Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Identity

2010 (or thereabout , according to the christian era) years ago, when the veil was rent in the temple from the top to the bottom as Jesus was crucified, access was opened to the Father directly. No more alfa, alufa, Sango, Amadioha, Ogun and the many small gods which men devised as a means of approaching the Almighty God (who they claimed was too mighty/awesome to be approached by mere mortals). The significance of this is that you and I have DIRECT access to God through Jesus (who made it possible by becoming a substitute (or ransom) for our sinful nature and we can become his righteousness (what God sees in us). It takes conviction and realization, repentance (of sins) and acceptance (of the righteousness of Jesus) to have this access. At that moment, a Father-Child relationship (no matter how young or how old one is, an adage says you remain a child to your parents) develops. The Father reveals who you are, what you have been created for, why you are here (purpose), what you ought to do; those age long questions in the hearts of many. He teaches us many things a loving Father will teach his child and demonstrate his love in good and bad times (according to human definition of events).

Some years back, I acknowledged my sins, confessed them with a repentant heart (heart desirous of living a righteous life) and accepted the gift of salvation with a new identity: a child of God, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar person (indeed), a holy nation, and started showing forth the praises of him who has called me out of darkness (yes because there was no light in my life and I stumbled on in life) into the kingdom of his dear son. As we grow in this relationship, illumination comes, we begin to understand his words as his spirit guide us into all truths. It then means we begin to live with power, love and devoid of fear (with a sound mind). Our lives become a living testimony as many begin to appreciate that you do not bow to carved images, human demi-gods, woods, water, etc but power is made available to you. This is because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (you, yes you once you enter into this relationship) avails much and makes tremendous power available.

The love of God casts out all fear and you live free (with a consciousness of who you are but not abused freedom mind you). That decision to cry out to God changed the course of my life. I have made many mistakes (right after salvation and even up till now) but the very essence of the relationship has not changed. Most of the mistakes could be attributed to childishness, outright disobedience and immaturity but they have helped to mould me in the course of my growth and development. I am still a work-in-progress just like they say “excellence is not a past achievement but rather a journey – a never ending process”. I desire more of God, righteousness, love and the virtues esteemed by the bible.

How then do you enter into this relationship? Just acknowledge your sins (we are all sinners “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”), genuinely repent of them in your heart (it’s important not to pay lip-service here (God is not Nigerian and he is not mocked), accept the salvation that Jesus brought through his death and the victory over death through his being raised up again, invite God to be the chairman of the ceremony of your life. It is a simple act of faith (believing without seeing) but it is as real as being alive.

Enjoy your new found identity!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My China made Flashlight

I have this rechargeable flashlight (China has done us many wonders y’see) or torchlight as we commonly call it here which you can easily get in any market or supermarket around for just about N400. The average lifespan of this flashlight is about 6-9 months as I have come to observe having changed about 4 so far. The present one in use is yellow in colour, small of about 10cm. Unlike the ones of old, you don’t need to change batteries, all you do is charge it like your regular handsets and the charge is replenished. Recently though, this torchlight gives very dull illumination no matter how much electrical charge goes into it (it’s close to its RIP age I guess). What prompted me to write about it is the fact that this morning, on waking at about 5am, I picked it up and with the dull illumination, I still managed to see and move around. The point is: Light, no matter how small kicks out darkness and reveals the path so one doesn’t stumble. It is however preferable for the light to be very bright (like when I just bought the item), then it shines to cover a larger sphere and reveal more clearly without casting many shadows unlike when the light is dull.
Jesus taught his disciples in Matt 5 saying “A city that is set on a hill, cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (or a flashlight in my own case) and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick (hold it up with hands) and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven”. Interesting thing about the Christian light is that the electrical charge is supernatural and the torchlight cannot expire until the Almighty say it’s time. So I arise and shine for my light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon me. I shine brightly without shame, fear, or favour. What about you?

My China made Flashlight

I have this rechargeable flashlight (China has done us many wonders y’see) or torchlight as we commonly call it here which you can easily get in any market or supermarket around for just about N400. The average lifespan of this flashlight is about 6-9 months as I have come to observe having changed about 4 so far. The present one in use is yellow in colour, small of about 10cm. Unlike the ones of old, you don’t need to change batteries, all you do is charge it like your regular handsets and the charge is replenished. Recently though, this torchlight gives very dull illumination no matter how much electrical charge goes into it (it’s close to its RIP age I guess). What prompted me to write about it is the fact that this morning, on waking at about 5am, I picked it up and with the dull illumination, I still managed to see and move around. The point is: Light, no matter how small kicks out darkness and reveals the path so one doesn’t stumble. It is however preferable for the light to be very bright (like when I just bought the item), then it shines to cover a larger sphere and reveal more clearly without casting many shadows unlike when the light is dull.
Jesus taught his disciples in Matt 5 saying “A city that is set on a hill, cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (or a flashlight in my own case) and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick (hold it up with hands) and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven”. Interesting thing about the Christian light is that the electrical charge is supernatural and the torchlight cannot expire until the Almighty say it’s time. So I arise and shine for my light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon me. I shine brightly without shame, fear, or favour. What about you?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My childhood longing

When I was young, I remember we all (my siblings, friends, relatives and even parents) used to fantasize about traveling to “Oyibo land” (overseas). Back then, my elder brother had found his way to the UK and used to send lovely items and photos from time to time. It was a good feeling of hope….that someday I will get to that beautiful land where there are many beautiful structures, places, flowers, roads, food (cheap) etc. Nowadays though, I see pictures of people who have visited one European/American/Asian country but that longing has completely changed. Though plans are underway to go for vacation in the very near future, the longing currently in my ‘little mind” is a longing for things to change right here where we call our dear own country. Lagos has kept the hope alive for this longing. Within a space of 4yrs, there has been tremendous transformations within the metropolis.Cross River also. I wished that the tables could turn so that the “oyibos’ can long to travel to Africa (Nigeria) like I used to when I was a little child.
Dreams do come true, I believe.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Do you respect me for the money or the values?

