Monday, July 27, 2020

The Real Issue is in the Secret

"People are more what they hide than what they show."
Before you proceed, to fully enjoy this piece, kindly read up on the other series as they are foundational to this write-up.

Let's begin.

The night before was exciting and fun for him.
He was the talented young guitarist for his band & they were about to record their first debut album.
It was like a dream come true for the young man in the year 1983.

Did I mention that he contributed heavily to the wordings of the song to be released. You could say that he was truly LIVING.

The next morning, Dave Mustaine (that young man), considered to be one of the most brilliant and influential musicians in the history of heavy metal music, was told to leave the group as his services are no longer needed. Quite sure, his group members had to wake him up(see as his sleep was disturbed ) to deliver that news, As he had to also get on the bus leaving to his home place in the next one hour.
No reason. No warning. No discussions whatsoever!

Story has changed after he promised himself that he must be very successful, even more than his previous group "Metallica." He was that charged for success.
That his name MUST be heard over the radio, television & every media outlet. Then he went on to establish his band "Magadeth" & had since then sold over 25 million albums, And tour the world many times over. With his new group, won't you admit that he truly succeeded?

Having achieved all this despite the setback and disappointment initially, he won at last! Yet, in an interview in 2003, he admitted that he still considered himself a failure. This was how he puts it in another interview, "The thing that really upset me was that they never gave me a warning & I never got a second chance." He says. "It was just, 'Hey man, you are out'. See ya later." I respect his drive to be well known.
You might be saying " But he accomplished a whole lot & yet he's feeling like he lost. How ridiculous! " However this is the reality and a good thing to be aware of, especially at that time. My experience over the years has made me understand that, "Our real struggles are not the ones in the open, but in the secret" Reason being that they are the foundation.
The building block of what he had become was hinged on " I needed to be better than them "

Despite all he accomplished, he didn't feel that way.
I know that it can be quite frustrating and shocking receiving that news or something in that manner.
For you, The issue might have occurred years back.
Maybe it is one that you devoted a whole lot to, and just can't let it go. You could even have the mindset that "it is too late." But I tell you, there's no time to deal with it than now, simplybecause you are indicating that unconscious interest to LIVE,
And life is urging you too.

This is that period we bring the issue to surface, no longer running or thinking it doesn't matter, or it would all go away like a bird and return no more.
After being aware of it, we begin to ask questions like, "Why am I angry at this person/issue?" "Why am I holding onto this person even when he/she is damaging my life & it is visible?" "Why do I feel this way & tormented by it as a result?" Before answering,
when it comes to situations as these, ACCEPTANCE becomes what we need to embrace to move forward.
Which I have discussed in the previous series and would delve further in the next one.

Let me end with this quote, "Stop fighting  your 'demons' funny enough, they have no intention of winning, they are rather interested in pointing you to that issue you neglected or are trying to cover up."
Remain shameless in order to be free. You are evolving.

The Power of Reading

In the long run, it's not really the number of books you read that matters, but the number of books that you reread. (Read that again)

What are you trying to say? You may want to ask.
Can you just try to cast your mind back to a movie you have watched or a book you have read just once? How much of its details do you remember? Most likely very little right?

Now do the same for a movie you have watched or a book you have read at least two times and more. You probably can give more details without stress isn't it? Many things just STAYED WITH YOU...

What is the difference between the two scenarios?


Repetition aids learning and assimilation.
"Reading a book really is better the second time round - and can even offer mental health benefits" - Rob Waugh
Rob continues thus: The first time people read or watch through, they are focused on events and stories. The second time through, the repeated experience reignites the emotions caused by the book or film and allows people to savor those emotions at leisure.

Did you catch the drift?

Facts, figures, details, and so on embedded in a book or material of information sinks in easier and faster with repetition.

So rather than obsess over getting new information (of course it is good to seek more knowledge), go back to soak in more of the ones you have once contacted. That way, you position yourself better to be a "doer" rather than just been a "hearer".

Let me end with this:
“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God” (Psalms 62:11).
How can a man hear twice what was spoken once? I am sure you know the answer by now.
Have a fulfilling week.

