Thursday, May 30, 2013

Are you proud to be Nigerian?


 Having or expressing devotion to and vigorous support for one's country. 
Unless you live under a rock (like I do sometimes) you must have heard about the Woolwich attack and our Nigerian brother terrorists. A prayer to the family of the dead soldier Rigby who have lost a son so tragically (Amen) and also for the families of Adebolaja and Adebowale who have lost their sons too. I dont think there is any parent that gives birth and says 'Son, It will be my pride and joy if you become a cold-blooded killer'/get caught and spend the rest of your life in jail barring capital punishment'.

The ensuing arguments over the killers’ British born-bred/Nigerian origin (which I felt was a satisfactory description – nurture vs nature, environment vs genetics) earned me the name ‘unpatriotic Nigerian’ from my girlfriend Jo. shrug.

Today at work, I discovered a new level of unpatriotism.
This is how i feel about Nigeria as i bear that flag
 I was at a table during lunchbreak comprised of 4 (3 Nigerian females and 1 male Briton). The discussion went from work gossip, to family. Brit guy asked middle aged Lady, "do you go home often"?. She said last time she was in Nigeria was 2008 for a funeral and prior to that, last visit was 2001. We then got to hear of how her family used the funeral opportunity to become money-grasping etc and how that broke down relations.
We commiserated with her that money tends to bring out the worst in humans anyway, next thing she begins this tirade on, "how terrible Nigerians are. Liars, Cheats, Not trustworthy. She looks at Mr. Britain and says, “Don’t ever do business with a Nigerian, they will cheat you and run away with your money. Don’t even go to that Country, cause it’s not likely you will come back alive. Or if you do, it will be without your valuables. They stole my brother’s passport at the airport check in desk. That was how my dad’s business went belly up. etc. etc. In my former place of work, I even dissuaded my boss from doing business with Nigerian companies”.

My mouth was agape? I was like Lady, really? All Nigerians are bad? 150million Nigerians? How many Nigerians have you met, done business with, have cheated you? 10? 1,000? 10,000? 1 million? Out of 150million? Do the Math. That is still not enough proportion for you to say ‘all Nigerians are bad’. Say “I have had some bad experiences with some Nigerians and that makes me wary about doing business with another”, but don’t go brushing all Nigerians with same tar. For every bad egg there are 200 good ones. Smart, hardworking, honest Nigerians abound. It’s not fair to belittle or taint their hardwork because of the experiences you have had.
I was so mad and deeply disappointed!!

Maybe it was her saying ‘Nigerians’ and not making the distinction ‘some Nigerians’. Maybe it was the way she distanced herself from Nigeria…’I am British” (ha!! Until you are a  criminal or terrorist then you realize you are “British born of Nigerian descent” ^__^), maybe it was the feeling that she was “airing our dirty linen in public” - the Briton listening to her might have doubted the news he sees in the media about fake scammers/terrorists/fraud and taken it with a pinch of salt. But now that he has heard it from the horse’s mouth, it makes it true innit?

Later in the day, I took a hard look at myself and I have decided to watch a little more, my utterances about Nigeria. I despair about some of the things going on in Nigeria, about the unnecessary loss of lives due to ineffectual security, opportunities lost, about the corruption, about the unnecessary poverty, about gender inequality. While there is the temptation to talk about love and fashion, and repost BellaNaija Red carpet events and dream weddings to take the sting away, that is not my forte.

Love corrects and it is out of love I point out any ills I see.

But I will try harder to not let the negatives overshadow the labour of the majority contributing their bit to making this engine called Nigeria work.

May God bless us all.

Are you proud to be Nigerian? Score your pride from 1-4
1 for not proud. 4 for very proud.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Letter to a Young Wife, From An Old - Chuma Nwokolo

