EMBARRASSMENT AND UNNECESSARY PRESSURE IN LIFE

1. Put your kids in schools you can afford because expensive schools don’t guarantee good
results. Just ensure they attend a good affordable school.

2. Rent apartments you can pay for conveniently. Don’t live in a house you struggle to pay yearly. If your 2 – 4 months salary or business profit can’t pay for your
accommodation, then that accommodation is not for
your level of income.

3. A man whose wife is pregnant has good 9 months to prepare, same as the pregnant woman in question. They should even plan for the worse and only seek help when they can’t meet up.

4. Some problems in our lives don’t just pop up. If we don’t own a home, we know we would pay rents. So its not an emergency.

5. Let’s plan our lives and live within our means. Save more and spend less and invest wisely. Never invest in something that will make you rich overnight. No seed grows to a tree overnight and provide fruits, not even
tomatoes.

6. Some women buy food for their children every morning before going to school or even for the whole family. Do you know it’s cheaper to cook at home?

7. Some people don’t earn much, but have cable TV at home and have get expensive upgrade bundles when they don’t have income upgrades. Besides, most people pay for cable subscription they don’t have light or time to
watch.

8. Eat healthy meals and protect your family from mosquitoes to avoid going to the hospital always. Sleep under mosquito treated net, saves you cost of
treatment on malaria.

9. Take advantage of food and fruits in season, its cheaper and you can be creative to create
amazing meals. Every fruit in each season is meant to
help your body fight sickness or health challenges in that season.

10. Don’t copy your neighbor’s lifestyle. She earns well and her
husband is a ‘big
man’.

11. Don’t follow trends, wear clean well-ironed clothes and
keep your hair neat. You would still look good.

12. Keep your circle small, keep only friends that are reasonable!

13. Above all things, be reasonable and prudent. If you’re religious or not have
integrity, don’t be lazy.

14. Planning is the key, if you fail to plan, you plan to FAIL.

15. Don’t do more than your budget this year, there is no award given to best family that wore an expensive cloth for
the year.

16. Don’t be in competition with
anyone. The purpose of shoes
and clothes are to cover our nakedness, make us smart and
good.

Always avoid living fake life & pretence.

#copied

ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF – ‘This child will be great.’

A short first 3 chapters review:

I’m mightily fond of biographies but I’m the first to admit there is a major demerit of Biographies/Autobiographies of notable persons, fact that we know how the book concludes. So if you’re all about extended suspense & sudden dramatic endings, you won’t enjoy Biographies of notable persons. Biographies are more about information & content.

CHAPTER 1- The Beginning

I will be more elabourate in this chapter because of its foundational place in the story.

ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF starts by telling of the old sage that visited soon after her birth to reveal her title: “This Child will be Great”. It was prophetic as it turns out but living through educational difficulties, marital problems, economical turmoil etc, Ellen & her mother couldn’t possibly see this laughable prediction coming true.

Her initial challenge in campaigning for the presidency was in establishing her indegenious credentials, and not the elitist Americo-liberian that she was labeled with. Her popularity didn’t just hold her in good stead.

Her Grandfather (Jahmale) was a local chief who emerged as a popular negotiator between settlers & indegenious tribes because of his command of local dialects. His abilities was sought after by even the 7th President of Liberia (Hilary Johnson), the first President born in Liberia. Though he was the son of one of the Liberia’s elitist first settlers, Elijah Johnson.

Ellen’s father was sent to the city as a ward, which is a guardianship system that still flourishes in most part parts of Africa. It entails sending grown children/young adults to assist in meeting up with the crucial need for cheap labor. These youth are transplanted into better off families to work at
hauling water, collecting firewood and coal, cooking, cleaning, tending crops & other domestic work. It was also a means by which colonists spread religion & civilization to indegenious folks.

Not all the wards had an easy go at it, but majority of families, regardless of how discriminating or unjust, gave the wards in their care some opportunity for education & in some cases had their names changed to suit their new status. Ellen’s father, who was taken in by a family named McGrity, was given the last name of Johnson, after the president & his first name, Karnley, westernized to Carney. Thus becoming Carney Johnson at 15, a rebirth she called it. He became a ‘poor man’s lawyer’ (an apprenticeship lawyer), started a career in politics, met a befitting lady & married.

Ellen’s mother, had a more thrilling tale. She was half German. Her grandfather being a German who left after German traders were expelled from Liberia at the commencement of WWI. He never returned & Ellen’s mum put it off as a past she never wants to recall. She was almost white & was marveled at for a that reason. After a brief time of bad treatment as a mere servant with a family, she was taken in by a prominent childless woman from an influential family, where she got the best local education, even studying abroad for a year.

Five years after seeing Martha, Ellen’s father; Carney, divorced his first wife, won the affections of Martha & her guardian & married the pretty half-caste. The young family blossomed in Monrovia until they fell down the success ladder. Here Ellen gives us a brief glimpse of old simple Monrovia & the historical background of how separate states & cities in the USA had settled their freed slaves in separate colonies in Liberia. A huge death rate from the malaria that killed alot of the settlers. Some came willingly, most joined unwillingly, as conditions for freedom or as cargo from enforced seizures of slave trading ships. Thus captured ships with rescued slaves were sent to Monrovia. Persons of the most diverse tribes in present day West African countries & beyond were simply dumped as ‘liberated’ slaves in ‘Liberia’.