By Tony Echem

Cultures Where Farting is Acceptable and Encouraged

There are certain cultural practices peculiar to every tribe that would elicit a puzzled reaction from an outsider. 

For instance, in Tiv culture, it is customary for a husband to let his wife spend a night with his male guest. I don't know if this culture is still practiced. In certain parts of Yoruba land, if someone farts, it is akin to them hurting themselves and if it is done in public, those around are supposed to console the farter ( I coined this word). Odd, right? An incident happened some years back that still leaves me wondering if an outsider would find certain cultural practices of my tribe repulsive.

When I was 10-years old, my friend, Abu, and I went to visit a mutual friend, Jamiu. The visit was occasioned by a football match we had agreed  to play with kids from the next block. Jamiu, our star player, was conspicuously absent so our captain delegated two of us to go and fetch him.

We went to Jamiu's house and met them having lunch, Amala and stew made with chinge( termite). That was their delicacy so we weren't surprised at the combo. They offered us food but we declined. We stated our mission and since he was almost done with his food, he told us to wait.

All of a sudden, we heard a thunderous sound. The walls vibrated and I can swear I felt an earth  tremor. Guess where the sound emanated from? It came from Jamiu's dad! The man unashamedly farted! No sooner had he farted than the entire family started saying, "Pele, Sir! Pele, Sir! Pele Sir! Pele, Sir!" In the Yoruba language "Pele" means "Sorry".

An overpowering stench permeated the room. I was nauseous and I felt choked. It was as if I was in a gas chamber. While I was disgusted and beside myself with rage, Abu's reaction was that of confusion, amusement and disbelief. He started to giggle. When I saw him giggling, my disgust gave way to amusement and I almost burst into laughter but I managed to stifle it.

Mama Jamiu looked at us angrily and said," Won't you say sorry? Don't you have home training?" We said sorry to Baba Jamiu multiple times in quick succession. In fact, Abu and I tried to outdo each other in saying sorry, just to prove that we had home training.

The smell that enveloped the room was suffocating. Just imagine the stench caused by the putrid smell of a carcass, the pungent smell of rotten eggs and stew made with termite. That was how bad the odour was and a miasma hung in the room until we left. If there were an infant in the room, I have no doubt that it would have choked to death.

In their culture, breaking wind, another word for farting, is seen as perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed of. In another culture, it is mortifying and considered an antisocial behaviour.

Are there cultural practices peculiar to your tribe that you think an outsider would frown upon? Have your say in the comment section.

Covid-Organics: Madagascar's Remedy for COVID-19

As scientists in advanced countries race to invent vaccines and medicines to tackle the novel coronavirus, the highly commendable research efforts of scientists in the African nation of Madagascar has gone unnoticed by the international community.

When the Malagasy president, Andry Rajoelina, announced the invention of Covid-Organics, a blend of herbs for treating Covid-19, made by a group of Malagasy scientists, the news was greeted with skepticism because its efficacy had not been proven. But why hasn’t the so-called advanced countries offered to test the herbal remedy to determine its effectiveness as a potential treatment for Covid-19? Could it be an attempt to belittle Africa’s contribution in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic?

Covid-Organics is a herbal tonic made by scientists at the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, and it is purported to have curative and preventive properties, but scientists and governments around the world have ignored its potential as a possible treatment for Covid-19.

In a world where frantic efforts are being made to flatten the curve of the pandemic and develop a potent vaccine or medicine, one would expect that there would be excitement about this Malagasy innovation and its potential as a treatment for Covid-19. The herbal remedy is made from a plant called Artemisia that is popularly used as a prophylactic against malaria. What makes this herbal solution special is that, of all the global efforts being made to find a cure or treatment for covid-19, it is the only African-led invention that is a direct result of research carried out by African scientists, but so far, it hasn’t received the kind of publicity that was generated when chloroquine or hydroxychlorine was touted as a possible treatment for covid-19. I put it down to racism and the western propagated notion that Africa is a continent where nothing good but hunger, famine, disease, war and chaos emanate from.

If chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is championed as a potential treatment for covid-19, I see no reason why covid-Organics that is derived from a plant with prophylactic properties against malaria cannot be considered as a potential treatment. It is not surprising that western countries have refused to acknowledge the giant strides made by African scientists in the fight against covid-19. However, what is surprising is the reluctance of other African countries to appreciate the fact that this invention puts Africa on a pedestal. Of all the 54 African countries, only a handful, Nigeria, Tanzania, Comoros, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Chad and Equatorial Guinea have asked for and received supplies of Covid-Organics. It is understandable that a lot of countries have reservations about using a herbal remedy that hasn’t been clinically tested and certified safe for use by international standard.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a veiled criticism of Covid-Organics when it a warned that people should refrain from using drugs that haven’t been clinically tested. The warning could be the underlying reason why a lot of African countries are unwilling to import the herbal tonic from Madagascar. But would there have been such skepticism about the efficacy of Covid-Organics if it had originated from the west? Absolutely not! It’s sad that Madagascar is the only African country that has sought to provide a solution to a global problem. This could be the reason why other countries aren’t taking this invention seriously. The African continent is not seen as a place where solutions emanate from. To the outside world, we are a continent bedeviled by a multiplicity of problems, ranging from abject poverty to disease and war, and as such, it is hard for the world to picture the African continent as a center of scientific innovation. It’s hard for the world to picture Africans as a people that are brilliant, innovative and creative. It’s hard for the world to consider an African innovation as good enough and worthy of recognition. We need to change this narrative. But as long as our continent remains poor and largely underdeveloped, we will not be taken seriously. T

Covid-Organics will not gain worldwide acceptance anytime soon even if its efficacy as a treatment for Covid-19 is established for the following reasons: 1. It all boils down to racism. It will be an affront to imperialists and racists in the West and elsewhere that a pandemic struck the world and African scientists came to the rescue. A potent herbal made by Africans defeats the narrative that Africans are not scientific geniuses. Their goal is to maintain this narrative at all cost even if it means denying countries ravaged by Covid-19 pandemic a herbal solution that has the potential to save lives. As far as they are concerned, Africa must be denied an opportunity to bask in the glory of its invention. 2. If Covid-Organics is proven to be an effective remedy against covid-19, it would augur well for the scientists who made it, the Malagasy government and Africa as a whole. It would be patented and billions could be made from its sale. This will not sit well with pharmaceutical companies around the world who are rushing to develop a vaccine or a medicine to treat covid-19 so they can cash in.

There is a rumour that coronavirus was created in the lab and purposely spread so that a vaccine that has already been created would be sold and billions of dollars would be made. Of course, this rumour remains unsubstantiated, but it’s enough reason to raise eyebrows as to why the west is reluctant to consider covid-Organics worthy of a clinical trial. 3. Accepting that Covid-Organics has any merit puts an end to the wrongly held notion that only Caucasians and Asians have a monopoly of scientific knowledge. A lot of black believe that they are not as smart as white people or Asians. As painful as this is, it is a deep-seated belief amongst some black people. Some of my friends have told me how the world would have been devoid of modern technology and civilization if there weren’t white people. There are lots of black people who still believe that the exploitation and colonization of Africa and the enslavement of its people was a good cause. They argue that Africa was a continent inhabited by cannibals, and that human sacrifice was the norm until Europeans arrived and brought civilization and redemption. This narrative deliberately seeks to counter the fact that Africa had a vibrant civilization and that one of the earliest universities in the world is situated in Timbuktu, an ancient city in Mali.

Covid-Organics hasn’t gain traction because the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t certified it fit for use. When we lack the capability to carry out clinical tests of medicines and herbs we produce, we put ourselves at the mercy of people who always seek to rubbish our scientific breakthroughs just to frustrate us and render our efforts useless. America shouldn’t have the final say on the efficacy of covid-Organics. Even though there are international bodies that are saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that food and drugs meant for public consumption meet the required standard, such bodies cannot be trusted because they are prejudiced against African scientists and inventors.

