A PEEP INTO THE PAST: WHY WE MUST KEEP BUHARI ON HIS TOES

Fellow Nigerians, it is true that the mantle of leadership of the giant of Africa has once again fallen on a new shoulder, in due accordance to the will of the people. We must, however, reckon that something is peculiar about this new custodian of the Nigerian dignity. Muhammadu Buhari, whose inauguration as the president of Nigeria was heralded by pageantry and ecstasy, is not a newcomer. George Orwell, the author of that widely-acclaimed book titled ‘Animal Farm’, once said: “The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their understanding of their own history.” Luckily, Nigeria still has a handful of citizens who are conscious of the past, and these good students of history would do well to remind us that Buhari once sat over the affairs of this nation for twenty months, between the periods of December 1983 and August 1985.

If there is anything we are sure could influence the present, it is nothing other than the past. After all, it is our own celebrated nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who, in an outburst of wisdom, wrote that records were not simply kept to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. President Muhammadu Buhari has a history with the people of Nigeria. Odu ni, ki n se aimo foloko (He is like odu, the popular vegetable which the farmer cannot claim to be unaware of). Hence, whatever conception or expectation we have of him, advertently or not, would be anchored on this past, which every man is said to carry about like a shadow.

Of course, Buhari’s maligners would be quick to point to the manifold excesses of his administration during the military regime. Some human right violations perpetrated under his nose come to mind with striking sensation, such as how state security and chief of staff assumed power to detain citizens who proved to be threats to the government for as long as three months without charges. Strikes and popular demonstration, the only means by which hardworking civilians could express their grievances, were banned. There was also the alarming enactment of retroactive laws and the notorious hammering down of freedom of expression. Critics of the regime were thrown into jail, as was the case of Fela Kuti, who was arrested for the spurious charge of illegally exporting foreign currency. The fearless and renowned musician was subsequently sentenced to 5 years in prison. Fela would only be released after 18 months, after Buhari government had been toppled in a coup d’etat.

While all the above acts are despicable, it would be unfair- if not outrightly wrong- to consider them the yardstick by which this new Buhari administration should be measured. Matter-of-factly, the condition under which Buhari now presides over Nigeria is different. This is the dispensation of democracy, where we have justice, protocols and laws that check the overbearing propensities of those in power. Besides, it is exactly 30 years since Buhari was compelled to let go the reins of power in 1985- just enough time for the most incredible changes in the character of a man to occur. Therefore, Buhari returns as a more experienced, open-minded, objective and calm elder statesman. Little wonder why, prior to the March 28 general election, Buhari promised to follow the rule of law and to give respect to the fundamental human rights of Nigerians. An applaudable utterance from an erstwhile dictator, I would say.

One of the reasons why Nigerians trooped out en masse, defying the scorching sun and torrential downpours, to register, get accredited and cast their votes for ‘Sai Buhari’ in the recently concluded presidential election was simply the confidence reposed in him as a man of integrity and discipline, two virtues that Nigerians had figured were now requisite for whoever was ready to salvage the nation from the quagmire. Thus, the choice of Buhari was not a decision made by Nigerians out of the blue. Nigerians must have recollected that, in only 20 months as Head of State, Buhari jailed not less than 500 politicians, officials and businessmen for corruption. His lack of tolerance for corruption portends a good omen and great relief for Nigerians, considering that we just narrowly survived a government of impunity, reputed to be the most corrupt in the history of Nigerian democracy, and only dragging titles with Abacha’s for the most corrupt since independence.

As must have been observed, the most enduring legacy of Buhari’s military regime remains the War Against Indiscipline policy. This policy tried to address the perceived lack of morality, discipline and civic responsibility of Nigerian society and accomplished a great feat in that respect, even though the method of its implementation was not what one would refer to as palatable. Nevertheless, if the past is anything to go by, Buhari should be making more of this kind of society-changing policy, only that he must now be constrained to make them fit into the tenets of democracy and civic rights of the modern day.