I pen this down after so much inner questions and tumultuous arguments with a couple of friends.
I said to a friend I have a problem with some certain elderly men and women in my church and around my neighbourhood where I live constantly trying to show respect (I mean constantly till I started to think it as normal and right) to me by using ‘ma’ in almost every sentence (I’m not exaggerating ). I was a little uncomfortable  about this and spoke to a friend about it. My friend told me that it was more of a ‘yoruba” culture thingy and went further to say that the particular tribe of the geographical area where I live do that to show respect. I then thought to myself, what exactly are they respecting this much?(in my usual questioning ‘default’ mode). Could it be the car, dressing, or nice apartment? To say the least. Then I considered that maybe it was the values but I reckoned it was hard for anyone to know the values that I hold on our first or second or even third meeting. Then I begin to observe that it was more common than I had imagined. At first I wanted to correct a woman (who was closer to me) but after seeking the advice of a friend, I relaxed and went with the flow (this friend said don’t do it). My friend said it was their culture. I remember growing up in Ilorin (kwara state) and I don’t think I had seen any of this so –called ‘culture’’. People who were younger generally used ma or sir for the elderly and not the other way round. At least this is what I observed.
I began questioning and probing, someone said to me, wouldn’t you rather be respected like that but I said I wasn’t comfortable with that kind of respect. Because I seemingly have more money than you does not make me more respectable I replied. The fellow said “olorun a je ki won ma se yes ma/sir si mi titi lai which translates ‘May God cause them to continually respect me using yes ma/sir forever). I just kept quiet but I still felt some basic things were wrong. I imagined being a candidate for the coming elections. All I needed to do was put up the campaign posters and give these people some gifts like Ankara or cheap lace which my opponent might not be able to afford. I am 100% certain I’ll garner most of (if not all) the votes. Does it mean I will fulfill my promises to the people? Does it automatically translate to my accountability in office? No. One, for me to lure them with material thing on the one hand has shown that I lack principles and might have felt I do not have the qualification required and want to just show off like many of our politicians today. On the other hand, for those people to collect t he gift and still give me their votes only shows how small minded and materialistic they are. Questions should be asked (honestly). What do you do to earn the money? What have you done before now? Who were your parents? (Honestly I will find it difficult to vote for an Abacha or Babangida offspring). What values do you hold as right? Do you imbibe them as well? What capacities have shown that you do? By the time these questions have been honestly asked and answered, the true worth of the individual will show. Only then should they decide to give (or not) me their votes. I will attribute the behavior of this set of people to poverty and ignorance. But I will say Ignorance (and little mindedness) takes the major part. What they obviously are not seeing (or try not to see) is that if the conditions were right, they could also earn for themselves (if not them, their children) enough to live comfortably without having to lick someone’s butt. More so, if peradventure they were unsuccessful, they would have helped to provide that enabling environment for their own next generation (there’s a saying that 7 generations must not know poverty). I begin to think then that does being poor mean you can not hold right values? Does it mean you can not ask questions? Or is it more of selfishness and greed to gain something for the now without considering tomorrow? I’m still doing my research but I tell you there is need for some grassroot enlightenment (which I’m considering as a project) to charge our older generations to go back to the right values so they can hand them down to the younger ones again like it used to be. We have completely lost it but all hopes is not lost, we can start all over again. Hold unto it, talk about it, stand up for it, teach it, be willing to die for it (whether u die for it or not, you still get to die someday huh?)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Qualities of Great Leaders

Here are 11 attributes of great leaders, as well as the 10 major causes of failure in leadership, as described by Napoleon Hill in Think & Grow Rich.

Starting with the 11 attributes of great leaders...

Based upon knowledge of self and of one's occupation. No follower wishes to be influenced by a leader who lacks self-confidence andcourage. No intelligent follower will be following such a leader very long.

A person who cannot control himself or herself, can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one's followers,which the more intelligent will emulate.

Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of her followers.

A person who wavers in his decisions, shows that he is not sure of himself. He cannot lead others successfully.

The successful leader must plan her work, and work her plan. A leader who moves by guesswork, without practical, definite plans, is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later she will land on the rocks.

One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness,upon the part of the leader, to do more than he requires of hisfollowers

No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader.Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect a leader who does not grade high on all of the factors of a Pleasing Personality.

The successful leader must be in sympathy with her followers. Moreover, she must understand them and their problems.

Successful leadership calls for mastery of details of the leader'sposition.

The successful leader must be willing to assume responsibility forthe mistakes and the shortcomings of his followers. If he tries to shift this responsibility, he will not remain the leader. If one of his followers makes a mistake, and shows himself incompetent, the leader must consider that it is he who failed.

The successful leader must understand, and apply the principle ofcooperative effort and be able to induce her followers to do the same. Leadership calls for POWER, and power calls for COOPERATION.

*** 10 Major Causes of Failure In Leadership ***
  Now a look at the 10 major causes of failure inleadership... When it comes to leadership, it's just as important to know what NOT TO DO as it is to know what to do.

Efficient leadership calls for ability to organize and to masterdetails. No genuine leader is ever "too busy" to do anything whichmay be required of her in his capacity as leader. The successful leader must be the master of all details connected with hisposition. That means, of course, that he must acquire the habit ofrelegating details to capable lieutenants.

Truly great leaders are willing, when the situation demands, toperform any sort of task which they would ask another to perform.

The world does not pay people for that which they "know." It pays them for what they DO, or influence others to do.

The leader who fears that one of her followers may take her position is practically sure to realize that fear sooner or later.The able leader trains understudies to whom he may delegate, at will, any of the details of his position. Only in this way may a leader multiply himself and prepare himself to be at many places, and give attention to many things at one time.
It is an eternal truth that people receive more pay for theirABILITY TO GET OTHERS TO PERFORM, than they could possibly earn bytheir own efforts. An efficient leader may, through her knowledge of her job and the magnetism of her personality, greatly increase the efficiency of others, and induce them to render more service and better service than they could render without her aid.