Ellen’s family settled in one of the posh areas, with a modestly grand house. She is the third of four children( two boys & girls each). She was named after her mother’s friend. She was a tomboy of sorts, climbing trees & playing ball with the boys with discarded tennis balls.

She fell in a pit toilet hole once. She was so tiny, left alone she slipped through the boarded pit toilet. (If you’ve seen ‘slum-dog millionaire’… Well, you get the gist.) She was rescued by a bypasser after calling out for help & washed up by her mum. 🤣

Theirs was an illustrious home, with her father keeping good company & aspiring to be the first indegenious speaker of the parliamentary. A sitting President visited their home. Her father was a socialite & womanizer, which was common place then, with polygamy accepted. Even Christian white folks kept concubines & had ‘out-children.’ with their spare women. Her mother was religious & ran the primary school they all went to.

She writes of her childhood trips to the villages for vacation, where she learned to swim. There’s her proud indegenious roots which her father never let them lose, even though they easily could. She is proud to flaunt this credential of being an indegenious child of Liberia, a clarity she made to distractors during her presidential campaign. Her respect for the unique biodiversity of the Liberian Flora and fauna, is all highlighted in this opening chapter.

CHAPTER 2 – Childhood Ends

Ellen’s sweet Childhood took a tumble with the sudden stroke of her dad in his forties. He was still trying out to be the first indegenious speaker of the parliament. The then President was encouraging & supportive in this regard. The ‘growth with development’ in the nation was being challenged with this drive. The national economic growth was concentrated in the hand of the few American repatriated elite. On the down side, President Tubman was Tyrannical, building a strong security force to fend off dissent. Ellen’s father saw Tubman as the man who ‘opened the door’ to progress for the indegenes but his sudden illness brought an end to his family’s cosiness. In those days (1950s) medicine was still basic. Her dad felt he was bewitched. As he blamed juju, family adjusted to care for his handicapped needs.

Ellen’s sister left for London to become a nurse so she could help, Ellen was in highschool. She was active in sports. Only downside was being teased for her fair complexion by the indegenious people, as they construe her to be of the elitist group of settlers.

She met her to-be husband in her last year in high school. James Sirleaf was of a Mandingo father & an elitist mother. He was also discriminated against for this. As an added pressure, his Mandingo clan are mainly Muslims & they tend not to assimilate into the conventional Liberian community, till date they are perceived as outcasts. Ellen & Doc, as James was known, met via a friend; Clave. The jealous irresistible Doc swept Ellen off her feet.

He was seven years older than Ellen. Without her handicapped dad’s enablement, Ellen opted to marry early, since college wasn’t affordable. 1956 she was married, January ’57 got her first son, Jes & incredibly, by December ’57 she got her second son Charles, while her mates were off in college.

Doc had returned from Alabama with a degree in agriculture before they got married. It was a big deal then because agriculture was the bedrock of Liberia’s economy then, as it is now. Iron ore, timber & Cocoa were the major export, before the civil war impaired these economic trend. Still it took Doc a while to get a footing at the ministry of agriculture. To make ends meet Ellen took Secretarial work with expatriate firms.

This was her first venture into finance. She borrowed trucks from work to lift the sand they built their first house with. They farmed & lived in rural settings. Doc had to work at a teaching job long before he finally got a ministry Job. Ellen’s sister had returned, married & had 3 kids of her own. Ellen believed in herself & her potential.

Doc got a government scholarship for his masters & Ellen jumped at the chance but it wasn’t easy, without her father’s connection like her sisters had it back then. Ellen’s father had passed on, neglected by his political buddies. Finally she got the scholarship, she got in to study business at Madison business college. They left their four kids behind, splitting them among their grand parents. Here she lingers on the support virtues of the African extended family.

America wasn’t all rosy. Doc’s jealousy had not quite abated. He also always had a drinking problem. Ellen worked at a posh store alongside her studies, a job Doc considered demeaning. After a single scene at her work place, he grumbled but back down because they need the money.

She was working the day US President JFK was assasinated. Doc’s jealousy moved dangerously to the physical, with gun threats. There wasn’t much she could do but bear it. Doc finished his course and returned a year before Ellen, who stayed back to finish up. When she returned and started work at the debt office of the ministry of finance, she felt her ambitious streak let lose as she played catch up. Doc grew more jealous of her progress. She threw herself into work.

They quarreled increasing. After an incident with his gun, when their first born sprayed insecticide at the father when he threatened Ellen with the gun, it dawned on her she had to leave him. When they agreed to separate, he kept the boys & she moved in with her mum. She secured a divorce when Doc was out of town. He made a number of scenes at her office later on. They ended up as friends at long last when he remarried. He migrated to Florida & she gave the keynote address at his funeral. He was cremated. Her youngest son stayed with Doc’s brother, a medical doctor. That son is now an MD himself. The third boy; Rob, was returned to her because he was unsettled without her.

CHAPTER 3 – America Again

Don’t blame the man in me, but I like the way she started this chapter.

“Divorce is difficult, even when it is absolutely necessary.” This goes both ways, believe me. I’ve seen it play out countless of times, on both ends severally, to know well. The guilt & adjustment is common.

