10 ABSOLUTELY UNCOMPLICATED THINGS ABOUT WOMEN

Come, what’s all this noise about women and an innate complexity? “Women are complex, difficult, unpredictable, irritable, erratic, incomprehensible”… is all I ever heard as a growing child. As I grew, the talk only got worse; interestingly, I discovered the even more distorted opinion that women are indeed in support of this peddled talk. I mean, WHO in their right mind would want to be complex and difficult and unpredictable and irritable and erratic and incomprehensible? Apparently, the answer is women.

I refuse to accept that. On behalf of the beautiful good women my life’s path has harbored in the past and present, I refuse to see this talk of complexity as anything but hokus pokus.

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It was Mother’s day yesterday; in appreciation of motherhood and in essence, women, I present my proof…

<drumroll>…<armpit-slaps>…

 

10 ABSOLUTELY UNCOMPLICATED THINGS ABOUT WOMEN.

 

1. Everywoman likes to be called baby, ESPECIALLY if she says she doesn’t.

2. No woman likes to be called Mama Izuu or Mama Aliyu or Iya Momoh.

3. Everywoman will smile, REALLY smile, when you compliment her looks, especially her hair AND more especially if it’s true.

4. Any woman who yells and curses at her husband in the labor room is back there in less than a year.

5. All women like that they’re women, even with all the pain and abuse that they ever-so-complain about.

6. Everywoman classifies men into two groups – snacks and meals; snacks are flashy, sweet and brief. They only satisfy your temporary nibble needs. But meals are whole, rock-solid and for real. They hang on for the whole ride.

7. Everywoman will say she prefers ‘meals’ of course – balanced diet and all – but they all crave some sweet ‘snack’-time twice in every while.

8. Women like it when their men treat them like the weaker sex…because they know they are not.

9. Women whenever they get together, like to talk (NOT gossip) about what people did; special treatment is reserved for what people SAID.

10. Most women above 25 have told their girlfriends that all men are snakes at least twice.

10(b). All of them knew they were telling it to the real ‘snakes’

 

So to the woe-mongers, I say: Complicated ko…complex ni! Our women are simple…and beautifully so.

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Ebola – The ‘Dumb’ virus

Ebola virus

The Ebola virus causes a disease called Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). The disease is also called Ebola Hemorrhaging fever or Dumb virus; while the former is obvious, the latter moniker comes from the fact that the disease, once it has manifested, kills off its host quite quickly. Evidently, it kills too fast to ensure extra widespread of its menace, therefore it is a DUMB virus. Its name is taken from the Ebola river in Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the African countries it has affected. EDV has also registered outbreaks in other isolated areas of Africa in Sudan and Uganda, its single biggest outbreak occurring in 2000 in Uganda and claiming 224 lives.

The outbreak in Guinea is however, its first presence in West Africa. Concerns have been shown over how easily this virus gets transmitted – as easy as through contact with an infested person or animal – and as far as facts go, this is the second most depressing characteristic of the virus. The most depressing characteristic is that as yet, it has NEITHER CURE NOR VACCINE. Fruit bats are the pioneer source and for prevention, health institutions warn that people should be careful and hygienic about the meals they eat (especially meat meals), their exposure at funerals and the people they get into intimate contact with. Once a person is infected, immediate and elaborate quarantine is strongly recommended.

For us in Nigeria, the map below should be scary. One can only keep ears on the ground and insert more caution in daily activities. You can find more info on the Dumb virus here, on the WHO website and just about everywhere else.

Life is sacred. And singular. So please save yours.

Ebola in Africa

ON TOP D MATTER: WEEK 2 of the NATIONAL CONFAB

Still on the matter…

A number of issues have come up in the ongoing conference of delegates nominated from different factions of the Nigerian populace. See the list of delegates here, by the way. The issues which I find most interesting are these:

  1. The country, the people and dual-citizenship:

A contribution to the debate by the revered Lamido of Adamawa, Alh. Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha, left many delegates in disbelief as the traditional ruler digressed from sounding a note of warning to ethnic jingoists in the hallowed chamber to boasting of where to run to if the country eventually disintegrates,” news reports indicated.

Alhaji Mustapha did not mince words in stating that whoever thought his people in Adamawa state would be worse off should Nigeria divide was wrong. Apart from being Nigerian, he was equally a citizen of another Adamawa state in Cameroon. He wouldn’t hesitate to exodus to Cameroon’s Adamawa “if anything happens” in Nigeria, he boasted, and since the Cameroonian state in question was “part of (my) kingdom” it is safe to assume that he would automatically assume the position of Lamido there as well.

This proclamation by the purported 5th most powerful Emir of Northern Nigeria has led many to ask the questions: Did the Lamido speak his mind or that of his fellow Northerners? Does the North have a hidden agenda for this conference? Do other ethnic groups also have hidden agenda? Are these agendas open to compromises which MUST be made for the conference to be a success, or are they ‘ALL OR NOTHING’ terms?