Without imagination, the leader is incapable of meetingemergencies, and of creating plans by which to guide his followersefficiently.

The leader who claims all the honor for the work of her followers, is sure to be met by resentment. The really great leader CLAIMS NONE OF THE HONORS. She is contented to see the honors, when there are any, go to her followers, because she knows that most people will work harder for commendation and recognition than they will for money alone.

Followers do not respect an intemperate leader. Moreover,intemperance in any of its various forms, destroys the endurance and the vitality of all who indulge in it.

Perhaps this should have come at the head of the list. The leader who is not loyal to his trust, and to his associates, those above him, and those below him, cannot long maintain his leadership. Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life.

The efficient leader leads by encouraging, and not by trying to instill fear in the hearts of her followers. The leader who tries to impress her followers with his "authority" comes within the category of leadership through FORCE. A real leader will have no need to advertise that fact except by example -- sympathy,understanding, fairness, and a demonstration of expertise on the job.

Competent leaders don't need a fancy "title" to win the respect of his followers. People who make too much of their titles generally have little else to emphasize.

These are among the more common of the causes of failure inleadership. Any one of these faults is sufficient to produce failure. Study the list carefully if you want to become a leader in your career, business or field, and make sure that you are free of these faults.

Action Exercise
Pick one of these areas that represents a "weak link" in your leadership skills and resolve to do something about it.

Have a great week!

Culled from Rodger Constandse (Goals to Action)

Boiled seeds don't sprout

A colleague sent this mail and I thot it's worth sharing. Read on

An aging king woke up one day to the realization that should he drop dead, there would be no male in the royal family to take his place.

He was the last male in the royal family in a culture where only a male could succeed to the throne - and he was aging.

He decided that if he could not give birth to a male, he would adopt a son who then could take his place but he insisted that such an adopted son must be extraordinary in every sense of the word.

So he launched a competition in his kingdom, open to all boys, no matter what their background. Ten boys made it to the very top.

There was little to separate these boys in terms of intelligence and physical attributes and capabilities.

The king said to them, 'I have one last test and whoever comes top will become my adopted son and heir to my throne.' Then he said, 'This kingdom depends solely on agriculture.

So the king must know how to cultivate plants. So here is a seed of corn for each of you.

Take it home and plant and nurture it for three weeks. At the end of three weeks, we shall see who has done the best job of cultivating the seed. That person will be my heir-apparent. '

The boys took their seeds and hurried home. They each got a flower pot and planted the seed as soon as they got home.

There was much excitement in the kingdom as the people waited with bated breath to see who was destined to be their next king.

In one home, the boy and his parents were almost heartbroken when after days of intense care, the seed failed to sprout.

He did not know what had gone wrong with his. He had selected the soil carefully, he had applied the right quantity and type of fertilizer, he had been very dutiful in watering it at the right intervals, he had even prayed over it day and night and yet his seed had turned out to be unproductive.

Some of his friends advised him to go and buy a seed from the market and plant that.

'After all,' they said, 'how can anyone tell one seed of corn from another?' But his parents who had always taught him the value of integrity reminded him that if the king wanted them to plant any corn, he would have asked them to go for their own seed. 'If you take anything different from what the king gave you that would be dishonesty.

Maybe we are not destined for the throne. If so, let it be but don't be found to have deceived the king,' they told him.

The d-day came and the boys returned to the palace each of them proudly exhibiting a very fine corn seedling.

It was obvious that the other nine boys had had great success with their seeds.

The king began making his way down the line of eager boys and asked each of them, 'Is this what came out of the seed I gave you?' And each boy responded, 'Yes, your majesty.' And the king would nod and move down the line.

The king finally got to the last boy in the line-up.

The boy was shaking with fear. He knew that the king was going to have him thrown into prison for wasting his seed.

'What did you do with the seed I gave you?' the king asked.

'I planted it and cared for it diligently, your majesty, but alas it failed to sprout.' the boy said tearfully as the crowd booed him.

But the king raised his hands and signaled for silence. Then he said, 'My people behold your next king.' The people were confused. 'Why that one?' many asked.

'How can he be the right choice?' The king took his place on his throne with the boy by his side and said, 'I gave these boys boiled seeds. This test was not for cultivating corn.

It was the test of character; a test of integrity. It was the ultimate test.

If a king must have one quality, it must be that he should be above dishonesty.

Only this boy passed the test. A boiled seed cannot sprout.' Never!!

We live in a society that has become obsessed with success and many show success at any cost.

We say the end justifies the means. It is the tragedy of life.

You see, failure often is an invitation to God to show that he is all powerful and does not need help to make us great or to bless us.

You know, sometimes God looks for people who will trust him completely no matter what so he could show the world that it is not by might or by power but by his spirit.

God sometimes ordains failure. But many seek to circumvent divinely ordained failure by resorting to dubious means.

When a civil servant builds a big house and sends his five children to expensive schools when he does not have a second source of income, is that not a case of a boiled seed sprouting?

When a minister of state is able to sustain a lavish mistress and at the same time put up houses from his income as minister, is that not a case of a boiled seed coming to life?

Or a President of millions of poverty stricken people can build up world class private secondary school and university, within a short time, able to sustain numerous wives/concubines and fathered and educated about 45 children, own vast farm lands all over the country, travel round the world at an average of one trip per month, while the people of his country remain the poorest in the world! That is a case of boiled seed yielding hundred folds

We should stop cheering rogues in WORLD!.

Boiled seed does not sprout. Never!!!

Next time you see a successful person, find out what kind of seed he was given and ask him, 'how come your boiled seed has sprouted (if you know indeed he became rich through deceit).

God Bless You.