Ellen’s was more of fitting in with the disrespect & suspicions that female divorcees experience. Her placing in the finance ministry gave her holistic view of the dire economic situation of the country. From the onset, the economy of Liberia wasn’t particularly well off as a colony of sorts before independence. As late as the 1930s, some leaders were still counting on a mass exodus of black Americans to shore up the country and its economy but instead the black Americans moved to industrial northern U.S. cities. Then came World War I—and Liberia couldn’t compete with the more established trade affairs of the British empire or French in the late 1800s & earliest 1900s.

Here I beg to quote a section:

“One cannot talk long about Liberia without discussing the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company. It is our largest private employer and runs what is considered the largest rubber plantation in the world within
our borders. For better or worse, no other single company has had a more significant impact on the history and development of our land. Firestone arrived in Liberia, excited about the country’s perfect conditions for growing rubber as an alternative to its single Asia source and intrigued by the small, defunct British commercial operation at Mount Barclay, a lowland coastal plantation of about two thousand acres situated on a former mangrove swamp and jungle about twenty miles east of Monrovia. Firestone and the Liberian government easily reached an agreement for Firestone to take over that plantation; the company was granted a long-term lease for $1 an acre the first year and a flat $6,000 per year thereafter. But Firestone had larger plans. After much negotiation, Firestone was granted the right to lease up to 1 million acres of “suitable” Liberian land for 6 cents an acre and 1 percent of the tax value of
the rubber exported—and to do so until the year 2025.

“By any measure, it was a sweetheart deal for Firestone.
According to the Dutch economist and historian Fred P. M. van der Kraaij. After the draft concession agreement was approved by the national legislature, Firestone suddenly introduced a new clause. This
so-called Clause K made the agreement dependent on a $1 million loan from Firestone to the Liberian government. At the time of Firestone’s establishment in Liberia, the nation’s economy was stagnant and bankrupt. Although the loan proposal and ensuing negotiations raised fierce protests both outside and inside the country—where some Liberians feared the influence such a loan would create on the Liberia government—under pressure from the U.S. State Department and eager for the cash to repay a $1 million debt to
British bankers, Liberian officials eventually agreed to the deal.
Thus Firestone gained—for nearly a hundred years—almost unlimited control over an area equal to 4 percent of Liberian land and nearly 10 percent of land considered arable. And, by virtue of the loan the company’s entry into Liberia served mainly to reinforce Liberia’s financial dependency. For the next eighty years Firestone amassed huge profits and had a strong and decisive say in Liberian politics.”

End of quote.

Firestone had it’s foot on Liberia’s throat. The army of workers suffered & not much was done to ease the burden on them. Firestone didn’t establish industries but carted away resources & paid next to nothing in revenue.

When 1944 Tubman’s reforms took root & foreign investment flowed in, few Liberians outside the settlers’ elite clique truly benefited from the influx of foreign businesses. Thousands of Liberians were given jobs, but almost always lower-level, manual-labor positions, with
little effort made to train indigenous workers so they might move up to technical or managerial slots. Hospitals and schools were built only for workers of the investors.

By 1960s the economy was in another slum. Tubman lost favor & beefed up his security. There was an assassination attempt on him in 1955. He got a scapegoat in Fahnbulleh, a diplomat serving as ambassador to Kenya & Tanzania. He was arrested, charged & convicted for trying to overthrow the government. Not part of any activism, Ellen had simply accidentally started off in that direction when she stood on the edge of disloyalty with a speech she delivered criticizing the Liberian government’s economic policies. Representing the Treasury Department at a conferece by Harvard Institute for International Development. (HIID initiative). Harvard man, the economist Gustav Papanek, later president of the Boston Institute for Development, was concerned for her safety after that blatant criticism of the Liberian authorities. Professor Papanek gained Ellen admission to Edward S. Mason Fellows, Harvard’s oldest and largest international program. Ellen sat for & passed the U.S. Agency for International Development scholarship exam, scoring the highest marks recorded then. While she shores up her undergraduate credentials, Rob went to live with American friends.

A year later another speech got her into serious trouble. She then plunged into the study of the history of West Africa, learning more about Liberia in Harvard. Returning to Liberia alongside her sister on a ship, Ellen smoked her last cigarette ever. They both learned of the death of President Tubman while eating a meal on the ship. He was 71 & had ruled for 27 years. It was 1971 (& I was just a year old then 😊).

She ends the 3rd chapter with this;

“Jennie and I sat together in that dining room, praying for the soul
of our departed president and praying even harder for our families & our land. We were anxious but not frightened, not really. Like most Liberians, I suppose, we felt in some way shielded from the worst
manifestations of evolutionary struggle and change.

“We always felt that if anything really terrible began to happen, if ever things went seriously awry, America would come to our aid. America was our great father, our patron saint. It would never let us suffer. That’s what so many of us in Liberia thought. But then we found out that EVERYONE HAS TO STAND ON HIS OWN!”

I just wish some of the multitude of violently protesting Black Americans will learn from these words that they are just wasting away in the streets, shouting themselves crazy. At the end of the day, they can only make the white man respect them with what they achieve, not what the white man gives them.

