13th December 2017, someone’s dream came true!

Father planted the seed, mother watered it. Today, it has culminated in this giant, larger than life itself! Weeks of waiting for our bar exam results to come out led me to start reminiscing on the past. There was never a doubt in my mind on passing the exams. All I had to do was wonder, Lord, how did i even get here?

What am I doing in this space? Sometimes, hot tear-drops would fall from my eyes as i looked at my late mum’s portrait hanging on my bedroom wall. It’s been a long walk to this place. I had started to forget how I came to study law. Spending 5 years +1 year of nationwide lecturers’ strike in a Nigerian university just to get LL.B is enough to give anybody dementia!

Before I proceed, I really want to congratulate my colleagues and everybody around the world who share a similar story. Congratulations to you buddies, life has made us tough!

Now, my journey into the world of flashbacks made me remember year 2011, the day I first updated my Facebook profile to reflect Obafemi Awolowo University and the course, Law. An old high school mate posted on my wall that day. My classmate for 6yrs, from JS1-SS3, Taofeek Oyekola.

The Facebook message Taofeek sent me 6 years ago

He couldn’t stomach his excitement seeing my new profile and quickly reminded me of how I used to tell them all back in high school, that I would one day become a lawyer. That should be 2004 or thereabout and I was less than 15years old!

I was an avid newspaper reader (my dad bought at least 2 everyday), and I probably caught the dream while reading lawyers’ interviews. It could also be television.

I’m sure my dad loved the profession and at a time wanted to go for it himself, but it was too late (‘popsy’ was over 50, with grown kids & a kingly ego). I’m too sure my ambition couldn’t have come from the ghetto I grew up in. We had only one lawyer in the neighbourhood and he wasn’t that inspiring. Well, I remember he named his son after me so he’s probably inspiring after-all.

Dad later worked with a court when he retired from the Police & before he talked, people would ask if he was a lawyer or Judge. Fair enough, I suppose, for someone who wanted to be a lawyer so bad!

The first JAMB I wrote in 2007/08, I passed but Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU) offered me Political Science instead of Law. I didn’t accept it. I told mum not to worry, I know she was really worried. May her beautiful soul rest in perfect peace. I LOVE YOU MOTHER, I LOVE YOU!

Two years later in 2009/10, I got my Law in the same school. Another dream I had as a child was to attend OAU and that was also achieved. My life has been a fairy-tale of sorts. Apart from the few challenges along the way, especially losing the people who mean the world to me. But deep down, I know I can’t complain. It could have been worse!

Some of my life heroes since I was that ‘bookworm’ kid in high school were lawyers. I’ve tried to model my life after theirs over the years, doing the same things they did. Chief Obafemi Awolowo (SAN), a man I try to emulate not just on professional success but in character and life philosophy. Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) is evergreen to me.

Growing up, I read extensively on these great men & my determination for this profession was built on their strength of purpose and will-power. Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) have always inspired me. Nelson Rolihlahla ‘Madiba’ Mandela is my greatest hero. Reading books of and about Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln moulded my thinking.

Thus, to be a lawyer became my lifelong dream and it became a reality on 13th December, 2017 when I was called to the largest bar in Africa!

This is testament for hardwork, resilience, determination and above all, a very strong faith in God. If you’re young and lucky enough to read this, I’m telling you now your dreams can never be too big to be achieved! Your dreams, not matter how ridiculous they may sound, are valid and possible.

Why do i say this? Because I read Oral Robert’s book(Miracle of Seed-faith) as a teenager and believed when he said “whatever you believe(incubate) and visualize will come to pass.” I lived by those tenets and they worked for me. In times of inertia, I was able to stay strong. Don’t stop dreaming, and don’t stop working hard.

As big as my two extended families are, I’ve never heard of another lawyer. I’m the first one. A major jinx is broken. It’s because of people like me and some others that Council of Legal Education found it hard to release our results on time, they kept postponing. Sometimes, you have to look at things with spiritual eyes.

It is never easy when people are breaking yokes that have existed for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. The heavens & the ground will shake. There would be signs and symbols. Like Femi Adesina loves putting it, “the lions would roar in the wild, the fishes would leap for joy…”

This success is dedicated to my late colleague Oladipo Ige, who committed suicide on March 3, 2014 (4oo level college days) for unclear reasons. My only regret in life is not getting to know you better as you drew closer to me. Rest on my beloved brother, I miss you.

Also, to another learned friend and brother who died also mysteriously few weeks after results were released, Olaniran Quadri Oladimeji. R.I.P brother. I couldn’t help but feel emotional on my call to bar, knowing you ought to be called same day. But death robbed us of your brilliant mind and person. I will continue to hold onto the fond memories I have of you!

I lost my dad this year as well. It’s been a very rough year but I soldier on from here. I want to use this opportunity to thank all my well-wishers, my blog readers, family and friends. God bless you all for always supporting my growth. I’m very grateful!

***Dreams come true, Prophecies come true.

Dreams come true, Rumors mostly never true.

If your dream came true, you must have paid some dues.

So forget the feuds, Now they’re of no use.



The misconceptions about the African male child.

Most of the African poems, novels, novella and short stories I’ve read (and believe me I’ve read a whole lot) always paint the African man as brutish, timid, difficult and even sometimes wicked. While the female counterparts are painted in a beautiful imagery, with supple “breasts & buttocks”, loving mothers, the “talk of the town spinster”, Amope the one-in-town, pretty damsel…

All these adjectives are okay by me so far other men aren’t complaining. But I just wonder why the feminists still yearn for more. Everyday my hears are filled on the radio & tv, from articles claiming women are trampled upon. The African feminists need to ask the Indian women what they face in a country where a woman is raped or brutalized every 2 minutes! Yes, every 2 minutes! Maybe by that comparison, African feminists would learn to appreciate more the African man’s gentle soul & romanticism.

