What change?

“On a micro and macro level, bad leadership gives birth to two individuals; imitators or dissenters. Both with a deeply seated weariness of leadership (good or bad), both unable to trust themselves or endure the reformative abilities of good leadership.” 

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want to be done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

An effective leader should aim to achieve the following:
1.Visualize the future i.e. have an inspiring vision of the future.
2.Communicate and inspire people to engage with his/her vision.
3.Strategize/structure the delivery of the vision.
4.Motivate and build a team, that can achieve the vision. 

2017 was an entertaining year, a year for re-defining leadership. Political, religious, business and cultural leaders were questioned, challenged on different platforms. Some leaders fell beneath the bar, while others excelled. However, I found their response to scrutiny more interesting than their actual performance, equally entertaining was the public reaction to these responses.

From the oval office to its North Korean equivalent, a better demonstration of tyrannical, unstable leadership cannot be found. In the past, tweets from the oval office were anticipated for a profound understanding of societies ills. Presently, however, they are anticipated for a horrendous display of insensitivity to global issues and at best for satirical humor and comic relief. On the other hand we wake up each day dreading to discover an entire country has been decimated by a leader whose ego supersedes his office. Here I was thinking, wonderful things come in small sizes.

While citizens governed by the oval office are divided into three camps; those disappointed by the lack of basic leadership etiquette, those who celebrate it as they had no faith in past leadership modules and those disillusioned by any form of leadership. A different populace exists across the globe in North Korea, citizens restricted from expressing their displeasure for a fear of bodily harm. Both leaders have received cautions and sanctions from the united nations, it’s populace, neighbours, friends and enemies alike, but, all to little or no avail. When we scream for change what do we mean? A departure from the norm, a drastic departure from altruistic leadership? Change on a one-way lane powered by a one size ego, headed to fulfil a single dimension fantasy. Is that what we mean?

Going back a few years to 2015, we cried for change in Nigeria, moving forward to 2017 one cannot help wondering if we got short-changed. The year saw Aso rock riddled with bio-hazards, long periods of sick leave, blatant disregard for certain regions in the country and projection of another regions agenda. Despite public outcry on several platforms decrying the poor state of leadership, the incumbent leader seeks to project himself for leadership in 2019. Is this the change we sort? Change which produced four members of parliament earning post-humus income; if we earn a living what are they earning? A dying?

20180108_101825
What you see, determines what you demand from tomorrow.

Religious leaders weren’t spared, people challenged the need for tithes and general giving to the church. Tithe and offerings of some form has been a part of most religious bodies, a way of sustaining  their physical edifice and structural representative.   However, this act of giving has been abused with some leaders making demands on members regardless of their economic status or wellbeing. Others disburse of said funds without proper transparency or accountability. 

Equally disturbing is the seeming indifference of these leaders to societies ills especially when opportune to speak up or make impact. The lifestyle and speech of some of these leaders often contrasts with the teachings of contentment found in the scriptures.  Thus, I am not surprised by those who view the church as a fraudulent business run by expert con men. With many of them demanding a review and change to the status of the church. What change I ask? That members stop giving? That ministers live in penury? Should we re-evaluate the principles of giving? Where does faith come in?

From the streets of Hollywood to the doors of Sub Sahara Africa, women made their opinions known. A male dominated world wasn’t the way forward anymore, it wasn’t enough to set the table, it wasn’t enough to sit at the table, women want  the right to; restructure the table, populate the table, or simply change the entire setting. Feminism was redefined, sexual harassment was re-evaluated and the merits of marriage scrutinized. Once again the echo of change reverberated through the world, should we be weary of every man? Are all women innocent? If we are equals why are men still largely expected to propose? Why do we silently expect women to back down when an impasse occurs in relationships. Why not stick to merits? Why not take gender off the table?

When we cry for change we must consider the impact of such movements on the future. We must consider the goals of those against us but most importantly we must consider those who are with us, else we wake up to find the prize stolen by another. Must we pull down the entire system, isn’t there something to salvage? Perhaps more importantly we should give our best to understand the system, walking in the shoes of those held by the system before attempting to reform the system, lest we become armchair critics. People who speak for change but do not work for change, either have nothing to lose or have a lot to gain indirectly.

What change do you want?