Covid19 Worldwide Lessons

#COPIED:

Few important lessons learnt in the past few days of the CoronaVirus:

1. United States is no longer the world’s leading country.

2. China won the 3rd World War without firing a missile and no one could handle it.

3. Europeans are not as educated as they appear.

4. We can survive vacations without trips to Europe and USA.

5. Rich people are in fact less immune to diseases than the poor.

6. Human beings are opportunistic and despicable no matter their socioeconomic position when prices are rising.

7. No Pastor, Rabai, Mullah, Alfa or Pandit saved patients. Doctors and healthcare workers did.

8. Human beings are the real viruses on the planet.

9. We sure can spend Billions of Dollars on the poor without red- tapism.

10. Health professionals are worth more than sports’ persons and entertainers.

11. Oil is worthless in a society without consumption.

12. How animals feel in the zoo.

13. The planet regenerates quickly without humans at play.

14. Majority of people can work from home.

15. We and the kids can survive without junk food.

16. Prisoners in jail for petty crimes can be released.

17. Living a hygienic life is not difficult.

18. Only women should not know how to cook.

19. There are a lot of good people in the World.

20. If you build more schools and make them free, you will have to construct less hospitals and probably prisons.

21.Media is just manipulative and opportunistic.

22. Fame, wealth and position are vanity.

23. Health is indeed wealth.

THE WORLD WILL HEAL, THIS I KNOW.

Who is this Imam of Peace?

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe



Mohammed Tawhidi is a rabble rouser whose middle name is controversy. That the third generation Iranian-born Australian cleric is fighting a political proxy war against President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria is obvious. The million Naira question is on whose behalf is Mr. Tawhidi granstanding? It is politically significant that less than 24 hours after the launch of Tawhidi’s Social Media offensive Mr. President appeared in a series of photographs as a counter narrative to one of the Imam’s claims that Nigerians do not know where their leader is.


The Imam raised many other pertinent issues that are moot, but I shall endeavor returning to the one over President Buhari’s leadership capacity in my conclusion. That notwithstanding I feel the Imam has a personal axe to grind as his own words betray. Hear him; “Nigerians should know that I’ve actually had contact with (President Buhari’s) office before” Tawhidi continued “I was about to come to Nigeria for negotiations and help achieve peace between sects” As he rambled on Tawhidi even took a swipe at the Shia leader Ibrahim El Zakzaky on whose behalf he had sought to come to Nigeria in the first place.


How did a fringe cleric become a hero for the political Far Right in Australia, Europe and even the US? The Imam is no doubt a smooth operator that is media savvy. Interestingly, he is a fierce critic of not just the Shia theocracy in Iran but the Sunni mainstream. Is he an international political mercenary for hire?


I take exception to a foreigner deriding the Office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The fundamental issue is not really the person occupying that exalted office at any given time; but the office itself. Unfortunately, the ruling APC is chiefly responsible for creating an enabling environment that the highest office in our nation is under a Social Media siege from abroad. I will limit myself to 3 instances when APC was in opposition. First, on January 21, 22 and 29 2015, the presidential convoy of Goodluck Jonathan was pelted with stones in Katsina, Bauchi and Yola respectively.



This “single minded recklessness” was known to the nation’s security apparatus prior to when they variously happened. Stopping the treasonable incidences would have sparked off a chain of events that would have had deadly consequences – the exact intention of the planners now in government. Second, the Chibok abductions of April 14, 2014 was a puzzling chain of events that started when the Borno state government turned down WAEC’s call for the relocation of that vulnerable center to Maiduguri. Anyway, the #BringBackOurGirls immediately became a well orchestrated political movement fueled by the then opposition to reduce the esteem of the Office of the President to the extent that at the second term inauguration of Jacob Zuma the matter was dredged up as an aspect of Nigerian bashing engineered by opposition even abroad.



“On October 16, 2014, Chief Audu Ogbeh a chieftain of APC, who later became a minister, had said on camera at an APC rally at the Eagle Square Abuja, “I want to thank members of the #BBOG which is being led by members of our party” Third, former president Jonathan was openly accused of being variously a drunk while carrying out state functions. He was also openingly accused of being a sponsor of the Boko Haram insurgency to deliberately decimate the North’s population.


The preceeding narratives were among others engineered by the then opposition including another viral quote attributed to General Sani Abacha that “Any insecurity that lasts more than 48 hours has the government’s hand in it” All the foregoing were examples of hunger for power without due consideration of the consequences of diminishing the office that symbolizes that power. It is against the background of these instances that the recent tweets of “Imam for Peace” bashing President Buhari is collectively tantamount to poetic justice – not withstanding Mr. President cannot be proved to have been privy to these machinations when he was an opposition figure. He nevertheless became a beneficiary of the same information warfare he is now paradoxically a victim of from the Imam of Peace.



In conclusion, I return to the issue raised by Imam Mohammed Tawhidi on President Buhari’s availability and capacity to lead Nigeria. That Mr. President has not being medically evacuated to “Cuba” as wicked rumor had it has already been debunked by the photographs circulated by the Presidency less than 24 hours after Tawhidi had gone viral. My take on the photographs are beyond the scope of this post. I must however question in passing what meaningful meeting can take place at such seating distance with 2 members in attendance wearing surgical masks that will muffle their voices? The photographs nevertheless underscore the need for adequate information to dispel wild speculation and conspiracy theories while still asking why Mr. President did not also wear a mask? Did Mohammed Tawhidi before his viral tweets watch the Kadaria Ahmed hosted “The Candidates” which featured Mr. President and VP Yemi Osinbajo? Because as the town hall meeting broadcast live nationwide established; it is one thing to be in power and yet another to be in control takeless of having the presence of mind to actually be in power.

