, the poems were coming back to back to back:


“You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.”
Psalms 139:3‭-‬4 TPT




My days before they started counting
My thoughts before I started thinking
My words before I started speaking
My emotions before I started revealing
My friends before I started making
My course before I started charting
My wealth before I started counting
My desires before I started wishing
My life before I started living

You knew it all
From start to finish
‘In your book, they were all written
Days fashioned for me when as yet there were none’

So, who else would be my guide
If not you
My Guardian-God


See her, she started with a Bible verse… How led. Well, I had been watching, reading, and after Eremi at 1pm…there just was no one writing, until I began again at  7:10 PM:

Walking to the few chores I have in the future

80/20 vision i adjust to user features
We are Igbo but we chose being eternal
Where I’m going he told to stay recalling.
I marvel,
When they read me I’ll be way past what I wrote since
All this in preparation for the fruit of my jeans
Daughter Sonny you can tell I told her everything
Son is Yeshua, I’m a poet, he is privileged
We did it

But I woke up in my body
Five hours after I slept at the party
They said they wanted graphic so I gave em jagbajantis
Code it I did not mean
I’m divided Greenwich
Should I stop or start or continue stopping or starting or continuing where I’m going?
Of course we move, there’s a level I’m ascending?


And like a reenacted play, no one wrote again until 11:43 PM, when Ade, my Guy wrote this:

I wonder if Abraham ever felt like this,
Tired, frustrated and lost,
Somewhere between hearing God’s voice,
Somewhere in the wilderness lending his ears to navigate his way
To finally getting to his promise land and being the Man who started Faith, 


Your words never really painted doubt or fear in Abraham’s picture,
So, Lord, I ask why the only palpitations my heartbeats,
Are percussions of fear and doubt,
If I am from his loins, then why I am plagued,
Or better put; the black sheep that didn’t inherit his faith from His genes,


My legs are quaking to the tremors this path presents,
These weights are way beyond what they were built for,
My heart no longer longs for hope’s touch,
She seems unreachable with each passing day,
My hands have held your promises for as long they can, 
Knees dropping, tears washing off my face,
My lungs holding on to the last bag of air…

At this crossway, I pray, Lord,
Let me find my north,
There’s nothing to go back to,
My strength fails me but can still go one trip,
My ears are weak but still yearn for your voice,
 My eyes are dim but can still pick you from the crowd,
All I ask is for You to hold me by the hands; never letting go,
I am burdened and don’t know how to pray again,
So take it from hear Lord and lead me,
And I will sheepishly follow You,
I can’t make this journey on my own!


And that was how it went down on that day. What would you write under the same topic?

I believe that if you had read any of these poems on their own, you would get a part of the picture. Now you see them together, I think it’s a more wholesome picture. Tell us what you think, and see you next time.

Authors:

Niel Quchi

Tunde Micheal

Eremi

Ebube

Ifiokabasi

Ade

YOUR UNCOUTH TONGUE AND NARCISSIST MIND

I spoke at length with Nelson on the phone and listened to him narrate some things he was going through. At the end of our conversation, he asked if I had any advice for him and I said no.

I take your pieces of advice to heart you know. I remember when you said my sandals were ugly and that I had a bad sense of fashion. I never wore sandals again till date and I gave away those set of clothes you complained about. My mother was angry because those clothes were designers and she bought them from the United States.”


Father Lord,” I screamed, “when did I say that one? Please limit this fabrication“.


The day we went from Shoprite to Celebrities to see Ezinne.”

A flashback came to my mind and I vaguely remembered saying that.


To be sure, I asked again, “did you say you stopped wearing sandals on account of what I said seven years ago?” He nodded.


I slouched and heaved quietly while I entertained fifty shades of conflicting emotions. I apologized for saying what I said and the effect it had on him. He said I shouldn’t apologize because it made him mindful of what he now wears but I saw it damaged him rather than helped. It wasn’t about finding out the worth of the clothes but the insensitivity behind my actions of condemning his choice of clothes was mean.