Yes I know the wars that have ravaged Africa over the years brought the bad reputation on the African male. Stories abound of soldiers, even child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia who brutalized, maimed and raped women at will. But these evils are offsprings of war anywhere. It is not so different to what Fidel Castro did in Cuba or what Saddam Hussein did in Iraq or what has been done in Syria, Palestine etc. I once heard an uncorroborated story of how Castro single-handedly had sex with over 10,000 women(adults & children) while at the height of his powers in the Caribbean country. No African man has ever done that, our worst dictators didn’t.

I’ve read of how Idi Amin was a romantic who had a family, he got mad when his youngest & most enterprising wife had an affair with his associate. I’m not supporting how Amin went about the judgment, I’m interested in how he cared enough about his woman for him to get angry. The Burkina Faso military revolutionary Thomas Sankara had only one wife and was a loving husband till his untimely death. The average African man, if given the idyllic environment to flourish like his European counterpart, will automatically be loving, caring and dote on his wife.

The socio-economic and political atmosphere in Africa has been brutish towards all species, hence the resultant reaction towards African women. One day I know the African man would be seen for what he truly is, a responsible, gentle and harmless individual with a strong urge not only to succeed but to cater for everyone around him.

*I wish the ‘spirit’ had led me to write this on World Father’s day, but I hope it would carry full effect all the same.

-To be continued

The Nigerian state: Things fall apart

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst,
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand…

-The Second coming; William Butler Yeats

I find it funny to read in the news daily as one Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo begs the newly-constituted body of Niger Delta militants, popularly known as Niger Delta Avengers to lay down arms and stop destroying oil pipelines. Few years ago, when Tompolo and his cohorts, Chief Ateke Tom and Asari Dokubo started blowing up Nigerian pipelines, they probably never thought of the repercussions of their felonious acts.

These shenanigans, claiming to agitate for the emancipation of the local people in the creeks, got juicy contracts and Abuja assets from the corrupt government ran under then President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and vanished into thin air. The same militant warlords who claimed government abandoned their communities became multi-millionaires and abandoned their own people. Now, the youths of those communities, aiming to also get rich through militancy are bombing pipelines and these old powerhouses are crying foul.

How can you claim betrayal when you’re simply beaten at your own game? It baffles thought that the same Tompolo who was alleged to have once bought six war-ships to battle the Nigerian state is now calling on the new militant group who obviously don’t pay him allegiance to call a truce and stop agitating. The likes of Tompolo, Ateke Tom and Asari Dokubo showed the Niger-Delta youths the way of violence and bloodshed under Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s govt in 2007. Now in 2016, under Buhari’s govt, the warlords are preaching holiness and gentility? What could have happened, did they suddenly meet Jesus Christ? I guess they’re just playing the same politics of deceit Nigeria is known for.

The recent bombings and destruction in that oil region, herdsmen massacres, Chibok-girls kidnapping and Biafra resurgence are what happens anywhere in the world where leadership has failed. There’s hardly a problem in Nigeria today that isn’t as a result of the failure of leadership. I read the Sunday Sun newspaper edition of May 22, 2016, where an interview was granted by a war veteran of the Biafra war. The retired Colonel Joe Achuzia who doubles as General Secretary of IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) claimed in the interview that Biafra people never surrendered after the Civil war.

That brings a new twist and vista to the Biafra debacle as we all know the then leader, late General Ojukwu fled the country, went into exile and left his vice president, Major Gen. Philip Effiong (rtd.) to surrender in a televised statement which I’ve watched and the statements made by Effiong were very clear. Now, for a war veteran of Joe Achuzia’s age to make such statements is very unfortunate. It’s even more unfortunate that these are the people leading Nigerians, people with no honor, who can’t keep their word.

The civil war claimed over 2 million lives, property worth billions of naira were lost and Nigeria went 20 years backward in development. At this stage, one would expect a man as old as Col. Joe Achuzia (rtd.) not to even try reopening old wounds. The man who spearheaded the Biafra front during the war, late General Odumegwu Ojukwu (rtd.) said severally before his death that he regretted going to war. Ojukwu said he led the war because he felt Igbos were going to be wiped off in a genocide.

Nigeria could really use some political stability at a period when oil prices has crashed in the international market and the country is going through a transition from being a oil-dependent economy to finding new means of survival. Nigeria doesn’t need any more drama from the Biafra agitators, Niger Delta militias, Boko Haram or herdsmen. If only the country could be united at this critical stage then we can all be happy in the end. That said, the FG should still find ways for dialogue, call a conference and discuss openly with any discontent ethnic group in Nigeria. Let’s negotiate our national unity if possible, the era of force is long gone.

On the issue of Boko Haram, our political leaders are still to answer. President Muhammadu Buhari, when he was running for office in 2011 had said that if he failed to win, Nigeria would be made ungovernable for the government under then President Jonathan. Now, the fact that he made that statement and was quoted doesn’t mean he sponsored Boko haram but the statement obviously fueled the insurgency that broke out from the north shortly after. The Boko haram eggs were laid by President Buhari’s hen, he must now kill the disturbing chickens. Thank God he’s now the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces.

How sincere is this government on the fight against corruption? Recently, we heard about the secret CBN employment list which included only names of the bigwigs in Nigeria, especially one of President Buhari’s own children. This is insensitive at a period when the unemployment level in the country is alarming. Just about a week ago, Diamond Bank sacked over 200 of its workers. Yet our politicians are solidifying their stakes in this country buy fixing their children in the best positions.

I’m yet to see any sign the budget has been passed, life is still hard for the ordinary Nigerians. I don’t comprehend why Mr President is hoarding funds that belongs to all Nigerians. One would expect FG’s infrastructural development to have started by now to create job opportunities for the unemployed. One would expect the minimum wage of government workers to have been increased in line with inflated price of goods and services. By now, one would expect a genuine FG to be looking at ways to legislate for more economic autonomy for the states so that they depend less on the central government. By now, a national economic team or committee should have been formed, comprising the best brains in the field, looking as ways to improve the standard of living of Nigerians.