The beauty of a joint ticket however was epitomized by Mr. Osinbajo during the broadcast hosted by Kadaria in January 2019. “The VP provided the much-needed fillip to make the session worth the efforts and investment. And when it appeared the President had difficulty in hearing (or processing) the questions from the moderator and members of the audience, Osinbajo was always on hand to repeat them to him. The VP also, on many occasions, guided his boss in supplying what he felt were appropriate answers for tough questions” At one stage I recall Ms Ahmed had to restrain Osinbajo from interjecting on behalf of his obviously overwhelmed boss. As far as I am concerned there was nothing wrong with the VP’s actions on air. If so why has Osinbajo been now consigned to a political Siberia of sorts? The answer is obvious and lies in Law 1 of 48 Laws of Power – “Never outshine the master”
I have noticed how Mark Pence defers to Donald Trump on issues. The US leader came into office with the deficit of never holding any prior public office. Pence complemented his boss having been Indiana state governor and for 12 years a member of the US Congress. The same could be said on the Buhari-Osinbajo ticket as the VP makes up for Mr. President’s intellectual lack. It is therefore the clear absence of a leadership synergy at the Aso Rock Villa that created the political vacuum Imam Mohammed Tawhidi

operated in with his tweets. That President Buhari is politically vulnerable is what makes him a target of opportunity by the Imam of Peace. Information warfare is defined as the spreading of propaganda or disinformation to negatively manipulate perceptions. The chief purpose is to politically demoralize.




The million Naira question remains: on whose behalf is Mr. Tawhidi deconstructing President Buhari?

Nigeria Losing Her Religion: A Nation’s Faith Unveiled in the Face of Covid 19

By Evon Benson Idahosa

I remember falling asleep at a Tuesday evening church service as a 9 year old child. I had a tambourine on my lap and as I fell to the floor, it reverberated thunderously throughout the hall, drawing the attention of everyone who had been attentively listening to the dynamic preacher-man.

I awakened to piercing stares and side eyes- particularly from my father- whose message I had disrupted. Every Nigerian child knows that stare, that glare that silently speaks a thousand words, cloaks you in debilitating fear and assures your quivering being that there will be consequences.

Needless to say, it was a quiet ride home and for the rest of the revival week, I was ushered to the front row where I forced my eyes open, humming tunes to myself to stay awake.

Saying that I literally grew up in church would be an understatement. Week long revival services, such as the one I reference above, were customary. I was also in the choir, went to Sunday school before church services on Sunday, Agape Force Children’s meetings on Saturdays, mid-week services and the occasional 6:30 am morning prayer services, followed by our home bible study with Auntie B. And because my father was Archbishop Benson Idahosa, there were no negotiations. It just was.

At the age of 10, shortly after the infamous “tambourine experience,” the truth of those messages became real and I earnestly became a follower of The Way. And so, as news began to sweep the globe of the novel Corona virus and its import, I found myself immediately turning to my faith as a source of comfort and peace. I also called my mother, who now heads CGMI, the global ministry my father left when he passed away 22 years ago. Her words of encouragement and the tone of her voice assured me that, as we like to say in Nigeria, ‘it is well.’ And it will be!

But for now, the pandemic continues to rage, as thousands succumb to its will. First China. Then South Korea. Japan. An epidemic. Then Italy, the UK, the US. Thousands upon thousands of cases were being reported and every day brought the reality closer to home. Then it became a global pandemic and as it stands, the WHO estimates that there are 719,700 confirmed cases globally, with almost 34,000 deaths.
On February 28th, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, confirmed its index case of the Corona virus which arrived the country via an Italian businessman.

As I write, Nigeria’s centre for Disease Control is reporting a total of 135 confirmed cases and two deaths, having conducted just several hundred tests, even though thousands of passengers have arrived from varying countries since the index. Self isolation has been deemed an advisory, not mandatory.

Nigeria has taken what some would consider drastic, yet in this writer’s opinion, insufficient and strikingly Western style measures to address what is likely to come in the absence of a miracle. In addition to finally closing her borders from international travelers, including Nigerians, schools have been shut down, civil servants are being asked to work from home, “social distancing” policies are being enacted and several states, including my home state of Edo, have prohibited religious, social and public gatherings of more than 20 persons.

In a country where over 90% of her citizens profess to be religious, most Nigerians are accustomed to turning to their faith in times of crisis. The corona virus pandemic is no exception. Many who had strayed from God are now repenting of their sins and brandishing the sign of the cross as they leave their homes. Others are praying for a “Passover,” as CNN and other news outlets flood us with “end of the world,” doomsday messaging. As a result, many of us are yearning to collectively gather to pray.

Whether the desire to collectively gather is buttressed by denial (“coronavirus is not here” — “the spirit of corona virus is dead in Nigeria”) or stems from a deep seeded longing for God to show mercy to a healthcare system that is wholly unprepared to handle the worst case scenario, the fact remains that Nigeria’s religious faithfuls are unaccustomed to missing gatherings for anything. Services are considered sacred times to commune with God and to be encouraged by the brethren. Others hang on to every word of their clerics who, in some cases, insist on serving as a religious crutch- intermediaries between their congregants and God.

Many believers who engage with God on a transactional basis come bearing tithes and/or offerings in the hopes that God will hear their prayers. (He hears them regardless).

