5 simple things that complete us

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the Faith we embrace
the Vision we perceive
the Goals we pursue
the Values we share
& a
Friend like you who care.
God bless!

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EDUCATION OR NOTHING!

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The collapse of our system and the dearth of education can be primarily seen as the reason for the many ills within our society. God bless our forerunners who painstakingly ensured that our fathers schooled, making sure education was so prioritized not just in speech but in concrete policy and implementation framework. All these must be acknowledged considering what they bequeathed to us in form of education vis-à-vis the resources they had at that time and the tactless ill-focusedness and ridiculous loss of priority of our elite and political class of 21st century Nigeria. Coming barely two years after a similar forum took place in Bali, Indonesia, the Abuja meeting, according to Director-General, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO), Ms. Irina Bokova, is aimed at giving the E-9 countries the opportunity of assessing the successes recorded and the challenges they currently face. Official records shows that Nigeria remains the only E-9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) facing serious challenges of turning around the illiteracy rate among its youths and adults by the 2015 timeline set to achieve education for all (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Nigeria assumed the Presidency of the E-9 group at the three-day summit, taking over from Indonesia. The Nigerian Presidency of the group is expected to last for two years. True to form, here is a nation that enjoys status, chairing this and belonging to that…but without any consequent improvement on the lives of the less privileged in the society. This is not the first time that international community is accessing us low, we continue to score low in virtually all life indices. I feel largely irritated by the amount of wealth in this nation, when I see armies of beggars in the streets especially in Northern Nigeria, where people seem to profess faith by lips only instead of in action. The North can only boast of 3 private owned universities (Nigerian Turkish, ABTI University in Yola and I think one in Kwara state) while the south has more than 50 universities and colleges which are run independent of government. Was it the failure of governance or blindness of leadership that affected the Northern print media also? Or it is the dearth in education that collapsed the industries in Kaduna and Kano? And most likely that will be my strongest argument against a 2011 President from the North- how does the language that a man speaks, or the religion that he professes make him a better candidate for the job of leading over hundred and fifty million Nigerians. In what ways will his tribal extraction put him at a plus of leadership? Knowing that our government has failed and may continue to fail since its ears has been deafened by filthy eulogists, praise singers and political profiteers, it is only commonsensical to invest in that which promises us a future that is decent. Education holds this promise. If the North therefore remains largely uneducated, Nigeria remains largely illiterate and the consequences are clear for all to see. Undue acrimony, tussle of ‘good men against tribesmen’, disgust, ethnic malfeasances, compulsive revulsion and the recycling of the worst leaders continues with ease. To phase out bad leaders, we have to chase ignorance into the woods, liberate our people and conquer the prejudices built to keep us away from fraternizing with each other as a people with common destiny. In case you are not aware, there is a perfect correlation between enlightenment, wealth, health and peace. Those who are easily angered to pick up arms and foment troubles are largely the illiterates; it doesn’t matter if they are in Jos today or ethno-religious sword-brandishers in Borno or garage-commanders who sacked the state house of assembly in Oyo or the hoodlums in the creeks. Illiteracy breeds a convoluted series of unsettling societal ills. Countries in the E-9 group are those with a very high number of illiterates who cannot read, write or communicate in any way. They include Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Egypt, Brazil China and Pakistan. It will be apt to note from the aforementioned that only Nigeria seems too attached to its colonial past in terms of communication. In case you do not know, China has more English speakers than the combined population of the USA, Canada and UK. What this even goes further to show is that if everyone in china was to be a salesman, for an English product, they could make better sales by the leverage of population. India, Egypt, Brazil and Pakistan are countries with high-shoulders in technology and modern agriculture. Education may not give us everything, but that which it will bestow on us will easily secure other things for us. So it is education or education. Jo Ebele did say “If we plan to get our people out of poverty, to join the global information super highway and hope to be counted among countries with developed systems in science and technology and a force to be reckoned with in the world’s socio economic and political arena, we must empower our people through acquisition of literacy and numeracy.” Words! Mere words and nothing more. Words that will elicit ‘Na today?’ from an Ijaw lad. What do we pride ourselves with as a nation, consuming virtually everything and importing all that exist in the world. Nigerians import chewing gums and toothpick! Do they do? Yes they do and I just don’t know how we are going to mature as a nation while all these are allowed to fester. Without education, we will continue to revolve about a spin; the revolving will be as clumsy as it is slow. We will be disrespected as a people and will be classified as scalawags and noisemaking comics, wallowing in a confusing web of despair, despondency and subjugation worse than slavery.

