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*The Standard Essay*

Extracts from: *_HOW TO ANSWER LITERATURE QUESTIONS_* (A work in progress)

A standard essay should have three parts namely: the introduction; the body; and the conclusion. This is applicable to every essay in every discipline. These three parts must be present when one is drafting one’s outline. Hence, ensuring that one’s essay is properly divided into paragraphs.

For an essay to be considered as standard at this level, the essay should have at least five paragraphs — that is, one paragraph for the introduction; three paragraphs for the body; and the last paragraph will be for the conclusion. It is important to note that only one idea should be discussed in a paragraph. For example, in an essay titled “The Effects of Drug Abuse”, you may outline at least three effects and discuss them in different paragraphs.

The different parts of an essay perform different functions. The introductory part, just as the name implies, introduces the essay. It contains the thesis (What the essay aims to accomplish.) and perhaps, the definition of the concepts. An essay should have a good introduction that is catchy enough to attract the reader. The body of the essay is the point where you discuss your points while the conclusion is the point where you summarise and round off your essay.

Aside having the proper form, a standard essay should also show one’s authority in the use of language — that is, the grammatical construction of words and the correct employment of punctuation are keys to writing good essays. On this note, it is advisable for students writing literature exams to master topics such as: The Rules of Concord and The Correct Ways to Use Punctuation Marks.

Knowing the aforementioned topics is important because most literature teachers usually assume that these things have been taught in English so they do not waste precious time trying to teach the students basic things like subject-verb agreement and where to put the punctuation symbols when writing.

Another important skill to have while writing is the ability to ensure the smooth flow of thoughts from one sentence to another or from one paragraph to another. This is otherwise known as cohesion. Cohesion can be achieved in an essay through the use of connective such as: firstly, lastly, in conclusion, however, furthermore, nevertheless, conclusively, etc.

To summarise all that has been said, one needs the following in order to write a good essay:
1. An outline.
2. Proper paragraphing.
3. The correct application of grammatical rules.
4. Mechanical accuracy — the correct use of punctuation marks.
5. Cohesion between sentences and paragraphs.

Below is an example of an outline and essay on the topic: “Why Youth Empowerment is Important for National Development.”


Paragraph 1: Define the concept and list out some points that will be discussed in the body. State your thesis.


Paragraph 2. Youth empowerment reduces the dependency on the government.
Paragraph 3. Youth empowerment reduces poverty.
Paragraph 4. Youth empowerment reduces crime.


Paragraph 5. Restate your thesis. Comment on what your essay has been able to achieve.

Why Youth Empowerment is Important for National Development.

Many of the developed countries of the world today are where they are because of the efforts the governments of these countries have made in terms of empowering their young citizens to be self-reliant. Self-reliance simply means the state of being able to provide for oneself the basic needs of life — water, food, housing, clothing and pleasure. Because the youths in the developed countries of the world are self-reliant, there is less dependency on the government, less poverty, and of course less crime. The word “less” is used before all the aforementioned because it is impossible to have a country whereby there is zero crime and no poor citizens etc. On this note, this essay will discuss the importance of youth empowerment to national development.

As mentioned in the preamble, if the government of Nigeria decides to invest in its youths by teaching them various skills that will make them to be able to fend for themselves, there will be less dependency on the government. If this is done in Nigeria, there will be an upsurge in the economy because the people must have learnt the skills needed to produce some of the things which are usually imported and subsidised by the government; thus, providing more funds for the government to carryout other tasks. It is no news that when people are happy and healthy, the government of the country will not have much problems; hence, doing this provides an opportunity to the government to pursue other pressing needs that will also aid national development.

Empowering the youth of Nigeria is surely going to reduce poverty. Due to lack of any official data at hand to back up claims that many Nigerians are poor, I will be giving a subjective description of poverty in Nigeria. Going through the slums of Ajegunle, I cannot help but feel nauseous when I see the poor living conditions of the people. Their houses are often old and dilapidated, usually without running water and proper toilets. To summarise, the places many a Nigerian lives is not worth living. Sadly these unhealthy environments and accommodations are what most can afford due to the high rate of poverty in the country, and in fact the ones who can afford these houses are often considered as lucky when compared to those who sleep on the streets. The high rate of poverty in the country will easily be reduced if only the government can train the youth to be self-reliant by conducting different workshops that will provide a platform for people to develop their skills and make money from it. If this is done, the standard of living of the people will increase significantly.