In an angry but casual feat, my close friend, Mark, said I was self-centered two days after a conversation we had and he later ghosted me. I asked our mutual friend, Cynthia, and she revealed she used to see me as self-centered but stopped focusing on that because it was ultimately who I was.

I had an amplified emotional breakdown but most importantly, I did a self-reflection to see what about me was selfish. I didn’t see a thing but I believed them because my two best friends could not be wrong about me.

On a quest to be a better person, I told my mentor who made me narrate the situation that warranted such accusation. When I did, he said there are always two reasons for criticism; one is to put a person down and the other is for correction. He said in the context of my situation, it was to put me down and it tells more about the person than of me. I asked Cynthia to tell me specific acts that portrayed my selfishness and she couldn’t recall any.

The thing is, that an aura of not letting people walk all over you can easily be perceived as different negative things including selfishness. Sometimes, people call people they can manipulate, “kind and nice”.
We are too eager to speak without reservation and too ready to accept condemnation from others without reflection.


I should have asked Nelson, “don’t you think sandals go better with shorts or striped shirts better with plain trousers?”.

As a matter of fact, I should have resisted the urge to “shalaye” because of my snobby fashion sense and I may have been wrong. What do I know about fashion?

Mark should have said he felt I didn’t care about his welfare when we spoke a few days ago. He should have told me he was sick and I didn’t care to check up on him. Cynthia should have said, “I once thought you were selfish but I don’t think so anymore; perhaps, it’s because I understand you better now or I got close enough to know you better“.


Whose report do you believe?

ChyD
(C) 2020

THE GAY MISCONCEPTION

It is routine for the ‘boys’ to take turns in getting the bill after each hang out. Today, Ugonna got the bill and after the jabs and hearty humorous perks, it was time to go home. As they got up to leave, Arinze with a smirk placed his hands on Ugonna’s shoulder and said, ‘Thanks dear’.
‘God punish you there’, said Ugonna violently shrugging off his hand.
The rest of the group exploded in hysterical laughter including Arinze. Ugonna joined in almost immediately. There was a silent understanding of what just transpired.

Something similar happened some time ago at work. My colleague and I noticed two guys holding hands. We fixated on their hands waiting for them to unlock their grip in time for us to conclude it is usual but they didn’t indulge our expectation.

‘I thought guys don’t hold hands for too long’, my colleague whispered. ‘Perhaps they are gay’. On another thought, I added ‘it may
be a normal thing’
. We went about our business and forgot all about it.

And yes! I should mention a particular encounter that I am still mad at myself over. Women hardly give me lifts (no, that’s not what I am mad at). I may be wrong to presume men give women lifts more than women give women lifts but that has been my experience. On this particular day however, a pretty lady gave me a lift. She seemed a bit older so when she asked if I was going her way, I said ‘yes ma’ and hopped in. ‘Please use your seat belt’. I fastened it instantly. ‘Are we supposed to wear these leg chains on the right or left leg? I noticed you are wearing yours on the right. I usually wear mine on the left leg’. I then relaxed, I giggled and told
her I didn’t think there are any rules to how it should be worn. We got into discussion on people’s perception of it as a trend and her perception of people’s perception. We talked about self-consciousness. By the time I got to where I was going to drop, I had already decided I like her and wanted her to be my friend. What do I do? Collect her number? I thought that may be
weird or overstepping of boundaries. I knew I should collect it but before I made up my mind on how to go about it, I had already said ‘thank you and have a nice day’. I watched her drive away wishing she asked for my number and only then realising we didn’t even ask each other’s names.

I wonder if this way of thought we have is as a result of societal conditioning. I bet it would have been easier to ask a guy for his number. Ugonna would have thought it cool if a girl called him ‘dear’ with a hand on his shoulder and there shouldn’t be anything gay about two guys holding hands or lingering in a hug. At a point in life however, there is usually a self-awakening for the open minded when he decides to live in accordance to his convictions irrespective of how unconventional it is.

The beauty of our individuality is masked by societal construct. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the damaging effects of living in accordance to societal expectation. Today let’s focus on not letting its rigidity infiltrate our minds with perversion.

– ChyD
(c) 2020

Stolen gist!

That conversation….can one get over it?

