Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 Life Lessons I Learnt In 2012

1. God has perfect timing... Never too late, never too early. It might not be your time, but only the potter knows when to manifest the clay. 2. You don't need everybody in your life, you only need the right people. Stop auditioning for friends, you were not born to befriend everyone. Moreover, you are not a facebook status that thrives on likes. 3. Joy and happiness are not products of the prevailing external circumstances, it is a state of mind that no wealth can truly guarantee. 4. The world does not revolve around anyone, so no one is indispensable. Life goes on when you are gone. 5. Nigeria has gone through a lot as a nation. We have tasted the good, the bad and the ugly. This is enough evidence to make me believe that our best is yet to come. 6. The journey is what makes the trip. Enjoy every moment. The big ones, the small ones. Many ruin today while obsessed with tomorrow. 7. Excellence is attainable, and it is suicidal to think otherwise. 8. At times, determination and brevity are more important than talent and competence. Just look at the way Chelsea fc won the Champions League. 9. Doing good cost nothing. Too many people we meet everyday are fighting a certain battle, carrying a certain burden, and living a difficult life. A mere act of love can help ease them and you are making the world better than you met it by so doing. 10. Lagos is a state in need of both physical and spiritual sanity. I should add that I have come to an irrevocable conclusion that the traffic in Lagos will never get better. 11. Friends come, friends go. Job comes, job goes. Only family remains. Make it a priority. 12. In the final analysis, God is the only one that truly matters.

Taking Stock: Your Best Is Yet To Come

As they say, time truly flies. Like a scalded cat, the last days of 2012 is upon us. For many of us, it will not need a mighty effort of memory-scatching to vividly recollect when the year started. 2012 will be remembered by many for different reasons. As a country, it is a year that was earmarked by incessant security challenges, recurrent air disasters, crude corruption and a host of other vices that is better imagined. As a globe, and perhaps on a lighter note, it was a year that the Mayans pulled up the greatest prank of history, when they told us that our planet will grind to a halt on the 21st of December 2012. Be that as it may, the success of the year can only be better examined, when the assessment is done on an individual level. There is no doubt that everyone started the year with a renewed hope and a fired up attitude. However, as the realities of the days began to dawn upon many, the resolve a lot of people either weaken or completely fizzle out. However, the good news is that no matter the shattered dreams witnessed in 2012, 2013 offers a great platform to get it right. It is salient to observe that success can be measured in phases and you will be doing yourself great disservice to demand too much of yourself. You must learn to celebrate your success and take the disappointments as compulsory courses you must take in the University of Life. Suffice it to say if 2013 will cease to be like this outgoing year, then you must begin to build the foundations. Success is not magical and not all failures are diabolical. You must get a resolve beyond mere resolutions, with which you walk through this year. It starts now. Remember, when it comes to the matter of your dreams and your life only you in conjunction with the Almighty can bring it to reality. There is no good enough excuse for you to finish 2013 as mediocre. Take it one step at a time and always be optimistic. I am confident that your best days resides in 2013... Cheer up!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Wonder That Is Sir Alex Ferguson!!!

Greatness smiles on some for a while, others seduce greatness for a lifetime. The legacy and enigma that Sir Alex Ferguson has brought to the game of football defies logic and astounds the records. As David Gill once said, Sir Alex Ferguson is to Manchester United what Steve Jobs was to Apple. In his twenty-six glorious years at Old Trafford, the Scot has won twelve Premier League titles, five F.A cup trophies, four League cup medals, ten Community shield medals, two Champions League medals, one Fifa world club championship, and still counting. He might be ruthless at times, but Sir Alex Ferguson is a vivid example of a dynasty that has been hatched through consistency, winning mentality and belief. In his spell at United, he gave the footballing world sublime names such as Cantona, Schmeichel, Beckham and C.Ronaldo to mention but less than a handful. Today, the Statue of Sir Alex adorns the entrance ofthe theatre of dreams; glowing in it's full glory in respect to the man whom has given the club it'sbest days. However, as age begins to take a toll on the Scot, eyebrows are raised over who will fill his large shoes when he finally calls it a day. The prospect of United without Sir Alex is an almost unthinkable thought, but as they say, nothing lasts forever. Suffice it to say, we should savour it while it last. Whenever the Scot will finally bid the game a painful goodbye, he will have succeeded in etching his name in that citadel of football's greatest protagonists.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Malady In The Jonathan Administration

In a society where cynical criticisms is the trade of the detractors and the powers that be loathe anyone that attempts a constructive one, this article runs a risk of being dispatched as sceptical and mere rantings. Yet, our ink must not run dry. The burden confronting our nation is too numerous that a rehash here will be uncalled for. The recent kidnapping of the 82 years old mother of our imperious finance minister, is a reminder that ours is a country where the people's patience have been tried for too long and the dissent and rage forour leaders is reaching a tipping point. The Jonathan administration is filled with men of questionable character, bastardized integrity, defied convictions and insincere motives. What principles do they live by? It is a country where dog eat dog. The burden for Mr President is that he has in his ranks, folks that for the love of the presidential booty, have sworn never to tell him the truth. The henchmen of this administration thrives on crude theft and trading of deceits. The home truth is that this current administration has done nothing to inspire confidence in it. Our roads are still death traps, the national treasury is still being looted by rogues in his inner circle, elections are still do or die affairs, Constant power supply are still distant dreams, insecurity remains a crux of our dilemma, morals and values are still misplaced and the root is too numerous to aptly outline. Havingmen of sublime intellect is of no use if they don't possess a character made of steel. How often has people like Labaran Maku insulted our national sense of reason, yet he thinks he is doing his job. Our politicians come on air and with a sense of pure arrogance address us like we are the people that don't just get it. While it is true that the jonathan administration has sworn cynics, it is even a greater truth that the administration is making their job very easy and attractive. It is time to fix Nigeria beyond mere utterances.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Grow Up!

Having swags will certainly not pay your bills in future. You adorn yourself with whizkid's carrot pants when your fame is only within the confines of your compound. We see you with a 'Gallas' and 'Ballotelli' haircut, and you wonder why your life is stagnant. You wear a shirt that reads 'my money grows like grass', but we know how you managed to even buy that shirt. Your parents are still struggling to make ends meet, and you are busy adorning yourself with blings. You know how to dance 'ethigi' and 'azonto' with precision and perfection, and you fool yourself that you are the happening thing. You are 27 and Whizkid, Olamide and Davido are your role models. You attend every available party in your neighbourhood, and you cage yourself that you are the hottest thing in town. You know all the lyrics of 'Kukere', but you can barely mention three ministers inNigeria. You are subscribing your BIS for 1500, but you can't raise enough funds to purchase a Jamb form. You speak with an American 'nigger' accent, and you are thinking it is the forces from village that has made you resit English five times. You are the happening girl in almost all the clubs in your area, and you want to find a responsible husband soon to marry. You take everything that is alcohol at 20, and you tell yourself that you have a bright future ahead of you. You are 32 and Lionel Messi is still your role model. You know all the Nollywood hottest actors, but you don't even know who the governor of your state is. You take every picture raising two fingers in the air, and you call it guy. You have over 900 bb pins, and you think you have contacts. You hug every guy on your street, and you feel you are social. Grow up! Time waits for no man. You reap what you sow. Don't waste your youth catching 'fun', then spend your old age in regrets. It is your life, your decisions, your choices. Remember, you will never live this life twice!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

8 Thoughts You Must Leave in the Past (1)

1. “I don’t have a choice.” – You write your own destiny through the choices you make. You become what you repeatedly do. It is more important to know where you are going and why, than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement. Every time you are tempted to react to the same old circumstances in the same old way, ask yourself, “Do I want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future?” . 2. “Life is easy.” – Life is NOT easy, it IS difficult. That’s the greatest truth there is. It’s great because once you understand and accept this truth, you can move forward with your life. Once you thoroughly know in your heart and mind that life is difficult, then life gets a lot easier to deal with. Because once difficulty is accepted as a foundation, it no longer surprises you or stops you from building a lifestyle that rises above it. 3. “The way it is now is the way it will always be.” – Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now, doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine. And remember, you cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight; be patient with yourself , it takes as long as it takes, but your happiness is worth the wait. 4. “The sky is falling.” – When everything in your life is coming together, you can hold on to the belief that ‘everything happens for a reason’ with frivolous ease. But when everything’s falling apart – your relationships, your health, your finances, etc. – it takes tremendous effort to wrap your mind and heart around that belief and hold onto it for dear life. Yet you must. For in that belief lies your hope, your courage, and your strength to move forward. MA...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chelsea's Madness At It's Finest!

Even by his peerless and renowned standards of swiftly doling out the sack letter to previous coaches, the latest dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo assumes a ruthlessness that beggars belief. Only six months after winning Roman Abramovich's holy grail, the Champions League, and adding the F.A Cup to the trophy cabinet, Di Matteo became the eight manager in the Russian's nine years reign of terror to be axed. As they say, life is short at the Bridge and the Chelsea managerial job is nothing but a poisned chalice or a pandora's box at best. After a run of two wins in eight matches, the club has parted ways with the once reverred legend, who spent only 262 days on the hot seat. Put in context, this was the Italian only major blip since taking over the reins of power, and to be fair to him, there are plausible factors to explain it. Everyone except Roman knew that Fernando Torres will never become the player he once was, but despite losing the amazing Dider Drogba, the club failed to find an adequate replacement. Moreover, the club was evolving a new brand of football, the kind that the owner always craved. This style of football is not built in six months, but it is concieved in decades of consistency, ask Barcelona. And, there was the small matter of John Terry's shenenigans, coupled with the ban and atrocious injury of the imperious captain and experienced defender. But, this is Chelsea, where common sense and logic never prevails. The inevitable question is: what next for Chelsea? What can ever satisfy Abramovich? The bookmakers are already formulating a list that has Pep Guardiola and Rafa Benitez top of the pecking order. We will never know how apt this will be. What we do know however, is that Chelsea's club policy is a complete joke, and a major reason why they are often ridiculed by the world of football. Why will any right thinking manager ever take up the Chelsea job? Why? Just why?

