Many are the hours a mother bears down to birth her young, the pain of labor searing through her vein as she attempts to bring forth that which she has concealed for months. It is no small task, nothing short of a miracle. And yet with every choice you maim her, that which was born through labor destroyed with a smile and a twinkle.
But she is still here you shout, do not accuse us of such grave injustice. For where have you seen us tear the child from the womb or steal milk from a suckling babe? They demand frothing at the mouth, hoping to erase my understanding with giant bubbles of spittle.
Aye, you haven’t ripped the child from succor, but you have stripped her naked of a dignified life, abandoned to survive by the skin of her teeth. How have we done this, you beseech me, not because you’re penitent, rather your soul desires to have its self-righteous ego pacified.
For each seed you’ve eaten satisfying your selfish desires you swallowed the harvest of children born and yet unborn. You and your cronies of merchants and devious contractors build a wooden bridge; a replica of the golden gate announces your town criers, a passage way to El Dorado for all. Alas! Many fall away into the clouds bearing burdens of gifts undiscovered. Those who survive carry their vehicles rather than drive them. They report to fleabag structures by the way side seeking refreshing only to depart worse than they came; the hospital has more unwell people leaving than entering. And you say we haven’t killed them.
Each throne you ascend obliterates the hope of suckling babes for a new dawn, your gluttons belly hides burying the sun. Your time is far spent, yet you sit like the moons at eclipse except it turns away in due time but you do not. Thus, you obstruct the course of nature turning it against itself. Where from shall the dawn arise if the sun is kept captive by the moon? True the sun will triumph in the end, but many would have gone mad by the confusion.
For each time you trumpet personal your horns to welcome a stranger, but send the servants to receive the wee babe, you teach her by deeds to esteem another highly. You unwittingly set the zenith of her aspiration; she shall aim to be the best copy of an unknown stranger. You devalue her and yet you ask why? You deceived herd of authority, your understanding fails you, for you esteem yourself superior by means of your ill-gotten gain shame as the stranger knows that only knowledge divides the ranks and you know not much except your greed which holds us all to ransom.
I fear to carry on lest the spirit of the child be vexed to hades. Do not despair my beloved, sleep in peace soon we shall unseat the godfathers who know no form of godliness or the responsibility of the father. Stay true to yourself my child, do not let them steal away the beauty of your inner soul.
When we hear the word church the image of a building readily comes to mind; a definite architectural structure with a roof, windows and doors. Some of us go a step further to think of the church as less of a building and more about the people who congregate in the said building at various times. However, it is very rare that we consciously think of church leaders as an integral part of the church, especially with respect to my home country, Nigeria. We hear statements such as the church needs this, the church has to pray for this, God has need of this, God requires this. Lessons, messages and instructions are passed down to the church, but I find that these same messages are not depicted by the church as a body, its leaders inclusive.
For example: a common and true message of the scripture is God desires for us to walk and mature in patience. We are taught from a young age to believe that when God says NO in one area it might mean He has another plan, we are taught to patiently wait and discover that plan. The bible passage Ecclesiastes 3 is a very strong passage that buttresses this point. Now when it comes to the needs of the ‘church and it’s leaders’ I find the message of patience and dependence on God’s timing quickly brushed away.
The sense of urgency, the level of demand and cautionary tales of disobedience aimed at the congregation is often mind staggering. It paints the picture of an impatient God or impatient church leaders dependent on their followers to advance their course. Two factors make me certain that it is the latter, one God doesn’t need us to do anything for him, he is an all sufficient God, thus He does not depend solely on us to bring his plans to pass. He however, desires that we are a part of His plan, which is more for our benefit than His. Secondly, God’s plan will definitely come to pass regardless of time or individual availability.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55 vs 10-11
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24 vs 34-35
This brings me back to our church leaders, are they truly advancing God’s course or their personal agendas? When we task members to give while ignoring their personal needs, is that really an act of faith or religious blackmail? Since, I can’t see your hearts I only ask that we do not make a mockery of the things we teach by living out a different life. Our sufficiency should be of God; this includes individuals, the general congregation, and church leaders.