DEAR ONE WORLD

The battle of mind begins with this conversation..

S one: you’re sick again and you say you’re healed,why the hypocrisy you can’t deceive yourself, I’ll have to be clear with you

S two: let her be, let her sleep, it’s due to the stress she can’t compete with. The blanket can heal, the rest can sit, with this she’ll be healed and be relieved

S three: I’ll tell the Truth cause that’s who I am, she’s healed but she doesn’t see it, she needs my glasses to look and be a healer like me.

S one: (laugh to S three) ..and she can’t heal herself? What strange word do you speak? See her shaken by grief. She practices your words with fear. How do you examine with this special care?

S two: let’s be silent so she sleeps, you make her mind restless, she hears us all with heavy breath…

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2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The power of Grace was more evident to me when God came through that year in that simultaneous dramatic events of life.

Being one of the best students in my faculty, many would not believe I could be struggling to understand Statistics and Research Methodology because I had a previous brilliant performance in a related course; but the truth was their “efiko” was having a tough time understanding the course. Their “efiko” was empty in statistics.

Not only that, their “SU” brother (Scripture Union brother) was seriously romancing with lust and about to lay with her, but being a leader in the fellowship, time was preventing the showdown. You can imagine the congregation model about becoming the specimen in the devil’s laboratory.

All of that was happening two weeks to the examination. So on this fateful day, I can’t remember what made me to pray. I had never seen myself so broken before. I prayed that God would grant me access to understand the most difficult course in my life and help me to lose appetite for immorality. I prayed until I fell into the hands of sleep.

It was incredible that, I was among the best students for the course when the result was released; and unbelievable how the passion for lust was lost in me. Indeed, I was helped by God’s grace for it saved me from failure and the sweet poisoned hands of lust.

The beautiful thing about God is the unending love to save us from the messy lifestyle. He is always ready to deliver us from danger zones if we will cry out for help.

There is assurance that He has sufficient grace to help us in times of need if only we will approach His throne of grace for inexpressible mercy and grace in times of need as rightly put in Hebrews 4:16. God needs our boldness and openness in running and speaking to Him when things are not going as they are supposed to.

The problem however is that many times we want to prove superheroes and pretend to people around us that things are fine whereas we’re on fire. However, it is only when we have the understanding that God only strengthens us when we expose our weaknesses to Him, until then, we will continue to struggle with our infirmities.

God is beckoning on you to see that the activation of His strength for you is in presenting your weakness to Him. God’s strength cannot be released nor His power be on you if you are still running in your strength.

Beloved, I beseech you to pause, present your area of struggling and infirmities to Him. For it was written in Isaiah 40:29 that, He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength; and in verse 31, the clause with assurance states, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Won’t you pray for strength for your accepted weakness?

© Josh’ Oloyede Oluwafemi.

Your pride

I searched her face for a sign: something, anything to convince me about the Principal’s statement a few seconds ago but there was none. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore as I dropped back into my seat and Mrs. Hakeem rushed for me.

When I got a call from the office of the Principal through his Personal Assistant stating that I was needed urgently, a lot of thoughts fled through my mind. I had just returned from lunch at the office when the call came in. I didn’t know what to think. Was Simisola sick? Did she have an accident? Did her father show up –as he had been threatening he would—at her school? It just didn’t cross my mind that Simi, my only child would be involved in bullying of any sort. So I was amazed when the Principal said, “your daughter flogged a child into coma.”

As soon as the call had dropped, I picked my purse and keys, locked my office and left the building in a haste. I only remembered on my way out to call Mr. John, a colleague, and ask him to tell anyone who asked that I was called at my daughter’s school.

The drive to Simi’s school that afternoon was filled with mixed feelings. Unlike the normal excitement and ecstasy I felt when going on the usual monthly visits, I was filled this time with fear and rage. What had happened to her? I feared. “Oh, is it that man, her uncaring father who had come to take her? I raged. Whatever it was, I would soon find out.

I hurriedly pulled over at the Visitors’ park and didn’t notice the windows were still wound down. The security tried to call my attention but I ignored him. It was Harmattan and there could possibly be no rains. The dry winds blew harshly on my face and on my thoughts. I was almost sure by now that it was her Dad, he had come for her.

