Why have our land become killing fields? Why do the earth beneath us delights so much in drinking blood of innocent people? Why are dreams and destinies being truncated even before they are formed?
And why have we become so used to these killings? Why do we act as if all is well? Even if our leaders have lost every sense of concern and responsibility to provide security for the governed, should we also close our eyes to these killings?
Benue State, Plateau State, Gombe State, Adamawa State, Kaduna State have all become killing fields. As if the menace of Boko Haram is not enough, unknown herdsmen (or whatever name they are called), maraud villages leaving sorrow, tears and blood in their wake. It was “Unknown Soldiers” years back, now it is “Unknown Herdsmen”.
Yet the nation’s security apparatuses all converged at the ruling party’s National Congress while people were being maimed in their sleeps. Isn’t it ironic that it is this same set of people these leaders will go back to with the intention of canvassing for votes.
The man in everyone of us dies daily because we refuse to voice out against these killings. Can we begin to shout this out on all social media? Can we deafen the ears of this government with our voice of disapproval of these killings and the government inability to secure people’s lives.
While we watch the Super Eagles at the World Cup, while we celebrate our individual successes and post our pictures on social media, let us remember that there is a child out there who has been rendered fatherless, and there is a woman out there who has been widowed suddenly, and a family out there who has been rendered homeless.
Let us cry out in protests to the government and also in prayer to God, maybe our cries will attract some attention.
May the souls of the departed in Plateau, Adamawa, and elsewhere find rest with their Maker.
Have a great week.
Permit me to talk a bit about politics today, especially in view of next year General Elections in Nigeria. In less than one year from now, we will be casting our votes to decide who represent us at the legislative chambers, our Governors and the President.
Too often in the past, we have voted based on ethnicity, religious sentiments, party affiliation and many other reasons. And all of these reasons do not seem to have helped us in making the right choices, as we get disappointed once the winner gets into office.
It will be foolhardy to vote again in 2019 based on ethnicity, color, religion or party affiliation. While there are no saints anywhere around us, we must still subject our choices to some minimum tests. Some of these are;
1. Sponsors: Who are the sponsors of the candidate? Most candidates will likely dance to the tune of their sponsors.
2. History: What history or precedent does the candidate come with? How experienced is the candidate?
3. Health: How agile, strong and healthy is the candidate? Ailing leaders often make wrong decisions, poor decisions or no decisions.
4. Party Affiliation: What party is the candidate affiliated to? What are the precedents of the party? A leopard cannot change its spots, the color of the Party will always reflect in the leader’s actions.
5. Understanding of Nigeria’s Complexity. Nigeria is a very complex country to manage and the candidates must demonstrate some abilities to manage complexities.
6. Multicultural Influence: how influential is the candidate across tribes , culture and religion?
7. Values: Does the candidate hold any value(s) dear to him or her? Do those values reflect the National values or values that can uplift a nation?
While the place of praying and asking for divine direction should also not be underplayed. We have long been on the journey to becoming a great nation, our choices have over time set us back. We cannot afford to toy with decisions like this any longer.
Get your PVC and vote wisely.
God bless Nigeria.
We were rudely awakened to the reality of the rot in our nation, when a church structure collapsed in Uyo leaving scores dead. Unfortunately, headlines in dailies focused mainly on the fact that the Governor of Akwa Ibom escaped death in the collapse, as if the faceless scores who lost their lives are of no value.
Just maybe if the Governor had been one of the casualties, the reaction may have been different. Maybe the Presidency would have ordered a probe by now. Maybe heads would have been rolling. Maybe the Pastor of the church would have been in police custody. Maybe a national or state mourning would have been declared. Maybe…
But the reality is that the Governor didn’t die so it can be business as usual. The bereaved families can bear their loss and bury their dead. They can bury their deads without suing the church and the construction company. The church is untouchable so they can convene another crusade few months down the line, just like it happened with the Synagogue.