One point that is worthy of note though is that distaste at the Lamido’s words was also registered by some of his fellow northern delegates.

  1. The sleeping, the sick and the dead:

Speculation rocked social media when the picture below of former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, spread. Akunyili who is one of the delegates representing Anambra state at the conference dismissed media speculations that she’s currently battling with a strange ailment. In her reaction via a Facebook post on Tuesday, she did admit that she had suffered “a major sickness”, but she also went on to state that “there is nothing to worry about either my health or my present stature.” According to her, her clearly evident loss of weight “is normal” considering the mysterious sickness.

Prof DoraProf. Dora delegate

 

 

 

Prof. Akunyili however, is fortunate to be able to defend herself. Retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, and a Bauchi State delegate to the ongoing national conference, Alhaji Mohammed Hamma Misau is not so fortunate because he is dead.

late Hamma Misau

He died last night (Thursday) at the National Hospital, Abuja where he was admitted for treatment of undisclosed ailments.

The 67-year old retired AIG became popular across the country when a national newspaper published the photograph above in which he was caught sleeping during proceedings at the National Conference.His was one of the photographs of elderly delegates at the Conference who have been caught sleeping during proceedings of the National Conference, a development which sparked a debate about whether the media should be restricted from publishing photos of delegates caught sleeping at the conference venue. The debate was eventually thrown out as the delegates seemed to agree that “we haven’t come here to sleep, so if the media catches anybody sleeping let them report it”

My questions:

Shouldn’t it be one of the criteria for nominating a delegate that he/she be certified healthy by a medical practitioner?

I have sampled opinions on the issue: while some people believe the fault is on the part of the country’s leadership for not properly monitoring the nomination processes, the rest believe the concerned delegates are guilty of greed for money and power which blinded them to their health needs. Or just plain jobless. I will assume that the late Alhaji Hamma Misau, God rest his soul, was aware of his sick status before either volunteering or being nominated and eventually accepting a position as a delegate to the conference.

So what was his motivation for taking on this huge task in spite of his health situation? Did he assume the conference was just another one of those time-wasting affairs the government often subscribed to occasionally to create the illusion of keeping busy? Was he fired up by the daily allowance of a NGN 100,000 (which he shouldn’t have being a retired AIG)? Or was he a zealous patriot who weighed his duty to his country as more important that his ailing health?

  1. Referendum…Memorandum?:

It is no news to us how the issue of what would be done with the adopted results of the National Conference after it ended heated up. Eventually, the president quelled (or it seems he did) all worries when he announced as the induction ceremony of all delegates, that the results would be subjected to a referendum to be voted on by all Nigerians before going on to the National Assembly for passing into law.

Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, the Conference Chairman raised a debate on Thursday as to whether the Conference should invite memoranda from the public outside issues to be presented by delegates. While some delegates were of the opinion that much time would be wasted in seeking memoranda from members of the public in view of the deadline given the Conference to conduct its deliberations, others said the Conference was not in a better position to speak for the generality of Nigerians.

My questions:

Are these delegates, by nature of their moniker, not representing the opinions and views of the entire Nigerian public already summarized into groups of various interests? Do they not have the ideologies and agendas of their groups lurking in their suitcases and folders? Why then are they intent on wasting precious time? OR, and this is the scariest of all, is this an indication of cluelessness on the part of our delegates? 

ON TOP D MATTER: 2014 NATIONAL CONFAB

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After the week of quasi-hiatus following their inauguration, delegates to the 2014 National Conference will be readying ‘to die on top the matter’ later today in Abuja. Needless to say, speculations abound.

I happened upon the following conversation in a Nigerian chat room:

(names and bits of the conversation(majorly semantics) have been altered for privacy sake and for better reading)

Ogo: Abeg any info on the confab?

Stone: Is it how our resources are being wasted?

Ogo: Hmmm

Stone: lol

Oma: Those guys are gonna sit and talk nuffin new and may even fight, and at the end, walk away wiv #12million each. What can be crazier dan dat and of more interest?

Ogo: Hmmm

Stone: Ogo, nothing new will spring forth

Ogo: K

Stone: All of them na the same crew

Lota: I believe something will spring forth. The national conference is a great idea

Oma: How do you mean?

Ugo: I agree. At least it will take some steam off the nation

JD: I think the confab is ok oh. 12 million…like that’s anything compared to the daily loot. Let’s hope for the best, I agree with Lota and Ugo. I mean, 12 million over 3 months?  Do you know how much your senators cart home for a day’s sitting?!! Check am nah

Ugo: Anything that can take off steam from the nation is welcomed cos we are at the brink of cracking up or military intervention

JD: I wonder what people thought…that they’d bring people to discuss National issues for 3months and give them 10,000 naira each? Even if na boarding school dem go…mschewww

Oma: My major bone of contention is what are they discussing? We’ve discussed enough, what we need is implementation abeg

JD: If I were those delegates, I’d donate the money back to the National purse. 4 million monthly is not so much…we too dey complain.