As such, the prohibition on religious gatherings of more than 20 (which essentially translates to a prohibition of services in general) has resulted in many Nigerian believers losing their ‘religion,’ i.e., left bewildered as to how to make the adjustment to a God who potentially exists outside the four walls of their churches; to a God who speaks directly to them in God’s long forgotten voice. Who, precisely, are Nigerian believers without our religions and religious houses of worship?

Could it be that for the first time in a long time, Nigerian believers are being presented with a church-less opportunity to develop even more meaningful personal relationships with their God; to ‘lay hands’ on themselves and speak words of healing into their children from a God who has always heard them? Could this pandemic serve as an opportunity for believers to be what Murray Bowen describes as a ‘non-anxious presence’ to those who may be paralyzed by fear?

To this end, some larger churches are offering their services online. However, for the working poor who faithfully make up the backbone of most Nigerian churches, internet connectivity and/or live streaming of an entire service make that option impractical and/or unaffordable. They are the ones, who because they live day to day, cannot afford to practice social distancing, “stay at home” and for some, even “wash your hands,” because soap becomes a luxury when one’s ‘daily bread’ is devoid of the ‘daily.’ If our government does not step up to courageously seek support that is tailored to our unique realities and then provide that support to those on the margins, the import of the corona virus in our beloved Nigeria could be felt by generations to come.

As such, could this pandemic present an opportunity for churches to fill the glaring gaps and practically serve the last and the least in a manner that reveals who we profess to be as followers of The Way? Might this be an opportunity for the church to put our egos aside and creatively heed Jesus’ instructions to ‘feed my sheep’, to apply the Balm of Gilead, by serving those who will be most physically, mentally and economically impacted?

Practically speaking, could we convert our sanctuaries to temporary hospitals or food pantries where those in need can obtain essentials? Can we use the funds of those who have faithfully donated over the years to buy ventilators and personal protective gear for our hospitals and health workers on the front lines? Can we purchase hygiene products and distribute them to those who may be confined to their homes? This, I believe, is our mandate.

At the end of the day, my faith in God runs deep. It has guided my life since I was 10 and I prayerfully trust that we will get through this. But as the Nigerian Church temporarily loses her ‘religion’ and her faith is unveiled in the face of COVID-19, she is presented with an opportunity to reverberate thunderously and rise up to be who she professes for such a novel time as this. After all, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, ‘the church is the church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving’.

Courtesy Ahmed Yahaya Joe

When salt losses its taste

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe


I do not know why the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chose a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the Covid-19 pandemic to demand N1.1 trillion from the FG for the “revitalization” of the Nigerian university system. It is truly apalling with the current economic situation!


But then, this is Nigeria where any proof of life speech by the leader in standing position is breaking news. We are indeed a cynical federation! as ours is breaking news. While the periodic distraction that the national speculation on the whereabouts of Mr President might be temporarily strategic it has a cumulative effect in the progressive bastardization his political legacy in the long run. Being a president is not a call to be an expert. Rather it is simply being in charge which in an internet age is not a picnic.


The contents of President Buhari’s speech in overall context commendably covered all the relevant issues. That it was short on details is perfectly understandle. This is because unlike President Trump that briefs his nation daily on the pandemic, ours only addresses his national constituency “after hours and hours of rehearsals, which nonetheless unmasks his declining cognitive faculties” as his leadership template is apparently that of “presidency by absenteeism”




The world we live in is a global village. From Uganda, a young lady Kenyangi Bale tweeted at 7.58am Kampala time on March 27, 2020 just 2 days before President Buhari addressed us ” I know Ugandans deserve better. But, our president, Museveni has addressed this nation the 5th time in 2 weeks on the COVID-19 pandemic. You guys needs to visit Nigerian Twitter. They are looking for their president. He is no where to be found”.


Last night (Nigerian time) Mr Trump started his usual live briefing by announcing that the US Navy hospital had sailed into New York ready for medical battle. The former oil tanker was converted to a hospital ship in 1987 has 1000 beds, 12 operating theaters, a dental clinic, 4 X-ray machines, CT scanner, 2 Oxygen production plants, Optometry lab, 5000 unit capacity blood bank, daily 300,000 gallons fresh water plant, helipad and morgue. According to the US Navy, the hospital ship that is the equivalent in height to a 10-storey building and 3 football fields long was due to sail for New York in 8 days but when the Army Corps of Engineers was drafted in it sailed in 5 days.


Meanwhile, it took 35 days between when the first Covid-19 case was announced in Nigeria and when President Buhari addressed the nation. In India it took an Indian academic, Virologist Minal Dakhane Bhosale 42 days to develop an indigenous test kit. She unlike her Nigerian counterparts was not on strike, rather as soon as she finished her project headed for the maternity ward to deliver a bouncing baby girl. What is the difference in distaste between Mr President and ASUU?


Anyway soon after Mr. President addressed the nation a disturbing video started making the rounds on social media showing an obviously distressed Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, the CO of Operation Lafiya Dole apparently addressing, his boss the army chief.



