The Sun News

Twins on the path of Biafra

Whether it is column-writing or biographical-writing or whatever form of writing, for me, it starts with getting a good headline or a good title which drives and guide the writing like a map to an adventurous explorer.

Writing is a form of adventure and every writer is an explorer.  You know where you are going, but you don’t know what you will find along the way.  That is the mystery of writing.  That is the fun of writing.  You begin somewhere and end somewhere.

I like my writing.  I enjoy it.  Sometimes it is fun.  Sometimes it can be torture.  It can be sweet.  It can be agony.  Particularly when two ideas are competing for attention.  Or better still when you are faced with two choices, two topics all begging you to “write me, write me.”

Today, I am tempted to write something a bit autobiographical, something about my life as a father of two boys who came into the world about the same time, two identical boys, so identical that at the hospital bed I didn’t know who is who.  It took some time, some efforts, some kind of divine intervention before I could finally distinguish one from the other.  I can never forget the bliss of seeing them for the first time.  The picture is forever framed in my heart as my personal memorabilia, as one of my happiest moments.

Automatically, you get a new name, a new tag.  For having twins, everybody starts congratulating you in double measure, calling you “Baba Ibeji” (Twins Father).  The woman enjoys it more being called “Mama Ibeji.”  She wears the tag proudly like a PhD, she wears it round her neck like an everlasting precious jewel sent from above.  Culturally, people tell you that having twins is a good omen, that they are bringers of blessings, that if you treat them well, they will bring you loads of blessings.  It makes you wonder, why in the first place would parents not treat any child well whether they are twins or not?  Truly, my twins have been a blessing.  I have watched them grow with the pride and joy of a father.  I have developed a special love for twins, such that I see twins everywhere as my children.  I wish them well and I pray for them the same way I pray for my own twins.  Their success is my success.  Their agony is my agony.  I was in Osogbo last Saturday for a wedding.  While reading the Saturday Tribune, I came across the pathetic story of Taiwo and Kehinde Popoola, 47, two blind identical twins who are newspaper vendors, sharing their life stories, how fate afflicted them with blindness not at birth but at primary school.  Gradually, their sight started fading until they lost their sights probably due to childhood glaucoma which was not promptly detected and treated or managed until total blindness set in.

And with the blindness, their destiny changed. It’s a sad tale, a tale of two brothers who probably would have ruled the world like the famous Nigerian show-business twins PSquare but are instead wallowing in misery and poverty, carrying their own cross, selling a product they cannot even see and having to devise their own ways of protecting the little money they make as newspaper vendors.  In a rat-race and dog-eat-dog world ruled by money which must be preserved and protected from thieves and pickpockets, one of the twins says after making money, “What I do is to put N1,000 notes inside my trouser pocket on the left side.  The N500 notes would be at the other back pocket.  Then the N200 notes would be in another place; ditto for N100 notes and N50 notes respectively.”   

I felt so sad after reading the story.  It is the kind of story I would have put on the cover in my heyday as the pioneer editor of the Weekend Concord, a paper I gave birth to in March 1989 shortly after the birth of my twins in September 1988, a paper that made heroes out of people, particularly the downtrodden.  People tell me the birth of my twins brought me the blessing of becoming an editor for the first time and I proudly agree.  But then, I must have worked hard and paid my dues for me to be elevated into the editor’s chair which is every reporter’s dream.

If I am sad about the plight of the Popoola twins of Osogbo, I am equally sad about the shame of Nigeria and Africa’s most famous musical twins Paul and Peter popularly called PSquare who are at war with each other.  Two brothers, twins at each other’s neck, fighting each other with primordial hate and fury like Cain who killed his brother Abel in the Bible.  I saw the video of their dirty fight now trending and I felt so bad, so sad, so mad.  I said to myself: “This is an abomination in our nation.”  I saw the footage of PSquare fighting, dueling, warring, uttering and making hate speeches against each other.  And I remembered the poor twins of Osogbo, united by brotherly love and poverty.  It was like the difference between night and day.

