Friday, 20 January 2012

The Naija Issue

I know I said I would only blog once a month but events in Nigeria moved me to write this post

I avoid reading blogs - including mine - when I have a tight schedule. However, I checked on my blog today and saw Naijaline's comment in my last post and I decided to address the 'Naija issue'. Thanks Naijalines

My thoughts:

I last addressed the 'Naija conundrum' when Southern Youth Corpers were killed in the North here  Since then, we have seen more deaths, riots, chaos and increasingly staggering levels of corruption.

As a stubborn Fela-listening, Status-Quo-hating, Political Science undergraduate; taking part in students' protests was the norm for me - and my friends. However, some of those friends now occupy political positions and are now doing the same thing we all protested against. Similarly, some acquaintances who were Labour Union activists have now moved into politics - with an accompanying change in ideals.

Political change will only happen if those who are commited to it are not swayed by friends, familiies of finances or fear of discomfort.

If you think of Aung San Suu Kyi Nelson Mandela ,Gandhi Martin Luther King...............political change does not come easy

I don't want to preach to anyone.............Each person knows what they can or cannot live with.....

However, my only request is that - if you are a Nigerian - ask yourself:
- Are you willing to die for Nigeria?
- If you enter Nigerian politics, will you do things differently?
- I know quite a few bloggers who come from politically influential families......Do you feel guilty? Do you feel you can be an agent for change? Do you even want things to change?
- If you have a foreign passport, are you willing to hand it in and return to Nigeria to fight for change?

The recent protests accompanying the removal of fuel subsidy reminded me of the student protests we took part in years ago. It also gave me a glimmer of hope that things are changing in Nigeria. However, part of me worries that Nigerians are still easily swayed by money and power.

You think not??????.................Well............
- Think of how Nigerians visit popular Naija websites to sing the praises of ostentatious weddings of the children of prominent Nigerian politicians.
- Think of how we bow down to people who are wealthy but have no visible sources of income.
- Think of how we fight to join the campaign team of any relative or friend who declares his/her intention to run for a political position.
- Think of how we return home from abroad and start bribing, lying, queue-jumping and shoving as soon as we step off the plane

I refuse to sit behind my computer and preach to anyone about what they should or should not do - with regards to making Nigeria a better place to live. All I will say is LOOK WITHIN BEFORE YOU POINT THE FINGER...........then DO WHAT YOU CAN TO CHANGE NIGERIA....TODAY !!!

As I leave, I would like you to view this video of a great African revolutionary - Burkina Faso's Thomas Sankara

Monday, 2 January 2012

Beware The Poisoned Chalice..............................

''Poisoned Chalice" is a thing or situation which appears to be good when it is received or experienced by someone, but then becomes or is found to be bad. ...............

I was helping my son with his homework sometime ago and I came across the image below:

I was fascinated that such a graceful, beautiful animal would have to drink in such an awkward, clumsy way.

Seeking more facts about Giraffes and their unusual drinking position, this is what I read:
'Giraffes use their height to good advantage and browse on leaves and buds in treetops that few other animals can reach....................
The giraffe's height also helps it to keep a sharp lookout for predators across the wide expanse of the African savanna.
The giraffe's stature can be a disadvantage as well—it is difficult and dangerous for a giraffe to drink at a water hole. To do so they must spread their legs and bend down in an awkward position that makes them vulnerable to predators like Africa's big cats'
This got me thinking of how each of us possesses exceptional assets that can also contribute to our downfall. The trick in life is recognising your asset - and staying alert - so that this asset does not become a Poisoned Chalice.

Here are some examples of assets that could become Poisoned Chalice:
- Beauty: 
I have seen instances where beautiful people think they can get away with anything because of their physical perfection. Examples abound of girls who thought their beauty was enough to get by....and boys who were so gorgeous in school.... they ceased to work hard. 
All I can say is that Bill Gates, Richard Branson etc could not have been the most beautiful people in school. There is a saying that 'Beauty fades but Dumb is Forever'......Enough said

- Intelligence: 
Psychologists identify seven to nine types of intelligence....including verbal, visual, physical, introspective, interpersonal, musical etc etc...................I like to keep things simple so I have just two - 'Common Sense Intelligence' and 'Book Sense Intelligence'
Unfortunately, a lot of us focus on pursuing 'book sense' without remembering that 'common sense' is often more important. 'Common Sense' is the type of sense that tells you - 'To buy only what you can afford'.....'To avoid certain people'.........'To avoid gossip'...........'To avoid borrowing'............'To never underestimate anyone' ............etc etc
The thing is people who have 'Book Sense Intelligence' often have very little 'Common Sense Intelligence' because they feel they know it all. 
If you ever feel you know it all - because you have a Masters Degree or a P.hD......believe me, you dont !

