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TAKE BACK YOUR HUMANITY 

SM Evils

I woke up on the morning of Easter Monday, floating back to earthly life from deep thoughts on unspoken matters. I had just been re-energised by simple meditations on beautiful and uncomplicated things, inspiring my heart with a positive outlook to life. My mind was on fire with all the songs I had just finished singing from the previous nights’ concert, and I still could literally feel the bellows of the Church organ resonating in my bowels. Still longing for my bed, I had to wake early to go see my sister, whose birthday it was. I didn’t mind. My legs were tired, but my mind was alive.

Spoiler Alert!

I’m usually alert to spoilers, but not on this morning. I was revelling in unguarded pleasantness, until I scanned through my Twitter feed. Usually, I search specifically for informative content, particularly from individuals who have a history of tweeting articles and following it up with a great conversation. Sadly, my feed was plastered with commentaries on a recent statement made by a traditional ruler, which set Nigeria’s Tweetosphere ablaze. So many tweets were flying around the subject matter that I had to carefully trace what exactly prompted all the vitriol. Unfortunately I followed the Rabbit trail (all in a few minutes of siting in the car waiting for my sister) and realised later that I had squeezed out almost every ounce of joy in my heart. 

How did that happen? While I sat there amazed at how people turned on each other over someone else’ comment, I was ignorant of how the bile had seeped into my mind and cast a dark showdown over my thoughts. I was now thinking on how this might spark electoral violence, ethnic rivalry, and a series of unfortunate events in Lagos. By the time I arrived at the local Catholic church with my sister for the Mass, I was a different man. I had lost the sense of the beautiful I woke up with. I sat in church contemplating Nigeria’s troubles, rather than enjoy the strange art of worship I wasn’t used to. I had just swallowed the bitter pill that online social media serves us daily.

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13 LESSONS FROM 2013

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The year 2013 for me was one of discoveries and re-imagination. I set my heart to be taught and to learn from even the smallest of persons or situations. I carefully noted lessons for the year drawn from my activities both at work and home. So this is my attempt to summarize, with key points, what I learned in 365 days.

Some of you have left this level a long time ago. But pardon me for taking time to relearn some of these finer details of life and sharing them with you. I also thought I knew these until certain circumstances revealed my apparent divorce of knowledge and practice.

I have chosen thirteen of the several lessons and tried to shorten this note because I know folks are pretty distracted these days and reading through an article is painful enough. But like the internet promises go, “read this to the end and you will receive a miracle in 13 days.”  

So here we go.

1. NEVER MISTAKE YOUR HELP FOR YOUR SOURCE. The lesson here is often quite bitter for those who may know what I am talking about. This lesson has changed my perspective about how to treat people and the kind of attachments I have to their abilities and capacities. I thought I knew my source. In truth, I have even exhorted others about knowing their true source. In 2013, I understood by occasion who my source was, and that has also altered my lingo, for those who may perceive it. Nuff said!

 2. MEN RESPOND TO YOU BASED ON THE VALUE THEY PLACE ON YOU. You might think you carry value which others may need, but until such value is perceived and truly relatable to others, you are only as good as the newly moved in next door neighbor. So do not be troubled by how people respond to you. It only answers to the kind of value they place on you. Note also that when people make promises to you, their performance of such is limited by the value they place on you as much as their capacity to perform.

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FEMALENOMICS

What is the link between a refrigerator and a seductively looking, scarcely dressed lady? Men! I guess a chilled drink improves the capacity to get down low. I am still waiting on the time when women will arise to fight against such misrepresentation of the female. Or is it Fee-male?  It feels more like the latter when you consider that you are more likely to get a job if your outward appearance titillates the visual organs. I have shared this before about a time when I walked in to a particular branch of a bank, located in a busy and exclusive part of the city. I couldn’t find one female who looks like me. They were all tall, fair, straight legs, curved hips, and the likes. Oh yes! I did take a passive moment to observe these specimens. It was not until I left that I gave it a serious thought. I saw this picture on http://www.everyday-economist.com/ and just thought to share it.

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Live in Lagos – Can I help?

Help by force!

I arrived Lagos like an Israelite carrying the half-baked dough into a determined exodus. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, particularly how I will react to the weather, coming from extreme conditions like we saw this year in the Northeast US. Nothing really changed about the humid conditions, even at 8pm the wind was warm and slightly noxious. But hey! I am used to this, just have to acclimatize a bit. Err…I will dare not talk about Murtala Mohammed Airport, else it will be the rantings of a raving lunatic. Lekki Airport to the rescue!!!!!!!!!!

