Friday, January 28, 2011


Like Tunisia, like Egypt, … and maybe, like Nigeria?
Since the world woke up to the news of the anti-government revolts in these African countries, a likely scenario in Africa’s most populous country has been a major discourse across internet forums and social media platforms among many Nigerians. The scenes have being played put as mind images, should Nigerian politicians dare mess with the April general elections and votes don’t count. The probable scenario? Like their African brothers, Nigerians may take to the streets and vote them out of office with their voices and feet.
Maybe. After all, the recent events have shown us that the long days, when citizens tolerated failed leaders and directionless leadership, may be over. The revolution has begun. The popular people’s revolt in Tunisia has inspired large protests in Yemen and Egypt, and it may spread to some other countries across Africa and the globe. Okay, Nigerians, brace yourselves. But first, a note of warning.

If it were to happen in Nigeria, it may not be like what the world has witnessed in these more-European-than-African countries, with different sets of beliefs and orientation. Many Nigerians, who have endured longer years of abysmal leadership and bottled up grievances, may not effectively handle a sudden change from absolute political power to people’s power. Just imagine what a frustrated, angry, bitter, violated citizen would do the very moment the tables turn in his favour; a massive people’s revolt may become unevenly heated and degenerate into a violent, bloody protest. Frustrated citizens may be relegated by known and unknown criminals, political thugs, and power-crazy politicians who would want to take advantage of it - after they may have spirited their loved ones out of the country to safer climes - probably Europe or US.

Nigerians must be wise. Knowing some politicians harbour ulterior motives, most would gladly seize any opportunity to consolidate power, by any means necessary. We have seen the way they have fought in the National Assembly over a morsel of political bread, how they have crushed opponents in their blood thirst for power, how they have turned political differences into modern day gun fights and communal wars. That Nigerians should not tolerate any more of failed leadership is not the issue, but it must be done right, without causing further harm to our fragile nationhood.

While the world seems to be immersed with most of the news filtering from these countries with their citizens effectively forcing their leaders out of office, Nigerians should remember that although they may share similar grievances, it would require different tactics.
This may be not be the case. But, while the Tunisia peoples’ revolt look more like a spontaneous, but organized expression of nationwide repulse at failed leadership, the Egypt protest seemed more like it was an orchestrated by a small, aggrieved group who felt they could take advantage of the Tunisian example to score a political score; which has snowballed into an expected nationwide protest. And the way the Hosni Mubarak-led government has clamped down on information across the internet goes a long way to mirror political desperation. Activists had called for a "day of revolt" in a web message. But then, protests are uncommon in Egypt, which President Mubarak has ruled since 1981, tolerating little dissent.

Also, while Tunisia and Egypt are largely Muslim countries with one lingua franca- Arabic, Nigeria is not. Finely divided between Muslims and Christians across 350 ethnic groups; one could imagine what a 100 million-man protest across Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Asaba would look like. Ethnic sentiments and religious differences would be bandied about by selfish leaders who are hell bent on staying in power by any means necessary, not minding the lives lost in the process. A good example is the incestuous carnage still happening in Jos, where thousands of lives have been lost while the greedy politicians are feeding fat on human blood in the name of governance. Then, some powerful human forces may want to manipulate the military to do their bidding and turn them on the citizenry instead of protect them. Remember the Odi massacre. What about the rage of militancy that was allowed to fester in the Niger Delta creeks, which eventually transformed into brazen criminality of kidnapping across Nigeria? What about the other religious riots that have happened in the past in Kaduna, Kano, and pockets of religious/ethnic violence in other parts of Nigeria? How do you convince the Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, or Niger Delta man that an anti-government protest wasn’t simply a protest against their kinsmen in political offices?

Education, mass literacy, and economic indices would also be major factors. How would you convince a hungry and an angry man to stage a ‘peaceful’ protest when he understands that, were it not for those who have abused power and stolen his national birth rights, he should have been enjoying the many benefits accruing from his country’s rich natural resources? What about the report that most Nigerians survive with less than one dollar a day?  Also, despite the fact that the country’s internet population is on the rise, there are still millions that cannot afford access to television, not to mention the internet. Despite the vibrancy of the Nigerian media, the Freedom of Information bill is still an issue of debate, while a small section is still largely being controlled by government agents who would gladly bend the truth to suit their ulterior motives. Online media and social media forums may eventually be the ‘saviour’ for unbiased information dissemination. Then, how many Nigerians truly understand their fundamental human rights and the basis for accountability in leadership, when most of the electorates are still being deceived by interim promises, political gimmicks and personality clashes masquerading as genuine political differences? “The difference between them and us is a huge gap we are struggling to fill up. There is a strong awareness of your rights and this is entrenched in them mentally from birth...It is now we are learning BODMAS, just a week to WAEC exams,” noted a friend while comparing Nigeria and Tunisia. It could be that Nigeria may have much to lose in the wake of any major anti-government revolt, unlike the Tunisians. After many decades of internal confusion, created by poor leadership structures, the country may not be able to afford another one that could precipitate large scale violence. There are better way to push our demands or ask non-performing leaders to step down. After all, we live in the digital age; where young and old, educated, and technologically savvy Nigerians are using the internet to drive political and socio-economic change.