Monday, November 19, 2012

5 Things to Think About Before You Give Up

1. You never fail until you’re satisfied with failure. – Failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the choice to get back up. Sometimes you have to fail a thousand times to succeed. Which means you haven’t really failed yet; you’ve just found a bunch of ways that don’t work. So don’t get so hung up on a few failed attempts that you miss every new opportunity coming your way. All of your ideas that don’t work are simply stepping stones on your way to the one idea that does. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 2. What you have learned is what’s important. – Life always offers you a second chance – it’s called tomorrow. But this second chance doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t learned from the events of today. You have to acknowledge your troubles but gather strength from them, and laugh at your mistakes but learn from them. Getting a second chance in life is about giving yourself the opportunity to grow beyond your past failures. It’s about learning as you go and positively adjusting your attitude and efforts toward future possibilities. 3. Tough times are just part of life’s natural balance. – Life lives, life dies. Life laughs, life cries. Life gives up and life tries. And life looks different through everyone’s eyes. In fact, who you were, who you are, and who you will become are three completely different people. And as you gradually grow beyond the person you were yesterday, keep life’s challenges in perspective . Hear life’s harmony, and notice the delicate balance. Realize that life is like playing a grand piano. The white keys create your happiness and the black keys denote your troubles. But as you go through life’s journey, remember that the black keys also create music. 4. Pain helps you grow. – Sometimes things must change so you can change. Sometimes you must break a little so you can get a peek inside to see what an awesome powerhouse you are. Sometimes mistakes must be made so wisdom can be earned. Sometimes you must overcome heartache so you can begin to follow your heart again. 5. Success is a way of living. – Don’t let your struggles become your identity. Not everything in your life will go as you expect it to. Ultimately, success is not something you achieve, it is what you learn and how you grow as you deal with the realities of life – it is a way of living and being.

5 Life Lessons People Learn Too Late

1. This moment is your life. – Your life is not between the moments of your birth and death. Your life is between now and your next breath. The present – the here and now – is all the life you ever get. So live each moment in full, in kindness and peace, without fear and regret. And do the best you can with what you have in this moment; because that is all you can ever expect of anyone, including yourself. 2. A lifetime isn’t very long. – This is your life, and you’ve got to fight for it. Fight for what’s right. Fight for what you believe in. Fight for what’s important to you. Fight for the people you love, and never forget to tell them how much they mean to you. Realize that right now you’re lucky because you still have a chance. So stop for a moment and think. Whatever you still need to do, start doing it today. There are only so many tomorrows. 3. The sacrifices you make today will pay dividends in the future. – When it comes to working hard to achieve a dream – earning a degree, building a business, or any other personal achievement that takes time and commitment – one thing you have to ask yourself is: “Am I willing to live a few years of my life like many people won’t , so I can spend the rest of my life like many people can’t?” 4. When you procrastinate, you become a slave to yesterday. –But when you are proactive, it’s as if yesterday is a kind friend that helps take a load off your back. So do something right now that your future self will thank you for. Trust me, tomorrow you’ll be happy you started today. 5. Failures are only lessons. – Good things come to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve tasted failure, to those who still love even though they’ve been hurt. So never regret anything that has happened in your life; it cannot be changed, undone or forgotten. Take it all as lessons learned and move on with grace. (M&A).

5 Things Your Friends Wish You Knew!

1. Your time is the best gift you can give. – In your relationships with others, nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention. It is indeed one of the most valuable things you can contribute to any relationship. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches you about love. In other words, the success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. So don’t listen with an agenda or the intent to reply. Hear what is being said with the intent to truly understand. 2. You have the power to make abig difference. – Everyone in life wants to be loved and accepted. Your greatest achievements in life will be the direct result of finding this love and acceptance within yourself, and radiating it out to those around you. So believe in your power to make a difference. You truly are far more influential than you realize. In each moment that you connect with another, you have the opportunity to etch a loving, inspiring memory into their minds forever. 3. What makes us different is what makes us special. – Don’t be too quick to judge others (friends or otherwise) or bully them for being different. And don’t put up with those who call you “a friend” and then judge and bully you. Respect originality. Welcome originality. Be original . Let go of the foolish need to prove yourself to everyone else, and you’ll free yourself to accomplish what matters most to you. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you don’t have to always be and do what everyone else is being and doing. Be sure to remind your friends of this too, and support them as they pave their own path. 4. Love is meant to be shared. – So many people save their ‘loving.’ They consciously avoid putting their heart into their relationships, surrendering, opening up, and sharing, because they want to save it all for the right people (best friends, lovers, etc.) and passions. But the problem is when the right people or passions come along they don’t realize it, they don’t know how to open up, and they don’t know anything about the act of loving. 5. You have to love yourself too. – The best thing you can do to improve the quality of your relationships is to work on loving and healing yourself . It’s not the fact that you’re feeling angry, disgusted, helpless, anxious, defeated, or fearful that’s the problem. The problems arise when you’re unaware of what you’re feeling and why – when you don’t know how or when to calm yourself down, pick yourself up, change your thoughts, and let go of the emotions that are prolonging your suffering. Because when you lose control of these things, you end up losing your temper and taking your negative emotions out on those you care about most. (M&A).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tribute To The King Of Ink, Achebe!

From the historical and monumental tales of Things Fall Apart, to the ingenious chronicles of Anthills ofthe Savannah, it wasn't just the Arrow of God that made Achebe a Man of the People, He has etched his name in the annals of literary icons. A father for all times, and the recreating force of our basterdized past. When Rudyard Kipling and his Western contemporaries falsified our story, when they called us savages; and themselves saviours, you gave voice to a silent continent. Together with the likes of Ngugi, Laye and Soyinka, you gave us new eyes. Your writings stirred our minds. It kept us in sweet captivity. You were and still are fearless. Twice they dangled the national honour carrot before you, twice you did the honourable thing. From murky waters to sane winds, your writings knew no bounds. From controversial chronicles, to landmark tales, your stories defied the bounds of reasons. Your unguarded talents exposed you to untold evil. As we sing your praises, we recount the victories of your pen. It wasn't just about your words, it was about the way you said them. It wasn't just what you wrote, it was about how you wrote them. Many years from today, when our planet must have eventually gone into the complete ecstacy of 'e-world', we will never forget that you were the complete epistle of a pen pusher, a custodian of our conscience and an icon for all times!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Animal In Today's Nigerian!

It has been said that the Nigerian of our time is a walking time bomb, waiting to explode. The Aluu 4, a tale that has captured untold punditry and a record space on both social media and Nigerian newspapers, is by no means a novel acrimony. Perhaps, the Aluu 4 became what it did because of the video that went viral and the loud voice that social media gave to it. There is no gainsaying that many Nigerians are often lynched un-noticed. In the creeks, jungle justice thrives. In villages where there is no luxury of twitter and youtube, people are murdered with such servitude that not only puzzles the mind, but will also compete with Aluu 4 for brutality. It is such disturbing trend that tells us that there is truly a certain animal in today's Nigerian. It's not just the nasty nature Hobbes talked about, it's a new brand of 'animal', made in Nigeria, for Nigerians. The Nigerian you see on the street has been conditioned to harbour an element of savagery. On his face, is written a gruelling tale. They say we are the most happy people on earth, but such happiness is only a facade that erodes swiftly when faced with a scenerio. There is so much he disdains about himself, his society, his life. It is for this reason that you can easily incite a Nigerian to join a mob action. It is for this reason that one Mr Lucky could incite the crowd to dole out a first class babaric act on those four students of Uniport, and it is for this reason that at the sound of 'thief thief thief', people are ever ready to clamp down andeven burn to ashes the accused in split seconds. There is a fundamental anomaly with our mindset. Make no mistake about it, such anomaly is not the preserve of the downtrodden Nigerian only. It is a madness that cuts across class and social status. It runs in the viens of a myriad of Nigerians. Our society has reconstructed our mindset. The rot in today's Nigeria has created a can of anger, a boiling aggression, a measure of hate, a burden of venom, a sponge of frustration, and at any slightest provocation, we explode and pour out these elements on anybody and anything.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Short Story: Justice For All...

His struggles were pulsating, oozing out a stench of astute determination, the kind that the forces of nature are vulnerable to. Ogbuke knew that he will need more than mere resolve to see this battle to the end. They say fighting a war against strong employers is always a battle in futility. But, Ogbuke sought after such futility, to change it's fortune. His boss had just shown him the exit door for his dogged refusal to add two zeros to a certain sum of money in the company's transaction. Though such occurances had always beena trend at the office, Ogbuke's resolve has been hitched upon what he called 'An Unflinching Conviction'. This conviction and it's carrier could have been swept away a long time ago by his employers, but Ogbuke's sublime expertise had left their hands tied. However, the powers that be can no longer stomach such 'nonesense'. As financial manager, he was cajoled to turn 600,000 naira into 60,000,000 naira, in a deal the company opined will be their jackpot as a firm. The trajectory was to be unprecedented, and Ogbuke's refusal earned him a sack letter. 'Unlawful dismissal', was the grounds he used in suing his employers. The court proceedings were a cumbersome furore; an unending series of litigation that beggars belief. Ogbuke kept hope alive. Having lost his job and several friends in his tussle for 'change', hope was the only thing he could keep alive. TheD-Day finally arrived. The day when the verdict was to be pronounced. Ogbuke came into the court room, optimistic as ever, and looking forward to a reprieve. But, it wasn't long before the verdict lefthim in bonkers. His employers were justified, and he was to pay them a huge sum of money for damages. Ogbuke remained glued to his sit. The penury was enough to cripple the limbs. He glanced at the big inscription inside the court room that reads 'JUSTICE FOR ALL'. At least, today, in his rattling fight for 'Change', he now knows who 'All' refers to. Perhaps, a soothing progress in his effort to solve the societal puzzle. He lived a beggarly life afterwards.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mubi, Aluu & The Culture Of Babarism

If ever we thought that the chauvinistic era of life being short, brutish and nasty as propounded by Thomas Hobbes were theories that had outlived their relevance, the events of the past few weeks have served as gruesome reminders. The tales of avarice and sheer sordid tendencies in our land has reached a new crescendo in recent times. Like a scalded cat, the news became viral of how untrammeled gunmen attacked the Adamawa state polythecnic in Mubi and randomly killed about three dozens of people. Investigations and committees became the aftermath response of those saddled with our security, and the blood of those innocent citizens still yearn for vengence. We thought we have seen enough, before social media became awash with the gory video of four University of Portharcourt students that were murdered under the most gruelling imagined situation. The madness was unrivalled. Not only were they beaten to death, their bodies were turned into ashes. All these within the space of one month. This culture of babarism has reached an all time high. No explanation will ever suffice to justify this crude act of man's inhumanity to man. The events of the past few weeks should send alarm bells, that the times demands for carefulness, caution and wisdom. We heard of how Cynthia Udoka Osokogu was killed by friends she met on facebook. The streets are unsafe, the villages insecure, the airwaves unprotected, and now the internet. Conventional wisdom tells us that our government can not protect us; the times are evil, desperate and precarious. Watch and pray.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Short Story: Trapped!

