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On Shaky Foundations – Written by Matty Marope

Today I specially acknowledge the kids of parents who engaged in physical abuse. You never really do grow from that. When other kids have memories of being scolded for running without their shoes on, you have little flashbacks of fists, belts, kicks, insults and rage. These memories come randomly when you are giggling with your friends over jokes about this or that,when you are blushing over compliments given to you and even when having sex-anytime! These morsels of memories come with an after-taste of distrust, over-trust &misplaced compassion and love from the bitter drink named emotional abuse.

Your brain tends to shatter, reality becomes skew and a sense of compassion to you dabbles between hiding from everyone or overly loving everyone from afar and close. That needle on the scale is never really balanced. And when it seems to dabble on a certain number it still never really settles and re-calibrating means therapy and therapy means picking scabs of the past,applying balm and bandaging wounds as a sign of healing-always painful but it works until the next disease.

You hang on to anything as a shield. You can even hide in a tinned shack with a toxic lover who also has their own scars and wild perspective to life but just as long as he looks like or has the physical capability to shield you should the need arise, your version of love means being physically ready to protect yourself. You watch for cues in tone, habits and touches to know when you should be prepared to be disregarded for another. And even when you know, you stand still, disappointed at your lack of movement, longing for more affection and hateful that instead of being physically challenged and being ready for it, you are now emotionally contending and there is little else you can do-its like trying to run under water-physically tiring,mentally shattering and emotionally exhausting.

Your version of educational fulfilment means a fear of completion and success because again you didn’t fight for this and it somehow feels like even the best you have so far (even when its better than most else’s) is too meagre to be presented to the world. Being at work dabbles between being too nice and liberal to being cagey. You have the opportunity to seek mentorship and friendship but if at the first sign of ‘hello’ you see cues for unwillingness, distrust,disinterest – you bail when it could have just been that person being too busy at the moment or having a hard time in their life or with their health at that moment. Or it truly could’ve been that they have no interest in helping you and that they do want to see you fail but because you don’t have the emotional capacity to handle rejection without tearing up and begging like you are being beaten and then fixing things like you are bandaging scars, you let go of everything and wait anxiously.

These are wounds religion can’t seem to fix because it preaches submission,being humble and kneeling-the same positions your saw your battered parent being in and your other battering parent playing God and striking at every turn, sometimes fixing things a little before striking again.

On most days when things are lovely; you do so well. On horrible days, you try to at least stand when your feet even when they are wobbly. On all days; you are beautiful, you are the sunshine and the moon and we were and are still here-all of us. I acknowledge you, I am you and we kids are alright.

_______________________
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“Black Panther”: Pan-Africanism on Screen – by Eleanya Ndukwe, Jr.

Since “Black Panther” premiered in Los Angeles in January, and its theatrical release in the United States on February 16th—actually, if truth be told, even before then—till the day I saw it on the 22nd, there had been conscious efforts to dodge every “review,” “spoiler,” hash-tags with “Wakanda,” “BlackPanther” and likes. Reason: I wanted to go to the movie theatre with an “unadulterated” mind; one not coloured through the prisms of subjective and secondary analyses.

While the anticipation grew to go see “Black Panther” almost to the point of hysteria, my mind had started playing tricks on me about what I’d wear to the “occasion” as this was something out of the ordinary. My attire was definitely going to be heavily influenced by whatever cultural ideology —culture, you bet, wasn’t to be missed—I so desired.

What could be more appealing than the Abiriba cultural attire? I thought. So, out came my Ọkara from the farthest side of my box, Pop’s “Kpọmkpọm,” designed as a two- piece intertwined cultural clothing worn around the waist girdle-like in style came aboard, cuff-links followed suit, tie, my favourite white shirt, perhaps as a symbol of purity and innocence joined the clique, shoe, and the “Nnweyi Ikputu”
were all summoned. I was set—for “Black Panther.”

The excitement was building.
We got to the theatre. Pops mentioned we would be seeing “Black Panther” in “3D.” I couldn’t wait. My anticipation had bubbled over, especially with me in my Abiriba attire and an unmissable ‘heightened’ African swagger to my newly acquired footsteps.

I sat.
And it began!
It was Robin Walker who in his timeless book, “When We Ruled: The Ancient and Medieval History of Black Civilisations,” wrote about the past, historical domination of Africa during the early centuries pre-colonization, while de-bunking the western-propagated agenda of a historically- bereft Africa before the coming of “colonizers,” of which a few of its excerpts can be found here

Thus, laying credence to the works of such educationalists and historians as Chancellor Williams, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Cheikh Anta Diop; activists as Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X; and even literary icons as Amiri Baraka, Chinua Achebe, James Baldwin, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and others that Africa’s history did not begin with the barbaric invasion and intrusion of colonialism, or trading of Africans but rather, as a certain sage aptly captures it, it was “interrupted” by it.

It is against this backdrop that “Black Panther” takes centre stage as A) A futuristic projection of African dominance in global politics, technology and medicine.
B.) An aesthetic representation of African livelihood and ideologies before colonialism—and some which continue to take hold of its citizens till date.

