A heart has no title.

Sitting at the window with my hand resting on its sill

I am staring outside at the beauty of nature

This place is peaceful but out there is war

Man pitting war against his fellow

Women spiting each other

Power abused like codeine

Love, no place for it in a world that chooses to ignore it

Tearing kindness and chewing off innocent children

Our lands are decaying

Our culture becoming extinct.

Bibiana Ossai © 2017.

Prevalent Issues in Nigeria.

It was a sunny afternoon and someone had ruined my day when I decided to excuse myself to let out some steam because I do not find it necessary to exchange words with people who do not know when or when not to speak. This day for an unusual reason aroused my interest towards the prevalent issues that have been existing in this country even before my generation, although I am not one to indulge myself in political discussions and I do not want to sound critical of the Nigerian government because I am just a neutral fellow who believes in the good of the land.

Two important issues faced in Nigeria are Corruption and unemployment. Corruption has eaten deep like a cankerworm in Nigeria such that the very obvious ones claim to be the very innocent ones and that is what amazes me; when you have been cut red-handed but still deny being the one in the act.

“Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency.”

-Unknown.

A thirsty man must quench his thirst by all means regardless of whom he has to trample upon to get even as small as a drop of water. Corruption is now resting at the foundation of Nigeria’s growth, a country positioned as 144th out of 177 countries measured in Corruption Perception Index. I remember during the start period of recession, people kept complaining about how everything was falling apart whereas there were others spending billions like pure water. Apart from the government eating more than a thief, our fellow citizens are also a part of this problem as you have traders selling sub-standard products or tripling prices so as to get double their profits while the pockets of their buyers are squeezed dry.

Regarding unemployment, it is really saddening to see young people who have spent part of their lives working hard to gain a degree roam the streets of Lagos and other states in Nigeria. People who are gainfully employed or are opportune to have a steady source of income claim that there is enough opportunity for everyone out there. Not that I do not agree but the fact is how many paying jobs can actually feed a family in Nigeria? The fault is not entirely on the government but also schools who fail to teach their students vocational skills that will make them worthy of a quality job.

Many Nigerian graduates did not learn good skills during their studies. They were busy reading only textbooks without knowing the applications of what they read.

 -The Nigerian Observer.

With this understanding that no matter how bad the issues get in Nigeria, there are people who make the best out of it so I say to myself, “why can’t I be part of the few enjoying wealth despite the state of the nation?” No matter how condescending the situation of Nigeria is, there are avenues created by private organisations or individuals to create opportunities for each class of its citizens such as SAED, an entrepreneurship avenue for Nigerian youths to learn one or more skills that will improve their chances out there in the labor market among others. As for Corruption being eradicated, it will take years as long as the stubborn flies keep going back to their shit.

Therefore, Nigeria is where it is today because of the government and its people because I believe if we can all rewire our mentalities and channel our goals and positivity towards the growth of this country without self-ambitions and satisfaction of selfish desires, this great country will finally attain the heights faster than it would in say 50 years. Photo Credit: Bibiana Ossai.

Bibiana Ossai ©

Health Benefits of Oha soup.

If you are a vegetarian or not, this Igbo soup is absolutely meant for you. It is sweet, nutritious and very easy to make. Oha soup is common in the eastern part of Nigeria and is known for how good it is in enhacing skin radiance and body health.

The ingredients needed in making this soup are the most important components of the soup, they are Oha leaves (as required), Cocao yam (15 to 20 medium sizes) or egusi seed (1 or 2 cups), Chicken, assorted, beef, goat meat, turkey, dry fish or mangala
Maggi (seasoning) 2 to 4 cubes, Crayfish (2 cups), handful of Uziza leaves ( although this is optional), 1 big Stock fish head, Palm oil 15 to 20 centilitres
0.2 cup of ofor or achi as an alternative thickener), Ogiri, salt and pepper to taste.

After getting the ingredients, the next process is to prepare the soup: Wash the cocoyam thoroughly with water to remove dirt and sand, then place in a pot, pour enough water to cover the cocoyam and boil until very tender. Peel off the brown back and pound with mortar and pestle. Blend your fresh pepper with crayfish and keep aside for later use. Pluck off the Uha leaves from the stem, wash it the same way you wash vegetable leaves then use kitchen knife to slice inti the size you want. The next step is to wash your meat clean, steam it with the necessary ingredients for few minutes until it is as soft as the way you desire it to be, while the meat is cooking add hot water into the bowl containing the dry fish and stock fish and allow to boil until tender. Add more (but small quantity of water into the pot of the cooked meat, red oil, blended crayfish and pepper, maggi and salt. Leave to boil; the soup will have taste even though it is watery then add the pounded coco yam or ground egusi (your choice) to serve as thickner. Also, add ogiri at this point. Stir and allow to melt before adding Uziza leaves and Oha leaves. Stir again and leave to boil for another 5 minutes.

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Photo Credit: Ifeyinwa Nzeka/Food musings.

Your Oha soup is ready to be served with any kind of swallow (eba, wheat, semovita or fufu). Do not miss out on this very delicious Igbo soup and considering it is a new month, make it your February healthy African soup. For detailed information, visit http://allnigerianfoods.com/uha-soup or http://www.nigerianfoodtv.com/2013/12/how-to-cook-oha-soup-ora-ofe-oha-ora.html?m=1

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.

Becoming Somebody II.

“We Will Rise” is a CNN film that showcases young women overcoming incredible odds to change their lives and do extraordinary things in their society. It is a mission by Michelle Obama, America’s first lady with the help of other strong women like CNN’s Isha Sesay, Meryl Streep and Freida Pointo. We Will Rise is one of the most compelling film-documentary that I watched in the last days of year 2016 and it made me realise that despite the fact Nigeria is evolving in so many great ways, there are a lot to be done to improve eradicate educational discrimination in some parts of the country.

Continue reading “Becoming Somebody II.”

Becoming Somebody I.

Mama, I hear the field is green and the roses are red

The wildflowers are growing in the farmlands and

I just wonder when the girls will be one, Mama

When will the girls be like the boys?

Free like the air with a voice of authority

When will I truly live?

Mama, why cannot the girls be like Papa,

Working day and night to be somebody

Let me run till my feet grow weary

Let me fly till my wings grow faint

There is more to me as there is to life but

Doing nothing and being ill-informed is going to eat me up like a canker worm

Tell me Mama, am I just a sold out slave to nothing and everybody?

A help mate you say I am but how can I help when

I am just a bag of culture, religion, norms and limitations.

You can also read this post Nigerian girl-child the writer is very opinionated and optimistic.

Photo Credit: Diva Diaries.

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.

Music and Culture: On keeping it African

Is it just me? Or you can as well tell when a song is African, based on the contents of music such as the sound, rhythm, beat, language or lyrics, costume, setting and values displayed through music, which can also be considered elements of culture. Music and Culture are similar, although it is a different ball game to keep it African. It is also very essential to have an understanding of the two basic concepts.

The power of music and culture influences a person’s mood and speech and interrelationship among the various ethnic groups and religious groups that exist in Africa. Through music, the various cultures have been brought together to unite and enhance the relationship that thrives in the African continent.

In a chat with an African artist, Yemi Alade whose recent album covers the entirety of Africa, she gave her own perspective on how music and culture are intertwined and can be kept African:

“Music and culture are the core of any society, music is necessary for almost all occasions and is definitely ‘soul food’ while cultural values guide us in the way we carry ourselves. Culture is most times a binding factor rather than a divider and the employment of African accessories is what makes and keeps music African”.

To promote the beauty of Africa, musicians, entertainers and artistes have all been able to imbibe the various elements of culture into the contents of their own music. Just the way culture has impact on every single aspect of some people’s lives, music has its own impact on some aspects of people’s lives.

Despite the westernised nature of the african music industry, there are still many other musicians as well as entertainers that are sticking to the path of staying African in the industry and their music.

Photo Credit: Emeka Photography.

Bibiana Ossai © 2016.