How sincere are we on education? Do we really want the Nigerian masses to be enlightened or we just want an ignorant population who are easily manipulated, especially by political parties? I recently saw a picture of the Osun state governor attending the convocation of the University of Osun & presenting the best graduating student with a mug! We keep complaining each year that the standard of WAEC and NECO exams drop. We keep complaining why majority of Nigerian students fail woefully in mathematics & sciences, yet we do nothing. These kids observe the body language of the country. They’ll rather start a dance group than start a book club!

Is it not obvious how much everybody is getting diverted by the entertainment industry and make-belief lifestyle? Orisaguna Olajumoke getting millions of naira of what I call ‘pity-funds’ for snapping a single picture that went viral, her life changed overnight though she’s still an illiterate & I’ve never heard her make a single intellectual statement. Reekado Banks, D’ija and Korede Bello getting millions of naira worth of Globacom endorsements after dropping just one single apiece. Beverly Osu getting acting jobs and being celebrated nation-wide even though her nude BBA clips are all over the internet. No wonder all our girls want to be models and dancers. Little wonder all our boys want to be musicians and comedians. This is where past and present Nigerian leaders got us. Who will deliver Nigeria now?

Intellectuals are scarce nowadays, social media is full of unintelligent arguments by Nigerian youths. Sometimes I’m too ashamed, sometimes I want to cry for my country. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said and I quote, “The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, ‘Voice of Reason’, he said “to cultivate courage, strength, knowledge, and a sense of spiritual values, education is our most potent weapon.” Nelson Mandela even said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” One Mr Sunday Dada graduated with a 5.0 GPA in psychology department of Unilag early this year, I’m yet to see any telecoms company endorse him same way they’re always quick to adopt these drop-out artistes. If Sunday Dada was an American or British, he would have been celebrated country-wide, his story would have been featured on all their tabloids. Here, we celebrate drop-outs!

All through history, great leaders have inspired nations with speeches. Abraham Lincoln did with the Gettysburg address, Barack Obama did with his ‘yes, you can’ mantra. I’m worried for this country if the best our leaders can do is trade blames.
The May 29, 2016 Independence speech was so dry, even Goodluck Jonathan did better during his time. There was no energy, no encouragement for the Nigerian people, the whole picture painted was gloomy, with boring talks of how the previous administration looted the nation. I think by now Mr President ought to know that Nigerians don’t claim ignorance of the past regime’s looting, in fact, that’s why we voted for Mr President in March 2015 and all we want now from him is less promises and more actions. We don’t need to be reminded of the state of economy, we want it fixed soonest, that’s why we put President Buhari in Aso Villa and pay him from tax-payer’s money.

The president still failed to mention the fulani herdsmen killing thousands of people in the southern part of Nigerian. This President continues to prove suspicions right that he’s tribalistic. Those who make peaceful resolution impossible will eventually make violent revolution inevitable. It’s either President Buhari stops hiding behind the facade of Aso Villa & face real national problems or people will revolt in the long run. Past administrations of government had a way of shying from these problems & that’s why we have different insurgent groups now battling the government same time.

President Buhari has spent the last few months trying to persuade Nigerians to patronise home-made goods in the face of naira’s fall against the US dollar. It surprised me when the President had a little health challenge few days ago & quickly traveled to London for medical checks. So much for the so called ‘incorruptible and honest’ President, he could not even stay true to his words. As bad as the Nigerian economy is, doesn’t Mr President collect his bumper salary and travel bonuses? Has he been travelling abroad with his own funds? Why does he keep making excuses for the suffering Nigerian masses? It is unfair and insensitive. The President Buhari’s state of health and reason for traveling abroad is also a cogent reason for him to develop and invest national resources into our own medical system in Nigeria.

In the same Independence day speech, Mr President described the budget impasse, which dragged on for months before it was finally appropriated in early May (with almost half of the year gone) , as mere ‘consensus building which is integral to democratic government.’ Well, Mr President failed to build the same consensus with Nigerian masses who elected him before increasing fuel price from 86 to 145 naira per litre, in a country which is the 6th largest producer of oil in the world! President Buhari himself said in his speech that Nigeria once had four refineries & exported refined products. What happened to these refineries and why are we now importing 90% of our petrol?

When he spoke about the army’s combat with insurgency, he made a misnomer;
“I would like to pay a special tribute to our gallant men and women of the armed forces… Their work is almost done. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude.”
Point of correction sir, the work of the armed forces is never done! Even when they’re is no war or insurgency, they must be alert, security must never go to sleep, that’s what soldiers live for. That’s why we spend tax-payers’ money equipping the armed forces! These kind of statements made by President Buhari is misleading, it’s the kind of cynical statements that leads to indolence, the same lethargy that got us into this state of inertia.

The modest inventions during the Nigerian Civil war were never followed up & one wonders what happened to the inventors then. In Nigeria, we’ve been going to sleep not thinking about our immediate future. Sadly, we remain an exporter of abundant raw materials but importers of technical know-how and finished goods. We can’t survive economically or even protect our country within and without with this complete dependence on importation of our economic & defence needs. According to General D.M Jemibewon (rtd.), ‘The nation would soon find that by developing its own technology, it is developing the mind, the population and the nation which will in turn breed national pride and awareness and raise the level of technology and technological competence.’
The war veteran made this submission in 1981 and up to date, the condition hasn’t changed! Do our leaders read books at all?

