I was at Gurara Falls!

​Too much work and no play will eventually make Jack to not only be a dull boy but also, a petty non-entity!

This was the rationale behind how me and few colleagues at the Nigerian Law school, Abuja decided to visit Gurara Falls today for a picnic. Gurara Falls is the foremost tourists’ attraction located in Niger state. 

We had so much fun nobody on this trip would forget in a hurry. It was memorable. I was amazed at the sights. Nigeria is too blessed with natural resources, we don’t even know our own worth. 

Geographically, it is located enroute Suleja and Minna(state capital) road, accommodating a space spanning about 200 meters. Gurara river is a major tributary of the famed River Niger.

Climbing the various mountains and maneuvering through the different rocks is a lot of exercise for the body, and it’s been said to have therapeutic effect.

Such a natural habitat with lots of big trees, leaves, shrubberies, rocks and water is just too pristine and idyllic. It has a special capacity to heal the human body, spirit and soul. I was inspired to write this article while at the Falls, another testament to the kind of special capacity I’m talking about.

However, as perfect as Gurara is, there are still projects the government and corporate bodies could carry out there in order to make the Falls a cynosure of all eyes. 

For example, nothing stops the place from being turned into a full-blown resort. I noticed today that when our provisions finished at a point, we needed to buy water. The sun was much and people were really thirsty but there was no such place designated for such business. 

There should be adequate security within and outside the environment. Anything as good as that deserves to be guarded jealously, especially in this era of terrorist attacks.

Such a major tourist attraction, and in fact, very close to the state capital deserves a 5, if not a 7-star hotel. I sincerely hope the Niger state government would get to work on that.

Open letter to AKON

Dear Akon,

The recent untimely deaths of two legendary African football coaches, in persons of Stephen Keshi & Shuaibu Amodu, got me thinking in terms of living legends who aren’t being celebrated enough.

That brings me to you, Akon. You deserve one or two lifetime achievement awards for what you’ve accomplished musically. Left to me, I’d organise I special award ceremony in your honour today if I could. I don’t even understand why you’ve not gotten multiple Grammys by now. We don’t want no posthumous awards for someone that great & you surely deserve to be celebrated while energetic.

On your song ‘Ghetto’-
The instrumentals got all the brothers reminiscing about the ghettos, made the ‘shawties’ jump in ecstasy, the fishes leaped in the waters, the lions roared for joy in the wild and thunder strikes appeared from the heavens. ‘Ghetto’ changed the way the world listens to music in 2005. Akon, you forever changed our world with your style of singing!

‘Locked Up’ was the ultimate classic hip hop song. That style has become the prototype for every new artist in that genre ever since- from TeeFLii to Bryson Tiller to Tory Lanez.

‘Belly Dancer’ was just out of this world. Nobody had ever anything like that before.

On ‘Lonely’, It’s safe to say I was swept off my feet by the sweet rendition and video. I still remember how me & my high school mates used to imitate some moves from the video. It is in a class of its own and broke new grounds.

The songs, ‘Show Out’, ‘The Rain’, ‘Clap Again’ and ‘Don’t Matter’, are great timeless classics. You have more than 100 classics, I simply can’t mention all…but I’m probably the biggest Akon fan in the world.

I don’t want to wait for the next 20 or 30 years before I express my mind on a musician who has blessed my world with his musical acumen. I don’t want to be passive with my love when I should be loud & clear about it, just as Akon’s divine vocals are.

Lest I forget, thanks again for your charitable endeavors, bringing power to Africa with ‘Lighting Africa’ in 2014.
God bless.

With Love,

Tomiwa Olasiyan.

Here lies African talents…wasted!

I had a chat few minutes ago with a 10 year old kid in my neighborhood. I asked him three days back to bring his list of books & materials for the upcoming term (starts by May 3) so I could help with procurement. This evening he came with not just a sheet of paper but a notebook, inside which he listed the needed materials.

While briskly copying to my phone memo I noticed drawings in the book. As much as I like to think myself a decent artist this boy is a far better artist than me when I was his age. The drawings of Thor, of the Avengers fame looked too real I couldn’t but marvel. I’ve always known the kid had something about him as he’s shy, calm & enjoys solitude but never thought he would be this gifted or imaginative.