Sexual immaturity

Apart from religious crisis rocking our world, the crisis emanating from sexual irresponsibility as a result of men not being able (or unwilling) to tame the beast between their legs and women going to lengths to ensure this is so is what will eventually bring the world to pieces.

Looking back at the unit of the society – the family, I ask the question, who are the stakeholders? Firstly, the man and the woman (who fell in love at some point in their lives and decided to spend the rest of their lives together), then the totality of those who attended the wedding ceremony or who knew the change in status of the both of them.

I once read that the ability to delay gratification is a sign of emotional and social maturity but in this generation, the craze for instant gratification is insatiable. There was a video clip which was going round the net some few weeks back about an Edo-based Benin lecturer who went to one of his student's apartment off campus for the usual dose only to be disgraced and extorted. Unfortunately for him, the girl had connived with some campus guys to expose him because he failed her in one of the courses (or did not pass her as much as she wanted). The man was made to remove his trousers and made to sign a cheque for 'the boys' and the lady. It was a very embarrassing clip to say the least. I then wondered what his wife and children will think/do/say/feel. The shame of this man's irresponsibility is borne not only by him but by his entire family. A lifetime of achievement destroyed by some few minutes of foolish randiness. If only we learn discipline, if only we learn that evil lurks around and we take watch like the books of Proverbs advised the young man 'Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house' (Prov 5:8). If only we can 'flee' from every appearances as these, then our lives and those of loved ones will be much happier and stress-less.
But much of the corrupt acts which has held us captive as a developing nation stem from the goal of having 'more than enough' to satisfy this thirst for instant gratification (women at your beck and call because you can afford to give them those mundane things they desire, toys which you have no need of, etc)

High ranking and low cadre officers are all culprits of these irresponsible acts; many of these men being legally married. The question that comes to mind is 'do men talk about honest truths when they sit down to 'gist'? They would rather drown their conscience with alcohol and 'make their eyes dirty' a la Nice. Men prefer to stay on the 'surface' rather than talk about real truths. They stay on this level because they are too afraid to confront real issues. They hide that part in silence and hope 'everything will be fine'. They block out concerns through hours of mind-numbing television viewing (football), Internet surfing or computer games. How can it be well? I haven't heard of such magic just yet. It's impossible to hide a time bomb underneath your shirt and expect all to be well. I guess one of the reasons for the unexplainable craze for football is because of this fact. So will such a man claim to be mature even though he has clocked 40? What distinguishes such man from an adolescent young man who is yet to come to terms with the raging hormones which he doesn't understand?

Men will prefer to spend carelessly (without long term thought/planning) in order to satisfy their 'big ego', most especially in pleasing the cause of a strange woman. Some men go to lengths to show off what new 'toy' they have just purchased to get their friends jealous. These friends then get the motivation to scout for money to be able to get that toy for themselves too (even the latest version of it). What a cycle???
In scouting for this money, they won't mind changing the figures on the account sheet of the company, conniving with a supplier of goods to inflate prices or over-quoting for services, awarding contracts to family members or friends who are not qualified to do the job, joining themselves to a 'do or die' political party, sabotaging national interest for individual ones, ......... you can add more to this 'normal' acts. How long more then?

I then wonder, can these men teach their children discipline? Can they expect their children to turn out responsible individuals? Will that not amount to double standards?? Let's not leave leprosy and concentrate efforts on curing ring worm like the Yoruba adage says. The issues which stem from these aforementioned behaviours are far too important to be destroyed on the altar of 'ego'.

These are some of my recent musings. I wonder whether there will be an end to these ills. The things of honour have been turned to dishonour while dishonourable now occupies the space in the dictionary where honour used to be. May God help us all.

Guarding the slab

There was an army barracks that had on its duty roster 4 soldiers to guard at all times a concrete slab in front of the barracks. The soldiers changed shifts guarding the slabs for many years. Different commanders came and went and the tradition continued. . obsolete?

After many years, a new commander was assigned to the barracks. Amongst the things he did was asking why things were done the way they were. When he asked why soldiers were guarding the slab, he was told, “We’ve always done it this way. It’s our tradition. Our former commanders instructed us to do that.” The commander was adamant on finding out why. 
He went to the archives to look for answers and he came across a document that had the explanation. The document was very old. It had instructions written by one of the retired commanders who had even passed away. The new commander learnt that over 80 years ago, the barracks wanted to build a platform where events could be performed. When the concrete slab was laid, wild animals walked over it at night before the slab would dry. The soldiers would fix it the next morning but when evening came the same thing would happen. So the commander ordered that 4 soldiers should guard the concrete slab for 3 weeks to allow it to dry. 
The following week the commander was transferred to another post and a new commander was brought in. The new commander found the routine and enforced it and every commander that came did the same. Eighty years later the barracks continued guarding a concrete slab.
What beliefs, attitudes, traditions have you carried on that were relevant to certain people or a certain time and they are still being carried out by you? Is your opinion about yourself, people of a different race, the opposite sex, certain business opportunities, new products etc

Question the status quo.

Don’t accept – THAT’S THE WAY WE DO IT.

Let’s initiate change!!!

My thoughts about Football

Anytime I watch the premiership/LA Liga/Champions leagues (once in while when I join hubby to watch his favourite matches particularly that of his club – Manchester United (I have to quickly mention here that I became a Man U fan by marriage… lol)), what comes to mind is how much the young Europeans/South American/British have been empowered by that ball played by foot. From ages ranging mainly between 18-26 , you find the most priced players who are usually the best in their leagues. Earnings ranging from 25,000 – 30,000 pounds a week for regular players and a range of 60,000 - - 150000 pounds per week for some exceptions.

I sat back down and wondered about the Nigerian fans mostly within the age bracket of 25 – 40 years how many of these fans have been so empowered; how many have grown up with half the opportunities these young footballers have?
The craze for or passion (if you like) with which Nigerians (both literate and illiterate alike) follow up on this game is sometimes maddening. I think to myself and I do not think I’m wrong (I stand corrected) that most of these Nigerians/Africans have given up on their own nation’s providence and thus turn away to put their passions into just watching (and be entertained) with admiration young footballers in order to numb real issues that beg their attentions which might challenge their minds and the status quo.