Change, or if you like, some form of revolution, is what Nigeria needs. But it must be a revolution of national ideals and values. It must be systematic change, based on truth, dignity of human life, labour, and unity of purpose. It must be a driven based on the enlightenment of the citizenry – through the internet, social media and traditional media (radio, television and print), mass education, intellectual and public discourse on several platforms and many other way through which we can channel our thoughts and grievances to influence the right kind of leadership this country desperately needs. If not, some nefarious citizens would see any form of protest as an opportunity to cause further carnage on an already heated polity. Only an organized, intellectual, united and peaceful revolution would do for Nigeria. Every revolution, peaceful or violent, has a price tag; whether it be Czechoslovakia’s Velvet revolution, Georgia’s Rose revolution, or now Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution, But, the singular most important factor is that people determine how they chose to become agents of revolution. Especially in this defining moment of our history as a democratic nation, we cannot afford any other thing rather than choosing the right path to change. It’s left for us, the people, to now determine how that change will become. The voices of one people might just be the voice of God, after all.

Let’s choose the right path, by joining hands together to make this country great again.
God bless Nigeria. 

© Arukaino Umukoro

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Edna's shenanigans apart, I guess I had not yet learned the lessons of the heart well enough. The last time I felt a loss as excruciating as this, it felt the same way. Although I was much younger then, I was man enough to understand that giddy feelings of affection. She meant the whole world to me, just like Edna did. Her voice was magical. And it was love at first sight the first time I saw her. I was charmed, just the way I was with Edna on the first day. I craved so much to see her every day that any weekend we spent apart felt like ages to me. But those weekends were maybe twice or thrice in a month. She came to visit me the other weekends. I had always been the sprightly one. So my parents, who I was still living with then, noticed it each time I went morose on those weekends when she had to go see her parents. Thankfully, they understood my feelings.

“It’s Linda, huh,” Mum would ask with a sympathetic smile. I would put on the tough masculine look, smile, and then walk away. Father, well, at times, father tried to talk some ‘sense’ into me.

“Grow up, son,” What would you do if her job eventually takes her far away from you?” he once asked. With every will power I could summon then, I had silently refused it. The pain disappeared in a flash when I set eyes on her lovely face again. She always welcomed me with a passionate, bear hug. I couldn’t wait to spend forever with her.

“My favourite man, my darling,” she would say, with that smile that took my breath away, and give me another hug. I loved it whenever she called me that. I felt most special. Sometimes, I got lost just staring into her gorgeous eyes and watching her speak, that she sometimes had to look at me directly, repeat a question or a statement to catch my attention. The day she kissed me, I felt like a hot-air balloon; I floated all day in the clouds.

I would never forget the day father’s words came to pass. It was a Friday and she asked me to wait for her after work so that she could arrange her files and tidy up her table. She had wanted to come home with me. It was that week I was going to move away from my parents’ house to my own place; although I was going to be sharing the space with some friends. That day, we held hands as we walked home together. I held her more tightly for an unexpected event had kept her away from me for two days.

On getting home that day, I rushed to the room to bring the card I made for her. Her eyes lit up when she saw it “Aww, darling, thank you,” she said and hugged me tightly. “I would always treasure this,” she said.

“I’m sure you must be proud to have such a son. I’m so proud of him,” she gushed to my parents, while holding my hands. Oh, she had such child-like qualities that also endeared her more to me and my parents. Some few minutes afterwards, she brought my world crashing down when she informed me that she had been transferred to another state. Not even her magical voice and soothing hugs could take the piercing pain away. “Don’t worry, my darling. We’ll stay in touch,” she had told me, with that angelic look in her eyes. Afterwards, I hoped and prayed. But that week was the last I heard of her. Hurt and betrayed, it felt like my world had ended. Linda was my first love. Our affair lasted for nine months.