It was her presence that alerted me. The glittering substance in her attire. The beauty of her dresswas hypnotizing, the kind of beauty that puts you in a spell and keeps you there. She sat down unperturbed, and with a grace that spoke volume of her simplicity. I sat at the rare, but kept my gaze on her. She brought out her blackberry phone. The sophistication of the phone suggested it belonged to the top echelon of the bb world. Her attention was stolen by the phone. Her both hands were busy, punching the buttons. At times, she will smile at herself, at other times, she will wink to herself. The phone held her in a spell. I wanted to leave the bar, but there was something about her presence that captivated my thoughts, and paralysed my limps.I observed her carefully, from where I sat. She still held her phone, still fixed on the screen, still engrossed. The seconds rolled into minutes, and the minutes metamorphozed into hours. But, there she was, intoxicated by the device. I wondered: was it that she was waiting for someone? Perhaps, she was in the wrong place. I attempted to go and ask her. But, there was something about her beauty and countenance that putsyou off, that advices you to mind your own business. Then, the hours began to trickle down. Suddenly, she stood up. Her face looked hushed. Like a bolt from the blue, she came to where I sat 'Can you please lend me your blackberry charger, my battery is dead, and I am not through chatting with my friends' she said, smiling.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nigeria @ 52: Hope against Hope

Beyound sufficient chronicles already exist of the doom’s den that Nigeria seems to have become. Not only is the nation in eclipse, it is on a tenterhook, a certain uncertainty that grows with the passage of every new day. A rehash of the myriad of the problems currently besetting us is not needed here. We have already seen and heard so much of them, and asking for more here will only put a damper upon many hearts. It goes without saying that at 52, the true gains of democracy remains elusive in our land. Constant power supply remains a pipe dream, unemployment continues to skyrocket, our roads are still death traps, the aviation industry is in a state of debacle, corruption is at its crescendo, educational standard is still on a down slide, poverty is written on the faces of many, and then, the peak of the penuries, Boko Haram. But, despite all these plethora of problems, the message for this anniversary is hope. This hope is not just one we should bestow on our leaders. Rather, it is one we should have because of the great Nigerian spirit that we possess. Bad as it seems, we can surely turn this around and usher in a wheel of fortune. Our nation is and has never been in need of efficient human resources. All we need is the true will to demand a change. Without fear of sounding ludicrous, we are a nation for all seasons. At 52, we should come to a round table. The sins of our past have been our burden today, but we can reverse the fate of tomorrow by getting it right today. A more effective and pragmatic way of doling out a fatal blow to the scourge that is Boko Haram must be concocted. The electoral process must be strengthened, and political offices should be made less attractive. Development should be holistic, and only square pegs in square holes should be tolerated. At 52, the blame game of who crashed the Nigerian project should be buried. We are all in the logjam together. We all live with the mess, though in varying degrees. It is far from uhuru in Nigeria, but better days are surely in the offing. It is apt to drop the ink by saying that the leaders must muster the will to take the genuine initiative and the followers must show enough believe and sincerity to steer the Nigerian ship together.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Curious Case Of Patience Jonathan

For some, it is a search for Nigeria's first lady, for some others it is a wait for the Dame, and for a strong few, it is time to play games. It's been more than a forthnight that Nigeria's first lady, Patience Jonathan went at large. The power brokers at Aso Rock will have us believe that she went on a sabbatical, a rest as they coined it. However, the news has finally gone viral and it is now common news that the Dame is in far away Germany, where she is receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical ailment. There is something pathetic and fundamentally inimical about the way that the media handlers at the Villá ply their trade. They told us she went to rest. Is there not a better dignified way of decieving 166 million people? And we heard that the president was infuriated that news of his wife's ill health became public knowldge. Perhaps, he needs reminding that this was the conundrum that became the achilles heels of his predecessor's handlers, and attempting to bottle a top secret in this age is like trying to guide the flow of the river. Patience Jonathan is a figure that polarises opinion. Many jesters have made her spoken english a tool for their trade, while her emergence as a Permanent Secetary in Bayelsa state has fuelled the ink of many penpushers, and has given more than a few public analyst a topic of debate to tussle their tongues over. However, Patience Jonathan must be one of the most ridiculed first lady on our planet. It is a harsh truth that if you google her name, the related post you will see are Patience Jonathan bad grammar, english and speeech. Unforunanetly, this is what the average Nigerian has come to identify her with. Yet, at times like this, there is no pride in taking solace in the ills of another man. But, we live in a society where the misfortune of a member of the nouveau riché glitters a certain joy to the downtrodden. What exactly is wrong with the Dame? Some say it's fibriods, some say it's worse, while some others insist that it's food poison. We night never know for sure which version of the story is closer to the truth. However, the best we could give her at times like this are our best wishes and sincere prayers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Remaking The Nigerian Premier League: Issues and Analysis

It has become a national creed that the Nigerian Premier League is still years behind it's contemporaries, and it's development over the past ten years have not only been at a snail's pace, but have often been stunted. Certainly, it is a pathetic reality that our youths are still very intoxicated with European leagues. So much so that an average Nigerian youth can reel out the names of both the first and second team list of Arsenal football club but, ask that same youth to mention just one name from the NPL, and he will keep looking at you in perplextion. Just before one starts throwing stones on the youths for being unpatriotic, the question of what makes the NPL so disdainfully followed within and outside the country must first be answered. I dare say with every ounce of conviction in me that the problem is not entirely that of the media. Our league gets fair coverage from Supersport and one must commend journalists such as Emeka Nwani and Colin Udoh for astutely reporting the league despite of the odds engaged in sourcing and venturing into such reportage. Be that as it may, it will not harm if many more journalist makes the NPL their hub of reporting. However, it has been said, and not without reason, thatthe true bane of the Nigerian league lies with the administrators and stakeholders. It is an axiom in the co-operate world that a good product naturally sells itself. It is not lack of sponsors that have kept the NPL in the doldrums, rather, it is the primordial attitude and unguarded interest of the powers that be at the glasshouse that has continued to be our albatross. Until we start having true technocrats at the helm of our footballing affairs, we might keep nagging over this issue. Club owners should be held accountable for some erratic decisions that they make in their clubside. Success in the NPL will surely translate into success for the national teams at all levels. But, are we resolved enough to bring about the watershed?

Monday, September 10, 2012

The God That Saves...

'God Saves'. You must have probably seen it in a sticker on the wheelscreen of a car before, or on the door of one of those your christain folks. There is a popular cliché that asserts that 'Life is a university of hard knocks'. The saying goes to show that the journey of life is a topsy-turvy one that does not often go the way we plan. It is a truism that so many people have given up on their lives, their pursuits, and their dreams. For some, nothing good can come out of their lives anymore. However, the good news is that there is God, whose speciality is turning seemingly impossible and improbable situations around. In a world that is often tempting us to join the bandwagon of it's basterdized system, there is the need to cling to the saving power of God. He might not show up in your time, but he will surely show up in due time. That is why it is not mere balderdash to say that there is no failure with God. If he says it, that settles it. We have to learn to believe God for whom he is. Fear is often the menace that hovers around us like a cloud. It makes us doubt the potency of God to see us through, but each time fear springs up, the panacea to fighting it is faith. God is still in the business of salvaging destines, putting smiles in the faces of the depressed and changing the fortunes of many. But, you have to against hope, put your hope on him. No man is irredemable for God's use. If Paul,an ex-killer could be saved, if David, with his randy nature could be in God's plan, if Jeremeieh, with all his inadequecies could be used, if Peter, with his igniting temper could be considered, who says your case is beyond repair? You must believe that your life is not finished, and that your best days are ahead of you. God saves!

Friday, August 31, 2012

What Are You Doing With Your One Precious Life?

Beloved, with barely four months to the closure of the year, you will agree with me that the last days of 2012 is upon us. As they say, time truly flies. These are sensitive times in both the history of our nation and our personal lives. The world is moving at a speed of light, and like an unstoppable train, it waits for no man. It is your choice to make your life count. This choice is one you must make. Even if you choose to do nothing with your life, you are already making a choice. Ask yourself the question 'what have I been doing with my life?' Remember, twenty years from today, you will have a family. Will your children be proud of the kind of father or mother that they have? Will they have to suffer through life the way you did? These are pertinent questions you must begin to answer. Suffice it to say, there is never a plausible excuse for failure. The world owes no man aliving. No matter what your reasons for failing might be, it dosen't justify you; because someone, somewhere, has gone through a worse case before, yet made something out of his life. Check your life today. What are you investing your hours on? What are you dwelling your thoughts on? What actions are you taking? What values are you adding to your days? You must make a choice today not to live the mediocre life. You must take a stance to make your dreams come true. The good thing is that, no matter the mistakes, blunders and misdeeds you have made in the past, you can open anew chapter today and alter the scheme of things. Never forget, it's your life. Your friends, your parent, your siblings, none of them will live it for you and only you is accountable for your life. Always ask yourself everyday 'what am I doing with my one precious life?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What Happened To The Obama Dream?

