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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Pride Always Goes Before A Fall

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in this life, it’s that no condition is permanent. It therefore baffles me how power drunk people can get once they attain a certain position. They begin to get and act cocky while treating others like trash. It always pays to be nice to others all of the time, not just some of the time. You never really can tell how you or them will end up.

I read about a certain top-earning Nigerian actress who served as a housemaid when she first arrived in Lagos many years ago. Look at her today with a beautiful family, a seemingly nice and wealthy husband, houses, cars, designer clothing and accessories, vacations to exotic places abroad, the full works. I often wonder if the people she worked for as a housemaid beat her up and humiliated her at the time or if they actually helped her actualise and achieve her dream of becoming a star. No one knows what tomorrow would bring so we must always be the best we can be as each day comes.

Pride, they say, always goes before a fall so be careful of how you treat others lest your ego and pride trips you and causes to fall over. I see a lot of Nigerians sailing on ego trips and I  just shake my head at their folly. I have seen many of such people fall flat on their faces and at the feet of those whom they once victimised. It really does not take a lot of effort to be kind to others, your employees, neighbours, colleagues, workers, frenemies and even strangers. Often times, when a person treats others unfairly, they forget and move on but for their victims, the hurt and scars last longer. This also applies to people when a good deed is done to them. Many a good deeds have I done without recalling until the recipients make mention of them. People NEVER forget how you make them feel at every point in time.

Respect is mutual and reciprocal, regardless of your status or position. You must learn to treat others with respect lest you meet your match one day. Look at how humble Mark Zuckerberg was when he came into Nigeria the other time. No fuss, no moss, just a young man going about his business despite the billions he is worth. Our government had to officially invite him back again to save face after he'd come and gone about his duties. Who then are you to be prouding upandan the place anyhow? A word is enough for the wise otherwise, Kontinuu. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Crack Team

Hello everyone, here is Vivian Beulah Igbokwe again, a consistently passionate writer who has been featured on my blog several times. Her articles and views are her own experiences and opinions and they are very interesting and enlightening. 

If you would like your written articles featured in my #BlogFeaturePost columns, kindly send them in to

Enjoy. :)

I remember a series of occurrences in my undergraduate years that I’d like to share regarding stammering. Although I still stammer now, it is largely suppressed and a miracle I will forever celebrate in my life. I actually speak and do presentations before large audiences now; it was impossible in my university years. Stammering is usually associated with stress. If you are a stammerer and find yourself stammering so much at any particular period, take a break and give yourself some good rest. I never knew this then and even if I did, I wouldn’t have done anything about it then because 100 level was very stressful. For example, to make one payment, you might get to school by 7:00 am and leave around past 6:00 pm.
Getting done with clearance was something to celebrate and when we thought we were through with the unbearable stress of clearance, lecturers started bombarding us with assignments upon assignments. They ensured we had permanent frowns and strains on our faces.
With all that stress, talking was a very difficult thing for me to do. I had to ask directions to practically everywhere because I was a fresh student. The worst was when I had to pronounce words that begin with L, M or H. Sometimes while stammering, the person I was trying to get directions from would walk away. He probably had a lecture to catch up with and the words weren’t coming out. Some others will smile and patiently wait. It was so embarrassing. I considered writing down my questions but I didn’t want to give the impression that I was dumb. So, I stood my grounds and stammered on. To add to the wahala, it gave me chest pains to stammer. Consequently, I got to the hostel each day with pains in my chest. 100 level na wa!
In my department, we were quiet few in number. Somehow, I was chosen as the assistant course representative. The first day, I conversed with the course rep, he stammered so much. I met my match that day. To make light of the situation, I smiled and said, “ah ah now, if you want to talk, talk. Stop cracking.” We both laughed and it was cool because afterwards, he would crack and I would crack and we both cracked together. Cracking, then, became beautiful because I didn’t need to feel embarrassed cracking before a fellow cracker.
One cool evening, as I left the school after studying, a guy approached me. He stood before for five minutes before he spoke. I was surprised because I knew I wasn’t that pretty that a guy would be dumbfounded standing before me.  I also knew my hair was not on fire, what could it be? When he finally spoke, I had to hold myself from laughing.                                                                             
“Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-what is your name?
““Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo-wo…?” I didn’t wait for him to finish. I quickly answered, guessing what the question would be.
“Education Biology. 100 level.
I had to cool down and wait the next ten minutes for him to introduce himself to me. My brothers and sisters, no be small thing. His name was Emeka. When he said he was in third year, I felt pity for him. How was he coping in school with this kind of heavy cracking? In fact, it wasn’t just cracking; it was computer shut down. He finally landed - he liked me. Most of what he said, I had to deduce because I could barely hear what he was saying. I told him I would think about it but I knew I wouldn’t go out with him. How would we communicate seeing we both crack? Through sign language? I imagined marrying someone like him. Our children will simply be dumb (lol).
Brother Ignatius was a nice brother in fellowship that had a sweet smile for everyone. Sometimes, he would accompany the smile with a hand wave. We all loved Brother Ignatius. He never greeted, he just smiled and waved.  One day Brother Ignatius decided he would greet me. Why me?  Why not someone else in fellowship? By the time he was done saying good afternoon, five minutes had passed. Of course, he didn’t stop that day. Every fellowship day, Brother Ignatius would greet me.  I would patiently wait for him to finish with a kind smile and kind look on my face. One day, he took it a step higher and asked for my phone number. I gave it to him. Whenever he called, I would tell everyone in the room to keep quiet; that Brother Ignatius was calling. I would then wait for five minutes on the phone for Brother Ignatius to just say hello and ask how my day went.
 After a while, Brother Ignatius said he wanted us to talk over midnight call. I nearly fainted. Why me? We spend 5-10 minutes just to exchange pleasantries in the day, how long would it take in the night; especially judging by the fact that the call would be free and Brother Ignatius would be free to crack as long as he wanted? Why wouldn’t Brother Ignatius write what he wanted to say in a note and I would reply? Whenever he asked for a date, I would give an excuse. Finally, I had to give him a date. On the D-day, I dreaded nightfall and especially 2:00 am, our appointed time. When he finally called, I nearly cried. I battled with sleep on my end, and thunderstorm from his end. He stuttered so much, I pitied his teeth and lips.
Brother Ignatius just called me that midnight to know how I was and how I was coping in school. That night, as he cracked, I concluded that Emeka is simply an orator. With Emeka, it was computer shutdown. With Brother Ignatius, NEPA took the light.
I’m glad I’ve managed to overcome my cracking and I really wish there was an instant cure for stammering that could help stammerers overcome the constant embarrassment they go through daily. Until we get a cure, let me implore you to always exercise a bit of patience with stammerers whenever you come across them.
Twitter/Instagram: @club7teen
Facebook: VivianBeulahIgbokwe