Nd: //thumbs-up smiley// @JD

Stone: Here, action speaks louder than words. Is it not for the benefit of Nigerians? Charity work will make more sense there, selfless service to the nation.

JD: Hian!

Stone: Please JD research on those delegates; they’re the formal people eating our money

JD: What for?

Stone: Dr Sam Egwu, formal governor of Ebonyi state

JD: And I thought you were a man of faith. Where is thy faith now?

Stone: I am a faith of man. *Man of faith. My church sef na Living Faith Chapel aka Winners

Ugo: Bia Man of Faith, will you bring people together without providing accommodation?

JD: Omo ehn! I tire oh! Charity ko, selfless service ni. Shei u no be Naijarian again? Na wa oh

Stone: all those things have been taken care of. Why the extra cost?

Ugo: The planning is actually great. Which extra cost?

Stone: Yeah the planning is great but

Ugo: But what na?

Stone: Nnaa ehn…abeg make those guys go flex their money. 12 million is too small for me sef; if to say I go there, na 35 million DOLLARS I for collect J

JD: see ya life! On top say u no sabi the difference between ‘former’ and ‘formal’, who wan pay you 35 million kobo sef?!!

Stone: Enyi a, commot there. this jedijedi wey dey worry you go soon purge you

And it degenerated into good-natured ribbing in the sporadically incomprehensive manner associated with chatrooms.

My take on the matter is this:

I think Ogo started out well by asking about the conference. Unfortunately, nobody answered her question, not even JD, Ugo or Lota who were clearly proponents of the idea. One wouldn’t need to ponder for too long to realize why – WE DO NOT KNOW. It’s easy to sit and say “urgh! It’s a waste already” or “Oh well, I think it will turn out great”, but not so easy to do the needful –  make enquiries, read newspaper articles and watch the news in order to stay updated with proceedings.

If the members of this chatroom, for example, did perhaps JD would have been pleased to realize that his idea of donating the allowance back to the National purse is shared by few men like Tunde Bakare who have announced their intentions to do just that. Perhaps Stone would have realized that those allowances actually cover the costs of accommodation for those delegates many of whom will be coming from outside the FCT with aides. Perhaps the trend following Ogo’s initial question would have been something along the lines of points to be debated at the conference such as federalism, security, education, etc. There might be some bad eggs in the form of previous ‘leaders’ who wreaked havoc on the system during their tenures, but there are also a few good men who have done well with their little ‘flock’ in different parts of the country; and the only reward for good work, we all know, is more work. So why not?

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One thing is clear, Nigeria patriotism is still very much alive. However, we must refrain from letting the occasional pinch of an old burn-scar hinder us from ever cooking another meal. I personally had some initial scruples with the amount of money being doled out as allowance to the delegates rounding off to NGN 100,000 daily, I maybe even still do. But if that is the price that has to be paid for us to make some headway – no matter how minimal – as a nation, then it would be the smallest price so far and by all means, should be paid.

We cried a similar ‘FOUL’ when President Jonathan proposed the total removal of subsidy and I warned against it (see what I wrote). We all can see where the compromise that was eventually reached due to our collective stubbornness has left us.

Only a mad man acts in the same manner, every time and expects a different result.

What is your take?

Mugando – “I swear to you…”

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They think they have won, that their victory is assured. And I do not blame them. We do not look anything near dangerous; not with our soil-strewn farm wears, pitch-forks, axes, machetes and dane guns. If anything, we look imbecilic, especially in comparison to the sight before us: neatly-aligned rows of gleaming sinewy bodies sheathed in equally gleaming armor, armored horses hoofing up the red earth beneath them are hitched to fire-red chariots stocked with swords, spears, arrows and cannons.

You won’t believe it but I swear to you that they have lost.

Standing here beneath the blazing sun, a ragged motley of men, we are not the farmers they see. We are not even men. We are empty containers yearning for the devil’s manipulation. We shed neither blood nor tears, we break neither bones nor heart, we only kill and die.

And it is all thanks to them. They made us this way when they rode into our village while we were away, stole our harvest and burnt out huts to the ground; when they tore open the bellies of our pregnant wives and fed the bloody fetuses to their dogs; when they defiled our children and stripped away the sheer curtains that protected our pride. They made us unbeatable.

They think they have won, that their victory is assured. But I swear to you that they are wrong.

I hear my blood bubbling up just behind the wall of my throat, and my heart thudding funeral beats as the sun sinks lower in the horizon. Or perhaps it is the blood and the heart of the men all around me that I hear. We are men of different tastes, colors and families but today, we unite as one. The heat of our resolve makes the sands jump and turns the sweat on our skins to vapor. It will only be assuaged by death – ours and theirs.