He blew my mind further as he ran home to bring his other creative designs. The boy produces beautiful slippers, hand-fans, wristbands using fabrics, paper, rubber and sacks. He puts together the most unlikeliest of materials to make fine creations & he’s adept at 12 different handy works! When I told him how I used to draw & paint back in the days and later dropping interest due to discouragement he lamented facing the same obstacle. “My family don’t encourage me on these things,” he said.
I’ve decided to be there for this kid on his journey to self-discovery. What’s worst? The boy’s an orphan living with his grandparents.

This is the plight of African kids on a daily basis. Having to maneuver your way through parents who are Philistines, with no interest in arts, sports or music. Most African parents still believe their wards have to be doctors, lawyers or engineers before they can be rich and famous. My dad tried a bit then, supplying me with packs of A4 sheets for my sketches but that didn’t last for he soon loved his job more than my personal development.

It’s painful & I’m moved to tears whenever I think of my first real friend, Tijani. Tijani was the best artist in my primary school, probably the best raw talent I’ve ever seen (this kid sketched virtually anything). Sitting beside him in class and being privileged to view his sketches as he drew them, the beast in me was automatically born. I grew under his tutelage. I doubt if we were even up to 10 years old.

I became nearly as good as my mentor over time but suddenly I had to change schools & we temporarily got separated. I saw him occasionally in High school days, whenever I passed through his mum’s store. At a point he just vanished & I didn’t hear from him for over 7 years. On a fateful day in 2014, I stumbled on him in Obafemi Awolowo University, he was in 300L studying Electrical Engineering while I was in 400L studying law (fate had once again brought us to the same institution and our paths didn’t even cross for over 2 years). We hugged with so much joy in our hearts and for the next few minutes we laughed like those two happy little kids we were over 15 years ago.

You could easily guess the first thing I asked Tijani. Sadly, he was reluctant to answer if he still drew pictures. He narrated a story of how when his parents discovered his love for drawing, they seized all his works & burnt them, flogged him in public and his life was made a living hell! I can’t even remember all the punishment he said he got. All these because a young kid was living his dream and manifesting God-given talent. I cannot understand why kids always have to suffer for their parent’s ignorance.

During our last days on campus, I saw Tijani almost everyday and the difficulty he had while writing his thesis showed his present work isn’t his passion. You need no discerning mind to know once you see the fear and stress on his face. My friend would have made a great artist instead of an engineer. What’s he doing in the sciences, when his very nature was arts? At the peak of our talents then, some of us were ripe to be an apprentice under artist who will nurture us. But only the parent who understands and a society that’s ripe could enrol us.

Africa doesn’t suffer lack of talents or resources, rather we suffer from not harnessing these gifts. I wrote in one of my articles in 2014 (Parental care) that children are always the ones at the receiving end of the inadequacies of parents. We adults must be responsive & sensitive to the children around us, these little boys & girls carry much more intuition than us at times.

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.

Sources:

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

Rulers.org

WorldStatesmen.org

Regnal Chronologies

http://www.jjmccullough.com/charts_rest_female-leaders.php

http://news2.onlinenigeria.com/nigeria-article/404112-list-of-nigerian-senate-presidents-and-house-speakers.html

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Bobby Shmurda this, Bobby Shmurda that

In July 2014, when I first saw the video of “Hot Nigga”, the platinum-hit rap single delivered by Bobby Shmurda, my first reaction was that of irritation. Now, my displeasure was not only due to the violent lyrics that kept reverberating but moreso, due to what I saw as basic rap lines. As a youngster in high school, I had penned down lyrics (not carrying violent tones!) of such standard after listening to some DMX album tracks. Who best to judge basic rap lyrics than someone who himself has written them down before? I wanted to be a rapper back then after being inspired listening to DMX, Ja rule and Nas. I wrote down several simple rap lyrics down, copying my mentors in some and original with the rest. Sadly, my older sister got to my rap sheet and tore it, wondering why I’d want to be a hip hop artist. I got discouraged & that was the end of that chapter.

