Friday, November 25, 2011
Blessed or cursed betide the day Roman Abrahmovic decided to acquire Stamford Bridge? Depending on who you support, your answers are bound to be polarised. However, few can dare to deny that Roman's billions brought Chelsea into the sun. But even this came with a price. He called the shots, doled the sack letters at will, and never compromised his ego. Seven coaches in seven years suggests managerial insanity, but such is the unquenching thirst for instant success that Roman cannot control. Andre Villas Boas is a product of Roman's latest wielding of the big stick, which saw Carlo Ancelloti exist Chelsea, despite an incredible debut season. For Villas Boas, his reputation preceeds him. Just only 34, he was a monumental success at F.C Porto. But, as Andre must have found out, Chelsea is a different kettle of fish. He has lost four out of the first eleven league matches. His Chelsea side is in dire need of a surgical operation, and it's a cross he must carry. The once sublime Petr Cech, now looks like a complete shadow of his old self. Frank Lampard now cuts an image of a player living on past glories. Dider Drogba has lost the 'drog' in him, while John Terry has surely seen his best days gone past him. Andre Villas Boas must fix all these and more, and must do it quickly. Patience has never been a virtue to be associated with Chelsea. Thus, Villas Boas must find a temporal solution to what looks like a permanent problem at Stamford Bridge.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
He was once famously referred to as a 'potent government critic', 'a fine journalist', and an 'excellent columnist'. These accolades were praises he had earned in an impressive career that has spanned over two decades. Indeed, like the English would say, Reuben Abati knows his onions. A first class honours degree holder, Abati served as the Editor-in-Chief of Guardian newspapers. During his stint with the paper, readership skyrocketed, and even his collegues were full of praise for him. The hallmark of Abati's days as a 'penpusher', was his radical views on the government. His punditry was uncompromising. He criticized without caring whose ox is gored. In sum, he was the ideal journalist. However, the bait was thrown at him by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, and as it's typical with most Nigerians, Abati threw reason to the air and grabbed the 'chance to fortune' without a second thought. Abati now became the Special Advicer to the president on Media and Publicity. From government critic, Abati has now become a government apologist, massaging the egos he once kicked. Such is the rapidity with which people sell their consciences for power. It is perplexing to know that Abati will ever be part of the PDP led government. This is a party he once described as 'People Deceiving People', 'Papa Decieving Pikin'. In fact, he famously declared that the 'PDP has done great damage to Nigeria and it's people'. Yet, he now sings a different song and like the oracle of Delphi, he now speaks from both sides of his mouth. It will suffice to state here that Reuben Abati's case is a harsh reminder that power truly corrupts, and power can also make a snake change it's skin.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Life is often described as the University of Hard Knocks. Here are twenty things that it has taught me so far: *Life has taught me that beyond the pursuits of this world, God is the ultimate. *Life has taught me that you will always regret the things you didn't do far more than the things you did. *Life has taught me to jealously keep my true friends, coz they are difficult to find. *Life has taught me to always embrace change. As uncomfortable as it is sometimes, change allows us to stretch and grow. *Life has taught me that self confidence opens doors and works wonders *Life has taught me to never regret. If it's good, it's good. If it's bad, it's experience. *Life has taught me that you will never attain true success if you set out to become somebody you were not born to be. *Life has taught me that no one can take advantage of you unless you let them. *Life has taught me to always look at the bright side of things. *Life has taught me that whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. *Life has taught me not to ever write off anyone. *Life has taught me to always celebrate the beauty in every moment. *Life has taught me that when it comes to the things of love, I should always follow my heart. *Life has taught me to never ever forget family. They are the one that counts first. *Life has taught me to often surround myself with positive people. You’ll feel different. *Life has taught me to always cherish my health and stay healthy. *Life has taught me that, in order to get ahead in life, you need to get out of your comfort zone. *Life has taught me that it sometimes gives people a second chance. *Life has taught me that forgiveness is not cowardice. Rather, it's maturity. *And finally, life has taught me to always keep going! So, tell us, What has Life taught You?
Sunday, November 13, 2011
As I returned from what can only be described as a memorable service in church, my thoughts began to prick me. Lately, I have passed by countless obituaries. These posters have been so numerous that I have actually lost count. Obviously, it is easy for us to shed a thought for these departed souls, even if we never knew them. However, we can never aptly feel the beleaguerment, the grieovous demise, the hurtful end. Of all the obituaries that have lately befuddled my heart, one in particular strikes me. It is the tale of a 24 years old 2011 fresh graduate, who finished from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He bagged first class honours in the department of Mathematics. In fact, the story was that he was the second best graduating student of the year. Yet, what did life reward him with? Death! His academic sublimity became a futile pursuit. His dreams were shattered beyond recognition in that ghastly accident. It was an accident that claimed excellence. It was an accident that closed the page of a promising life. It was an accident that led to an unhappy ending. And like Shakespeare will say 'Life became a walking shadow'. Is it not glaring that it's just life. It is a time to remind ourselves of some home truths. When our wealth shall be worthless, when our academic qualifications shall owe no more significance, when our gruelling pursuit for money shall end, what will be left of us? Will we be found worthy of a glorious eternity? Life is too short, and wisdom is to live everyday like it will be our last. While we get entangled in the hustle and bustle of this life, let us remember that one day we shall all go home. That one day is not for us to tell. The moral of the story? May we not jeopardize eternity with the actions of our short stint here on earth.
