Saturday, December 24, 2005

God's Voicemail

I usually delete unread, all 'forward' e-mails that share jokes or wisdom of the ages. When I received this one that read on the subject line 'God on voicemail', I was curious enough to click on the attachment. I have cut off all the preambles and have modified some of the text, and have written a new intro. I have also changed the prayer options to the ACTS system that is very effective.

In the beginning of time, God was very accessible to people on a one to one basis. People spoke to Him from their bedrooms and He spoke back to them. As human problems became more complex and God was being bothered by the most trivial of things, He allowed the High Priests to pick up the requests and deal with what they could and pass the more difficult cases to Him and the Christ.

Later on, the Christ came in the human form of Jesus and walked among men and witnessed that the High Priest had become quite stuffy and used their discretions sometimes unfairly. Some of them were corrupt - a brood of vipers, and when Jesus was crucified, the curtain in the temple was ripped apart, bringing men directly into the presence of God again.

The high priests still have their function, but one does not need them anymore in order to speak to God.

In a recent turn of events, in has emerged that God found the use of the switchboard in the corporate world quite exciting. In a swift move to answer all those critics who think that God has not really upgraded his communications systems to the standards of the technological age, men who only believe what they can see or understand how it works, men who fail to realise that the equipment-free communications systems God already had in place was quite technologically advanced, God moved to install a virtual switchboard so that when you pray, you at least hear and receive some instant attention.

This story assumes your prayer is a telephone call to heaven. Enjoy.

Thank you for calling heaven.

For English press 1

For French press 2

For Igbo or any African Language press 3

For Klingon and all other languages, press 4

If you wish to hear the options again press 9

Please select one of the following options:

A - Adoration: If you are calling just to give praise to God's holy name, to celebrate him, Press 1 now.

C - Confession: To confess your sins now, and to pray for strength to stay away from sin, Press 2 now.

T - Thanksgiving: To thank God for what he has done for you and your loved ones, press 3 now.

S - Supplication: Please note that under supplication there are 2 sub-options; Intercession - to pray for other people, to ask God to have mercy on world leaders, to touch the hearts of the wicked and turn them away from their wickedness, to get the sick better, or any other matter concerning other people, press 4, or for Petition - to ask God for what you need yourself, a wife, a husband, a car, a job, good health, a friend, anything at all you want for yourself, Press 5.

Please be aware that when you pray, God can give you one of three answers, Yes, No, or Maybe. Yes, for what he thinks you are ready for, No for something which in your human wisdom you think you need, but God knows will not be good for you, and Maybe for something he wishes to consider for you but not at that very moment.

Please be patient, all our Angels are busy helping other callers right now. However, your prayer is important to us and we will answer it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line. Or if you know the extention you want press it now, for example:

To speak to God directly now press 1,

To speak to the Christ press 2,

To find out if your recently-departed friend or family member has been assigned to heaven press 3, (If you receive a negative response, press 666 to speak to him in the Departures Lounge to Hell. If he has already been shipped, you will be unable to reach him)

For reservations to heaven, please enter JOHN followed by the numbers, 3 - 16.

For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, life and other planets, please wait until you arrive in heaven for the specifics.

For Operator assistance, press 0 now.

If the Operator does not pick up, it is probably because this office is now closed for the weekend to observe religious holiday, in which case you may wish to contact your local pastor.

And if Satan is knocking at your door, simply say, "Jesus, could you please get that for me?"

Thank you and have a heavenly day.

Click on the e-mail sign below to send this to somebody.

Best Wishes and Merry Christmas


Monday, December 19, 2005


In French “Les Lueurs Et Les Sons” means “Lights and Sounds”. I bet you didn't know that, did you?. I too did not know those words until this morning when I had a chance to read a translation of my poem “Lights and Sounds” on the Poesie Du Monde website.

Nicolas Folio and Maria Merrett are building an online anthology of world poetry in French. It was an honour to receive an invitation from Maria Merrett to have my poem featured there as the first poem from Nigeria in the anthology. The page also features a photograph “Tie & Dye Commune, Abeokuta” by Molara Wood. Although the photograph was taken in faraway Nigeria, and is not directly related to the poem, I however find the colourful image of Tie & Dye materials hung out and drying on airing lines, which are the means of livelood and the promise, or dream of fortune for the producers works well with these lines from the poem:

I hang the map on life’s line somewhere
custodian of fortune will see it.

The format, scale and ambition of poesie du monde is exciting. It is also quite different from The Other Voices International Project – an online anthology in English edited by Robert Humes at

The other voices anthology features six of my poems and poems by other Nigerian poets; Unoma Azuah, Uche Nduka, Tolu Ogunlesi and Esiaba Irobi. I can only attempt to put these two projects side by side The Argonaut's Boat – another great online showcase at I have been invited to be a poet-in-residence on the Boat, and I shall be sending materials to the Captian Argo Spier before the year runs out. Other poets on Other Voices would have received similar invitations.