A lot of negative “reviews” have largely stemmed from the reactions to the character of the villain, Erik Killmonger. But even that, is a depiction of the “Black” man’s struggle in America: the child without a father figure, son left to find his place in a rudder-less world, the forgotten, the broken, the lost! The same way one could argue about how different world history would have read had Africa “colonised” other continents, tribes and regions. The resolution of “Black Panther’s” conflict therefore puts into perspective the fact that ambition—no matter how worthy or Pan-Africanist in quest—is not justifiable on the altar of colonialism, political and economic enslavement of “perceived” weaker nations especially while annihilating one’s own and going as far as abandoning African ideologies.

Alluringly, the richness to a work of art—visual—plays to the aesthetic introductions exhibited. If there was a need for a keen attention to details of African traditions, cultural identities, and ideologies, “Black Panther” nailed it.
And I list a few, among the numerous: Parental guide, spiritual and emotional support of the African as core, deeply embedded trait in the African family tradition stays true to this movie. Queen Ramonda remains eternally present and relevant in offering support, guide, and
even medical interventions to his son via the richest “pharmaceutical” invention known to us: Herbs. Her eternal line to T’Challa “My son, it is your time,” buttresses this point.

Much more, there is the dominant, progressive role played by other female characters from Army General and tactical, patriotic spear-wielding Okoye—whose epic line “Wakanda Forever” resonates—to super spy Nakia to tech genius Shuri taking back to the ideological empowerment format of the African heritage which produced such prominent figures as Queen Anna Nzinga, Queen Amina Sukhera of Zaria, Princess Nandi Zulu, Commander Yaa Asantewa, Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, Miriam Makeba, Queen Tiye, Queen Neithhotep and more. Thus, not pandering to patriarchal entitlements of modern society and so-called civilisation, but understanding the role, importance and relevance of the African Goddess both in the formation of life, politics, and advancement of societal goals. In this regard do we see “ancient” civilisation as acknowledging the woman as the God of creation, survival, and dominance; and reinforcing the need for feminism, gender equality and most importantly in this new age, women empowerment!

The costume designing in “Black Panther” would bring this truth even further. The famous drapes usually gracing Nigerian attires are not missed; the lip and ear plate modifications of the Surma and Mursi body tribes of Ethiopia; the Ndebele neck rings and laces largely
synonymous with the South Africans and Zimbabweans; the Ethiopian and Sudanese tribes-inspired body tattoos; Maasai-inspired ornaments and dressings of the Tanzanian and Kenyan people; the Mgbedike masks of the Igbo, Eastern Nigeria tribe; the Lesotho blankets; the “otjize” paste reminiscent of the Northwestern Himba people of Namibia; the Tuareg scarfs of the North and West Africans;
the Agbada largely worn by those of North and West Africans; the Dogon attires of the Mali people; the tiny, multi-coloured neck beads worn by Kenya’s Turkana people etc.

Just as unique as the costumes are, the languages utilised in “Black Panther” enchant even more. Language as an extensive form of communication/dissemination of information in the movie heightens the consciousness of Pan-Africanism in “Black Panther” using Nsibidi and the Xhosa languages.

Nsibidi is comprised of both logo-graphic symbols, as words and morphemes, and an ideographic set-up, as such, a representation of ideas and concepts known to the indigenous Ejagham (Ekoi) people in present day Cross River State, Calabar, Nigeria. It was adopted by their Efik, Ibibio, Anang and Igbo neighbours (Abiriba, Bende, Igbere,
Edda, Arochukwu, and Afikpo) through the interpersonal relationships bordering on socio-economic integration and by a stretch of political domination cum communal clashes.

According to archaeological findings of ceramic artefacts with such inscriptions on them, Nsibidi dates between at least 4000-5000 BCE; totally devoid of Arabic and Latin precursors. However, some unique Ikom, Nigeria monoliths with Nsibidi writings were found to date back to 2000 BC.
This makes it one of the oldest written languages in world history and emphatically refutes the idea that oral tradition was the only means of communication employed by Africans —Nigerians in this case—before the advent of the British colonising monsters.

As imperialism and slavery took root in Africa, through the Atlantic Slave Trade, Nsibidi was exported by the African slaves to the Caribbean where it developed into the anaforuana and veve symbols and can be found till date in Cuba, Venezuela, Jamaica, Haiti, and even Brazil. While recent history claims that the Nsibidi language and writing is almost going extinct, it has been recognised too that some clans and tribes in Eastern Nigeria, mainly the Efik, Ibibio, Ohafia, Abiriba, Arochukwu, Ebonyi and even Southern reaches of Cameroon still use this esoteric, mystical language as a communication format through the societal fraternity known as Ekpe.

Xhosa—the endearing “click click language,” so named for its ‘click’ consonants’ at pronunciation—is a Bantu language spoken by over 19 million people in Southern Africa. Nations like Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho are heavy users.
Archaeological findings reveal that the Xhosa-speaking people have lived in the Eastern Cape region since the 7th century AD as descendants of the Bantu, originally from present day Cameroon and Nigeria while another record posits that Xhosa has existed since before the 16th century.

Juxtaposing the usage of the Nsibidi and Xhosa languages in “Black Panther” and relative global history, one can note, regrettably, that in colonialism and western imperialism, Africa lost one of the most unifying factors of civilisation—language. Just as we did with spirituality, cultural practices etc. “The white man is very clever…he has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart,” the eternal novelist, essayist and poet Chinua Achebe aptly
captures this vanquishment in his classic “Things Fall Apart.”

