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’.


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)


“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.



“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.




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


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’


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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