I can see their commander prancing to and fro along their frontline, he is very sure of victory. But I swear to you that he has lost. He inspects a sword, spots dust on a shield and harries a slouching man. He is yelling, calling on them to fight for their king and their god, Vusu. I pity them, the rabid dogs. They can take all the time, pray all they want, we are in no hurry. We have no one to fight for – Alab Muntah hanged himself from the center beam of his inner chambers in submission to the sentence of the Inner Council and our god, Mijashu, we broke into pieces and set ablaze ourselves. We are a kingless and godless lot, soul-less demons waiting for the doomed enemy to advance.

And eventually they do, their mouths open in war chants we cannot hear, their pounding footfalls raising dust we cannot see. We stand still, mute, waiting. Their arrows hit their mark and their cannons tear gaping holes in our numbers. But we dust off the blood of our brothers, we kick aside the corpses of our sons, and we wait.

We have waited a long time…I have waited too long.

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I am Mugando Xubhallallah Djibitou, descendant of Xhodashimu, the great zuzula of the ageless Zulu dynasty. And I swear to you that today, they have lost.

WHILE I WAIT FOR HER

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So, most of my friends have put a ring on it! A few others are already making preparations for the realm of “I DO!” A handful of others like me; well, we are just taking our time: the mere reason why my wonderful family members won’t let me off the hook. Whenever unavoidable circumstances find me in family weddings, they keep on chipping suggestive questions at me; “what about that friend of yours” (of course a friend who is a girl) or “are you aware Tunji just got married, is marriage not a beautiful thing?” For the bold ones, they come direct for my throat; “when are you getting married?” I have since gotten used to their ‘pestism’ though. All I now do is to smile, grin and give them my drop dead gorgeous wink.

As for my immediate family, dad has since given up on me. According to him, “the boy will come around when its time.” The same cannot be said about Mrs Funmilayo Oloye Thomas though. She still hopes against all hope that something good can come out of my Nazareth. You hear her say things like, “my friend’s youngest son just celebrated his third son’s birthday!” In other words, “my own first son won’t even bring home a girl! You have a mouth-watering job that would make any sensible girl jump at you. You have an apartment of your own. You are decent, good looking, caring and a typical take home to mama! So what exactly is the problem? Have you lost your toasting techniques? At least let your Father give you some tutorials. He used to be magnetic in that department you know?” “And still is” I can see her adding with a wink at my Dad.

And over and over and over she would continue. Most of the time, her husband doesn’t even try to calm her down. Else, she would get to that point when her European eloquence is dumped for her Yoruba – English. The last time he did, she was so angry she told him he would have to go on a mandatory fast “for the children’s future partners since you think I’m being unnecessarily ‘female-ish’ and emotional about all these. Ma Funmi mi at all! (don’t Funmi me at all!) So fun mi (tell me), Babatunde Rotimi Jibola Oloye Thomas! (Mum goes for his name in full when she is angry) at what age is he bringing a girl into this house? After all, bibi sa la bi? (we gave birth to him) Abi what kind of palapala is this?”

And because Dad is a wise man with the interest of his tummy at heart, he just gave her a peck and hurriedly took the nearest exit. I mean, who are you to argue with Mrs Oloye Thomas?!! Or olorimeji ni? Oh boy! See me infected with Maami’s Yoruba-English gig oh!

In all, what these loved ones don’t know is that I’m seriously taking my time to the greatest length. If it takes me 3 years to wait for her, I don’t mind. As I keep telling my sisters, I have a superb taste where females are concerned. If I have my way, I won’t mind the hour-glass shaped woman. They call it figure 8. I call it Figure Eve. But really, I would be the happiest man on earth if I have me a correct African woman. This is not necessarily in the skin color (not too light and not too dark will do though). When I say ‘African’, I mean a woman who won’t mind showing off her hair once in a while irrespective of the length. I know my sisters and female cousins will cut off my head when they read this but come on, a brother can still dream right? It’s not every day you want to see the Peruvian, Brazilian weave. I totally love the elegance and sophistication with which females carry this hair-do; unfortunately we do get bored at times. No disrespect, but it makes them look … the same!

And her size? I won’t be explicit in my description of her less you think twice about my spirituality. But a woman who isn’t infatuated or obsessed about being a size 7 is water to my thirsty throat. Of course, I’m not an advocate for eating without self-control; my mum is to blame for this (yes, Maami again!) because she spoilt us all with good food. I don’t expect less from the future Mrs. Faith Oloye Thomas. She need not be an expert, but she should be willing to pull some creative stunts in the kitchen. And she need not think me a slave Master; courtesy of my mum (sherrapu!), I got several lashes as a child for burning the food because what a woman can do, a man can do better. In other words, her pregnancy periods are all covered.

