Friday, October 17, 2014

Your Personality comes out

“O-pin the flad-gates” Sonnie Badu sang “ aban-dance..” He continued. Being from where I’m from I didn’t need him to sing the Ghanaian National Anthem to know he was from Ghana though he was singing in a Nigerian language. I’ve also seen a few people claim in church they serve the ‘I ham that I ham’ and know they are very likely from the Western part of Nigeria though I wasn’t told. Get it? Your personality shines through. Faking it is useless.

The bible says:
“…and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
Acts 4:13

What you have inside or what comes to you naturally cannot be hidden permanently. If you are good, people will notice. If you are not good, people will notice. If you are evil, it will show. If you are humble, it will be obvious. Time and again, you come across a person who complains about the way he or she is being treated though they put their best foot forward when dealing with people around them and it doesn’t take long to find out people actually treat them based on what their real personalities are. Rather than work on changing their personality and becoming better people, human beings think it’s easier to put on acts. You can pretend on a date. You might pull off pretence in an interview. In daily interactions however, you can’t fool human beings. If humans are a reflection of God, then we are spiritual beings with a bit of discernment as part of our make-up. We eventually see through each other.

Why go to church and try to fit in when you clearly know you don’t fit in? Do you know how ridiculous a 50-year-old African woman looks trying to blend in with a group of teenage African-American girls? Be yourself. If your self is not good enough, work on a better you.

Word of advice, pray to God to fix you and whatever is wrong with you. Quit the acting dear. You’re making a fool of yourself and most importantly you are making yourself very uncomfortable with no reward in sight. You’ll be surprised at how easier things will be from there. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Marriage: Still a sane institution?

There seems to be, in many cases a preconceived idea of what a successful life is meant to be. In crèche as a toddler. Secondary school as a teenager. College in the early twenties. Recently married in mid-thirties. On and on it goes. While the cast is not bad, should being moulded by a different cast always be categorized as failure?

In a sane environment, by far, the most important call anyone has to make is if to get married and then to who. The emphasis in that statement however is the word sane. How sane is the world we live in now? A good percentage of marriages are still carried out in a church or at least have a Christian marriage but how many people actually understand and follow the code of ethics by which they are going into this? A woman so morally depraved that she’s actually famous for sex tapes goes to a church to get married and walks out of the marriage at will only to go again and still have a ‘sacred’ church union in the presence of ‘God and man’. Seriously? Come on, for the sake of Rapunzel’s long hair, which God are you talking about? It’s ok to get married in His presence but not keep Him in the Home? It’s OK to declare your love in His house but then not follow His laid down regulations for how the union should work? Where is the sacredness in marriage gone?

For Better or For Worse

Do people actually know it’s more noble to stay single than make a mockery of the marital process? It’s economically stupid. I once met a guy who lost half a million euro to a divorce case (and his wife is not burning in hell - unfair). It’s emotionally draining. The heartbreak is horrible. It can be physically demanding in case of domestic abuse victims. Why would anyone put himself or herself through all these and dare I say maybe even incur God’s wrath (yeah, the same one you married in His presence) in the process when they could have just kept to themselves.

Marriage is an amazingly beautiful thing if it is right. However this continual defying of the institution does no one any good except divorce lawyers. Any, I repeat any situation where only the lawyers and the lawyers alone come out smiling is not where anyone of us wants to be (No offense to lawyers).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Young People, Tomorrow Matters.

Growing up, we spoke only Yoruba (our Nigerian language) at home. If Daddy or Mummy ever spoke English to you, you knew you were in trouble. Usually big trouble. Sometimes it wasn't trouble but it was always something serious. "Can you do me a favour" Mum would say. And you just knew she was going to ask you to clean out all the neighbour's cobwebs or go hunting for a Lions head in the bush. For casual stuff, it was the usual "Jide, bo si bi" (Jide come here).

One of such occasions which I still clearly remember was my Mum quoting an entire Chinua Achebe saying to me. I remember where I was and that she was sitting towards my left. It was on one of the many times those teachers had reported me that I wasn't pulling weight enough in school (they were lying by the way, those spawn-of-satan teachers). "Jide" she started "Enjoyment can wait, do not be in a hurry to get yourself into the pleasures of this life like the young antelope who dances itself lame when the main dance is yet to start". I, like every teenager on this side of eternity always ignored them long be-a-good-boy speeches but I did not forget that one. It stayed with me and even now, around 15 years later, I still remember clearly.

Young folks these days sometimes look to me like they are on a secret competition of who comes up with the dumbest thing to do. It feels like we're locked in a wait for award for the ultimate teenage idiot to be given out by lucifer himself when you consider what these guys are up to. Naked selfies. Planking on highways. Beer ping-pong. Truth or dare. And other jack-ass type stunts. Someone even came up with YOLO and the thing caught on like it's some revolutionary idea. And it gets you thinking "Did you think we had two lives?" It’s a question of time before I think someone will come up with the kiss-the-Lion challenge or the arm-wrestle-a-polar-bear challenge.

There is a lot of living to do folks. A whole lot. A big whole lot. For every young person out there, except you die prematurely which we all pray and/or hope against, you have more ahead of you than what you've lived so far.

