A eulogy for the Nigerian child

A eulogy for the Nigerian child:20160527_175326

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.sd

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.

 

Do as I say, not as I do – church leaders.

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.

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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.

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Copyright Christart.com

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

3Verily 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.

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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?

 

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Copyright Christian clip art

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.

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Copyright Christian clip art.

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.

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All images courtesy  Pixabay free images except where indicated.

Different destinations

I grew up in New haven,  it was my home for eighteen years.

It wasn’t exactly the posh part of town but it was very close, we shared borders with the big boys and ‘happening’ girls.

So when people learnt I had won the lottery and was bound to travel soon, I blossomed into a uniting celebrity, they whispered about my lucky stars. As my departure date approached, the excitement paled as I realised soon my footprints alone would traipse through the  shorelines  of my life.

It was a bitters weet moment at the airport as I said goodbye to not only family, but also to  childhood memories of aboki’s on street corners, okpa for breakfast and interrupted power supplies, the conducive recipe for family bonding moments and antics.

I relive that moment once more as I wait in the boarding lounge for my flight back to New haven Connecticut. To shopping malls, breakfast cereals and steady power supplies, the conducive enviroment for innovation and first world antics.

Haven they both are each with a different ambience.


In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from Yinglan (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories.

New haven is a place in Enugu Nigeria and also Connecticut.

Aboki: is the hausa word for friend, but is also used in eastern Nigeria to refer to a hausa man who sells sweets and numerous items in a road side kiosk.

Okpa: is a bean(bambara beans to be exact) based meal originated in eastern Nigeria.

Interrupted power supply means NEPA/PHCN the government authority in charge of electricity  often takes away the power supply.

In the beholders eye

Word for today – Picturesque

Hues of red and gold with the odd splash of turquoise blue and silver sashayed across the room, draped on different body shapes in different fashion patterns. It was the wedding of the year and the ‘postmenopausal women’sorry mothers of the day aka mother- of-the-brides friends were in full attendance.

Seated at the far, but strategic end of the hall, they were privy to all the comings and goings of the day and when that failed to amuse them, they did what they know best, ‘gossiped’.

“Did you hear, Yemi’s husband bought a house in London.” 

Sighing in exasperation “My dear, since she came back that’s all I’ve been hearing, the house is picturesque this picturesque that. Owning a house in London is not new someone should please tell her.”

“Honestly! What people won’t do to belong, the said picturesque house is surrounded by farms.”

“Ahhh! Farm ke?”

They all laughed.

She envied her lovely figure.

She envied her life.

She envied everyone.

And they all forgot the country was bleeding as they peeled its golden skin for selfish gains.

Copyright TJ Paris

In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from TJ Paris, (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories.

Also written for the A to Z challenge.

Thank you for stopping by.

Hypocrite

O is for Obseqiuos/ Oleaginous

“Good morning Sir, it’s with great pleasure we welcome you to our humble platform today.You’re a man of laudable esteem and value, your work in the community, the policies you have made since taking up office has indeed given the community a much needed face lift.”

“What policy is Oga refering to please, change ko change ni?” shaking her head in disproval, Yemi sighed.

“My dear does it matter, all we want is the money. You know all these politicians, the larger potions of their back you scratch the more pennys you pick, like scratching dandruff off your scalp.” Sheye whispered standing next to her.

“Oh God that’s just disgusting, couldn’t you find a better analogy? Yuck!” Chinyere chimed in.

“I think our organization is being misrepresented by our oga praising this man as an honourable person.” Yemi continued.

“Miss perfect by the books na you know.”

“Excuse me joor, I am trying to be serious here. We critize, yet we obey them without protest. We castigate them in private but fawn at their  feet at every given opportunity. Honestly sometimes I think we’re worse than the hoodlums at least they’ve an excuse they don’t know better, what’s ours?”

 

 

 

Historic households

Mud houses were strategically built to afford occupants some level of privacy, they were also designed to ensure everyone was part of the communal lifestyle a social norm at some point in our history.