A typical Chelsea fan knows all the players by their first and second name; knows their substitutes, each player’s play history in terms of which club they had played for and how much they earned and presently earn. They can predict the player’s next career move and I sometimes wonder how accurate some of the predictions turn out. I then imagine who knows about Nigerian league players. If at all anyone does know, to what extent? The answer is very simple and easy to point out. Our home-based players are not recognised or celebrated simply because they haven’t been empowered like their European counterparts.

Why so I’d ask further? Because of the nation’s poor economy as well as leadership and followership problems. A country which does not care for the newly born, the children, the youth nor the aged. The only way these young minds (and some retired minds) keep busy is to develop a passion for what is entertaining but well beyond their reach. Such passion as I’ve seen many men (and some few women) demonstrate. We have heard of fans killing/maiming and injuring one another over a match right here in this nation while the match was being played in Europe and the players do not as much as get wind of such events. During a discussion with a friend, I asked whether it was possible for a young man to show passion for something asides football such as nation building, marriage, business, work and what she thought would be the impact. She merely laughed and said she had wondered about it sometimes also.

If these young men could come to a realization of the possibilities that lie right in their backyards. If they could imagine a better society which could turn them to stars in and outside the country, just maybe their approach to football will take on a fresh perspective.
A young Nigerian player earning a million naira (which is just about 4000 pounds) monthly for playing soccer would change his socio-economic status and that of his immediate family and further to the extended family. This will in turn translate to an empowered family, society and economy. But the young men of this generation (save for a few who have started realizing this) have long given up hope of a better society in Nigeria. Many young graduates who work in banks can hardly boast of 200, 000 naira monthly. And with the current situation in the country, that money can barely maintain him (and possible his wife and child (if married), talk more of supporting a brother or a sister. In every society though, there will always be those who will pursue education, some whose natural inclination is to sport and some who have entrepreneurial spirit.

The essence of this write-up is to stir up the young minds of this nation to begin to see the possibilities which abound and begin to critically think about how to make them happen because the future is in our hands. If we can develop a passion for development, growth, leadership and improved standard of living, we might then get inspired to do the necessary duties which will take us to that envisioned future. If men would sit together (maybe after a football match) and critically analyse the problems we face and proffer actionable actions which each person can start carrying out in their own corner of the society, just maybe some real change might come forth out of it. It’s no use complaining and watching some old men run our collective lives when we are much younger, more energetic, more intelligent and have technology to our advantage. This is a call to the young men (and women) to stand up to more serious issues (and do something about them) which affects us more than just mere entertainment.

I imagine an Eyimba player who earns 1million naira (the least paid) and I imagine the ripple effect of that wealth on his family and community. Many youths would be empowered  and would desists from militancy, theft, armed robbery, thuggery, cultism and kidnapping as a means of livelihood but will readily delight in doing a job which puts them on TV and the possibility of developing a fan base across the globe (fame) while their families are well provided for by their earnings.

I have always known that Nigerians have much more potential than they think they possess and if given the right opportunities (such as an equal playing field on the football field) to discover their talents and groom it. Examples are Mikel Obi, Taye Taiwo, Kanu Nwankwo and so many other Nigerians who have shown the whole world that they are in no way inferior to their European counterparts. I'm not saying people should not watch football but I'm saying that just a little passion should be taken off football for some of our never-ending problems (it does have an end if people are ready to fight for positive change)

Leadership has failed its duties to us as citizens but now is time for the followers to restore hope for its future. I think everyone ought to start looking at the view of a transformed Nigeria so that they might be inspired to take a stance to do something to achieve it (as well as encourage people around them). As for me, I have started making people around me conscious of the coming elections (I engage them in such discussions to hear their views and orient some misinformed persons). Come 2011, I will register and I will vote the “right” candidate based on character, past achievements and vision. I will get involved with projects which inspire and encourage the development of the grassroots. I will SPEAK out against wrongdoing wherever I am. I will STAND UP for justice, equity and fairness everywhere and every time. I will help to build rather than destroy this nation in my own little way. I will uphold her honour and glory.. So help me God.
What do you say?

When Will I Ever Get Caught Up With Everything That I Need To Do?

 Hey there,

Have you ever felt that you could spend your entire lifeworking on one task after another and never get done? That's avery common feeling... and you know what, you are absolutelyright!

  We live in a time when there is more stuff to do than anyonecould possibly accomplish in an entire lifetime.

  If you think that one day you'll finally get caught up,completely empty your backlog and be left with nothing more todo,

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but that day will NEVERcome... there's always more stuff you could do.
  Just think about all the books that are available for you toread. You could spend your entire life reading one book after another and never get done reading them all.

My goal here is not to depress you, but to help you thinkabout your tasks in a new and more productive way. To realizethat just because you CAN do something doesn't necessarily meanthat you'd want to or even that you should.

 Effective time managers KNOW that they can't possibly doeverything that is available for them to do... so they don't eventry.

  Instead of trying to do everything, effective time managersfind good, worthwhile things to do, things that can really make adifference in their life and career, and focus their limitedamount of time doing those things quickly and well.
  This means that you have to be willing to make difficultchoices, to stop doing some things so you can focus your time on better things instead.