Until we begin to speak against perpetrators of evil, regardless of their position, whether in the church or government, we will continue to witness such calamitous spectacles. Followers still throng to Synagogue after the building collapse and faithfuls will still continue to throng to the Uyo Church.
May we wake up to call evil what it is regardless of the cloak it puts on.
May the souls of the departed find rest with their Maker.
Happy Eid-El Maulud.
Once in a while, the unexpected happens, jolting us back to reality and to remember that God does not think as men think. When men are singing praises of a particular person, God may be busy polishing the rejected with the aim of creating an upset.
Quite a number of people gave Trump a zero chance of winning the US Presidential Election, but he has defied and trumped all odds. He is set to become the 45th President of the United States. With all the effort and support garnered by the preferred Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, she could not get the desired 270 electoral college votes. Predictions have been turned upside down, as predictions of narrow to wide margin victory in favour of Hilary has been completely reversed. Wow! What an upset!
After all said and done, I believe there are lessons for us all to learn from this election. A few of them are:
1. Don’t equate the voice of the people with the voice of God. You might not have God’s backing even when you seem to have the backing of the people.
2. Men pleasers are rarely the best leaders. You must know and do what is ultimately good for the majority, even when the majority do not understand you. Hilary and the democrats were all for political correctness, while Trump brashly spoke against some ugly norms.
3. Don’t understand the havoc that the unlearned majority can cause. They are not ruled by emotion or sentiments, they will never do anything to change the gender order. Many of the American voters still can’t swallow a female American President.
4. Don’t count your victory too early. Don’t announce your success prematurely, it might be truncated. Hilary was in the lead at the beginning of the election and all looked set to ensure the fulfilment of the dream of first American female President, but the story changed later in the day.
5. Rejects are no less instruments in the hands of God. In fact, God often uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, so Trump may just be the best thing to happen to America and the world today. Oratory power or not, Trump has won.
6. Nothing happens among men without the knowledge of God. Even when it appears like an error to us, God has a plan. Only time will prove Him right and prove sceptics wrong.
Long live America.
God bless us all.
As we mark our 56th year of independence, let us find time to pray for our nation, Nigeria, that God will set us on the path of greatness, help us to play our roles in building a great nation and give our leaders wisdom and the fear of the Lord.
Nigeria will be great again by God’s Grace.
God bless us all. Happy Independence Day!
With many of our ‘medal hopefuls’ knocked out of the Rio Olympics, the statement ‘No Pain No Gain’ rings louder and louder by the day. Nigerian contingent went unprepared and ill-prepared at best. The story isn’t much different for most of our African brothers.
It is time we understood as a nation and a continent that you can’t by prayers or sheer determination alone become successful at anything. You must do the grunt work. You must work hard. You must start your preparation early. You must test yourself before any major test.
Without paying price you can’t earn the prize. I felt both angry and ashamed as the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung was charging the Dream Team VI to go for gold at the men’s football. With what preparation or what motivation Mr Minister? With the background of arriving three hours before opening match in Rio? Or the background of being stranded in the hotel and having to be saved by Mikel’s personal money? Or no allowance background? Shameful leaders!
Whatever you set out to achieve, back it up with early, adequate, and right preparation, only then can your prayer makes sense.
God bless us all.
There is no gainsaying that one of the challenges of our time is the dearth of true leaders. Our youths are going astray in the absence of true role models. Our national economy has been pillaged and plundered to the extent that, we have become a laughing stock to the international community. We are now labeled a ‘fantastically corrupt’ country, and rightly so.
We are where we are today because we have failed as a nation to produce true leaders. We have entrusted our nation into the hands of ‘dealers’ in the guise of ‘leaders’. It is therefore obvious that what our nation needs more than ever now, are true leaders at the different levels of government, who will lead us out of this Egypt. Until our society becomes a fertile ground for breeding true leaders, we will continue to produce dealers.
Who is a true leader?
“The purpose and intent [of a true leader] shall be to elevate mankind’s faith, and to fill the world with justice” — Maimonides, Laws of Kings, 4:10.