“We have been met with very strong resistance – from more than pockets of Boko Haram. From every flank not less than 15 gun trucks were facing us. I’m standing here with Sector 2 Commander; the armed helicopter has just come to hover our air, the instruction I gave them was that anything they see moving they should engage because most of my gun trucks are not moving. Like I said earlier, the three battalions are fighting as deployed — nobody is running” He went on “But what we have here, I will give you some estimates. Boko Haram has fired more than a hundred mortar bombs at us; they have fired 80 to a hundred RPGs at us; in addition to eight to 10 gun trucks firing at us from all sides. We have not run, and the soldiers are not misbehaving or disobeying orders.We have casualties. I will come and see you in person on what we need to do. But we are not running. We lost about 20 MRAP tires here. We have changed close to 250 Hilux tires due to the terrain.”


According to a report that accompanied the viral video “Several wounded soldiers could be seen crying in the video while bodies of their colleagues was scattered all over location. Recall that Boko Haram recently ambushed troops in Borno and killed more than 50 soldiers during that attack”That such a highly classified communication is being circulated in the public domain is shocking. It however means the video was perhaps deliberately leaked by whistleblowers in service to alert the nation on the deterioration of affairs in the North East.
Nigeria’s security and military apparatus cannot afford to be distracted because elsewhere in the world either by hook or by crook according to the newspaper Times of Israel in its March 27 edition; “The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday helped bring another 400,000 CoronaVirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said. That was in addition to the roughly 100,000 test kits the spy agency brought to Israel last week. The PMO, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries. The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.


In another report in Blomberg.com dated March 19, 2020; “Earlier this week, the Shin Bet (Israel’s) domestic security service was authorized to use a technology developed primarily for counterterrorism purposes to identify who infected people may have come in contact with”
So on one hand, while in our country the military is besieged by a seemingly endless insurgency in others the armed forces and security are being used to assist a national effort in medical health care delivery. No doubt it is all about a coordinated leadership that has purpose and direction. Ours unfortunately is mostly about an “absentee presidency” If so what is the way forward? It is all about to be seen to be in-charge. Leadership is mostly about effective presence without actually saying much or being an expert. Just be there!


Law 16 of 48 Laws of Power recommends “Use absence to increase respect and honor. Create value through scarcity” There is however a caveat “Absence is dangerous – instead of fanning the flames, it will extinguish them. In the beginning, make yourself not scarce, but omnipresent. Only what is seen, appreciated, and loved will be missed in its absence” It is against this background that Law 6 is instructive; “Everything is judged by it’s appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention”

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOKO HARAM & THE RELIGION OF ISLAM

1. The Boko Haram kidnapped girls and forced them to change their religion.

While
Islam says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion…..”

(Qur’an 2:256)

2. The Boko Haram have forcefully married off girls.

While
Islam says: “…..Do not inherit women against their will…..”

(Qur’an 4:19)

3. The Boko Haram are aggressive towards those who do not follow their beliefs.

While
Islam says: “IF IT HAD BEEN YOUR LORD’S WILL, all of the people on Earth would have believed [in one religion]….” (Quran 10:99)

And

“Let there be no compulsion in Islam ”

(Quran 2:256)

4. The Boko Haram have murdered thousands of Muslims and Christians alike in cold blood.

While Islam says: “….If any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…”

(Quran 5:32)

5. The Boko Haram use the cover of Islam to commit their mayhem and claim they are doing ALLAH’S work or JIHAD (HOLY WAR).

While Islam says: “…… BUT DO NOT TRANSGRESS LIMITS; FOR GOD LOVES NOT TRANSGRESSORS.”

(Qur’an 2:190)”

6. The Boko Haram believes once you are not with them you are an enemy to them.

While Islam says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other)……”

(Quran 49:13)

7. The Boko Haram have unleashed tyranny and indecency in the land.

While Islam says: “God commands justice and doing good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing wrong and tyranny….”

(Quran 16:90)

Finally, upon all their false claims its clear to see that Boko Haram do not represent Islam in any way because, they are acting against Islam.

*Copied; Author Unknown

Question is, the non-Muslims do not get or feel the impression that regular Islam, as proposed & preached by the Holy Quran, is Defended by genuine Muslims as much as it is said to be Offended by Boko Haram.

© Yas Niger

Boko Haram: Western Values are Forbidden by Yas Niger (2014)

The Stockdale Paradox (Surviving the Next 4 Years for PDP)

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook

This is Commander James Stockdale on 2nd September 1965. A week later on the 9th of the same month the Navy fighter pilot was shot down over Vietnam after his plane received a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. He parachuted to safety but captured.

As a Prisoner of War he had to endure multiple fractures due to repeated torture and beatings, sleep deprivation, lack of medical attention and solitary confinement for 8 years. Upon his release in 1973 the US Navy named its school for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape after him. His story in captivity was summarized into what is now known as the Stockdale Paradox which is to “retain the faith that you will prevail regardless of the circumstances but at the same time confront the brutal facts of your reality” The Stockdale Paradox has universal application in balancing optimism with reality, intuition with planning, faith with fact. It is all about being supremely rational in all situations. Being emotional and losing focus are never options. It is therefore against that background that no judicial process in Nigeria as presently superintended will ever unseat Buhari.