THE SAMSUNG EXPERIENCE

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THE SAMSUNG EXPERIENCE
Departure time was said to be 8:00 am, so I brazed up early enough to get set, well it’s not going to be a long journey but I had little promptings that the journey will be stress free and eventful.
Our African attitude about time came to fore, so we had to wait, calling on the many who promised to join in the flight to Abuja where the real thing was going to happen.
What made the journey really good was the way new faces related with one another like they were friends long time ago. The jokes of Buzu and his friend…these guys were just too hilarious!
On landing at Bolingo. I was visiting the hotel for the first time and I was fascinated by its scenery…my interest was first to locate the lady whose courtesy and phone manners convinced me beyond doubt that it wasn’t scam. This was for real so before I even asked of Funmi, eze, already requested to know who she was. And she didn’t disappoint her admirers “yes we have two funmis here”. The fact that she answered, help me surmise that she was the one whose voice, I have heard over the cellphone in the past couple of weeks.
I did as others did; registration and other little details and I was handed the key to the room 421. After checking in, I showered and tried to put on the TV as I was wont to most times, a media person is always information-savvy and avid about news headlines and analysis.
The TV didn’t come on, so I tried the remote and got no response, I dropped it and decided to peruse through the guest manuals in the room, the intercom numbers, and the in-room services.
Lunch was ready at about 1 pm. I got to the dinning 25 minutes late which was intentional for two reasons; I didn’t want to be seen in a rush mode and I wanted to eat without anyone watch my mastication. I can’t even recall the order of my pick but starters collided with snacks, snacks met mixed grill, pizza and my main course was chicken plus grilled white fish. I topped it with some sweet digestible.
I collected much meat and little rice and did stomach justice to it without compassion. How can I be foolish enough to be kind at food which is meant to be macerated?  It’s ours for the eating.
While I ate on, the thought of being a lucky person in a country of 140 million, the thought of meeting new personalities from various walks of life and the thought of meeting the Celebrity raced each other in my head. It was Bello, the other guy adjacent to my table that reminded me again that there is more in case I need more content in the stomach. I smiled at his jest and looked at his table only to see a mammoth-looking blend of varieties I overlooked when I dished my own plate. I smiled again at his sense of savouring the booty. Little chops, Fries, assorted creams and fruit mix after lamb cutlets, veggies cuts, mozzarella, fish, beef, turkey and slices of plantain.
It was after all these that I returned to the room….I put on the west-point air–coolant. I placed a call through to three of my friends domiciled in kado and the other stays around mpape , but they were either far from their phones or had reasons not to pick; whatever it was, I knew it wasn’t intentional. I wanted them to share in the jolly thingy. I checked on my new friend in his room and as we chatted on the relentless Funmi came knocking. She delivered a handbag and a Chelsea blue-customised Mikel Obi top. My friend and I looked at each other with such an air of fait-accompli….a quick thought that came to mind suggested that Nigerian Eagles had no option but to win the Mozambiques’ in this World-Cup qualifier. The Eagles have not been too impressive with their draws and losses in the matches played before now and there is a general apathy and disinterest in the outcome of the game. But the fact that we were watching the Eagles live, we were at the VIP, and we were all donning a BLUE MIKEL-OBI shirt made the anticipation, more.
We got to the stadium in 4 four coaster buses, with chips and pop-corn (from silverbird) in our hands. For those who finished theirs before we got to the stadium, all they did was watch and share in the thrill; some took shots with cameras, camcorders and cellphones. A young man with whom some air of friendlily exists with me, urged that we moved closer to Mikel, because the stadium may get rowdy before the game ends. We did, but a slighted Mikel who because of his injury couldn’t be on the pitch was cursing and vexing at the reality that the Mozambique side(who conceded 3 or 4 goals against the Tunis team) was not just a walk-over as some predicted. Nsofor made the difference for the Eagles with a lucky goal a few minutes to the end. In a rare incidence, I wished I was Odemwingie…he played his heart; he was obviously the man of the match.
I took shots also with Raymond Dokpesi; one of my media heroes. He was sitting right in front of me, calmly watching the match. His disposition to the field tussle was matured like a Daddy.
After the match we all returned to Bolingo…a name that sounds close to the Hausa word, Balangu (a specially spiced delicacy of roasted beef). Buzu and I repeated that word aplenty as we enjoyed the whole treat. Pure indulgence as we were treated to a sumptuous dinner, this is probably the third time this year of my relishing food in surplus enjoyment. The coordinator of the ‘SAMSUNG /Mikel look-alike’ promo made some announcements and I heard an after-party notice for coconut beach at Sheraton….and my mind was blown-up; what other way to spoil a people with extreme jollification. We got there all excited and the band-boys, the bar attendants and service persons didn’t disappoint us.
We ate under the round small huts, shielded by the coconut trees….food was not in short supply but ladies were; so a hunting exercise emerged, the details of which I’ll rather skip. It was a grooving overdose. When I realized eating was getting much (creams, fruits, salads, drinks (I don’t do wine but it was available), chiken-berbecue, goat pepper soup and fish meals), myself and two others had to take a walk round Sheraton….what we had in short supply in coconut –beach was in carnal superfluity as we walked through halls and alleyways. My eyes were assaulted as we unknowingly bumped into the pool area. This happened at a time when a retreat will either scare the swimmers or my colleagues would think a spirit had come over me….so I walked through bashfully, avoiding intimidating jugs and fleshes.
As the night dusked further, I suggested we returned to our rooms and that was it. I had a good shower and crashed. It was this simple sleep that made all that I had enjoyed a trivial jollity considering what others relished in the night while I snored away. Anyway it was mega fun.
After breakfast the next day, which was Monday 12th October, there was so much exchange of contacts, banters and goodbyes….the Lagos group were taken to the airport and we returned through the route we took earlier. I chatted up Charity, she was the only female in our midst; she was really friendly and open.
In all….I didn’t spend a penny to enter and access the promo; I knew that if not for SAMSUNG, I wouldn’t be opportune to watch Nig/Mozamb- (from where the stadium- live) I am not a soccermaniac. I wouldn’t spend two days in Bolingo Hotel for just the fun of it-that would cost me my salary, I may not meet the aircraft Engineer Mr Ayo; the mechanic egg-head from Ekiti, I may not be able to draw an informed conclusion that not all ‘free things’ in Nigeria are scams, I may not be able to measure the pantying that holds sway in the business district area of Nigeria’s capital, or the deep material dichotomy that exist in a geographical contradiction called Nigeria. May I formally request from you to name my unborn daughter Samsung? Samsung you made my weekend!

