The People (part 2)

When Mr Tom Joyner mounted the stage to give his acceptance speech at the 2015 BET awards held recently, he made a point that touched me and affirmed everything I’ve ever really stood for. He said, “our purpose on earth is to help others.” What a statement! What a point! That, coming from a man who just won a highly distinguished award as the Humanitarian award is something to really hold dearly. It is also a clarion call and challenge to everybody who has led a selfish life until date.

The purpose of life is love. How can we show love? To whom do we show love? When do we show love? The answers are found in Christ Jesus (see John 21:15-17). Our actions reflect love. You can’t claim to love someone inside and all that comes out is strife. Love is a seed that germinates, if you love people they’d know! Love is to be shown to everyone, every man you come across in life. Imagine the results on the world order when love germinates from the tiny seed sowed by every individual. There would be no more wars! There’s no time-frame on being kind to others. Let love flow ceaselessly like waters from the river. Let’s show love all the time.

As a realist, I don’t blame people who show selfish tendencies towards others. I even try to encourage my friends who I noticed aren’t selfless. The reason is that I noticed humans are naturally selfish. Most people, if trapped in a burning house alongside a friend, would first struggle to save themselves and escape before remembering that someone else is still on fire! It’s not so wrong, just normal life actually. Everybody is born with a strong sense of self-defense mechanism that makes you run instantly when you hear a big boom like a bomb, without being told. I’ve noticed that even those people who complain that life is not fair and enjoy no luxury still want to stay alive! They don’t want to die.

We all love life, even with all the injustices to our persons! Now, that simply shows something. Man is naturally self-centred and it takes the extraordinary man to be selfless. Now, shouldn’t we all strive to be extraordinary? Is that not the higher call? To surpass the ordinary flesh!

The African continent is home to some of the most religious nations in the world. In my own country, Nigeria, there are congregation as much as 50,000 people on a regular Sunday service in some churches. The reason for this mammoth turnout is not because most of these people love God. Most people go for the miracles. The poverty in the continent has made many turn to God out of necessity, not willfully! Most people will join another religion if that offers them bigger hope of good life. I’m very sure, being a practical Christian, that many of the Christian faithfuls worship God so as to gain His kingdom of heaven. Probably if there was no promise of heaven or paradise, maybe many Christians wouldn’t be Christians! A lot of people, though religious, don’t really have the true understanding of God. God is love and He created man to love and worship Him, a part which man should & must play whether there is a promise of ‘goodies’ or not. Serving God for poverty alleviation, in my opinion, is really selfish, parochial & utilitarian in form. But God is the one true judge of us all.

They say ‘life is a teacher’, but how can we claim to have ‘lived’ if we don’t learn lessons from the master itself? Life is the master/teacher, thus, when we face troubles and tribulations we should absorb and try to overcome them so as to be better persons. Back in the days I used to struggle with God. Whenever I had a poor or average result in school, I ponder and think for a very long time. When I lost my step brother in 2009, I was depressed for the next 1 year. The result was dark write-ups that I don’t even open anymore due to the contents. In 2012, I had a long fruitful discussion in my room with my influential friend, Ibikunle Isaac ( former OAU Student Union president). That was the eye-opener. I told him my opinions on life and how I struggled with failure. Then he said to me, “Look, I used to feel like that too but I discovered that my life isn’t really mine but God’s. He knows what he wants for me and I’ve decided to lay down my dreams to Him. If and when I fail, it isn’t me that failed but God!”. I would never forget those words for I’ve been living by that code ever since and I don’t bother when bad things happen to me anymore.

God has given me a gift which, even more importantly, I’ve been privileged to discover. I do well with people. I’m a people person. People like me find it easy to make new friends whether we try or not. Even the people want to come to us and it’s just like magnetic force. In my final year in college, a friend of mine once commented when on the road leading to my hostel, I was greeting (or were they greeting?) people with every step we took from the main road. The young man was wondering when I moved to the area to know so much people and I told him it was just one year. This is a rare feat because I’m an introvert and most of the people greeting me don’t even know my name, just my face. In high school, popularity came for me without stress. My brilliance, composure and special skills endeared me to students and teachers’ hearts. Where others hustled to be seen, I was seen without hustle.