As at 1981, in a lecture delivered at National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), General D.M Jemibewon(rtd.) had said of Nigerian defence that, “we had an Army without arms, we had arms without ammunitions, and when we had both there was no guarantee for their continued supplies.” He said that referring to the situation during the Civil war (1967-1970) whereby the Army lacked war munitions or the proper technology to combat the Biafrans. It’s appalling that the case hasn’t really changed much since 1981 when that statement was made by the veteran soldier.

The strength of our military system alone, at prima facie value, could have been enough deterrence to current insurgents or internal threats such as the IPOB, MASSOB, Niger Delta Avengers and Boko haram. Some of these groups wouldn’t dare disturb the peace of our beloved country if they knew Nigerian defence system was strong and autonomous enough. Currently, the 36 states of Nigeria has 36 state assemblies & 36 judiciary systems totally consuming over 60 per cent of annual gross national revenue and budgetary allocations. A constitutional system allowing such wastage & partiality in sharing resources could be amended to better provide for our National Defence. The Police force needs restructuring, the Army, Customs and every single part of our Defence system.

We all heard about the allegations of Access Bank GMD, Mr Herbert Wigwe’s connivance in money laundering with former Minister of petroleum, Diezani Madueke, money & assets worth several billions of naira. An average Nigerian enters Nigerian banks and all you hear is CBN rules, CAMA rules, the bankers go on and on. Sometimes you can’t even withdraw your own funds till you go to court for affidavits to prove ownership of account, even when the error wasn’t yours but the bank’s.

We need to exalt our values above formal rules in this country. True human values wouldn’t have made Access Bank GMD steal or launder money. Stealing is generally anti-social behavior and that’s why its wrong, apart from it being against the state laws. These influential people make these rules and find it easy to break their own rules, so why don’t we inculcate true human values & character into kids as they grow? This, they won’t depart from.


David Medaiyese Jemibewon, The Military, Law and Society: Reflections of a General (1998, Spectrum Books) 20



On hearty praises and sincere appreciation

This week, I picked up Dale Carnegie’s timeless classic, How To Win Friends And Influence People from my book shelf. I’ve read this book several times but each time I read it, something changes in my life, a whole new perspective comes up. This is indeed a classic book every man must read before they die. First published in 1936, it has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and is officially one of the most influential books in the world.

This time around, one of the illustrations which caught my attention the most was in Chapter 6 of Part IV. Dale Carnegie wrote about the inspiration behind the formation of the man we all know as Charles Dickens. You know him, that English author who wrote timeless classics himself such as Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. I delighted in reading Charles Dickens’ novels while growing up. But his story could have ended differently, he could have lived a life unworthy of remembrance and applause.
As a young man in the early 19th century, he aspired to be a writer but everything seemed to be against his dreams. He had little formal education, his father was in jail for debts, he was poor and homeless and was a factory worker. ‘He had so little confidence in his ability to write that he sneaked out and mailed his first manuscript in the dead of the night so nobody would laugh at him. Story after story was refused. Finally the great day came when one was accepted. True, he wasn’t paid a shilling for it, but one editor had praised him… He was so thrilled that he wandered aimlessly around the streets with tears rolling down his cheeks.’

Hear how Carnegie described that encounter; ‘The praise, the recognition that he received through getting one story in print, changed his whole life, for if it hadn’t been for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life in rat-infested factories.’ That is the power of giving praise and sincere appreciation of people’s efforts, especially those who look up to us for mentor-ship.

I could liken the illustration to one encounter that changed my own life in 2009. I used to read newspapers a lot and was an avid reader of a particular column of one editor in Daily Sun. It took a lot of courage to write to him one day to plead with him to write his autobiography, saying I would like to know him more. I wrote without even dreaming of getting a reply in my mailbox, I was too humble to expect such, a lowly boy like me.

But surprisingly, I got a reply from this columnist who doubled as the editor. He even invited me to his office and we shared several correspondences from then. That day after reading his calm reply, I wandered around emotionally and was jumping and leaping for joy en-route home! I couldn’t believe my eyes. My family had just moved to a new place in the outskirt of town and I somehow didn’t even imagine a simple letter of mine would find its way to my favorite writer in Nigeria’s most important city. That’s probably why I’ve continued writing till today!

I had another experience 2 years ago, of how sincere appreciation of little efforts inspires people to go the extra mile and succeed. My barber had an apprentice who I noticed was always in the bad books of his boss whenever I went for a cut. The young man made one mistake or another leading his boss to yell at him almost all the time. One day, I went to barb and met the boss busy working on someone else’s hair. The logical thing would have been to wait till the expert was done but I’m too illogical, I requested the apprentice’s service.

Several weeks after, I went to the same barber shop and met this young apprentice alone, working. Words cannot explain the reception he gave me. He said I was the first person who gave him confidence when I allowed him make my hair. I found it funny because I didn’t actually think what I did was special, I didn’t even remember the things I had said. He reminded me how I requested him to do a style he had never done before, and when leaving I gave him money asides the service fee. He said that built his confidence forever.

He referenced how his boss now leaves the shop in his care, out of trust in his expertise (He was working alone when I met him). He even said he has gone on to barb for so many other people and the customers also like his service. Until now, he never had confidence to barb for those people till he got a shot heavy enough to spur him further in the echelon. Today, he has his own shop!

A boy in London worked as a clerk for a dry-goods store. Every morning, he woke up by five o’ clock to sweep the store & slave for 14 hours a day. He could no longer stand it one day so he walked 15 miles to complain to his mother, a housekeeper. He wept and wanted to die. He wrote a sorrowful letter to his old schoolmaster on his suicidal tendencies. This old schoolmaster praised him and assured him that he was really intelligent and smart, even offering him a job as a teacher. That praise changed his life and that boy wrote his name in the sands of time in the world of literature and we all know him as Herbert George Wells. His writings have inspired most of us today, but he could have died unknown!