The body of Christ i.e.the church is also encouraged to take His message, His lifestyle everywhere we go regardless of status or age. A very challenging task, as life can be brutal in its demand, and keeping God’s will at the center of your actions can seem daunting, thankfully His grace is there to help. Having said that, we must not forget that He desires we speak the truth at all times, to be the voice of honesty and this is the part I find our church leaders lacking. With the present economic crisis engulfing Nigeria, I know without a doubt that offerings, tithes and other special demands are still levied at the congregation. Is this wrong? Not really but it is wrong that our church leaders do not speak up against the high handedness of our leaders.
In your silence you have robbed the church, you have acted in ignorance to their plight. I know some will excuse their silence by saying ‘perhaps God has not directed/lead them to speak,’ to them I pose this question; is God always behind all the demands placed on the congregation? Are some of them not logical reasoning’s of a committee? Are some of them not strategic advancements of someone’s vision as he reaps the rewards of one endeavour to grow the fields of another. Is that not an example of faith and works bringing forth fruit? Would those schools, businesses and private acquisitions have come if membership hadn’t blossomed? So why should the congregation be encouraged to pray, but nothing is done to bring the change they need? At this point the problem becomes solely the responsibility of the congregation. Why?
We are encouraged to speak the truth at board meetings to peacefully confront the erring boss and colleague, but aren’t our church leaders closer to these political leaders, shouldn’t they be the one’s to speak? When are we going to take our ‘leadership outside the four walls of our church’ with the same tenacity and verve we declare God’s word and message to the congregation.
Elijah spoke to Ahab.
Samuel spoke to Saul.
Yes God directed them, yes God gave them the go ahead. My fear however is that our leaders might have closed the channel of communication when it comes to certain areas.
We need leaders who will show us their works and not just words in the daily spheres of life.
We need leaders who will champion His kingdom in every sector.
We need leaders who have not entombed Christ in the confines of their personal ambitions.
All images courtesy Pixabay free images except where indicated.
Several adverts have annoyed me in the past, but none has annoyed me as much as the Boris Johnson/David Cameron campaign for/against Brexit.It trivializes a vital decision. A choice with parallel consequences for either side of the divide, with the potential to change the future for generations of scottish farmers and the everyday worker on the street, be he/she a migrant or an indigene.
The ad indirectly showcases how the elite/politicians probably see the decision: it’s more about which side of the fence they would like to play on and less about the future of the citizens. But they use complex analogies/words and statistics to ensure you vote based on fear or confusion.
It’s like a movie commercial, thank you very much! But some of us like to know where game of thrones ends and reality begins, some of us like to know when it’s Gerard Butler ‘shouting this is sparta’ and when we have to stand tall to face tough life decisions. And there will be tough decisions and consequences to live with whichever side the axe falls post voting.
The decision for or against Brexit in my opinion should have nothing to do with how much we like or dislike these individuals. An advert like the present one will definitely draw attention away from the main issue, turning it into a personality crusade rather than a deciding process in the nations future.
The Nigerian senate a few days ago rejected a bill proposed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. A bill that would have set the ball rolling, promoting equality for women across the Nigerian society. It comes as no surprise that the said bill was rejected.
Equality: the right of different groups of people to have a similar social position and receive the same treatment. Cambridge dictionary.
The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. Oxford dictionary.
“You will never find the real truth among people that are insecure or have egos to protect. Truth over time becomes either guarded or twisted as their perspective changes; it changes with the seasons of their shame, love, hope or pride.” ― Shannon L. Alder
The above quote is very apt for describing the thought process of the individuals who refuted the bill; standing on the grounds of religion (Christians and Muslims alike) some senators deemed the bill a challenge to deep held beliefs. And to that I say what a load of crap. I can’t speak for Muslims but I know without a doubt that Christianity in no form encourages the subjugation of another human being. It does encourage a wife to submit to her husband: her husband not all men. God in his infinite wisdom knowing how the human mind can misconstrue things equally demanded that the man should love his wife like Christ loved the church (a part of the instruction numerous men choose to overlook) Why? Because love as Christ demanded bears no thoughts of harm towards it’s recipient (neither emotional, psychological or physical harm). Outside the matrimonial relationship the universal instruction for dealing with people regardless of gender is to live at peace with each other.
“Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” ― Khaled Hosseini
And this my friends is the crux of the matter. Everyone knows the guiding rule of the blame game: blame the weaker opponent, the older child accuses the middle child who in turn accuses the last child. The man accuses the woman after all who will come to her defense. They do not want equality because it leaves no room for errors to be swept under the universal carpet ‘it’s a man’s world’. Equality weighs your capacity not your gender; your competence and not your brash ability to intimidate another. Don’t get me wrong the ‘equality bill’ will by no means immediately change our nation, it’s still struggling to do so in more advanced countries. However, passing it into existence sets the stage for progress. But Nigeria recognizes the rights of women : they work, they are educated, they vote. I do not agree, NO. ‘Nigeria’ decided where to re-position women in today’s society, it decided we follow. Pass the bill, set the stage for equitable partnership across board. Set the bar for merit based awards, not sex based awards. (Every pun intended)
According to the dictionary, he is my fellow citizen.
But I am from Ekiti, his from Edo and she is from Ebonyi, we’re not of the same ethnicity.
But you’re all from Nigeria, so does it matter?
It does matter, they speak a different language, have different customs and beliefs. We are a vase of broken pieces glued together connected but fractured in so many areas. The intention of the craftsman at the time of creation is a bit hazy and our present matter has no clue on how to polish broken ware, all he does is sell our golden rim to the highest bidder.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, does it matter? You’re here now, actually, you’ve been here for over fifty years. Can’t you do something about it?
My dear to be honest the thing have tire me! I don’t really know, all I know is that I’m from … and they’re from …
And if you do me, I do you, God, no go vex.
But all of you will end up in ‘dundun‘ while the master loots the fortune.
Nigeria’s call obey … what voice lies behind the call?
The voice of leaders who have eaten us out of home and hearth.
Or the voice of followers amplified by hunger pangs as they seek wealth without the sweat.
The voice of religion offering emancipation with one hand, mental and soul bondage with the other.
Or the voice of a thug hoping to bamboozle you into cowering.
Worse case yet
Perhaps it is the voice of a non-rehabilitated neocolonialism junkie screaming freedom, yet taking a drag from the spliff trading his soul for more.I pledge to Nigeria my Country
To be faithful, loyal and honest
Wherein lies our loyalty? Behind cloaks of greed and selfishness, faithful to the money honest in servitude to it’s gripping powers.
Allegiance to others, treachery to self.
Slowly the world moves towards globalization and the ‘wholes’ will swallow the ‘halves’, need I say where we shall end up?
Referendum: a vote in which all the people in a country or an area are asked to give their opinion about or decide an importantpolitical or social question. Source: Cambridge advanced learners dictionary.
The word referendum had no applicable meaning to me until I moved to the UK. Now it has become a household term, I do applaud the leadership and citizens for having a seeming sense of balance when it comes to deciding who really should control the nation’s future. Having said that, I think the leaders still do what all political leaders do, keep the masses in the dark, while using the media to haunt them into a corner on issues they don’t fully grasp. I haven’t lived here all my life so I can understand the anger of anyone who thinks I have no right to voice an opinion on the issue, but I do love politics and would like to raise a few salient questions and ideas on the issue.
Will Britain become a stronger entity if it leaves or will it be stronger for the elite and weaker for the masses? By stronger I am referring to economic and socio-cultural strength. Can the competitive strength of the British market withstand or negotiate better with the regulatory powers of the EU when it leaves? Is there a more suitable ‘ally’ out there? I know the UK is a sovereign nation and a strong one too, but I am also aware that the world is slowly shifting towards a global sovereignty and it will have it’s fractions with some more powerful than the other. The choice you make today determines which side of the divide you end up in the bigger picture. What level of freedom will the EU grant Britain following a Brexit? When Scotland wanted to leave there was a lot of peaceful discuss, but there were also side talks on how to tighten the remaining parties, to strengthen it against such actions in the future. Now mirror that process against the EU and it will be safe to say that the rules after a Brexit will not be coated with sugar or anything nice. It will be harsh and perhaps a tiny bit unfriendly, a move to discourage future dissent. Is the EU really anti-democratic or is this more a case of wanting to eat the cake and still have it? I went in search of the structure for of the EU’s institutional framework I found the following:
The EU has three political governing institutes: the parliament, the council of ministers and the European commission. Members of the European parliament are elected by European citizens, it is basically a group of member state representatives. The next level is the Council of ministers consisting of a representative from each country’s national government usually a minister. The last arm of the EU is the European Commission which is its executive body. The EC comprises of 28 individuals: 1 president, 7 vice-presidents and 20 commissioners.