As with the language culture being a unique trait of mother-land Africans, so is art. Africans are first recognised and portrayed on the basis of their unique art ideologies.
These identities are portrayed through the traditional garbs, rhythmic fusion of murals covering backgrounds across most scenes, exploring the richness of African art, its place in pre colonial times, continuous relevance and consciousness. Speaking of “Art,” “Black Panther” zeroes in on the failures of Africa while highlighting the massive exploitations perpetrated by the West. For instance, the scene where Killmonger appears in a London art gallery depicts the Art plunders that have become the bane of African Art the world over. I wrote about this problem some time ago and can be found here

Critically, one must factor in the notion of rejecting “immigrants” into “Wakanda” as pandering to racism. As such, would Africa be a dominant continent for all forms of civilisation if she rejected/rejects migration, border crossings and voyages from “foreigners?” This, “Black Panther” credibly dealt with, with T’Challa acknowledging the role to be played by his “nation” in treating an ailing CIA agent Ross while waging war against his cousin Killmonger. Subliminal in tone, but equally forceful in portrayal is how it depicts the effects of the madness of current global crises of wars, persecutions, and terrorisms
vis-à-vis migration, asylum requests and the need for borders of nation-states to be opened to refugees or refusing to give aides through the sheer boundless possibilities of the symbolic resource “Vibranium”—representing the massive, vast, limitless potentials of Africa ‘s numerous natural resources.

Does this justify and fulfil the promises of its needs or merits? T’Challa answers in one of the credits scenes: “Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows….We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters of this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all
know the truth: more connects us than separates us. … We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.”

Perhaps as a rebuttal to the foreign policies of the major world powers in their respective foreign policies or at least, an allegory for the recognition of the self-acclaimed “greatest nation on earth’s” failure, T’Challa advises, “In times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers.”
It might interest you to replace “barriers” with “walls,” for better and easier relativity.

If building “bridges” is T’Challa’s goals, then on its metaphoric base dwells the platform on which the greatest act of dehumanization, the Atlantic slave trade, transpired— the ocean. Africans were traded across the American continent as lesser animals to face even greater acts of inhumanity for the sake of racism. African ancestors bled, had their bodies torn limb from limb, raped, slaughtered, lynched for the bloodthirsty spite of their western plunderers. Some entertained hope—no matter how infinitesimal—of a future where they would be treated or at least regarded as equal, or maybe more than lesser animals. They kept the faith.

But a few select souls would rather embrace death as their ultimate redemption than be sold into slavery. Those were the Igbos, of present day South-eastern Nigeria. It was May 1803. At the Dunbar Creek on St. Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia, they seized their ship, overpowered and drowned their captors, and as a verified account of the tragic event recounts, led by their spiritual leader with
raised vocals on a war-like song of courage; of defiance; of homecoming, marched to the sea, hand in hand, forever in brotherhood’s solidarity, they committed one of the largest mass suicides in America’s history of slavery. The historic site is known today as Igbo Landing.

Erik Killmonger seems to allude to this historic happenstance in his final moment when he quips, “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, ‘cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
Constant recurrence in “Black Panther” is the minor theme of communication between the living and the dead—a major African ideology about the place of deep connection between those still in the physical realm and their ancestors. For guidance. For inspiration. For peace. Thus, Killmonger finds peace in reconnecting with his ancestors which had eluded him in life, but not in death.

Not to forget though, the directorial prowess and tight-knit script written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole; the cast starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke; and the awe-laden, Pan-African-inspiring costumes designed by the super creative Ruth E.
Carter more than delivered. My number is on a few personalities from the “Black Panther” cast and crew to win next year’s major awards.

In the end, “Black Panther” is one of those classics that cannot be exhausted in one “review” as every scene, sequence, character’s arc, major and minor themes all build on to something bigger. Something almost unexplainable.
Something complete justice would arguably never be done to by way of exposé.

This is my opinion. Whatever you make of “Black Panther,” there is no denying the fact that, in this Information Age, the consciousness for Pan-Africanism is taking a more forceful root and “Black Panther” has only added to this movement.
Shamefully, the only failure I can perceive of “Black Panther” is perhaps the irrepressible tragic feeling that it may not be enough to arouse the slumbering political “leaders” littered all over Africa who clearly lack the political will to bring the “futuristic” potentials of “Wakanda” to fruition.

But like Somali-Canadian artiste K’naan expresses hope in his audacious “Waving Flag,” I patiently wait for that fateful day, when I will be able to say assuredly, like Okoye, “We are Home!”

P.S.: all pictures featured on this piece were sourced from different websites on the internet. Therefore, all copyright laws are duly acknowledged with no intent, whatsoever, to infringe on the creative rights of the original owners.

#WakandaForever #BlackPanther #Africa #TheNewMind

_______________________
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Dealing With Breakups by Oge Chi

Being in love is a beautiful feeling. Your head is up in the clouds and life seems to have an extra colour. The grasses look greener and the singing of birds are more melodious.
Then, suddenly, everything crashes like a pack of cards ; your dreams of a happy forever-after, and you are left with feelings of rejection, despondence, dejection and depression.

Break-up periods are always tough. The heart is broken and many negative thoughts come to mind. According Lucia O’Sullivan of the University of Brunwick, break-ups or heartbreaks are a leading cause of psychological stress and suicide among young people. According to the study, it turns out break-ups were implicated in 28 percent of the time over a four month period.