Time truly has a way of changing everything! Four years looks like a decade now. The 'yes, we can' creed has gradually slipped into the realms of fiction, and the mantra of change as preached by Obama has since remained a mirage. Four years on, and the American populace are grappling with what they called 'Broken Promises', by the Obama presidency. As Barack Obama must have found out, leadership is truly a burden; a burden that takes a great toll. The euphoria of his emergence as president inflated hope beyond reason, and left a myopia on his actual capacity as a leader. There is no gainsaying that the conundrum in which America finds itself is very enormous and gruelling to be fixed within four years, by one man. Nonetheless, the manner of change in which Obama canvassed instilled a frightening hope. One that keeps fading with the passage of every new day. Since 2008, a staggering 3.6 million Americans have been added to social security disability insurance program. The total number of private sector jobs is still 4.3 million below the January 2008 peak. Now, he runs for president in the same economic crisis that helped catapult him to the White House in the first place. Obama simply divides opinion. Some American media houses describe him as the most mysterious president since Jimmy Carter. The New York Times called him 'the greatest deciever of men'. The cliché, 'welcome to Obama's America, where nothing works' has become fashionable for most of his rivals. However, Obama's rival, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, have been written off as novices. It is believed in some quaters that should Obama lose the presidency to them in the upcoming polls, it will be less because of the ingenuity of these duo, and more of the need to dispense the burden that Obama has become. However, because this is America, Obama might just get a rare second chance to mend his broken promises.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Barca vs Real Madrid: The Season Ahead...2

They might have been taught the unpleasant life of paltry success last season, but you can only write off Barcelona at your own peril. Getting to the Champions League semi final, finishing second in the league and winning a copa del rey is no failure in any way, but such are the high standards at the Nou Camp. With the exit of the imperious Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanová has his job description well cut out. He must wrestle back the La Liga trophy and look to put Barca back in the top heights of Champions League success. It is indeed a big ask for the former Barca number two, who will be testing such murky waters for the first time. However, Barca have an enviable culture of producing young and successful manager. Frank Ridjkaard and Pep Guardiola are living testimonies. It will be leaping before you look to outrightly draw conclusions as to who will lift the La Liga trophy. It is obviously too close to call, but one thing we can guarantee is that the battle between C.Ronaldo's Real Madrid and Lionel Messi's Barca, will be as fierce, competitive and exicting as you can expect.

Barca vs Real Madrid: The Season Ahead...1

Many have said, and rightly so, that the La Liga is a league of Real Madrid, Barcelona and others. You only need to look at the gap in points in the past five years between the top two and the rest of the league, to lend credence to that arguement. However, it is salient to mention here that the both sides are arguably the best two teams in the world. Thus, it is a travesty to the rest of the 18 teams, that the two massives should even ply their trade in the same turf. Real Madrid has truly come of age since the coming of Jose Mourinho. Like him or loathe him,you certainly can't resist the special one. How he turns anything he touches into gold, is a testimony to his ingenious nature. No doubt, the Galaticos are now a rejuvenated, solid and more disciplined side. Not only did they win the La Liga trophy last time, they did it with some swagger and panache. Winning 32 out of 38 games, and scoring above a century of goals, was a league record. In addition to retaining the trophy, the goal will also be to add a long awaited Champions League trophy to make it a decade of trophy in Europe.

EPL 2012/2013: Previews, Permutations And Predictions! Part 2

For Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea fc, the greatest burden for them this season, will be the burden of success. Having won the much coveted Champions League trophy, they will have to muster fresh motivation. By acquring stars such as Eden Hazard and Oscar, Roman has sent a clear message of ambition. Nevertheless, how will Chelsea cope without their greatest hero, Dider Drogba? With every new manager at Anfield, comes a new belief. Brenden Rodgers has certainly not cut his teeth in the biggest stage of football, but you can expect him to join in the frey. It's a big season for Liverpool, but if reality is anything to go by, then a fourth place finish is the best that the Reds can hope for. Is there a more curious and intriguing team like Arsenal fc? Eight years, and the wait for a silverware of whatever composition goes on. Perhaps, looking at their squad, it is a wonder how they have been ableto still remain at the top. Should RVP stay, then Arserné Wenger's boys will have a straining hope of getting at least a trophy. Perhaps, it is time to spare a thought for Andre Villas Boas and Tott Hotspur. The rookie manager will be hoping to reshape his broken reputation. But, Spurs are not Chelsea, and the indices of success at Stamfor Bridge and White Hart Lane varies. Keeping Luka Modric will be his greatest feat. The Die is cast!

EPL 2012/2013: Previews, Permutations And Predictions! Part 1

Seriously, we have missed it. The thrills it brings, the exictement it conjures and the heart breaks it doles out. This is why we have missed it. After the EPL season ended in May, we had the Euros between June and July, and the olympics after that. Yet, we just can't get enough of football, and football itself can't stop giving. It is barely one week to the commencement of the new Barclays English Premier League season, and the bookmakers are already out, and expectations arehigh. We doubt if any season could match last season in terms of drama and intrigues, especially the one we saw on the last day of the league. But then, we can never tell with football. No doubt, among the twenty teams, some will manage to survive, some will struggle to get to the top half, some will struggle to get to the top half, while some will simply exist to make up the numbers. Yet there are those that will yearn for gold and tussle for the summit. Champions Manchester City will obviously be many people's favourite, but it is apt to state here that it is even harder to defend the EPL title, than it is to win it for the first time. Having said that, City are a side to reckon with. They are yet to get the petro-dollars rolling in the transfer market, but you only need to look at the entire squad to see the assault of talents at Roberto Mancini's disposal. Say what you may about him, but Sir Alex Ferguson and his United team are never push overs. They went trophyless last season, but expect a resurgence from the Red Devils. With new acquisations such as Kagawa and the likes, you will expect United to compete on all fonts and wrestle for the summit.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics 2012: Nigeria And The Show Of Shame

The pandemic that has crept into our social, political and economic fabrics, has continued to take it's toll on our national performance at the London 2012 olympics. That we cannot even manage to clinch a paltry bronze medal at the olympics, is a terrifying reality. Or how do you explain that a nation of over 165 million people cannot even muster a medal in the over 500 medals that have since been dispensed at the games. Yet, nations with little population like Jamaica, Cyprus, Belarus, Greneda and the likes have continued to rewrite the record books at the game. Instead, we were handed a first class massacre by the United States in the basketball competition. It ended 156 to 73, the greatest defeat in olympics basketball history. We simply never learn. We play to the gallery for three years and six months, and begin preparations with six months to go. And we expect to compete with the likes of Micheal Phelps, the Williams sisters, Lebron James, Roger Federer, Usain Bolt and the likes? It is the most pathetic stage of delusion for us to expect that 'miracles' is a Nigerian. It bleeds the heart to even see some Nigerian athletes winning medals for other nations. The misdemeanor of 'Team Nigeria' at the olympics lends credence tothe testimony that Nigeria is only brilliant in the art of 'theftology'. The United States is good in basketball, the East Africans are good in marathon, the South Africans in swimming. What are we good at? What? Just what?

Friday, August 3, 2012

This Fate..

She woke up with a flourishing smile, the kind that was reserved for the gods. Her eyes was a sight to behold. It radiated with a certain bloom. Her eye lid stood erected, the brow tilting upwards, firm and intriguing. The day lingered like a routine, Nkem simply glided through the day. It was around 2pm, when fate decided to call time on her eventful life. She walked into the shop of her hair stylist. The familarity was telling. They exchanged pleasantries in a proximity that could not be gainsayed. The process began as usual. The hair stylist began by undoing her already stale hairstyle, and before she proceeded to fixing another facade to restore Nkem's beauty. She also deemed it fit to do a thorough washing on the hair. She washed the hair with a flourish and dexterity. A dexterity that tells us that her hands have seen many years of strafing people's hair, and beating them to shape. As soon as this done, the hair stylist hurried to the shop opposite her own, to get hair cream. It's a pleasant wonder how she often exhaust her own. Perhaps, it was a testimony that business was looking up. As she was still there, Nkem sat in her stool, waiting patiently and perhaps, thinking of how her new hair-do will open the flood gate of suitors. But this was to be her last thought. BOOM! was the next thing that could be heard. It was a suicide bomber, who just inflicted havoc. His wreckage wasmore than a handful. Nkem's body laid lifeless, gutless and dead. As the hair stylist returned from her lender's store, she envisaged the damage. Her eyes remained wide open, her mouth flapped itself in utter surprise. She cried, she wailed. She panted,she gulped. As is often the case, a scene had already been created. Nkem's corpse was the spectacle.This event was a gruesome reminder of the charade that had befallen us. A tale that should better be left unimagined, the Nigerian tale. A tale we pray will someday end.

Monday, July 30, 2012

For Nigeria, I Reflect!

Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Katsina, Yobe, and now, the untouchable Sokoto. Sentiments apart, these Boko Haram guys ply their trade with uncommon deligence and exquisite dexterity. Just when we thought we were bound to witness one full month without having to read of the horror of Boko Haram in our dallies, due to the Ramadan fast, we were shocked to our bone marrows and forced to forge a rethink. Many felt that Sokoto, being the reverred seat of the sultanate, was always going to be defied ofthe shenenigans and notoriety of Boko Haram, but what do we know. The madness has infiltrated the Caliphate and the chicken has finally come home to roost. Ours is a tale of a nation plagued by it's own children, blighted by it's clueless leaders, bedeviled by the sins of the past, and burdened by the expectations of it's tommorow. It trobules the mind that the menace of Boko Haram has gone on for more than a year, yet, a panacea is not even in the offing, neither is it on the horizon. Is it not foolhardy that these miscreants have remained faceless till now? However, we must not accept our ill-fate. While we can now come to terms with the perilious reality that our nation cannot protect us, we must not imbibe the age-old adage of the dark ages 'Everyman for himself, God for us all. Whoever is slow, may the devil take him'. The signs are definetly not good, but do we sit down and keep crying foul? If this charade must be halted, we have to stand up and take responsibility. If Nigeria must flourish again, then we have to instigate it. The change will surely come, the coast will definately be clear and we shall laugh again. Call me a miserable optimist, but in the Nigeria dream, I keep faith.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poem: Sweet Captivity!