Finally, training the youth in skill acquisition will surely reduce crime in the country. In Nigeria today, crime — both high-profile and low-profile crimes — is the order of the day. Many youths involve in different vices in order to cater for themselves. The adage — “An idle hand is the devils workshop.” — is, everyday, proven to be correct in Nigeria because it is only those who are not gainfully employed that can find the time to involve in vices such as stealing and prostitution etc. All these will definitely reduce if only the government could provide a genuine means of making money for the youth in the country.

Youth empowerment is important for national development because the youths are the future leaders of the country. If those who will lead the country in the nearest future are responsible and self-reliant citizens, we can rest assured that the country will continue to grow and will soon be at par with the “Japans”, the “Germanies” and the “Chinas” of this world. In conclusion, this essay has discussed the importance of youth empowerment to national development.

Your feedback is required. Thanks.

*UDE, Chiedozie Orji (Atomic)*


A Critical Essay on Condomnairing by Chiedozie Ude.

Condoms, however basic and insignificant they may appear, are highly important when it comes to avoiding pregnancy and other sexual-related infections. Buying and using condoms may be quite tricky due to several factors. It is not uncommon for many a guy who wants to buy condoms to whisper silently to the seller because the buyer does not want other customers in the shop to view him with reproach. Well, if you are scared of buying condoms or you do not know how to properly wear one, this essay is for you.

Firstly, if you are underaged or if you are well known for decency, you might not want to buy condoms from a vendor that is in your area in order not to spoil your reputation. You never know, words may reach your parents or pastor. Now, that will make a juicy scandal. So, the solution to the fear or shame of buying condoms can be solved if you buy it from a place where you are not known. Better still, buy it from an aboki (trust me, these abokis sell everything sellable — that is, they are the true definition of a Jack of all trades) because an aboki will sell to you without asking questions. Do not ask me how I know this.

Having bought the condoms (I used the plural form because I do not think anyone will buy one, and rightly so.), the next issue will be how to keep them away from the wrong eyes. The wrong eyes include: younger siblings (Trust me, your younger ones cannot keep a secret to save their lives.); your parents (especially your mother); and your nosy elderly female neighbours who serve as CCTV for your mother etc. Rest assured that you are safe if you can avoid the set of people mentioned. Being caught by your parents, guardian or mentor is not ideal. Imagine how they will squeeze their faces, expressing their disgust in no uncertain terms, forgetting that they were once teenagers or youth who embarked on a plethora of erotic adventures. Trust me, African parents do not understand the concept of safe sex because total abstinence is their style. Therefore, do not be deceived by thinking they will understand why you keep condoms because they will never even try to understand; so, below are the ways to avoid being caught with the wonderful rubber:
1. Hide the goods in one of the hidden pockets of a standard wallet and never you let your wallet enter the hands of any of those classified as the wrong eyes.
2. Place the goods in an empty Milo container “pangolo” and bury it while facing the west. To be certain that you do it properly, do it while the sun is about to sink into its vest (Permit my floweriness, I mean sunset.). The essence of doing this is because burying a condom is a sacred festival that must be done with a mountain of sacredness.
3. Simply buy the condoms whenever you are about to use them. No need to keep incriminating evidence of your fornicating habit for your beloved and righteous parents to find.

No matter the precautions one may take, one may still be exposed. Little wonder the Pidgin English proverb states thus: “When breeze blow, fowl nyash go open.” Should you ever be caught with the contraband, here is a list of what you should do:
1. Admit to your parents that you are a “fuckaholic” so that they can conduct deliverance service for you. However, if your mother is a Yoruba woman who possesses the immanent or God-given ability to shape destinies with her resounding slaps, you may not apply this method. Do not say I did not warn you.
2. This rule is a tried and tested rule because it works every time. Whenever you are caught, just act casually by saying in an offhand manner that you attended a seminar on sex education and you were given condoms as souvenirs. After you say this, shake your head and say: “Silly me, I forgot to throw that shit out.” Then, you whistle loudly as you go out to discard the material. To appear more real — that is, to make them know it was an honest mistake — take out the trash can and empty it because doing this will remind your parents of how responsible you are. Applying this will save you from answering a lot of questions.