Thou art a young wife, so I shall open all my mouth. On that first day that his adultery comes to light, the whole world is right behind you, so let the force of your fury be known. Be natural, let it all hang out. The plates, the framed photographs of your wedding, his suits even, these are the legitimate, the expected casualties of his embarrassing sex. 
Noise the scandal to whom you may, what more do you have to hide? You heard it on the bus, did you not, between Onipanu and Maryland? The yellow girl with the housegirl hairstyle boasting of how much she got off the paddy with the potbelly who drives the green Cressida at Cement Busstop? Tell your friends, the groundnut hawker, his own friends even. Let the world feel the pain of his betrayal of you. Pain shared = pain halved, and all that.
On the second day you are still feeling bad, as is to be expected. It is a four-year-old marriage, is it not? One daughter, two London holidays, and a house already growing in the village? Fine, rage some more. Take the excuse of every word he says to dump on him. He deserves it, does he not? A man wants to stray and it is that ugly housegirl-type that his hands can reach. 
You could smell her from halfway down the bus, couldn’t you? And she fought like a wildcat too, practically stripped you naked during the fight at the Maryland bus park, didn’t she? Well let him have it then. Let your eyes flash and glint through all his apologies, break his I’msosorry champagne in front of him. Every fifteen minutes or so, hiss ominously. And if he so much as sets an apologetically seductive hand on you… well I don’t have to tell you what to do about that.
But this is the third day and you are not yet five years at this, are you? Fine, let me open all my mouth. You will notice from the party we threw last month that this is my fiftieth-year-anniversary – and my husband still holds my hand during our evening strolls. 
On the third day, my young, inexperienced sister, the world is not Click here to continue reading

Do we agree with Grandma? 

Mr.Chuma Nwokolo is a writer and advocate. His writings can be found here

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wills, Widow Inheritance and Remarriage - A Male POV

Here is one man’s - Hon Sola Adeyeye - efforts to protect and provide for his wife in the case of death. May wise and loving husbands/bachelors take note and do likewise. 

"I pray to die in my 70s. I will like to die after age 76 but before my 78th birthday. If I do not, I won't kill myself o! I suspect my wife will live to her 90s. Her paternal and maternal family trees are blessed with longevity.
So, I have decided to make my provisions for her when I am gone. If she chooses to marry again, it is her right to do so. If she dies before me, and I live long enough and meet another woman I like, I would remarry. Men do this typically. Why should that be a big deal for a woman to do the same? The agreement between us stipulated "until death do us part!".

I have always carried lots of life insurance to ensure that my family does not suffer upon my death. When my children were young, they were all allocated equal proportion of inheritance from my insurance. Now my children are adults and doing very well on their own. My children started work earning more than I earned at the end of a distinguished career. They can and should take care of themselves. My priority now is the care of my wife in her old age.

For years, my father put enormous pressure on me to build a house in my home-town. He got my friends and maternal relatives to constantly nag me about building a house. When he succeeded in getting Chief Bola Ige to join their chorus, I succumbed. Even so, I insisted that I would build the house on one condition! I insisted that all my father's children, six other relatives of my dad, six relatives of my mum, six relatives of my wife, and six friends of mine must be present at a ceremony of laying the foundation of the house. My dad agreed most enthusiastically.

I traveled home in August 1993 for the said ceremony. My relatives were decked in fine clothes that left me wondering what the fuss was about while I wore my Tai Solarin fisherman hat along with my customary t-shirt and shorts. Just as the opening prayer was to be offered, I raised my hand and interjected with a question.

I asked everyone present if they knew what we had all come to do. An aunt answered that we had come to lay the foundation for my house. I corrected her that, the house to be built was not my house but my wife's! Even at that, I argued that since I was not a brick layer or mason, it would have been very foolish and wasteful for me to come all the way from America to lay the foundation of any house.

A sibling opined that we had to come to pray. I countermanded that God did not need me to come to Ora that day just to pray. He would have answered my prayer no matter where I was on the planet. I then went on to tell them that I had summoned all of them so they could all be my witness as to the ownership of the house whose foundation was about to be laid!

“I stated that the house belonged to my wife whether I am alive or dead. I asserted that if my wife should die before me, the ownership would transfer to me. If I should die before she does, the full ownership UNCONDITIONALLY remains with her. I went further to say that if my wife chooses to marry another man after my death, she still retains full ownership of the house!”

I then turned to everyone present and asked if there was any objection to what I had said so that I might terminate the project there and then! Nobody objected. Everything was recorded on audio and video tape. The house was built. It belongs to my wife.

My current will has the house transferring to be my foundation upon the death of my wife and myself. The foundation is to maintain and use the house for freely housing NYSC corps posted to Ora-Igbomina.

“Each of us has to decide how to handle whatever is stipulated by the laws of his/her religion.”