For the rest of that week, maybe longer, I was inconsolable. My parents had to go the extra mile just to help me forget her. Linda, my English teacher, who was posted to do her National Youth Service in my school, was my first love. I was barely nine-years old. The pain lingered until I went to boarding school, where I came of age.

© Arukaino Umukoro

Enter for The 2011 Book Drum Tournament

First Prize: £1,000, 
Second Prize: £500, 
Third Prize: £250,
5 Runner-Up Prizes: £100

Hmmn, Well, that's extra motivation to enter for the 2011 Book Drum Tournament.

Bookdrum is a community in which book lovers from Australia to Zambia can delve deep into a favourite book and, by building an illustrated profile, share their enthusiasm for it with the rest of the world.
The 2010 Book Drum Tournament saw seven Contributors share £2,000 of prizes, and led to eight talented writers being commissioned to write and edit new profiles on the strength of their entries.  Hundreds of people took part, creating many of the excellent Profiles now freely available for everyone to enjoy.
To enter the 2011 Tournament, choose a published book and create a Profile of it, consisting of a Summary, a Review, a Glossary, an illustrated Setting page, a biography of the Author, and a comprehensive set of illustrated Bookmarks. 

About the Tournament
A list of Recommended Books is provided, but you can choose a different book if you prefer.  It should be published by a mainstream publisher, and must be widely available.  Please check your choice with us in case there’s some reason why it might not be suitable:
Only one person may profile any given book.  Where a profile already exists, or is under construction, the book may not be chosen. Check your choice here: Profiles under construction or already published.  Please note that to ensure popular titles are not reserved and left untouched, we may reclaim titles if no significant progress has been made within three weeks.
The Tournament is open to anyone over 18 other than the winners of the 2010 Tournament first and second prizes.  The five runners-up in the 2010 Tournament are free to enter.
The prizes will be awarded by three independent judges.  Results will be announced on May 31, 2011.

Deadline for Entries: April 30, 2011
So, get your books on and join the fun. 

For more information, click here

Friday, January 14, 2011


By approximately 6.03am on Friday, January 14 2011, at the Eagles Square, Abuja, it was clear that President Goodluck Jonathan had won the PDP primaries by a landslide victory against former vice-president Atiku Abubakar. With a total of 2,736 votes against Atiku’s 805 and Sarah Jubril’s single vote, Jonathan emerged the party’s presidential flag bearer and so placed in pole position to become Nigeria’s elected president come April 2011. The opposition parties, Nuhu Ribadu, Muhammadu Buhari, Pat Utomi et al, would need to do more to halt this effective PDP machinery.

The handwriting had long been on the wall. Pitting a man who had long lost relevance in the nation’s politics against one who was beginning to gain a significant chunk of it was a mismatch. Jonathan vs Atiku was a no contest. Then, Mrs Jubril should be advised not to contest for the primaries. Party faithfuls and observers adjudged it a free and fair process. Let’s hope the same would be said about the April elections. Both Jonathan and Atiku cams reportedly gave out huge sums in the guise of ‘welfare’ and transport’ for delegates. We shouldn’t expect less; this is Nigerian politics, where money and personality counts more than issues and collective national interest. But at least, maybe, just maybe, the change process has begun. Like a friend commented, Jonathan is the closest to what Nigeria needs.

The Obasanjo Factor
Love him or hate him, Uncle Sege is still a kingmaker and vital force in Nigeria politics. Write off the former president and current chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees at your own peril. He once again proved it with Jonathan’s victory. I could almost visualize him walking past Atiku after the primaries, with a smirk on his face, “I dey laugh oh.”

It's also interesting to note that the Nigeria Police deployed 17,000 men to handle security at the venue for less than 5,000 PDP delegates. Compare that with the ratio of one policeman to almost 500 Nigerians. Even though premium should be placed on the presidency, the security of potential presidential aspirants of the ruling party and its members are equally as important as the lives of any Nigerian citizen. Jonathan needs to do more to tackle the problems of security of lives and property in the country, as well as the challenges faced by the grossly understaffed and underpaid Nigerian police force.