When I met my musician friend, Eazy +( sometimes written as ‘Plus’) in September last year, it was without stress. I was in my friend Tobi’s room when I saw the young man in his ‘Area’ music video on Soundcity. I instantly got impressed by the music and told my friend, ‘I’d bring this guy to school come October.’ I picked up my phone and called the artiste’s manager, didn’t really like him so I chatted Eazy Plus up through twitter. We instantly became friends and he performed at Alpha club’s charity week following month through my recommendation and he came for free. Till today, that still amazes the young man I was watching the music video with.

In 2008, I began writing articles when I discovered I could, through my knack for reading. My dad loves reading newspapers a lot, something I’ve got from him. I became a big fan and avid reader of a weekly Friday column on Daily Sun by Femi Adesina (title same as the writer’s name). The man was just the daily editor of the tabloid then and I started doing my research on him. I got the information I could, part of which is that we were from the same state (Osun), just different towns. Influenced by my love & study of several autobiographies, biographies & memoirs in those formative years 2008-2010, I wrote to my idol one day. I can’t remember the title but I asked him to write his autobiography & encourage people. His writings were inspirations to my soul every week and I thought it would be better if he wrote about himself.

It was a surprise to see him send a reply to that letter and we became friends, as he gave me an offer I just couldn’t turn down. He said, “Tomiwa, anytime you want to publish anything on our daily titles, don’t hesitate to send it to me.” That was opportunity for me to have my political views heard by people that time. My first published article in March 2010 was very long, I wrote on my idol, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It was rightfully titled, ‘Awo at 101’. My mum entered my room then and was scared as I read from so many sources to write a single article! Books were scattered everywhere, my bed, floor, tables etc. I felt I owed my idol a duty of care to write well about him years after his physical death. When it was finally in print, my dad said his colleagues at work commented that the writer must be a lawyer due to the ‘knowledge’ in the write-up. Meanwhile, I was yet to get university admission!

My girlfriend that time got inspired by me, started writing and was even more passionate about it than I was, typical of women. She was opportuned to be offered a slot as a columnist for Nigerian Tribune. She got almost half of a page and was writing on marital issues because that was what she loved to do then. People at times don’t realise after getting what they want, never to let go of those who contributed to their success. It boils down to the earlier point that love must be renewed every time and not just sometimes. Sadly, she lost touch with her inspiration along the line and no more writes.

My journalist friend, Mr Femi Adesina later rose to be the Managing director/editor-in-chief of The Sun and we remained in contact, our relationship getting more robust over the years. He became the president, Nigerian Guild of Editors during the time. Last month, he was named the special adviser on media to the newly elected Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari. He was the only man from the south west among all the appointees, an even more special feat.

I’ve seen and met very good family men who belief in taking good care of their wife and children but think it unnecessary to be nice to their neighbour. A lot of Christians do that today. This is totally wrong. It only demonstrates our selfishness and weakness as individuals. A selfish individual is spiritually weak and God loves the strong. The love of our fellow men is the beginning of obedience to God’s commandments. When we do good to others, we’re actually do good to ourselves. Reason being that, whatever happens in the neighborhood that we care so less about will eventually reflect on the family that we care so much about. Everybody will bear the brunt of hatred if we refuse to sow love. God is love.

Look at the golden rule propounded by Jesus Christ, the most righteous man who ever lived. He said, ‘do unto others as you would love others do unto you!’ That’s very simple and straightforward. If we want love, let’s give love. We want peace, let’s make peace. Living by the golden rule alone leads to fair havens, a halcyon shore and a state of serenity.

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My life (Volume 1.0)

My life is a raw testimony to the fact that God is extremely gracious. I’m becoming weary and if and when I die please let this be known to all men living, ”that God truly blesses, cares, uplifts, and glorifies even the lowest and simplest of men, the one who probably doesn’t deserve the attention, but that’s who God still gives it to!”

I’ve seen & witnessed things. I’ve done things too. I bless God for giving me the right exposure since day 1 of my life. For allowing me enjoy and to witness almost every important human experience before I depart this world. I remember a time before I got admission to college, I was in the early stage of teenage life and I was a voracious reader of books. I had read so much of the Holy Bible, studied the book of Genesis alone for about six months (I was fascinated with biblical account of man’s creation & early beginnings) and had read so many philosophy books. I studied Rene Descartes empiricism, Plato’s Republic, Socrates’ philosophy, Bertrand Russell’s argument on the existence of God etc

I became frustrated as everything I read didn’t really answer my deepest questions such as when exactly the world would end, why bad things happen to mostly good people ( in fact I read James Dobson’s book on that subject), why people get away with injustice, with Africa as my case study. I was so frustrated and angry I wanted to end my own life! I needed meaning to my life, my real purpose aside just going to school, getting A’s, being a good son to my parents, worshiping the God of a religion that I grew up to meet as a child, and being a good citizen of my country (that one I didn’t have the choice to choose myself too!).