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Tomorrow Will Always Be Better

Whatever you are going through today, I can assure you that it will pass soon enough. When they said  that "tough times don't last but tough people do", they weren't kidding. Truly, trying and tough times don't last forever no matter how intense they come upon you. No situation is worth taking your life over because no situation is permanent. 

I want to use this medium to encourage you all, no matter what your daily challenges are, to hang in there. There are always brighter and better days ahead. Tomorrow is a promise of better things to come, just believe.

Meanwhile, meet Christian Guardino, a 16 Year-Old Singer who has a most beautiful voice and got a golden buzzer on American's Got Talent for his voice, humility and overall pleasant attitude. This is a young lad who was blind at some point in his life but OVERCAME and here he is, shinning and sharing his talent globally. 

Don't give up, no matter how bleak things might be. The storm will be calm and you will overcome. 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Be Contented, Be At Peace

I woke up at about 2.49 am today pondering on the series of events that have happened/are happening around me in the past few months till date and I couldn't help but be grateful that I have a nature and and an understanding of contentment. There is a kind of peace you get when you have risen above all that should be but isn't yet; that sort of peace comes from being contented with whatever you have.

I heard about the news of Nigerian artist, Dammy Crane, being arrested in the USA over credit card fraud and all that and I felt a cold shiver run down my spine. Do I know him personally? No, but I felt terrible that he seems to have thrown away all he's worked for over his lack of contentment, if the stories are true. The desire to want to splurge and live the lifestyle of keeping up with the Kardashians Joneses is the greatest undoing of most people. Careers that people have built and laboured over for years go down the drain after being caught out in their own scams and sham lives. Why would anyone throw all that away just for a few thousand Facebook or Instagram likes?  I felt really disappointed and hurt at how it's all playing out.

Truth is, you must have an equilibrium between the things you desire and the things you are able to acquire/achieve, otherwise you will definitely tip the scales and more often than not, the scales are never tipped in ones favour when there is a lack of contentment. You cannot go through life racking up debts and living above your means in order to impress others. They won't be there to support you when things come crashing down because they did not ask you to do illegal stuff in other to keep up appearances and largely because your downfall will hurt them as much as it would hurt you. When people place you on a high pedestal and you crash due to greed or lack of integrity, the pedestal often fall on those who have built it. The hurt and the disappointment are shared by your loved ones alongside your shame. We must make conscious efforts to be satisfied with what we have even as we strive, legitimately, to become bigger and better in all we do.