You caress my soul, and intoxicate my heart. You stole my sense of rationality, and taught me the ways of insanity. You hold me in your spell that I cannot tell. My thoughts are occupied with you, and I pant after you uncontrolably. Your stunning panache that awakens my days. My gaze is fixed upon you. My imaginations pours upon you. Yet, I love this spell, this hypnotizing of some sorts. Tighten the nuts and keep me in your sweet captivity. For in this captivity, I have found authority. My hope wears a new cloak of renewal, my dreams take on a new name called confidence. Your powers render me in tears. Keep me in your spell, for the world outside is hostile, precarious and for what it's worth, a poisoned chalice.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

3 Toxic Personalities You Must Avoid!

1. The negativity committee. – You can never fail in life or love; you just produce results. It’s up to you how you interpret those results . Positive thinking is the ability to feel negative when you have to and still maintain enough hope to keep on going. You cannot tailor-make the situations in life, but you can tailor-make the attitudes to fit those situations. You must view your life through a positive lens. Instead of slapping your forehead and asking, “What was I thinking?” you must breathe and ask the more encouraging question, “What was I learning?” 2. The hoarder of pain and loss. –One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go - whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy – you fight to hold on, and you fight to let go. But often times letting go is the healthiest path forward. You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you. Read You Can Heal Your Life. 3. The jealous competitor. – Don’t be jealous of others. Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s. Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition. You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be. If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday. *MA*

Why Character Matters!

Who we are makes a difference. The way we treat others matters. The decency or indecency that fills our hearts and minds matters. Our values as expressions of what we believe and how we live our lives really does make a difference to our happiness. The traits we’ve developed over time is of no little consequence to how we feel about who we are. When we look in the mirror, it’s often our character (or lack thereof) that speaks the loudest. But not all character traits are created equal, at least not insofaras happiness is concerned. *MARCANDANGEL*

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Nigeria Is Possible!

Despite the daunting odds and herculean task of nation building that hangs over us like a cloud, the quest for a Nigeria of our dreams is definitely feasible. Depending on what you choose to see, our country has been going through a 'darkening' period, that not only astounds the mind, but also indicates that it can't get worse. The pathetic tale of insecurity, corruption and avarice in our shore is one that does not require a rehash. From the shenenigans of the Lawal/Otedola fiasco, to the endless scourge of Boko Haram, one can see that the chicken is certainly coming home to roast. Perhaps, it won't be clutching on straws to suggest that the end ofour 'gory tales' is near. Though despondency thrives in the land, we must find a new resolve to salvage our future. Like Ngugi Thiong'O once wrote, 'Weep not, child'. It is time to dream again. It will be apt to state here that engaging in ceaseless destructive criticisms and folding our arms in reluctantcy, will not in any slightest manner, alter our fate for the better. We speak so much of the evil cabal that have held our counry to ransom for decades, yet, all we do is speak indeed. This is not an advocacy for a revolution in the mould of the Arab spring. Rather,it is time to tell ourselves the 'home truth'. Many of us have simply not been sincere enough to the Nigerian dream. The recent election in Edo state (though not entirely without blemish), lends credence to the fact that a relatively free and fair election is possible in Nigeria. This is contrary to the maxim propounded by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, when he opined that 'Even Jesus cannot conduct a free and fair election in Nigeria'. The evil cabal is a piecemeal, compared to the over 150 million Nigerians. It beggars belief how they have held us in their spell for so long. The time to wrestle back Nigeria beyond lip-service, is now!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NYSC: In Search Of A New Identity

Established on 22nd May, 1973 by the military regime of Yakubu Gowon, the NYSC scheme has since been trailed with controversies and intense debate, that has at times, threatened it's existence. For some, the scheme has outlined it's uses, and it is a sheer waste of both public funds and twelve months. Some others contend that with the recent spate of insecurity in some parts of the country, the scheme puts the lives of many teeming youths in jeopardy. Depending on who youchoose to believe, every sides to the arguement is not without an iota of reason. However, devoid of sentiments, primordial considerations and ethnic positions, the NYSC scheme is one that should be protected and preserved with every ounce of courage that we could muster. The scheme does not require an overhauling. Instead, it demands a cleansing of some sorts, a remaking of it's goal and deployment of measures to enhance it's efficiency. Some people would never had left theirstate of residence if it were not for the programme. Moreover, how do we appreciate other people's culture, language, norms and vaules, if all we know about them is based on hearsays and fictitious notions? At a time when the ties of unity that binds us as a people is losing it's grip, the NYSC scheme stands as one of the outstanding panacea to salvage the situation and avoid the impending discord. It does not require a strech of the imagination to see that the NYSC scheme brings people of diverse background together, promote national integration and enhancesocietal development. Yet, having said all that, it will be the peak of foolhardiness to turn a blind eye to the incessant dangers that corps members are exposed to in some parts of the country. Without mincing words, this tide should be nipped in the bud. Unless the state can guarantee maximum security for corps members, it will be an abberation to deploy them to those regions. Perhaps, it is sacrosanct to state here that the purging required by the NYSC scheme, begins with the cleansing of it's battered image.

NYSC: In Search Of A New Identity

Established on 22nd May, 1973 by the military regime of Yakubu Gowon, the NYSC scheme has since been trailed with controversies and intense debate, that has at times, threatened it's existence. For some, the scheme has outlined it's uses, and it is a sheer waste of both public funds and twelve months. Some others contend that with the recent spate of insecurity in some parts of the country, the scheme puts the lives of many teeming youths in jeopardy. Depending on who youchoose to believe, every sides to the arguement is not without an iota of reason. However, devoid of sentiments, primordial considerations and ethnic positions, the NYSC scheme is one that should be protected and preserved with every ounce of courage that we could muster. The scheme does not require an overhauling. Instead, it demands a cleansing of some sorts, a remaking of it's goal and deployment of measures to enhance it's efficiency. Some people would never had left theirstate of residence if it were not for the programme. Moreover, how do we appreciate other people's culture, language, norms and vaules, if all we know about them is based on hearsays and fictitious notions? At a time when the ties of unity that binds us as a people is losing it's grip, the NYSC scheme stands as one of the outstanding panacea to salvage the situation and avoid the impending discord. It does not require a strech of the imagination to see that the NYSC scheme brings people of diverse background together, promote national integration and enhancesocietal development. Yet, having said all that, it will be the peak of foolhardiness to turn a blind eye to the incessant dangers that corps members are exposed to in some parts of the country. Without mincing words, this tide should be nipped in the bud. Unless the state can guarantee maximum security for corps members, it will be an abberation to deploy them to those regions. Perhaps, it is sacrosanct to state here that the purging required by the NYSC scheme, begins with the cleansing of it's battered image.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Power Of Starting Small

It is a truism that no one ever raised to stardom without grappling and contending with a paltry beginning. The maxim is often being used 'Think global, start small'. Dearest friends, no one ever stumbles upon success or conquered the world in one fowl swoop. They all started somehow; they all started small. There is a great power in just starting small. Larry King, one of the greatest broadcasters to ever adorn our t.v screens, started out in an unknown radio station in the United states. Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man, had to begin with an infinitesimal sum of 500,000 naira. Chimamanda Adiche, one of Africa's finest young writers, began with writing chronicles of unseen stories. Cristain Ronaldo, arguably the best football player on the planet at the moment, started out playing street football. What is the moral of their stories? They started from where they were. They knew what they were born to do, and they gave it all the attention and smartwork it required. Without mincing words, many might despise you in your little beginning, but you have to turn a deaf ear. Afterall, it's your life, no one will live it for you. Even the 'Good Book' admonishes us never to despise the days of little beginnings. Remember, the world and the forces of nature makes way for the man who will stick to his dreams and is ready to chase it even through the shadows of death and the abyss of trials. But, you must start today. There is an indescribable power in pursuing your goal when it is at it's embroyic stage.

Monday, June 25, 2012

10 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself! Part 3

6. Make your own needs a priority. – Stop putting your needs on the back burner. The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. 7. Learn and practice one new skill every week. – Self-reliance is a vital key to living a healthy, productive life. To be self-reliant one must master a basic set of skills, more or less making them a jack of all trades. Contrary to what you may have learned in school, a jack of all trades is far more equipped to deal with life than a specialized master of only one. And besides, learning new skills is fun.

10 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself! Part 2

4. Exploit the resources you do have access to. – It’s not about having access to countless resources; it’s about exploiting the resources you do have access to. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited hissense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it. What resources do you have access to that you are not using? 5. Help others when you are able. – In life, you get what youput in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness.

