Adonis Diaries

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Tribute to Nigeria Author Chinua Achebe

A Tribute to Chinua Achebe: – By Adejoh Idoko Momoh via

At the accomplished age of 82, Nigerian literary icon Chinua Achebe is dead.

Mostly acclaimed for his 1958 novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ which has sold a staggering 10 million copies and has been translated into about 100 languages, Achebe was until his death Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.

To everyone, Achebe meant something.

To impressive writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, he was a source of inspiration, a mentor of some sort. To school children, his literature helped shape language –the simplicity, courage of his writing: Achebe was never too complex to hinder understanding and never too simple to pass as pedestrian.

To activists, he was a fellow activist- having refused Nigerian national honors in 2004 and 2011, accusing the government of turning Nigeria into ‘a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom’.

To the Igbo’s, he was liberator- having played active roles in the 1967-70 struggle for Biafra’s liberation.

In whichever way you choose to describe Achebe, one undeniable fact is that without Achebe, the Nigerian country and language would not have evolved as far as it has.

According to his publishers ‘Penguin Books’, Achebe passed on the 21st March 2013. But it wasn’t until the next day I would hear of it. As my colleague broke the news, my immediate reaction was to question:

‘How can Achebe die?’

No, I didn’t think he was immortal and therefore incapable of dying, I just needed some time to have the sad news of his death sink in.

And giving that in a typical Nigerian day, you hear of the deaths of Nelson Mandela, Wole Soyinka amongst others, I wanted to confirm the news before I believed it. Looking back, I realize the news my colleague shared was mostly responsible for my sober mood all that day.

Let me say this, I am a writer with, every other Thursday, I am obligated to produce an article that exposes some flaw in society, governance.

People have often asked if with my writing I am capable of making any change in response to these people, I would borrow a quote from Chinua Achebe:

“There is no moral obligation to write in a particular way. But there is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless.”

Being a man who spent his life sharing his gift with millions of us lovers of literature/ students/ writers Achebe challenges me to put my gifts to good use.

To not be selfish, write as much as I can. Never cease to speak up when I see people oppressed. From reviews I have read, his most recent work ‘There Was A Country’ very artfully blends painful memories, history and ideals while retaining its truthfulness.

I mourn Achebe’s physical death but I am consoled for I know among writers that he graciously shared his gifts, a part of him would in their writing live. For every student he touched, a part of him would in their intellect live.

For every activist, it is hoped that the lessons of his kindness, his boldness would be inspiration, and for all Igbo’s, they have the gift of pride. Knowing that they had a brother, father, son that made we all as a country proud.

Rebels of the Niger Delta in Nigeria: Taking matters in their hands

The Niger Delta in south-east Nigeria is the main oil production fields and generating 90% of the revenues.  This rich oil province is exploited by a dozen international oil corporations, Shell is the most powerful among them. The refineries of crude oil are decrepit and totally insufficient for local consumption.  This January, the government doubled the cost of the gallon from 30 to 6o cents.

This rich province is not receiving any significant benefit from local or federal government.  Instead, this great agricultural basket region has been reduced to a waste land from oil  production and processing…

The rebel movements such as the MEND (Emancipate Niger Delta movement), “Boyloaf”, and “Africa” are forcing the oil multinationals to restitute surplus profit directly to the local provinces, towns, and villages. These multinationals are reduced to taking care of infrastructure, public schools, dispensaries…

Amaka James Ogona, 74 year-old, a tribal chief of the little province of Olugboliri, said:”Our people exploited the land for agriculture, and now the land is ruined and the water polluted from oil discharges…The oil multinationals refused to compensate.  The sustained rebel attacks have pressured the corporation to respond positively.  The multinational Agip reconciled with the population and is extending direct regular payments and securing the maintenance of public institutions and infrastructure… When the government failed to construct the promised and judged for hydraulic project, Agip stepped in and did the project”

The Nigerian Federal government forgets to redistribute the revenues and claims that the rebel movements disruption of oil production have wasted 20 billion in revenues in the last 7 years.

Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur on food availability, said that “practically, every town in the rebellious region support the movements. The rebels can count on the firm logistical clandestine networks and innumerable caches in arms and food…that the government is unable to dismantle.  The repeated hostage taking activities have permitted the rebels to amass a war chest treasure, enabling them to bribe the elite government troops…”

Criminal development in Africa is mainly due to weak government institutions and resolve to get engaged in sustainable budget allocation to devastated and ignored provinces…

Note 1: Inspired from a piece by the Nigerian journalist investigative reporter Theophilus Abbah of the Nigerian daily “Sunday Trust” and published in the French weekly Corrier International #1109

Note 2: Nigeria a giant country of 160 million, the most African State, but turning fragile as a sociopolitical structure.  Half the population are Moslem in the northern region, and the remaining are either Christians or native religious sects.  In January, the government lifted subsidy on car gas and the price doubled over night, leading to protracted mass demonstrations and strikes. In the northern regions,the extremist Moslem are practically ruling and imposing the Shariaa.  From 1967 to 1970, a civil war for self-autonomy broke out in the Niger Delta that resulted in over 2 million deaths .

Sex markets and trades; (Mar. 19, 2010)

            Thailand is the prime sex tourist attraction.  About 15 millions flood the Capital Bangkok every year.  Many girls are connected by internet to their favorite regular tourists who visit yearly for a two-week vacation: one week with the girl (who consider this period as vacation time on beaches, all expense paid) and another week for touring Thailand. It is estimated that over 3 millions in Thailand practice sex business, supposedly with the consent of their folks to feed the remaining members of the family. The government enacted laws proclaiming sex business as illegal; it had completely forgotten this law: this particular tourist appeal generates 14% of GNP.

            The American soldiers fighting in Vietnam and Cambodia targeted Bangkok for relaxation breaks and then opened bars and sex businesses. After the war in Vietnam, ex-soldiers resumed their preferred tourist activities to their accustomed destination. Obviously, drug trade was a major catalyst for targeting Bangkok.

            The next destination for the northern Europe and England hard working population is the Capital Riga of Latvia. Every weekend, dozens of charter planes at low cost land in Riga for a relaxing time. Morocco is the favorite destination for southern Europe.

            As for the sources of the human sex pool it is the new Republics of former Soviet Union and Africa. Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldavia are prime sources for the mafias in that trade. For example, Moldavia insures the availability of 10,000 sex slaves a year; the slaves principally land in the city of Antalia in Turkey and then to Europe; Cyprus used to be the first landing location of these girls, who had secured due legitimate papers for other jobs; but the law in Cyprus required medical check up on contagious diseases; thus the mafias shifted the target location to Turkey;  Cyprus has now cancelled this requirement: it cannot afford to lose a large proportion of its 7 millions tourists.

            Sex slave business mafias have reformed their techniques in hiring slave sex to circumvent tighter regulations. Currently, the mafias promise a sex slave freedom, after working several years in abject conditions, by luring and expediting fresh replacements.  At first, the girl is promised freedom for hiring one replacement and then this number is increased gradually for one reason or another. The replacing girls know that the final job is sex but are never aware of the conditions of the work as slaves; they work non-stop and barely have time to feed and sleep. As the fresh slave girl board the plane then the doors are shut on her freedom; when she reaches destination she is gang raped, beaten and humiliated to give her the proper taste of what to expect.

            Nigeria and Cameroon are the main African sources of sex slaves.  In Nigeria, mafias organize witch ceremonies for the hired girls called “Djudju” where the girl promises complete secrecy on the bosses and organization.  Many mafias set up faked “Queen Beauty contests” and then photos are taken in bikini and brochures are sent to select rich elite customers; first the girls are sent to work in hotels and bars and then are coerced to upgrade into sex business.

            There are 400,000 whores in Germany and as many in Spain; 85,000 in England and as many in Italy; 20,000 in Holland and as many in France. Over 80% of the whores are foreigners from Romania, Bulgaria, and Africa.  Sex slave charges between 300 and 400 in developed European States while it cost between 30 to 50 in their home States.