Growing up, whenever I was bad and took my dad's loose change without asking him, (I hated eating food and preferred to take sweets and bubble gum so I would nick a few coins, get caught and get disciplined thoroughly. I am remorseful now, that was eons ago. :) he had a song he would sing to be in my dialect which simply translated to "be satisfied with your own stuff, be contented with what you have". I can't ever forget that song and who knows if that's what helped form my deep resolve to be contented with what I have, however little it may seem. I have also learnt that what seems trash to you is actually worth its weight in gold to others. Just be contented with whatever you have.  

I recall this poem we used to recite in primary school and this has also stayed with me through the years. We have people who have so much but are yet not contented with all they have; they would rather take from the less privileged because they lack contentment. Contentment is everything, it gives you peace of mind and the courage to face anyone and anything, knowing nothing they have can intimidate or faze you. 

At the end of the day, when we leave this cold cruel world, we won't take a pin with us. A friend of mine called me on Sunday evening to share her first experience at a Muslim funeral. The sweet old lady who died was wealthy when she was alive but according to Islamic traditions, she was buried in just a cloth, tied with ropes and put 6ft below the ground without a casket!!!! My friend was really traumatised by it and even as she recounted it to me and I envisioned it, I was scarred as well. I told her I would cal her back but I'm yet to. What is this life sef? All those houses, laces, fancy cars, accounts, Louboutins, purses, trips abroad, etc means nothing at the end of the day. 

Louisa May Alcott captured it quite aptly when she wrote " I am content with what I have. Little be it, or much"

Enough said.

Monday, 5 June 2017

#BlogFeaturePost - Biafra - A Bit Of Perspective Before You Wage War

Below is another thought provoking article by my good friend Temitayo Fabunmi. His previous BlogFeature articles can be found here. He has once again put my precise thoughts into words in a profound way. There are so many untold stories of how the Biafran war went down and all that transpired within that period, so it is refreshing to read this article of his. I wish we had more narrations of all that happened in that war from different perspectives put down in writing for all to read, generations to come inclusive. Read, be enlightened and do share.



I think I'll be losing friends on Facebook this evening, on top Biafra.
On so many evenings when I was much younger, the adult conversations at home were about "The War".  I don't recall hearing Biafra being mentioned or if it was, it didn't make much sense. However, tales of "The War" pockmarked my childhood. When I finally read Chimamanda Adichie's Half a Yellow Sun, it had far more nostalgic weight than I can describe. (There is a tragic personal angle to this, that I'll touch on in a couple of paragraphs).

You see, my dad is a Yoruba boy while my mum is a Rivers geh. Their perspectives on the war were not dissimilar to the pro- and anti-Biafra noise that pervades the Nigerian airwaves today. Right in the house it was our domestic History Channel. 

I read of the pogrom and genocide against Igbos in 13 Years of Military Rule. Add to that Cyprian Ekwensi's "Divided We Stand" (a work of fiction) and a couple of other books I don't remember now and my antipathy for Hausas and other Northerners was established. Such is the danger of a single story. 

As I grew older, I read some more. Then I discovered Igbos murdered ethnic minorities during the civil war. Not one, not two but droves. My mother's uncle was one - buried alive (a story I grew up hearing almost everyday but didn't know what to make of it). My grandmother (who died when I was too young to know her) was a Braide, from Bakana. Ignore me for a minute and read up on what the Biafran Army did in Bakana. Then I went from hating the Nigerian Army to hating both the Nigerian Army (read - "Hausa") and the Biafran Army (read - "Igbo"). In Half A Yellow Sun, Ms. Adichie also alludes to this when she wrote about an Ndoni man who was lynched for being a "sabo".

The danger in these one-sided tales is that they breed deep mistrust. I was perhaps fortunate, by the time I left FGC, I had been sufficiently immersed in other cultures that rid me of these ethnic prejudices. There are good people and there are bad people. It is dangerous to tar an entire group based on the misdeeds of a horrible few. When I was about to write my physics paper in my final exams in school, I took ill. Patrick Nwanji and Umaru Alhassan took me to the dispensary and stayed there with me to ensure I was treated promptly and helped me back to the exam hall. There are no medals for guessing that neither of them is a Yoruba boy.

