Life Is War

Life is war

Life is war. I’m fighting for my life.
So when you call my phone and I don’t answer,
Don’t be vexed because I might be fighting for my life.

When I need your help and you disappoint me,
I quickly understand because just like me,
You’re simply fighting for your life.

We have different wars and battles to fight,
I don’t know what war you’re fighting, you don’t know mine,
But we’re united in the fact that we’re simply fighting for our lives.

Some people live their lives smiling most times, while some cry most times,
Life’s an unbalanced scale, it treats people differently.
When sadness comes, reminisce on the good times.

It is folly for a man to laugh all the time, even when happy,
For how could you know if your neighbour is mourning?
For life is war and we’re all fighting for our lives.

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

True leaders will rise in Nigeria

President Buhari’s picture sourced from http://www.nairaland.com

The world is always in need of a leader, it could be you. Are you getting prepared? Remember, when good people refuse to lead, bad people will!

Did you watch the European championship final last Sunday? Prior to the match, we all thought the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) would take all the glory as usual and win the final for his country. Some people even went as far as predicting he would score an unlikely hat-trick to usurp Antoine Griezmann’s tournament record. But what happened? The unpredictable happened. Ronaldo got injured in the 8th minute.

Then an unlikely captain and leader arose in person of Nani. In fact, an unlikely match winning goal came from the boot of Eder, the least expected hero! Eder, a player who started playing professionally in 2008 with Académica, a local Portuguese club. In comparison, Ronaldo as at 2007 had won the UEFA champions league with Manchester United and was already an established superstar. In fact, that same 2008 when Eder was just starting his professional football career, Ronaldo was busy winning a Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of
the Year awards, the first of many.

But Ronaldo couldn’t save the day on Sunday, an unknown Eder did. The Portuguese football team coach, Fernando Santos was quoted by Skysports to have later said of Eder’s exploit, “When he came on he told me he would score. The ugly duckling went and scored. Now he’s a beautiful swan.”

Some people will say “this is football,anything can happen.” But to me, this is not just football, this is life! Be ready for shocks and surprises.

Between 2014-2015, Nigerians(including me) rallied round in support of Muhammad Buhari’s candidacy. What has he done so far? His government, in the most unexpected manner, has created untold hardships on ordinary Nigerians. It’s the worst in terms of citizens’ welfare since Sani Abacha’s dictatorial rule which ended through his untimely death in 1998.

The corruption fight by the Federal government is laudable and for the first time in decades of history, corrupt politicians are being held accountable for stealing public funds. But where are the monies received so far? How long before someone else steals the monies if they’re not converted into good public use with visionary plans? In the same vein are allegations of witch-hunt and insincerity in the corruption fight. Clearly, it looks so. There are many corrupt men in the government. “Nemo dat quod non habet”, you simply can’t give what you have not. Corrupt men have no moral or legal right to hold fellow corrupt men.

Apparently, President Buhari is not the leader we all envisaged. We’ve all received the shocks of our lives from the sudden and provocative removal of fuel subsidy and high cost of kerosene which leaves the poor man no breathing space. Consequently, there is higher cost in price of transportation and food yet, state workers are being owed not less than 5 months salaries in over 25 states out of the total 36. Yet electricity supply is almost at level zero while tariffs have been increased nationwide. What should the poor man now do? Commit suicide or die of hunger?

Mind you, a hero will arise in this country one day. Quote me, the people will rise up! A leader will rise from Nigeria who would liberate not only the most populated black nation in the world but Africa at large. A leader will soon rise up whose political dimension is cosmopolitan, whose ideology is liberally democratic and who genuinely loves people.

A leader will rise who is not sectional in thinking, who’s neither tribalistic nor ethnocentric and harbors no hate towards people who are not his kith and kin. A leader will rise up who isn’t interested in enriching his own pocket and his family alone. A leader will rise up who really means business and would hit the ground running. A leader will rise who really wants to help solve world problems.

Of these, I believe.

Source:

http://www.skysports.com/football/news/19692/10498236/eder-reveals-cristiano-ronaldo-predicted-he-would-score-euro-2016-winner

Eder and Ronaldo’s joint picture appear courtesy Skysports

Of Human nature, Christianity and other religions

For the essence of religion is morality.
—Mahatma M.K. Gandhi

There is no gain-saying the fact that there are powers and mysteries in this world, the world itself being a mystery. There is a God. What I can’t say assuredly is whether God is a christian, Muhammedan, Buddhist, naturalist, Taoist and what have you. But the fact that God exists is not in doubt, there is a metaphysical supreme entity.

I was outside last night and saw the variation of stars in the sky. Some appeared smaller while some looked bigger and shined more brightly. There was the moon, beaming through the whole world from its location, sometimes you see it in the West sometimes in the East. There is the sun, only one but shines at the same time in many countries. It was once sunny in Nigeria and I tuned my television to a football match being played in the United Kingdom. There it was, the same sun shining on their pitch without prejudice in a country several square kilometers to mine. You look around and see green plants, different trees and plantations. All I see is abundance, greatness and wealth.