As I walked to the Principal’s office, I met a few members of the staff. We exchanged greetings. Their faces wore expressions of sympathy and shame. My heart got heavier. I didn’t have an idea what the problem was, so I hastened my steps. In the office, even as the Principal tried exchanging pleasantries, I remained worried. I wanted him to spill the beans as soon as he could. It was until he asked that Simi and the house mistress, Mrs. Hakeem be called in that I began to think, it may not be her Dad after all. Yet I still knew it was a serious matter. I began praying inaudibly.

In a few minutes, Simi came in with head bowed, shoulders slouched and fists clenched in front of her. Mrs. Hakeem walked in, after her. It was then that the Principal started talking about why I was called. He started by saying that Simi had been a good girl. I nodded in panic and saw  Mrs. Hakeem nod too. Then, he said that he was disappointed in ‘my daughter’. She had flogged a 13-year old JSS3 student mercilessly. I sprang up before I knew what I did.

While I was still trying to understand where such behavior came from, he made the statement. “your daughter flogged a child into coma.” That was when I slumped back into my seat and began screaming, “Simisola Ogechi Akala has killed me.” “Madam, calm down, calm down Ma.” I heard Mrs Hakeem say as she rushed for me. Her plea wouldn’t console me.

After about thirty minutes, I am sitting in the car with Simi. I parked my car after I drove us a few meters away from the school gate.

“Simisola, what is your problem?” I ask, not looking in her direction.

My cheeks feel cold from the tears dried up by the harmattan wind and my eyes sting: hot and teary. She doesn’t respond. I pick the envelope that the Principal gave me. I didn’t open it then because he already told me its content- a suspension letter- but now, I open it and pull the letter out. I give it to her to read aloud. She does. I barely hear anything she reads because she is muttering the words.

When she is done, I take her face in my palms and look her in the eye. She begins to cry profusely. I let her go and ask her why she did it. She says the junior girl was rude to her and her classmates were looking to know what she would do.

“So it was your pride that put someone in the hospital and I have to foot the bills now. Eh?”

“She was asthmatic.”

“You shouldn’t have beaten anybody!!!”

“I’m sorry mum.” And she bursts into another round of tears.

“You are a child of God, Simi. Even though your dad is far away, which is best for us, you know how your dad…I point to the car roof, behaves. Love is God’s nature. It should be all you do and know. You would have let the junior go and reported her to the house mistress. Your classmates and some other students saw you right?” She nods.

“They would have witnessed for you. Pride is a very stupid emotion to act on. The Bible says God resists the proud and because you know God does not hate anybody, you understand that he hates such character and attitude. Everything done in pride doesn’t give glory to God. Why are we created?”

“For His glory”

“Good! You didn’t give God glory. You acted in the flesh!”

“Mum, I’m sorry.”

“I know. So what do we do?”

With a voice shaken from crying, belching at intervals, she said, “We will go and visit her in the hospital. I will use all my savings. You say what is best for us to buy.”

I hug her tightly, and say a word of prayer in gratitude for God’s word and His work in our lives when we let Him.

Kendra Okpara
©2019

Suicide note

Ramatu,

You actually did form a part of my life, and you did so in ways I can’t explain. Only I wish now I had more time to appreciate. But even as I write, there is this looming doom in the horizon and it’s just few hours before the Imam comes with a vest of explosives to dress me up. Life has been most indifferent for me. I know they say it’s not a bed of roses, but I would have preferred a bed of thorns to what I am passing through. My peril describes that of a sinking man who actually thinks he is floating until his back touches the river bed. That’s the sad point I am now, a point of no return.