The president is elected by the parliament, who subsequently selects the twenty- seven other candidates based on suggestions from member states. This model I believe is the same as what most European nations operate by way of democracy. It is basically the same politics but on a much larger scale. As with every ‘nation’, every member state will have it’s entitled allocations, some will get preference above others in certain areas but overall each hopes to be treated fairly, equally and prioritized in times of distress. States can negotiate issues as at the point of joining but once in same rules apply to everyone. In my humble understanding, I think the EU has been operating in line with the above.
Through the course of my research, I discovered that the European Union was formed after the second world war as a way to end the constant power tussle and needless bloodshed. It was driven by a quest for unity and a sense of interdependence balancing the scales between the weaker and stronger nations so to speak. In order for the EU to exist each member state must be willing to yield some of its sovereignty, to give and also receive the benefits as well as risks of such a co-dependence.
Some would argue that if Britain wanted more influence over Brussels, perhaps it should spend commensurate effort into asserting the EU’s leadership and Britain’s place in the centre of power rather than demanding it’s own private corner with all the privileges and none of the risks.
These are just my humble thoughts spurred from reading and listening to the news. Would love to hear yours.
‘When we select a prime minister, we give them a short-term lease on power with the right to change our minds after five years. In or Out will be a generational choice about the future of the United Kingdom.’ Andrew Rawnsley
Today I woke up with a totally different idea of what to write, I was going to write a poem. A poem on the different curves and turns we take on life’s journey, curves that deceive us into thinking we have moved onto a different path. In reality, however, the path remains the same; our minds and souls change attracting different people, different circumstances. With each new addition, the path takes on a new form: it becomes rocky, smoother, broader, narrower. We get delayed, we get propelled. We get re-tagged and reconfigured – eternally changed, essentially the same. But the path – the path stays the same. That is the crux of the poem I intended to write, but then I read something that veered me slightly off-course, it focused my mind on life and its numerous tags for everything under the sun.
The article I read was about Beyonce’s performance at the super bowl, it discussed her new song formation and what it all meant for ‘black’ people. You can find the post here. A very heated piece with a strong message which I would love to share my thoughts on.
First, in life there will always, always be tags.
‘Tag: a label attached to someone or something for the purpose of identification or to give other information.’
Tags can be positive or negative, misguiding or informative, complimentary or derogatory. Trying to avoid them completely in order to be politically correct or encourage harmony is similar to trying to navigate a maze without drawing a map or directions to trace your steps back. Or trying to coordinate a workshop for a thousand participants without using any form of grouping, division or methodology.
Tags like generalisations can be very confining, boxing people into corners and divides they don’t fit into naturally. Blacks, whites, gay, straight, minority group, majority group, breast-feeder, bottle feeder etc, are all tags.
Tags become a problem when:
They blind the speaker to the potentials of their target
When the speaker ignores the obvious and depends on associated myths to judge the target.
When they are designed to humiliate or insult
When the target takes them up without thought or worse when they adopt it against their true individuality.
If I gave a child the above picture to colour and they painted it red, has it in any way changed the true colour of the flower? The colour used is simply a reflection of the child’s mind at that moment. A tag takes on the life of its speaker and the reaction of its target. When someone refers to me as a coloured person, I often wonder do colourless people exist?
I know it’s a difficult thing to do, to try looking past the labels. History has damaged a lot of words for us, our anger and failure to see the coward behind those derogatory tags prevents us from seeing ourselves as we truly are ‘humans on an exodus’. Hiding behind the illusion of political correctness equally doesn’t help, address the underlying issues put everyone on a level playing field. Stop the tag based treatment.