In case you find her first, could you please tell her to be herself? I hate pretence! There’s this best friend of mine. She happens to be married though. If not that she’s married to my very good friend too, I would have snatched her from him (hopefully, Oroghene Dubamo is not reading this.) when I think of Patience Ogoh, I see truthfulness. We met in a restaurant in school. She was eating amala dudu and okro soup with her fingers! Can you imagine? Who does that in this 21st century? I sat directly opposite her and did not even bother to hide my stare. I wasn’t the only one beholding this breath-taking, light complexioned damsel eating with her fingers. One thing led to the other and we got talking. Need I mention the fact that her eating etiquette would make Queen Elizabeth herself blush? I mean with the straight shoulders, well angled arms and all. Her best meal? Garri with cold water, lots of sugar, milk and ground-nut!

I know everybody cannot be like this unique friend of mine! But then, it is comforting when you meet someone and your first impression about them is that “what you see is what you get!” I love creativity in a woman also. It would be nice if she can hold her own in whatever conversation she finds herself. With the combination of smartness, intelligence and humor, Mr. Husband wouldn’t think twice about coming home to her every day. She has to be a strong woman!

I intentionally did not put the “God factor first”. No doubt I’m born again, soaked in the blood, drowned with Christ and my Body, Spirit and Soul belongs to God! I don’t expect less from her. As a matter of fact, “this criterion” is not in dispute at all. Even if she doesn’t have all the aforementioned “qualities” she must know who she is in Christ. I don’t expect her to know all the bible versions off hand (because I don’t)…and I’m not looking out for whether she prays 77 times 7 times daily. All I ask God for is a woman who has that sincere thirst to know Him the more. Even if she’s still growing, the fact that she desires to have a concrete personal relationship with God goes a long way. This I believe IS the desire of God. So basically; a woman who knows her stand with God, His purpose for her life and where He’s taking her to. I have dreams and visions, so it’s only natural I voyage in life with someone who is in line with God’s purpose for me. It works both ways; this I know. Allll-right, enough preaching.

After all said and done, I don’t ask for a perfect woman. I’m an epitome of imperfection. But thanks to Christ, the more I gaze at that Savior of mine, the more I see perfect in Him in view. Hence my firm resolve that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me! So, I expect my strengths will be a covering for her weaknesses and vice versa.

My dear wifey, I’m presently being groomed by God. I have an aim – to be in the mold to which God has called me. So I expect that where ever she is right now and whatever she’s doing, she allows herself to be molded by God. Wisdom has taught me that, “a good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband puts his confidence in her, and he will never be poor. As long as she lives, she does him good and never harm. She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises. She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking. She speaks with a gentle wisdom. Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her” I see myself in the nearest future telling her, “Many women are good wives, but you’ve outclassed them all!” Wisdom still has these to say about her, “Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the LORD should be praised. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!”

Finally to her….I have gone over different scenes in my head as to when, where and how we would meet. I do hope I won’t find you in the hands of another man though. I’m an absolute gentle man, but I can’t promise not to beat that guy up. You need not be afraid, I’m no Mike Tyson. I can hear my mum say, “Faith Oloye Thomas, be civilized! I taught you better!” You ask how I would know when we meet? Don’t worry, sweetheart. I hope you don’t mind the endearment, another thing my parents have spoilt us with is the way they shamelessly call each other sweet nothings. Those old guys are ehn, you will simply love them! Where was I again? Enhen, how I will know abi? Remember those Words of Wisdom, “the deep calls unto the deep and iron sharpens iron?” Exactly! That is how I know I will know! Most importantly, “there’s a Spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty gives understanding.”

I wait in obedience to God and confidence in the Spirit. So I pray that may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened that you may know the hope to which God has called you. May he give you beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning and peace for despair. Finally, may the peace of God which passes all understanding fill your heart and mind with the knowledge and Love of Him through Jesus Christ our Saviour. So while I wait for you, please hurry. You alone can fill my missing rib!

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I DO LOVE YOU!!!

By: Jedidiah Oluwadamilola Ifenla Oligbinde.

Dami schooled as a lawyer, trained as a photographer and loves cooking. She has the pen of a ready writer and so, whenever her imagination runs off – which happens very often – she never hesitates to put down! And you guessed right from her name, she believes in love *wink*

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD: The Nigerian State and Religion (2)

…now in conclusion,

WEB OF CONFUSION

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Religion is such a controversial subject that its meaning and etymology in this modern time and age of electronic encyclopedias and lightning-fast word searches, is still in contention. “The etymology of ‘religion’ is indeed disputed. This is not, of course, the case when it comes to English, which clearly inherited the word from Latin religio. Rather it applies to Latin itself, in which it is not clear what the component parts of the noun religio are or mean” (The Jewish Daily Forward, 2007). Dr. Nonyerem Davidson of the Openmind Foundation (UK/Nigeria) however attempted a definition from a collaboration of the myriad of definitions available for the word ‘religion’. And I find his definition satisfactory:

“A strongly held organized system of belief about a superior, sacred, divine and unseen being (God); and obedience to the superior, sacred, divine and unseen God through abiding by uncompromising moral codes, practices, values, traditions and rituals associated with the belief system”.