- Children:
 Parents often see their children as their greatest assets.......unfortunately, some parents devote less time to nurturing these assets than they do to reviewing their bank statements. 
The problem with this is that these assets have a funny way of becoming liabilities - if you fail to invest time and energy on their upbringing. We can NEVER predict what a child will become in future......BUT we can predict - to a large extent - what a neglected/ badly brought up child is LIKELY to become in future:............A Poisoned Chalice to his/her parents !

- Wealth: 
We all pray for financial security and we should. However, wealth comes with its own burden. Questions arise: 'How do I stay on top?'............'Who are my real friends?'............'Will my children squander their inheritance?'.............'Will my spouse still love me if I lose all my wealth?'
The only way a wealthy person can find answers to such questions is to lose all the wealth and see what it is like to be poor...This is not a palatable option.
So..........while we pray for wealth, we should all pray for the wisdom to handle such wealth so that it does not become a burden that weighs us down.

- Friends: 
Some people have a natural ability to attract people and make friends. The trick is to know when to stop making friends just for the sake of making recognise which people are friends or acquaintances. 
Good friends are an asset......but bad friends can be serious liabilities. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to think their friends have their best interest at heart. 
When I was at university, I knew several girls who couldn't make a single decision without discussing it with their 'closest friends'. Wrong move....
A nice boy is asking them out?.....They seek their friend's opinion.
They hate their course and want to change?........They seek their friend's opinion.
They have a job offer out of state/ abroad?.......They seek their friends opinion.
A potential sugar-daddy is bothering them?..........etc etc..............*sigh*  If you need impartial advice, ask someone older who is a role model 
The truth is humans are instinctively selfish and 'friends' will usually put their own interest first. A friend can become a poisoned chalice if you let them. 

- Strong Family Ties
A strong family bond can be a blessing ....but it can also be a 'Poisoned Chalice'. Examples abound of people who were very close to their siblings before they got married and expected that bond to remain unbroken after they got married or entered into a serious relationship.
Whether we like it or not, we change when we become involved - romantically - with someone else. 
A man who chooses to discuss his finances with his siblings and not the mother of his children/wife/ partner is creating the right environment for chaos. 
Similarly, a woman who chooses to discuss her career, fears or life plans with her siblings - and not her husband/ partner; is clearing the ground for confusion to reign.
Similarly, a person who makes ALL his/her decisions to please his/her family members is likely to regret this.
There comes a time when your life partner should be your confidant and 'next of kin' in everything. If this is not the case, you are with the wrong person !  

- Well Known Name
Some surnames are so well known that once the name is mentioned, doors and arms open wide to recieve the bearer of the name.
This can be an asset or a liability.............depending on how the bearer handles it.
I know of children of famous parents who have failed to make their mark because they feel 'daddy' or 'mummy' has done it all. 
Similarly, I know of children of famous parents who have excelled because their famous parents have paved the way for them.
The difference between these achieving and non-achieving bearers-of-well-known names is largely down to upbringing and how much they themselves hunger to make their own mark 
As my father would say.........'Some children are taught how to SPEND money and not how to MAKE money ! 
Bearing a well known name is incredibly empowering and and can be a good thing..................but it can also be a 'Poisoned Chalice' ...............if the bearer is not equipped to ensure the 'well-known' name does not become well known for laziness, bad manners and notoriety.

As we enter into 2012, my prayer for all - including me - is that we recognise our assets and work against them turning into liabilities. Not everyone has the power to see what asset is a potential 'Poisoned Chalice' - so we should all guard against complacency.

Stay blessed ...................I'll see you soon