Always a headline piece

God bless women!

No matter what we do, we never seem able to escape the news or silly jokes. There’s always someone out there telling us what to do or describing in great detail something we should be doing.

From a presidential candidate declaring his personal description of the perfect job role/place for  women in society in a not so secret meeting. You know those kind of secret meetings they have after an interview where they decide not to give you the job just because they don’t like your shirt or your smile. Sadly they forget you’re still in the reception and they come back out with some corporate acceptable reason for not employing you.

To a president’s wife rally up the troops for battle, encouraging women to take a stand, to shape history. To do what women are designed by nature to do, birth something awesome, only this time she’s asking for a communal birthing experience. The birth of the next American president. With every speech, the groans of labour grow louder, contraction lengths increase, and deep breathes decrease.

And we make a full cycle back to an incumbent president demanding his wife goes back to all the rooms allocated to her by virtue of her sex. Rooms where the tremor and strength in her voice alludes to the largesse of his love and place in his life.

God bless women!

It’s no wonder we can never get it right, cos we can’t please all of the people all of the time. Like a learner at a T-junction facing the traffic light, a yellow box in front, speed limit and a speeding camera in place, is the woman who hasn’t learnt to put her earphones on and drown the noise in tunes that get her dreams dancing.

Not everything will make sense in this minute. Not everything will make sense in time, but one thing/ something will make a little sense each time. Hold unto it, give it your best, it might not be what you need but it will build your confidence. Give you that little humph to stand and gaze a little further a field.

Should we all hate Trump? Should we all love him? Should all women wear skirts only? To each his own, if his job description for a woman suits your ambitions or ties in with your principles by all means do as you please and follow his path.

Where are our weapons for mass reproduction? The clarion call has been made and Michelle’s call is a dignified one; or is it? Depends on which way the world stands to you, in need of redemption or just wasted so stuff it in the bin, it’s all going down in flames after all.

And we’ve all had dreams of steamy rooms, filled with smoke, groans and sweat. So why frown at the kitchen when sent in there, Buhari has spoken who dares question his excellency in his palace, certainly not me. The piper has set the tune, the lyrics of Ewedu, gbegiri ati amala from Iya Bose’s kitchen re-vibrate through the house. Oya get cooking!

As for me, well I am just sitting quietly in my corner in a room, doing the job life has given me, fighting battles (some I started, some others started, some I got  roped into) I hope some day would birth something awesome. 

God bless the world!

stock-vector-stressed-out-mom-vector-clip-art-illustration-with-simple-gradients-all-in-a-single-layer-119803675

 

What’s to inherit?

A plate of edikaikong and pounded yam

a side dish of well garnished snails

A carton of juice, a bottle of sparkling water.

………

A plate of catfish pepper soup 

a side dish of well garnished Isi-ewu.

Two bottles of larger.

Both served with the finest chain, on an oak table fit for royalty.

Sunday lunch for the pastor and ‘his friend’ the local government chairman.

……

Jollof rice with no garnishing 

served on a ceramic plate in an incomplete building.

Sunday Lunch for a faithful parishioner and constituent.

The misguided meek shall inherit the earth ravaged by selfish plunderers. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Shaktiki Sharma


edikaikong, – a vegetable soup with all sorts of seafood, meat, and vegetables.

Catfish pepper soup – same as the name but catfish is expensive.

Isi-ewu – goat head made in a very tasty dish

Snails – not entirely expensive but when well prepared is tasty.

Do google them for the visuals.

Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by Shaktiki Sharma the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.

Binding divides

Standing on our side of the divide it’s often difficult if not impossible to see across the corner at the other side. Like when my husband decides to have his rice prepared in a certain way and I think it can be done in another way, a simple situation right? No, especially not after his said something that ticked me off and I consequently reacted in a way that got his back up. Previous words like resurrected ghosts hold court over the new situation. Sadly they never sway in the cause of mercy, they scream for a bloodletting. 

A few weeks ago I listened to a discuss on the absence or low representation of minor ethnic groups within the British movie industry. A valid discussion, one that needed to be had, we live in a world that has changed a lot over the years, it’s only reasonable that we seek to see this changes represented on our everyday media, but in so many ways the world still stays the same. That is not altogether a bad thing as a sense of familiarity has a way of maintaining our sanity, gives us a feeling of ownership and control, however, I digress. The first step to making a movie starts with picking a script or a story line, thus a writer(s) produces a script and the movie producer adapts it to the screen, picking a cast that matches the characters in the story.