10 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself! Part 1

1. Maintain a positive attitude. – Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it. So be aware of your mental self-talk. We all talk silently to ourselves in our heads, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us. Start listening to your thoughts. If you hear negative thoughts, stop for a second and replace them with positive thoughts. As the Dalai Lama once said, “The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger andmore powerful.” For some practical positive thinking guidance, I recommend reading The Power of Positive Thinking. 2. Be kind to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will. 3. Embrace problems as a natural part of growing. – Part of living and growing up is experiencing unexpected troubles in life.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Otedola & Lawal: A Drama For All Times

You know it's a pathetic nation when the 'dog eat dog' principle is the order of the day. Here is a nation where truth wears different faces, and one wonders what has happened to integrity. The saga involving oil magnate, Femi Otedola, and exquisite law maker, Farouk Lawal, is a reminder of the degeneration of standards and values in our society. The fuel subsidy report is in itself a masterstroke, a litany of scatching revelations and a job well done. However, the chairman of that committee, Farouk Lawal, could well have shot himself in the foot. The three million dollar bribe scandal he is currently embroiled in leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Lawal is one of those few lawmakers that was believed to still have an iota of integrity. His legislative dexterity and vast experience cannot be gainsayed. But, as is the case with power in Nigeria, he compromised. To have initially denied collecting bribe from Otedola and later admitting it, is foolhardiness in itself, and surges questions. The evidence against the diminutive Kano state born lawmaker is both damning and astonishing, to put it mildly. The begging question is, was he lured? Entrapped? Or simply doing his job? It has been said and not without reason, that there is something 'fishy' about the timing of the revelations. Why did Femi Otedola wait till after the probe to induce Mallam Farouk Lawal? Perhaps, it is worth reminding ourselves that Femi Otedola, the father of Zenon oil, is not just an ordinary Nigerian. This is a man that dines with the custodians of Aso Rock. A kingpin of the massively corrupt system. In fact, he is a member of the Presidential Economic Team. And just to state the obvious, heis one of the prima donnas and financiers of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Farouk Lawal has a famous history for stepping on toes, but he might have gotten himself stuck this time. Everything he has built now lays on the altar of implosion, and if ever he nurtures a governorship ambition for 2015, this is a major blow. Only time will tell how this theatrics will end, but it is only common sense to say that it will be crass madness to throw the baby away with the bath water. Lawal might go down if found guilty, but the fuel subsidy report should not be allowed to go down with him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Which Way Nigeria?

From the Dana horror, to the senseless and countless killings in some parts of the North, Nigerians have been treated with tales of anguish, agony and avarice. The debacle has attained new gruesome heights, and a majority of Nigerians now live in a cloud of uncertainty, a knowing that they could be the next victim. It bleeds the heart when one considers that all these chronicles of pains could have been averted. Nigeria, for all the wrong reasons, have become the crux of international media. The world must now be in awe of us.They must be wondering what a farce of a people we are. Every single day holds fresh fears. Fears that have been made possible by the shenenigan and unscrupulous practices of men in our society. The gloom that has enveloped our nation is too petrifying for words. The uncertainty could even make suicide look like a mild option. Indeed, the man that stands in the focal point of all these, is Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. As he must have found out, leadership is a first class burden. The demands of his office is completely enormous, and he has only helped in providing the cynics with their firing darts. It has now become a trend that every sunday in our country must be a black one, with the recurring attacks of churches in the North. Yet, there are no measures to curtail the anomaly. The reactiveness of the Jonathan administration is complicating our problems. How long will Boko Haram remain faceless in an age when nothing is new under the sun? Has the fuel subsidy probe report now become a theatrics of some sorts? Will the Dana plane crash report ever see the light of the day? Questions everywhere. Questions that requires a firmness and dexterity in leadership. Questions that demands an active followership, beyond the rantings many only vent on social media. As Fela asked decades ago, we ask today: Which Way Nigeria?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Unilag To Maulag: What Is In A Name?

It promised to be a day of reminiscencing over thirteen years of a chequered democratic experience. However, the presidency and his cohorts had other ideas. President Goodluck Jonathan stirred the hornet nest when he vehemently announced that the famous University of Lagos, Akoka, will now be known as Moshood Abiola University, Lagos. In his estimation, this was to serve as a means of immortalizing the late sage. However, thanks to social media, the news went viral within seconds and fierce reactions have since greeted the gesture. Many argue that it is the peak of foolhardiness to take such a drastic decision without informimg all relevant 'stakeholders', connected to the citadel. A more critical view by the cynics is that, changing the nomecleture of a university, whose name has become a brand in the continent, is a sheer case of bad judgement. For the sake of a rehash, protests have since sparked off in the school. A bulk of the it's students and even alumni, cannot just come to the terms with the daunting reality that their most cherished 'Unilag' will no longer be. The conspiracy theorists argue that this was a delibrate attempt to undermine the notoriety of Lagos ever growing influence. So much for a name. However logical these arguements may sound, one should not lose sight of the fact that the university is a federal government property, and they hold the power to name and rename the institution. Moreover, history's wrath will visit anyone that believes that Moshood Abiola is not worth the honour. Suffice it to say, many have used this avenue to open up a can of worms against Jonathan's presidency. Be it Unilag or Maulag, what is in a name? Unfortunately, we live in a clime where we put so much attention on shadows, and lose the substance. Having said that, the Jonathan presidency is not without blemish. It is pathetic that he specializes in doling out critical surprises. In this issue, the sane thing to have done was to consult everyone concerned. Instead, like in the removal of fuel subsidy on January 1st, he acted in a dictatoral form. Whoever his advisers are, they are doing a wonderful job in demeaning his popularity and making a caricature of his already soiled image.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chelsea: Written In The Stars!!!

It was a fairytale. A script that was conjured by the gods, and a tale that simply encapsulates why we all love football. For nine years since the Abrahmovic era, they had tarried for the holy grail. The anguish of Chelsea's wait is not one that ink can aptly describe. But, victory at last has thrown those tales of despairs into the thrash can. Under the red cloud of the Allianz Arena, and against the custodians (Bayern Munich) of this cloud, Chelsea thruimphed as Champions of Europe. It was a night when Mourinho's invincibility at Chelsea, was replaced by Di Matteo's immortality. Surely, Mourinho's shadow has been fully lifted from the bridge. In sum, football is simply surreal. Three months ago, this Chelsea team was utterly written off. But, sometimes in March, fate made a u-turn, and in that 4-1 win against Napoli, Chelsea altered their fortune for good. Of all the eight managers Chelsea had employed since the Era of the Russian, Di Matteo has arguably the least impressive resumé, but such is Life and it's pandora's box. As he found himself in his own pool of tears, he knew that this was mission accomplished. Di Matteo has done the unthinkable, and in only 21 games in charge, he has written his name in gold, and achieve what the rest couldn't. One man that will bask in this feat than anyone, is the club's owner, Roman Abrahmovic. His obsession for this throphy knows no bounds, and whenever he will die, this success will let him rest well in his grave. The search for the holy grail is over. For Chelsea's old guard of Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Cole and Cech, they will finally shed off the trauma of Moscow two years ago. And as Drogba puts it, 'Life is Fantastic'. It was a night when everyone associated with the Blues, became an instant hero. It will take a while to fully relish this victory. Make no mistake about it, Chelsea's history have been altered for good. Through gritted teeth, eyes drenched with resolve, heart intoxicated with zeal, legs injected with pure passion and crass discipline, the Chelsea players will forever remain legends. There is little solace for Bayer Munich, as they will always pounder on what might have been. Penultimately, whenever this victory is discussed, one phrase will dominate more than any other: 'It was meant to be...que sera sera'.

Monday, May 14, 2012

EPL: 'Noisy Neighbours' Have The Last Laugh

Football has an insane way of toiling with our emotions and altering our hopes. Despite the razzmattaz and glitz that characterize the sport, it is the small details and slight margins that counts at the end. Manchester City became the latest kid on the block to carve it's name in stone and usher in a new dawn in the glamorous history of English football. Bouyed by the unending petro-dollars of the Shiekh, the blue half of Manchester have achieved a feat that they had tarried upon for 44 years. Make no mistake about it, clinching the Premier League trophy in an era when football has attained a competitive peak, is no mere act of heroism. Yet, the manner in which City won the coveted trophy can only be described as the stuff of dreams, and a replica of the miracles of 1999 and 2005 Champions League finals. As captain Vincent Kompany puts it, 'Miracles still happen', and this was one that will forever be written in gold. For Sir Alex Ferguson and his United team, they will have to live through the anguish and agony of beholding their 'noisy neighbours' flaunt 'their' trophy. Though finishing runners up in a stern and rigorous league like the EPL is no casual achievement, United is not a side that is used to playing second best to anyone, and failures at old trafford are measured by a different standard. Like in the days when Abrahmovic's fortunes launched Chelsea as a force in English football, Sir Alex Ferguson will now have to contend with a new foe, a bitter rival, and a glamorous neighbour that has learnt to turn 'noise' into substance.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Short Story: A Harsh Fate 2

She greeted in a way that elevated her manners, but it appeared that her presence was too homely to be noticed. Kunle moved to avert the impending anomalies that this first impression could wrought, but he was soon to find out that it was an effort in futility. Mr Agbaje finally turned off the T.V set. He glanced at Nkechi as if there was something about her structure that was not human, and then he mumbled words that Nkechi took to be in response to her greetings. The body language among the Agbajes was obvious. She was not welcome, and as she stood up to find the knob of the door, Mr Agbaje spoke up 'We are sorry. We hope you understand. This marriage is simply not feasible. The ethnic barrier, class differences and other plethora of factors just makes it improbable. We are sorry'. Kunle sat on his chair. Too devastated to move, and Nkechi hurriedly said 'Thank you', in a voice that was struggling to mask it's trobules. As she walked out of the gate of the Agbajes, the harsh sun only the North can conjure, poured upon her face. Her mind was aching and her feet was moving in a precision that was fretful. Perhaps, it was her fate to remain single, she wondered. And as she moved her body along the tedious street, she soliloquized in breaking and painstaking tears 'Why can't these people from home just leave me alone'.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Short Story: A Harsh Fate 1

The morning sun came uninvited into her window. The brightness was harsh and had little mildness to suggest that it was a sun of dawn. She was late, for she was scheduled to visit the family of her to-be husband. But, there she was, the hands of time racing against her, just as her age hurried pass her. Nkechi had been unlucky with time. In a forthnight, she will be 35, yet, hopes of walking the isle in white flowing gown with a man in suit cuddling her hands, has remained a mirage. Her ill fate often puzzled her, for her beauty was prodigal and her family name was written in gold. There are nights she will pounder on her nadir, and hurtful tears of how all her younger sisters had all gotten married will flood her eyes. She will cry her eyes out into her teddy bear that also doubles as her pillow. She will gaze into the thick darkness of the night, in hope that it will explain her ordeal. First, it was Nkem, then Abubakar, and now it's Kunle. She was determined not to let this chance slip from her hands again. As Nkechi entered into Kunle's family home, she stood in awe of the exquisite building. Though she was not born into squallor, her eyes had never beheld such luxury. The Agbajes were already sitted. Kunle's father was engrossed with the documentary on 'The ills of the World Bank' that was ongoing on Aljazeera TV. His mum was swiftly going through a national daily newspaper. The pace at which she turned the pages made one wonder if she was reading for the stories, or glancing at the pictures. Kunle's kid sister was rooted to the sofa, dangling her head in different positions, as she listened to songs from her ipod. Nkechi walked in and a deafening silence invaded the atmosphere...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Night Of Dreams For Chelsea!