Monday, November 7, 2011
There are few occassions that could contest with the aura and razzmattaz of University graduation. For Nkem, it was a dream come true; a dream that once looked like a mirage. He had toiled for five years to etch his name in the enviable annals of men who had come to be known as Civil Engineers. It would have been a perfect story for him if he had not narrowly missed the coveted first class honours. 'I still know my worth though', Nkem reassured himself in words that sounded more like consolation than confidence. Within two months of completing his youth service, Nkems' brilliance had landed him a dream job in a frontline bank, with a pay that many at his age will kill to earn. It was the holy grail for many graduates to find a white collar job with juicy renumerations, and Nkem had just attained it with minimum fuss. Some of his friends and relatives wondered how a Civil Engineer ended up at the bank, but Nkem marveled at their foolhardiness. 'This people don't seem to understand the kind of country we live in', Nkem soliloquized. Five years later, Nkem had grown in fortune. His pay was nearly in six zeros. To those who were watching from the outside, he had arrived. However, on this faithful morning, as was the case with most of his mornings, Nkem woke up with a knack to leave his job. As he entered his SUV, ready for work, he was determined to end his five-year miseries and penury once and for all. For five years, he had tried to see if he could bring himself to love his job. But every effort he made to develop a penchant for his job, led him to further dislike that job. Nkem cried in his SUV. This was not the future he had bargained for, and he was determined to end the deceit. To the chagrin of everyone, Nkem resigned from his bank job. His parents wondered if he was under a spell. No one but his own heart could comprehend his decision. Within months of resignation, he set up his own Youth NGO, which was his first and only love. He galvanized youths towards nurturing their voice and abilities for nation building. For Nkem, this was the only thing worth living for. His life had been a tussle between pretence and passion. He admonished the youths in his NGO, 'Follow your heart, for it's your life and you will only live it once'. He continued 'From Civil Engineering, to the bank, now with an NGO, I have found purpose. I might not earn as much as when I was in the bank, but I have found a reason to wake up every morning with joy and sense of purpose. Follow your passion'.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
It is dream job on paper, but a nightmare in reality. It has defied the tactics of some of the game's best tacticians. It has put a huge daint upon the Resumé of some of the game's best coaches. This is the dreaded terrain that Stephen Keshi has just stepped into by accepting the job to be the coach of the Nigerian Super Eagles. Some have called the job a pandora box, and rightly so. The task before Keshi is an enormous one. He will be under no illusion that this will be a bed of roses. He only needs to look at the short stint of his predecessor, Samson Siasia, to appreciate what awaits him. Only few months ago, Siasia was believed to be the messiah to lead our football to the ever elusive promised land. But, his inability to lead us to the 2012 Cup of Nations, the first time in 25 years, has cost him his job, rubbished his antecedents, and has made him a national ridicule. Such is the swiftness with which one could fall from stardom to dust in Nigeria. Even though the failure of the Super Eagles is not entirely Siasia's making, he beared the consequences as the manager and begs the question 'Is Hiring and Firing the way to go?' It has been suggested that part of Siasia's sins for which he was sack, was his astute conviction never to compromise standards. Whatever be the case, he is now history. The rebuilding process of the Super Eagles must commence now, and only time will tell if Stephen Keshi (a former victim of sack himself by Mali and Togo), has what it takes to succeed where his predecessors failed.
These are gruesome times in the history of the most populous black nation in the world. It is true that bad news is good news in journalism. However, the plethora of unpleasant news that often churns out of our country leaves plenty to be desired. The gang rape saga lasted for weeks. The issue simply made a caricature of our ailing system. Then the fuel subsidy bouhaha. What started as a paltry issue, has degenerated into a major bone of contention. And just when we thought we have heard enough, a 20 year old boy in Bayelsa state was killed in the most inhuman circumstances by the police who 'should be your friend'. What was his sins? He cautioned them on the sabbath day against exortions. Such is the daunting reality of the perilious times we live in. Nothing seems to exicite our national spirit these days. Nothing helps in inflating our fading hopes. Nothing suggests that our turmoil will soon be over. It is true that the Western world are also going through uneasy times, but the Nigerian quagmire is a case that defies reason. From sport to politics, it is the same tale of doom, avarice and misfortunes. One wonders if the sins of the past and the anomalies of the present, will not constitue a real burden for the future!