 Your ability to find these worthwhile things to do, the onesthat can really make a difference, and distinguish them from thelow value busywork that doesn't really matter that much is one ofthe key factors that determines how well you manage your time.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help you get started with the process:

1) Make a written list of your main work responsibilities rightnow
  What is your job right now? What are the different areas where you can make a difference? What do you need to work on to produce excellent results?
  This list will help you think about all the ways that youcould be spending your time. It's very difficult to do this type of analysis in your head, so put it in writing and make it as detailed as you need to.
For example, a small business owner may come up with a list like this:
  1. Provide excellent service to my existing customers
  2. Develop new products & services that my customers want
  3. Generate new leads for my business
  4. Convert more prospects into customers
  5. Develop and train employees
  6. Develop business systems and processes
  7. Strategic planning
  Then he or she could break up each one into more detailed responsibilities involved in each area.
  The point of this exercise is to help you see all thedifferent ways that you could be spending your time so you can recognize the most valuable ones.
  You can use this as a checklist to help you think of specific projects that you can work on right now that will make the most difference and will help you produce excellent results.

2) KNOW that you can't do everything
  When you first make a list like this, you might feel totally overwhelmed and feel that you can't possibly do it all... and you are right, you can't.
  The point of this exercise is not to make you feel that youhave even more things to do than you did before, but to help you find the BEST uses of your time right now.
  Since you can't do everything, you have to DECIDE what is most important for you to do right now. Which of these areas would make the most difference? Which ones do YOU need to spend yourtime on right now? Which ones do you need to delegate to your team?
  You then need to come up with specific, actionable projects that you can work on right now to make a difference... Not in allof these areas at once, in just a FEW of them. The most vitalones. The critical ones.
  Instead of trying to do it all, or spread yourself too thin over too many different things at once, select a FEW specific projects with clearly defined outcomes and focus most of yourtime on them for the next couple of weeks (or even months.)
  Then, as you make progress and complete some of these projects, you can slowly bring in some of the other areas that make sense.
  Just keep asking yourself "What is the most valuable use of my time right now?" and "What can I do right now that will make the most difference in my long-term results?"
  Use the list that you made in step 1 as your checklist as youask these questions and they will help you find the best projectsto work on right now.

3) MAKE time for these high-value projects
  Then you need to start making time for these few, vital,high-value projects that you've identified.
  Since you know that you can't do everything, you'll have tomake room for these important projects by NOT doing some otherthings that you might have done otherwise.
  What are you going to stop doing? What are you going to giveup? What are you going to delay or postpone to make room forthese important projects?
  One way to make time for your most important projects is to remember the story of the big rocks in the jar. You can make timefor your most important projects by putting them in your schedule first, and then allowing all the other busywork to fill the gaps.
  How much time do you need to spend on these high-valueprojects each week?
  Make a committed decision to spend at least 2 hours each day(preferably the first two hours) working on these high-value projects. Then add more hours as you can.

Have a great week!

Culled from "Goals to Action" Time Management by Rodger Constandse

As good as it gets

As good as facebook is (it is actually a wonderful innovation), it takes a lot of discipline (speaking from experience) on a daily basis to quickly look through my profile, read some eye catching comments, respond to some, put new photos that I itch for my friends to see, send a message and then get back to the day’s activities, particularly in the mornings. I therefore decided that I will limit myself to changing my status message, check inbox, check my profile for comments, accept or decline friend request for the early hours as much as I resist the urge to keep on checking every other interesting notes, items for sale, comments, photos. I will then come back after I might have done major tasks and check out the intersting stuffs on fb in my free time. I mean you can spend a whole day doing this without knowing that the clock has ticked from 8:00 – 12:00 and before you know it, it’s time to go home. But if we clearly have our tasks arranged/scheduled and develop good time management skills, we won’t fall prey to this temptation. One fact I always try to remind myself is that facebook does not pay me (unlike some people who sell wares online, they can actually be on fb 24 hrs becos that's his what puts food on their table), rather my employer does. It’s a privilege that we enjoy (some companies do not allow face booking at all). Employers must be having a hard time with this issue. I hear some companies are putting restrictions. What I think we all need is to learn to do primary duties FIRST (priority) and secondary issues (which social networking falls into) second. If not we might abuse the opportunities to keep tab on our friends, (ha, yes and enemies) and loved ones.

A people that value its privileges above its principles soon loses both
                                                                                  Dwight David Eisenhower (34th President of the US)

Thank God for my shoes - they fit.

I woke up one day and I realised that there were many things about my life, I was not satisfied with or better still, there were challenges that were threatening my soul.
And I said to myself, "Why should anyone envy me and want to be in my shoes."  
They don't know how far I've come, they don't know what lies ahead of me, and neither do they know how dissatisfied I get with myself from time to time.

People don't know the troubles that you've had or the price you had to pay to get to where you are.
All they want to know is that they wish they were like you. 
Why should you wish you were in anybody's shoes when you hardly know how they fit?    
When you've worn your shoes for a while, they take the shape of your feet and align to the way you walk.   
If you were to wear my shoes, you will not be comfortable in them.   

So I stopped wishing that I am in someone else shoes because it might not fit; rather I thank God for my shoes, because they fit!
I have learnt to be the best in what I do, and I know no-one can replace me anywhere & in any sphere.  

I am an original, my God is not in the cloning business He makes Originals.
Make the best of what you do; besides you have this beautiful life to live ONLY ONCE.   
Live it to the fullest.

My shoes... they fit

To thine own self be true - truth sets free indeed

To thine own self be true…..”

Most of us are familiar with the above quote taking from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but how many of us know this verse:  “And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou can not then be false to any man.”  Unless we can be true to ourselves first, we cannot be true to others.

To thine own self be true… profound.  How many of us have a hard time being true to ourselves?  Those of us that gave our life to another at the cost of loosing who we are in the process will have a hard time being true to ourselves.  Allowing someone else to define who we are, we lose our ability to discover and grow inwardly.  We no longer are able to discern a truth from a lie.  For many of us, we have accepted lies for so long, that finding out what is true takes time. Having done this very thing, I know how difficult the journey to self-discovery can be.