Jonathan’s finally found his groove.
Did you see his ‘swagger’ while he was reading his speech? For once, the president showed some passion in passing across his message, a stark contrast to his mostly unimpressive demeanour at other times. I’m sure his advisers must have reminded him for the umpteenth time that he needed to work on his style and show the people that this meant much to him. We need more of that kind of passion, that ‘swagger’, Mr. President. Nigeria needs more than Goodluck. Nigeria needs a prepared president who can effectively handle the responsibility of leading 150 million people, one that can stamp his authority, who doesn’t really care whose axe is gored, as long as the wishes of the people are respected and protected. Nigeria needs a strong president, one who is passionate about changing the country for the better. “I will give this country a strong, strong leadership to be a greater nation,” said Jonathan in his acceptance speech. Maybe, he is finally rising to the challenge.

Like Obama.

(Oh, by the way, President Jonathan seemed so involved in the PDP primaries that he even ‘forgot’ to update his Facebook status for two days).

President Jonathan also talked about his plans to build nine new universities. Building new universities to cater for the teeming population is good, but fixing the ones already built is a better way to start the building process. Most of the country’s universities and institutions are decaying and in need of urgent redemption. The president must now show more resolve and be more proactive to salvaging the country’s educational sector, create. There’s need to create, modify and implement better policies to improve the system. A quality educational system is paramount if quality development must be attained and sustained.  

Now, will the real President, beyond the Facebook, please stand up and be counted? Then, let every single vote count. Cos this revolution’s being televised, pinged, tweeted, Facebooked, …

God bless Nigeria.

Monday, January 10, 2011


The signs had long been there. I just chose to ignore them. Maybe, that was my undoing with Edna. But, didn't they say love was worth waiting .. and fighting for? For this queen, I was ready to wage war. But, this story of her parents pressuring her to settle down with one has-been-to, who hails from her tribe, just didn’t cut any ice.

"Do you love him," I asked, switching back to the present.

"Well….," she hesitated.

"....Are you in love with him," I asked again.

"Well.... maybe not in that sense,"

"Edna, do you...." The words began to form into ice crystals of thundering rage, until it met a buffer zone, when it reached my vocal chords. I had never screamed at Edna before. Not in this way.

"Edna... do you love him," I asked, summoning every bit of restraint in me.

"I don't know. I like him though in a way, as a person… but of course not the way I…" she smiled sheepishly as she fidgeted with her hands. Even she was ashamed of her seeming naivety. "…Please I beg you in the name of God to understand. My endless friend, your place in my heart is sure," she cried, tormented by her own guilt.

"DON’T YOU give me that CRAP!!" This time, I couldn't help it. And she was visibly shaken as I clenched my fists. Confused and seemingly helpless, Edna, then I, turned to meet eyes beginning to stare. I didn't mind. This had passed the stage of simple reasoning. The world had long dissolved into insignificance matter ten minutes ago, the first moment she mentioned that other guy.

“Please listen to me,” she begged, reaching out to touch my hands. Those soft, well-manicured hands I had held for countless hours, literally deriving joy from holding it. Those hands that had held my face, many times, tracing imaginary lines of love across it. Those hands that had felt like Heaven’s touch. Those hands I had kissed, which had the finger I would have put the ring on. Those hands that had caressed mine for years and literally driven my fears away. Those hands that were now about to drive me away. 

Just when the tips of her fingers was about to touch the top of my hand, I snatched it away from the table, from her reach, like a child afraid of being touched by coals of fire.

“Can we go somewhere else to talk, please?” she pleaded.

“NO. Let’s finish it here,” I said bluntly. I had risked much for Edna already. Losing my social manners count for nothing now. Yet, I still managed to walk outside with her..

"Edna, tell me, does he love you as much as I do, unselfishly, passionately, eternally?" I asked, almost at the verge of tears.

“What do you want me to say?”  she replied, after what seemed like eternity. Suddenly, it seemed she had developed steel in her voice.

“Is your life been threatened if you don’t go with this other guy? Is it?” I pressed.

“No! No… no. It’s not that. It’s just that…,” she stopped. Maybe there was something I didn’t know. 
"Edna, I would give an arm for you. I would take bullets for you. I would die for you. You're my earth, wind and fire. What would I do without you? Please, just tell me, whatever it is, I promise we would find a way through it together,” I said with resurgence. She just stared at me, with a haunted look. If there was a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, I would chose the sea, as long as Edna was in the waters with me. That was how deep it went.

"Oh, I had something I ... wanted to tell you also. I…I had been meaning to for months…," I stammered.
"What is it,” she interrupted. In a flash, my Edna returned, with soft, lovely eyeballs, beginning to dance like diamonds in the dark. 
For five and a half years, I had waited. For this moment. Some days ago, I had pictured and painstakingly planned the scenario. I would whisk her away to the Island from here. On our way, we would relive key moments of our lives together, from the first day we met till today - the laughter, the fights, the tears of joy and pain. At the private beach, on my cue, her favourite song would play softly from the speakers inside our chalet, and blend with the flutter of the gentle breeze under the palm trees; while I made her heart dance with anticipation. Three hours ago, I had rehearsed and perfected my lines. I just never expected in my wildest dreams that it would turn out this way. At a time when I needed it most, my strength deserted me. I was left hanging, clutching at straws; Edna’s straws. All my cards seemed exhausted. But I still had one joker left with me.

I had wanted to ask her to marry me.

Just then, it was almost like she fell into a brief trance.
“Please,” she gasped. It came out as a whisper. But it was a cry from the heart. Her shoulder sagged. “Please, please, don’t do this to me,” she said. “You’re all I want in my man.  But sometimes what we really love isn’t what life dish out sometimes,” she said. Her words felt like piercing dagger into the heart. Until now, I had never doubted her many promises of eternal love and dedication.

“Who said? Then, refuse it… run away with me! We could elope, relocate to Ghana, South Africa, London, New York, Afghanistan, wherever you want…” I begged.

She forced a smile. It was a poor attempt at humour in this scenario.

“Please, please, let me go… Let-me-go,” She whispered.

And the tables turned. Cupid’s legendary arrow had suddenly become a poisoned chalice. My heart was broken, shattered in tiny fragments.

“Well… I guess the moment has passed,” I replied coolly, dying a thousand deaths in the process. 

Until Hauwa, then Jemila, brought me back to life.

Friday, January 7, 2011


The exploits of the 1994 set of Super Eagles is still very fresh in the memory of most soccer-loving Nigerians. Still regarded by many as, arguably, the greatest Eagles team so far, their names spring to memory like the letters of the alphabets... Augustine Eguavoen, Daniel Amokachie, Ben Iroha, Emmanuel Amuneke, Finidi George, Peter Rufai, Jay Jay Okocha, Rashidi Yekini , Samson Siasia, Stephen Keshi, Sunday Oliseh, Uche Okechukwu, Uche Okafor....

Now that's the sad part. News reports filtering from Dallas United States, say that Okafor, a member of the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winning team that also reached the second round of the USA 1994 World Cup, is dead.  The 43 year-old former Nigeria international was found, hanged to death, at his Dallas, Texas home in the United States of America early Thursday. "Seriously, I still find it hard to believe when I got the call from the US yesterday (Thursday) evening. This is a really sad way to begin the year," said Ben Iroha, an ex-Eagles team mate of Okafor between 1990 and 1994, while adding that he was yet to know what happened. "But I feel so sad to hear this because he was a very marvellous friend and brother," said the former assitant coach of Heartland FC. 

Okafor’s professional career began at defunct ACB of Lagos before he moved to KRC Mechelen. The late Nigerian player has also played for Hannover 96 before ending his career at Sporting Kansas City, formerly known as Kansas City Wizards. He also featured in one of the four matches of Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the 1994 Fifa World Cup in the USA. He won a total of 34 caps for the national team.

However, there are still no details concerning the death of Okafor, who before his untimely death was an African football analyst for ESPN. The police in the United States are said to have cordoned off his home, as a coroner is carrying out an inquest into circumstance surrounding his death. 

A Super Eagle has flown away to the great beyond. Uche Okafor, may your soul rest in peace. Nigeria will remember you for your contribution to national glory on the football pitch.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Edna and I met at the university. I was in my third year and just had one of the most hectic eight hours of my university days, rushing from one lecture hall to the other.

“Hey brotherman, let’s roll to Mama Osato for some swallows,” Toyin called out to me after we had ended the fourth lecture of the day. The next one was due in two hours. I hadn’t had breakfast or read the last lecture note for the next class. Starch and banga soup was tempting enough. Although she cooked other meals,Mama Osato’s joint flourished on her unique Niger Delta recipe. But today, I couldn’t take the sumptuous risk for Dr. Nwabueze’s class. Renowned on campus for his no-nonsense attitude - this bald, bespectacled and sprightly vegetarian, with horn rimmed glasses tipping close to the top of his nose - knew how to make the most unprepared student a scapegoat and so caused that student a miserable three days before his next lecture.