Going by this, one realizes that religion is such a multi-limbed subject that confusion is not only very possible but apparently aided. This proves, I daresay, that Christianity, for instance, is not one unique religion but an umbrella for different religions; yes, the different churches and ideologies many term as ‘denominations’ could very well be religions of their own because “…practices, values, traditions and rituals…” differ among them. In the same vein, it is quite possible – and this is only a postulation – that some of the different beliefs and practices of the Shia Islam set them apart as a different religion from the Sunni Islam. It is frightening to imagine what other declassifications could arise under the traditional religion considering the plethora of deities worshipped in the over 700 ethnic groups of Nigeria.

Religion is undoubtedly, a humongous institution by itself, a thick web which stretches wider and stronger with time. The same goes for government, some parts of whose complexity are still mysterious with miles of dizzying labyrinths. Why then…HOW then would any society with a healthy sense of self-preservation venture to fuse both entities?

 

RESOLVED

Chuba Okadigbo while arguing against mixing religion and governance once said, “Religion being a matter of individual choice and faith, must be left where it is, such that our clerics can take care of our souls and religious persuasions, while elected civilians take care of the businesses of governance”. But Jeanne Shaheen believes that “Religion and morality are critical to how students think about politics and form opinions on political issues”.

Some people would have that mixing religion and government be likened to mixing water and oil – the liquids never mix and make a sloppy mess, while others recommend that the state cannot exist without active religious involvement. However differing our stances are on this issue, there are a couple of things which I believe we all can agree on. First is the fact that religion cannot be totally separated from politics and governance in Nigeria. We are a sentimental people who preach and defend relentlessly our beliefs or lack thereof in a supreme being; and as a mark of principle and self-righteous morality, we generally prefer to ‘leave everything to God’. It is justifiably hard to imagine a Nigeria without a spiritual presence. The second very agreeable point is that this fixation of ours with the blind practice of religion has done us much more harm than good. Nigerians vote based on religious preferences (refer to Anambra state gubernatorial elections 2013); fight and kill each other due to (concocted or genuine) religious convictions (refer to Boko Haram, now a globally recognized terrorist organization); and make laws along the lines of religious precepts and values (refer to the Anti-gay law passed in January, 2014).

A leader is first and foremost, a man, many will argue, and he is therefore justified to make state decisions guided by his religious principles. But I disagree; a man upon taking up the mantle of leadership of fellow men physically remains a man but psychologically transforms into MEN. This is not about whether or not a president of Muslim heritage will take off his headgear or stand or clap along with the congregation when in a Christian assembly. The issue doesn’t concern itself with a governor who takes out of his personal funds and donates to renovate the local parish in his hometown. Neither does it bother about whether or not the president says a catholic prayer before commencing his GEC meetings. All of these are within the leader’s right to a freedom of choice.

But that right stops at exactly the same point where the rights of his followers to their own choices of religion begin. Where matters of state are concerned, where decisions which will affect the entire people – godly and godless – of a nation are concerned and especially where religion clashes with the law and its duty to protect its charges, the leader should have the mental consciousness to separate his person into two selves – the ‘man of a religion’ self and the ‘man of the people’ self. At such times, he must draw a line between the state and religion and for the love of God, he had better straddle it firmly.

 “For only a godly man can rule a state best, a godly man who knows the godless”

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THIS THING CALLED…BEAUTY.

beauty

After I read this piece which again reiterated the ubiquitous mantra “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, I wondered about beauty and the various human perceptions of it. Clearly, it is an important ideal to humans including (if not more especially) those who claim to not care. It is a word which abounds in discussions among youth, males especially because it is more generically appropriated to the female gender. I therefore took the liberty of running a mini-survey among men aged between 19 to 30 years.

The question was: “This thing called beauty: Take a few minutes to answer this as honestly as you can: ‘What qualities in your opinion, qualify a woman as beautiful?’ No restrictions”

And answers poured in, from the outright ludicrous to the hilarious to the ‘bombshell’ one-worded responses; I have relayed them all with little to zero editing. I like to call them the ‘26 Alphabets of the Beauty language’; they are as follows:

A. ‘Arsenal’ and ‘Barcelona’ and height – very powerful criteria. If u get money, woman character is under your control.

B. Pretty – fine face and body; personality – smart, character and humility.

C. 90% attitude and 10% looks: respectful, moral standards, articulate, at or above my frequency with God and NOT BORING.

D. Exceptional charm, self confidence, shining light that sparkles through her smile and eyes and willing to cook for me.

E. Respect for her man and knows her wifely duties in the kitchen and bedroom, handles children well and is always there for her man; respects God too.

F. Physically attractive, character, endurance and sincerity; I will set tests for her pretending as if I don’t care, she must pass them to prove her resilience, behavior towards money.