EVERY WOMAN

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EVERY WOMAN

Every woman should have,
Sufficient provision to take good care
Of herself and mind, if she doesn’t
She’ll fall victim of the unscrupulous

Every woman should have,
Something pleasant to wear
When indoors, when attending functions,
When standing before her Lord,
Or when strolling to pick condiments in the market

Every woman should have,
A little pen and handful of papers

Every woman should have,
A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and
Handy tools for occasional DIY’s

Every woman should have,
A youth she’s content to leave behind,
A past juicy enough that she’s looking forward
To retelling it in her old age;
at least to her children

Every woman should have,
At least one friend who always makes her happy,
And one who lets her cry,

Every woman should have,
Matchbox, sets of matching plates,
Fine mugs, and a recipe for a meal,
That will make her guests feel honoured,

Every woman should have
A feeling of control
Over her destiny and destination,

Every woman should know,
How to fall in love
And how not to fall in love,

Every woman should know,
How to quit a job,
Stand through adversity,
And confront a friend,
Without ruining the friendship,

Every woman should know,
When to be firm,
And when to be flexible
When to try harder,
And when to walk away

Every woman should know,
That she can’t alter the length of her calves,
The width of her hips,
The nature of her parents,
Or the bossiness of the “other tribe”,

Every woman should know,
That her childhood may be uneventful,
But it’s over, and she has to move on womanfully.

Every woman should know,
What to do or what not to do
In the name of love,

Every woman should know,
How to live alone,
Even if she doesn’t like it,
How to live together with others,
Even if they enjoy it most

Every woman should know,
Whom she can trust,
Whom she can’t,
And why she shouldn’t fret at challenges,

Every woman should know,
Where to go,
When her crest falls,
When her hopes are dashed,
When her spirit is dampened
Or when she needs to be appeased

Every woman should know,
The difference between heart-breakers,
Heart-warmers, heart-menders and heart-jailers

Every woman should know,
What she can and can’t accomplish in a day,
A month or a year

Every woman should know,
What it means to be a teenager, a mother, a sister, a mistress
Or all at once when occasion warrants

Every woman should know,
When to talk and when not to,
When to inquire and when to understand
Without letting out a word

Every woman should know,
The evanescence of life,
The intransigence of glitz
And that victory has a price

Every woman should know,
How to naïveté a man despite his intelligence,
How to pamper a baby no matter how cantankerous,
And take care of an awkward aging mother.

Abdulateef Ahmed,
April 2009

Hello world!

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