The previous paragraphs have dealt with the issues of buying and hiding condoms, and also the issue of escaping a scolding or a righteous sermon when you are caught with the goods-you-should-not-possess. Having learnt these, the next step will be to guide you on how to properly wear a condom. This stage is the most critical because if it is not done properly, you may end up becoming a father in the next nine months. As a student, you would not want that or would you? So, below are the things that should be done in order to ensure you are not violating the sacrosanct rules of condomnairing:
1. Do not wear the condom on your joystick the way you force your skinny jeans into your yam legs. Doing this may get it broken. Remember, you have to treat a condom with utmost respect and care — the kind of care you will give to a fragile baby.
2. Blow little air into it, place it on your Iroko tree and gently roll it towards your sack of coconuts (Pardon my use of euphemisms, my righteousness does not give room for sexual explicitness.).
3. Rule three is very important because it is where legends stand out. You may know how to wear a condom but are you a condomnairing legend? Read on to find out. Always leave a paragraph at the beginning of your Jack hammer when you put on a condom. This paragraph is important because it is going to store whatever you bring out during copulation. Remember, what separates the best from the rest is simply paragraphing.

In conclusion, you now know where you stand as a guy or where your boyfriends stand for the girls. Some of them are condomnairing legends while the rest need to up their game. Finally, it is believed that the unconventional methods suggested in this article will go a long way in ensuring that boys become legends.


This sinking feeling floats up again,
When I see you walking by,
I have shut my eyes and covered my ears,
But, everything that comes was just about your shadow and your voice,
And they were felt so real…
Even I can’t prevent myself to approach you,
Just want to be near you,
But, getting closer we are,
This scary I feel is getting bigger too…
I’m afraid when I already stand one step behind,
Then suddenly you feel weird, and then you walk away,
And away…


Intan was on the canteen at the break time. She was about to buy some meal for herself. The canteen was full of hungry students, and Intan was lucky to get the closest place to take her meal and pay for it.
“Give me the change Miss, please,” Intan shouted as the effort to get the change of her money. The canteen was so noisy, so Intan must shout aloud.
“Excuse me,” suddenly a voice came beside her. “Can you give me the plastic, please?”
Without looking at the person, Intan quickly snatched the plastic bags — which were located a few centimeters away from her hand, pulled out one, and gave it to the person. But, as she turned around to give the plastic bag, suddenly she was frozen.
“Thank you,” said the person.
Intan was so nervous. But, to make everything alright, she kept herself in normal mode. “You’re welcome.”
Intan quickly turned around to avoid the face of the person she just met. It was Fajri, a boy from the next class. Intan had a crush on him since a month ago, and she didn’t want Fajri to know her feeling toward him. Even there was nobody who knew about her feeling toward Fajri. He already had a girlfriend. That was why she never talks more with him.
Quietly Intan enjoyed that moment. She hoped the canteen keeper would take longer to give her the change, so she could enjoy the moment longer too. But, God didn’t grant her wish. The canteen keeper came soon after the moment she gave the plastic bag.
“Your change, girl,” said the canteen keeper.
Heavily Intan accepted the change. “Thank you.”
And heavily she left her place before. She weakly tried to walk against the sea of hungry students which was filling up the canteen.

Finally she could set herself free from the canteen. Slowly she walked toward her classroom. With a bit joy and so much sorrow she entered her class. She thanked but she cursed the day, too. Her feeling was unneat after she met her crush, Fajri.
Actually Intan wanted to forget her feeling toward him. Even she already tried the easiest way to forget him. But, it was never a success. She knew, since Fajri already had a girlfriend, she must throw away her feeling and walk normally. But, she couldn’t. Even, sadly, she always thought about him, took a look at him everywhere he was, listened to any news about him, and went to the places Fajri always visits in. And she realized how stupid she was.


