Wednesday, December 25, 2013

13 Life Lessons Learnt In 2013

1. Good things surely have a way of coming to those that wait. What happens in your waiting place truly defines you.

2. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your opinions, beliefs, and perceptions. Every man has a right to forge his own views.

3. Confronting the things you mostly dread is one of the most fulfilling ventures in life. Never forget the words of Madiba ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’

4. Opportunities will always come; it is your readiness to seize them when they come that makes all the difference.

5. Despite all her shortcomings, you can still be anything you want to be in Nigeria. The chances remain endless.

6. At times, you must learn to accept the bad with the good. It is life’s way of reminding us that the act of living is more of wrestling than dancing.

7. When all is said and done, when the accolades and the eulogies stops, when the torrent of criticisms creeps in, when life tweak you, when you look back at your life, you will discover that family remains the most important thing.

8. Education is a liberating factor that can change the mental and financial status of anyone. It is one sure way of breaking the shackles of poverty, while living your dreams.

9. At the end of your life, you will discover that it was not about the destination, but the things you learnt along the way.

10. Gratification can always wait; doing what ought to be done when it should be done is a principle that guarantees result. There will be time enough to chase frivolities.

11. People will hurt you, slander you, criticize you, hate you, jealous you and take advantage of you. However, to forgive everyone irrespective of their wrongs is both a sign of immense maturity and evidence that you are a son of God.

12. Trusting God even when he says no is one of the greatest lessons in life. A grateful attitude even when you don’t understand His ways always pays off in the long run.

13. The grace of God can make the difference in the life of any man. He can break protocols, shatter antecedents, erase precedents and nullify the odds to favour you. There is no stopping the man who the Lord remembers for good.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Intrigues Of Letters

The last has certainly not been heard of diverse open letters that have engulfed our national life of late. Such diatribes are not new in themselves, but the sting in these letters and the vituperations that are emanating from them, are simply unprecedented.

Known for his unguarded tongue and unrivalled wit, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo pounced on his latest causality, President Goodluck Jonathan. The content of his 18-page letter is now public knowledge, but the fallout from the sermon still reverberates. In more saner climes, it is difficult for a former president to openly undermine the office of the incumbent in the manner OBJ did in his diatribe. While some of the concerns he raised were dire, many of them had the sonorous sting of a bitter and drowning godfather whose script had gone unhatched. It is obvious that things have surely fallen apart between Baba and Jonathan. The love that seduced Jonathan to Baba that made him give a decisive blow to the political fortunes of Peter Odilli, has undoubtedly gone sour.

However, just as every well-meaning Nigerians, Obasanjo is surely entitled to his own opinions. What he should have known is that having been the rudder that steered the Nigerian ship for about twelve years (Military and democratic), he had attained a status of dignified statesmanship; a position that demands a lot from him. Without mincing words, Baba should never be in a position to preach a homily to any one on good governance and corruption. The foregoing statement is not to vindicate President Goodluck Jonathan, however, it leaves a smack of political irritation for a man who plunged us into untold national ills to try and act like a ‘Mandela’ overnight. OBJ’s place in the history of Nigeria is forever assured, but, how will he be remembered? No doubt, age and time might have changed Obasanjo, but there is a better way a former president should advice a sitting president.

Days after Baba’s December 2nd letter, a letter supposedly from his daughter, Iyabo, went viral. Debate still ensues on who the true identity behind the letter is. But, if feelers from several quarters are anything to go by, then the ink of that letter has Iyabo’s fingerprints all over it. It is very unfortunate that a child should ever write such a public letter to her father. Not only is it demeaning, it speaks volumes of the family decadence that is becoming prevalent in our society. Nonetheless, such is life in the Obasanjo clan. From father to daughter, logic is defiled. Yet, if that letter is truly from Iyabo, both father and daughter should bury their faces in eternal shame. In truth, their shenanigans have done Nigerians grave injustice.