I saw the violent picture of PSquare and I remembered Biafra.  Two brothers fighting, disagreeing and wanting their own Biafra.  It is the same picture of Nigeria right now.  PSquare is the parable of Nigeria, two or three brothers under diabolic spell, divided, fighting among themselves and asking for separation, restructuring and division of all they have acquired in life.

I want to write but I cannot write further.  My heart is broken.  I weep for Peter, I weep for Paul.  In my agony, my son Taiwo sent me from London an untitled poem he wrote for the fighting twins:

A tale of two brothers, Peter and Paul            

Two black birds, falling off the wall

Don’t fly away Peter! Stay with Paul

Don’t put it on Twitter, Peter!  Better call Paul

Don’t be bitter Peter!  It’s better for us all

Come back little black birds and sit on the wall!

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3 Comments

  1. Emmanuel Chukwuma Umeh 30th September 2017 at 9:40 am

    Obviously, the today’s NIGERIA needs God’s miraculous intervention to reharmonize and reconcile all the NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures, for the needed mutual understanding towards one another, irrespective of background differences, and unaviodable need of peaceful coexistence, in relation to the reflection of the twins: Peter and Paul.

    The twins’ birth is related to the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates as today’s NIGERIA!

    Each of the twins, whether identical or not, have their ideaological reasoning perceptions and their individual behavioral and cultural differences!

    In several cases, each of the twins expresses his or her displeasure towards each other!

    In some cases, they even exchange words against one another!

    But the fact remains that they were born as twins!

    In some occasions, they each prefer to go on their separate ways!

    But nature still unites them together as born twins!

    In some cases, they would even prefer that they have never existed as twins in the first place!

    Even at that still, nature has united them as twins through their birth!

    That is the situation of NIGERIA, especially through the amalgamation history of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914!

    All NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures, in relation to the twins’ birth, have ideaological reasoning and behavioral differences!

    Some times, we objectively admire and appreciate one another’s differences, and even thank God Almighty for such privileges of our unity in diversity of tribal, religious and cultural differences!

    In as much as the fact remains that there those NIGERIANS, accross the tribes, religions and cultures, who are so ungodly, so self-centered and selfish, who would not mind fueling the NIGERIANS with all sorts of hatred and hate-speeches against each other, especially on tribal or religious differences, with their evil intentions of triggering violence and bloody engagement, in furtherance of their own selfishness and self-interest, even at the detriment of the other people in NIGERIA, we still unaviodably need to mutually coexist as NIGERIANS of diverse tribes, religions and cultures!

    NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures need to democractically and mutually be our brothers keepers, irrespective of tribes, religions and cultures, not to be our brothers killers, like Cain who out of jealousy and hatred, killed his brother Abel, of which he later regretted in his own restlessness of mind!

    Dear well-reasonable, well-civilized, well-cultured and peace-loving NIGERIANS of all tribes, religions and cultures, please let us maintain the unaviodably need of peaceful coexistence of all NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures, especially in all the thirty-six States and Capital Territory of Abuja, including in the local communities and in diaspora!

    Let us not behave like the Biblical Cain, who out of jealousy and hatred, senselessly murdered his own brother!

    NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures are twin brothers, who should not allow the Godless politicians and evil religious leaders, to carelessly on their selfishness and self-centeredness, trigger us into any bloody engagement against one another, especially on tribal and religious sentiments!

    We, the Well-meaning Nigerians citizenry of high-values from all the NIGERIANS tribes and cultures, honestly plead for all the NIGERIANS, irrespective of tribes, religions and cultures, to always promote the all-inclusive democractic transparency and honesty, especially on mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence for all NIGERIANS of diverse differences!

    More so, always be your brothers of all tribes and cultures’ keepers, not killer!

    May God Almighty bless our beloved NIGERIA and the whole NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures!

  2. Emmanuel Chukwuma Umeh 30th September 2017 at 10:06 am

    Obviously, the today’s NIGERIA needs God’s miraculous intervention to reharmonize and reconcile all the NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures, for the needed mutual understanding towards one another, irrespective of background differences, and unaviodable need of peaceful coexistence, in relation to the reflection of the twins: Peter and Paul.