Truth….truth is a word that brings out such negative reactions to many of us. You see truth is really an action word.  You cannot accept truth without change. Accepting truth about ourselves is difficult, especially to those of us who have been abused.  Buttruth does set one free if we will allow it to; it is a crucial part of healing.  It gives us the freedom to be who we are.  We are able to come to terms with our weakness (without condemnation) and appreciate our strength.  Truth gives strength; it naturally builds healthy boundaries.  Truth is open; it is honest even at the risk of being vulnerable again.  Truth is light and brings forth life.  When we walk in truth, we walk in light and when we walk in light we live a healthy life.

Truth is also love.  The greatest act of love towards another is living a life that is truthful.  For those of us who find it difficult to love ourselves, we will find it will come more easily when we walk in truth about who we are.  If we walk in truth, we walk in perfect love, and if we walk in perfect love, then we do not walk in fear because perfect love cast out fear.  Because we have been honest with ourselves, we are able to love ourselves with all of our imperfections, knowing that we are in “process” and therefore need not have others approval.  This is freedom indeed.

The second part of this verse is a natural occurrence if we hold true to the first part of the verse.  So, when in doubt as to our motives of not being truthful with someone….look inside, are we being less than truthful to ourselves?

”This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”                       

culled from the writings of Dr Irene

There are two kinds of people.

There are those people who expect to get anything they want from life through hard work and their own honest effort.  These people are honest, hardworking and self- reliant.  These people believe in putting seeds into the ground, weeding it, watering it, wading of pests from devouring the seeds/plants.

And then there is a very different type of person. This is the person who expects to get those things he/she wants in life by lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating, undermining the first type of people, etc. (i.e. by whatever devious scheme or trick he can devise for getting them). This person also believe in putting in seeds into the ground, but lack the will/desire to weed, water, guard the seeds. This person also teaches others to do so. When this type of person sees the fruits ripening on the plant of the first type of person, he/she is lured into "wanting' these fruits for him/her self. Hence, such persons will utilize the energy which they could not use to weed and water their own seeds to devise means of depriving the first type of persons of the fruits of their seeds.

The first person is an individual of integrity, character and discipline. The second is a person devoid of character; a lazy, unprincipled person who wants to get everything the easy way (without working for it) or by the shortest cut available. 

Underlying these two personalities are two opposing philosophies toward life.  The first person is actuated by a philosophy that  believes in integrity and moral law.  The second person is driven by a philosophy that accepts no moral law.

Which are you?

Caveat: It takes self-truth to be able to "honestly" evaluate oneself to determine this.

A customer service complaint

I recently made a trip to and from PH (from Lagos MM2) and I related my complaints to the customer service of Aero Contractors. Find below

I got an auto acknowledgement mail and the mail said I will be gotten back to. I await that sha. Do companies take these sort of complaints seriously? Are those suggestion boxes part of the decoration items?

 Dear Sir/Ma,

I am a customer who recently made a round way trip from Lagos to PH on the 9th of Dec and  from PH to Lagos on the 12th of Dec 2010. My trip on the 9th was scheduled for 1400 hrs but I ended up leaving the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MM2) at about 7.45pm to get to PH about 9pm. The person who was supposed to pick me up waited endlessly. The interesting part is that I had a 9 mos old infant to travel with. As I got to the airport (MM2) at about 1pm (in good time), I was told to confirm the flight at the teller point. The lady at the desk checked my booking ref and told me the flight had been moved to 5.30pm with no explanations to offer. As I had a mission for my travel, I had no choice but to wait. I was checked in and I waited patiently with my little boy at the departure hall. At about 5.00pm, a friend of mine strolled along and he told me he was also going to PH. He then told me that he just bought the ticket (N17000) (I booked online like a month back). He said he was told the flight was for 5.30pm before he bought the ticket but after the purchase, he was told the flight has been changed to 6.10pm. Truthfully there was no announcement for any boarding for 5.30pm so we gisted on while we discussed about the poor customer service dished out by Aero. By 6.00pm, it was announced that there would be a 45mins delay. We ended up leaving about 7.45pm that day. My baby and I slept. I also read a book that I bought to while the time. The flight back to Lagos was more dramatic. On the evening prior to my departure day, I got a text message which said 'we regret to inform you that you will not be accomodated for the flight AJ 320 due to change in operating aircraft". My husband who joined us in PH on the 11th (his flight having been moved from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning) also got similar text message. While we wondered together what the text was supposed to mean (as it didn't mention any reschedule), a call came through for me from one of your staff asking me whether I received the sms. I replied in the affirmative and asked what was the remedy. She asked if I wouldn't mind travelling back on Monday morning to which I replied with a definite NO and also pointed to her that I had an infant with me. She was elusive in making a conrete arrangement for reschedule and told me to get to the airport as early as possible to "see what can be done". We tried to reach the number again but it didn't go through. As we discussed these inconsistences in services (myself, my husband, our host and his wife), we came to a conclusion that aero services was definitely poor. As early as 7am, we were at the airport. When my husband met the attendant, she expalined that there were no available spaces for the morning flight and also asked whether we could go on the Monday morning flight which we rejected. She then said that she could reschedule us for the flight for 7.45pm that evening. Well, since half a loaf is better than nothing, we agreed. We also met a female colleague who was in the same boat as us. Thankfully the driver for some of our friends (who were scheduled to fly at 10.45am) was still around, so he took us back into town. We wondered what we will do at the airport from 8am to 8pm (chei!). Most of the packed items for baby was exhausted, as I packed for the days appropriate number to ensure I have just enough luggage of needed items.

We slept, read, ate and montiored the clock for most part of the day. We left the house at 5.20pm for the airport. By 620 we were checked in. And the waiting game began again. By 7.30pm, an announcement came through that the aero flight to Lagos will arrive at 8pm. You could see the discontent, anger and boredom of the many who waited anxiously for this flight. By about 9pm, the aircraft took off to Lagos. We got to Lagos around past 10pm. As we do not stay in Lagos, we had to call a friend to stay in his house till the morning. We then journeyed back home as early as possible in time to make it to the office by 8.30am. Despite all these, I was thankful for a safe trip (in the spirit of optimism and thankfulness).