We need to know that most of the laws we inherited in 1960 under the British common law still hold in Nigeria. Indeed, until revised or rescinded either by a legislature or military decree/edict, every such law still holds.

During my tenure in the House of Reps, Hon. Abike Dabiri and I sponsored a bill to protect the rights of widows but the bill died in committee because, the lawyers (among our colleagues) pointed out that the Nigerian statutes adequately protect the nuclear family, especially the widow. But no society lives by law alone!
Cultural norms and traditional conventions are as powerful as the letters of the legal code; sometimes, they are more powerful.
It is up to every man to assess his own situation and to make every effort, long before he dies, to protect his wife.”

Unfortunately, Africans are very good at enduring bad marriages! Some men do not even want their wife to be their inheritor! If a marriage is so bad that a man does not want his wife to inherit whatever he has, he should be man enough to divorce the woman. Absent that, once the man dies, the widow is adequately protected by the law.
But such widows do not live in cultural vacuums. Often they are too scared by superstitious fears and taboos to assert their own rights under the law. By the time their fellow congregants from church add the oft-touted but misunderstood lingo about "principalities and powers", most women often succumb to the peace of the dispossessed rather than risk so-called spiritual attack!

Where the marriage is good, it is really very easy for any man to protect his wife and children. Every man should draw a will that goes into force on his wedding day! I do preach at weddings and I constantly hammer on couples having life insurance and wills. Those who were at my wedding reception were stunned by my public announcement of my will on my wedding day in 1977!

I took the best possible care of my father. From 1986 till his death in 2007, I ensured that my father was the highest paid man residing in my small hometown of Ora-Igbomina, Osun State. I simply paid him twice the salary of the High School Principal who was/is the highest paid public servant residing in the community. Thereafter, I never once bought him anything; he lived on the monthly stipend I paid him. No wife can prevent me from taking good care of my parents or siblings to the best of my ability. “Even so, my parents and siblings all know that my first responsibilities are to my own wife and children. I used every occasion to remind members of my extended family that upon my death, everything I have passes on to my wife and charities. My wife has numerous audio and video recordings of such private and public declarations. I have taught my children from age six, not to expect anything from me when I die. My relatives and children all know that if they want anything from me, they should ask for it while I am alive.”

Yes, I agree that my own case is perhaps one extreme of protecting one's wife. I have friends who died and their wife/children were dispossessed by the extended family. It won't happen to my wife!

From Ginger: Amen!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2012's Man of the Year - Christian Grey

You don’t agree?

60million people bought the book. And I’m sure more can remember what his second initial stands for (C.T. Grey) but not Obama’s (hint: it stats with H).
I read, sneered and commented with derision on forums discussing the book. My learned self could not be tempted to read such unliterary ero-offensive offerings.
Well, I swallow my words. I came across an epub version of the trilogy and thought, why not confirm for yourself why this book was such a hit.

So I read it and I understand.

First off. I think most people have it wrong. It wasn’t the sex. I personally didn’t find it erotic …….. and I really tried to. Lol.
I think what EL James’ book captured perfectly was the fairytale unrealistic yearning in women to be ‘The special one whose love changes a man’. 
I call it unrealistic cause 9 times out of 10, people will only change cause of their own conviction that it is advantageous to them. Christian Grey being a handsome, ‘very generous’ rich man was an added plus.

So what did I think of Fifty Shades of Grey? I loved it.

About criticism of EL James writing style: I think her writing style was satisfactory. The book wasn’t aiming for literary genius. It was a contemporary romance novel. I personally think that Ana’s voice was perfect for the subject matter. The author got it down to a pat – Ana’s innocence, humor, confusion, shone through. The reader could easily be Ana – in love and lust with a beautiful man, overawed by his wealth and power and by the strangeness of his sexual needs (BDSM isn't most people's cup of tea).

I loved the humor and laughed out loud plenty at, ‘the antics of Ana’s inner goddess, the witty email exchanges between her and Mr Grey that showed readers a side of him that made us hope like Ana that he could become Mr. Romance and Flowers, the witty references to popular media (You and Mrs. Jones, CEO with friends in the right places, Music - Britney Spears Toxic).