I locked myself up in the toilet that early Saturday morning, my family started looking everywhere in the house for me. My dad saw me through the window, thought I was just joking and tried to play his usual pranks on me. He saw I meant serious business and raised alarm. Everybody in my immediate family came to the toilet door that day & I didn’t open it. Even my most revered uncle called, I didn’t take the phone. I was crazily mad at the whole world and it had been reflecting in my actions and reactions for a while before then. And don’t be thinking I was high, I was not even smoking. I was just a social drinker too. My mind just developed quite early.

Looking back, I think I changed my mind on killing myself not because anybody or anything talked me out of it, not even the Holy spirit did! I changed my mind when I thought of what would happen to my mum after I was gone, she would have taken her own life too immediately I died. She was already crying and I heard from inside the toilet. Now, what she did, would have done afterwords and how I changed my mind is called LOVE. I found my answer that day. Everything else don’t really matter but the love you share with your loved ones! My quest, ambitions, dreams, future plans don’t really matter, love surpasses them.

I found my purpose through that. I discovered I needed to live not only for myself but for my mum, because I love her. Later on, I got admitted to study Law and the reactions from old friends and colleagues gave me another reason to live. I discovered so many people were looking up to me, worst of it all, I used to look up to some of those people! Some friends came to see me from long distance just to congratulate me on another milestone and to tell me I was a somewhat living hope for them. Some called my phone, people I hadn’t heard from since childhood and high school days found me. They told me what I’d never thought of myself. I began to love life. I wanted to live. I finally found my purpose- to live for others! To all those who truly saved my life, I love you all and I will never let you down! Mind you, you saved my life if I’ve ever crossed path with you before in life. You saved my life if you read this!

…To be continued…

THE ALPHA CLUB’S CHARITY WEEK 2014

BRIEF INTRODUCTION AND PROFILE OF THE ALPHA CLUB
The Alpha Club is a socio-cultural, philanthropic and charitable organisation founded in 1968 in the then University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife with aims and objectives which encompass the breeding of young men into responsible and respectable citizens, acquainting them with charitable works and other activities, which foster peace in our immediate and larger world. Because of her socio-cultural and philanthropic outlook, the club organizes programmes that bring youths together in constructive activities.

OUR PEDIGREE – We pride ourselves as having the best of gentlemen as our Graduate Alphites, patrons and Fellows. Amongst great men that have been rolled out of the stables of Alpha club are: Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the current president/CEO Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc., who was the Lord Mayor of the club in 1975; Prince Oluseyi Lufadeju, the MD Shelter Initiatives who was social scribe in 1968; Senator Mike Ajeigbo, the MD/CEO Minaj Group of Companies and former Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary; Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, the former Auditor General of Ondo State, who was the Exchequer of the club in 1971; Mayor (Professor) Dibu Ojerinde, the current Registrar of Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) who was the Lord Mayor in 1973; Prof. Olu Adediran, Dean, Faculty of Law, OAU who was the scribe in 1974; Mayor Araba Oladokun a former Registrar of LAUTECH, Ogbomoso who was the Lord Mayor in 1971; Mayor George Irechukwu, Commissioner of Finance, Imo State who was the Lord Mayor in 1984. Mr. Seye Kehinde, Publisher City People Magazine; Mr. Dele Oduwale, CEO Desh Petroleum and Chicken Lovers Restaurants; other eminent great men make the row call of fellows and patrons- Chief Gabriel Igbienidion (Esama of Benin Kingdom), Chief The Hon. Sir Alex Akinyele (Elder Stateman, former Chairman National Sports Commmission), King Sunny Ade – An Ace musician, Major David Ejoor, former Chief of Army Staff and former Governor of Mid-Western Region. Fellow Ben Omonua, MD BankPHB Asset Management Chief R.A. Williams, Mr. Ademola Adeyinka, Engr. Obi Anadu – G.M. Land and Waters, Muritala Mohammed International Airport- the list goes on. All these eminent personalities are still in contact with the Club. This list is in-exhaustive and as you traverse the country and indeed the world, you will find Alphites in all facets of life, helping to make the society better than they found it.
We are “gentlemen of distinction” with an unyielding belief in the time tested saying that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness while some have greatness thrust upon them” and in humble pursuit of greatness in honour, our philosophy and outlook, the club organizes programmes that bring youths together in constructive activities. As such, one of her programmes is “The Annual Charity Week”.