“Sorry, man, I go block you later,” I replied, hurrying away, as the rest of our mates came down to join the building community under the tree outside the lecture hall. It wasn’t a case of economics, only that my pot of well-prepared egusi soup was left untouched since I had left my off-campus hostel in a rush. Eating out would have been suicidal because I wouldn’t have got home until late evening. By then, the soup may have turned sour. Since I had already wasted three richly prepared ones like that in two weeks, I really needed to learn the basic laws of prudence in feeding matters. My next installments in allowance was due in three days. Na wah for student life sometimes sha, I exhaled with a wry smile.

On getting to the hostel fifteen minutes later, I met a stranger fiddling with a key to the vacant room opposite mine. Probably a jambito, as she had two hefty luggage and a knapsack slugged over her shoulders. But I needed to be sure. On getting closer, she turned to look at me.

“Hi,” she said. She was of average height, with lovely natural hair, a blossoming figure covered in blue denim, softly red top with flowery decoration and flat-soled slippers, with shiny pupils dancing inside sockets, and a smile that would make Julia Roberts envious. The world, as it existed then, stopped for a second or two.

“Uh, hi,” I replied, still staring, as she finally unlocked the door.

She said something and laughed. It wasn’t like I was dazzled by the vision in front of me, after all my family and circle of friends are full of beautiful women. But, in my current state, this was slightly becoming unbearable – a vision of loveliness with a smile that took one’s breath away, a musical voice and laughter that resonated in the soul… and two heavy bags. Any famished being would stare sheepishly or get lost in conversation, like I was then.

“What?” I asked, when I finally managed to drag the bags inside the room.

“I said I know what you’re thinking,” she replied. Her accent was exotic. I couldn’t figure out her state of origin immediately, nor the reason for her enquiry. God, please, don’t let it be that.

“And what do you think I was thinking,” I asked, my strength returning after I had dropped the second luggage.

“You’re wondering what this jambito was doing here at this time of the semester,”


“I’m on the last supplementary list, but couldn’t travel on time. So I have to endure late registration,” she answered. She was going to major in Mass Communications and just paid for the accommodation here.

“Oh, ok, welcome to the club,” I said relieved. The next day, she promised to give me her number to call her as she said she needed to travel home immediately after her registration to get some other stuff for the long semester. She never did. Or rather, we never saw again until exactly three weeks later, in the library.

It was a Thursday. I had to study for an assignment at the library. Just when I sat down on the table at the far end, I saw a familiar face opposite me.

“Hi, again!” she said smiling, in that musical voice, looking lovelier than the last time and fully baptized into the student community.

“Hi… it’s so nice to see you again,” I replied, hoping that this time, I was not as transparent as a store window; because my heart was dancing like water droplets on a hot frying pan. After a slight banter, she continued her study. For the next hour, I couldn’t concentrate on mine. The next time she looked up. She caught me staring. One and a half hours later, we left the library together.

So, the next three weeks unraveled the some of the most beautiful qualities I had seen a woman. We became friends, then best of friends. The pivotal moment came when I took her out to celebrate the end of our second semester exams. She was in her second year while I was in my final.

“If it were in my power, I would turn water to wine for you,” I told her afterwards. She laughed in that relishing way of hers.

“Oh, I wish. But fortunately or unfortunately, I am not Mary and you’re not Jesus,” she replied. She, like me, had an appreciable sense of humour. And in most ways, we travelled on similar wave lengths.

“Really. You’re my best friend and I would do anything for you,” I said, seriously.

“I know. You’ve proved it many times,” she agreed.

 “Many times is not enough. I want to prove it always. You’re amazing. You’re like a kind of once-in-a-lifetime woman. I want to be with you all the time. Since our first days together, you’ve been my earth, wind and fire, my music, my one true desire. I’ve been in love before but never this way…,”

“Ehen?” she asked playfully. We laughed and I wondered if I should let this moment pass like I had allowed many others to in the past. Like nail to a magnet, she drew me into the circle of decision with her next statement.

“Speak English, sir,” she added, impassively. Sometimes, Edna’s frankness could be disarming. But I was ready. She had stopped sipping her juice to drink in my affirmation. It was the first time I was coming clean with my feelings towards her.
“Maybe I can’t live without you, I don’t know yet. But I do know that I’m in love with you, Edna, and would like you to be my girlfriend, then my queen,” I said, holding her hands across the table. She looked at me intently, searching for truth, with soft eyes that I could die for. The heavens clapped as lightning flashed outside. It was about to rain.

When her gaze met mine, I knew the answer. Romeo had met Juliet.

Our eyes locked; with souls kissing.


Her attention seemed far away.

“Okay baby, what was it that couldn’t wait for another 24 hours?” I asked Edna, diverting my train of thoughts back to the present