The truth is, we are prepared for everything in a relationship except one, heartbreaks and break-ups.
Most people can hardly handle break-ups or heartbreaks. Some have no clue on how to go about the aftermath but here is a list of things one can do to manage and recover from break-ups and heartbreaks.


1. Cry. Let the tears flow, do not bottle up the frustration and bitterness you feel. Unburden yourself. A study on the benefits of crying shows that it is self-soothing , regulates emotions and reduces stress as well as activates the Para-sympathetic Nervous System(PNS) which aids relaxation. Crying is a natural response to emotions, not a sign of weakness. Suppressing tears can cause some psychological stress.


2. LET GO…it is the past, do not let the hurt and bitterness hinder the present or the future. Psychologically, break-ups or heartbreaks can be demeaning, however, do not give room to the feeling of rejection, depression or dejection. Don’t let it take your mirth. Do not blame yourself or anyone . Do not revenge, it will only complicate issues.

3. Talk to someone about it, maybe a parent or a friend.

Talking can ease off the feeling of rejection. Human beings are social animals and depend on one another for comfort, remember the saying, a problem half shared is half solved ? However, it is important to be cautious of whom you confide in.

4. Do not keep a tab on your Ex. There is usually this feeling of wanting to know what he or she is up to using social media platforms.

This is unhealthy and will only worsen the way you feel especially if your Ex has moved on with another person.


5. Build your self-esteem.
Break-ups can take a toll on one’s self-esteem They are usually accompanied by feelings of rejection and thoughts of not being good enough. It is important to know your worth and that the lost of a partner does define you value.

6. Plan and re-plan on how to live your life with him/her out of the picture. Your relationship is just one part of your life, there are a lot of other things to live for.

Set up goals, e g, in your career, and strategize on how to achieve them. This may not be a walkover , especially when there are shared dreams , promises and memories but try…It’s not the end of the world. Keeping busy takes your mind away from so many things.

7. Hangout with understanding friends in places that will not bring back memories of your past relationship.

It is important to let your friends know the situation of things, that you are on your path to healing, and want to forget, so they don’t raise issues that may remind you. You can also join a support group of people who have similar experiences . Have fun.

8. Attend events, don’t shut yourself out from the world. Have a discussion class, or read book . Explore your talents. Assign those times you usually spend with your former partner to other things, academics, hobbies, etcetera, you won’t miss him or her at those times.

9. Stay away from romantic relationships for a while after break-ups. Give yourself time to heal before going into another one. It can be hard and you may want to prove your worth and to your Ex , that you have moved on without him or her, however it is important to understand that you have nothing to prove. Work on your raw emotions to ensure you aren’t carrying an extra luggage into your new relationship.

10. Give yourself the opportunity to love again. Do not hate or avoid potential partners. Do not generalize, your EX is just one out of many and people differs. Just be cautious.

Finally, break-ups are natural happenings. People can always leave. Learn your lessons, see break-ups and heartbreaks as one of life’s experiences that equip you for the better and live on. Love will find you again.
_______________________
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Exposing the Shortfall in Students Recommendation Letters- Written by Moses Ochonu

Let’s discuss how Nigerians unintentionally–or as a compatriot told me recently, intentionally–sabotage other Nigerians’ chances of upward socio-economic and educational mobility.
A talented Nigerian student/graduate is applying to a graduate program in Euro-America and asks her current or former lecturers to write her the required recommendation letters. Some of the lecturers don’t even bother to write the letter. The applicant has to chase them down and plead.

Sometimes they have to travel from one part of the country to the other to plead in person as phone calls, texts, and emails don’t work with the lecturers.
It’s as though the lecturers don’t want to support the applicant’s foreign educational aspirations. It’s part of their job, but lecturers act as if they’re doing their current and former students a favour by writing these letters. Many applicants have missed critical application deadlines because of this attitude.

The ones who agree to write the letter take the most cavalier attitude to it. They write unusable perfunctory nonsense such as “Ms. so and so was a student in our department; she was a well behaved student; she worked hard and performed well in her classes; she has a good character and is very respectful; her academic record is okay.”
Far from helping the applicant’s chances, this type of letter actually damages and puts her at a disadvantage in relation to her fellow applicants. I should know, since I’ve served on both graduate admissions and fellowship and grant committees many times.

Where to begin? First of all such a letter says nothing, absolutely nothing, about the applicant’s intellectual abilities, unique academic skills, or the specificities of their academic record. It is too general to be useful. It does not offer any insight into the lecturer’s academic/intellectual relationship with the applicant, so why should we take the
letter writer seriously as someone who can vouch for the applicant?
There is no mention of classes the applicant took with the lecturer, how they did in such classes, how they stood out, what they did to impress the lecturer, why the lecturer believes the applicant would thrive and blossom in the graduate program, etc.

There is no praise, no enthusiasm–only bland, lukewarm, generic comments. It’s better not to write a recommendation than to write one that does not endorse the applicant or highlight her intellectual promise and quality.
Then there is the issue of brevity. Some of these letters that I’ve seen are one paragraph or at most two–too sketchy to offer any substantive glimpse into the applicant’s abilities or give one a sense of the applicant’s unique talents and intellectual drive.