Secondly, people constantly seek to be accepted for who they are: as individuals, as a family, as a nation, as a race. We all want acceptance that doesn’t judge us, so why did Beyonce’s performance of a song that embraces her bloodline and every image associated with her skin tone receive such an angry reaction. Why did people get offended?
Similar to the tags issue, we must ask ourselves why are we offended or threatened by this? When she sang the song ‘who runs the world?’ women everywhere cheered, men moaned and jeered. Now this song, formation celebrates her blackness; blacks cheer and whites hiss (some whites not all). See my point there? There will always be divides, just get on with life. The song becomes a problem if Beyonce insists that everyone should stand up and sing the song or dance to it, then we can start the debate. When one tries to laud their beliefs, sufferings or basic lifestyle and tags on another then there is a problem.
The writer in her post alluded that those who have been oppressed have the right to speak over people, I do not agree with that at all.
“People will then argue and say things like, “well why can’t I say White Pride?” Let me tell you why. Because White Pride has killed Black people. “White pride” is what people yelled when they lynched folks and hung them in trees. As people said “white pride” in their white hoods, they dragged Black bodies behind their cars. Never has Black Pride dragged a white child or burned a white church or shot a white boy without consequence.”
Everyone deserves the right to speak and uphold their identities. I totally agree that sometimes we have to scream to have our voices heard, but when we start to shout down the other person, who is merely different but isn’t trying to harm us, then it’s a vicious cycle repeating itself. The players might have changed ranks, but the game remains the same. I know that many still suffer from the effects of such imbalances and for them the
extreme might be the only way out. For the black person who does not have these challenges, don’t go into the streets with a chip on your shoulder ready to pick a fight. Know when to take a stand and when to stand down.
We must learn to respect each others individuality, you’re a gay, I am straight. Why should you be able to say yours while I cower in fear of offending your new found self? Promoting that belief shows we haven’t learnt from the past or made any progress. I understand how passionate we can get with our chosen beliefs, but we must be careful to temper passion with respect for another’s individuality.
Finally, the writer’s attitude to an email in my opinion was a bit over the top. I believe it encourages the divide.
Dear Awesomely Luvvie:
I was so excited when I started following your Facebook page a few weeks ago! Many of your posts and blogs are fantastically witty, smart and sassy. You’ve made me laugh and think, and I’ve shared several of your pieces on my own feed.
But after awhile, I sensed an undertone of “us vs. them” that feels like it’s counter-intuitive to promoting love and an honest dialogue about race, and what we can do better as a culture.
Your words have great power and a lot of people are listening.
Everyone who writes projects their personality, views and thoughts through their work, especially when it touches on topical issues. We are entitled to our own thoughts, however, I like to think that writers ultimately hope to shape society into a peaceful global community where mind-tone, brain-tone and heart-tone supercede skin-tone. In line with the above, I suppose the writer could have pointed out to lady x email that there really is an ‘us vs them’ issue and until everyone accepts that it exists and works towards eliminating it, there won’t be any ‘tangible love or dialogue’. The writer equally shouldn’t insult her white audience by acknowledging she wasn’t writing for them. The change we seek will never be obtained or complete unless we all act as one, ask Martin Luther king Jr. who to my knowledge never looked down on his varied array of supporters.
How we handle issues determine whether we end up as victors or as bleeding fighters of a worthy cause. I do not write this as someone who has totally adapted the one global community spirit, far from it. I write as one who wants to pursue her path without the added consequences of a wrong re-tag.
According to the Oxford dictionary a slum is a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people. Slums originate as a less than formal or planned settlement of people in a given area. They exist all over the world from Mumbai to Lagos; however, some are more deteriorated than others. A slum can be seen as a reflection of the chasm that exists in society. It is also an indication of a nation’s inability to cope with population increase, changing economic times and urban migration.