 How absurd would it be to find Harrison Ford playing the role of *‘dibia anya nzu’* or Orlando Bloom the role of a poor farmer in a village deep within ‘Ijebu Ode’. Don’t get me wrong both actors are of the best stock, however, cast in a role portraying an African man and his deeply held sentiments they would fail woefully as their pale skin alone betrays the absence of a blood linked intimately with the harsh rays of the Africa sun. 

One might argue that we change the script that in itself is a quick fix. A script is more than a reflection of the writer’s mind; it’s a reflection of the society the writer finds themselves in. There is also the fact that movies need to be sensational in order to evoke an enlightening response from the viewer, except in the case of trashy or pornographic films which on some level still evoke a primal response from the viewer. This might sound offensive but in order to produce movies which showcase the minority groups in a balanced percentage of the cast we might be digging up stereotypes and cultural differences which might be subject to miss interpretation and might offend people. Is it possible to dictate the tune without paying the piper? 

Today I heard about the ban of the burkini in France, I can’t help wondering when we advocate for acceptance are we also accepting of others. Like the story in the first paragraph, we often fail to hear the other side of the story, deafened by our demand to have it our way. Europe is very accommodating in its view of people’s freedoms and rights, in other societies people are merely tolerated for the length of their visits, their views are not discussed much less accepted. Their presence is evaluated based on cash returns. This is not to say that everyone who is affected by this ban is un-accepting or rigid in their stance. Saying I am not racist isn’t enough, standing up against any injustice due to racism affirms your stance. Saying I am accepting of others isn’t enough, dissuading others from taking a heated stance is required in today’s society. Is it possible to embrace another while standing at akimbo?

PhotoFunia-1455068581

Mum! The boys made a mess …

baby-and-toddler
Source: Scarymommy.com

Every mom, new or old has gone through the process of answering a high pitched or calmly bemused voice beckoning them to carry out some form of the rescue operation. It often varies from a spouse holding the baby with a biologically armed diaper at arm’s length to an older sibling at the brink of their patience. In each scenario, mom is expected to save the day with little or no trace of the previous impending danger. The scene seems pretty much the same in Great Britain, with Theresa May coming to the rescue. Who knows if she will succeed and at what cost?

The above description is not designed to imply that men haven’t been elected into power in the midst of socio-economic mayhem, however, if history is to be relied on, one could imply that the corridors of power only makes room for female leadership only when hard pressed. Perhaps it is an indication of the female politicians’ physique narrow enough to pass through the camels’ eye or a reflection of her male counterparts’ physique; too robust to withstand a squeeze.

In 1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, taking over from James Callaghan after what is referred to as the winter of discontent. The mandate before her was difficult: to rescue the economy from an ongoing recession, high inflation rates, frequent trade union strikes and a disgruntled public.

Some strike action by sectors of public service included:
• Picket line blockades by nurses and ambulance drivers this resulted in hospitals attending only to emergency patients.
• Railways shut down to the public.
• Disruption of broadcasting services by the electricians’ union towards Christmas in 1978 taking both BBC One and BBC Two off the air, subsequently in August 1979 they switched off ITV for 75 days.
• Picketing of cemeteries by members of the GMWU union in Liverpool and Tameside, this proved very distressing as a factory in Liverpool was converted to a storage space for corpses.
• Equally disturbing was the piling of rubbish in the streets, a health hazard created by the rubbish collectors strike.

The odds were stacked against her, under public evaluation, she was bound to either fail on a monumental scale or succeed on a mediocre scale. This had less to do with her as a person and more to do with the changes needed to pull a society back from the brinks of economic depression. The changing economic climate across the western world, a move away from a labor intense to services/skill intense economy also played a major part in shaping Mrs. Thatcher’s economic reforms. Depending on whom you asked Margaret Thatchers time in office might be considered a blessing or ban on the British population. However certain factors remain true of her regime, and government, they managed to

• Tackle high inflation rates
• Re-position the country economically – it was no longer seen as the sick man of Europe
• Increase privatization leading to more efficiency in service.
• Pull back power from organized labor unions, ensuring they could no longer grind the country to a halt.
• Increased home ownership.
It is true that many of her policies crippled and in cases totally destroyed sectors of the economy (for example the closing down of mines and other industries dependent on state funds), increased social divides and fragments. These outcomes perhaps in hindsight could have been handled better, and impact on society curtailed, that being said it would be a dream for anyone to except positive socio-economic change without feeling the pinch in some way.