A true leader is someone who provides guidance and direction to the people, through efficient and unbiased allocation of the resources of the people, and in a way and manner that conforms with the norms and values of such people, to the extent that he succeeds in raising other leaders from among the people. True leadership is in raising true leaders!
What are the marks of a true leader?
1. True leaders see: The most important mark of true leadership is ability to see far ahead into the future. That is why they are called visionaries. Most of our leaders can’t see beyond their noses. A leader sees into the future and knows where current steps will lead them. He is able to draw up a picture of the desired future based on what he has seen.
2.True leaders lead: Leaders take the lead, while others follow. They provide direction and communicate that direction clearly. Based on the vision they have, they lead the followers towards the vision. The word ‘lead’ suggests that there must be followers. True leaders are able to convince their followers such that the followers are comfortable to follow them. Many of our leaders today have no followers, either because they have not communicated the direction clearly or because they lack the moral authority to lead.
3. True leaders have integrity: True leaders keep to their words and promises. They don’t promise what they can’t do. President Barack Obama is being touted to be the best President the United States has ever had because he has kept to virtually all his electoral promises. Our leaders in Africa are full of promises and bereft of performance. Integrity breeds trust and trust commands followership. If you don’t have integrity as a leader, you can’t earn the trust of your followers, and without their trust, you are as good as a one man squad!
4. True leaders build others: You can only succeed to the extent that your followers are able to carry out your instructions. Their ability to perform their duties is a function of their capacity. As a leader, you must invest in building the capacity of your followers. Provide mentorship. Coach them. Train them. Sponsor them for training. Equip them to perform.
5. True leaders delegate: You can’t do it all. Build your team and then delegate appropriately. This gives your followers opportunity to learn and grow. As they succeed in their assignments, they become more confident and better at what they do. “A true leader wants nothing more than to make people stand on their own, as leaders in their own right. Instead of trying to blind us with his or her brilliance, a true leader reflects our own light back to us, so that we may see ourselves anew.” – Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Towards a Meaningful Life.
6. True leaders are accountable : True leaders have high sense of accountability. They are responsible in time management, resources management, and in their personal lives. Being accountable means ability to provide explanation on how resources have been utilized. Leaders don’t hide information from the followers. They act with utmost respect for the confidence reposed on them.
7. True leaders are selfless: They act in the best interest of the people rather than protecting their personal interest. In policy making and implementation, true leaders place the people’s interest above his interest. They are altruistic, patriotic and completely selfless. They sacrifice their personal comfort for national comfort.
8. True leaders are life learners: Leaders never stop learning. They are life readers. They don’t know it all too, but have the wisdom to learn from those who know it. They surround themselves with people who are informed. The moment you stop learning, you start dying.
9. True leaders exercise authority: True leaders are not afraid to exercise their vested power and authority when necessary. When there is a need to punish, they do so with sense of responsibility. When there is a need to take hard decisions, they don’t vacillate and push the responsibility.
10. True leaders are God fearing: If you have no regard for God, you cannot be a true leader. Your understanding of the fact that you are positioned by God for such a time and for such people, will help you to exercise your leadership with fairness and justice.
In conclusion, our world is groaning for true leaders to emerge, and you can be one. Leaders are not born, they are made. You can be a true leader, if you are willing to pay the price. Even if you have been leading wrongly, you can still change. Note that, no matter the level at which you lead, this applies to you.
Will you be a true leader?
God bless us all.
Good morning Africa!
Good morning Nigeria!
“What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.” – Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934.
Just as every individual has a character, every nation has a national character. What determines the depth, breadth and height of a nation’s influence is not the natural resources possessed by such a nation, otherwise Nigeria should be the most influential nation in the world. It is also not in the skill sets the citizens of such nation possess, otherwise India should probably be the most powerful nation. It is neither in the level of education of the citizenry, though this has direct impact on the GDP of the country. What determines how powerful a nation will become is her National Character.
