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This morning he woke up a little late for their early morning banter and analysis of news gleaned from BBC English service. Garbed in a...

This morning he woke up a little late for their early morning banter and analysis of news gleaned from BBC English service. Garbed in a white singlet, a wrapper around his waist and a chewing stick as long as a child’s arm in his mouth, he hurried out of his house to Mazi Oleka’s house where he and his friends listened to BBC radio service, and tried to break down small bottles of locally brewed cognac as they debated national and international politics. To Mr. Jeremiah and his friends they were the world’s most intelligent and informed men. However all they had as formal education was not even close to standard six education. All their lives they had lived in the village and had only gone to as far as Aba, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Umuahia. These towns were so close to them that they could shuttle between them and their village two or three times in a day if they so chose.

Jeremiah who felt he was a bit late to their habitual early morning rendezvous feared he had missed some of the pieces of news on BBC, and so, as soon as he sat down on the log of wood which served for a seat in Mazi Oleka’s house asked, “What has the newscaster said about the KGB agent caught in Miami? I hope they have not conspired to fool intelligential people like us by keeping the matter Habeas corpus.” Not knowing the meaning of ‘Habeas corpus’, Mr. Jeremiah used it solely to impress his friends. (Habeas corpus; in Latin means for "you [shall] have the body". It is a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment). Mazi Oleka was certain he had not heard the word Habeas corpus before. So feeling out done by his friend, Mazi Oleka decided to show he was also rich in words, “The case of the KGB agent who was apprehended in Miami has generated a worldwide pandemonium and therefore cannot be handled any more with an attitude tantamount to gerrymandering by the super power nation, America.” (None of his friends understood one word of what he said and neither did he, yet they all pretended they understood what he meant).

Another friend of theirs, Nduka, who was for some time attentive to the bits of news being read over the radio, realized that the morning would be different; they would not have their usual argument about politics. From the much Nduka saw, he could tell the morning was going to be about who had more knowledge of English words and so he decided to show that he was not in any sense inferior to his friends, “Oleka the incidence of the KGB agent in America’s net is no longer a matter of gerrymandering or tom-foolery, we are all staring down the gun barrel of apocalyptic cleansing if the two elephants decide to clash…” “No! No! No Nduka! This is much more than apocalyptic cleansing; it will be a global pandemic by means of nuclear armament,” Oleka countered. “Don’t be linguistic Oleka… (meaning, don’t talk too much! In his judgement). How possible is it for the mere incidence of a KGB agent nabbed in Miami transfigure into a matter of global quagmire? I hate it when people like you and Nduka present artificial reasoning and analysis paralysis in a bid to analyze a lilliput matter like the one on hand,” Jeremiah admonished his friends, feeling like he had humbled them with a combination of words none of them knew anything about.

Nduka did not like the way Jeremiah addressed him and his friend even though he did not understand what he said, and so found a combination of words to return the insult he suspected had been heaped on him and Oleka, “Jeremiah I have come to the conclusion that it will require a surgical concussion to make you realize that I am not Odinaka your wife. I hate it when you talk to an enlightened man of my esate as though you were talking to your ignoramus wife.” Jeremiah flared up and chested Nduka for calling his wife ignoramus and Nduka chested him back. Oleka came in-between the two of them and tried to calm their frayed nerves. “I see nothing to lead to a fight between the two of you. We are men of learned capacities and should not let our unlearned wives and children see us displaying such mannerism comparable to Kenyapithecus form of living.” “Don’t be linguistic Oleka… (don’t talk too much!)  I have said nothing bad enough to warrant this pigmy to call Odinaka ignoramus.” “Yes you did Jeremiah! I heard you refer to me as a paralyzed man.” “I did not! I only referred to your reasoning. You see, your problem Nduka is that when I speak English you understand England. Look, I will not stand here and waste my time with a half-educated man like you.” “Oleka did you hear him? He has just aimed another contumacious insult at me. See Jeremiah, when I start my brouhaha, I doubt you or anyone in your family has the stamina to withstand me.” The three of them broke up and left for their homes but would certainly reconvene in the evening to play a session or two of draft - a popular board game.    STORY CONTINUES...

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Written by:
Uzoma Ujor

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Key words: BBC, KGB, Agent, Miami, Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Owerri, Aba, Kenyapithecus, Habeas corpus, Education, Cognac




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