That is the beauty of praise and sincere appreciation. So next time we’re tempted to disgrace our subordinates for an error, let’s remember there’s at least one good quality worthy of appreciation and recognition in these people. The great contemporary psychologist, B.F. Skinner was able to show through his experiments with animals and humans that when criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention.

A passage in Dale Carnegie’s same book reads thus;
“You deserve very little credit for being what you are- and remember, the people who come to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserve very little discredit for being what they are. Feel sorry for the poor devils. Pity them. Sympathize with them. Say to yourself; ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I.'”
We are what we are today because someone recognized our talents and inspired us. Someone lifted us. Someone mentored us. Someone was our role-model. It happened to every successful person living or dead.


Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends And Influence People (first published 1936, Simon & Schuster)

My life (vol. 5)

I remember today an important incident in my High school days, this was in my SS1 class during year 2005. I was in the art class which in my school then was notorious for having some of the oldest and dullest students in the school. These guys were fully grown as at junior school and were merely waiting to write their O’level exams in two years’ time and bid bye to education (most impregnated girls by graduation in 2007, some went into trading or other vocations).

My school had a tradition of holding literary and debate/quiz competition every Wednesday of each week. All students were to attend compulsorily albeit, the best students in the school participated in the competition proper. As stated earlier, my class had more of unserious students than good ones which made it difficult to compete with the four science and commercial classes (classes A & B were sciences, C & D were commercials, E and F were arts and I was in E class). Each class had not less than 60 students which means our Wednesday intellectual competitions were always well attended by over 300 people, including our Principal and teachers.

Week in week out, my class came last whenever we debated or had a quiz. The two art classes shared failure equally between themselves each week, we never tried to change the status quo, we shamefully maintained it. Some of us who were bright students felt bad each time results were called out but within the next 1 hour we were gallivanting around as usual. Our class teacher must have devised a plan on his own as one day towards the end of the 1st term he made a new proposition. He proposed a plan that unlike before when the class captain and a few regular faces represented the class, a roster would be made and everybody will eventually participate.

This was perhaps the best plan ever as it not only ensured that mediocre students stopped representing my class every week but that each student was given a chance to showcase themselves. It was the start of personal development for some of us. Before I knew it, it was my turn to represent my class and due to my earlier reputation my colleagues voted me to be the chief speaker in the debate. We got our topic few days in advance & it was titled; Mixed schools are better than single sex-schools. We debated in the affirmative while the other class opposed the motion.

That was my first ever debate and the beginning of my widespread popularity in that school. I started preparing for my debut as a debater and as chief speaker, I was bound to use 5 minutes while my two other speakers speak for 3 minutes. My sister noticed I was more serious at home which was due to my sourcing for points which prompted her to help me out. She tutored me on my comportment, gave me virtually all the points I later built upon and some big vocabularies that swept my audience off their feet.

I can’t really remember most of my points that day unless I check my records (for I kept that paper somewhere at home) but my class ended up in first position at the end of the debates. I had finished my conclusion by saying something like, “now I hope I’ve been able to convince you but not to confuse you by saying EMPHATICALLY that mixed schools are far better than single-sex schools!” When I got to the word ’emphatically’ I had raised my voice as a way of stressing further my point to the crowd, this was a ploy my elder sister had taught me at home. The plan worked all through, never before had anybody debated in my school so beautifully, I was elated not only in winning but also in having been able to stick to my sister’s coaching and not forgetting my points.

The delectable & smart Mrs Areo, my English teacher, called out the result and the crowd scattered when it was apparent my class had won. That day, some of my teachers wanted to change my class to sciences as they thought I shouldn’t be in the arts. Thank God that plan failed for I would have been a miserable student of science. I’ve gone on to fulfill my dream of studying law and a bright career awaits me. My mathematics teacher, Mr Akanji was the lead advocate for changing the classes of those of us who performed better than ‘what was meant for art class.’ My fellow debater, Suara Akeem (who doubled as my school’s best maths student) was moved from my class to science class A that same day!

There was a general conspiracy in all public schools in Nigeria during my time to admit the brightest students in the science classes (can’t say if it’s the same story today). During registration, my family had pressured me to be in one of the science classes and my dad followed me to school in his police uniform in a bid to pressurize my teachers to change me from arts. How that life-defining scenario went will be written in another story on another day.

Back to my debate, my reputation soared higher as a result of that victory & I became a regular representative of my class in every week’s debate or quiz. We attended some inter-school debates competitions in neighbouring schools and I remember vividly the one at Loyola College where we weren’t given an opportunity to compete after so much preparation and anxiety within our camp. Those people in that school were probably too scared to give us a slot as their own presentations and arguments were riddled with mistakes.

Within my class, my classmates talked about the debate for over a week. Some of them came to encourage me and I could vividly remember Olalekan Sesan saying, “why don’t you debate regularly since you know how to do this so well. Why did you wait till now to come out?” My class captain, Oladipupo Shamshudeen came to doff his hat. He had been a regular representative for my class in the weekly competitions and part of my winning team. Outside my class but within my set, there was the funniest of all experiences. Toweh Toba, my very good friend who’s now a sailor in Romania was in A class then.

Toweh Toba, of all I said in my debate, stuck to my conclusive word ’emphatically’ and never seized to remind me whenever our paths crossed in the following weeks. Whenever he saw me, he yelled out “Mr emphatically!” Imagine me playing football with my friends during the lunch break and someone calling out “EMPHATICALLY!” It used to be very crazy & funny. As simple as the word seems, as 14 year old African kids then some of my school-mates were hearing it for the first time. Personally, I learned to embrace my lexicon when I discovered how good vocabularies could win a public argument.

Women: are they really weaker vessels?

Gender discrimination and inequality is an inbuilt problem with the culture, tradition and socialization of many people in many different societies. The issue of gender inequality – disrespect of women, neglect of their rights and privileges, not allowing them play leadership roles at the macro and micro level of society – has always troubled me. In fact, I planned the topic of this article about three years ago while as a sophomore undergraduate in the university I studied with keen attention, the gender inequality in my school.