The road from the airport still is the famished road. It is fast becoming a bush path and reminds me of the road from Onitsha to Owerri in the late 1980s into early 1990s, It may soon need the kind of old Mercedes-Benz 9-11 trucks to ply it. It still amazes me that the government expects people to encounter that road first on a visit to the country through Lagos. Again it may be one of those roads that fall into the grey divide of Federal and State roads and no one is responsible for it. Very soon I will get dangerously upset to code red levels and will fix it. If the government refuses, private business making a fortune refuses, very rich men whole have stolen us blind also refuse to act socially responsible (at least to save face and the impending anger of the State), mere men like me will one day carry a digger and shovel to repair the road. At least beyond our children traveling safely, the police checkpoints will run smoothly and not be afraid to stop more vehicles and harass tired travelers. I have an idea, I will first start by asking my neighbour from Borno, who owns an active barn in his backyard (suitable to shoot a medieval movie), to lend me his cattle so they can graze the weeds shooting from the islands on the entire stretch of the airport road.
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WOMEN: STRAIGHT TALK! – Part 2

bad girl

Continued from part 1…

4. Where have you kept you character, get it back. It’s important that you understand the place character holds in identifying the true beauty of a woman. After all the glossy finishing and the extreme makeovers (Salon or home edition), it boils down to your antecedents and general deportment. It ranges from appearance to utterance and from poise to style. I wrote something about appearance a while ago all because I was very concerned about the way a lot of young women these days display flesh beyond measure. I thought certain things were yours to conceal and reveal to the right party and not for public consumption. But it seems the word caution and moderation has exited our social windows and pretty damsels are on the loose to exhibit flesh on the chest and on the thighs. Babe, that says too much about you and a onetime impression that is pretty hard to erase from the memory. The moment you leave your house with such skimpy stuff, you have already condemned your choice of men to a select hungry hyenas seeking for you to feast on. Besides what’s worse is that you give men more reasons to perceive women as a sex thing rather than a person to be respected.
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WOMEN: STRAIGHT TALK! – Part 1

I felt it will only be fair if I didn’t just write on why we men need to get our acts together with regards to our relationships with women. It really does take two to tango, even if one may have the upper hand in manipulating the other. So in every ‘fatal attraction’ there is a shared responsibility for the outcomes, even though I have opined that men are more responsible for whatever happens. Women also have a critical part to play in whatever experiences they face in the hands of men. We can reverse the scenario and talk about how some women are plain wicked to their man and what such men ought to do to escape the ‘spirit of Jezebel’ in operation at that moment. Thus it is fair game to give a straight talk to our precious women because many are also, with their own hands, dipping themselves into the cesspool of emotional turbulence, while they have their eyes wide open (or should I say wide shut?..It seems more so). Continue reading
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WOMEN: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – Part 1

Rules-of-EngagementNow I turn attention to my brothers whom I have ignored in my previous commentaries. If I felt less qualified to write to the female-folk, I am at home talking more now, since something in me resonates with something in my focus audience.  This resonation plays not along the lines of the typical, but on deeper issues we seem to have abandoned for a more worldly perspective to our views on relating with the opposite sex. We men have been so celebrated out of reality that we seem to already be imbued with the inner ability to deal with women right from birth. It may amaze you that a boy child at the terrible-two age may already show signs of masculine megalomania when relating to mummy or some other species of humans. This psychological state of illusionary or delusions of masculine grandeur play out when little boys try to manipulate their way through mummy’s heart. Or sometimes when they begin flexing muscles and bullying even their older sisters, we smile at this and praise their rapid growth. A pastor once said he saw his two year old son squeezing his five year old daughter. He ran to her rescue and corrected the little boy. But when he walked away, he did the victory hand thing saying “yep! That’s my boy!” Silently, we love to see young boys growing up strong and exerting such energies on their environment including a display on their relationships.

An elderly man once told me how his father used to put him in the line of ‘male duty’ (whatever that means). He could never return home to report a case of bullying in his school. His dad will get him ready and stand on the corner of the street to beat up the bullying boy when he passes that way. My dad also had his mum silently encourage him to tolerate no opposition in school, so he grew up with a form of belligerence that defied even bigger buddies in school.  We sort of love it when young men grow up strong, and not just a docile kind of strength, but also the ability to outwardly command attention with the display of such. The reverse is that we tend to refer to men who do not follow this pattern as women. The one thing a man doesn’t want to be called is a woman. However, much of what we grow up knowing as basis for the male character derives from a faulty foundation and erroneous belief that has strained the blooming beauty of male-female interactions. I am not going to attempt at discussing in-depth such wrong foundations, but will do so impliedly in the crux of this discourse. My concern here is to simply advance to my male friends what I call the rules of engaging the female. These rules, which are by no means exhaustive but indeed sacrosanct, will do a few things. It will first establish your unshakeable position as a man indeed, give you better understanding of your relationship to the opposite sex, and then finally provoke the best response from the women you relate to.