Finally, there is the annoyingly meaningless deployment of Nigerian idiosyncrasies and clichés. When a Nigerian lecturer writes “hard-working,” the North American evaluators of the applicant’s materials read it as “mediocre.” When the evaluators see a word such as “solid,” they don’t think it indicates excellence, as it might in Nigeria. In popular and even professional Nigerian usage, “okay” means good. Not so in the North American educational parlance. It does not mean good. Rather, it denotes bad or mediocre. Saying someone is “okay” indicates reservation, that the letter writer is holding back outright praise because the applicant does not deserve it.

And nobody wants to know or cares about the applicant’s personal character, so commenting on how well behaved or respectful she is is an unhelpful digression at best and at worst a damaging indication that you have nothing substantive or glowing to say about her academic abilities and intellectual talent. What has the applicant being “kind” got to do with her ability to undertake graduate work, cope
with its rigours, and do well?
I don’t know whether it is laziness on the part of the lecturers or a lack of awareness about Western higher educational conventions. I suppose it’s a mix of the two.

Whatever it is, these lecturers are destroying the chances and prospects of talented Nigerian applicants, who lose out of opportunities because their former or current teachers write non-recommendation recommendation letters on their behalf.
I’ve lived and worked in America long enough to know that, in making admission and other decisions, no evaluator will ignore a sketchy, general, and lukewarm endorsement from a person who purportedly knows and has taught and mentored the applicant–the recommender. If the recommending lecturer doesn’t sound so enthusiastic about the applicant, why should I? That’s the general attitude.

Ignorance of what is expected in the letter is no excuse. I’ve even seen such a letter which was written by a Nigeria- based lecturer who studied in the US and is thus aware of how critical recommendation letters are and how they should be written. This lends credence to the theory that some of this could be intentional sabotage on the part of
some recommending lecturers.
It is sometimes so sad and frustrating for folks like me to read recommendation letters from North American professors saying that such and such applicant is a reincarnation of Albert Einstein and Jacques Derrida in one flesh and then to read a meaningless three-sentence recommendation letter from a Nigerian lecturer about a Nigerian applicant you know is much more talented than the North American applicant whose abilities and talents are being advanced in highfalutin, exaggerated terms.

The interesting thing is that I read recommendation letters written by academics in other countries for other international applicants and they conform for the most part to the North American convention of high praise and substantive commentary on the applicant, her accomplishments, and her ongoing work.
We’re cheating ourselves and putting ourselves at a disadvantage in a globalized, hyper-competitive world.

_______________________
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Sex and Minors – Written by Jude Eze

I hardly ever meet anyone whose first sexual experience was with their age mate. There’s always one older guy or older girl involved.
I had my first girlfriend at age fourteen and all we ever did was gist and hold hands; then the occasional side hugs and peck on the cheek which came like once in a blue moon. We were two naive teenagers and were really innocent like that.
Until that SS 3 girl I met during my JSS 3 showed me the forbidden fruit; she was nineteen and I was fifteen.

It’s funny how African parents see two teenagers of the same age who are fond of each other and try to break them apart, thinking they’re protecting them from having sex.
But the truth is, these kids don’t need protecting from each other.

The average teenage boy is scared of a vagina and the average teenage girl thinks that if she holds hands with a boy for too long she’ll get pregnant. With their innocence, they pose no real threat to each other.
It takes the influence of an older person to open their eyes and make them sexually active.

Of all the teenage girls you know who ever got pregnant, how many of them were impregnated by boys the same age as them?
Think about it.
You see all those aunties and uncles in your neighbourhood always calling your kids ‘my husband’ or ‘my wife’, those brothers and sisters from Bible studies, your kid’s baby sitter, your gate man, your house girl, your house boy, those relatives from your extended family; these are the people you should really watch out for.

While you’re busy driving away your son’s female classmates and beating up your teenage daughter for talking to teenage boys, one adult is there showing them everything they’re probably still too young to know about sex right under your nose and you’ll never even know about it.
And because these sexual predators are adults and you’ve estranged your kids with your strict high handedness, they’ll be too scared to open up to you about the abuse they’re suffering. Until you wake up one morning and find your daughter heavily pregnant or your son a victim of STI.

When I finally become a parent, I would strongly endorse my kids to go out with their age mates.
I would also be the first person to talk to them about sex.
And I don’t mean all these ignorant myths peddled around our African society, I’m talking about the truth; the real facts.

Lass lass young people will have sex whether you as a parent like it or not.
_______________________
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Our Collective Malaise; Our Collective Amnesia – by Michael Okoye

I do watch House of Cards – the television political drama about the rise of the power-hungry Underwoods. I stopped midway into the season 5 having been thoroughly disgusted by the fact that the couple were going to get away with murder – literally. The series is make believe but I couldn’t help but connect events in the series to our reality. Politicians get away with murder on a daily basis and get an easy ride.

A governor gets elected, refuses to pay workers’ salaries, dis-continues projects of his predecessor, doesn’t undertake projects of his own. He sits in his office and enjoys the glamour and power that comes with the position. Does the square root of fuck-all and gets re-elected after four years. The Otumokpor these politicians yield no be small one o. How come they know our ‘mumu’ buttons and keep pressing at will. It’s because we don’t have a mumu button anything. We’re all suffering from amnesia.

For a people who think themselves smart, this a big problem. Politicians are immune to scandals. It is their breakfast, lunch and dinner; criticisms don’t get to them. They know we’re a nation of forgetful people. They know we can’t sustain a rally against corruption for long. We’ll rather sit at home and discuss Big Brother Naija. They know us all too well. Being in public service in Nigeria is a dream vacation for a politician. They know they wouldn’t be held accountable for their duty. They will simply sleep walk through the whole thing and flash images of ‘progress’ achieved, fling crumpled notes in our direction and watch us dance to their beat. It’s all too familiar.