G. God fearing and catholic, humble, fun loving, enduring, intelligent, pretty with a lovely figure, intuitively caring with everyone even children.

H. Character and charisma.

I. A sight to behold – physically beautiful, I mean nicely shaped with some flesh here and there (wink), she has to be godly too and intelligent. I trip for intelligent ladies.

J. Neatness and perfect form of facial and body structure.

K. Beautiful – good and humane character (care and love); humble and respectful; God fearing and hardworking; smart and good looking.

L. Beauty physically and at heart; she must have those curves.

M. Respectful, facial beauty and kindness/generosity.

N. Gentleness and good character; other features especially the physical only support these.

O. Right attitude, sound morals, respect to God and humans, good attitude to strangers.

P. Character.

Q. Physically, she should be pretty; I love well-endowed tall, slim, dark ladies;

Emotionally, she should be mature, able to handle stress, independent, not crying easily, think like a woman not a girl;

Spiritually, she’s gotta love the Lord! Know how to pray, know what the scripture says about life situations;

Socially, she’s gotta combine being quiet and playful at the same time, love fun but know how to get serious when needed, dress well, act gracefully with poise, good listener.

R. Good height, slim not too much at least average, straight leg and good character.

S. Facial appeal, humility, sincerity and intelligence.

T. Truthfulness and sincerity.

U. Presentable, elegant, courageous, certainly tall, sleek, bold and beautiful; good character remains constant that is, respectful, God fearing, trustworthy, tolerant, understanding (ok with 60%).

V. Physical appeal, being lovable, respectful, tolerable and homely, etc.

W. Her smile in its genuineness, not lousy, can be discreet and very observant. A go-getter. One who takes care of her body, a good shape is always a plus. Stable and consistent, not prone to excessive mood swings. An optimist at heart with a beautifully logical mind.

X. Adorning her outer grace with wisdom, tolerance, understanding, and faithfulness to God and men.

Y. Lovely eyes, figure-8, long straight legs added advantage. Must have common sense, manageable character.

Z. A woman who is beautiful inside and outside and loves God.

My personal favorite is opinion Q, because it is exhaustive. But as I feared, a lot of young men (besides me…right?) have a meager or no understanding of beauty. First proof of this is in the opinions polled above where the word ‘beautiful’ is used repeatedly in the definition of itself – an obvious sign of misconception.

Another observation of mine which is as interesting as it is not startling is that many young men cannot ignore the relevance of physical appearances and attraction to beauty. So preach all you want about the beauty of a woman ONLY radiating from the soul and inner peace and cumbayaya cumbaya, the world is saying ‘eyes eat first’.

beautiful-black-woman

What do you think though? What is your personal opinion on the truth of this thing called beauty?

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD: The Nigerian State and Religion (1)

Rel&Pol

“Religious law is like the grammar of a language. Any language is governed by such rules; otherwise it ceases to be a language” were the words of British rabbi Jonathan Sacks. If one were to piece apart this statement in an extrapolated effort to understand it better, it would be saying that “Religious law is to religion what grammar is to language. Any religion is governed by its laws; otherwise it ceases to be a religion”. This of course, is true. In Nigeria however, religious laws do not just govern religion alone, they permeate marriage, life, birth, society, the law and every other conceivable part of the Nigerian environment. So much so that in order to capture the exact status quo in terms akin to the quote above, “Religious law is to Nigerians what grammar is to language”.

This essay does not suggest the erection of a wall between the state and religion – an attempt at such would be akin to drawing blood from an elephant with a toothpick – we must rather, draw a clearly visible line of distinction between them. Because – not regardless – of the fact that religion is an integral part of the lives of all Nigerians, it is critical that we keep it separate from our law and government. This will be proven with the points below.

 

HISTORY:

“Saudi Arabia is a monarchy. Governmental and legal systems are based on the Sharia, the sacred law of Islam, which is interpreted according to the strict Hanbali rite by the learned religious elders, or ulama. Beginning in March 1992, the king issued several decrees that established new political structures and promulgated procedures for government. Known as the Basic Law of Government, the decrees defined Saudi Arabia as a sovereign Arab, Islamic state whose constitution is the Qur’an and the Sunna (traditions) of the prophet Muhammad” (Microsoft Encarta).

While digesting this, it is important to consider just how effective or not it would be to replicate such a stance as is obtainable in Saudi Arabia in a more multifarious society. The following answers the question:

A controversial article published on June 17, 1963 in the St. Louis Dispatch had its introductory comment reading thus: “The 1963 United States Supreme Court decision declaring the public school practice of Bible reading and reciting the Lord’s Prayer unconstitutional was a major turning point in the history of civil liberties in the United State”. It is logical to term illegal, any promotion of the practice of prayers and/or rituals of any particular religion among children of a country whose laws take a neutral stance on the matter of religion. We can agree that the 1963 turning point reported in this article was the beginning of many good things for the civil rights struggle in America, with Martin Luther King Jr’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech coming only a few months after the publication.