I think my most touching scene was the 1st time he acts out the Dominant and wallops her buttocks. 18 fricking times! All because she rolled her eyes at him.
I could appreciate why she didn’t break down and cry while he was there. Why she forgot to say the safe word in her bid to please him. Why she broke down after he left. And that niggling feeling of debasement.

I roll my eyes a lot at DBF. And sometimes when he says "that’s rude", I stick my tongue out for good measure. I can’t imagine him turning around to smack me for that. I who was not flogged by my parents, or worse – expect me to be turned on. Mba nu!
I do appreciate that there are a number of people out there who get turned on by some sort of pain consensually. Shrug. EL Jones tried her best to make us appreciate or understand the rules they live by. Safe words are real and essential to prevent excesses and to that extent the submissive has control. And while some feminists argue that Ana was abused, I disagree. It was her free will at all times.

Book 1 was delicious but ended inconclusively so I hurried on to Book 2.
By Chapter 5, I was done and getting bored by 50 shades Darker. The constant sex which wasn’t exactly making me purr was now decidedly turning me Off. Haba! Biologically and physically unless both of them were on a meal of Viagra it was not possible to be at it all the time.
By Chapter 7, I was flipping pages and constantly rolling my eyes (Sorry Mr. Grey) and my 50 shades of patience was running out at the constant angst and bickering.
So I moved on to Book 3. Sigh.  
Confession: I flipped through the last 90 pages of the 551 page book just to confirm that they lived blipingly happy ever after.
Mission accomplished.

I heard there are plans for a movie (my honest opinion – its gonna flop!!!) I thought of actors who could embody Grey’s blonde sultriness. Matt Bomer is my favourite.

Please, please if Kirsten Stewart is picked to play Anastasia I will. I will. I will…..flog somebody.

 When I told DBF I was reading 50 shades, he said, "Oh, I have something in common with Christian Grey".
Me (happily): “What”? ($100, 000 per day income on my mind)
DBF: “We have same waist size”.

*Roll eyes*  

Thankfully I'm not getting spanked for that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Farewell Newcastle, Hello Milton Keynes!

Hello Blogville,

How has the month of May been for ye?

I moved house 10days ago. More like a relocation. Newcastle to Milton Keynes. 290miles. 5hrs of road travel.
Ostensibly in a lateral move in my organisation but also to be nearer to DBF in London. (Yes, I am now one of those girls who cross the ocean for their man….errr make it Cross-counties :).

I must admit that I balked at the last minute about leaving Newcastle. My initial reaction on my first visit to MK 3wks ago was “I don’t like this place” *insert wailing face*.
MK was all about brand new looking estates and houses and roundabouts (what’s with the roundabouts? There is like one every 100m). I suddenly had a deep nostalgia for Newcastle’s over-bridges, century old buildings randomly mixed with a smattering of spanking apartment buildings. For the little individual corner shops, for Gregg’s.
MK Central also known as the 'Shopping district' had all the big brands chain stores….Waitrose, Next, Debenhams, Fenwick, John Lewis etc. Where were my Tesco and Primark?!! I remembered Newcastle’s city centre, the smaller independent shops, the fruit stalls on the street, Gregg shops. I was not happy.
MK also has lots of forestland which made the drive scenic but also lonely somewhat.

But on the second visit which was also my moving day…something changed.

Maybe it was knowing that the paperwork was done and there was no turning back now with HR.
Maybe it was seeing the joy on DBF’s face as He happily carried my luggage up the stairs, asking me if I was ok at 15mins intervals.
Maybe it was seeing my 8 - wardrobe bedroom in this lovely houseshare in a really pretty upscale looking neighbourhood.
Maybe it was our yummy congratulatory lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant.
Maybe it was finding out that work was an 18minutes walk from home which equals 'fitness' and 'saving' on transport (Newcastle’s taxi service Bluelines had been major shareholders in my salary this last 5months).
Maybe it was discovering return tickets to London cost £19.70 or even as little as £14.50 (32-54mins) compared to £78-122 from Newcastle (180mins – 240mins).
Maybe it was seeing the multicultural face of Milton Keynes Workplace. After being the only black face at work or on a 3mile stretch of road, it was strange to come to work and see lots of skin colors/accents like mine.
Maybe it was me accepting that to get what I want, I have to be ready to make some sacrifices.
Maybe it was the peace I had with God which assured me that He was behind the scenes.

Change is good :)


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