In the early 1980s, Buhari rebuilt the nation’s socio-political and economic systems by removing and cutting back expenditures, obliterating corruption from the nation’s social ethics, and shifting from the mainly public sector employment to self-employment. If there was ever a time in the history of Nigeria when the replication of such a commendable revitalization of the nation’s economy became direly necessary, it is none other than now. I regret to admit that I was horrified when I read in the dailies that a dollar was now exchanging for two hundred and thirty naira last week. It is such a shame.

In recent years, Nigeria has become more polarised on ethnic and religious lines. Buhari would do well to avoid any act that could further deepen this growing gulf among the citizens. I was particularly impressed with his inauguration speech, wherein he claimed to belong to everybody and, as well, belong to nobody. Nigerians hope he would live up to this claim. Nigerians also hope he would estrange himself from the cabal of political vultures who are presently hovering around him. Most importantly, we hope he would set the ball rolling soon enough and lead Nigeria to the promised land of socio-economic prosperity that we so desire.

Really, Buhari needs to set the ball rolling soon enough. Nigerians do not have so much patience. Whatever is holding him back from setting up his cabinet, he should hasten it up and face his challenges head-on. That he has been silent over most of the problems presently bedevilling his government does not make them less real or less felt. He cannot wish them away. The news of the over 150 Muslims who were slaughtered by the barbaric insurgents in North-Eastern Borno while observing Maghrib prayer in mosque on Friday still makes my heart cringe in sorrow. The pot of mess that the National Assembly has almost become after its elections does not make me want to dance.

With tenacity and strongwill, Buhari chose this path himself. Now that Providence has crowned his efforts with success, let him rise up to the occasion. Let him prove to us that he is well cut out for this. Let him reassure Nigerians that they have not made a wrong choice, that he would not follow the footsteps of other leaders who have failed Nigeria. We want to know that the ‘Sai Buhari’ Nigerians voted for has not become ‘Baba Go Slow’. This is why we cannot sit back and watch him. This is why we must keep Buhari on his toes.

~~~ Omoya Yinka Simult

STAND OUT!

“These days, I see some things and just ‘waka pas’. We cannot all have common interests. You like what you do; I like what I do. Life may seem like a competition, much like a struggle for survival, but on a closer look, all you need is just something unique, something outstanding.

Identify something special about you, and you may not need to bother about life being a competition any more. Just like adaptive features, your uniqueness makes you less cognizant of the struggle, less affected by it. Stand out, and the world will pause to observe you. You have to be an individual; it’s no use running with the herd.

It’s a beautiful Monday morning here, another opportunity to start afresh. Go and make that impact! The world is patient. It always waits for those who have something to offer.”

~~~ Omoya

JUNE 12, MY DAY

I have had my bath four times today, and I am still counting. No thanks to my hostelmates who, aware of other beautiful birthday gifts like sparkling silver wristwatch and smart leather shoes, have elected that the best means to convey their goodwill messages is to bathe me with stinking, filthy water, palm oil and other putrid substances that shrink the integrity of man to name. But I am not complaining. It is after all only once in a year that they have the liberty to commit such atrocities against my body. Even then, I have marked the faces of some of them who trespassed the limits of decorum. A good turn deserves another; I shall be wonderful to them on the day of reckoning- their birthdays. Hihihihi. Anyway, that’s on a lighter mood. It was fun.

Today is the 12th day of June, and I am 19 years old today. As much as I would have loved to give you an overview of my personality, my likes, dislikes and other intriguing info about the celebrant- the custom on people’s birthdays- permit me to disappoint you for once. I am not going to lucidly state anything about my person. Nevertheless, to be fair, how about an intellectual game? Tucked away in this post are some of the nuggets of information you seek. Let’s see how many of them you’d be eagle-eyed enough to deduce.