There has been terrible Heads of States in our history but Buhari is a leading contender for the worst Head of State of all time. Pre-election campaigns of fighting corruption died a familiar Nigerian death once he assumed the role of president. A president who sees rule of law as nothing more than a flexible tool and uses it when it suits him. How do you explain the fiasco about hate speech and the plan to monitor social media accounts of ‘VIPs’ and notable Nigerians. Since arriving, he has managed to sink our economy and apportioned blame to everyone but himself. He lives in a delusional reality where everything negative isn’t his fault and minute achievements are accrued to him. This president has failed on almost every count. But he knows it wouldn’t really matter.

He only has to appear fit enough to mumble ‘corruption’ and masses of idiots would troop to vote to keep the disaster in office. Fulani herdsmen are currently leaving the residents of Benue state in perpetual anguish. There has been unprecedented slaughter in the Northern state but there has been no decisive action from the ex-military man. This is not the first time Herdsmen have made the news since Buhari’s arrival. They keep pillaging through communities, destroying crops and murdering anyone who stands in their way.

Cows have become a little more important than humans. And this uncaring wicked government continue playing the ostrich while the citizenry are at the mercy of the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world. Doesn’t that scare you? That the fourth deadliest killers are not confined to one space but could appear at your doorsteps to wipe you and your family away at the slightest perceived wrong doing.
The youths who are supposed to be the pillars of the nation are idle doing nothing, saying nothing. Our future generations may not see a country to live in if we continue like this. The situation is dire but power, I believe, still remains with us. We need to wake up from this prolonged slumber and grapple our future away from the people who’ve put them in jeopardy.

We instead choose to prioritise frivolities. We can’t stand up and do the right thing.
This time around, ‘anything but Buhari’ wouldn’t do. It is what brought us to the state were we are. We made that mistake and have suffered incredibly for it. There has to be thorough vetting of whom ever we’re installing at Aso Rock. This is not a time to pick parties. PDP, APC are all parties with very little difference. They are twins with different names. We have to be bold in choosing our next Head of State. Going against the grain has never been a Nigerian way but we’ll choose a different way this time. The rape has gone on far too long, it’s time we kick our rapists in the groin and escape further unwarranted punishment.

This is the time to start talking. Leaving it late has made us susceptible to wrong choices time and time again. Anyone coming to serve us has to give detailed account of how we’d make progress as a nation.

Have you gotten your PVCs?

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The Mafia Church – Written by Olakunle Allison

My fellow Nigerians, fear Pentecostal churches. I repeat, fear Pentecostal churches. My heart aches as I try to articulate my thoughts. Any person of goodwill should be scared for Nigerians; many of whom don’t know they are under the influence of powerful occultists.

Have you noticed a trend lately? Embattled accusers of Pentecostal pastors going before their congregations to offer contrived confessions and apologies. First, it was Kemi Olunloyo. And now, it is Stephanie Otobo. Both women accused two powerful pastors of sexual improprieties, were jailed without due process of law and later admitted publicly that they were being used either by spiritual forces or humans.

My objective here is not to litigate these accusations on Social Media. That’s for the courts. But there’s a disturbing trend here which objective and rational minds must not shrug off. If you do, it’s probably because you don’t understand how Mafias operate.

I’ll focus on the latest confession. Otobo’s.
I just saw a video. Otobo was standing before Suleiman’s congregation. She introduced herself to the visibly hysterical gathering. Side talks, head shakes, arm folds and inaudible rants were visible. She claimed she was sent by SOME politicians and PASTORS to bring down pastor Suleiman. She implied that she was forced to eat certain things and make vows by her sponsors. She later called Suleiman “our father” to a rousing noise in the congregation. She approached Suleiman’s wife, knelt and begged her forgiveness. It was quite a kabuki theatre kind of display.

Now, if you are one of those who believe that these women suddenly had divine visitations and repented, you are the most gullible creature God ever made. If you truly believe that a maverick like Kemi Olunloyo suddenly found Christ in the arms of pastor Ibiyeomie who;

* Got her arrested 3-4 different times and jailed her in Kirikiri prisons WITHOUT TRIAL OR DUE PROCESS OF LAW;
* Made her lose body weight and suffered depression in the process, and
* Bankrupted her because of legal fees to the point that she begged and solicited for money online,

then your understanding of Christianity is garbage and you lack an understanding of the subjugating influence of power.
These women did not repent. They were subdued. They were vanquished. Their spirits were broken. When you get to that point, you will literally see or have a ‘divine encounter’ by force.

Take Stephanie Otobo and Pastor Suleiman’s scandal for instance. This woman was arrested and jailed at the instance of Suleiman. Then she began to speak out. If she had not been arrested and jailed without due process of law by a so-called pastor, we might never have seen Suleiman’s dirty laundry in public. But Suleiman made a wrong move which would later cost him public ridicule.

His first knee jack reaction to Otobo’s forceful, factual and evidenced allegations was to deny ever knowing or meeting her. He later admitted knowing her as a stripper in Canada whom he led to Christ. To further prove that they were very close, Otobo claimed the pastor used to send her money. He publicly denied it. Otobo published her statement of account with his name as sender. He then admitted that he was supporting her financially as a new convert.