Revenge they say is a dish best served cold, and this was a true case of Karma at it's best. Few gave them a chance, but in a world of unpredictable wits, Chelsea have pulled up a result that can only be described as the stuff of dreams. Though Chelsea's wait for the holy grail lingers, the victory over Barcelona was a major stride in the quest. No doubt, over the two legs, Chelsea rode their luck, but luck had every reason to smile at them. A sixth semi final appearance in nine years, is no mere feat. And when one considers the hurtful manner that the Blues had always been knocked out, it does not require a magic wand to see that Abramovic's massives, are due a stroke of luck. However, the question of if they will eventually lift the trophy on May 19, remains a mystery, but there is something about the doggedness and the crass dexterity embedded in the Catalan's defeat. For Pep Guardiola and his exceptionally talented side, they can only reminesce on what might have been. A season that held a string of promises for them has suddenly degenerated into a charade and a can of worms. Having said that, it is apt to unequivocally dismiss the inflated and exaggerated punditry that believes that Barcelona's sublimity has come to a halt. The Catalans remains a great force in the round leather game. For Di Meatto, he has only given his resumé a major booast. No one gave him a chance, but his mindas touch has been unbelievable. It was a night that most Chelsea faithfuls will savour for a long time, but it was also a night that had it's villians. John Terry's idiocy was a moment of sheer disgrace, and should Chelsea go on and lift the trophy, he might forever nurse a brokenness inside of him. It is not yet uhuru for Chelsea, but something suggests that it is written in the stars and fate wants to smile on them!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why I Won't Write About Ibori... Okey Ndibe

I won’t zero in on Ibori, for he is, after all, a small effect of a vast, pervasive cause. I realize that to make him, this day, the core of one’s disdain is to forget a little the way in which he is but a speck in a universe of venal grubbers and bloody thieves. To fix on Ibori is to leave the impression that he is somehow exceptional in Nigeria’s political planet. We all know that there aremany Iboris out there. What’s worse, the Nigerian system daily manufactures and graduates many more Iboris. These new Iboris daily enter the leeching enterprise. They take to that despicable business of a few dispossessing the many, tiny cohorts aggrandizing themselves by seizing the public harvest and doing with it as they please. To fix on Ibori today is to risk falling into a foolish temptation. That temptation is to celebrate the comeuppance of a man who reaped where the people sowed, a man who reduced the sacred business of governance to the art, and act, of personal greed. One must by all means run away from the celebratory temptation. There is no cause for celebration in Mr. Ibori’s downfall today. I will go as far as declaring that there’sno victory for the people of Delta, for Nigerians. There is for all of usonly defeat and shame.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Short Story: A Stolen Identity

It was the formlessness in her eyes that endeared her to Ikem. The tedious flight from London to Lagos had not taken a toll on her elegant frame. The complexity of her attire was a bait that attracted any one around her. This was what caught Ikem's fancy. He had beenaway from Nigeria for ten years, but even a decade in an alien country had not infiltrated his sense of morals. He gazed at the girl again, to be sure it wasn'ta toy that sat next to him in the plane. But, she was human. Her face exudes a beauty that had been raped; raped by the quest to make it better. Ikem mustered the courage and began the conversation. 'Hi', he said in a voice that wasn't sure of itself. In response, she raised a part of hereye brow, adjusted her dress andblinked her eye lid swiftly. After much hesistation, 'Hello' formed in her mouth. 'I am Ikem Ezeji'. He said. She smiled, as if there was something hilarious about his name. 'Well, I am Paula Dixon, my parents are from Nigerian, but I consider myself a British...afterall I have lived in Britain for four years', she concluded. A sudden silence beclouded Ikem's thought. He took a hard look at Paula. 'Four years and you are now a Briton'. he whisper to himself in sheer wonder. As they arrived at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Ikem waved her farewell as he left with his hoovering thoughts.

Friday, April 6, 2012

United Edges Closer To Rewriting History!

From the word go, it was obvious that the Barclays English Premier League trophy was a tussle between Manchester United and City. Since the coming of Sheikh Mansour's petrodollars, the rivarly began to grow in temerity. City began to dream again. However, for all it's unpredictabilities, this season has been a mixed grail. Football has a mischievious way of defying our predictions. At the commencement of the season, City seemed like a class act. They destroyed teams with ruthlessness and minimum fuss. They banged in goals as if it were going out of fashion. And who could forget that 6-1 massacre they meted out to Man United at Old Trafford. A win that the bookmakers made us believe was a watershed and the beginning of a power shift. However, all that looks like a distant past now. As the season reaches home strech, City appears to have been gone with the wind. From five points clear, City are now five points behind their vastly successful neighbours. Few envisaged that Mancini's team will fall like a pack of cards at this stage, but as United have often displayed, they are the boss of Manchester. When push comes to shove, it is Sir Alex Ferguson and his red devils team that have endured the marathon with panache. This is not to say that the league is over for City, but anyone that memory serves right, will know that United are not a team to give away a five points lead with less than seven games to savour. It won't be an exaggeration to unequivocally say that only Manchester United stands on Manchester United's path to winning an unprecedented twenty league titles.

An Experience To The Palace Of The Sultan Of Sokoto!

The structure of the building said it all. It was an architectural work that dates back to scores of years ago, yet the simplicity of the palace was it's strength. A visit to the Sultan's palace is obviously not a routine trip. Thus, I was determined to make the most of the opportunity. Fleet of cars graced the vicinity. However, it is apt to mention that none of the cars portrayed a life of luxury. In truism, they were your everyday cars. Remarkably, the enviornment was a busy one. Men dressed in the Hausa attire moved to and fro. Their swiftness and sense of duty underlies the fact that the palace is a company of some sorts. While it will be stating the obvious to say that women were not seen around the palace, one is reminded of the reality in Islam, that the female folks are reduced to articles of procreation. As we entered the exquisite hall, my thoughts hovered carelessly. The edifice was a spell in itself. Unlike, the typical Nigerian politician who takes pride in arriving late for an occasion, the Sultan kept to time. With an entourage of about six, some chanting songs I couldn't decipher, Saad Abubakar 111 arrived. He looked young and full of life. Age was yet to take it's toll. There was a clamness about him that oozes through him, and when he eventually spoke, it was the stuff of dreams. 'Your behaviour is a reflection of the society you live in'. Those were his first few words. He stressed on the need for self employment and the imperatives of reviving the reading culture among youths. His words spilled out like that of a sage. He bemoaned the dearth in vaules that is evident in our society. However, in his moment of oratory prowess, he couldn't shy away from the obvious. The Sultan decried the spate of insecurity in the country. He began to choose his words, careful not to sound too critical of the menace that is Boko Haram. He concluded by expressing optimism that despite the condurum Nigeria finds itself, she will flourish again. I wished this moment will never end, but the Sultan had to go for his prayers. The meal that followed was a treat. We ate to not just satisfy our hunger, but mainly to help our greed. Penultimately, the visit gave me the rare opportunity to understand the Sultanate beyound the gimmicks and sensationalism of the Nigerian press .

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The North And The Rest Of Us (2)

To answer the question of how the North inheritated such an inimical image, is a landmine on it's own. Despite having the bulk of the nation's population, the North have tussled with a plethora of anomalies. Crass illetracy continues to spread across the region like wild fire and infrastructual delapitation is a pathetic reality. Without mincing words, the Northern elites have not also helped the course of the region. Rather, they have continued to expliot the ignorance of their people, and like parasites, they have used the creed of religon and the song of ethnicity to keep their people in captivity. However, it is time to redeem the North beyond lip service and prejudice. History suggests that they have dominated the ruling echelon of Nigerian politics, and this hindsight cannot be treated with kid gloves. Contrary to the perception of many, the people of the North are not savages. While it is true that Boko Haram and it's kingpins have their foothold in the North, their intents and scheme are entirely alien, and should not be associated with the innocent majority of it's citizenry. The search for a united Nigeria is one that should be devoid of unfounded criticisms and misconcieved perceptions. The North are a part of Nigeria, they are needed to make the Nigeria project work, and that is a truth that the rest of us must accept.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The North And The Rest Of Us (1)

On June 1978, the famous historian, Chinweizu wrote what was to be a best-seller and a book for all seasons, 'The West And The Rest Of Us.' However, while this article draws inspiration for it's title from the book's own title, it does not share any resemblance to the work. It was the mandatory pandora's box (NYSC), that thrust me upon the Seat of the Caliphate, Sokoto. Unspeakable fears and petrifying doubts gripped my heart. A sojourn to the North, was an adventure I'd never embarked on, yet, for factual and ficticious reasons, I concluded it was a poisoned chalice. Having stayed at Lagos, Abuja, Rivers, Enugu and Ogun states, to mention a few, Sokoto was one region I dreaded. However, as I was later to find out, my fears weren't just borne out of the alarming rate of insecurity in the North, it was a perception that has been moulded by ignorance, forged by hear-says, and propagated by the media. The Northern image has been battered prior to the advent of Boko Haram. Perhaps, the first myth that has to be demystified is the notion that the North refers to one people. There is obviously a malady in regarding nineteen states as being equally babaric, nasty and bruitish. Pathetically, this is what many of us do, unconsciously. Coming to Sokoto, I saw how severe and deep rooted this damage has gone. Almost every of my fellow Corps members came to camp with that preconcieved mindset. In fact, many went as far as to blame their 'misfortune' of being posted to Sokoto on the gods and some form of supernatural forces from 'home'. While I cannot deny that I didn't actually feel good about coming to serve in Sokoto, I strongly believe that the flurry of hatred for the North, is a threat to the Nigerian project. It is a truism that some states in the North are very volatile and relatively insecure, but hatred for the region, will not resolve the menace. Perhaps, it will be apt to first ask the question: How and why did the North inherit such a soiled image over the years?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nigeria: To Divide Or Not To Divide?