I grew older, I learnt to synthesise the disparate things I have read;
1. Forget the bullshit anyone is flying, war is a brutish thing. It never goes according to plan. Don't take my word for it. George Bush planned a shock and awe war on Iraq. That was 2003. The shock is still on. We are waiting for the awe. 

2. It is tragic that we don't learn history in Nigeria. We also make heroes out of scoundrels. Murtala Muhammed has no business being on any national monument or currency. He was one of the well-documented war criminals of the Civil War. 
The Civil War is so poorly documented that base men have now hijacked the narrative to create a lofty ideal out of it. Sorry, it was hellish. It is not worth re-experimenting. 
Abominable policies like the "abandoned property" policy should be discussed and where practical, the victims compensated.

3. The 1967 Biafran national identity was far from homogeneous. The ensuing crisis revealed the scale of differences. Ethnic groups south of Elele that Igbos often refer to as Rivers Igbo today were not exempt from extra-judicial killings. Minorities further afield were more than fair game. It is dubious to sell the idea of homogeneity again today. Carve out a landlocked Biafra and you will find out that there are Igala families in Ubulu afor. How do you propose to dispose of them? Or the Igbo families from Benue State?
[By the way, this warning goes to the miscreants who fly the kite of Oduduwa Republic and draw maps that include Urhobos, Itsekiris and Isokos. You are barking mad. No apologies.]

4. We conflate a cultural identity with a national one. Our collective appreciation of civics is so weakened that we are also unable to appreciate that a cultural identity is not mutually exclusive with a national one. It is so bad that many Nigerians give themselves a religious identity that is deemed more important than their national identity. So we off to Biafra, the Oguta man then says Oguta is superior to Onitsha. Ndi Arochukwu claim ancestral superiority over the rest. In the midst of this poor grasp of civics, what will establish the supremacy of the Biafran identity?
The Nigerian nation has failed us as a collective and we have also failed the nation. The agitation for a separate identity is a natural consequence of being hitched to a failed state. That however does not make it a valid solution to a genuine problem. The faulty components of the failed state, if split into 4 parts, would only result in 4 failed states. 

Fiscal federalism with a curtailed centre might be a start. However with poor appreciation of the civic governance process, it will soon throw up highly oppressive centres within those federating units.

The problem is far more complex than the separatist solutions being touted. I do not claim omniscience on what the solution should be, but by jove I recognise a bad proposal when I see one.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Gripping Testimony

Above is a picture of the recently released 82 Chibok girls with the President of Nigeria. I find it shocking that some doubting Thomas's are still out there claiming fervently that this whole  missing #ChibokGirls saga is a scam and a ruse, despite all the evidences shown. I wonder how such reprobated minds function and then I say a prayer for them not to experience such anguish the same way the parents of these girls have.

I found the italicised article below on a friend's Facebook page, which he shared. It was written by a Jack Vince, a freelance journalist in the Northern part of Nigeria.

In December 2015, Femi Owolabi and I visited Chibok town as journalists. While we were going about our business, we interviewed some parents of the missing Chibok school girls. I made a facebook update thereafter:

"Have you seen the inscription of despair, fear, disappointment and regret all rolled into a ball of sorrow on one woman's face? Not just any woman but a mother who lost a child; not to the cold hands of death, but to a marauding band of despotic and heartless terrorists? It is even more heartbreaking considering the bond between a mother and her last-born child. AUTA, as we call last-born children in the north. And now the mother is made to carry the burden of hope and despair in her heart not for a few months in the event of death, but for every second of every minute, every minute of every hour, every hour of every day and every day of the rest of her life since the abduction of her precious last-born child. 

Mama Rebecca Takai Nkeki mother of Hauwa Nkeki Takai, one of the 219 missing Chibok school girls has been bearing this pain and torture every day since that fateful day of April 14, 2014, over a year ago today, when her daughter and the other missing school girls were abducted by members of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents into the Sambisa forest. 
"Hauwa used to be a kind, respectful and hardworking girl", her mother recalled. 
In a tear-inducing and emotion-ladened voice, Mama Rebecca Takai Nkeki said, 
"Anytime I pick up the broom to sweep the floor of the house, I remember that my daughter would have been the one doing it. She loved working. I sweep the floor myself everyday and everyday the memories of my child fill me with tears. Now I have high blood pressure", at this point, she broke down in tears forcing the same emotion in Femi and I. 
"I keep to myself a lot", Mr Takai Nkeki, father of the the abducted Hauwa Nkeki, said. "I get broken down emotionally anytime I see children, her mate, moving around", he added. 
Both parents are hopeful that Hauwa would come back to them someday. The onus now lies with the government and all relevant stakeholders to do the needful in ensuring that all the girls return to their parents safe and alive.