The fact that Bobby Shmurda got that level of fame and whatever achievement (if he had any) was basically due to his place of birth, America. USA is a land of freedom, affluence and prosperity and most of its citizens have learnt to do things ‘the right way’ for the good of their country, unlike any other nation in the world. If anyone is lucky to be born in such a geographical space and possesses even a miniature talent, such is likely to succeed ahead of those with better gifts but unlucky enough to find themselves in politically & economically unstable nations. Bobby Shmurda, real name Ackquille Jean Pollard is of Jamaican descent. He couldn’t have achieved the same level of attention he had garnered even without an EP if he was born in Kingston instead of Miami!

The young Bobby Shmurda was going to “blow off” a crime, violent & gangsterism influenced music career and organized America wasn’t going to let that happen, not from a black man again! They had to stop him. Of course, several other “young black brothas” like Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg etc. had done gangster hip hop before and got away with it for a long time, but not at the level in which Bobby Shmurda conspicuously depicted it. Tupac Shakur was the only act who ever was so ecstatic about it( especially when he created his super-group ‘Outlaw’) and was he not finally murdered in 1996? Maybe Bobby Shmurda should thank God to even be in prison although, his days are numbered. Even Tupac did different times behind the bar before finally taken out of the scene when he refused to change his kind of music. What has America done to unravel the mystery behind Tupac’s death 19 years after? Isn’t it obvious his murder was backed by the state? But Tupac isn’t my topic for today, I want to write just on Shmurda.

Bobby Shmurda, young as he was was a pioneer in his own right. He made popular & maybe even pioneered the rachet-like dance moves which has now been tagged the “shmoney dance” and further popularised on social media when world-acclaimed acts like Rihanna, Chris Brown, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, and Fabulous did it. This is another disadvantage and misuse of the social media. In as much as it has changed some lives positively for life, the social media has the potential to infect the minds of people negatively. A song like ‘hot nigga’ would never be heard outside the recording studio if not for the internet. A song like that wouldn’t have become a hit during the years of the turntable DJs and actual rap battles when you must be highly exceptional to even get a recording contract. Nowadays, labels (Epic records etc.) acquire these rappers like band boys who are just there on the roster for the sake of presence. The world has changed. Much emphasis is now placed on materialism and epicurean values, therefore, ‘rappers’ would say anything to ‘get paid’ & sell a record!

Bobby Shmurda doesn’t appear to me to be the kind of youngster who has the stomach for all the criminal activities he claimed responsibility for in his ‘hot nigga’ lyrics. Some of the other youngsters in the video looked even tougher than he was. Left to me, I’d rehabilitate the boy with a good psychologist and a changed environment. I still believe the bulk of his problem originated from youthful exuberance and bad examples/environment. As I noted earlier, USA is a land of opportunities and this probably makes her citizens heady and crazy, just like the egoistic child of a wealthy tycoon. You dare not release such music Bobby Shmurda was doing if you were in some African countries. This I know. The artist won’t sell a single record and go into obscurity.

Life is based on expression. You have to express yourself whether in writing or by talking. Some people express themselves by drawing pictures. I watched a documentary once of a young boy who was deaf and dumb but this boy was a genius. He could sketch anything out in drawing and painting. Sadly, people like him don’t get to live long but they always leave an indelible mark behind on earth. All life expression is art. Whether you express yourself in talking with any form of language or sign or whether you’re a writer like me. Creative writing, poetry, prose fiction etc. are all artistic endeavors. Apparently, expression is not what really matters as we’ve seen but what is expressed. Everybody always find a way to express themselves, you can’t live life wholly being passive. The dumb use signs and symbols to communicate. Whatever we feel inwardly, think, do, see, experience is what we express outwardly. This brings us to the environment that influenced Bobby Shmurda.