Calm down. Pray. Follow God. And use your brain a lot. Forgive yourself of your misdeeds. Tomorrow exists and it's way more important than you think. Prepare for it today or it would bring more pain than you bargained for.

Why fill yourself up on the appetizer when the main course and dessert are still yet to be served?

If it’s my last day on earth..

If it’s my last day on earth
What would I have left behind
A trail of broken hearts
Or a mass of lifted spirits

If it’s my last day on earth
Would my loved ones know I cared
Would all my love for them have been expressed
Would they be filled with warm memoires of me

If it’s my last day on earth
What would my legacy be
What would I be remembered for
What would come to mind when I’m thought of

If it’s my last day on earth
Would I have taken all opportunities that came my way
Would I have a lot to do ‘tomorrow’
A tomorrow that is now never to come

If it’s my last day on earth
Would I evoke tears of joy or sorrow
Would I have pleased the wrong people
And hurt those who truly mattered

If it’s my last day on earth
Would I still have any sorry to say
Would I be at peace with great and small
Would I have any beef to explain on the other side

If it’s my last day on earth
And I step across to eternity
Would I go right or left
Where would I call my eternal home?

If it’s my last day on earth
I very much doubt I’d have seen it coming
But would I have stayed prepared

For my most important journey of all?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Philip Efiong: The forgotten hero of the Biafran war?

The Nigerian civil war is by far the greatest tragedy in terms of loss to civilian lives over such a short period of time to have befallen the Nigerian state. I wasn’t born back then so all I have to go on are written accounts and words of those who were alive back then to unravel exactly what happened. Whatever the case is, many people lost their lives (needlessly might I add) and that has to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It doesn’t matter where they were from, North, South, East or West. Makes no difference if they were black, white or pink. People died needlessly, and that is wrong. It will take something sub-human to justify it.

Philip Efiong and the Biafran flag

It is easy as a follower of history to just take in the numbers and statistics.  What is however needful is to put yourself in the shoes of the poor people who had to go through these evil as part of their lives. Who did they offend to have to starve? Who did the women offend to have to lose their husbands and sons who go off to the front lines? Where did the young men err that had to witness their wives get raped by opposing soldiers? What wrong has the young boy who just lost his playmates done?

Much has been said of what caused the war and who the villains were. Even more unfortunate is the seeming need Nigerians look to have cultivated of blindly towing the tribal lines. Seriously? Correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t the war get to Ore in Ondo state and claim Yoruba lives and weren’t there any Hausa casualties from the Nigerian Army’s side? Who cares if the guy who killed and raped innocent people is from my village? He should be condemned and brought to justice, simple! How petty have we become to idolize someone who caused pain needlessly on people just because he is a fellow tribesman?

Children went through untold suffering during the war

As far as I’m concerned (and I definitely stand corrected), the war was more about justifying a man’s earlier mistake who was too proud to concede he was wrong. I mean why secede as a state when you don’t have the means to maintain your sovereignty. Even if it turned out the secession made sense, how about the war continuing when it increasingly looked like nothing more than a suicide mission? And to cap it all up, if you were so brave, why did you run away at the end of it all sitting on the floor of a cargo plane? Why cause the death and destruction of so many lives and property and then scamper and flee when it was all over? I don’t want to come across as if I’m bent on attacking anyone but if that’s not cowardly, I’m not sure what is. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what the then Nigerian head of state called him.

It was obvious anyone who puts an end to this massacre is a hero. Right? Step forward Major General Philip Efiong. A general from what you can call a minority. He was left to make the concession after the main belligerent had run away. It might have been the obvious decision but so it had been for a long time, yet the chief belligerent himself had been too proud to admit it.

I came across a post somewhere on the internet of someone calling him a coward. How is he a coward? He soldiered on like the soldier he was when taking orders from his boss and did the needful when he had the authority to. Was he supposed to ‘fight till the last man’ and at the end of it still have the Nigerian forces occupy their land anyway? I heard his son in a speech at the National University of Ireland recount his account of the war and it only showed the toll the war took on Efiong’s family, property and self. In his own words:
"I have no regrets whatsoever of my involvement in Biafra or the role I played. The war deprived me of my property, dignity, my name. Yet, I saved so many souls on both sides and by this, I mean Biafra and Nigeria. I’m denied everything; No gratuity no pension. Nothing. I felt that I played a role which has kept this country united till today. I never shot anybody, all I did was as a military personnel and officer, I trained soldiers who went to the bush to fight. At the end of it all when I saw they (Biafran soldiers) could no longer continue and Ojukwu had fled, I did what was ideal after wide consultation that today Ojukwu is a hero in this country. I’m not envious but why am I being persecuted by country I played a significant role in is unity".

Efiong died in 2003. I don’t know how much he had in his account or how many houses but I’m pretty sure he died with a clean conscience not for his role in being a part of the war but his role in ending it. He saved many lives predominantly Igbo lives. And may I also remind everyone he wasn’t Igbo. In my opinion, Philip Efiong found himself somewhere and simply did was he thought was the right and obvious thing to do and he should be celebrated for that.