Few days ago, I resigned voluntarily from a writing contract. The contract had lasted for months and had brought in enough money to make me abandon my parents’ monthly allowance in my bank account. Why? Oh well, other reasons abound, but I shall share one with you: I resigned because I wanted to channel the time I was using to execute that assignment into a personal project. I knew I was going to be 19 years old in a number of days, so I sat down and thought of an awesome way to mark the end of my eighteenth year in life. The outcome of that critical contemplation was to strike out one of my sources of income- and so I did. It might be considered as a crazy decision, but these days, none of my decisions seems to be sensible to the common man. In essence, that decision was a signal to my lazy brains never to be complacent with the status quo, a signal to forego the comfort of the present and work out something better.

Yesterday, it clocked a whole year since I tasted any juice, softdrink or alcohol. I have taken only water and fruits over the past 12 months, and it has been a fascinating experience. Ah, the temptations were strong, believe me. I found it quite curious that it was when I purposed to deny myself of these pleasurable drinks that people remembered to bless me with varieties of them. I rejected as many as were polite to turn down, gave out as many as I couldn’t reject without giving an offence, and sold out as many as I felt too stingy to give out. At many social occasions that I graced- and I attended so many in the last one year that the number would exceed that of my first seventeen years put together- while people drank Fanta and Viju and Ciroc and Don Simon and Fayrouz and whatnot, I had a bottle or sachet of water awkwardly positioned before me, an oddity, the object of query and disdain. Some might think this was done just for the health benefits, but it would interest them to know I learnt the very height of self-discipline, tenacity and the formidable power of determination from this supposedly stupid conviction. Now, I almost do not know what other drinks taste like, but I know the taste of water: It is sweet.

The last one year of my life was cool. I made many quizzical decisions like those stated above. I have become better because of some, and worse for others. In the course of that year, I started a blog, changed my institution, read books that changed my perspectives of life, wrote definitive exams, dived into uncharted waters, churned out creative pieces, received adequate rejection slips, made great acquaintances, joined distinguished non-governmental organisations, had a taste of love and, chief of all, discovered myself like never before, among others. What did I miss?

I would never be able to thank you enough- those who posted on my wall, sent private messages, wrote electric poems, gave mouthwatering presents, sang me songs, called to show love and, of course, those who bathed me with … I love you all.

The fun continues 7.00pm tonight.

Lest I forget, a pretty lady presented me an assortment of fruits today, and a bunch of fresh banana was part of it. Only the Spirit could have revealed this to her. Now, this is how I know those who will make Heaven.

~~~

COOKING AND WRITING

There is indeed a psychological interrelation between cooking and writing. Even now, I feel strongly inclined to assert that this correlation transcends the psychological and, of an objective certainty, extends into the physical, having observed with perspicacity the unassailable similitude in the processes of the duo. I would know, for circumstances have consistently compelled me to partake in both writing and cooking, as though they were the compulsive rituals of an ‘imole’, the awe-inspiring messenger of Eleedua, that Supreme Being who folklores say has chosen the ancient town of Ife as His foothold. I digress? Excusez-moi!

If I might crave your indulgence, shall we start this analysis from the very genesis? While it could be conceived that innumerable are the inducements that are capable of prompting an individual to cook or write, a spur stands distinct from all others, like a unicorn in a herd, irrestible yet hardly suppressible, a perpetual companion of man from the beginning: hunger, that discomforting feeling of emptiness and longing to be filled. More than any other reason, we cook to satiate ourselves and others. In other words, hunger often fires man to move his lazy ass to the kitchen- maybe even a cafeteria, depending on the state of his pocket and his immediate condition. This is same with writing.

Writers have come to accept their fate, that when the overwhelming urge sweeps in like an avalanche, they have but two options: to either enter their kitchens of creativity and prepare delectable dishes of words or avail themselves the unmitigated pleasure of being served in a figurative cafeteria the said dishes of words, prepared by another whose culinary skills might or might not have been attested. Some of us prefer the taste of food that leaves our kitchen though, just as we meticulously borrow from the recipes and condiments of others. This is how cooking and eating out relate with writing and reading.

How do we cook then? Do we grab a magic wand, sway it back and forth and a steaming pot of beans materialises from zilch? I so wish. To cook, with the knowledge of or accessible reference to the recipe, we sort the utensils and get the ingredients, spices and foodstuffs ready. One after the other, we make use of these available things, following set procedures, with the liberty to decide what quantity of each condiment we desire, until our delicious meal is done. This is the code of writing as well, and perhaps same for many other aspects of arts. As one combines letters to form words, and words to form sentences, one would often pause to read and examine previously constructed paragraphs, to check the spellings, tenses, vocabulary and flow, just the same way a cook would pause to ladle some soup on his palm and lick.

Here, as I write, I am presently smiling at the pot of vegetable soup I cooked last evening, the envy of my hostelmates who keep coming plate-in-hand to seek an expression of my generosity. I oblige some if I like the look of their pleading faces, and I decline others for reasons as ridiculous as their obsequiousness and the vehemence of their persuasion. Obe efo mi saa ni; I can do with it as I please. Besides that, however, I reminisce over the sense of joy and accomplishment I had felt as I concluded the cooking, seeing that my efforts had not been futile. It is the same feeling I have when I finish writing a story- that excitement that your work can now become a cynosure, that the world can now have a peep into your mind, to stare at its fascinating ideas, its entertaining weirdness and perhaps confusion. Writing is fun; so is cooking.

Writing and cooking are similar, my dear. You may quote me. I said so.

#Where_is_my_pot_of_soup_again_sef