It all began when I met you. You carried an aura, a semblance of that possessed by Queen Amina. You were queen, an angel or so I thought. I fell in love with you. But ours was not the Western world where you could express your love publicly especially when it was considered ungodly. Religions in Nigeria demand purity and Islam would not be an exception. So even in the midst of our passions, I never got closer than close to you in those early days. You would invite me over to your house on Salah days but I shied away. I remember on one of such occasions you promised your father would be out and only your mum would be in. So I went along with you. We talked, joked, laughed and were only interrupted by your mum’s intermittent calls. That was my very first visit and it seemed pleasant. When you came to see me off, you held my hands for what seemed to me like forever. I felt I was in the presence of Allah. That night as I walked back to school, I felt butterflies dance in my stomach. Our friendship went on and on and we began seeing each other at late hours and odd places. I loved it but usually wondered what kind of father you had that was never at home to monitor your movements. Each time I enquired about him, you answered, “He has gone to the mosque”. He must be a devoted one I thought. Whenever you came to visit me, you would wear one of your big hijabs. When we wanted to kiss or do our thing, I would hide under the hijab. No one ever noticed, probably because romance under the hijab was the norm then. This went on and on until one day you said you would like me to meet your father. He was a politician and was well known throughout the state. We arranged for a Friday after mosque for me to meet him.

Alhaji Usman as he was called was not a man who spoke much. So that Friday when he met me in his house, he only asked my name and whether I’d been to the mosque at all. When I told him I had, he only smiled and went into his room. You were proud I’d met your father and even spoken with him. Your mother served freshly made Kunu and Masa but I didn’t join them. I was shy. That was my second visit and what would be the last.

One evening I returned to the room and met a note. I looked at Abdul and he jabbered “your girlfriend brought it.” I carefully opened it. You wrote, “My father wants to see you”. Fear seized me. Had he found out my sins with his daughter? I’d be finished. The next sentence read, “He said you should meet him at the mosque unfailingly this night, any time this night. Love you…” What could he possibly want from me? We had only met once. And why did he choose the mosque of all places? And he said any time at night, was he going to sleep there? I looked at my watch and it was already past seven. I decided to go straight away.

Alhaji Usman sat beside the Imam in a circle of eight men. One of them was dressed in army uniform. I could recognize the silhouette of one other person, Shehu. Shehu was one of the most notorious students in school, a strong advocate of Islam. What was he doing among noble men? I wondered. I drew a mat from the shelf and sat on it waiting for Alhaji Usman to be through. I could hear faintly their voices. It looked like they were agitating over something. The discussion went on for about forty minutes before they prayed and dispersed. I felt like asking Shehu to wait for me so we would walk back to school together but I had no idea how long Alhaji Usman intended keeping me. As the others walked out, I saw Alhaji discussing privately with the Imam and afterwards started walking towards my direction. I could perceive his Tulare fill the air, the scent of a noble lover of Allah. I imagined that it was bought from Mecca. As he approached, I quickly squatted well and bowed in respect. I received his outstretched arm and stood up. He did not look like he was mad at me for anything. His very first statement made me relax. “I knew you’d come”, he said. “Right from the very first day I met you at the house, I knew you were the special kind. But as you can see, you have come late and we possibly can do nothing today.” I saw the Imam approaching. He whispered something to Alhaji and then left. Alhaji Usman continued, “Please come a little earlier tomorrow.” He hurried after the Imam till they both disappeared into the inner room.

That night as I walked back to school, I wondered what Alhaji wanted from me. I thought about the man in military uniform, the agitation, the fierceness of the few faces I saw. What was wrong?

The next morning had a series of unusual happenings. The hostel tap had been damaged by nobody. Ali, the hostel chef, master in noodles and eggs did not open and most unusual of all, Abdul had left the room before me. I left my room to look for water in the next hostel. There I found Shehu addressing a group of students. I pretended not seeing him and quickly took the next turn towards the tap.

It was a light day and I returned to the hostels earlier. I and Abdul played the game of chess for a while and then I slept off. I woke up some minutes to seven and made straight for the mosque. They were already seated in the usual manner and the Imam was addressing them. He stopped when he saw me, motioned me to sit down and then continued. “Jihad is the holy struggle against good and evil. It is the fight against infidelity and the infidel. The opportunity the almighty Allah has given each of us to prove our fidelity. You are instructed to slit the throats of the infidel when you see him. How would you feel when you stand at the gate of heaven and Allah asks you, “what did you do with the one weapon I gave you, your body?” Will you display the wounds of martyrdom or will you bow your head in shame only to be thrown into the fires of hell?” As he spoke, I felt the tension, hearts beating, fists tightening, faces sulking. He sat down and then shortly after, the man in uniform who then was whispering to Alhaji stood to address us. He shouted, “Allah ku bar”. We responded “Allahu Akbar”. He did these three times and we responded and each time the tempo rose above the previous.