And then, there is the December 20th letter from the office of Mr. President. Since OBJ’s letter became public knowledge, it has become the delicacy of pundits in the country. Like is the hope of all journalists, it was a dream story. However, GEJ avoided the knack to act swiftly. He was always going to respond, it was a matter of when. Though the letter had the skeletal frame of Goodluck Jonathan, it is likely that it was Reuben Abati that supplied it with flesh. Whatever be the case, it was typical of Jonathan to take on anyone who criticizes his government. One wonders if this was not one scenario where silence would have been golden. As much as he tried in addressing some of the issues raised by Baba, he was still guilty of throwing stones at the old man, by drawing comparisons of his government with that of the former leader. While that is not an entirely bad thing to do, it was not needful. Also, President Jonathan tried to vindicate himself by nullifying some of the charges labelled against him by the former leader. In all honesty, he struggled to convince many people. It is apt to state that the current Nigeria situation is in a state of debacle and it leaves plenty to be desired. The ills of corruption remains extant, unemployment continues to be a scourge, and the menace of Boko Haram has not abated (to rehash but a few). At times, actions speak louder than words. Jonathan does not owe Obasanjo an explanation. It is the Nigerian people that gave him his mandate, and it is to them he owes an allegiance. It is not likely that many Nigerians are happy with him either. In sum, he has not simply done enough.

Pen ultimately, beyond all the deceits and sincerity of letters, is an undeniable tussle for placements towards 2015. The signs remain ominous, and unless there is a swift intervention, the 2015 elections could be a messy affair.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SHORT STORY: A Crooked Path!

It was a day of her dreams; a day that had only existed in the precarious part of her imagination. As Chikwendu moved up the podium, the crowd was thrown into the seventh heaven. The ovation was a stuff of fantasy. Men and women cheered, and even the entire hall knew it was hosting its finest moment.

Chikwendu was graduating from the famous University of Ibadan as not just the finest product of her dispensation, but as the best since inception of the citadel. Such feat is never a routine, and thus, was not going to be treated with kid gloves. Her face glowed in sheer ecstasy as she made her way to the front of the hall. Students, friends and well-wishers all gathered offered their hands as she moved through the isle. You will mistake her for a Serena Williams or a Beyonce Knowles. That moment had a “celebritique” vibe about it. Her face was radiant, her smile was profound, and her step was majestic. There was something worldly about her dress that almost betrayed her academic sublimity. Short and skimpy; you will assume it was tailored for models. However, her recent achievement was nothing short of a model for all.

Chikwendu was the first child in a family of eight. Though fertility have been prodigal to her parents, fortune have not been so kind. Chikwendu lost her father at the tender age of four. He was a victim of the notorious Lagos mob. Chikwendu’s father lost his life on a faithful Sunday morning when he was caught stealing some food items from a local shop. Poverty had driven him to such extremes, but the waiting mob that pounced on him was not interested in such fairy tales. Life without her father and other seven siblings to look after was both difficult for Chikwendu and her mother. Yet, in defiance, she fought her way through school, and today, she was graduating as the best student in the history of the University. Her mother’s joy knew no bounds. It was difficult for her fighting back the tears. It was tears formed in decades of toiling and suffering.

The eulogies poured in their torrents for Chikwendu. Indeed, success had many relatives. It was a day Chikwendu and her family believed will end the many years of penury. Such hopes generally came with graduation of this caliber.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela: A Generation Passes On

In the thick of the night, while darkness gathered upon the clouds of Africa, as the continent made her bed to sleep, the dreaded news filtered in. It was a news that we all knew was carved in stone, yet we silently hoped that nature will give us an exception. We just didn’t want him to go. In a continent that have come to be associated with tyrannical leaders and despots of various degrees, he was the only true evidence that could plead our case that not every leader in the continent was intoxicated with avarice and untold power.

But, every journey they say has its own destination. His has been a long walk for an astonishing ninety five years. A journey that is a classic tale of how one man with an unflinching and uncommon will can change the world. As Pat Utomi aptly puts it, the long walk of dignity, has done a johnny walker to immortality. The world will continue to pour encomiums on the revered iconic figure. Perhaps, beyond the fleeting eulogies, what lessons are we to learn from the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

The tale of how he spent twenty seven years in the torture of Robben islands is one that is well chronicled. Madiba stood up for what he believed in, even when he stood alone. Such courage to fight the forces of injustices is one that is in short supply today in our world and particularly on the African continent. In addition, Mandela showed that you don’t need to do two terms, three terms or rule forever, to make meaningful impact. He was leader for only five years (1994-1999). Even when the option to run again was one that many South Africans clamored for, he deemed it fit to let another man steer the course. Perhaps, what I find most remarkable about Madiba is the fact that despite the atrocious onslaught and sophisticated injustice meted against him for almost three decades, he held no grudges against his perpetrators. It is an irony that a man who was named "Troublemaker" will now, forever, be remembered as an icon of peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Mandela’s capacity to forgive and forget brought him global appeal, and portrayed a quality that will continue to resonates through many generations to come.