            Many European States have tried alternative approaches to cut down on sex trades.  Holland enacted laws to legalize this business as long as the sex provider applies legally. Unfortunately, only 4% opted to formally legalize their trade.  Sweden has proven to have the most efficacious method: apprehending the customers for illegal activities.

“The old wise man died; an entire library is burned”; (Mar. 4, 2010)

African author, Amadou Hampate Ba (1900-91) was born in eastern Mali and had said “In oral culture Africa, when an old wise man dies then an entire library burns with him”.  Amadou focused his life gathering all the stories, myths, and history of the tribes living in the States of Mali, Senegal, Burkina Fasso, and Ivory Coast.  In every tribe or clan, there is a few storytellers or grios entertaining people around bonfires in evenings.  The storytellers teaches children of the history and traditions of the tribe, of nature, and the changing seasons.  In one of his books he wrote: “Aissata told her son: “Learn to cover the material nudity of man before you cover by word his moral nudity”

Author and poet Wole Soyinka received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1986. Soyinka was born in western Nigeria from the tribe of Yoruba in 1934.  During Nigeria civil war, Soyinka was jailed for two years in secrecy (1968-69); he wrote in jail “This man has died”.  In his speech at Stockholm during the Nobel ceremony and titled “Let this past talk to this present” he lambasted the philosophers and thinkers of Europe’s 19th century (such as Voltaire and Hegel) for accepting the principle of slavery.  Wole said “All who have the passion for peace must make a choice: Either they include peace in this modern world, bring it to rational situations, and let peace participate in the spirit of human associations or force Blacks in Africa to kneel in abject conditions and deny them human dignity.  There is nothing more pressing than suppressing racism and apartheid; their structures have got to be dismantled.”

Historian and Egyptology from Senegal, Cheikh Anata Diop (1923-86) published “Negro Nations and culture, 1954”.  He claimed that African civilization precedes Greek civilization that borrowed form and content via Egypt of Antiquity.  Colonial powers were ready to admit that the black skinned (from head to toe) and the frizzled hair Egyptians were no proof enough to claim that the civilization of Egypt of Antiquity was necessarily African. This awkward logic was necessary in order to colonize Africa as devoid of civilizations, rational people, and high spiritual capacity.  European Egyptology erudite went as far as proclaiming that it was “inadmissible” that Ancient Egypt in Africa was a Black civilization.  Diop book was published in several languages and the Blacks in the USA used it for renewal of their civilized roots.

Note: You may refer to my new category “Black culture/Creole” for short biographies and literary samples of Black leaders and intellectuals.

“The passionate story of my life”: Who is Olaudah Equiano (1745-97). (Feb. 11, 2010)

Olaudah Equiano (1745-97) was a slave; he describes how he was shipped to be sold.  Equiano published his book in 1789 at the age of 44 while a free man and settled in London.  He was kidnapped in Nigeria and sold to the British American colonies; he travelled with his “master” across the American continent, worked as sailor before set free. Equiano became very influential in the abolitionism movement.

“The first sight when I reached the shore was the sea that I was seeing for the first time. A slave ship was shoring up.  A few sailors grabbed me and threw me in the air to check my good health. I quickly felt that I am in the hands of evil spirits.  I had the strong impression that I am to be eaten alive. The sailors had long hair, red faces, and talked in strange languages. Black slaves were in chains and the demeanor expressed anxiety, suffering, and total discouragement.

I lost consciousness and then the black people who brought me in to be sold for salary offered me an alcoholic drink that plunged me in great torpor. I was led beneath the ship deck and the stench made me sick: I could no longer eat or drink and refused what I was offered.  Consequently, sailors tied my legs and they whipped me crazy.  Since I never drank water I could not drink any water extended to me.  My life of slavery in the village was no where as cruel as my current situation.  A few slaves tried to jump overboard and they were punished harshly.”