With weary steps, I’m walking to reach you
I hope that you can see this feeling
(Which was torturing me for this far)
And you can set me free
But, this scary feeling keeps the control of me
Though I have been walking for a hundred miles,
When I’m closer with you, just a few steps behind,
I hide myself (again)
I’m afraid, and still afraid
You’ll feel weird, and you’ll walk away
And I’ll get nothing instead of hurt
And I know it’s more hurtful than this…


“Go to the library with me, please….”
“Aish…” Intan moaned, bothered. “But I don’t want to!”
“Oh Intan, please…” Nana, trying her best effort, kept persuading Intan. “You won’t let your best friend go away alone, right?”
“Nana,” Intan tried to speak up her reason.
“Oh please,” Nana didn’t stop persuading.
Intan exhaled heavily. She couldn’t stop wondering why she never wins herself from arguing with Nana, her bench mate.
“Well, then,” Intan answered. “I’ll go!”
Nana jumped and yelled in joy. “Hurray! We’ll go together! Hurray!”
Intan just hid her face. Quietly she felt embarrassed having a childish bench mate as Nana did. But, since just Nana could accept the quiet Intan as her bench mate, Intan could do nothing to win, even once.
“I’ll search for books the librarians recently bought,” said Nana while she pulled Intan up. “They must be great!”
Intan just smiled as the answer. She let Nana pull her hand and drag her to the library.
Actually Intan had a reason why she didn’t want to go to the library. She knew much about that place. She knew who the person who visits the library diligently was and often each week. And she tried to avoid that person. But, there was always a reason which made her unable to do her mission.
Finally she could see the library door. Her heart beat so fast. She indeed wanted to go away from that place. But, she had less power than Nana’s. Nana kept dragging her strongly as she pulled out her most naughty cow from the cage.

Well then, dramatically Intan entered the library. She was trying her best effort to not make any noise so there would not be any whispers talking about them. She quietly looked around to find that person. And, her prediction was right. That person was standing across the bookshelf where she stood accompanying Nana searching for her book.

Intan was slowly taking her breath. Even she was gasping. She was so nervous to stand right across that person in the other side of the bookshelf. He was busying himself by searching for his book. She thought and thought what she should do. But, instantly her mind reminded her about something.
“No, Intan! No!” her heart spoke. “You don’t have the right to do that! He’s owned, remember?”
Intan exhaled heavily, then without taking care about Nana, she got out of the library with so much sorrow in her heart. Once again, she must meet her sad reality; she couldn’t get closer with Fajri, whenever.


I’m such a fool girl,
Who chooses to hide her self
Than speak up facing everything
Love is a kinda trouble,
And needs more effort to be discovered
I know, and I see I must do something
So I can set this love free
But, I can’t do that thing
I just need to be closer with you,
But, I don’t know what’s going on…
Every time I get closer,
Those spooky steal my breath
And I can feel I’m gonna dying…


“Intan! Why do you leave me?” Nana shouted after they were back from the library.
Intan just stayed in silence. Her face was pale. Meeting coincidentally with Fajri was a big quake for her day.
“Intan?” Nana asked softly, feeling worried. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, dear…” said Intan softly with a thin smile.
“But, you’re…”
“Don’t worry about me, Nana dear…” cut Intan. “I’m just getting a syndrome…”
“Oh Intan…” Nana spoke, feeling sorry. “I’m sorry; I don’t know that you’re unwell…”
“No problem,” said Intan. “I’m okay. I’m okay.”
It was a lie. It was a big lie. She wasn’t okay at all. She felt so much pain. She still felt the big crush she got when she was in the library. Her heart and her brain were included in a war, an invisible war. Her heart forced her to get closer with Fajri, but her brain forced her to be away from him. It was such a dilemma for her. She knew she loved Fajri, but a condition made her feeling hard to be closer with him — which was a call from her soul.
Intan once again exhaled heavily. She thought, ‘Should I make Fajri know about this pain? I can’t help myself. He’s the one who can heal me! I must do something! But, how?! I find no way…’


I need somebody to stop this craziness,
And I know no one could come instead of you
But, I have no voice left in my throat
Meanwhile you’re so far away…
And you’re not aware of me at all
I just can hope a miracle will turn you backward
And you’ll see me
Crying with my bruised feet
With all of my hands spread out…


Intan closed her journal. She wept her tears from her cheeks. She looked at the ceiling of her room. She exhaled heavily; she never knew when this pain would reach its limit time. She would never know, and she had accepted her fate to be pained. As she wouldn’t die because of it, she could bear with it. She knew she would love Fajri for an unlimited time, and getting hurt wouldn’t make her die.

“For the conclusion,” Intan spoke while she stared at her journal, “I’ll always love Fajri, no matter whatever happens.”
Intan smiled at her journal. Quickly she ran into her fantasy, where she could see her shadow running freely on the green grass while chasing for her sweetheart, Fajri, who was running away from her with a great laugh and joy.