A university which ought to be the bedrock of politics, sanity and everything good in a country. In the student union government of the school, the highest a lady could aspire to was the post of vice president, while the presidential slot was normally reserved for a guy. I noticed even the brightest, most popular and strongest (in terms of personality) ladies on campus never aspired to be President of the union.

From the talks I’ve heard with some of them who were my friends, I discovered they never even gave it a thought. Throughout my nearly five years sojourn, no lady ever became President or even contested for the post! While trying to understand this problem, I looked at the macro-level of the Nigeria state and found out the highest position a woman holds these days is deputy governor of a state. In fact, it has been like that for a while.

The last and first ever female governor Nigeria has ever had was the Anambra state former governor, Dame Virgy Etiaba (2nd November 2006 – 13th June 2007). It must be noted that her instatement came not as result of popular election votes but the impeachment of Governor Peter Obi by the state legislature for alleged gross misconduct.

She had to transfer power back to Obi three months later when the appeal court nullified the impeachment. She was deputy governor to Obi. The last female speaker of the House of representatives, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh was booted out of office due to embezzlement and mismanagement of funds, a move which has further reduced the chances of a woman leading that lower chamber soonest.

That period in 2007 marked one of the most scandalous periods in the National Assembly history in recent years. At the last general elections in March 28, 2015, the only woman who contested for President was Prof. Remi Sonaiya of my alma matar (OAU) and she was snubbed by Nigerians, judging from the number of votes she got. It was unclear whether fellow women even believed in her candidacy.

When she declared interest in contesting, I had been expecting cheers and encouragements to come from the women in the country but as it seems, these days most ladies are only interested in ‘being a lady’ and not bothering for those ‘men-like’ vocations like politics and pure sciences.

Since independence in 1960, no woman has ever been Senate President, only one woman has been Speaker of the House of Reps and she was impeached within months! No woman has ever been president or vice president of the country.

The 8th National Assembly ushered in by the March 28, 2015 general elections has only 7 female senators elected into the upper chamber, the remaining 102 seats occupied by men! Only Anambra, Oyo and Ondo (maybe one or two others) elected female speakers for their Houses of Assembly between 2011-2015. At the grassroot level, in 774 local governments in Nigeria, I know no female chairman/chairperson.

I must say the idea of ‘weaker vessel’ which I’ve heard for the umpteenth time nauseates me down to my spleen! For how could you call women weaker vessels when 22 women are currently the Presidents and leaders of their countries worldwide. Liberia, Brazil, Argentina, South Korea, Lithuania, Bangladesh, Denmark, Jamaica, Kosovo, Trinidad & Tobago, Poland, Chile etc. How then can women be weaker vessels?

Dr Joyce Hilda Banda was also President of Malawi while the strong Benazir Bhutto also led Pakistan, a country with an estimated population of over 191 million, making it the world’s sixth-most-populous country. How could I not mention the effervescent Indira Gandhi, a woman who was as gracious as her father and probably gave modern India an even stronger leadership than her father.

What of UK’s ‘Iron Lady’, Margaret Thatcher and Israel’s Golda Meir (both prime ministers), not to mention reigning UK monarch, Queen Elizabeth II? In the areas of academics, sociologists Jane Adams and Ida Wells Barnett made magnificent impacts in the lives of people, they’ve made lasting marks that even men cannot erase!

Some women are physically stronger and bigger than their husbands. There has been Customary and High court cases in Nigeria whereby the wife was alleged to have beaten the husband mercilessly in a domestic fight. It’s then clear from the foregoing that woman being a weaker vessel to man is not only a misnomer but a deliberate assault on the sensibilities of right thinking women.

The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) made an outline recently of a typical day for a man and woman in a family that grows both food and cash crops.

A typical woman’s day:
“Rise first
Kindle fire
Breast feeds the baby
Fixes breakfast
Washes and dresses the children
Walks one kilometer home
Feed livestocks
Washes cooking utensils
Washes clothing
Breast feeds the baby
Walk a kilometer to the field with food for husband
Walks a kilometer back home
Walks a kilometer to her field
Waters field
Breast feeds baby
Gathers firewood on way home
Walks a kilometer to fetch water
Walks a kilometer home
Kindles fire
Prepares meal
Breast feeds baby
Puts house in order
Goes to bed last”

A typical man’s day:
“Rises when breakfast is ready
Walks a kilometer to field
Works in field
Walks a kilometer home
Eats when wife arrives with food
Works in the field
Walks one kilometer home
Rests, eats, walks to the village to visit other men
Goes to bed
Summons wife to comfort him”

Personally I believe this outline to be a little over-blown in terms of the works women do, because in most families it is actually the other way round. In this modern era and with economic stress everywhere, the husbands practically break their backs to provide for the family while some wives shop and hang out with friends. Some housewives take at least two naps before the end of the day and still sleep at night. This being clear, we still can’t afford to undermine or belittle the impact of women in every home. A friend of mine once remarked that “women are the reasons why the world is enjoyable, without them there’s nothing to live for.”

According to Professor Ademola Popoola, ”gender refers to the socially and historically constructed relations between men and women, as opposed to their biological differences. The social relations of gender are dynamic and change over time, being shaped by cultural, social, political and economic relations of power that affect males and females in different ways of all societies.”

The Beijing declaration which was made during the 4th world conference of September 1995 was majorly to “advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of humanity.”

The divine purpose for which God created woman (as seen in Genesis 2: 18-24) was to serve as companion and certainly not as a slave or subordinate to man. Also, she (a woman) is to serve as instrument of ensuring the continued survival of the human race through procreation.

Thus, in the Epistles of St. Paul though, man is described as head of the family, same man is enjoined to love his wife “just as Christ loved the church and sacrificed Himself for her to make her Holy” (see Ephesians 5:20-21).