Only God could have done things like these. No man could have been so impartial while deciding where rain would fall and where sun would shine. Rain falls and sun shines even on gangsters, rapists, liars and killers. When nature happens, there’s no prejudice to profession, status or character. The good news is that nature happens every time and everywhere. Everything is nature. Religion is one of the most important aspects of life of human beings and man is by nature religious.

Fellow christians, ours is a universal God who does not discriminate with His grace and goodness, so why should we? Gotthold Ephraim Lessing made a profound submission when he said;
“There are good men in every land. The tree of life has many branches and roots. Let not the topmost twig presume to think that it alone has sprung from mother earth…We did not choose our races for ourselves. Jews, muslims, christians – all alike are men. Let me hope I have found in you – a man.”
In my dealings with all men and women, before our religion comes into discussion I always look out for good human character. For there is no solid foundation for even religious thoughts to lean on if the character is bad or wounded.

On Page 172 of Gandhi’s ‘My Experiments With Truth’, he narrated how on a trip from India to South Africa their ship was in a violent storm amidst the southern sea. He was amazed how the sight of common danger or imminent death could unite people of diverse backgrounds and religions.
“All became one in face of the common danger. They forgot their differences and began to think of the one and only God -Musalmans, Hindus, Christians and all. Some took various vows…His Will be done was the only cry on every lip.”
Gandhi wrote further, of how after trembling for about 24 hours, the storm calmed and people’s faces beamed with gladness. With the disappearance of danger came the disappearance of God from their lips, eating, drinking, singing & merry-making again.

Human beings aren’t so different from one another after all, no matter how much we like to hide under religious canopies, calling ourselves christians, muslims, Jews etc for effect. I’m a strong exponent of Irving Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis, the study of human interaction in terms of theatrical arts. In Nigeria, you see muslim politicians go to mosque during Eid-el Kabir, meanwhile, they also go to church for their friend’s wedding anniversary, all amidst heavy media coverages. Religion has been politicized for votes and fan-friendly appearances, not to really please God. People don’t practice a religion for the sake of religion, it is because of what they stand to gain!

In our bid to quickly outdo each other’s religion we forget the common foe of mankind which is SATAN. Churches are not meant to compete with each other. Christians are not meant to compete with their muslim neighbors. We have a common goal to resist evil. Anybody who truly believes in the existence of God will equally recognize the presence of the devil as the opposite faction. There is no other faction, you either stand for God or for evil, good versus bad, dark versus white, truth versus lie, pleasure versus reason, right versus wrong, cause versus consequence and so on.

Many christian leaders are quick to identify who will make heaven & who will not, they always seem ready to point out the dichotomy in people. But my Bible tells me it is a sin to prejudge fellow humans (Matthew 7:1-3 ). Also posited by Dr. Johnson, “God himself does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” Why do we then judge each other unnecessarily? I don’t suppose God would wipe off the Dalai Lama and all the Tibetans in Asia in His apocalypse. I don’t believe Malcolm X will burn in hell for having unstable beliefs in religions. I can’t agree with any school of thought that Gandhi will burn in hell for being Hindu and not christian, a man who had the God-nature and godly inspiration. I read his autobiography and sometimes confuse his insights for some angelic revelations, for his points of view showed extremely-deep introspective reflections.

Who says Mahatma Gandhi won’t get to heaven for not being christian? A man who rejected gifts of gold chains and diamond rings because he felt this ran against his own teaching of a simplified life. He had been exhorting people to conquer their infatuation for jewelry & he just couldn’t break his own rules. Now, that’s a honorable being! That’s a pious man. A man who in an act of true faith refused to apply eggs and chicken to treat his ailing son, contrary to the doctor’s prescription and only because the application went against his Hindu religion of preservation of all life, including animals. Doesn’t that remind you of how Abraham wanted to sacrifice Isaac under God’s command in the Bible? Gandhi knew well, that refusal to follow the doctor’s prescription might kill his son, but he was willing to let the boy die rather than go against his belief!

How many christian clerics today reject expensive gifts? Rather, they receive gifts from armed-robbers, corrupt politicians, thieves, prostitutes and fraudsters. They even encourage their congregation to be idle by coming to church everyday of the week, when obviously this is wrong even according to the practice of the early christians. Everyday was not synagogue day, that’s why Sabbath was really special. Now, what we have is a church full of ‘beggars and paupers’ but mega-rich pastors. Christian leaders now have fleet of cars and private jets, even though Jesus Christ didn’t own a donkey in his time! Materialism has taken over spiritualism in the church. I go to church at times and all I hear is money, money, money! Is money the new pathway to salvation? I don’t believe these set of people will make heaven before Gandhi.