In May, South Africa, the most industrialized country in the African continent, offered to help Madagascar test and analyse samples of Covid-Organics. Nothing has been heard from both countries. It would be interesting to know if South Africa carried out a test and what the outcome was. If South African researchers certify the herbal remedy as safe for use, it would shine the spotlight on Madagascar and the wonderful Malagasy scientists who invented it. Nations that have refused to buy the Artemisia-based Covid-Organics would have no choice but to reappraise their stance and consider carrying out their own tests and analysis. The African Union (AU) should be playing a big role in the fight against covid-19 and any research geared towards the discovery of a vaccine or drug, but unfortunately, the body isn’t living up to its expectations. I expected the body to put in a good word for Madagascar and encourage other nations to carry out their own independent tests and analysis of Covid-Organics to ascertain its efficacy. It’s not good that other countries in Africa, especially North African countries, are not even talking about the potential of the Malagasy herbal remedy.

Africa needs to have its own broadcaster with global reach. The reason why Covid-Organics isn’t getting the publicity it deserves is because all the international broadcasters are owned by countries where racism is deeply ingrained and a negative portrayal of Africa is the order of the day. They are not fair enough to give an accurate depiction of Africa without the usual stereotype, and this is why there is very little news out there about Covid-Organics. Talking about Covid-Organics would give some measure of glory to Africa and this doesn’t align with their agenda. That is why we need to tell our story or they’ll tell it for us. An African adage goes: until the lions have their own historians, the history of hunt will be will always glorify the hunter.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

How the Nigerian Government is Cashing Out in this Pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic is having ripple effect all over the world. Economies have been thrown into recession, jobs have been lost, dreams have been shattered, and a lot of people have been impoverished as a result.

Governments around the world are thinking of ways to help their indigent citizens cushion the effect of the ensuing financial crisis, but the Nigeria government is doing the opposite.

In the midst of a global health crisis, Nigerian legislators have received sleek, bullet proof cars they bought for themselves with tax payers' money. The cars were all imported and each is worth tens of millions of naira. There was public outcry when news emerged that lawmakers earmarked more than a billion naira for the procurement of cars for themselves. People argued that a country that is cash strapped shouldn't waste billions importing cars when local alternatives should be patronized. Public outcry wasn't enough to dissuade the senators, as they went ahead to import the cars.

Foreign governments and NGOs have given billions of dollars to the Nigerian government in aid, but the money is unaccounted for. The government has not used the money for the intended purposes as palliatives, and cash haven't been distributed to those in dire need.

People are struggling to get by and the Nigerian government is compounding their struggles by implementing policies that are unfavorable. As if refusing to help the poor isn't bad enough, the government has made stamp duties compulsory for almost all business transactions. 

Is this the appropriate time to burden the people with stamp duties? Why is the Nigerian government bent on making life difficult for the average Nigerian? Shouldn't the governments be providing palliatives like their counterparts are doing abroad? Why are the Nigerian people so docile and afraid to confront the political class?

Until these questions are answered, and the masses demand that the status quo needs to change, I don't see any change in the foreseeable future, and the people will continue to suffer.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Should parents allow their older children to discipline the younger ones?

Zara, a beautiful lady in a mid 30s, has a problem with her left eye, so she visits her optometrist every month to have it checked. The doctor has told her that she will lose sight on her left eye eventually. 

After trying everything humanly possible to reverse the deterioration of her sight with no avail, she has resigned herself to fate. She wasn’t born with a failing eyesight though, her elder brother, whilst beating her up for an alleged wrong she committed, landed a blow on her left eye, and that was when her problem started.
I grew up in a family where my elder brother had the leeway to discipline us, and he took it too far. He would hit us for failing to take our bath on time, for watching television when we should be reading our books, for eating our meals too slowly, for not waking up early for morning devotion; for playing with our friends for too long, dirtying our clothes etc. in cases where verbal warnings would have sufficed, he would rather hit us. We grew up being afraid of him and that fear soon morphed into a deep-seated hatred. He literally tortured us for years, and he derived pleasure doing so. The end result was that as we grew older, the fear we had for him gave way to resentment.
Sometimes, I blame my parents for all the ill-treatment our elder brother meted to us when we were little. The torture we suffered wouldn’t have happened without their express permission. I blame my mother especially because she often told my elder brother to discipline us. She egged him on and turned a blind eye to the numerous beatings. My father, in all honesty, tried to rein in my brother’s tyrannical disposition towards us, but the fact that  hewasn’t always around meant a lot of abuses were swept under the rug and we were afraid to report such abuses for fear of reprisals.
Most kids in Nigeria and other African countries have scars that remind them of the abuses they suffered as children from their older siblings or parents or both. Unlike the west, spanking hasn’t been outlawed in Africa and this has given rise to situations where children are brutalized and tortured by those who should cater for them, guide and protect them.
I have seen horror stories of children disfigured by a parent or a sibling in the name of discipline. The absence of strong laws in Africa, protecting the rights of children makes such abuse commonplace.
If parents shouldn’t allow their older children discipline the younger ones, what should happen in the event that the younger ones misbehave when their parents are not around?  First of all, it’s perfectly ok for parents to delegate authority to their older children when they are not around. This would ensure some orderliness. Parents should also tell their older children the type of punishment that should be administered if the younger ones misbehave, and such punishment shouldn’t involve spanking or any form of corporal punishment. This would go a long way to ensure that boundaries are not crossed.
Were your older siblings allowed to punish you when you were little? How did it affect your relationship with them in later years? As an older sibling, did you punish your younger ones, if yes, do you think they are/were resentful of you?