THE ALPHA CLUB’S CHARITY WEEK

The Charity Week is an entire week of activities organized by the Alpha Club and dedicated to charitable endeavours, the idea is to create awareness, promote and encourage charitable works amongst the staff, students, residents and visitors in the OAU community and its environs.
The programme is also intended to launch the community project series that the club will be embarking upon which is aimed at improving the state of the OAU community through works of Arts, Technology and encouraging research.

The next edition of this customary event tagged “GOODWILL” will be held in October 2014. It will span a whole week as highlighted above and will include free health services, a social event, material / monetary donation, drug donation and a blood donation exercise that will feature the officials of the National Blood Transfusion Service, Ibadan; Family Health International (FHI), and Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Nigeria (GHAIN), one percent, Voluntary Blood Donation initiative (VOBDI) among several others. The event promises to be very exiting and to create an atmosphere where love is shared and the message of charity is sung as morning hymns in the hearts of the citizens.

The events aligned for the charity week are as follows:
Monday- “GOODWILL” talent hunt and raffle draw
Tuesday- Free Bus Ride
Wednesday & Thursday- Blood Donation Exercise
Friday- Jumat service and Visit to a motherless Babies’ Home
Saturday- Alpha Fellowship
Sunday- Thanksgiving at Our lady’s of perpetual light

DETAILS OF EVENTS

MONDAY
“GOODWILL” Talent Hunt and Raffle Draw

The First day of the week is set aside in this year’s charity week for a social event “Talent Hunt and Raffle Draw”. This event is strategically placed so as to publicise the forthcoming blood donation. It is focused on creating a high level of interaction amongst students thereby creating a lasting and enduring awareness in the minds of people for the Blood Donation.
The event will feature a talent hunt whereby registered participants will be allowed to showcase their talents and entertain audience and 3 winners will be picked to given a cash prize of 20,000naira, 15,000naira and 10,000naira for 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.
Furthermore, along the line, a raffle draw exercise will take place as interludes at specific times. Participants in the raffle draw would ave purchased a raffle tickets at 100naira only. Lots of prizes like Fridges, microwaves, home theatre systems, goody bags, standing fans will be won during the exercise.

TUESDAY
FREE BUS RIDE
Due to the usual rush which occurs in the early hours of the morning and often after lectures in the afternoon, students often miss out or go late for lectures or end the day in frustration.
During the week, the club would seek to alleviate this problem by providing buses at strategic locations (school gate or halls of residence) to convey students free of charge to and from the school premises for the periods which the rush shall prevail. This also serves publicity purposes for the Charity week as a whole and the blood donation more importantly.

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY
BLOOD DONATION EXERCISE
This is the hallmark of events of the week because of importance of blood in saving lives as many have come to give testimonies. The Alpha Club has, for over 3 decades been organising blood donation to the O.A.U.T.H.C. Ile-Ife and the National Blood Transfusion Service, with 490 pints donated in the last edition and over 2500 pints of blood donated till date. This year the event would be organised by the Alpha Club in conjunction with experts from the National Blood Transfusion Service. Blood donors are given packages which include haematinics to help replenish the donated blood and other complimentary gifts.
BLOOD DONOR PACKAGE
Haematinics – blood capsules, multivitamins,
Glucose
Beverage
Milk
Eggs
T-shirts
Stickers
Other items to be included by your organization & other sponsors.

FRIDAY
JUMAT SERVICE AND VISIT TO THE MOTHERLESS BABIES’ HOME

We conventionally visit the mosque every friday of the charity week to give thanks to Almighty God for a successful week. After this, we set out for a chosen motherless babies’ home in Osun state to give out materials, food stuffs, clothings, etc, some of which would have been gathered before and during the course of the charity week.

SATURDAY
ALPHA FELLOWSHIP

We believe that after a week long of selfless service to humanity, members of the Alpha Club “Alphites” should also relax at some point. So we organize a mini event with our spouses, where we relax and also rejoice with ourselves on the success we have achieved during the week. We also sometimes involve the public in this, a few of our blood donors might be invited during thid event to celebrate with us.

SUNDAY
THANKSGIVING SERVICE AT THE CHURCH
We also after visiting the mosque, visit the Church to praise and thank God for making our charity week a complete success.

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