He’s just 21 and he didn’t invent gangsterism, he met it on ground. He isn’t Tookey Williams who founded the Crips gang. He didn’t invent gangster rap, he was influenced by it and decided to tow that line. As I pointed out earlier, I wanted to be like DMX, Ja rule and Nas too. These are gangster/hardcore rappers I was copying so I could have ended up in jail like Bobby Shmurda. Music is so powerful that you could make the mistake of completely following the examples of the artist you idolize irrespective whether he/she is a criminal in real-life. DMX has been to jail severally on different count charges of misdemeanor, assault and battery, felony etc. This was the same guy I was trying to be like? Just because I listened to and love some of his rap songs such as ‘Make a move’, ‘One more road to cross’, both in the 1999 Grammy-nominated album “And then there was…X”. Ja rule has done time in jail too. Now, I’d later become a lawyer because I had a sister who didn’t give a nod to my rap choice. Because she tore my note, I got discouraged and pursued my academics. That was the difference. Between good and evil, its a thin line which could be crossed over very easily. Nobody was born bad although, its not easy to prove if anybody was born good either.

I saw a picture of one of the many Bobby Shmurda court proceedings early in the year and my convictions were further strengthened. The attorney defending him was a young black man, the policeman in the picture was also black American while Shmurda was being docked for several offences ranging from arms possession to intent to commit murder. There were three black men, two chose to uphold the law of the land while one chose to wholly decimate law and order. Life is a choice after-all and your background should never deter you from greatness. Bobby Shmurda could have influenced thousands of teenagers worldwide wrongly if he got away with his public affront. He was going about his business as a budding gangster with all impunity, making gang signs in videos, shooting guns (in Bobby Bitch video) and living recklessly. The state had to stop him.

His record label, Epic records has distanced itself as much as possible from the controversy. Epic records is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment. Well, I’m not suprised to see their interested detachment from Shmurda’s case, knowing fully well the role Sony Entertainment company played in the Michael Jackson saga. Thus, Epic has refused to pay the $2million bail bond to free him. What I’m so surprised about is how Bobby Shmurda, with all the swagger and arrogance, couldn’t come forth with the money & free himself when he had the opportunity. This speaks a lot about the fake life most of these ‘stars’ depict publicly. To get the bail doesn’t look so easy now and as of Monday, he was denied bail for the umpteenth time. He’s looking at a possible 25 years behind bars. Seeing how most people become hardened by their prison terms especially black men in America (see Jeff Fort, Nicky Barnes, Freeway Ricky Ross etc.), we can only hope he comes back a reformed man.

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The People

This write-up was originally meant to be titled “humble beginnings” and was inspired by reminiscence on my university days after writing my final exam (24th April). Now as my colleagues & I await October call-up for the compulsory 1 year Nigerian law school, I’m enjoying an unusual kind of break from school I’ve not had in about 4 years. It feels good to be without the stress of incoming exams again. I also remember those early days in my 1st year when all we wanted was to be seen & acknowledged as important individuals and before final year we achieved just that. We wanted to be like those popular guys on campus but ended up even bigger than those guys we looked up to in those early days.

Tobi Ajibade, my friend of 5 years and an avid reader of my blog posited recently how my write-ups relate and deal with the people in my life on a day to day basis. He opined that its probably why its so hard not to read the posts once published, as “one might just find himself in there and who doesn’t like his name being mentioned?” Everybody loves good compliments and its not sycophancy or ‘ass-kissing’, in so far as the compliments are honest and sincere ones.

I believe experiences are good and we need to go through them everyday to be better people. Therefore I would never deny myself the benefit of any valuable human experience, as there is no other injustice one can do to himself than that. I try as much as possible to relate with everybody as if I’ve known them for a 100 years and that’s one of the secrets of how I enjoy great relationships with people. I love people deeply and genuinely in a way I cannot explain.

I’ve grown a lot through my relationship with the right & wrong people. They all gave me the lessons that made me who I am today. Your life is as bright as the kind of people in it. It’s all about the people, we’re truly the world! Due to my ‘shaky’ background, I started out being aggressive whenever I relate with people. I was always ready for war when dealing with new people, even my family (parents especially). As I grew older, I began to see that one could actually get things easily with a simple smile on the face than with a rough look! My life changed day I discovered that.