82 of the missing Chibok school girls were released yesterday after a negotiation between the government and the insurgents. HAUWA N. TAKAI is number 57 on the list.

If you read the above and still doubt the authenticity of these reports on the #ChibokGirls, then I strongly bid you farewell as you wallow in sheer nefarious ignorance.

I'm mighty glad about these girls return and I sincerely hope he government has strong rehabilitation and counselling plans in place for them and their families. I pray that the rest of them and others still in Boko Haram's custody would regain heir freedom soon.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Great News: 82 Of The Chibok Girls Released

Great news last night about the release of about 82 of the kidnapped Chibok girls after three years. The girls were said to have been swapped in exchange of a couple of Boko Haram suspects after series of negotiations.

While over 100 girls are still missing, I am super glad about the release of these girls because I simply cannot imagine the ordeal they have gone through nor the anguish of their families, over the past three years.

BBC reporter in Lagos, Stephanie Hegarty, says they 82 school girls are now with the Nigerian Army and that they were "brought from a remote area to a military base in Banki near the border with Cameroon".

No matter the political spins some naysayers may put on this, I am just glad that 82 families are heaving sighs of relief and embracing their beloved girls after so long.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Keep Smiling This New Week

Hello good people, rise and shine for it's a brand new week and a brand new month too. #Kimon  
Happy Workers Day to all the hardworking people out there. May God bless our hustles extra this month.

Being an adult is so hard and not a lot prepares us for the challenges we would face as adults. A lot of us have had sheltered childhood so adulthood comes as an extra shocker. But hey, the show must go on. 

Keep hustling, keep giving your best as much as you can in whatever situation you find yourself, stay clean and legit and believe that one day pretty soon, you will make it MEGA.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Honesty And Integrity ALWAYS Pays

Hello everyone, how I have missed you all and missed blogging too. 

Who says honesty does not pay? Please show them the video below and let them know that HONESTY DOES PAY. It's a video of an awards show held by UBA, a Nigerian bank, which showcases a young man named Ibrahim Obanagoh (sic). 

A customer of the bank left behind $10,000 and this young man serving as a security guard found and returned the cash, intact. Amazing stuff, considering how hard things are in the country and how meagre a security guard's salary is. Ibrahim was highly honoured at the awards show a few days ago and not just that, two state Governors pledged to give him $15,000 from their personal purses (ahem),   a Senator promised to announce Ibrahim at plenary and also pledged the sum of N5,000,000 on behalf of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Ibrahim, and there were a host of other anonymous people who promised to assist the young man. 

Through the whole video clip, notice how humble and in awe Ibrahim remained. I am so proud of him and mightily impressed by him. Nigerians should take a cue from Ibrahim's actions. Say no to stealing, looting, corruptions, lies, wickedness and other such vices. We can make this country great again and it's not rocket science to do this. It begins with YOU and I, individually and then collectively. I know there are still many men and women of integrity such as Ibrahim, and I really hope they can spread such virtues till it rubs off on all of us, home and abroad.

Some people may marvel at the way in which this young man's action is being celebrated, but you see, when you live in a country as corrupt and morally bankrupt as Nigeria, this is worth celebrating. :)


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Song Of The Week, A Sad Story, And Then Some.

Happy weekend folks! I have been looking forward to having such a lazy morning as I'm having right now for a while now. Phew! Talk about being overworked but loving it, lol. I'm a closet workaholic, it appears.

I had such a busy and rough week, made tougher with the news of the demise of a friend of mine. She was such a brilliant, happy and equally hardworking young lady. I still can't believe she's gone, just like that. I hate that death can be so final and unexpected, and we never get to see those we love again when they pass on. I hate the suspense of not knowing for sure what's happening on the 'other side'. Her death hurt me, cut through me and made me really sad. Her passing made me question why the heck we hustle and bustle anyways when we are all going to die at some point anyways. I'm still kind of hoping I'd get a reply to my emails to her or perhaps a call and her cheery voice laughingly telling me it's all been a mix up. Sigh. Rest in peace sweet Yemmie. 

Birthday shoutout to my darling sister Feyi. I wish you all the goodness, peace and joy you can have. Love you sis. 

I got hooked on the song below this week after I heard it fleetingly on the radio last week. Jidenna is indeed a classic man as he belts out this absolutely soothing melodious song titled Bambi. He deserves an award for this one. And did I mention his dressing is always on pointy point? Way to go bruv.

Enjoy the song, video and your weekend.