Why I am a ‘Fenceist’ [#NigeriaDecides2015]

12 Jan

By Nwachukwu Egbunike


Nigeria Twitter has been boiling for some months now. As the general elections in February draws nearer, campaigns are nearing a crescendo. Currently, there exists a vicious bifurcation between the supporters of the ruling party, PDP and the opposition party, APC. The lies, blackmails, accusations and counter accusations between both sides have assumed epic proportions. In view of the above, I have decided to sit firmly on the fence.

The shouting match on whose presidential candidate is better than the other is all one hears on Twitter these days. Unfortunately, this ‘my candidate better pass your candidate’ has spiraled into mudslinging that will certainly embarrass professionals Motor Park touts. Rarely are issues discussed. When they come up it is usually pursued via the argumentum ad hominem pathway. More often than not, one notices so many ‘logical fallacies’. Some folks have patented the franchise of making unsubstantiated opinions which they present as equivocal ‘facts’.

I do not begrudge those who have taken sides, firmly dug into their respective trenches as supporters of either President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) or General Muhammadu  Buhari (GMB). As a matter of fact, I respect them, for it is no mean feat to consistently stand behind a candidate on TwitterNG streets. It matters nothing if these e-supporters are hired for their services or do so purely out of ‘patriotic’ zeal.  It is their choice and I respect their freedom of association.

Nonetheless, I will not be persuaded into joining the fray, a simplistic reduction of the presidential candidates or their parties as the ‘messiah’. Nigeria is so large and complicated to be reduced to a one man or woman having the key to reset all our woes. As a matter of fact, no single person – living or dead – holds the exclusive prescription to our national malaise.

I also hope that the fanatic supporters of both candidates on TwitterNG will be civil enough to respect my decision to remain on the fence. It’s my choice and I don’t see why it is so difficult to accept ‘fencism’ as a legitimate position.

But some folks have already ascribed divine omnipotence to themselves: that ability to read minds and to question the free decision of others. For some, a ‘fenceist’ is a traitor that sits idle while Nigeria burns. The only ‘legitimate’ freedom, according to them, consists in taking a stand for or against. It must either be for or against GEJ or GMB. Odiegwu! It does not stop there; you MUST profess the credo of your support all day long on Twitter. However, I am yet to see how their vicious rants and tweet fights translate into patriotism. But that is a story for another day.

Fencism is not neutralism! I have my political bias but I will not be bullied into displaying it on Twitter. Fencism is objectivity, realizing that both candidates have their flaws and not turning a blind eye – as many do – on them. Fencism is having the courage to tweet for and against any of the candidates. Not being held under the fanatical slavery of ‘my candidate better pass your candidate’. Fencism also means that I will vote on that day but will not waste my precious time only tweeting about the elections.

In my ‘yard’ the fence is sturdy and impermeable. The space on the fence also has an infinite coefficient of expansion. You are free not to accept my fencism, no big deal but at least respect it.

Feathers Project Blog: 2014 in Review

30 Dec

The 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mama Mia!

28 Dec

By Nwachukwu Egbunikemaryandchilds


Tossed into a vicious sea
These waves shred
Almost drowning

Keep mute, it’s prejudice
Speak out, it’s intolerance
Sketch, and be judgemental

Darkness descends with rage
Night blankets all
Evil smiles unhindered

Clouds condense
Rains will come
With cymbals of thunder as company

All run amok
All inflicted with infirmity
All afflicted with pestilence

Humanity is shaken
Shredded with filth
Shrouded with silk

Hold me in your arms
Have my head on your bosom
And with your mantle wrap me safe.


‘Mama Mia’ is part Blazing Moon, a collection of poems by Nwachukwu Egbunike to be published in 2015 by Feathers and Ink.

What I am

25 Dec

By Nwachukwu Egbunike


Infinitely finite
Bearer of a luminous spark
Scion of the sun
Who made home for time

I’m god

Deified, mortal
Eternal, ephemeral
Transcending self, within self
Adopted, a slave
Royalty, a serf

I’m god

God became man
Men become gods
I’m god.


‘What I am’ is part of Blazing Moon, a collection of poems, by Nwachukwu Egbunike to be published next year by Feathers and Ink.

A Visit to the National War Museum Umuahia

19 Dec

This week I visited the National War Museum (NWM) in Umuahia. I will try in this short post to present some of my impressions about NWM.

NWM was opened to the public on January 5, 1985 by Major General Tunde Idiagbon. The sites where the museums currently stands was chosen by the Federal Government of Nigeria due to two well-preserved bunkers – the Ojukwu bunker and the Voice of Biafria (VOB) bunker. I was only privileged to visit the Voice of Biafria bunker.

VOB was used by the defunct Biafria to broadcast to the entire country from Umuahia, while it claimed to be broadcasting from Awka.

The Ojukwu bunker is currently situated at the house of Late Michael Okpara – who donated it to the Biafrian government. However, it is now a National museum under the administration of the National Museums and Monuments.