The Nigerian news media have recently, witnessed a flurry of advocacies for the country to go the way of secession. This call is not a novel one in our nation. However, the harsh realities of the times, the plague that is Boko Haram and perhaps, the death of the Dim (Ojukwu), have renewed the conviction for many to be divided. Having listened to the 'pros' and the 'cons' of the debate, it dosen't require a clairvoyant to see that the both sides have got plausible points. Having said that, our democracy hinges on fragility and in a nation where primordial and ethnic sentiments still holds sway, one cannot afford to treat this subject with kid gloves. The call for a Soverign National Conference, also constitue a condurum of some sorts. While the idea to concieve this conference seems noble, the motive is to be scrutinized. Also, on what basis will representation be sent to such conference. It will not be cynical to suggest that a Soverign National Conference might merely succeed in fanning the embers of hostilities in our country. Morever, it has been said and not without reason, that such a conference could end up being a 'talk-shop' or at best, 'a rallying point'. One cannot also deny the fact that either way the country goes, some 'few' are bound to get the spoils. It is these 'few' that are the real enemies of the state. Suffice it to say, it is salient to dismiss the perception that secession will ultimately be the albatross of the North. It is simply myopic and unfair to sit here and conclude the fate of the North in the eventuality of Nigeria's division. Conclusively, rather than keep advocating for the division of the country, both leadership and followers must give their all in solving the plethora of anomalies confronting us. Division might appear to be the answer, but the consequences are certainly going to be severe!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ndi Igbo: A People In Search Of True Leadership

Like him or loathe him, but you can't certainly deny the temerity and panache that he exudes. Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu is a man that even words will not aptly describe. As one commentator puts it 'He is many men rolled into one.' In truism, to rehash all his feats here will be an effort in futility. In fact, eulogies on that subject are already ubiquitous. However, for those few who still hold grudges and throw diatribes at Ojukwu, it is only right to say that for all his achievements, he was still a man with flaws. Although, that is not the theme of this article. As the Ikemba 1 of Nnewi begins his journey to a world we will never know in the flesh, it begs the question: Who will take up the mantle of leadership in Igboland? Ojukwu was viewed as a political father of the 'Ndi Igbo.' He was to the Igbo, what the likes of Ibb, Gowon and Buhari are to the North. He might not be the favourite of everyone, but he was surely the outright choice in Igboland. Now, the daunting vaccum exist. While it is true that divisions and strife exist in virtually every regions in Nigeria, it is more pronounced in Igboland. The search for true leadership among the Igbo have proved elusive. The vested 'interests' of most of those who pride themselves as statesmen often kicks in the way of ideal leadership. When push comes to shove, leadership is no where to be found among the Igbo. Unfortunately, Ojukwu's demise will further compound this woe. Is it not pathetic to note that only few weeks after the Dim died, tussles over who will succeed him as Ikemba has already reared up it's ugly head. It makes one wonder if some of the eulogies that have been poured on Ojukwu, have not been a cheap attempt to regain relevance for some. The glaring divisions are certainly plausible reasons that makes one doubt if a soverign state of Biafra would have thrived, if it had survived. Political role models in the form of Ojukwu, are in short supply in Igboland. The politics of materialism holds sway in the land. It is no more news that chieftancy titles in Igboland have now become an auction of some sort. It is the highest bidder who now wears 'the red cap.' What happened to integrity? To meritocracy and virtue? As 2015 draws closer, the leadership vaccum in Igboland remains a big puzzle. The people needs one in the form of the Emir and Sultan in the North, and the Oba in the West. If Ndi Igbo must stand a realistic chance of getting the presidency in 2015, then a lot needs to be fixed. Popular opinion has it that Owelle Rochas Okoroafor, the governor of Imo state, is the anionted son of the Igbo for 2015. However, this is a house divided within itself and a lot can change between now and 2015. Perhaps, it is high time that the Igbo tell themselves the home truth about the numerous anomalies in the land. Immortalizing Dim Ojukwu is beyond the encomium that many have casted upon him, we must emulate the strength of his conviction and learn from the subtle lesson that a son of a business tycoon (Lious P. Ojukwu), who had all the good things of life at his beck and call, could still pursue a course he believed in into the realms of death.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tsunami In Intercontinental Bank: The Untold Story

The idiom thrives in the corporate world that bank workers are orphans, and recent events in the sector lends credence to this. The hurricane in the banking industry that was ushered in by the imperious CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, does not require a rehash here. We all knew how the appiontment of the Prince of Kano brought a watershed in the banking system. Those that were paraded as kingpins under the Soludo era, became objects of sheer ridicule under the Sanusi dispensation. For better or for worse, Sanusi salvaged the industry. However, the misdeeds that have made some of these banks that were believed to be healthy, to now begin to merge, leaves alot of questions to be asked. Many were shocked to their bone marrows when Ecobank acquired the once 'sublime' Oceanic bank, and surprise do not adequately explain the feelings of many when Access bank took over Intercontinental bank. The expediencies that made all these inevitable remains a theme of debate. However, the alarming sack of staff of Intercontinental bank by the 'power that be' at Access bank, can only be described as inhumane and pathetic. Depending on who you choose to believe, about 1,500 to 2,000 staff were affected out of the over 4,800 staff the bank has. Many that have been in the bank for about 5 to 10 years, were shown the door without their gratuities or any other fringe benefits. As if the penury was not enough, those staff that were fortunate to remain had their salaries and allowances slashed. In fact, everyone were to receieve an entry level salary, irrespective of qualifications or experience. For the axed staff that went to find reprieve in the court, they left disappionted. The court claimed that the working contract they had was with Intercontinental bank, not Access, thus, justifying the whims and caprices of Aig Imhokhuede and his cohorts at Access bank. Suffice it to say, one understands that Access bank, having newly acquired Intercontinental bank, must embark on some drastic measures. But, there is always a better way of doing things. At a time when the unemployment creed has become a song on everyone's lips, this development has come to add more venom to an already open wound. For all his verbose and scatching remarks, only time will tell if all these Sanusi's reforms will bring lasting sanity in the banking sector. Nonetheless, while injustice is meted out to workers of Intercontinental bank, the admirable crichton (Sanusi), has turned a deaf ear. Imagine how many lives are dependent on these staff that have now been sacked. It does not require a strech of the imagination to see that with this debacle, the rate of crimes and other societal anomalies, will skyrocket. Penultimately, it goes without saying that job security in our country is equal to zero.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Short Story: Nigeria And The Menace Of Unemployment

To say that Kunle was a man of letters, will be mitigating the truth. The 27 years old cove was a graduate of the prestigious University of Ibadan. An institution that he left with his footprints behind. Kunle bagged the enviable 'first class honours' in Mathematics, and when often asked what the seceret of his success was, he will answer with a pathetic, yet witful smile 'nothing'. As Kunle had a flashback on those years of stardom, he relished in himself 'I am good, you know', he will often soliloquize to himself. Now, as he returned from the University of Leeds, where he had voyaged in further pursuance of the golden fleece, he clutched to the utopian belief that jobs awaited him on the streets of Lagos. Five years had gone by, and reality have fully dawned on him. The search for a job was a cumbersome ordeal for Kunle. For those five years of 'penury', he lived his days cap in hand, accepting whatever crumbs came his way. Bolaji had been a faithful friend to Kunle. Though an illetrate of the finest order, Bolaji could still afford the luxury of a home. It is in this home that he accomodated his 'well read' friend, Kunle. Each time Kunle will him, 'You should get some education, you will need it in life someday'. In response, Bolaji will laugh with a scorn that is better imagined. It was a laughter of mockery, a laughter that reeled in ignorance. Three more years elapsed, and Kunle's optimism was fading into obilivion. Finally, the NNPC test came around. Only ten vacancies were to be filled, and yet, 18,254 candidates came to tussle. Kunle marveled in disbelief. He tried anyway, and luck finally smiled his way. He got passed all the hurdles called, interviews, and just when he thought it was carved in stone for him to finally get a job, the silver lining in the cloud that he had imagined deserted him. 'we are sorry, but authority above us demanded that we give the job to someone else, a relation to our boss', the voice at the other end of the phone said. Kunle broke down, not knowing weather to 'cry' or to 'weep'. Bolaji walked in, and he related the heartbreaking news to him. 'Na wa o, sorry sha', Bolaji said in a tone that made it difficult to tell if his sympathy was sincere or scornful. Kunle turned on the T.V set, and there was the president of Nigeria, talking of how successful his administration had solved the unemployment puzzle. One of the shenenigans at the gathering muttered, 'create a job if you can't find one'. 'I have taken enough', Kunle said as he switched off the T.V set. He left the house swiftly, running, gasping for air. His destination was the third mainland bridge, in Lagos. Kunle stood at the tip of the bridge, ready to take his own life. The helpless pedesterians and motorists were all standing at a spot, looking at Kunle. They wanted to stop him, but he was too far from them. Kunle gazed at the water, he smiled. Flashes of the past, pains of the present and despair of the future, all beclouded his mind. Tears began to freely flow from his troubled eyes. Down and out, Kunle left the tip of the water, and entered into the road. He tore his clothes, danced along the road, and mumbled words that made everyone watching to know that Kunle has gone mad. 'He must have sinned against the gods' one of the passers-by said. 'For where! Na blood money dey do am this thing', a truck pusher said as he laughed uncontrollably.