    The twins’ birth is related to the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates as today’s NIGERIA!

    Each of the twins, whether identical or not, have their ideaological reasoning perceptions and their individual behavioral and cultural differences!

    In several cases, each of the twins expresses his or her displeasure towards each other!

    In some cases, they even exchange words against one another!

    But the fact remains that they were born as twins!

    In some occasions, they each prefer to go on their separate ways!

    But nature still unites them together as born twins!

    In some cases, they would even prefer that they have never existed as twins in the first place!

    Even at that still, nature has united them as twins through their birth!

    That is the situation of NIGERIA, especially through the amalgamation history of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914!

    All NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures, in relation to the twins’ birth, have ideaological reasoning and behavioral differences!

    Some times, we objectively admire and appreciate one another’s differences, and even thank God Almighty for such privileges of our unity in diversity of tribal, religious and cultural differences!

    In as much as the fact remains that there are those NIGERIANS, accross the tribes, religions and cultures, who are so ungodly, so self-centered and selfish (call them religious and political cabals, who promote the problems of religious and political wickedness against other humanity), who would not mind fueling the NIGERIANS with all sorts of hatred and hate-speeches against each other, especially on tribal or religious differences, with their evil intentions of triggering violence and bloody engagement for the general destruction of people’s lives and properties, in furtherance of their own selfishness and self-interest, even at the detriment of the other people in NIGERIA, that not withstanding, we still unaviodably need to mutually coexist as NIGERIANS of diverse tribes, religions and cultures, especially through the all-inclusive democractic transparency and honesty towards all tribes and cultures in today’s NIGERIA!

    NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures need to democractically and mutually be our brothers’ keepers, irrespective of tribes, religions and cultures, and to not be our brothers’ killers, like Cain who out of jealousy and hatred, killed his brother Abel, of which he later regretted in his own detriment of restlessness of mind!

    Dear all well-reasonable, well-civilized, well-cultured and peace-loving NIGERIANS of all tribes, religions and cultures, please let us maintain the unaviodably need of peaceful coexistence of all NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures, especially in all the thirty-six States and Capital Territory of Abuja, including in the local communities and in diaspora!

    Let us not behave like the Biblical Cain, who out of jealousy and hatred, senselessly murdered his own brother!

    NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures are twin brothers, who should not allow the Godless politicians and evil religious leaders, to carelessly on their selfishness and self-centeredness, trigger us into any violence of bloody engagement against one another, especially on tribal and religious sentiments!

    We, the Well-meaning Nigerians citizenry of high-values from all the NIGERIAN tribes and cultures, honestly plead for all the NIGERIANS, irrespective of your tribe, religion and culture, to always promote the all-inclusive democractic transparency and honesty, especially on mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence for all NIGERIANS of diverse differences!

    More so, always be your brothers of all tribes and cultures’ keepers, not killers!

    May God Almighty bless our beloved NIGERIA and the whole NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures!

    Happy independence remarks and celebration, for all NIGERIANS of all tribes and cultures in advance for tomorrow, as the beginning of New Month and 1st of October that is very historic for the NIGERIA Independence!

    Long live NIGERIA!
    Long live all the Well-meaning Nigerians citizenry of all tribes and cultures!

  3. Ezekiel Okeke 30th September 2017 at 10:57 am

    Any who feel bad about Biafra is ignorant. Anyone who has been in agony and mess in the name of a common political name nigeria for about six decades and still want to remain in it, is the biggest fool on earth. Igbos of Biafra are not- Biafra is a Sovereign State from October 1st 2017. Any who is against the democratic decision of majority Igbos of the five south east states, has to pick his or her gun etc, and it will be decided in the battlefield. Talking time is over. It is now a decision that will be made in the battlefield of BIAFRAN REVOLUTION WAR, if the enemy do not vacate Biafraland of the five south east states territory till midnight September 30. 2017. God Is With Us!!!

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