~~~

MY FIRST LOVE

FOREWORD: This is a true life account, and not a work of fiction. It chronicles a momentous event in the writer’s formative years. The writer admits this is easily the most personal writing he has made, but he is comfortable with publishing it nevertheless. He believes it is only fine to start penning one’s memoir when the experiences are still fresh in the memory.
Enjoy!
***+++***

Once did I pride myself on the conviction that no lady was good enough to infiltrate the impregnable walls of my heart, that my tastes were so high no daughter of Eve would ever come to scale them. They were puerile thoughts, ones that were borne out of naivety and ignorance of the forces that governed the world. Ridiculous as they were, these self-confessed philosophies dictated the course of my life for its first seventeen years. And when the time came for my mind to be disabused of these conceits, Providence would be kind enough to teach me a lesson in the most unlikely of places, thousands of miles away from home, in a land my father had never been.

It was in the summer of 2013. I had just graduated from secondary school, fresh in every sense and full of hopes for the future. As would be expected, my singular preoccupation then was securing admission into a tertiary institution for the course of my choice. Gracious goodness, it was a tense moment, for family and friends were eager to know what was going to become of the youngster who had maintained quite an exceptional performance all through high school. The expectations were so high that I was afraid I might never recover from the shame if I failed. Success had become a compulsion, the burden of which I was never to be relieved.

I had chosen my dream school, University of Ibadan, as my most preferred university while registering for the 2013 UTME earlier. However, in the presence of so many expectations, I was moved to have a rethink, to sincerely reconsider my chances of getting admitted into UI for a competitive course as mine. It happened that a cowardly Omoya chickened out at the end. I picked the change of institution form and opted for two universities where I thought I had stronger chances: Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti and University of Nigeria, Nsukka. It was better to be safe than sorry. I preferred to be on the angel’s side.

I have highlighted the above preamble because it is indeed the foundation on which the tale of my first love must stand. I thought it right to describe to you readers the circumstances surrounding that notable event, that you might perhaps enjoy the vicarious pleasures there to pertain or be afforded the opportunity of reliving the experience, if life has been gracious to favour you with one.

The time came for me to write the PUME for University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I had to travel all the way down to Enugu state from Ekiti. It was the first time I would make a long journey like that all by myself, without any friend or relative to receive me on the other end. ‘Na small-small pesin dey becom man,’ I had reassured myself. Uncertain of what was ahead of me, I left for Enugu two days prior to the exam. I would need all that time to settle down in the unknown land, while preparing for the decisive exam as well. I arrived at Enugu on July 17, 2013.