The meeting dispersed at about 8:03pm. Alhaji Usman walked up to me, his face so serious. He told me to follow him. I went with him into the inner room. There the Imam was sitting with three other mujahideen round what I observed was the blueprint of a building, a church building to be precise. He beckoned me to draw closer. I watched as all five men discussed. They studied the blueprint over and over again. Then it became clear to me. They were planning on blowing up the building. I became more scared when I heard the Imam say, “Sunday would be the best.” I looked at the name at the bottom of the drawing. It seemed familiar. “Was that not a church, wouldn’t there be people in there on Sunday?” I thought. By now, their intentions were no more hidden to me. This was war, and I was right in the middle of it, part of the plan so to say. Alhaji Usman told me we would be sleeping over at the mosque that night. I could not hesitate. After all it was already past ten.

The next morning at about 3:15am, I was awoken by the Imam. Alhaji had gone home and I was to make a journey with the Imam and the mujahideen to Suleja. The Imam drove the bus, I sat beside him. At the back were the mujahideen and one other face I could not recognize in the dark and more so because it was masked with a a cloth made from a talisman. At such, only those of us in the car were aware of a fifth traveller. The talisman would protect him from all unwanted eyes. Due to several other delays and visits paid to prominent politicians on our way, we arrived at Suleja around 4pm in the evening and that was when I realised that the unknown face I had travelled with all these while was Shehu. We were welcomed by five men who took us into a room lit by only two torch lights. There Shehu was separated from us into an inner room where only the Imam could enter. I was left with the mujahideen. They watched me closely and hardly said any word neither to me nor to each other. Later we were served kunun gyada and a cupful was taken into the room where Shehu was. After some time, it was returned untouched. I guessed he had refused to drink. The mujahid closest to me looked at me and said “He should be happy that Allah saw him worthy for this one” referring to Shehu.

The next morning, the 10th of July 2011, we left the house where we had passed the night. The Imam drove us again through a narrow path and packed some distance away from a building. He then whispered something to Shehu who was in front with him. Shehu was unusually big that morning. He alighted and walked down to us and said in Hausa, “Brothers, the time has come. May Allah be praised.” He looked straight at me and said “Carry on.” He then made for the building while the Imam drove away. Some time elapsed then we heard a blast, then screams, then noise, then silence. I bowed my head in utter shame, a murderer. The Imam said, “We head back home” then smiled and never said anything throughout the rest of our journey. Satisfied that the mission was accomplished, he sped off. The next morning I woke up still in the mosque and saw the Imam listening to the news from his radio. I heard them talk about the blast from a church at Suleja after which the presenter announced that the University had closed down its campus till further notice citing security concerns. The Imam had made it clear to me that having come thus far with them; I would not be allowed to turn my back anymore. Any attempts to do so would be interpreted as treason and infidelity. I needed not be told what would become of an infidel. I could not run away to my elder sister Aisha. She and her husband saw no use in me. And besides, they would not in any way help me. So later in the day, I went with the Imam to pick the few things I thought I might need.

Days rolled by and we went from place to place doing the one very thing. On 25th August that same year, we arrived at Abuja. There I met with several other disciples like myself. We were not allowed to interact with one another. Three people were selected for this one and they were transported to the venue in a similar bus with the one we came with. There the car for the operation would be waiting for them.

With each passing day, my interest for school diminished and I got more at home with my present life accepting my predicament as the will of Allah. I had not seen you for months now but would not dare ask your father. Even the few times he spoke to me, he only congratulated me for accepting the will of god. “Many youths” he would say, “will never be as courageous as you my son.” But I never stopped thinking about you. I never cared about the fact that it was him, your father who got me into all this. The more we travelled, the more I lost contact with you. It was clear to me now that you would have given all sorts of explanations to why I left and left you in the dark. But I loved you all these while. Time would fail me to express much love as I would have loved to for I must let you know the truth.