Negro trades were undertaken in most of Africa. In central Africa, slave trades were done within the African tribes.  In western Africa slaves were first shipped to south USA (the ports of Charleston and New Orleans), to Central America (Havana), Venezuela, and Brazil (Bahia and Rio de Janeiro) and then shipped again to Europe to the ports of Lisbon, Cordoba, Liverpool, La Rochelle, Nantes, Le Havre, and Amsterdam. The main ports of shipments in western Africa were done in Goree (Senegal), Ouidah (Ivory Coast), Sao Tome, Benguela (current Luanda).

Slave trades from eastern Africa were done by Moslem tribes in the ports of Zanzibar, Mogadishu, Cairo, Tripoli (Libya), Alger, and Marrakech on their way to Jedda (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), and then toward the Middle East and Turkey.

Clara from Nigeria: Introspection (Addendum #12)

Smiling for Three (Dec. 2002)

Dedicating this song to Clara

She responded to my numerous ads in a few of the Real Estates magazines.

I used to advertise myself as “Dr. Adonis” since I earned a PhD in 1991 in Industrial Engineering.

This story is taking place around 1999.

My odd ads occasionally generated calls for healing the sick people.

Clara actually wanted to buy herself an apartment.

She could secure a loan for a $100,000 property. She knew her limits, but a palace would be far nicer.

Clara hired me to help her buy her first real dream.

Clara is from Nigeria, living in the USA, working for an International organization.

She is beautiful, in her thirties, a young single mother raising a 10-years old boy.

We toured two dozen properties together, mostly in her car, and we wrote a dozen failed offers.

Finally, she managed to move in, in my first choice of a neighborhood, which she refused to consider 6 months ago.

When we signed the deal she was ecstatic and I was happy for a hard job done.

Clara liked me very much and stuck with me during these depressing successive failures.

Four years later, I remembered her and I am dedicating this song to Clara.

        You know Clara; I am more independent than most men.

I am single, with no children to care for.

One meal suffices and I am not picky with food.

No mortgage to pay.

You are single too,but you have a kid.

You have to work for two.

You have to worry for two.

You have to be scared for two.

A woman, with a child and no family support, emigrating from modern Africa.

A harsh life there, but still a harsher life here in the USA.

        You know Clara; you still have more life than me.

If you smile, you are smiling for two.

When you are happy, you are happy for two.

When you laugh, you are laughing for two.

Not often.

But how could my feelings come close?

        You said: I don’t mind working, worrying, and fearing for more than two people.

I would like, one more time, to be happy.

      I want to smile and laugh for three.

Introspection: Elizabeth (Addendum #5)

I Could Break your Eyeglasses (Dec. 2002)

We had a large apartment in Beirut and it was almost vacant for the duration of the civil war as a living place.  My brother installed a dental clinic in that apartment and then rented it for a while. In 1980, I was just freshly arriving from the USA and I passed by our apartment for a couple of minutes, for no reason, and the phone was ringing. A secretary for a local company was summoning me to an interview the next morning.

I had no recollection of submitting a resume to that Lebanese company. Next morning, I was meeting a high level representative, who came from Cyprus for a couple of days, just to hire new engineers for their expanding business in Nigeria. He did not ask me questions. I did not ask him questions. I needed to be off and out of Lebanon.

At the airport in the Capital Lagos, a few agents from the company met me and facilitated my entrance. I flew the same day to the headquarter in the city of Benin. I was lodged temporarily at a motel. I met an American young man in the dining room and ended up sleeping with a very young Nigerian girl. I have the impression that she was waiting in my room. We made love all night and I remember not sleeping much.

Curiously, I cannot recall how I met this girl. This motel must have a curious way of welcoming new guests. My hidden cash was dwindling for some days. I told my co-workers that I’m conducting an experiment to find out how much per day the culprit is stealing.

They laughed their heart out for my stupidity. I confronted the middle-aged cleaning lady. She stepped in the bathroom, removed her panties and bent over the bathtub. It was a quick standing exercise. I moved out the next day: I was running out of hiding places for my scant dollars.

A month later I was transferred to a remote compound. I stayed four months in a field compound, out in the nowhere, at a poor town lacking television transmission, called Okitipupa. I was ordered to wearing regulation tall brown boots for discrimination purposes. A few thugs entered the compound one night, killed three guards and threatened the manager to open the safe. We were awakened at three in the morning to go and lodge a complaint. We drove to the police station past the slaughtered watchmen.