He was the conscience of the continent, an icon of the finest breed. He lived and died for a purpose. He was an epitome of justice, a one man riot, a hero of Olympian heights, an era himself, and a stalwart of the highest proportions. He was greatness personified. You could have all the trillion of dollars, but you can’t buy an ounce of such greatness. In all truism, Mandela never died, his life has been intertwined into millions of lives around the world.

As the iroko makes his short walk to immortality, it is a time to reflect upon our lives. What exactly are we living for? What is our belief system founded on? What principles are we ready to stake our lives for? Mandela’s once said “During my lifetime, I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal that I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12 Lies People Love to Tell You

1. What you need in life is comfort and safety.

If you want to make an impact, big or small, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone. Maybe the thing you’re scared of is exactly what you should do. Sometimes life is about risking it all for a dream no one can see but you.

2. You have way too much to lose.

In the end, you will not regret the things you have done nearly as much as the things you have left undone. It’s always better to be left with a few “oh wells,” than a bunch of “what ifs.” It’s better to have a lifetime full of experiences and mistakes you learned from, rather than a heart full of regrets and empty dreams. Someday you will want to look back at your life and say, “I can’t believe I did that!” instead of, “Gosh, I wish I would have…”

3. Your dream is impossible.

When a dream matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to achieve what at first seemed impossible. Let that person be YOU. It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others tell you it is. What’s impossible to them may not be impossible for you.

4. Being self-centered is always wrong.

You must choose yourself and live your life from beginning to end; no one else can do it for you. Claiming full control over your health, dreams, and well-being are some of the areas in your life where you get to be a little selfish and not feel bad about it. If you want to reach your goals, you have to be the center of this part of your journey. You have to make it work for you and you alone. It’s not selfishness, it’s self-care and self-improvement. Anything less is a setup for failure.

5. You need the approval of others.

People are sometimes too quick to judge, but slow to correct themselves. Don’t be one of them. Focus on your own growth, goals, and self-worth. Leave people to their opinions and judgments. Let them respect you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be… Or let them walk away if they choose. Either way, they can’t harm you; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours.

6. The strongest, happiest people have fewer problems.

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do; it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t do. When you are at your lowest point, you are open to the greatest positive change. Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the strength to deal with them. The strongest people are the ones who feel pain, accept it, learn from it, and fight through it. They turn their wounds into wisdom.

7. Situations are either positive or negative.

The Chinese symbol for the word “crisis” is written using two strokes of a pen. One stroke stands for danger, and the other for opportunity. In other words, in a crisis, beware of the danger, but also recognize the opportunity. Life always balances itself out. Everything that happens is neither positive nor negative; it just depends on your perspective.

8. Perfect relationships exist.

The love of your life isn’t perfect, you aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if you can make each other laugh once in awhile, cause each other to think twice about the sweetness of life, and both admit to being human and making mistakes, your relationship is something special. No, you two may not always choose the most poetic words, and there will likely be inconsiderate slip-ups on occasion, but that’s what makes your bond real. Smile when they make you happy, speak up when they make you mad, and miss them when they’re gone. Love hard when there is love to be had. Perfect love doesn’t exist, but true love does, and it’s worth the effort.

9. Love is an obligation.

Love between two people comes because both people want to share their love, not because YOU want it from the other person. Your family, friends, co-workers, partner – they all love you because they choose to, not because you want them to. Love is meant to be felt, enjoyed and lived, not to be forced on anyone.

10. You can’t be kind to everyone.

Kindness is not to be mistaken for weakness, nor forgiveness for acceptance. It’s about knowing resentment is not on the path to happiness. Having confidence and class is the ability to walk away from a bad situation with a smile on your face and forgiveness in your heart.

11. You need more to be happy.

There are two ways of being rich: One is to have all you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have. Accept and appreciate things now, and you’ll find more happiness in every moment you live. Happiness comes when you stop complaining about the troubles you have and offer thanks for all the troubles you don’t have. And remember, you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.

12. It’s too late.

Anyone can run away; it’s super easy. Facing issues and working through them makes you strong. Focus on your dreams, not your problems. It’s not too late. A hundred disappointments in the past can’t equal the power of one positive action right now. Talk is cheap; action is priceless. Go for it! Give yourself another chance.