We visited Damaturu after our attack at Abuja. It was there that I came face to face with the one who would enchant me and declare me trusted. The initiation process was very brief but full of incantations. He told me I was hence forth worthy to meet Allah at any time I chose to, provided I chose the right cause. I had become a mujahid. At the completion of the Damaturu attack, I was told I would be taken away for training. I will spare you the details of my training because they are not good for a lady’s ears, especially one who has love for the trainee. While we were away, news reached us from Nigeria that eleven of our brothers had been killed by the Nigerian army. There was need for immediate deployment. So I returned home on the 30th of January, 2012 along with other brothers of mine.

Back in Maiduguri, I was reunited with my old family; the Imam and the earlier three mujahideen. We were all glad to see each other. It was there I got to learn of the next point of target. Musa, the eldest of the three mujahideen told me that his time had come. That finally, he would go to claim his seven virgins at the house of Allah. He was the chosen one. The Imam handed over to me a blueprint tagged “Army Headquarters Kd.” I was literally lost for words. The thought of raiding an army headquarter was just something I did not want to think about. Not that I was afraid but I felt, we were biting more than we could chew. Nevertheless, I reserved my feelings to myself. Letting out such discouraging feelings to the rest of the family would be counted infidelity. And for a young mujahid who had risen to high ranks in no time, I would dare not try that. We set off for Kaduna on February 6, 2012. It turned out to be a well accomplished mission. Two brothers well known to me now gone; first it was Shehu at Suleja now Musa in Kaduna. My time, I knew was coming.

Something tragic happened on the 31st of May. I and the Imam had gone to buy food when we received news that there was an on-going attack around home. For us home was far away from where the ordinary people thought it was and when “they” raided a small gathering of our brothers, they went to report to the media that they had looted our hide outs. Five of our brothers alongside an infidel who was kept in our custody were killed. It was another loss. We were visited at night by Alhaji Usman who assured us that only the will of Allah could be done, and only what he permits. The whole camp was filled with pressure. If “they” could get as close to the gathering of the five brothers then it meant they were closing in on us. The next morning, the three of us along with other prominent mujahideen sat down to plan what the Imam called “a series of jihads”. Two of our brothers were sent to Bauchi to carry out what we all agreed to be called “a friendly attack.” Friendly in the sense that not much damage would be caused but only to create awareness that we were still around. People argued and argued that whatever was worth doing was worth doing well. So if there was going to be any strike at all, there should be a proper one. Nevertheless, Bauchi’s mission was successful.

The next places of duty were Kaduna and Plateau. Some of our troops headed to Plateau while myself and the Imam headed for Kaduna along other brothers. We stayed there and planned fervently, a triad hit.

On the night of 16th June, I was summoned by the Imam. He looked at me very sadly and rubbed my head. I felt his rigid coarse palms on my newly shaved skull. Then he stroked my beards and asked in the calmest voice possible “has Allah not been good to you son?” I muttered a solemn but hazy “he has”, fully aware of what I felt was coming yet scared of the sudden reality. Then he looked down and said “go, prepare yourself. Your hour is come.” I left him not knowing how I felt.

Back in my room, I did not say the usual prayer that was the custom before going on divine duty. I picked my pen and pad and began. I had to write you because it was necessary. Each one of those moments I spent with the group, I spent for you with the hope that at the end of it all, I might have no difficulty asking for your hand in marriage having proven strong to your father but….here is where I end. All I have left are the scattered shots of the times we shared together, in memory. I hope I don’t misplace them on my way to heaven. It should suffice me to say that throughout my stay with the Imam, I failed to accept the correlation between the holy jihad and the struggle against western education. Please let the world know I did not die fighting against Western education. I died trying to please your father, for you. Mine is a different story altogether. Please kindly extend my last remarks to Abdul my roommate and tell him not to travel home to Mubi, at least not in the first week of October. I love you Ramat.

Sadiq.

Steven Kator Iorfa
©2019