On my second day in the capital city of Enugu, having passed the night with a hospitable student of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, I met a young man by the name Rex. Rex was a Law student of UNN and a devout member of one of the campus fellowships. Such fellowships sought to entice ‘jambites’ to their worship services by catering for them and ensuring their well-being during the PUME period. Rex was just the help I needed. Like a tick to a dog, I clung to him. And so did two others.

So, three of us were under the guidance of Rex altogether. He would be responsible for our transportation to the university town of Nsukka, that town famous for having once accommodated literary giants like Achebe and Adichie. David, who was a fellow jambite, Rex and I made our way to Peace Mass Transit motor park in Enugu, where a young lady was waiting for us. She would make the third jambite in Rex’s care. Her name was Chisom.

Ah, the picture of that first encounter is still clear in my memory, as though it were some engraving chiselled into stone. Chisom stood under a shed, arms akimbo, flagged on all sides by buses, anticipating our arrival at the motor park. She was wearing a casual pink-patterned cardigan, black skirt and a pair of black shoes. Her hair was unbraided, short like one that was being kept for ajakolokolo. She had been waiting for an hour or thereabout, and when we finally showed up, she expressed her frustration without restraint. Rex was effusive in his apology, and we got on the next bus en route Nsukka pronto.

During the one-hour journey to Nsukka, Chisom and I struck an absorbing conversation. She wanted to know if I was a jambite like her, and I answered in the affirmative.

“Oh, that’s nice. What course are you applying for?” she asked.

“Medicine. What about you?”

“Wow! I’m applying for Medicine, too,” she replied, elated. Her lips parted as she beamed, displaying a set of white teeth, with a gap in between the two centre incisors on the upper jaw. I sensed a stir within me, one that I had never perceived. I could not put my finger on the cause of the stir, so I dismissed it as perhaps some kind of reflex only to be felt in Coal City state or a new hunger indicator my ingenious body had developed yet again.

Chisom would later lament on how JAMB had slashed the UTME scores of students like her who wrote the Paper Based Test that year. “It was a subtle means to compel students to embrace the newly introduced Computer Based Test,” she would say. As cool breeze through the window wafted past our faces, she would tell me more of herself, of her prestigious secondary school in Abia state and how she had offered French Language all through her school days. She would ask if I understood French, and when I replied: “Oui, je parle peu Francais”, she would nod her head weakly and thrill me with another smile of hers that caused a stir within me.

The more we discussed, the more I discovered I wanted to know more about this lady, and the more I was grateful for those few parts she had been gracious to reveal. I loved the sound of her words, the accent that adorned them and the cadence with which they proceeded out of her mouth, as though they were the melody of a violin played by the streamside on a cool evening. I loved the way she tilted her head, looking into my eyes with rapt attention, as I explained to her the meaning of my middle name- Simult. When we arrived at Nsukka and alighted from the bus, I had no doubt that I had found a new companion. Chisom was going to make my stay in Nsukka far memorable than I had envisaged.

Our first call at UNN, that den of intellectual lions and lionesses, was the secretariat of Rex’s fellowship. There, Chisom and I were directed to the stadium, where a tutorial was ongoing for jambites who would sit for exams on the sciences the next day. The tutorial had long begun before we got there, so there was no chair left for us. Chisom, fagged out by the journey, could not bear standing all through. She bent over, dusted a part on the bare floor and attempted to sit. I stopped her, rummaged through my bag and offered her the only sheet of paper I could get. She said a low thank you and beamed. Of course, the stir came again, hypnotizing this time around, making me forget those polite responses my big cousin had taught me to say whenever someone told me thank you. So, I smiled and just said thank you, too. She laughed at my response, but I doubted if she knew I was thanking her for those electric smiles of hers.