I have a little nephew who is ten years old, and he has two older brothers. There is a sharp contrast between the older two and this young guy in that he is ‘absolutely without deceit’. He doesn’t know how to pretend and neither can he tell a lie. While his brothers conspire on how to con mummy, he simply just pulls out. When discussing with him, he uses few words which are characterized by bluntness and truth. He once spoke out loudly on the dining table in the presence of his grandparents, “Why doesn’t grandma have teeth, it’s not nice!” As impolite as that was, he spoke his mind and kept on eating. I have learnt something crucial from this ten year old man that every other man should adopt the deportment of ‘be yourself!” His character has never reduced his value in the eyes of anyone who comes across him; rather, we all have a healthy respect for him. We men put up way too much show and think that the positive responses we get from the opposite sex is dependent on how much theatrics we can stage. Unfortunately most genuine women can read through the ugly story and see through the dark shades, and all we end up looking like is acting through a series of Johnny Bravo. There is true value in simplicity and worth in originality. One false foundation we must knock down is that men must rise to the occasion at all times, and this leaves us scrambling to wear robes that are ill fitted while also making an utter mockery of our maleness. Pretence is absolutely intolerable with women and no other species is an intuitive as females, for they can easily exfoliate your false appendages and deploy their gut feeling in defining you. Except of course such a woman is gullible. I tell you it is much more expensive to maintain who you are not, while it costs you as little nothing to keep your true self alive. Truth be told; who you are, is your most important tool for interfacing with the real world. If you are not yet what you want to be, WORK AT IT! So the first rule here is just to be yourself, as it makes it easier to attract your type.

The second rule here calmness and confidence. Have you seen a fretting man who has lost his confidence? There is nothing as pitiful as that. Calmness and confidence exudes strength that is unspoken and that has a powerful effect on your environment. Growing up as a kid amidst a lot of women I was never calm. I always had something to say and a comment to make all the time to the point that my mouth was extremely watery. You have heard that it is said: “Empty barrels make the most noise.” This is so true in the life of a man, as a woman will find it hard to relate to a noisy man that is devoid of calmness. I have often seen and met guys who talk all the time and use bogus language and curse words, but a closer assessment reveals utter vanity in thought; absolutely no depth.  Every woman wants their man to be calm as this shows control. Not just calmness, but also confidence which is an internal assurance based on knowledge of who you are and where you are going. Confidence makes your countenance to exude an unusual boldness that points to your internal health. A man who is not confident simply shows that the inside is in trouble and his thoughts are not coordinated neither is he in assured of a life direction.

So here is it, confidence is the root, while calmness is the fruit. Confidence produces calmness. When a confident man comes into a place, he doesn’t strive to be heard because he knows his onions. I like the way the Great Book puts it: “…in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15). Somehow, when we see a man who is calm and confident, we associate that person with much power, sometimes more than necessary. This is because some air of mystery surrounds that one and it will take a level of curiosity to open the box. And I cannot say this too much: women are curious. They want to know that their man has something unknown about him. They love it when they step into a place with their man and he remains confident and calm. So this rule says to engage a woman, be calm and confident.

Let’s deal with some substance here. During my Youth Service in Northern part of Nigeria, I had two ladies gist me of their experience in Lagos sometime. They had been introduced to a very handsome young man who appeared to be very calm and confident, and they longed for a discussion with him, perhaps something be allotted to anyone. But on engaging this outwardly handsome, calm and confident young man, his words were like the dropping of a boulder into a calm stream. He had not the appropriate words to engage in a proper conversation and the ladies were condemned to a time of a harrowing rain of oral bombshells and dirty language. They mocked how he sounded and the best way to describe that was a Jamaican born in Ghana, raised in France, but speaking patuá with a Chinese accent. Two things matter as a third rule of engagement: bind and mind your language. The importance of words when relating to the female cannot be overemphasized. When I say bind your language I mean package what you say in a way that becomes pleasing to the ears. I have found in my own experiences that women are also attracted to well spoken men. This is because when you speak well, it speaks well of you, does it sound like an irony? Maybe, but it’s the irony of life how little things give credence to your personality. Yes you were born in the village and raised by an uneducated family, and worse still taught by a misplaced farmer in the classroom. There is always room to up your game. You will have to associate with people who speak like what you want to and listen closely to them. Very soon you will start sounding like them and I tell you it doesn’t take much from you to get this done. I particularly coming from the South Eastern part of Nigeria where we battle with pronouncing ‘y’ and ‘j’, or we swap them from time to time (Yellow becomes Jellow and John become Yohn), had to do some extra work with how I pronounce words. I was endeared to documentaries like those by David Attenborough of the BBC Wild Life series and Dr. Ali Mazrui of the African Historical documentaries. I simulated talking like them and it had a great influence on how I turned out. May I announce to you if you don’t work at it, you will get worse. Some people are reading this and feeling good now that they speak well. Wait till your environment changes and you encounter new friends who challenge you, then you will pick wisdom from this.

On the other hand you must mind your language, meaning that you should scale your words to reflect what you are. God bless your soul if your inside is corrupt, nothing can be done about that until you clean you up. However, if your confidence of your inner beauty is firm, then scale your language to reflect such. You cannot afford to use curse words and dirty language, then think you appear sexy. Many ladies just cannot stand dirty talkers, including the women who use such language themselves. They prefer their man to be of the Polish tribe. These days, they way young men churn out garbage language is amazing and troubling at the same time. I have had so many females mention to me that they the men that talk thrash, neither can they date such. I have sat with some of my men folk and after a discussion I felt internally corrupted due to the choice of language. Man, even when you are angry one key amiable trait you should posses is your ability to have mastery over your words. This rule is never too much to counsel on. Words are like drugs. They can heal the hearer but can also intoxicate as well. This is why Proverbs 25:11 say “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.”

…to be continued (part 2)

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