With the benefit of hindsight in 2007 and 2011, Buhari spent 24 and 30 months respectively in various courts in pursuit of his mandate. Under the current acting CJN who will certainly be confirmed by the next APC majority senate Atiku Abubakar could spend 48 months. The mountains of evidence of electoral malpractices in the recently concluded presidential elections to be produced in open court will certainly undermine the integrity of the process. But what the courts would decide and how long it will drag is yet another ball game.
In conclusion Goodluck Jonathan did not challenge the outcome of the 2015 polls not because he didn’t have a legal basis to but because there were other political undercurrents. Similarly this time around the PDP flag bearer went into a wrestling contest with one arm tied behind to his back by not reconciling the fundamental differences between APC returnees and PDP stay puts ahead of the polls. Simply put the opposition suffers from lack of internal cohesion. The need for an electoral post-mortem including a SWOT Analysis from the ward to the national levels cannot be overemphasized. If there is anything the Stockdale Paradox has zero tolerance for it is wishful thinking. The signs and symptoms of a massive second coming failure are glaring. President Buhari will be in dire need for scapegoats for the inevitability of Murphy’s Law to catch up with him. The APC will also require a series of major distractions to blame on the opposition. So very soon the chorus of “corruption fighting back” will resume in full force. The gloating and taunting will continue then harassment and various forms intimidation. The opposition therefore requires clarity, purpose and direction with effective counter narratives to weather the storm for the next 4 years. Let us buckle up!

UK & USA Reject Nigerian Elections

Breaking News:

UK & USA Reject Presidential election results, threatens to remove Buhari .
Read full story….

The U.K and USA has rejected the Presidential election held on Saturday.
The Urhobo Kingdom (UK) representing Irodo community in Delta State And the UKwani Student Association (USA) also threatened to scatter the INEC office in Irodo and UKwani, two small communitIes where only about 100 and 300 people registered to vote
Details later….

Happy new month with blessings

Hasn’t Nigeria Decided?

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook

When Hilary Clinton lost the US presidential elections in 2016 she wrote down her thoughts on what played out. She entitled her musings ‘What Happened’ which became a major bestselling book. While she attributed her loss to various factors she did not spare herself from blame. In her own words the most difficult part was when she had to attend the swearing-in ceremony of her rival Donald Trump.

Mrs. Clinton’s attitude is highly unusual but commendable. In the coming weeks if not months much will be said about our own presidential elections but what lessons can we all learn despite our deep seated political differences? To start with the cost of organizing the 2019 cycle of elections is N242 billion which recorded a total voter turnout of less than a total of 30 million voters for the presidential elections in a country of 198 million citizens. From matters arising from the February 23 polls the next election cycle must have more of technology introduced and less of cumbersome paper work. The diaspora needs to also be factored in. There are over 260,000 documented Americans of Nigerian descent in the US. In the UK they are actually 201,184.

Put together including those elsewhere in the world our compatriots abroad are actually more than those that voted in the FCT last Saturday yet these same Nigerians remitted a total of US$21 billion back home in 2017 alone. Hilary Clinton dedicated her book to her campaign staff which she all named and thanked. She did not hide her resentment and explained how she had been coping since her loss. She also broke some furniture, smashed various household items and flung objects at her husband. It was all in a bid to get psychological closure. Moving closer home: how should Atiku Abubakar handle the results as declared by INEC? I have just read President Buhari’s acceptance speech and I am wondering how his supporters can look Nigerians in the face and still claim he is a man of integrity. Will they ever accept like Umar Yar’adua did that the process led by Mahmood Yakubu was credible?

That notwithstanding like Hilary declared in the conclusion of her book – “Keep going”. Simply put remain vigilant.

As I was saying before the elections: many relationships have broken down with so many friendships destroyed. Was it really worth it? Life however can always be summarized in just 3 words – it goes on. That is why for me the elections are over. I can now fully resume my hustling because I have got bills to pay. But for those of you who want to continue the political acrimony permit me to introduce you to Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who was deployed to fight the Americans on Lubang Island of Philippines in 1944 during the Second World War.

When the army base the 22 year old Onoda was serving was captured his good self with 3 others refused to surrender instead they retreated deep into the jungles. However by 1945 Japan had surrendered. The 4 soldiers noticed a lull in fighting and repopulation of the island but they nevertheless held on by eating stolen rice, coconuts and meat from stolen cattle from the isolated settlements of Lubang. The victorious Americans from intelligence reports were aware that the 4 were still carrying on the fight so they dropped leaflets from aircraft. They included photographs of the surrender ceremony, current newspapers from Japan and copies of letters from their various families. The relevant authorities also announced from loudspeakers the war was over but the tenacious soldiers did not bulge. They dismissed all those efforts as fake. Not until 1950 when one was killed by the Philippine army. Another in 1954. By 1972 another had surrendered with a message from Onoda that he would only be relieved from duty by his superior. So his commanding officer retired Major Yoshini Taniguchi had to be tracked down in Japan and sent into the jungles of Lubang. As soon as the now 52 year old soldier recognized his former boss he saluted him. He was then ordered to stand down and Onoda finally agreed to surrender. He rejoined civilization in his uniform that he had carefully preserved, carrying his rifle and remaining 500 rounds of ammo with his service sword after 30 years of active service. He is seen here handing over his prized blade to the then president of Philippines Ferdinand Marcos at the Malacanan Palace in 1974. The Samurai eventually left for Japan. He died in 2014 at his retirement farm house at the ripe age of 91. Coming nearer home the 2019 presidential elections will no doubt produce many like Onoda in Nigeria no matter the outcome from the INEC presidential collation center. The struggle continues.