I have little to say about my impressions. I will only repeat those words of the English philosopher, Edmund Burke: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” 

Below are some of the armory of the defunct Biafria:

Mini Refinery produced by Biafrian Engineers

Mini Refinery produced by Biafrian Engineers


Plaque at entrance of the Museum

Plaque at entrance of the Museum

Nigerian Army Amoured Vehicle

Nigerian Army Amoured Vehicle

Biafrian Army Amoured Vehicle - locally fabricated

Biafrian Army Amoured Vehicle – locally fabricated

Biafrian Army Amoured Vehicle - locally fabricated

Biafrian Army Amoured Vehicle – locally fabricated

Biafrian Army Amoured Vehicle - locally fabricated

Biafrian Army Amoured Vehicle – locally fabricated


Why I put out the TB Joshua bribery audio

23 Sep


Nicholas Ibekwe: On Why He Released Audio Of TB Joshua Offerring Bribe Money To Reporters

Originally posted on INVESTIGATE!:

TB Joshua Pix

The last 72 hours were probably the most intense in my life. The love, kind words and support I’ve received in that period from, mostly, total strangers have been overwhelming. I want to thank everybody who saw the good in what I did. Though, to be honest, I think it was a little stupid. What was I thinking putting my life and probably my career on the line in an attempt to change something so entrenched it seems unchangeable?  But really I’m not fazed by the trash talk from those allergic to the truth.

It’s a long time coming and someone has to put the Big Ben on the fat cat, I guess.

During the same period I’ve also been insulted like never before. I’ve been called the most uncomplimentary names and all the curses in Deuteronomy hurled towards me. They should be ashamed that the brushed ego of their…

View original 1,613 more words

[Guest BlogPosts] History of the Onitsha Monarchy

8 Sep

The Obi of Onitsha* 

Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Agbodidi, Obi of Onitsha

Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the 21st Obi of Onitsha

Obi Eze Chima being the first, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe is the twenty-first in a dynasty that has thrived for more than four hundred years. He occupies an important position among the people of Onitsha and he is personally associated with the conduct of essential aspects of Onitsha local affairs.

Though, there are further requirements for a candidate for the Obiship of Onitsha, the monarchy is reserved for the male descendants of the ‘Founder of State’ – Eze Chima. These descendants are known as Umuezechima or ‘Children of Eze Chima’. This classification encompasses many villages in Onitsha , and in modern times, it produces a hotly contested Obiship whenever there is a vacancy.

The semi-divine or spiritual nature of the Obi is expressed in how his subjects address him. He is addressed as ‘Igwe’ or ‘Sky’. The other terms used are ‘Agbogidi'(All Powerful), ‘Enyi'(Elephant) and ‘Agu'(Leopard). He is also greeted as ‘Nkpu'(Ant-hill), for just as ant-hill has many openings so the king has many eyes, being aware of whatever happens in the town. Being semi-divine, he is the embodiment of the spirit of the ancestral god. Traditionally, he confines himself to his house.

Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe CFR

HRM Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, Agbodidi, Obi of Onitsha

This confinement sets the stage for one of the most cherished events in Onitsha- The Ofala Festival. Historically, it is the only occasion that the Obi presents himself publicly to his subjects. It is also the occasion for Obi’s subjects to pay or reaffirm their allegiance to the monarch. Leaders of every clan, including Ndichie(Red Cap Chiefs), Agbalanze(Ozo title holders) and other participants, decorated in regalia and accompanied by special musical groups, converge at the Obi’s palace annually for this joyous event. This festival attracts monarchs and spectators from other parts of Nigeria.

Presently, the monarch’s ruling functions are diminished, however he wields a great influence within Onitsha and beyond.

[*Sources: Harding Report of 1963 and Groundwork of the History and Culture of Onitsha] 


The Ndichie (Red Cap Chiefs) [By Ifeka B. Uwechia]

Onye Ichie (An Onitsha Red Cap Chief) - From:Photos from Ambrose Ehirim's post in The Nigerian Nostalgia 1960 -1980 Project

Onye Ichie (An Onitsha Red Cap Chief) – From:Photos from Ambrose Ehirim’s post in The Nigerian Nostalgia 1960 -1980 Project

At the apex of the political and social organizations in Onitsha, is the institution of Ndichie. Ndichie are the ‘red cap chiefs’ who hold positions of authority and influence. These men are the Obi’s(King’s) main administrators of policies that emanate from his palace. These titles were originally bestowed on men who distinguished themselves in war, however, the amount of money payment has emerged as the dominant feature today.

It is the prerogative of the Obi to install a new member of Ndichie. It occurs when there is a vacancy due to death. There is a presumption that a candidate must be a member of ‘Agbalanze’ (Ozo title holders) society but the Obi can use his discretion to confer this title on a non-member of the society. An example of this was when Obi Okosi installed Agbakoba Ezenyelugo of Umuasele as the Asagwali. The process of installing a new member of Ndichie remains an elaborate one that can strain the financial resources of the aspirant.

There is a hierarchical structure within this group. The stratification is as follows: Ndichie Ume; Ndichie Okwa; and Ndichie Okwaraeze. Ndichie Ume, with a maximum number of six, are the most powerful and are considered the senior members of the Obi’s inner circle. Prominent among this group is the ONOWU, who is likened to a Prime Minister. He performs the administrative and social functions of the Obi during an interruption in continuity of the monarch. Such an interruption can be as a result of abdication or death. Members of Ndichie Ume function as war chiefs while the other classes, Ndichie Okwa and Ndichie Okwaraeze, serve as their assistants. The remaining members of Ndichie Ume, in order of seniority, are AJIE, ODU, ONYA, OGENE, and OWELLE.

Regardless of the class, the Ndichie constitute the Obi’s Executive Council. They act on behalf of the monarch in their various localities and perform law enforcement duties as well as being the arbiters of customs and traditions.

[Ifeka B. Uwechia, Atlanta, Georgia, July 1999.]

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