If you would like your poem featured in Poesie Du Monde. Go to and see if your country has been represented. I understand from Maria that they want to have just one poet per country for now until all the countries of the world have been represented and then they would start adding more poets. If your country has not been represented and you would like to have your poem there, send me an e-mail: and I would surely connect you with Maria Merrett.

To read “Lights and Sounds” in French and English now go to click on ‘Afrique’ and then on ‘Nigeria’

Or click on the link below

Have a wonderful day.

Nnorom Azuonye

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Air Disasters: Nigeria holds top spot

Following the December 10, 2005 crash of a Sosoliso Airlines plane near Port-Harcourt, Nigeria, many Nigerians have been numb with grief. They have been too shocked to express in words exactly how they feel. More disturbing however has been the fact that the few who have been able to speak make comments that suggest it is the fault of Nigeria as a country, or the fault of the Nigerian leadership, if the government there could be called that, that a crash like this occured. With obvious references to the poor maintenance culture in Nigeria where air travel is quick beginning to sound like a suicide mission; the aeroplanes are reportedly much too old, and with the hugely advertised corruption in the country, aircraft that are not air-worthy could very well be allowed to fly.

This is why many Nigerians are angry, and are not willing to accept this latest crash as an accident. There has even been the far-fetched thoughts expressed that Obasanjo is sacrificing these people in exchange or partial fulfilment of his evil dues to Satan to ensure a third term in office. Never an Obasanjo person, even I think those thoughts have not been well expressed, but grief does such things to people and somebody has got to be blamed. On instinct, I wanted to see if Nigeria indeed had more crashes than every other country with an airline.

A quick ‘2005 air crashes’ search on Google led me to where I was able to obtain information on air crashes worldwide between September 5, and December 10, 2005. I wrote down all the crashes and the number of fatalities, and worked out the statistics for myself.

In all there were 15 air crashes in the period. A total of 521 people perished in those crashes - an average of 34.73 people per crash. Looking at the individual crashes however, the worst disaster of all was in Medan, Indonesia on September 5, where a Boeing 737 carrying 117 people crashed killing 99 on board and a further 44 people on the ground thereby clocking up a total death toll of 143. The second worst crash was the Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 crash of October 22 near Lagos, Nigeria which cleaned up all 117 passengers. That horrible Nigerian crash is closely followed in the third place by the December 6 Lockheed C130B Hercules crash in Tehran, Iran, which killed 94 passengers and a further 14 on the ground, a total of 108. And worthy of special mention of course is the Sosoliso Airlines crash - a McDonnell Dc-9-32, which claimed 103 people, 75 of them school children.

Incredibly, although crashes in Nigeria only account for just over 13% of the crashes recorded in the period, Nigeria claims the trophy for the most deaths with a total of 220 in the two crashes, a whopping 42.23% chunk of the 521 dead in the period September 5 to December 10, 2005. What can one say to Nigeria, congratulations or condolences?

Interestingly, of all 15 crashes, there were only five commercial airliners. The rest are either privately-owned planes or small cargo flights. The December 8 Boeing 737 crash in Chicago, Illinois, had no passenger fatality at all, although it managed to kill somebody on the ground. I hit at this point just because of the points raised about maintenance of planes in Nigeria. I should imagine that the owners of the private jets would maintain them well. Maybe I am wrong but I still want to see this latest Sosoliso crash and the Bellview one before it as accidents. Accidents do happen. This will not console anyone, I know. I have personally not yet been consoled over the death of my uterine sibling in a bus crash at Ijebu-Igbo in 1982, therefore I understand how the bereaved must be feeling now and how they will still be feeling 20 years from now.

I recall with shame today, the anger I felt when I learnt the driver of the bus that killed my brother had survived the crash, and how I thought of ways to go to Ibadan and kill him. But years have passed and I have come to accept that perhaps it was the way his God wanted it, and I am thankful that I did not dwell on those murderous thoughts and did not harm the poor man who is perhaps still seeing ghosts of people he probably believes his reckless driving killed. I hope he has grown to see it was just an accident.

What I would ask the bereaved today is to say what my mother kept muttering after she learned her son had died just one month after the death of her husband, “God, please do not allow me utter a word of blasphemy.” May God be the consoler of all those who have lost their loved ones. Nothing we can say as human beings can heal them now, all we can do is cover them with prayers. Besides, I have just been reading and hearing all sorts of good things about Pastor Bimbo Odukoya who also returned to the Almighty through that Sosoliso crash, and I suddenly feel that it was not by accident she was on that flight. I didn't know the woman in life. Never even heard her preach once as far as I know, but if she was truly as good a human being and with God as the reports purport, then she might have been there especially for the children, to care for them, to make sure they are not afraid, to help them understand what just happened to them, and to lead them into the greater light of God.

Nnorom Azuonye
December 13, 2005