The Nigerian ‘religiosphere’, many will agree, is shared among the Christian, Islam and Traditional religions, a fact which is well enunciated in the Constitution. Therefore, an alignment of government and legal systems with one religion is not only unconstitutional but impractical in Nigeria.

Section 10 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution clearly states, “The Government of the Federation or of any State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion”. The reason for this stance is embedded in the instances sampled above and in the ever-broadening pages of history. History holds the reports of how badly Christianity fared in trying to take charge of Rome, Western Europe and Greece; also of how Islam failed in trying to take legislative charge of Tunisia, Indonesia and Egypt, among others. All of these reports show that so far as a society is multicultural and inherently diverse, any attempt by any religion to get into bed with the state and its legal systems results in chaos and an eventually defunct system.

 

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD:

sword

Chief Ikedi Ohakim, erstwhile governor of Imo state is one man who can bear witness to the strength of the romance between the Nigerian people and their religion. In 2010 while still sitting as governor, Chief Ohakim was accused of arresting and physically abusing a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. All sorts of campaigns were hosted to revamp the governor’s image but he had committed THE evil and the people of Imo would never forgive. Less than a year later, Chief Ikedi Ohakim lost the gubernatorial elections – a record for a sitting governor.

While this may have played out as a favorable scenario for most proponents of a state-cum-religion government, further analysis proves otherwise. Imagine for a while that the Roman Catholic Church was the designated religion for Imo state at the time of Chief Ohakim’s alleged abuse of the catholic priest. If that had been the case, I propose that one of the following two things might have happened: One, the governor since he was running a joint-government with the church, might have pulled a few strings here and there and would have succeeded in quelling the brouhaha that arose from the incident. He would have gone on to win the May elections in 2011, he and the church. Two, the church might have played the incident up and instigated a revolution which would have ousted the governor; provisions for a replacement might have come attached to this revolution, or might never have been mentioned. This would have sounded a lesson to all politicians: Don’t mess with the ruling church.

More recently in Osun state, Governor Rauf Aregbesola came under heat for proposing to build an interdenominational Christian worship centre. The ‘Opon Imo’ governor had earlier instituted some changes in the state’s educational policies which sprouted allegations that he – a devout Muslim – was trying to Islamize the state. The proposed Open Heaven Worship Centre, many analysts believe, is an attempt by the Ogbeni Rauf to pacify the Christian faithful of a state which is too multifaceted to be tagged either Christian or Islam.

Imagine for a second that we are a year into the future, Governor Aregbesola has won his re-election and the Open Heaven Worship Centre (OHWC for the purposes of brevity) is ‘in business’. Members of the state civil service who double as pastors in their individual lives will send in applications to be transferred from the Ministries of Health or Sports or Education to the Ministry of Religion so they could serve at the OHWC secretariat. The senior pastor spot would be for a level 12 civil servant, pastor – level 11, deacon – level 9 and so on, perhaps leaving the Choirmaster and Ushers spots for youths employed under the governor’s O’YES scheme. The church would raise money through offerings, tithes, launching and bazaars, all of which would be remitted into the state government’s coffers. Soon enough, OHWC would be THE church where struggling youths wore their best outfits on Sundays to vie for the attention of Christian top government officials and personalities and for which adverts and calls for sponsoring would run unchecked in the state’s communication media organizations. The mosques and more traditional churches like the Roman Catholic Church would all but find themselves squashed against the unyielding fringes of the state of Osun. And peace and harmony will reign?!

I am Roman Catholic and Christian enough to know that both situations envisaged above are in direct obviation of the basic Roman Catholic and Christian statutes. I am also Nigerian enough to know that they spell doom for the overall sanctity of the state and national government. Deducing from these illustrations, the involvement of the government in religion is a double-edged sword which strikes deathly blows to both the legal state and the ‘chosen’ religion. It is a mutually fatal arrangement for both parties.

 

to be continued

THE QUINTESSENCE OF BEAUTY

Beauty, beauty, beauty…Walter Ude captures ‘The Quintessence of Beauty’ in this piece. It got me thinking. And I’ll soon be putting those thoughts into words. Meanwhile, enjoy this ‘mindsnap’

MY MIND SNAPS

We have been coached to abstract the idea of beauty as being perfect; Perfect physique, perfect eyes, perfect nose, perfect lips, and perfect hair – in other words, too perfect to be human.

It seems to me that once you have moved up your way to the top of the entertainment industry and have being elevated from being a mere human to a super-perfect star, then – and only then – can you be called “beautiful”.

The question of who decides who is beautiful is one that has always puzzled me. So I did a bit of investigating on my own. I asked around for my usual company to define beauty. I got answers like “J-Lo”, “Brad Pitt”, “Halle Berry”, and “Beyoncé”. In some instances, some even tossed out “Genevieve Nnaji” and “RMD”. I rest my case.

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