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             Copyright Panoromia                                       Abuja arts and craft village.

It had its advantages some of which include:

  • A lack of grey area for mischief makers hide behind.
  • A clear-cut description of what was right or wrong.
  • A general sense of oneness among members of a household/village/society.
  • A higher percentage of genuine interest in seeing the other individual prosper and excel. Etc

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    Copyright Juju TV film

As with every system, it also had disadvantages:

  • Rules that were not easily if ever altered.
  • An inherent albeit sometimes unintentional ability to stifle creativity.
  • A herd/pack mentality which encouraged ignorance and unhealthy fear of the unknown. Etc

 As much as I appreciate living in this present age, I long for the communal spirit in those historic households.

Today everyone wants be ahead of the other, whether it’s a negative or positive action people just don’t care. And when it goes all wrong as it tends to do when envy/insecurity/selfishness overrides good judgement they cry at night wondering why no one wants to hold them. And when someone offers comfort, some people still wonder if the giver is really being nice or simply trying to appear better than them?

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From google search

The cycle continues … 

The bill; women and society

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)

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The call

Slide2Arise oh compatriots… who is a compatriot? 

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.Slide1

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.animated-smoking-image-0017I 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?
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Don’t take that gift.

Slide1If our history as depicted by Nollywood movies and hand me down stories are anything to go by then the true measure of a man’s love and his intent depends on the gift he gives. It wasn’t a parameter we (women) plucked from the air, rather one that has been propagated by the courtship rituals of our ancestors. In the past a groom was judged suitable by a girl’s family on the following criteria:

  • Was he a good hunter or skilled farmer? (one must be able to provide for his own)
  • Was he from a good strong bloodline? (we do not want the ‘crazies here’)
  • What gifts did he bring for his intended in-laws? (the bigger and more outlandish, the better)
  • And if he was the man amongst men, you know, the alpha male that everyone listened to then he was almost perfect.
  • I think they also considered good looks, but it didn’t weigh as much as the other criteria’s.

Thus, when our scout (groom/man) found a maiden to wife, her family not her essentially weighed him according to the above list. She was entitled to murmur and complain if she didn’t like him, but at the end she would marry him if the family deemed him fit. Everything about the process placed women in the role of an extra or at best a supporting actress in the movie. called her life.

Fast-forward into present day society and women have found a lot more control over who they marry, but sadly they still go about the process with the same list, add or minus a few things:

  • Is he a good provider?
  • Is he from strong bloodlines?
  • How big is his largesse? (Is it a river ready to  overwhelm my enemies and relatives or is it a stream for me to sit by or fetch with a pot? If it’s the second hmm.
  • Is he TDH, or at least, TYH?
  • Does he carry his six packs or does his pack proceed before him?

And the list goes on.

Sadly, this has robbed many of the ability to see a gift for what it truly is, an act of love extended to another. Ladies want a guy who buys us this, that and so many others. The whole process has gone downhill making most guys see the act of buying gifts as an upsetting necessity. They senserabbit the value of the gift outweighs their essence. While some other guys go ahead to buy exorbitant gifts in a bid to keep the girl interested. And as many end up feeling cheated ‘commonly called mugus’, others reap undue benefits ‘players’ and the rest stand like rabbits caught in headlights.

As for the ladies, many get confused indecisive, trying to judge a book by its cover, a giver, by his gift rather than his heart. It is true that a gift can tell you many things about a person, however, using it as the first or most important measure of a person can be truly fatal.

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Many have sort after gifts so much that they have become blinded by the poisoned drink of lust, manipulation, insecurity, selfishness presented along with it. The need to show off something on valentine’s day has dragged many to a place they would never want the world to see.