Where do we place religious leaders who endorse politicians, even corrupt ones? Before the March 28, 2015 presidential elections in Nigeria, several popular clergymen allied with the incumbent, when he didn’t win they changed camps by supporting the winner. A particular famous Reverend was raining curses on the candidate he didn’t like, publicly on the altar and it’s on record. I’m sure that pastor has fleet of cars too, while his followers are impoverished! How many christians follow the truths in the Holy Bible? How many muslims follow the profound words in the Holy Quran? According to Gandhi, “truth is like a vast tree, which yields more and more fruit, the more you nurture it.”
The truth is there to see for anybody who picks up those sacred books.

History abounds with stories of people who weren’t even ‘religious’ but were highly humane and moral. Obafemi Awolowo, a free-thinker whose footprints & fingerprints are forever entrenched in the development of Nigeria! Tai Solarin, an atheist but his blueprint for mass education is what we still use today in Nigeria and some parts in Africa! Bertrand Russell, the agnostic scholar who showed us the beauty of thinking outside the box, even if we have our reservations! Stephen Hawking, the atheist who has proffered more critical and realistic solutions to our daily problems than a lot of religious leaders!

Some christian friends have walked into my library before and questioned why I keep books on other religions or spiritual knowledge such as the Holy Quran & The Grail Message. I always let my friends know that the rationale behind my study of other religions is simply to have a proper understanding of as many religions as possible. No seeker of knowledge can afford to discriminate. In fact, human beings can better co-exist if we’re willing to really understand each other’s beliefs. Here, I’m not talking about politicizing religion and how some crooks identify with other religions just to get sympathetic following from such groups. I’m interested in the genuine accommodation of each other’s beliefs.

Human beings are social animals and no man lives successfully in isolation. It would be an exercise in futility if I should imagine that I’d not deal with muslims in my public works or talk to agnostics or even voodoo practitioners. Besides, how many people really chose to be muslims or christians? If I were to be born in the middle-east, wouldn’t I be muslim automatically? If I were to be born in Jerusalem, wouldn’t I be Jew from birth? So if nobody chose where to fall in, why do people still judge others? Why are there so much fanatics these days? I think I’d blame some clerics for that.

One of the greatest prophets of the 20th century, A. W. Tozer once said,
“Yet we must confess that the evangelical church today is bogged down with moral boredom and life-weariness.”
I’ve read some Hadiths of the prophet, listened to some Waasi (sermon) and found them more morally profound than some christian preachers. I see a lot of hypocrisy in our faith. We’re probably the most hypocritical people in the world, we say a lot of things we don’t want to practice. Our leaders mislead us many times. If a study is conducted, Nigeria would definitely be most religious nation in the world yet, corruption & immorality are institutionalized. We have the most number of mosques and churches in the world, some shenanigans are just cashing-in from the ‘business’ of religion.

Today’s christians have forgotten that people don’t listen much to what we preach or say, but they note our behaviors, especially when it’s towards them. We christians can win more to our course if and only if we let go our self-righteousness and sense of sole-entitlement to God. We must embrace those who worship God in ways different from ours. We must demonstrate the love of Christ and his holiness. According to Tozer,
“It is not enough for preachers in their
pulpits to try to define love. The love
that God has promised must be
demonstrated in the lives of the believers in the pews. It must be
practiced as well by the man who
occupies the pulpit.”

Christianity is not really a religion, it’s a lifestyle. The disciples were first called christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26) due to their way of life. Christianity is more than attending church. Unfortunately today, people visit churches just to receive miracles. It’s dangerous when you receive a miracle without actually receiving into your life the giver of those miracles. God is the miracle worker & all men must know Him. That’s exactly what Jesus Christ came to do, reconcile man with God (John 3:16).

Human beings! That road which leads to destruction is the one we take, no matter all the dangerous signs we see on that route. Humans have always coveted danger & death since the beginning of time, it’s written all over the history books. The Greeks with their arenas, the Spartans, the Romans (even with all their ‘civility’), Egyptians, self-imposed havocs are everywhere. The Israelites in the time of Moses, despite seeing God face-to-face and hearing directly from His prophets, they still went back to their sinful ways. They still molded for themselves golden & bronze images. Men are like filthy pigs sometimes, it’s useless to try to make them clean! But God never loses hope in man.

According to A.W. Tozer, “You should look upon your faith as a miracle. It is the ability God gives lost men and women to trust and obey our Savior and Lord.” Faith is a gift from God, it is a rare privilege.

Make God proud, from today, endeavor to start living a life of love with no prejudice.

…To be continued

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.

Reference;

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.

I bargained with Life… by Jessie B. Rittenhouse

*** This particular poem was quoted in ipsissima verba by Napoleon Hill in his bestselling book, ‘Think and grow rich.’ I, in particular, after poring through the lines continuously, have grown to fall in love with this wonderful poem. May God bless the soul of Jessie Belle Rittenhouse for leaving this great piece behind. I thought of sharing it with my readers, especially those who haven’t read Napoleon Hill’s book or heard of Jessie B. before now.
Enjoy! ***

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is just an employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

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