Thank you Lord, for you delivered me! That revelation was all the miracle I needed to be who I am truly. People are ready for war, and most people (99.9 %) would deal with you the same way you treat them. I’ve lost count of how many confrontations I’ve seen from a man being rude to another & things could have been entirely different if there was no feeling of disrespect from either party. People cherish respect. We all love to be loved! Even despots do. Idi Amin Dada wanted love deep down in his heart, that’s why he killed whoever betrayed him.

First day I went to The Sun publishing house, the motorcyclist who drove me through that pothole-filled road told me to ensure I appeared on the newspaper following day, as he would look forward to seeing me. From the Mile 2 bridge where he took me down to Coscharis avenue which camps The Sun House, we had an interesting conversation on the political-economic situation of the country. Looking at the man that day, I felt he just gave me a great duty & placed his dreams on my shoulders. I felt in charge of a great responsibility. Although, my write-ups were being published on the tabloid since 2010, I couldn’t fulfill that man’s wish till the year after that fateful acquaintance ( in 2015, this year my picture appeared). I wish I could see the man now to tell him I finally did it, and it was for a good cause!

When a man of the people succeeds, millions of people succeed. When we finally go on to achieve greatness in life and fulfill destiny, a lot of people will automatically tap from that grace and also fulfill their own purposes. If we fail, a lot people have the potential to equally fail. Bill Gates’ story inspired me even though I’ve never met him, and I’m tapping from his grace whether he knows or not. Every individual under the employ of Microsoft today tap from the grace of the visionary who founded the company. That’s an example of a life of substance. Multitudes will benefit from that single source! My studying of Nelson Mandela, Obafemi Awolowo, Martin Luther King has shaped my life & the way I reason forever, even though I can never meet them (not in this world anymore)!

Life.

(To be continued)

The Youth

About three years ago, my sister came back from church one Sunday to gist me concerning one young man who lived close-by & attended same service. The young man had attended church wearing a very big & multi-coloured sneakers, funny haircut & his pants were sagged. Everything was just wrong with that gentleman that & he made it worse by making himself look that conspicuous while wrongly dressed. Immediately I heard that story that day, I tried to do my own research on sagging (also called low-riding).

As Greg Mathis puts it, “sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are sometimes prohibited to prevent prisoners from using them as weapons or committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip-hop artists in the 1990s. It later became a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society.”

Taking these points in order of appearance, why would any right thinking being want to emulate prisoners who may never even leave their maximum security cells as a result of heavy crimes? Why can’t today’s youths listen to good music and pick out vital lyrics to nourish their souls, why be swayed by showbiz? Listen to your favourite artists’ lyrics well, any artist in 2015 not singing or rapping about world peace, love, life, reality, unity, freedom of mankind etc. isn’t doing good music & doesn’t deserve an audience! This isn’t the 90s when rappers just talk about shooting each other. Lastly, I’m a very unorthodox person & revel in being rebellious especially to defend a course I believe in. Yet, I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil just to gain the world. You can’t prove a moral point by being immoral or repugnant to the society. This single point took almost half of Revd. Martin Luther King’s messages while he lived! We have to show good example.

Few weeks ago, I was in a banking hall (of Guaranty Trust bank) as early as 8:30am trying to deposit some cash before travelling. Being a Monday morning, the bank was full of customers & we had to queue. This buxom lady walked in, climbing the staircase to the customer service desk. This young lady, wearing a black top & black leggings had her butt so embarrassingly visible that even ladies couldn’t help but look amazed. She wore no under-pant, everyone know how tight leggings are & this is coupled with her sexy shape. Worst of all was the skimpy black top. Sadly, the culprit cat-walked round the bank so innocently, unabashed, not badgered nor disturbed as she stole the ‘show’ with the public display. Thank God children can’t transact bills.

I believe there are two categories of youths, namely;
1. The ordinary ones
2. The intellectual ones
These two categories consist of young people who God has abundantly blessed like He did to every single one of His creation. Failure to utilise raw talents, widen horizons and develop as a human being is what makes the ordinary youth remain in a ordinary state. Meanwhile, there’s always hope as one could move (when not too late) to the intellectual state. The intellectual youths are the ones who have surpassed the ordinary and have left to consult their brains before making decisions. The intellectual youth is a thinking human being. Before he goes to party, gets drunk or is tempted to make mistakes, he reconsiders. He learns from his past failures.