I was recalled and ready to be shipped out to Cyprus. I was somewhat reluctant for this sudden transfer even after this harrowing experience. I had to stay for another month, redundant at headquarter. The company accommodated me at a house with a private driver and a house servant. At night, the Nigerian driver would take me to a dancing place in the open air and surrounded by a few huts. I was to select a girl of my choice.

I liked a fantastic black beauty but she was taken that evening. I ended up taking home Elisabeth, another beauty. We made love all night. She was great in expressing her delights and happiness in soft moaning. Elisabeth was pretty, large eyes, flat tummy, firm, round and proportionate tits.

She had a major handicap: the tough leather feel of her palms, hands and feet. She did not ask for money and I didn’t give her any. The next evening I joined my first choice of the previous night and talked. My Elisabeth was upset and cut us off. Her friend girl understood and stepped aside: no fair play in this business. Elisabeth still came home with me. I don’t recall calling her Beth or any other nickname. She allowed me to undress her and kiss her all over her body, but she would not let me kiss her mouth.

She obstructed any kind of intercourse for the night. I tried hard all night at no avail. I suspected the reason for her behavior and decided to ask her in the morning. In the morning, she let me enter her, fixating me with her black large eyes, frigid and stone faced all the while.

I asked her: “Elisabeth, what’s the deal now?” She replied: “I had to punish you. You cannot ask another girl when I am around”

At breakfast, she said that there is an emergency at her house and that she needed money. I offered her ten Naira.  She went ballistic and screamed: “Ten Naira? You bloody cheap! I could break your ugly glasses!”

The scoreboard was heavily tipped on her side: My lame excuse was that I had the right of choice. Surely, my excuse would never balance a modicum sense of decency for all the money in the world. Beside, she has not taken money the first time for me to do business as usual.

The day to leave Nigeria was near. I asked the driver to let Elisabeth know of the departure date. She met me with her beautiful girlfriend at the gate: They were not allowed to enter the tarmac. I sadly waved to these generous hearts.

My return at Lagos airport was not accompanied by company officials. I was searched five times and finally, I had to give away all my tiny bottles of liquors to get through.

I kept a picture of us, Elisabeth and me, embraced and smiling. I kept a picture of her beautiful girlfriend too. Polaroid photographers in that “dancing” joint had to make a living.

Something about my stay in Lebanon from late 1979 to mid 1985


We had a large apartment in Beirut and it was almost vacant for the duration of the civil war. One day, I passed by for a couple of minutes, for no reason, and the phone was ringing. A secretary for a local company was summoning me to an interview the next morning. I had no recollection of submitting a resume to the CAT Company. Next morning, I was meeting a high level representative, who came from Cyprus for a couple of days, just to hire new engineers for their expanding business in Nigeria.




The hiring representative did not ask me questions. I did not ask him questions. I needed to be off and out of Lebanon. At the airport in the Capital Lagos, two agents from the company met me and facilitated my entrance. I flew the same day to headquarter in the district of Benin and was lodged temporarily at a motel. I met an American young man at the dining room and ended up sleeping with a very young girl, sort of she was sent to me in my room.  I stayed in this motel for maybe 10 days and I realized that my hidden money was dwindling everyday; the cleaning woman didn’t confirm or deny but I carried al my cash with me.  I gave ample details on my stay in Nigeria in my piece “I could break your eyeglasses”.

I spent four months in a field compound, out in the nowhere, at a poor town lacking television transmission, called Okitipupa, and at 5 hours from headquarter.  The engineers, I was one, were supposed to wear regulation tall brown boots for discrimination purposes. Within a week I had malaria, even though I was taking the quinine pills regularly; an Egyptian physician was sent for me; I had a harrowing four days.  I lived with a civil engineer and we had a “boy” to clean our boots and prepare the table. I think that we had no cafeteria for the compound; as far as I recall, the menu of the “boy” was roasted chicken; the “boy” had a peculiar smell that made feel like vomiting and I could never get used to that smell; I should have thought of offering him soap and discover the difference but I was not an imaginative person.

