Monday, 29 August 2011

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

I planned to blog about something funny and upbeat today. However, after the bombing in Abuja, I have been so confused.

My confusion - WHAT IS GOING ON ????.................................................

I know Nigeria has always had its share of challenges BUT this violence is just spiraling out of control.

Since January 2010, Boko Haram has been at the heart of so many atrocities. This year alone, they have been behind several attacks -  including a car bomb attack on the Police HQ; a bomb blast at a bar near an Abuja barracks. Needless to say, innocent lives have been lost

Surprisingly, it seems that whenever the perpetrators are even caught, they are killed instantly. How will we ever get to the root of all this if those who can reveal more - are killed as soon as they are captured?

Some may feel the best way to deal with Nigeria's challenges is to pretend they dont exist. I beg to differ. Even if I am not a politician, my conscience dictates I must speak/rant/cry........................whatever.

The Irish philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797) once said - 'All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing'

While I pray for God to intervene in Nigeria's future; I also pray that those who are in a position to stop this violence do not adopt the principle of  'See no Evil; Hear no Evil and Speak no Evil'
If they do, the repercussions will be disastrous. 

The poem below by Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) was originally written about the failure of German intellectuals to condemn Nazi rise to power. 

I do believe the poem totally encapsulates what happens when evil is allowed to take root in any society:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist,
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak for me

*sigh* Please have a blessed week

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Super-Heroes OR Super-Zeroes (2)

Before I begin, I want to say thank you to all who commented on the last post.

My hubby read the comments and told me that I am in trouble - because everyone is expecting one 'gan-gan' (stupendous) story on Sunday. LOL................. I told him that he is a trouble-maker. LOL

Anyway, here goes:

Example 2: 
When I was growing up, we had two neighbours. As is the norm - in Nigeria - we (the kids) called the two mothers in those homes 'aunties'.

The first aunty had spent all her life in the Edo/Delta area. She had three kids. Her home was quite modest - because money was tight for her. Her hubby was an average earning civil servant and she was an average earner also. This aunt was pretty, simple and motherly. Then, I saw her as the traditional Naija mum/wife because she wasnt really into make-up, dieting etc. She wasn't even keen on driving herself because she was 'scared' of dangerous drivers. I will call her 'Aunty Basic'

The second aunty had spent most of her life in Lagos. She had four kids (three boys and a girl) - who were a bit older than Aunt Basic's kids. Aunty Flash did some of her education in London and even had some of her kids abroad. Her hubby was a civil servant but she did some business (buying and selling alongside her regular job). As a child, I saw her as the 'funkier' one because her dress-sense was fantastic, she was also very conscious of her weight and she travelled abroad often. Her home was quite flash - because they were better off than most. I will call her 'Aunty Flash'

Despite their lifestyle differences, these two were great friends. However, we (those around them) often felt that Aunty Basic was too much of a follow-follow (follower) because she was always running around Aunty Flash. I think there was an element of hero-worship on Aunty Basic's part.

Indeed, Aunty Basic was always comparing her home, her kids, her family ...................everything to Aunty Flash's. Whenever, Aunty Flash travelled abroad, she was always going on and on about how she hadn't travelled abroad. When Aunty Flash told her friend that her two eldest kids were going to the US to complete their education, Aunty Basic went on and on about this - despite the fact that her own kids were doing well in school.

Aunty Basic's kids did not like that their mother was always going to Aunty Flash to report whenever they misbehaved. Their mum said it was because she wanted Aunty Flash to advice them. Despite this Aunty Basic's kids liked their aunt - Aunty Flash's kids also liked Aunty Basic.

As time went by, Aunty Flash moved out of the area and saw each other ocassionally - mostly at church or at social gatherings. Over time, Aunty Basic retired and spent most of her time on church activities. Aunty Flash retired also and spent most of her time travelling between London, Austria and Italy - because she was now buying and selling gold and lace fabrics full time. She also visited her kids in the US a lot.

Two of Aunty Basic's kids also moved abroad - to the UK - and her comparisons took another turn. She was always comparing her daughter's husband to Aunty Flash's son. You see, Aunty Flash's son had built a massive house in Lagos and there was a time he was always in Nigeria for business. Aunty Basic felt her son-in-law was 'slack' (not clever/business minded enough).

Finally, Aunt Basic was invited by her first child to visit her in the UK. When she got over here, she contacted some old friends who had moved over here a long time ago. They met up and Aunty Flash's name came up...................Well, my brother and sisters, her friends told her:

- All the time Aunty Flash was coming to the UK to do 'business', she was also doing part-time cleaning jobs;
- Aunty Flash's first two sons are ex-convicts (they have been to jail for fraud at different times);
- Aunty Flash's only daughter is divorced with two children (her marriage ended on a very messy note with her at fault - let's just say she and her hubby had 'trust' issues). 
- Aunty Flash's last son is a well know fraudster in the area he is residing
- None of Aunty Flash's kids graduated from their UK and US based universities. They all dropped out of school. (Meanwhile, all Aunty Basic's kids are professionals)
- Finally, Aunty Flash's hubby has set up home with another woman in the northern part of Nigeria

Needless to say, upon hearing all these, Aunty Basic was ashamed that all those years she had been disparaging her home, kids, hubby to Aunty Flash..............her 'friend' had kept so many secrets. 

Summary - According to her daughter, Aunty Basic bitterly regrets all the years she compared her children to Aunty Flash's kids. The relationship between Aunty Basic and her kids is not wonderful - basically because they feel too much of their childhood was all about 'not measuring up to others'

My lesson learnt - Comparisons are dangerous. If you keep on measuring what you have against others, you will never be satisfied with what you have.

Again, NEVER disparage your kids, home, family or spouse to outsiders. My people say 'Monkey no fine but im mama like am' (the monkey might be ugly, but it is still loved by its mother).