Young people spend a lot of time these days watching the newest movie series (there is a new one everyday), getting addicted to the newest stimulant drug in town, engaging in frivolities etc. I’m a youth who has been there too and we’d only continue to lie to ourselves if we put the blame on the government or the leaders alone. I’ve seen more youths in the newly-opened cinema at the Shoprite mall (largest in the country) near where I live in Ibadan than I’ve ever seen in any classroom of study! The only classes I’ve seen near what I see in that mall were those philosophy and sociology classes and that’s because about 20 departments and faculties took them. I wonder, every year universities in the country reduce their entrance cut-off marks so as to allow people get in but millions still fail! What is wrong with this generation? In 2014, over 1.5 million wrote U.T.M.E. while only about 312,000 passed. It’s just sad.

I sometimes imagine what would have happened if I actually invested the time I spent drinking lots of alcohol ( then recuperating for nearly half the next day) into something much worthwhile like more reading or research. I’d probably own a billion dollar company right now. If only youths would do things that truly last and reward the soul, not ephemeral things! Since I was a kid, we noticed I was mostly active at night & usually restless when most people wanted to sleep. This made my sister (my dear godmother) tag me as a “nocturnal being.” It could be a medical condition but I really don’t care as it doesn’t affect me. Mother tried to get me to sleep in those early years by giving me sleeping pills but I always took the pills & still be wide awake for most part of the night. As I grew up, I had to learn to channel my insomnia into good courses, such as writing articles, notes & stories all night. I’ve grown to love me. I feel blessed to have a brain that rarely wants to sleep! Life is way too short for anybody to hibernate all year long anyways.

As the founder of Initiative for Ethics and Values Orientation, Alhaji Isiaka Kehinde rightfully posited recently, “there should be a refocus on the youth ethics as it the best practice all over the world. To achieve the change we desire, it follows that youths should first change their attitudes and be ready to join the change train without any delay.” There is need for a refocus on our objectives and values, the ethical values and decisions that we hold most dearly to our hearts.

We need a huge turnaround from a lacklustre system where the first indigenous mobile telecommunications company in the country, Globacom launched the Glo/Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) which provides high speed Wi-Fi at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and neglect provision of such in Nigerian schools! I find it hard understanding why big African corporations have to continue producing for the sake of financial returns alone. If we don’t train our children, they’d grow up to steal & then squander all the money we were busy saving! By now, I expect to see the corporate social responsibility of these corporations being met.

How many primary/elementary or secondary schools in Nigeria even have Desktop computers? How many pupils have operated a PC before or have been taught with such? All these contribute to failure in the education sector and lack of development of Nigeria and Africa at large. What about the war zones in Africa? Places like South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Burundi etc. Some of these countries being among the poorest in the world! I can’t but imagine the mental state of my fellow African youths in those regions. It isn’t their fault to be born there. How can we hope to end wars in the world if a large part are still being uneducated? Isn’t that a chimera already? So far greed & inequality exists, wars will always come.

The current Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza is vying for a 3rd term in office and this has already led to bloody protests and even a coup staged in the country. At least 1000 people have died and over 105,000 fled to neighboring countries. Next thing we saw in the tabloids would be the sight of the same president playing football with his friends. I didn’t believe the news till I confirmed and saw pictures. The president is ‘balling’ while his people kill each other for his own selfish ambitions.

Typical of human beings but not restricted to Africa alone. What of the erstwhile FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter who is 79 years old? A man who has been at the helms of affairs at the apex soccer body since 1998 & still wanted to continue. As if there is not a more qualified & younger person in FIFA again. What is most painful is the corruption that has bedeviled the organisation. When old men are corrupt it has a more destructive power than even when young people are corrupt. You ask why? It’s because by then young people would have lost all confidence in the system, lost every sense of mentor-mentee relationship & ‘gone!’. Meanwhile once a young person who’s still agile decides not to care anymore, the result is always fatal. It’s partly evident in the terrorism trends around the world( ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko haram etc.). The youth are the future of any nation. We all won’t be free and truly liberated till we realise that.