The golden rule, as a member of the higher staff, was never say to subordinates “I don’t know”.  That rule was whispered to me by an English mechanics foreman; I had many occasions to verify the rule. Our plant engineer in Okitipupa, a Palestinian by origin called Sami, never handled anything; somehow, he once was in the mood of showing off his dexterity; he ruined three expensive pairs of fitters without succeeding and then got up as if of nothing; I tried my gentle touch at it and did it from the first time; I think that this person didn’t forgive me for taking over the task.  The next day, Sami assigned me a heavy duty vehicle to “fix” all by myself; I had never before touched any mechanical tool; I am an industrial engineer and had nothing to do with mechanics or mechanical engineering; a notion that it is hard to dissipate due to the wrong connotation given to industrial engineering which is basically managerial and not into mechanical design by any long shot.

The Lebanese and Syrian mechanics used to bring me, in secrecy, voluminous maintenance books to read sections and explain details; I had this feeling that management was very reluctant to instruct workers through manuscripts; as if the engineers were assigned to be the sole “priests” for the interpretation of the written manuscripts.  A Syrian foreman mechanics had an objective of opening his own heavy duty maintenance shop after he ends his contract period and was eager to purchase the appropriate expensive tools of the trade and the precision processes.  Obviously, management was not happy with my smooching with the workers: I used to go out with them after work in town and meet girls.  There was nothing in town for entertainment and the compound was a vast prison camp where I had to wear long brown boots of the bosses in that blasted hot and humid country.

A few thugs entered the compound one night; they killed three guards and threatened the manager to open the safe. We were awakened at three in the morning by the Lebanese manager, from the district of Koura, and we lodged a complaint at the town police quarter.  We drove by the slaughtered watchmen.


I was recalled and ready to be shipped out to Cyprus, supposedly the mother maintenance headquarter or something of that nature. I was somewhat reluctant for this sudden transfer even after this harrowing experience. I had to stay for another month redundant at headquarter.  This old English “personality”, supposed to be the official writer of letters, and from whom I used to borrow books from his private library in his allocated rented house, enjoyed repeating “Are we redundant today?” thinking that I didn’t know this word and wanted to impress me with his flatulent language.

The company accommodated me at a house with a private driver and a house male servant.  At night, the Nigerian driver would take me to a dancing place in the open air that was surrounded by a few huts.  It is from there that I was introduced to paid girls. (I wrote about this experience in my file “songs for women” under the title “I could break your eye glasses”). We were paid in Sterling pounds to an account overseas, mine in Lebanon; they had a complex money mechanism that served two purposes of avoiding taxes and keeping us under strict control financially. I had to borrow cash from my manager which was offered as gifts.


During that month I had the opportunity for several “adventure” trips.  I recall one particular trip that was truly an adventure in the nowhere.  I drove with a Lebanese foreman at a very remote tiny project site; after four hours of land driving we had to board a canoe to cross a murky river where people lived on the river; I think National Geographic would have made me rich if I had a camera; I am pretty sure if I fell overboard I would have been eaten by an alligator or piranhas. Well, after seven hours of crossing lands and rivers we reached destination; I looked around and found nothing of a project.  We did nothing; I would like to believe that we left a piece of tool and we were back and arrived by midnight.  My friend had another well hidden project, somewhere in Alice Wonderland: I declined. Nigeria is a vast country and that adventure trip was an eye opener to the extent of miseries. 


My return trip to Lagos airport was not a happy one and I was not accompanied by any agent from the company.  I boarded a ten-seat small plane; I thought that they have mistaken me for a parachutist.  The rickety plane was noise of hell and we experienced several air pockets and free falls; I was not perturbed: I had seen Nigeria.  At the airport I was searched four times, my suitcases completely ramaged through, until all my little alcohol bottles were accepted as gifts.  You need company agents to go in and go out of Nigerian airports; it was true then and true even more so today.




March 2023

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