Was Kanye West Right about Harriet Tubman?

Kanye’s comments stating that African-American abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman, didn’t help free black slaves because he alleged that she only freed black slaves, so she could make make them work for other white people, drew criticisms from different quarters, as well as, concern for his mental health.

Who was Harriet Tubman? And how true is Kanye’s allegations?
Harriet Tubman was born circa March 1822 to enslaved parents owned by Mary Pattison ( and later her son Edward). Harriet’s parents married around 1808 and the couple had nine children together. Harriet’s mother, Rit, stuggled to keep the family together, but her efforts proved abortive when Edward Brodesss sold three of her daughters ( Linah, Mariah Ritty and Soph), separating them from the family forever.

When Harriet was five or six years old, she was hired out as nursemaid to a woman named “Miss Susan”. She was ordered to care for Miss Susan's baby and rock its cradle as it slept. When it woke up and cried, she was whipped.  As a child, Harriet worked other jobs, and even after she contracted measles, she was made to work until she became so ill that she was sent back to her mother, who nursed her back to health.
As an adolescent, Harriet suffered an head injury when she was struck by a two-pound metal that was directed at an enslaved person who was attempting to flee. She bled and was unconscious, but was unattended to for two days.
Harriet recuperated from her injury, but started experiencing visions and vivid dreams which she considered revelations from God. Although Harriet was illiterate, her mother toldhtold Bible stories and she became very religious. She rejected the New Testament that admonished slaves to obey their masters and found guidance in the Old Testament.
Around 1844, Harriet married a free Black man named John Tubman. Since the mother’s status dictated that of the children, any children born to the couple would be slaves. It's not known if this was the reason why Harriet didn't try to have a child of her own.
Harriet’s value as a slave was greatly diminished when she became ill in 1849. Angry at Edward Brodress for trying to sell her, she began to pray for him to change his ways, and when he didn’t change, she prayed for his death and he died.  In order to avoid being sold after Edward’s death, Harriet and her brothers, Ben and Henry, escaped from slavery on September 17, 1849.
Harriet would use the Underground Railroad, a well-organized system composed of free and enslaves blacks, white abolitionists and other activists, to free her family members and other slaves. Harriet was said to carry a revolver that she used to protect herself and escaped slaves, as well as, threaten other slaves, who decided to go back to slavery because they thought the road to freedom was perilous.
When Civil War broke out in 1861, Harriet served with the Union army in various capacity. First, as a nurse, and later as an infantry. After the war, she worked different jobs to support her aged parents. She continued her philanthropic works and was heavily involved in the fight for woman’s suffrage.
Harriet has been immortalized in artistic portrayals, literature, film and television, monuments and memorials and visual arts. On April 20, 2016, then US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, announced plans to add a portrait of Harriet  to the front of the twenty-dollar bill, but the plan was put on hold by Steven Mnuchin, Jack Lew’s successor.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Talkative Uncle Just Left

My aunt's husband who came unannounced yesterday just left, yayyyyyyy, I feel like popping champagne. Thank God! I'm breathing a s...