Stepping into July 2016, the United Kingdom embraces its second female prime minister after twenty-six years. Once again she is handed a mandate that would give Goliath mental fright, she and her government are required to
• Bridge peace both home and away
• Solicit new economic investors
• Mend fences with formal allies, reassuring them the nation isn’t a fickle friend to have.
• Build new fences with new allies
• And sustain the daily working of the country with austerity in view.

This might seem nothing like the mandate before Margaret Thatcher because it’s not, this time, Theresa May is fighting a battle on two different scenes home (Scotland’s hopes of leaving) and away (EU and all the other issues). Like Margaret, Theresa is bound to excel on certain fronts and doomed to hopefully attain mediocrity in some, we can only hope that she excels in the key areas that in hindsight leaves no doubt about the wisdom of taking such a path. Similar to the mum in the first paragraph, Theresa May will have to deal with a baby with soiled diaper (Brexit), a toddler on the potty (The EU), and a disgruntled but equally amused teenager (Scotland and the rest of the world), let’s hope she’s able to stop the chaos before it smears itself around the house.

One newspaper welcomed in the new year of 1977 with the observation that “Britain is a country that resents being poor, but is not prepared to make the effort to be rich.” It was a sentiment shared by the Sex Pistols’ snarl, “There’s no future, in England’s dreaming.” ‘ This was a sentiment shared in Margret Thatchers time and I sense it is similar to that going around now.

stock-vector-stressed-out-mom-vector-clip-art-illustration-with-simple-gradients-all-in-a-single-layer-119803675
Source google free images

Finally, I can’t help but wonder once more, why these women never made it into Number 10 prior to these moments. Did they not have these ambitions before? Was a calmer political atmosphere not conducive for them? What made it possible at the time and not before? Are they truly the most qualified, scapegoats or willing sacrifices?

Reference sources:

The Telegraph – How Thatcher brought UK back from the wilderness

The Telegraph – Margaret Thatcher: never forget the chaos of life before her

The BBC – Margaret Thatcher: How the economy changed

 

Rules of engagement

There was a lot at stake here, we needed a strategy and fast.

“Any ideas Zac?”

“Let’s focus on the followers get them to trust us, then we guide them through a narrow path with no room for maneuvers.”

“How’s that different from our last attempts?”

“This time we don’t engage the guides, we wait till they attack before we defend making them the bad guys for striking first. The followers need to sense your calmness and confidence.”

“Guys it’s just a game, no need to go all commando.”

“First club rule: never underestimate the battle nor your opponent. 

PHOTO PROMPT Copyright-Sandra Crook
Copyright Sandra Crook

I guess Andrea Leadsom forgot the rules of engagement: get the followers behind you first.

Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by Sandra Crook, the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.

A game of tag.

Boris stared at the other side of the barb wire fence, the minutes of his lunch hour slowly ticking off. Try as he might, he could not recall the fence being there earlier in the day. Intensifying his glare, he searched for something, but wasn’t sure exactly what he was searching for.

His sandwich started to taste a bit off. Why was he eating lunch outside?

Mike took note of Boris growing uneasy attitude, so did Nigel. An unspoken message was passed, like paid mourners at a funeral they started to sing Boris’s praise, they wailed on cue, smiled at a flash and embraced in seclusion. Boris forgot the fence, forgot his worries and ignored the coffin.

He sang, he danced, he dreamed.

Suddenly lunch was over, everyone scurried back to business, except him.

An outdoor lunch had been fun at the time, but now his foot won’t move, he was stuck in a coffin piled high with dirty dishes. No water, no soap, no friends.

And the dogs wondered what sort of game these humans played.

Copyright Yinglan

Apologies my story might not make a lot of sense.

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. 

Brexit; a case for the eldest son.