I have been able to relate my experience in a very clear manner just so you can feel my pulse and those of so many other passengers who flew on the flight with me those days and on many other days when these kinds of service has been dished to customers with no consideration for their missions, time, cash-on hand, infants, families, safety and, personalities. It's a Nigerian thing but some of us do not have those Nigerian mentalities and which is why I am sending this mail so you can reconsider your packages. If your company can not afford to make promotions, please do not do so. Why offer something you can't adequately make provisions for? What this is doing to your business in essence is that you will lose the ones who go for the promos as well as those who will buy the tickets at regular prices. Don' bite more than you can chew is an English proverb which you might well consider. Yes, agreed you have made it possible for many who might not be able to afford about N17000 to fly to their destinations through booking online well ahead of time but on the other hand, you have foiled their plans by changing the flights without considerations for these same people. A typical journey by road will take about 7hrs from PH to LAgos and if one leave in good time, you sure will get to Lagos while it is still daytime. I have personally resolved (with my husband) that we will not be doing Aero for any serious trips unless there is a change to alter that decision. I believe that somene is going to read this and take actions. It will do your company good.

Compliments of the Season!! 

Mary Ogungbola (Mrs)

 A flight passenger on flight AJ 316 PH to Lagos on the 12th of Dec 2010

Life is not a race but a journey.

Getting someplace first, before everyone else has very little real and lasting meaning. Seek instead to encourage others to come along and you’ll find the journey more fulfilling.

When we hurry through each moment, we miss out on the richness that could be ours.
Take the time to live, to experience where we are, rather than being so obsessed with getting to the next checkpoint

Yes it can be wonderfully exhilarating when life is moving very quickly. But do not move so quickly so that speed becomes our only experience, for there is so much more to enjoy.

The terrain of life is filled with wonderful and astounding details, slow down and take in its richness.

“culled from a mail I received”

Answers for all your questions . . .

I asked God to take away my pride, and God said, "No". He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, and God said, "No". He said her spirit is whole, but her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience, and God said, "No". He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation, it isn't granted, and it’s earned.

I asked God to give me happiness, and God said, "No". He said He gives blessings, but happiness is up to me. 

I asked God to spare me pain, and God said, "No". He said, "Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me."

I asked God to make my spirit grow, and God said, "No". He said I must grow on my own, but he would prune me to make me fruitful.

God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing.

In all your prayers and quests this year (2011), take some time to reflect on the truths above. Nothing good has ever come easy (save for the manna from heaven in the days of old), so determine to go through every situation of life with a confidence and complete trust in God that he is right beside you. Don't buy into instant miracle as preached nowadays but remember that the hand of the diligent will bear rule. Prov 22, 29 also says have you seen a  man diligent in his business? He will stand before kings and not mean men. Yes the race may not be to the swift but we know that the above scriptures admonished us to work hard at whatever we find our hands to do but to put our trust in God and not in man or some other things.

Remember, it is not enough to say happy new yr, but is the doer who is indeed blessed in their deeds.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Small (Tiny) Act

A small act is like a seed which can grow to become a big tree where the birds and passersby can have shade on a sunny day and whose fruits can also become trees. The multiplier effect of this is a forest (like the Amazon) being birthed.

Remember that song by Jack Greene?
"You got to try a little kindness
Show a little kindness,
Shine your light for everyone to see
And if you'll try a little kindness, then you'll overlook the blindness
of the narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded street"


The whole world is not at peace because most individuals in it are not at peace with themselves. So I say to you, if you've got a hold of it, guard it very jealously with everything you've got. Do not let any person, animal, place or thing snatch it from you. And may the peace of God which passes all understanding guard your heart and minds in  Christ Jesus. Good morning!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sorry baby no time for love

Sorry baby no time for love

This was a message on the rear of a truck that carried tubers of yam along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which I encountered as I travelled to Lagos recently. Trailers, tankers (petrol and diesel), trucks, buses (danfos and molues), taxis, big and small have these sorts of writings on stickers stuck to the outside of the windows and rears of the vehicles). Trust me, I will read anything that flashes across my eyes. So I usually will read the words on these vehicles anytime I travel, sort of like a habit. Some are very funny (and I will just chuckle or smile to myself), some misspelt, and some have letters missing (for those which have each letters affixed individually).

Typical phrases like “go on soun”, “jeun lo soke”, “ko sin kan”, “ekene dili chukwu”, “eni a fe lamo”, “where will you spend enternity?”, “Babangida”, “Are you ready”, “I dey Kampe”, “nothing spoil”, “Nothing do you”, “The end is near”, “Omoge, something for me?”, “Mi o le tori e commit”, please feel free to add more at this juncture.

The drivers of these vehicles express just whatever is on their minds right there on the vehicles in a very open-minded and carefree way. Unknowing (or knowing) to them, the words are read and some information are being passed. Sometimes when in the company of some friends, we could point out funny ones, spelling errors, missing letters (which sometimes changes the meaning of the phrase or words).

The one which read “where will you spend enternity?” struck me recently as a very good question to ponder on for anyone particularly in the wake of this New Year. Though the word eternity was misspelt, the message was clear. Even though we know that life on earth is temporal, many tend to live their lives as though there is no life hereafter. Some years ago after my final exams in the University, I had an encounter with the Lord Jesus and for the first time, I knew the meaning of the word peace and I still recollect the sense of great joy that I felt. I won’t say I have been a saint since then, rather I have been unfaithful, disobedient and the likes but I have come to understand the relationship God wants of each of us …. Father to children relationship. A relationship which can be compared to the earthly type but even much deeper. A relationship of love (unconditional), giving, trust, reverence, obedience, providence, honesty, humility, growth and maturity. An enjoyable relationship.

So back to the question, where will I spend eternity? The answer is with my father of course. What about you? I enjoin you to seek out this relationship and get the assurance in your heart to that question.