Upgrading the slums and its dwellers is a monumental task and a topic for another day. However, I must state that it would make no difference in the long run if the slums are changed, but deeper economic issues such as corruption and government fund mismanagement are ignored. The following article on a Nigerian slum and the lessons we can find in unexpected places was written by a dear friend Bukola T. Odu. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
In the last six months, I’ve had to visit Makoko at least once every week. A slum in Lagos Nigeria, the community exists right on top of the Lagos Lagoon somewhere in the hidden corners of Yaba. Home to an estimated 86,000 people, yet most folks don’t even know they exist. And those who know about it don’t fully appreciate the degradation that exists in there.
Regardless of its numerous drawback, Makoko taught me a few life lessons ….
HAPPINESS IS NOT A FUNCTION OF LUXURY: Makoko is a slum of slums. Somewhat sealed away from the outside, they share space with their own trash. They poop, pee, bathe and dump refuse right into the same water they navigate daily to move around competing with the canoes for road space. Words cannot accurately describe my feeling of dismay, watching someone enter one of the tiny wooden baths, squat and drop poop (my colleague calls it caramel droppings…ewww) into the water as my canoe passed by. If you’re lucky the ‘caramel dropping’ might cause a splash you would be wise not to shrink away too fast from it else you topple your canoe, placing you in the deep end up of fetid poop and trash.
In December, we had a ‘cover up’ project, handing out clothing and other items to them. I was certain they wouldn’t appreciate used clothes, to my surprise, over five-hundred packages disappeared in less than an hour. By physical standards, these people live in poverty but here’s the twist, they are not poor at heart by any measure. Until you offer and even explain why you are offering to give them something, the people of Makoko could care less for what you have. Their contentment is great and I can’t explain the reason for it. They are happy living right on top of their smelly water.
Lesson: Happiness is a child of contentment which is best friends with a grateful heart.
THERE’S A SOURCE RIGHT WITHIN YOUR TERRITORY: most Makoko residents don’t go out for work. They find work right within their community, making an income from the same water that houses them. You don’t see a lot of the men at home during the day, usually, they go off into the heart of the lagoon to fish. In the morning, there’s a huge fish market where the women sell all kinds of fish I have never seen before. Some of them are artisans, a few are educationalists.
Lesson: We are often too ready to believe that all the good chances are in the ‘high places’, but God has put opportunities and sources of survival in every place He causes us to be. Look around, you just might be missing yours.
KEEP YOUR INVESTMENTS CLOSE TO HOME: we started our first school building project in Makoko late last year. It was all our money but they insisted that we use their own builder. Rarely will you find an individual who doesn’t live in Makoko employed or put in charged of a project for which a resident is skilled and capable of handling. They look within their community first, for whatever they need before venturing out; essentially circulating and maximizing the resources available to them. Appreciating value,indeed charity should begin at home.
Lesson: The people closest to us deserve our best (financially and otherwise). A large percentage of American Billionaires are Jews and it is a ‘common secret’ that Jews prefer to deal with other Jews before branching out. The same is also seen with employment processes in most western countries; an indigene by heritage and race is given priority over indigenes by any other method and definitely over foreigners. Unfortunately, blacks have the off idea that westerners are the go-to guys when on any topic, an appalling and vexing situation. We invest in others and bring the leftovers back home, yet we wonder at the lack of growth and self-belief in the general populace. It is wisdom to empower our own.
You can take the man out of a slum, but you can’t take the slum out of the man. But I say to you that it depends on the man and how you handle him.
There are slum dwellers living in palaces; poor in spirit bereft of mind with bodies overcrowded by greed.
Some people are trapped in slums because they can’t seem to catch a break. Others are there because it seems like a step higher than where they were before … at least, they are closer to the city, to success. And some others are there because the slum provides them with the only kingdom they will ever be able to exploit.
Regardless of how they got there or what keeps them there; a single truth abounds a corrupt and inhumane government ensures they stand no chance of escaping.
Do not tar everyone with the same brush.
Floating homes in Lagos
Floating homes in Lagos
Bukola is a lawyer, working with L.I.F.E foundation (Literacy Integration and Formal Education Foundation) as a Project Coordinator. L.I.F.E is a Non-governmental organization registered and operating in the service of orphaned and vulnerable children with a major focus on social integration and literacy promotion.