We all know the gist. We know how Otobo’s mother went to apologise to Suleiman following series of threats from his pulpit but Otobo remained un-fazed. In fact, she sued him in a court of law (which a pastor wouldn’t do) through th chambers of Festus Keyamo.
Now, all of a sudden, she is claiming that some powerful politicians and pastors pushed her against Suleiman. Yet, those powerful folks abandoned her?

Folks, these women need our help. They underestimated the powers and influence these pastors wield. They found out the hard way that they were dealing with an organised Mafia of some sort. People who hide behind the pulpit to oppress the masses. No true man of God would use oppressive means to get justice. Any soul you win to Christ that way is a lie.
I don’t believe Olunloyo and Otobo were sorry, or even wrong. They were broken. I know what it means to be broken mentally and financially.

I currently have a client who is being witch hunted and cyber-bullied by a popular movie producer and director. My client suffered sexual harassment from him few years ago which was published on Instablog without her consent. He is now suing my client for N 30million (Naira).
Because my client is a private citizen, a mother and a wife and because she really cannot afford a lawyer, she is considering a private apology.

He wants a public apology because he has been boasting online that he’d bring her and her sponsors to opprobrium.
Don’t forget that my client’s story is authentic, but because the case is and will create a big hole in her pocket and huge scar in her marriage, she wants a quiet settlement by apologising for what she knows to be true. But the arrogant harasser wants a public show. Sounds familiar?

You see, may you never see a problem that would make you swallow your true words and end up in shame. You might do this if you’re fighting men of power, influence and intrigues. Mafias.
This is what happened to Olunloyo and Otobo. They caved in to psychological and financial pressure from the least anticipated personas – so-called pastors.

Men who operate like mafias. Pastors who wine and dine with corruption and subterfuge on a regular basis. Pastors who disregard due process of law and order. That’s what mafias do.
Time will prove me right. These women are not converted. They compromised.

#truthissacred
Selah.

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Let’s Talk About ‘Friendship’

The spark of friendship is when there’s mutual interest. The other person has to enjoy you as much as you’re willing to be involved in their life.
When this ingredient is missing, there’s hardly anything you can do to salvage what’s left of a friendship. That friendship is gone and in-existent.

Else, you’ll always feel the need to gauge their level of interest in you. You’ll keep wanting that constant reassurance they deny you.
Keeping in touch would always happen on your time – on their own part, making out time for you isn’t what they look forward to doing.

Of course , you’ll keep tagging along them desperately because you know they could go miles without turning to check if you are still there.
You’ll do all these until you’re exhausted – until you’ve squeezed out all the pleasantness in you for the sake of preserving what’s dead.
You can never have a friend in a person you have to work so hard to captivate. And you do not have to deal with that.

I’ll deviate, but still on friendship.
It’s a sad thing that the concept of friendship has been greatly devalued today. Now, it comes with extra baggage.
People disguised as friends because you’re beneficial in some kind of way.

People all out to manipulate and exploit one’s open mindedness and care – all in the name of friendship.
Including social media redefined ‘Friendship’ occurring in the form of cliques and factions that stand for nothing other than negativity.
You have to be somewhat rebellious, daring, ‘woke’, to fit the clique.
Everything that no longer makes friendship edifying as it’s supposed to be.

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Women Are Masters of Deception by Oge Chi

That’s why I find it funny when men say they use and dump ladies. Please forget the tears and cries of heartbreak, sometimes it’s a camouflage to the real intent. It’s in the game plan.
The bitter truth is that you’ve been trashed and the fun of the game is that you don’t even know.

You wouldn’t want to know what goes on in a woman’s mind especially when her interest is at stake, or have you ever encountered a fuckgirl or play girl? I pray you don’t because those bitches can be arctic hard-hearted.
A woman can be anything she wants. Naturally a woman has more active and detective instincts than a man, she’s also a good strategist, however, this does not imply that all women use theirs negatively; this helps her plan ahead and thoroughly. So when she wants to play you,she wouldn’t just do that successfully but will also have you thinking you’re the player.

Really,you think she’s so cheap and haven’t heard of your iconic reputation as a player ? Or she’s such an idiotic naive and brainless moron to fall so cheap for you with all the news in circulation?
Guy, verily, verily I say unto you, she has your repertoire and has so studied it that she can dictate your next move like a seasoned chess master. She knows you as the back of her hand, your weaknesses and has finally concluded that you are the perfect guy for the job.

News Flash!
She plotted everything, even your meeting.
While you’re busy assuming you are her ultimate goal, to her you are just a means to an end probably a leap in her career, to achieve popularity or get to date one of your friends etc.
It happens all the time on Facebook. You meet a fine girl, let’s say a writer; checks her profile, she has the writing thing in her but not very popular, five to ten likes on her posts. You chat up, become friends, she comments regularly on your posts,flirts with you inbox and your playboy mind is aroused as she seems a juicy sport fish. You activate your game plan: Tags her regularly on your posts, mentions her often on comments and posts, she does the same, even dedicates posts to you. You smile, your plans are working.