The tutorial was soon over. It had informed us of the possible format of the exam and the different venues where it would be held. Chisom received a call from Rex, instructing us to meet him at the other end of the pitch. She relayed the instruction to me, and we made to hit the road. She pulled me along and held on to my hand, swinging it playfully as we sauntered down the lawn. It was the first time I would hold hands with a female who was not my relative, but I did not tell her so.

Rex must have seen us holding hands when we got to him, but he did not comment about it. I thought it was a wrong thing to do, but what did my little mind know of the ways of the world? Perhaps it was the norm in the university to hold hands with a lady in the public, I thought to myself, then I clasped my hand around hers the more.

Chisom and I would be writing our exams the next morning in different venues. She had chosen UNN as her first choice, but I had chosen the renowned school as a second choice. Rex said something about us going to locate our exam venues that evening, so we wouldn’t be perambulating around the school the next day, searching for some goddamn venues. Chisom agreed, but she suggested we should eat first. She was exhausted and needed to be reinvigorated. She rested her head on my left shoulder to emphasize her tiredness. I sighed. Rex asked for my opinion, and I told him whatever Chisom said was right. God forbid that she should be wrong when her head was still resting on my shoulder!

Now, I do not remember the name of the cafeteria to which we went, neither can I describe its location or structure to you. Forgive me, but you could forget every other thing when the warmth of Chisom’s palm caresses yours. Her palm reminds me of a mash of banana and butter, something soft and uncommon like that.

That evening, Chisom bought a plate of rice and beans, a big fish and a bottle of Seven Up. When the waitress asked me to place my order, I told her to replicate whatever she had served Chisom. It was just as well, for I still took soft drinks then, unlike now that I have made myself believe water is the sweetest drink on Earth. As I scooped some rice and raised it to my mouth, I felt an acute pain on my shoulder. I had been carrying my heavy bag all along, and the resultant had set in. Chisom saw my grimace, and enquired if all was well.

“Eh, nothing serious actually. I’m just feeling some slight pain in my shoulder, probably because I’ve been carrying my bag all day,” I said.

“Aww, sorry. Let me rub it for you.” I caught that glint of sincere sympathy in her eyes, as she leaned over to massage my shoulder. She was fondling the wrong shoulder, but what did it matter?

We soon left the cafeteria and went in search of our exam venues. It was already late by the time we located them. We returned back to the fellowship secretariat to know where we would spend the night. The guys would stay over in a lecturer’s apartment, we were told, while Chisom would be led to one of the female hostels. Chisom and I would have to part; the day was going to end sooner than I wanted.

I still find it hard to believe, but that was the only day I saw Chisom all my life. We could not meet on the exam day because our venues were far apart, and because she left Nsukka as soon as she was done with her papers. I cannot remember what reason she gave for the French leave; I was too depressed to have paid attention to her excuse. The possibility that I might never get the chance to voice those feelings for which I had now gotten a definition filled me with horror. I wished I could look into those eyes of hers, as clear as spring water, and admit that her smiles caused stirs within me. I wished I could hold her hands and announce that her touch made all other things lose their essence. I longed to hear her voice, the one whose melody mocked the nightingale’s, its cadence rising and falling in sync with my heartbeat. But no, my Chisom was gone before I could say Robinson, speeding away with my heart in the belly of an automobile.

She had indeed infiltrated my once impregnable walls and brought the giants therein to their knees. We kept in contact though. Over one year after, when I felt the time was ripe, I made my feelings known to this princess in colourful words. Her reply was the last straw that broke the camel’s back: She only saw me as a good friend, no strings attached. The feelings were not mutual. I was devastated for weeks, and reflected over it in shame. My first shot at love was far from the bull’s eye, or so it seemed. But could she be playing hard to get?

Now, I am in University of Ibadan and she in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I pick my phone and listen for the umpteenth time to the voice note she sent me via WhatsApp of recent.