Slide1

The story of the prodigal son in the bible is a very interesting one, a story laced with many silent lessons. In the story, we find four major characters in play; a wealthy father, two sons and a landlord. For some unknown reason the youngest son suddenly demands to have his share of the inheritance, he leaves home with it and squanders it. When he finds himself broke and destitute he takes up a low paying job as a stall boy for a foreign landlord. On a certain day while working he has an epiphany and decides to go back home with no expectations except to have a home under his father’s roof once more. And on his return home everything goes better than he hoped for with his father, his brother, however, is not so excited to have his disrespectful, disloyal, lazy brother back home. Sensing his eldest sons displeasure, the father goes on to settle his worries, he assures each of his sons of their place in his life and encourages oneness.

Why has this story suddenly come to mind and why does it matter?

The Brexit situation and the wave of opinions tossed about on the internet encouraging Americans to follow suit brings the eldest son in the story to life.18prodigalson

A son who isn’t really aware of all he has, who doesn’t know how best to maximize/manage new opportunities.

A son who felt the way of life was changing too fast to accommodate a brother who dressed and sounded more like a stranger from many years of being away.

A son who felt disenfranchised by the celebration held to welcome a disloyal, arrogant, lazy brother, while no feast had  ever being held in his honor.

A son who thought he would never have to share anything with anyone except he chose to.

A son who didn’t know that his cousins whom he had worked side by side had only stayed because they had not seen a way out before.

A son who at that point desperately needed his father’s reassurance and clear guidance concerning his future.

Sadly unlike the father in the story, we find UK citizens driven into a hurricane of harsh prospects, finger pointing, horror stories and forecasts of greater storms by the politicians’ on both sides of the divide. But since they’re not the founding fathers, merely surrogates on a quest for personal gain one can hardly blame them for misguiding the people, using them to achieve hidden agendas. Or how else do you explain Nigel’s retraction/rephrase of a crucial statement hours after victory or Sturgeons move to take Scotland out once the die was cast (by the way I respect her a lot, she’s playing the game with the same poker face the boys use and I think she does it better.). And let’s not forget the foreign landlord, the EU leaders who underestimated the referendum, perhaps they doubted the stories of the prodigal son, stories of his father’s wealth, stories of a brother who was no longer receptive of their offers. With everyone clamoring for their own rights and demands for immediate actions to initiate the exit process, one wonders if the eldest son made the right choice.

Did he?

In all fairness his demands were not unreasonable, he had put in blood and soul to build that land and so had his ancestors before him. He has a fair idea of how many people the land can care for, how it can be enlarged. He trusts in the safety of his customs and daily rituals, the unseen things that bring comfort on a hot day. So when a visitor comes in with stories of various sorts, makes a home and starts to procreate both in assets and liabilities one can understand the eldest sons need to ensure the scales don’t tip him out of the equation. On this premise, his choice wasn’t wrong, but his forecast of what the future holds as a result of this choice has neither been true or clearly explained.

They said you will have all this, but failed to explain what ‘all’ encompassed.

They said to do this for you and your children but failed to explain that others will seek to protect their own offspring through the same channel (Scotland, Northern Ireland).

They said preserve your culture hold it sacrosanct, forgetting that this action will raise the ghosts of cultures desecrated, borders obliterated and normalcy ruined as their ancestor’s sort to conquer and sometimes misguidedly save the world.Slide2

Have they made the worst choice?

I don’t think so but that depends on who they decide to listen to from here onwards and the way they choose to handle future issues. I know there are many who understand what this was really about (self-preservation) not anti-globalization or xenophobia although the lines sit pretty cozy with self-preservation.  There are those who thought it was simply anti-immigration, that message is one that really needs redressing as the world is really blood thirst these days.

The decision has been made it’s time to discontinue the fear driven forecasts and rhetoric’s; it’s time to forge ahead. As a migrant, I am under no illusion that the days ahead will be easy, but I don’t know if they will be horrendous, thus I have decided to grin and bear whatever comes one day at a time.

“For every step we take to defend ourselves, those who would attack are going to take a step further.” Jonathan James Olivier.

This is by no means a threat, but a reminder that every action gives rise to a reaction from the observer. It is to stress the importance of reinforcing the positive message behind Brexit.

 

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.