You grow more intimate online,she sends you dirty messages, maybe nudes, she asks you questions on writing, in fact, you tutor her. She had you edit her writings before posting, you share them,tag your celebrity writer friends in the spirit of chykism. Your sole aim, to have a taste of her honey pot.
Soon, you have your friends sending her requests. The likes and reactions to her posts leap from units to hundreds, you almost have over an hundred mutual friends. You flirt on, take her out and have sex with her, it was mind blowing and deep down in your heart you are feeling super fly.

Through you she gets to know sites and meet people who matter in writing. You sleep with her a couple of times more. Your desire is already waning, she makes a deliberate wrong move, maybe challenges you on a post, you break-up with her, she cries but moves on quickly, maybe a better guy, say a more popular facebooker who
happens to be your friend. You notice but comfort yourself by telling yourself you’ve used her.
But the bitter truth is that she played you, no,the actual word is ‘used you’ thoroughly and left you basking in the euphoria that you did, to show how stupid you are.

And even when you discover you’ve been played, you silently lick your wounds. You wouldn’t dare let the world know because thanks to you she’s now more popular and has a multitude of followers who are ready to blast you for an ungentlemanly attitude of kissing and telling.
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REDUCE YOUR SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT

Let your eyes caress these words carefully as I paint on a tattered canvas called EDUCATION.

The African child is underprivileged.’ This is not a hypothesis. Its generational phenomenon is theorized by the excessive presence of been without and the compulsive need to impress.

People to impress:

  1. Himself/herself
  2. His ideologies
  3. Whoever puts food on his table during dependency.

Seeping through life like a pulsatile blood flow is relative. We are raised with literal iron rods and flexible animal hide kissing our juvenile skin when we are still malleable, void and obscure about the world. The form we possess makes us brittle fledglings revelling in the dogma of unilateral existence and reasoning. There was a motive to be taught – everything ranging from manners, respect, obedience and reaction to your name being called. These were the tenets of absolute parenthood with constant echoing of the ‘charity begins at home’ mantra. Custom pushes us to churches, mosques and later primary school to complete the never-wavering cycle of seemingly ‘cultured’ kids who have been forced to learn the acceptable norms of the utopia which the society projects.

‘For education is not absolute but only a stepping stone.’

The fervid desire coerces the society into validating education, not as a cameo, but as a pertinent spoke in the cycling wheel of relevance which has left many turning to degrees or titles instead of value, moral and purpose. The society has channelled the fine irregularities of education and sieved only degree and self-appraisal as resolute. My father said ‘As long as you’re in my house, you must play by my rules and prove yourself’. These words keep clawing at my purpose leaving a void large enough for a love-child of doubt and fear to creep in. ‘What will become of me if I fail?’ Education has been our only escape as a people because we need to prove ‘everybody’ wrong – foreigners too. The self-admiration for the medal on your chest, while your house goes up in flames. Don’t get me wrong! Religion and forced morals is not the enemy. Our foe is simply a lack of innovation and appreciation for ourselves and our struggle as a people. The society throws stones at those who failed at school. A younger generation witnessing the rot from within has valued moves to societies built with sweat, commitment and sacrifice. These morals are a sham and they only ever preach respect – not love, selflessness or service.

Intelligence should not (not ever) be confused with innovation. Education is different from progression. In truth, they should be in the same mental pond to birth ideas suited to the realisation of Africanism. It’s a shame that with so much education, we do not seem educated. A people may only be as good as its leader. We have shown that we are more prone to being swayed than taking a stand for ourselves. We may be only alumni of great varsities in several countries but beyond that no end product. We splatter the ink without precision in judgment and consideration of expansion – grave mistakes of a growing population. This stagnancy has plunged us deeper into the wanton depths of binge eating and textile swank while other youths break new grounds on artificial intelligence and electric cars. We talk of Jollof rice and they talk of robotics and ongoing research on Ebola – a disease endemic in our home, Africa.

The African child has been taught to fold his in abilities, lay them across his chest and may think: ‘It’s not my fault. Even my predecessors lived with this problem.’ Individuality is the concept that breeds the duality of underachievement and stagnation. The will to ‘succeed for one’s self and the immediate family’ breaks us apart like wind in the forest. We lose the pollen (dreams) in the process and see no need for collective goals because ‘we were not shaped by the society, so what are we supposed to give back?’ Besides, collective goals are harder to mine.

Oh Dear African child…

You were born underprivileged, poked in the chest and slapped in the face. You saw standard systems crumble – governments, offshore accounts, taxes, finances. You watched your crestfallen fathers cry themselves to sleep in the basement because his salary has not been paid. You’ve seen leaders sharing stale rice at polling booths in exchange for four years of suffering, treachery and corruption. You’ve caught the flu, almost died from malaria. You’ve seen talents buried in the grave and the wildest dreams caged by survival, sacrifice and a premeditated (albeit forceful) purpose. You’ve been forced to stop school at some point so your siblings can continue. People, systems, governments have failed you and poked at your balloons mid-air but these burns don’t heal quickly. A renewed mind can set the tone for a new course of progress. ‘Nothing easy will be handed to us if our hands are weak from idleness or brains dead to ingenuity.’

Expectation impedes the struggle but motivation fuels the drive. The weight of societal expectation creates sink holes laced with mines that would blow you up and swallow you whole. Nobody owes you anything. Your society needs to be done right by you. Build the change you want to see.

Earthly thrones need new kings. Become it.

Olarewaju Abiola

 

Biola Olanrewaju

@byolarbreezy

© All rights reserved. Dec. 2017.

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