“Omoya, I just want to see you. I really want to see you again. Just to see you again…” her voice rings out, calm, alluring and tuneful as ever.

I scroll over to my gallery and check one of her pictures. She is smiling as she raises her right hand to take a selfie. I feel that familiar stir again, and a knowing smile spreads across my face. My Chisom is more beautiful now.

THE END
***+++***
[How was your first love experience? Is it something you would like to share?]

Written by:
~~~Omoya Yinka Simult

WHAT DOES MAN WANT?

Bread and hide and shed, they say
Form the tripod on which rests his soul
Deny him one and his life shall crumble
Like balls of cheese under stoneweight.

Food for the stomach, stomach for the food
Both shall someday perish, cries pious man
Yet he eats and drinks in the morning
And slugs it out with life for dinner

This one that swaggers about
In overflowing patterned garments
Nurses his headache, too
Check. Close your eyes and see.

Here is a sprawling mansion
You must hold your cap in hand
To see its very pinnacle
But the owner lacks peace.

There must be more to a man
Than food, clothing and shelter
For doesn’t a beast of the field
Boast of these things as well?

~~~Omoya
#TGIF_Special

A DISCOURSE BETWEEN TWO ECCENTRIC MINDS

A: “Peace unto you!”

B: “Buddy!”

A: “It’s been a while. How is your mind?”

B: “Not completely gone, I assure you of that. How is yours?”

A: “Mine is less confused than before. A notable improvement, I would say.”

B: “That is enviable. What is the secret you’ve unravelled?”

A: “Enviable? Maybe. Well, I shall tell you what I think might have been the cause. But, remember, when I say it is less confused, to some people, that may still be their deluded definition of madness. What could have been the cause may not be far from personal evaluation and objective intellectual brainstorm with those of the other side, the Christians.”

B: “The other side?”

A: “Oh, yes. It might also interest you that, in my quest for the truth and to satiate my curiosity, I have now begun to go to the mosque. I prayed at the mosque twice yesterday. My religion status is presently undefined. I am neither a Christian nor a Muslim, nor of any religious affiliations at the moment.”

B: “Fascinating. I’m not surprised. While you have decided to explore as many religions as you can to observe and probably assess, I have decided to stay away from every single one of them while carrying out my analytical studies. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?”

A: “No. It sounds sensible, and I applaud it. The reason why I may not be fit to address myself as a Christian is this: My definition of a Christian is one who is Christ-like or thirsts to be. Thus, to me, being a Christian is above mere verbal confession. I hear we now have people called ‘nominal Christians’. That is complete bullshit; you are either a Christian or not. In this context, the noun ‘Christian’ requires no adjectives.”

B: “Absolutely. But do you mean you have no such aspiration to be Christ-like?”

A: “None for now at least. Deep introspection has given me better insights into things. We get to discover more of ourselves as we get lost in ourselves, you recall?”

B: “Of course. So what are your present preoccupations and objectives?”

A: “To look into the essence of religion, whether it’s truly a reconnection to some Divine Being or a means of curtailing the excesses of mankind, maintaining order and sustaining humanity; to evaluate the certitude of the Christian claim and monopolization of the only way to this Divine Being; If the Christian claim is proven to hold water, to someday recourse back to it, with the understanding that my choice of it is not as a result of my environmental leanings or societal sentiments but the knowledge and consciousness of it being convincingly one of the ways to this Divine Being, if there be one.”

B: “Wonderful! Anyway, I am already aware of the existence of divinity and the supernatural. I’m only interested in finding out why a world like this should exist, why a chaotic world devoid of happiness and concern for others should thrive, for I am convinced that, contrary to religious views, we do not have these answers yet. I mean, I once thought we did, but I guess I am now better enlightened…”

***+++***
Okay, let’s stop there. Sorry if you were already enjoying that and wouldn’t want it to end.

But, tell me, what do you think of these two? What are your takes on the matters broached? Could they be alone in their seeming madness?

~~~Omoya