What is Character? Character, in this context, ‘is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.’ It is the summation of the values, thought patterns and habits that make up a man. National Character is therefore the summation of the value system, thought patterns and habits of a nation. It is the soul of the nation. A nation with good national character is like a nation with a good soul. A nation with a bad national character is also like a nation with a bad soul. No matter how richly endowed such nation is, her National Character will always overshadow all her endowments. Woe to that nation without great National Character, even when endowed with cornucopia of natural resources!
What is our National Character as a nation? Do we even have guiding principles that we all commonly adopt? Usually, every nation writes her constitution using her National Character as the foundation. What are the guiding principles behind our Constitution in Nigeria? An American child knows and is guided by the value system of USA. Personal achievement, individualism, hardwork, morality, humanitarianism, equality, democracy and so on guide the Americans. These also have been built into their constitution.
At some point during the administration of former President Obasanjo, an attempt was made to articulate a national value document at Kuru, Job in 2001, but it all ended like most other government projects, swept under the carpet. A major reason why each successive government comes in with a lot of hope and leaves the country worse off, is the absence of a commonly adopted National Value Document. It is such document that defines the National Character of a nation. Government’s attempt to tackle corruption will be strengthened when there is a value document guiding the act of governance. Until and unless we go back to the basis and define our guiding principles as a nation, tribalism, nepotism, corruption, self aggrandizement and placing personal comfort above national good will continue to tow us as a nation.
This current administration must define our National Character and put up strong and durable structure for its national adoption. Only then would we have commenced the journey to true nationhood. Where there is no dream, the people perish.
God help us all.
Good morning Africa!
Good morning Nigeria!
Perhaps the best human summary of the needs of man can be found in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. He summarized our needs into five starting from Physiological (need for food, water, sleep, sex, homeostasis, etc), then Safety (of body, health, family, resources, employment, morality, property), then Love/Belonging (friendship, family, sexual relationship), then Esteem (self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others), and finally Self Actualization (morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts). This I believe is a detailed breakdown of the scriptural advice in 1 Tim. 6:6-8 which says “But godliness with contentment is great gain, For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and raiments, let us therefore be content therewith.”
What else do you then need money for? If you are able to meet all these needs as detailed by Apostle Paul and Abraham Maslow. It amazes me how people go beyond the accepted boundary to make money, even after satisfying these basic and premium needs. Some kill, some convert public goods to private goods, some loots the treasury and some steal the nation blind. The kind of money being peddled in the news as ‘looted’ by some individuals, especially in this contraption called Nigeria, is mind boggling. The other day, a former minister was going to pay off a mortgage worth £12.5 million in UK. Yoruba will say ‘E gba mi’, meaning ‘pls help me’. Please help me, why do they steal, when even the comforts that come with their positions are enough for a lifetime?
Truly, I am lost here and need help in form of some credible explanations. If I have three to five properties for both shelter and maybe sustenance, I feel I should be okay. Or maybe to help others I acquire a little more (and legally/morally so). I do not understand why people buy properties all over and even forget some, knowing none of these will go with them when they cease to breath. I heard the story of one of these stupendously and filthy rich men, who stopped on a journey to somewhere in Benin on sighting a property he obviously coveted. He asked his team to stop and then asked one of his PAs to find out the owner and to make an offer to the owner. And guess who the owner was, he himself! Obviously he bought it without even knowing and he was almost repurchasing it! Such madness! ‘E ma gba mi’. (Please help me).
In a nation, where more than 90% are groaning under huge weight of lack and abject poverty, we have a few individuals stealing billions of dollars. A broke nation that has some few individuals that can buy her over and over again. Isn’t it an irony that they even steal and stash their loots in foreign havens?
I still need an answer, what do they need the money for? To buy countries? To compete amongst themselves? To finance their generations unborn? I don’t know, maybe you do!
God bless us all.
Good morning Africa!
Good morning Nigeria!