If there would be a change in gender inequality, there has to be a change in the way women view themselves too. I’ve met some very young women whose self-esteem and pride are so terribly low that they believe they must always be with a man and do degrading things to maintain the man before their lives can be ‘glorious.’

A lot of ladies are like the lady in Eddie Murphy’s 1988 award-winning comedy film “Coming to America” where the prince met his betrothed wife for the first time on his 21st birthday. While getting to know her, he asked her a few questions which the poor lady simply replied in a way that shows how many women have been taught to think (a sad reality). Eddie Murphy acted the character named Hakeem, the sole heir to the throne of a wealthy African kingdom named Zamunda, in West Africa. The conversation goes thus:

Hakeem: What do you like to do?
Lady: Whatever you like!

Hakeem: What kind of music do you like ?
Lady: Whatever kind of music you like?

Hakeem: Do you have a favorite food?
Lady: Yes

Hakeem: Ok, what’s your favorite food?
Lady: Whatever food you like? (is anyone laughing yet?)

Hakeem: Are you saying you’d do anything I say you should do?
Lady: Yes, your highness!

Hakeem: Ok, bark like a dog!
Lady: (she starts barking)

I remember the speech of legendary American female rapper, MC Lyte in 2013 when she was given the ”I am Hip Hop” at the BET awards. She finished off her acceptance speech by saying, “women if you want to be treated like a queen, act like one!” That’s perhaps the most important instruction to women that I’ve ever heard in my life. So cogent and apt that statement is, I’ve ceased to forget it in two years. For how can a woman rightfully hope to be treated with respect if she doesn’t respect herself first?

How can a woman hope to be seen for her intelligence and not as a sexual object if she keeps dressing provocatively? How can a woman hope to win a public election if she allows herself to be compromised? How can a woman hope to become President of a nation if she doesn’t herself aspire and determine to break the jinx and go against the odds? Women, the ball is in your court.


Popoola, Ademola (Professor) (2015) Of Women, Law and gender justice: The rhetorics, the realities, and the African perspectives, University of Ilorin annual public lecture 2015



Regnal Chronologies



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The evil the West did to my Continent

*Author’s headnote

I have a small theory, which I’ve been trying to experiment upon with myself as much as I could, without confusing bias with value- isn’t that what Max Weber took most of his time to tell us? My theory is that, the best time to write a critical political article is when you’ve not had breakfast (and lunch together), for the hunger in your stomach brings the right anger you need to write. Hunger + intellectual anger equals to genius, a great piece of artistic creation! Note that the kind of anger I’m working with, not a violent one but the type that stresses your intellectual reservoir and makes you study & work on things you’d normally let slide. This I’ve further proven this morning as I write this article which started as a little chit-chat on the phone with my sister who’s in faraway Abuja. I hope you all feel my pain as you read. Enjoy.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Sir Edmund Burke

The West assassinated our brightest intellectuals and left us with despots, kleptocrats, thieves and rogues. Christopher Okigbo died in the war-front while trying to defend his region during the Biafran war (Nigerian Civil war 1967-1970). He was killed in Nsukka, the university town where he first started out as a poet, and which he had vowed to defend with his life. Chrisopher Okigbo is widely regarded as one of the most important African poets to write in English. What was he doing at the war-front? What changed his mindset? These are the questions that baffles the mind. Okigbo rejected the first prize in African poetry awarded to him at the 1965 Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, declaring that there is no such thing as a Negro or black poet. A step some other African poets like Dennis Brutus followed later by also rejecting awards that they felt degraded the idea of pan-africanism and encroached the dignity of mankind.

Dennis Brutus’s book, Sirens, Knuckles and Boots, published in Nigeria while he was in jail received the Mbari Poetry Prize, awarded to a black poet of distinction, but Brutus turned it down on the grounds of its racial exclusivity – similar to what Okigbo had done. What did these intellectuals see that most Africans don’t get to see? They had seen the truth behind the international establishments. In December 2007, Brutus was to be inducted into the South African Sports Hall of Fame. At the induction ceremony, he publicly turned down his nomination and said; “It is incompatible to have those who championed racist sport alongside its genuine victims. It’s time—indeed long past time—for sports truth, apologies and reconciliation.” Why would Brutus reject South Africa’s biggest honour in sports? It is because he knew he would have sold his birthright by receiving that award. The initiators were trying to, mildly and latently, lure him to their side. Brutus was aware of this and immediately rejected the Honors, something most people would jump at. Miss such an opportunity to be more famous and decorated? No way! Those who offered the award too probably underestimated him & thought he would fall for such miniature temptation of vainglory.

Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) wasn’t so lucky to laugh last over his European enemies. He was murdered in cold blood, he alongside two of his closest allies were gunned down at night by British and Belgian firing squad and his body dissolved with sulphuric acid so his corpse wouldn’t be found! Patrice, a Congolese independence leader, was the first ever democratically elected leader of the country. He was the leader of the mainstream Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party, Lumumba played a pivotal role in campaigning for independence from Belgium. What was the crime of this very young and bright Congolese politician? He was an unrepentant pan-Africanist and wanted to unite Congo. You will feel nothing but contempt due to the brutality of the Belgians policemen and UK forces, including the American CIA who also wanted Lumumba dead. It was alleged that the ‘almighty’ President Dwight D. Eisenhower of USA had ordered Lumumba’s death. In an interview on Belgian television in a program on the assassination of Lumumba in 1999, Belgian police commissioner Gerard Soete displayed a bullet and two teeth that he boasted he had saved from Lumumba’s body. The question I keep asking myself is, ‘what were Belgian, British and American forces still doing in Congo, a year after the latter’s independence?’ Was the independence real or was it just a ploy to throw the country into chaos and stay around to kill the greatest citizens of the country? I need answers. Patrice is a national hero. He’s to Congo what Awolowo and Nkrumah are to Nigeria and Ghana!