Indeed, Your Super-hero today might turn out to be a Super-zero tomorrow.

Have a blessed week everyone

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Super-Heroes OR Super-Zeroes (1)

First off ...Hello my brethren. Area hail oh! For the Oyinbo out there - Hope all is well? LOL

Long story short, I need to share a couple of lessons learnt with you. I know I should be wise by now - but my brothers and sisters, na every day my eye dey open more (I learn every day).

My lesson learnt these past few weeks is that 'WE SHOULD CHOOSE OUR HEROES CAREFULLY'

I hereby share how this lesson hit me like a ton of bricks (Believe me, these are real - whenever you see my hubby, ask him)

Example 1:
 My very good friend has a couple she has always admired. 

This couple - I shall call them Mr and Mrs Miracle - have been childless for over 14 years of marriage. However, the man remained very loving and supportive towards the woman. While the woman insisted that they go for IVF or adopt, the man insisted that he was not ready to pursue IVF or adopt - he was ready to 'wait on the Lord'. My friend always used the couple as an example of rare love among Nigerian couples. 

Anyway, in 2009, the woman fell pregnant. Praise God abi?.............Humph! Long story short is that she had a beautiful girl and they celebrated like it was the second coming of Christ. Aso-ebi, goat meat, owambe, gold, platinum, rice, amala, Chinese buffet etc etc. Nothing was too much.

Early this year, the child fell ill and they had to do several diagnostic blood tests...............I bet you can see where this is going....Well, you are right. The doctor called them both to one side and told them that the child was not the man's...................and also not the woman's !  He then asked if the child was adopted. Humph. My reliable 'informant' told me that Mr Miracle fainted at this point.

Where did the child come from? Mrs Miracle later confessed that desperation made her secretly pursue IVF. She paid privately to have IVF treatment (where donated egg and sperm are fertilised and implanted back in the womb) Story don start (the story begins) !

Following this confession, Mr Miracle insisted they get a divorce. It was then Mrs Miracle got her friends and family to plead with her husband.. He still refused. When she approached one of her friends to go and plead with her hubby, the friend refused. Mrs Miracle asked why - and the friend then told her that most people knew that Mr Miracle had a 7 year old son with another lady in London. When Mrs miracle confronted Mr Miracle, he didnt deny -  he re-affirmed that he was ready to divorce because as he put it 'His real family needs him.' Story don finish (End of story) !

Summary - They are both getting a divorce and they are now fighting over their shared assets. Mrs Miracle is now mad because the bulk of the assets was built up by her (she always earned more). My friend is in shock - because she always used to tell her husband that Mr Miracle should be his role model.

My lesson learnt - You can NEVER know what goes on behind closed doors so never envy another couple.....Always aim to make your home your heaven/ castle. My people say - Na who wear shoe na im know where dey pain am (Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches)

I think I have written too much....................I will leave Example 2 till Sunday

Stay blessed

Images from:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Rabble Speaks

It is no news now that parts of England are/were on fire. 

This situation brings back memories to me:
In 1990, the Nigerian Military Government decided to accept a World Bank/ IMF loan.                                                            This loan came with the condition that the government implement Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs).                                                               These SAPs required Nigeria to do the following:
-          Devalue the Naira against the Dollar;
-          Lift import and export restrictions;
-          Balance the budget and not overspend;
-          and remove price controls and state subsidies

In a country with more accountability, this could have been bearable. 

However, most students were incensed because we knew that corruption, economic mis-management and an absence of accountability had put Nigeria – Africa’s primary oil producer – in this position. The general feeling was that these austerity measures would mean - as always - ‘poor man go suffer but big man go chop big time’ (the poor would suffer, while the rich would continue to prosper)

University students all over Nigeria took to the streets to protest. Aged 19 and in my third year at Uniben, I was one of them. We felt anger towards a government that didn’t seem to care about us; that wasn’t paying our parent’s  their salaries and pensions; that was doubling fuel prices and refusing to upgrade campus facilities.

Indeed, why should the government even care...when most of their children were schooling abroad.

I am proud to say that I was part of that Student Protest because that was my only way I could express myself – as a young student from an average, struggling home...who was growing up under a military regime. However, I never looted because my upbringing would not let me – deep down I was a ‘well-brought-up girl’.

Unfortunately, what started as a peaceful student protest degenerated into looting and stealing. Unfortunately, others who were not so ‘well-brought up’ destroyed and looted. Just like in the London riots.

Lives were lost, people were injured, looters destroyed businesses and a lot of students were suspended/ expelled.

I do not endorse or support what is going on in London at the moment BUT like my father always said ‘If two friends never quarrel, one is cheating the other’. Yes, the protests have gotten out of control, but I believe they are a manifestation of underlying issues.

In a year where the UK has seen numerous people lose their jobs; families lose their homes due to missed mortgage payments; children suffer in homes where finances have dwindled to nothing; small businesses close because banks have cut off their overdraft; youth and community centres shut due to austerity measures...........................We have also seen two Royal weddings; Banks post substantial profits and the decision to treble university fees from 2012.

Rioters are always likely to hijack peaceful protest AND Some people are always intent on committing crime.

Unfortunately, time and time again, governments ignore the gentle voices of protesters until their voices are taken over by the roar of the rabble. 

All this might have been avoided if the Police had been more diplomatic in the way they handled the family of the man who was shot. Who knows.............

Unemployment;........ Racial tensions;....... Bad Parenting;........ Social Inequality;......... Bad Policing;.............whatever fuelled this, I only hope that the underlying issues are not ignored. If they are, history tells us they will come back to haunt us.

The brave lady in the video below made a passionate speech in the midst of looters...I believe she speaks for most Black mothers: