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By Jonas Odocha

human mind is indeed very complex. As we interact with one another and

share certain experiences in life, we begin to appreciate the that in most

circumstances, what we see on the surface, is far-fetched from what is actually

lodged in the inner recesses of our minds. In the Scriptures the Holy Book tells

us that the human mind is deceitful because there is no easy way to
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completely decipher what is in the mind from mere looks. This then explains

why some people are labelled as being sharp or dull in handling certain

situations or issues. What then makes some people say one thing when they,

in reality, mean to do something else? Why are promises not kept even when

the ability to perform is quite obvious? In these cases and more you will

discover that the mind is carefully and selectively engaged when we wish to

wriggle out of knotty situations or when we find ourselves in a bind. Yes

indeed, the mind will always come to our rescue no matter the circumstance,

even if as a temporary relief.

Have you ever wondered why people make resolutions and insist on keeping

them even when some aspects of such situations may be beyond their control?

A certain man on getting married decided that they would have seven children

and each child would be given a name to correspond to each day of the seven

days of the week, irrespective of the baby’s gender. His fascination with this

idea of naming his anticipated seven children, Sunday through Saturday, was

well known all the community and accordingly, attention was focused on

his wife each time she became pregnant and well-wishers would plan for the

upcoming unique naming ceremony. Their first child, a daughter, arrived and

was duly christened Sunday. Then followed the second, another girl, who was

named Monday, and even though the community felt that name was not really

feminine, there was no going back in the sequence of naming. Tuesday arrived,

followed by Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in that order, and there was so

much excitement and fun in the community as these children became the talk

of the town as a result of their unique naming pattern. As they awaited the

arrival of the seventh and last child, appropriately to be christened Saturday,

but alas mother-nature then showed that man may propose but God will

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surely dispose. Surprise, Surprise, the mother was delivered of twins, meaning

the arrival of an additional unexpected 8th child that was not part of the

seven-day week naming resolution. Would the twins both bear Saturday? That

could not be contemplated! The mind now went to work. As the community

gathered for the naming ceremony eager to make mockery of Mr Smart, little

did they know that he had taken care of the situation, to the surprise and

shock of his anxious wife. As the chief of the community asked the parents to

give names to the twins, their father stepped forward and announced: “this

one that came out first, the girl and our seventh child I give the name Saturday

as I resolved from the beginning of our marriage,” and the community roared

in joy and wondered loudly about the 8th, a boy. “This one, our last child and

the unexpected 8th child I have given the name: holiday.” Was that

smart or wasn’t it? The mind at work!

Igbozuruike was an uncle I had so much admiration for, to the extent that each

time I happened to visit the village while he was alive, I made out time to keep

his . He was not only witty but also had so much humour in

everything he said in conversation or discussion. I remember vividly my

conversation with him when it was announced that Nigeria was switching from

driving on the left like the British, to driving on the right like the Americans.

Uncle Igbo, as I used to call him, told me that he had a question for me, “is it

when going or when returning that you are supposed to keep to the right?” On

second thoughts I realised that his question made so much sense. Why? At

that time our link were earth roads with many potholes and all vehicular

traffic during the rainy season was restricted to wherever a motorist could

avoid the water-filled potholes. How then could both on-coming traffic handle

such a scenario if the right side of the road is impassable? Minds at work!

But what endeared me more to Uncle Igbo was the story of his experience in

Port Harcourt in 1940 as an artisan working with Oyibos in the “European

quarters” of the Garden City. He narrated that he and some other domestic

staff of the Oyibos were leaving for home after the day’s work when they were

accosted by the police for “wandering in European quarters” late in the

evening. They were all taken to the police station for detention when he

realised that some of them had been released by their kinsmen police officers

who spoke same language with them. Three of them were now left behind the

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bar, and all of them were Ibos, being interrogated by an Ibo policeman who

also witnessed when the Kalabari-speaking police officers had earlier released

their Kalabari-speaking colleagues. When Uncle Igbo was asked to give his

name for the preparation of the charge “of wandering”, he informed the

officer that his name was too long to spell. The officer was furious and dealt

him a blow on the head with his wooden baton. Uncle Igbo said that, there and

then, he shook his head, hissed and gave his name to this Igbo-speaking police

officer as: “Igbo ji akaha egbu onweha” instead of his real name, Igbozuruike.

The former name, the fake one that he gave, can be translated to mean:

are the architects of their own downfall.” The policeman got the

message, dropped the charge, and asked all three of them to go home. SHARP


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