Same thing happened in Burkina Faso with the young military captain, Thomas Sankara who was murdered at 37 years old in a coup led by the dictator, Blaise Compaoré. Look at the similarity in character with Patrice Lumumba, Sankara was a Pan-Africanist, young and vibrant, revolutionary and charismatic. He renamed Upper Volta to what is now known as Burkina Faso (which means ‘Land of Upright Man’) today. Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of totally eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power. What a vision Sankara had for his nation. He had begun achieving profound results in agriculture, health sector, economy, education, corruption, political stability and security when his life was cut short in a French-backed coup led by Compaoré. Sankara led by example, not as a dictator would compel you normally. Sankara outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions( when last did you see a military dictator who respected women?).

What happened after France backed Blaise Compaoré to assassinate and shatter Sankara’s body with bullets during the coup? Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalization policy of Sankara, overturned nearly all of Sankara’s policies, rejoined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to bring in “desperately needed” funds to restore the “shattered” economy. Compaoré’s dictatorship then remained in power, until it was overthrown by popular protests in 2014 when he attempted to amend the constitution to further extend his 27-year term! As I pointed out from the start, these powerful western powers always spearhead the assassination of every intellectual, visionary African leader then, place an empty-headed imbecile in their stead. Look at the conspiracy and Africans keep playing into their hands. Even today, most youths don’t care to know what happened before their time. If you don’t know, how do you prevent being manipulated further? We cannot afford to make the mistakes our parents made. In Congo, Belgium replaced Lumumba with the Congolese politician they paid to hold the coup, Mobutu Sese Seko who reigned for 32 years of corruption and absurdity! As Edmund Obilo rightfully posits on one of his radio talks on Splash FM 105.5, “sadly, corruption continues to be a state policy in Africa.”

To win the Caine Prize or get well-known international publishers like Bloomsbury to publish your work, one must write slanderous things about his own people, major bad themes about Africa such as maternal mortality, the slave trade e.t.c. Then make sure you look haggard in the book cover picture. In this way, you get published real fast, maybe even get nominated for an international award or two. A little background check on the book cover pictures of Chimamanda Adichie and Buchi Emecheta proves me right. Its the same for any other writer who wants to sell on those international platforms. To win the Booker prize or Caine prize you more or less have to sell-out in some ways to the organizers. Want to know what I mean by selling-out? Go find out whether past winners who are of African origin actually continue to stay in their fatherland. They always leave. Background check on Chimamanda Adichie, Tope Folarin, Ben Okri, Buchi Emecheta, Okey Ndibe & co. proves me right.

What led to the sudden irritation? Chinua Achebe kept talking about the ills in the political and economic scene in Nigeria, but he refused to stay here. He eventually died overseas. The tragedy of post-imperialism and neo-colonialism is when Africans begin to refer to the hardships in their lives as a result of them being Africans. Humankind face hardships generally, be you Canadian, Asian or African. I see Africans playing to the hands of the imperialists if they feel nothing good can come out of themselves because of their origin. Merely reading Chimamanda’s Americanah brings to fore the racism which still exist in our world today. Who has seen Donald Trump’s comments on Barack Obama lately? We all thought racism died with Martin Luther King Jnr. And Malcolm X but the joke’s on us all because racism didn’t died, it still exist in our world today.

We have to bring the reading culture back quickly. Its direly needed. How do we question these forces if we don’t study our history books? There are still thousands of African heroes like Patrice Lumumba and we rarely hear anything about them because they were killed and buried secretly, even the records and legacies of them are near-dead due to the efforts of subsequent shenanigan governments and these powerful Western forces. Now, if the West killed all of Africa’s best minds, do they have the moral or actual right to turn-around & say Africans are monkeys who can’t think, who can’t rule themselves? What did the West leave Africa after centuries of slavery? The truth is, the West killed our best brains & left us with despots like Mugabe, Charles Taylor, Mobutu Sese Seko e.t.c. Now they’ve established all these ineffective charity organisations to bring aid to Africa, such as USAID, IMF, WHO, UNESCO, ICJ… It’s only because they want us to be in eternal servitude to them. Their plan has always been to subjugate Africa. United Nations officials were present in Congo when Patrice Lumumba was being brutalized, the knew about it but did nothing. Lumumba had personally sent for them at the beginning of the crisis. They never cared. They ruined Africa & now they’re giving us a ‘helping hand?’ UN are currently donating food to war-torn South Sudan. Ask, the war-fares were supplied by who? Who backed the rebel opposition? The same countries with the largest stakes at the UN!!! The aids United Nations claim to be giving Africa now, visionary African leaders like Thomas Sankara made more progress at local generation of these same things before being murdered in coups backed by France, Belgium, USA, Britain & co.

France backed up Blaise Compraore to plan his coup & assassinate Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso. Thomas Sankara was a soldier like no other, he wrote three solid books. He was an intellectual par excellence. The Nigerian civil war was made possible by western powers, USA, Spain, Belgium, France, Russia, Czech, Germany to name a few e.t.c. France was a major supporter of the Biafran secessionists, supplying arms and ammunitions. Funny enough, these same France later sent aid to starving children of the war-torn region. They even came down to train General Ojukwu’s lieutenants. Now, the same countries can’t send their soldiers to help Nigeria fight Boko Haram! Do you smell foul? These powerful western countries could back a region to secede from the rest of Nigeria but won’t send troops to Nigeria to help terminate minor Boko Haram in just about five states in Nigeria. Even South African mercenaries fought for Biafra, where are they now? The West can’t wait to see Africa explode from the gun-powder keg they’ve set and all true Africans must rise up!


Priebe, Richard K. “Christopher Okigbo” Microsoft Encarta 2009. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.



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