I read a post by Ifeoma Obiora, she made me think deeply about how we celebrate a single day, but forget to be a gift/blessing on every other day. Don’t hold your boyfriend/husband/intended to ransom for failing to give you a gift when everyone else has one. Hold them to ransom because their hearts might not be in the right place of love which transcends all things. Don’t judge them by the quality of the gift, evaluate the intent of their heart and why it fails to express love as you expect. Off-course this requires dialogue between both parties, not just a mental check-list. Approach your partner with an open mind, lay your thoughts bare. Worst case scenario you confirm your fears and what you do from there depends on you.Slide2

I am not against gift giving or valentines day, I only ask that the gift reflects the true intents of the giver and receiver’s heart else they both become wrapped in a present that has no future.

Happy valentines day folks.

Love yourself, love others.


Last week I did a guest post my friend Uju, it’s sort of a first part to this. Click on the link to read it.

The conference on purpose

A few days ago I wrote an article on purpose for a friend who was organising a conference in Ibadan Nigeria. I am happy to inform you that the conference was a success and this post is an update on it. Click here to read the article on purpose.


The conference is the first in a series projected to take place each month across schools in Ibadan. Targeted at primary and secondary school students, the conference aims to improve students general performance, self-awareness and outlook to life. This conference had three speakers and about a thousand students in attendance.

IMG-20160128-WA0008Mrs. Mayowa Emordi was the first speaker, she addressed the topic; how to discover your purpose. She defined purpose as the reason for an individuals existence…the special  influence you have on people around you. Purpose gives you a sense of fulfilment. Fulfilment means to fill a need or want, your purpose should fulfil a need, which in turn makes the world a better place than you met it. She went on to say that discovering purpose early in life helps the youth contribute effectively and efficiently to the country’s economic development. We discover purpose by reflecting and answering these questions: what do you want your greatest achievement to be? When you die what do you want to be remembered for? What need do you want to meet? When you have answered the above, go a step further by asking yourself if you would be happy to do what it takes to make those answers a reality everyday. Does your passion lie in those activities?
She concluded by encouraging the students to write down a personal vision statement and to set smart goals in line with this vision, an act of commitment to their purpose and future.

IMG-20160128-WA0037The second speaker, Mrs Ola Ayanleye spoke on the topic: high retentive capability in teenagers. She asked the students to imagine someone wearing a red shirt and then she asked them to describe what they saw. A simple exercise aimed at demonstrating how we make use of our minds through the day. According to her high retentive capability is achievable in three stages:
One, the conception stage, at this stage the student develops a mental picture by reading or studying things around them.

The second stage also known as the action stage requires the student to write down their mental picture and read it consistently.

The third stage is the confidence stage, at this point the pictures of what you have read should come easily to you. Following these steps will ensure you get excellent results reflective of the efforts you put in.

IMG-20160128-WA0038Mr. Fawole Oluwakayode was the third and final speaker. He touched on how to shun distractions and avoid peer pressure. Defining distractions as things that interfere with one’s concentration on a goal, he urged students to shun environmental and technological distractions. He explained that a student’s goal should be to excel academically, vocationally and spiritually, anything that detracted from that goal was a distraction.

He also defined peer influence  as an influence from others usually those within your age group. There are two types of peer influence, positive  and negative peer influence. He defined positive peer pressure as an influence that motivates you to do something good while negative influence motivates you to do something harmful to yourself and others. He said teenagers found it difficult to resist peer pressure, because they feared being rejected or excluded by their peers. He encouraged the students to take a stand for what was right, to remember that each individual was at some point would have to face life on their own and if they didn’t learn to do so early in life, they would find it harder down the track.

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In conclusion, the students were charged to cease the day and to take responsibility for their futures. To take their studies seriously as it could play a strong role in their quest to fulfil purpose and excel in life.


All three speakers are graduates with a passion to improve the prospects of the Nigerian youth. There are definitely areas for improvement including better management of students welfare, better locations and post impact/sustainability measurement etc. However, as Rome wasn’t built in a day, I congratulate the speakers for taking the plunge and investing in Nigeria’s greatest resource – its youths.